“The Power of One” [PG-13] – 3/20

“THE POWER OF ONE”

PART III

Power transference. Daley heaved a sigh, inside her private office. She had checked her spell book for anything on the subject, but came up empty. Not surprising, since she has never dealt with the transfer of power during her fifteen years as a sorceress.

Another sigh left her mouth and she examined her spell book one more time. Again, nothing. She slammed the book shut. Perhaps she should forget about this insane idea and go ahead with the plans to expand her business. Then again . . . to hell with it! She had to find a way to access that child’s powers.

Out of desperation, Daley scanned her bookshelf for any information she might find on West African magic. She finally came upon a book titled “THE SUPERNATURAL WORLD OF THE IVORY COAST”. It had been written by an early 20th century anthropologist named Jonathan Close. Much to Daley’s surprise, the book contained detailed information on the region’s myths . . . and practices of various West African shamans. Including spells that she never knew had existed. It still eluded Daley that a British anthropologist would come upon such a discovery. And record them. Perhaps he had been so fervent in his desire to record West African culture, he failed to realize that he had exposed practices and spells that others would consider valuable . . . and dangerous.

After removing the book from the shelf, Daley examined it – page by page. She came across rituals that had been performed by now dead houngans, mambos and other magic practioners. Rituals for good health, prosperity, and protection against evil spirits. The latest chapters, however, included spells and ritual on a more sophisticated level. In one of the chapters, Daley finally found a ritual that transferred psychic abilities and magic from one being to another. A ritual, according to the book, that had first been created by a 12th century sorcerer. After reading the details of the ritual, Daley realized that she had found what she was looking for. The sorceress copied details and instructions of the ritual on a notebook. Once she was finished, she reached for her cordless telephone and dialed a number.

“Hello?” a voice finally answered. “This is the Halliwell residence. May I help you?”

Daley replied, “Is this P. Halliwell, who had placed an ad for a nanny?”

“Yes, this is Piper Halliwell. Who is this?”

Taking a deep breath, Daley continued, “Hi, my name is Donna Thompson. I saw your ad in THE LUNAR VOICE newspaper. And I was wondering if the nanny position had been filled.

Piper Halliwell informed Daley that she had not filled the position. “Right now, you’re the second person who has called about the job. Uh, why don’t you come by, tomorrow? Say around eleven in the morning? There might be a few more applicants. And after I finish with the interviews, I’ll . . . make my choice.”

“Okay. Sounds great to me. I’ll see you tomorrow, around eleven. Bye.” After the other woman said good-bye, Daley disconnected the line. And smiled.

———

Around five-thirty that evening, Piper bid good-bye to the third and final applicant for the position of Wyatt’s nanny and hung up the telephone. “Well, that’s three so far,” she said to her guest. “Two women and a man have answered the ad.”

Chris, who had dropped by to warn the sisters about a shape-shifting demon that steals the essence and powers of other beings, frowned. “What ad?”

Piper shot an annoyed glance at the young whitelighter. “The ad I had placed in newspapers and in some of the local occult stores for the position of nanny. For Wyatt.”

“A nanny for . . .” Disbelief poured out of Chris’ blue eyes. “Are you crazy? Getting a nanny for Wyatt?”

“Well, it’s either that or allow my club to sink into bankruptcy,” Piper retorted. “I need some time to get back my customers and attract new ones. Which means I’ll need a regular babysitter for Wyatt. A nanny.”

Chris demanded, “What about Paige and Phoebe? Or D. . .Leo?”

Piper sighed. “Both Phoebe and Paige have jobs . . . and a social life. As for Leo . . .” She rolled her eyes in contempt. “Forget it. He’s too busy being an Elder.”

“Still . . .”

“Don’t you have other charges to see?” she interrupted in a too-sweet voice that failed to match the hard gleam in her eyes.

The whitelighter’s face turned red. “There’s still the matter of that demonic shape shifter . . .”

“We’ll let you know when we find it. Bye.” Piper continued to stare at Chris, letting him know in no uncertain terms that he was no longer welcomed.

Fortunately, Chris got the hint. He gave Piper a sharp nod and immediately orbed out of the kitchen. Much to the Charmed One’s relief.

————

Dinner at the Golden Horn restaurant did not turn out as Cecile had hoped. Or expected. Although Olivia and Andre proved to be lively dinner companions – with Cole providing his usual caustic wit – Cecile remained mired in her present dark mood.

She stared at her boyfriend, while he related his findings at Olivia’s new store. Poor Andre, she thought. He seemed so happy. So energetic. Soon, she would have to pull the plug on his happiness, when she breaks the bad news. Cecile had considered telling him over a week ago. But when Olivia had asked him to accompany her to San Francisco and help appraise certain items in that new shop, the Vodoun priestess had decided to postpone her announcement. She realized that it could wait until their return to New Orleans.

“. . . and the next thing I knew,” Andre said, “I found myself holding a statute of Ammut.”

Olivia frowned. “Who?”

Cole explained, “Ammut. An ancient Egyptian daemon that devours the souls of those whose hearts proved to be too heavy to be sent to the Hall of Maat. Which is where judgment of the dead is performed.”

“Ewww!” Olivia said with a shiver. She said to the half-daemon, “You seemed to know a lot of this stuff.”

“Not as much as Andre,” Cole protested. “He had studied a lot on the mythologies of this world and other dimensions.”

Andre shook his head. “What I can’t understand is how this guy . . . what was his name?”

“Stefan Kostopulos.”

“How did he get his hands on such stuff?” Andre continued, “Including a medallion created by a dominion spirit.”

The red-haired witch replied, “I don’t know. According to his son, Kostopulos was a big collector of antiquities. He also studied the occult, but I got the feeling that he didn’t know the significance of some of the stuff he had collected.”

“I bet that Cecile’s mama would love to get her hands on some of that stuff. Right, cherie?” Andre addressed the question to Cecile.

The Vodoun priestess blinked, aware that she had been drawn into the conversation. “Huh? Oh . . . yeah, I guess.”

“You guess?” Andre shook his head. “Baby, I’ve seen some of the stuff inside your mama’s shop. A lot of those items are pretty freaky. I mean, there’s a reason why she keeps ‘certain items’ locked up in that storeroom in the back.”

Olivia frowned. “Is that what Mrs. Dubois does with her . . . uh, with the certain items in her shop? Lock them up in a back room? Maybe I should do the same. There’s an empty storeroom in the back.” She squirmed slightly in her chair. “Right now, I think I need a trip to the restroom.” She stood up.

Andre also stood from his chair. “Yeah. Same here. Excuse us, folks.” He and Olivia left the table.

The moment the pair exited from the private dining room, Cole turned to Cecile. “Is there something wrong?”

“Huh?” Cecile blinked. Was her bad mood that apparent?

Looking worried, the half-daemon said in a low voice, “You seemed to be on another planet, lately. I’m talking about what you had told me, earlier. About our lives being in a rut. What was that about?”

Oh shit! Cecile could have kicked herself for opening her big mouth. Realizing that Cole would not easily dismiss the matter, she heaved a large sigh. And decided to tell the truth. “It’s about . . .” Cecile hesitated. “I . . . I guess I want something new in my life. You know what I mean?”

A confused looking Cole shook his head. “No, I don’t. What . . .?”

“May I ask you something?” Cecile realized that she had caught the half-daemon off guard. To be honest, she did not really care. “You were the one who first brought up marriage to Phoebe, right? You were the one who asked her to marry you? And not the other way around?”

Cole’s expression became guarded. Almost mask like. “What are you getting at?”

Cecile’s mouth curved into a wry smile. “I guess that’s a big yes.”

“Yeah, I had asked Phoebe to marry me. So what?”

After a brief hesitation, Cecile continued, “Why? What I’m getting at . . . Hell! Look, all I want to know is why you were the one to ask Phoebe, before she could ask you.”

Cole hesitated. Then a slight smirk appeared on his mouth. “I don’t know, Cecile. Because it’s traditional for the man to ask, I guess.”

Cecile rolled her eyes in contempt. “Cole, get real! This is the 21st century. And I know you’re not a sexist. So, stop bullshitting me and please answer the answer the question.”

The half-daemon shot a quick glance at the dining room’s door. And sighed. “All right. If you must know . . . I guess I had wanted something different with Phoebe. Something more permanent. You know, build a life together. Only it didn’t . . .” Pain flashed in his blue eyes for a brief moment. “I guess it didn’t work out.”

Nodding, Cecile said, “Now, you know what I want.”

Surprise reflected in Cole’s eyes. “Wait a minute! Are you saying that you want to get married?”

After a brief hesitation, Cecile shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. Maybe.” She paused again. “Yeah, I do. Why not? I’m tired of our old relation . . .” Spotting Andre and Olivia in the doorway, she broke off. “Don’t say anything to Andre or anyone else!” she hissed. “Please? Not until I’m ready.” Then she smiled at the newcomers, ignoring Cole’s stunned expression. “So, are you guys ready for dessert?”

———-

The doorbell rang. Piper glanced at the grandfather clock. It read 10:43 in the morning. It seemed that the first applicant for Wyatt’s nanny had finally arrived.

Doubts began to assail the Charmed One’s senses. Piper took a deep breath. Calm down, she told herself. But what if she was making a mistake? Chris seemed to think so. Along with Barbara McNeill and Cole. And their experiences with that elf nanny seemed to hint to Piper that perhaps a nanny might not be in the cards. After the last attack on Wyatt, the Elf Nanny decided she had enough with the Halliwell household.

Again, the doorbell rang. Piper sighed. Screw it, she decided. Might as well finish what she had started. She fixed a bright smile on her face and opened the door. “Good morning,” she greeted the slender man, standing in the doorway.

The newcomer held out his hand. “Hi! Warren Koslo. I uh, I saw your ad on the bulletin board at Ostera’s.” He referred to the herbal shop where Paige worked.

“Oh.” Piper shook his hand. “Um, why don’t you come inside?”

Mr. Koslo smiled. “Sure.” Piper stepped aside and ushered him inside the manor.

Less than five minutes after Warren Koslo’s arrival, the doorbell rang again. “Excuse me,” Piper said to her guest. Then she left him inside the Solarium with Wyatt and headed for the front door.

The next applicant turned out to be a middle-aged Latino woman with short hair and stoic features. “Good morning,” she greeted in a pleasant voice. “My name is Mrs. Rosa Madrigal. I’m here for the nanny position. I saw the ad on the bulletin board, at the Red Pyramid.”

“How nice.” The Charmed One smiled at the newcomer. She widened the door. “Why don’t you come in?” Then she held a hand to Mrs. Madrigal. “I’m Piper Halliwell, Wyatt’s mother. Uh . . .” She glanced toward the direction of the Solarium. “I’m interviewing another candidate right now.”

Mrs. Madrigal looked slightly disappointed. “You are?”

“Oh, don’t worry. He’s the first one to arrive. Um, why don’t you wait here, until I finish?”

A polite smile appeared on the older woman’s face. “Oh. Okay. Of course.” Then she sat down on the sofa. Piper flashed one quick smile at her, and returned to the Solarium and Warren Koslo.

The doorbell rang for the third time that morning. Piper bit back a frustrated oath, and smiled at Mr. Koslo. Once more, their interview had been interrupted. She sighed and shot a weary smile at the applicant. “Excuse me.” Then she glanced at Wyatt, who seemed fast asleep in his basquinet, and headed for the living room.

On her way to the front door, Piper smiled at Mrs. Madrigal. The doorbell rang one last time, before she finally opened it. Outside stood a slender black woman of medium height, curly long hair, along with wide brown eyes and narrow cheekbones on a narrow face. “Hi,” the woman greeted, “I’m Da . . . Donna Thompson. I saw your ad in THE LUNAR VOICE for the nanny position.”

Piper shook the woman’s hand. “Come on in. You’re the third person to show up.”

Brown eyes widened in surprise, as Ms. Thompson entered the manor. “Third person?” she said with a frown.

“Yeah, um why don’t you take a seat?” Piper indicated the living room, where Mrs. Madrigal sat. “I’ll get to you, as soon as I finish with Mrs. Madrigal, here, and my other applicant.”

Ms. Thompson eyed Mrs. Madrigal with wary eyes. She sat down in the chair, left of the sofa. The two female applicants exchanged polite smiles. Piper heaved a soft sigh and returned to her guest in the Solarium. At that moment, the Charmed One realized that she was in for a long morning and afternoon.

END OF PART III

“The Power of One” [PG-13] – 2/20

“THE POWER OF ONE”

PART II

Later that evening; Olivia, Cole, the two visitors from New Orleans and the Halliwells appeared at the McNeills’ house for the dinner party hosted by Jack and Gweneth McNeill. No sooner had the guests arrived, they – along with the McNeills – gathered inside the large drawing room and waited for the family manservant to announce dinner.

“I just read the latest copy of THE LUNAR VOICE,” Barbara said to Piper. The blond-haired witch, who was married to Olivia’s older brother, had joined the redhead, Cecile and Piper near the fireplace. “And I saw an ad placed by a P. Halliwell . . . for the position of nanny. Was that . . . Did you place that ad? Is that the reason why Paige was asking me about local Wiccan newspapers?”

Piper sighed. “Yeah. I . . . I’m trying to find a permanent nanny for Wyatt.”

“Why?”

Olivia immediately came to Piper’s defense. “Barbara!”

Her sister-in-law assumed an innocent and confused expression. “What? I simply asking Piper about that ad in THE LUNAR VOICE.”

“Yeah, and with all the subtlety of a Gestapo interrogator. Is there a problem?”

Barbara let out a gust of breath. “No, there isn’t a problem. I’m simply curious, that’s all. I mean . . . this is Wyatt we’re talking about. He’s only nine months old and already he’s had more supernatural activity surrounding him than all of us in a period of three years. And I’m just . . . surprised . . . well, you know what I mean!”

“I understand,” Piper replied. “That’s why Olivia had suggested that I place the ad in ‘certain’ newspapers and shops in the city.”

“Where’s Wyatt right now?”

Olivia pointed to where Paige, Phoebe and her grandmother stood. “Over there, in Gran’s arms.” She said to the other women, “I had also asked Cole’s uncle – Marbus – if he knew of anyone who could baby sit Wyatt.”

“What about Leo?” Barbara asked.

Piper’s face immediately became a cold mask. “What about him?”

“Um . . .” Barbara began. But a quick jab in the side by Olivia cut her short, leaving her to finish lamely, “Never mind. What about that Elf Nanny?”

Piper continued, “Oh, she, uh . . . vowed never to step foot inside the manor, after those two warlocks tried to attack Wyatt. She likes a quiet household. So, I need a new nanny, fast. Like I had told Olivia, I’m having trouble with P3 at the moment. And splitting my time between Wyatt and the club – along with dealing with demons . . . and Leo’s absence . . .” The Charmed One sighed. “I don’t know. It seems like everything is falling apart.”

“In other words, this whole mess started, because Leo decided that being an Elder was a lot more important than his family.” The other women stared at Cecile, who had broken her silence. She stared back. “What?”

Frowning, Olivia commented, “Is it just me, or are you sounding a little bitter right now?”

“I’m not being bitter,” Cecile protested. “Just telling the truth. If Leo had really loved Piper . . . or if she was that important to him, he would have never become an Elder.”

Piper’s eyes cast downward. “I think you might be right,” she muttered.

Triumph gleamed in Cecile’s dark eyes. “See? You really can’t trust a man’s love. First, they’ll move heaven and earth to possess us. Then sooner or later, they end up taking us for granted. We become like background noise to them.” The others continued to stare at her. “Well, am I wrong?” Cecile let out a gust of breath, turned on her heels and walked away.

“Wow,” Barbara murmured. “What’s wrong with her? You don’t think that she and Andre are having troubles, do you?”

A new voice added, “She’s frustrated. Cecile, I mean.” Olivia and the other two women found Phoebe standing behind them. “I could sense Cecile’s frustration.” Annoyed, Olivia bit back a retort.

Piper, on the other hand, made her displeasure known. “Phoebe! Do you mind?”

Looking slightly affronted, Phoebe protested, “What? Cecile is obviously frustrated about something! Probably Andre.”

Her older sister heaved a sigh. “We all know that you’re now an empath, Pheebs. But could you please put a sock in it?”

“I can’t help sensing everyone’s emotions!” Phoebe retorted. “I don’t know how to control this new power. At least not yet.”

Olivia tartly added, “But I’m sure that you can control that tongue of yours. Must you broadcast everyone’s feelings to the world, every time you sense them?”

A deep silence fell between the four women. Phoebe’s face turned pink. “Excuse me,” she said in a stiff voice, before walking away.

Feeling slightly remorseful, Olivia apologized to Piper. “Sorry about that. I guess I had lost my temper.”

“I’m not,” Piper grumbled. “That new power of hers has been driving us crazy. Just over a week ago, Paige had lost her temper and shoved an apple into Phoebe’s mouth.”

The image of Phoebe’s mouth plugged by an apple nearly sent Olivia into a spate of giggles. Nearly. Instead, she kept her mirth to herself and said, “Oh well. At least you can’t deny that Phoebe is right about Cecile. She is frustrated.”

“Do you think it has to do with Andre?”

Olivia responded silently with a slight shrug.

————-

The following morning, Andre and Olivia met the latter’s grandmother outside of an antiquity shop on Union Square. “There you are,” the elderly woman declared. She glanced at her watch. “You’re late.”

“Only by fifteen minutes,” Olivia muttered. She retrieved a key from her purse and used it to unlock the shop’s front door. “Here we go. Welcome to . . .” Her face formed a slight frown. “Well, I haven’t renamed it, yet.” She switched on the lights.

Andre took one sweeping glance around the shop’s interior and whistled.

“My sentiments exactly,” old Mrs. McNeill added. “Goddess! I’ve never seen so many . . . How much is all of this stuff worth, Livy?”

With a sigh, Olivia answered wearily, “You really don’t want to know. Fortunately, Alexis Kostopulos wanted to get rid of the shop so badly that I managed to buy it at a cheaper price.”

“Why?” Andre asked.

“Well, his father had been murdered by someone looking for a medallion that used to be in this shop. Didn’t Cole tell you about the Erebor medallions, and the attack on the Whitelighter Realm?”

The houngan nodded. “Oh yeah.” His eyes fell upon a small, sandalwood box with Druidic symbols carved on the sides. “So, where are the . . . um other pieces that you were talking about?” He picked up the box. “Besides this?”

Olivia replied, “The rest of the items are scattered throughout the shop. Mixed with the other items. Hopefully, you and Gran will be able to identify and separate them from the regular items. While I’m at work.”

“Hmmm.” Mrs. McNeill swept a finger across one of the glass casings. “This looks like a job that might take a week or two.”

Andre added, “That’s no problem for me. Besides . . .” he paused, wondering if he should allow the two women in his confidence.

“Besides what?” Olivia asked.

The houngan sighed. “This trip should give me plenty of time to find . . . a ring. To buy.”

“A ring?” Mrs. McNeill frowned. “What for?”

After a brief hesitation, Andre decided to confess. “Well, I plan to ask Cecile to marry me. I’m looking for an engagement ring.”

The two women reacted with delight. “Oh my God!” Olivia cried. “I can’t believe it! Finally! After all these years!”

“I’m so happy for you,” Mrs. McNeill added. Then she frowned. “But . . . you mean to say you couldn’t find a ring in New Orleans?”

Andre sighed. “Yeah, I did look around for one. But I couldn’t find one that satisfied me. You know, the right one. Maybe I’ll find one, while I’m here in San Francisco.”

Olivia’s eyes grew wide with excitement. “Wow! An engagement! I can’t wait for Cecile to find out. Maybe this will get her out of that bad mood of hers.”

A smile illuminated Mrs. McNeill’s lined face. “Oh, I’m sure that it will”

————

Cole and Cecile silently stood side-by-side inside the elevator, as it conveyed them to the spacious boardroom of McNeill Enterprises. The half-daemon tried to think of something to say. He even considered discussing the upcoming business conference, but they had covered that topic more than adequately, in the past few days.

A quick glance at Cecile’s forlorn expression told him that she was not in the mood to talk. Come to think of it, the Vodoun priestess has been in a bleak mood since her arrival, yesterday. Unable to deal with the silent tension any longer, he finally murmured, “Penny for your thoughts.”

“Huh?” Cecile stared at the half-daemon with wide eyes.

Cole continued, “You seemed to be deep in thought. Is there something on your mind? The upcoming meeting?”

Cecile shook her head. “No. I’m fine. I . . .” She sighed. Long and hard. “Have you ever thought that your life might be in a rut, sometimes? That no matter how much you try, everything stays the same?”

Wondering what brought on this rant, Cole stared at her. “Uh . . . well, considering the changes I’ve been through during the past three years . . . not really.”

Another sigh left Cecile’s mouth. “What about those years before that? Before you first met Phoebe? I mean . . . didn’t you feel then that your life was in a rut?”

“What are you getting at?”

“I . . .” The elevator stopped. The doors slid open and Cecile walked out before she could form a coherent answer.

The pair found themselves greeted by a well-dressed young executive. “Ms. Dubois? Mr. Turner? Hello, my name is Milo Kendrick. I’m Mr. McNeill’s assistant. Please follow me.” He led Cole and Cecile into an expensively furnished boardroom, where Harry and Jack McNeill awaited them. Along with other members of the Board. As the door closed behind them, Cole realized that Cecile’s surprising revelation would have to wait for another time.

————

A young man in his late twenties burst into Daley’s herbal shop off Telegraph Road, later that morning. The Vodoun sorceress recognized the newcomer, and rang up her customer’s purchases. No sooner had the latter left; she led the younger man to the stockroom in the back.

“Did you and Jeffrey find out anything about these . . . Charmed Ones?” Daley asked.

The young man, a narrow-faced novice bokor with rich brown skin and handsome features named Marc Beaudine, breathlessly sat down on a nearby stool. He removed a small notebook from his jacket pocket. “Yeah. They’re practically famous in the local Wiccan community.”

“That’s nice,” Daley commented tartly. “The question is . . . why are they famous?”

Marc removed a few sheets of folded paper from his jacket and handed them to Daley. “I got that from the Internet. There’s this tale, or legend or whatever about these three sisters from a long line of witches, who are destined to become the world’s most powerful witches. Called the Charmed Ones. They were destined to kill the leader of some demonic faction. Someone called the Source.”

Daley read the sheet of paper, which had been printed from an Internet website on Wiccan mythology. “I think I had heard about this Source. From a warlock I used to know. Too bad he’s dead.”

“Well, I know this other warlock,” Marc added. “And he told me and Jeffrey that this Source is dead. He had been killed nearly two years ago. By these witches called the Charmed Ones. Wilson – he’s the warlock I had spoken with – told me a lot about them.”

“So, who are they? The Charmed Ones?”

Marc continued, “Like I said, three sisters who happened to be witches. They’re believed to be the most powerful witches ever.”

A frown appeared on Daley’s face. “What do you mean by . . . believed? Aren’t they the most powerful Wiccan witches?”

“Well . . . not really. According to Wilson, they would have been, if it wasn’t for the Aingeal Staff Bearer.”

“Now, I’m confused. The who?”

Sighing, Marc added, “A witch from some Scottish family, who happens to be the bearer of a powerful wizard’s staff. The present bearer is a descendant of this wizard. But no one knows his or her identity. But the Aingeal Staff Bearer is just as powerful as the Charmed Ones. And these sisters are only that strong when they come together as the Power of Three.”

Daley took a deep breath. “And what is the name of this family of witches?”

“Halliwell,” Marc replied. “Right now, the family’s name is Halliwell.”

“That name sounds familiar.”

A sly smile curved Marc’s lips. “It should. Phoebe Halliwell. Of the ‘DEAR PHOEBE’ column of the BAY-MIRROR.”

Daley felt flabbergasted. “Are you kidding me?” The idea of a local celebrity being a powerful witch would have never occurred to her. “Wait a minute. She’s one of the Charmed Ones?”

“Yep! And so is the owner of that nightclub on Fremont. You know . . . P3? Her name is Piper Halliwell. There’s a third sister, but Wilson didn’t get her name. As for Piper, she’s the mother of this powerful child you had told me about. Do you remember that day, over eight months ago, when we weren’t able to perform any magic?”

Nodding, Daley replied, “Yeah. I never did find out what happened that day.”

Marc leaned forward, his brown eyes glittering with intensity. “That was the day Piper Halliwell gave birth to her son. His father is believed to be a whitelighter.”

“A what?”

“Whitelighters. They’re daemons. Only they’re on the side of good. Guardian angels or something like that.”

Daley said, “So, what you’re saying is this child is the son of an extremely powerful witch and a daemon.”

Marc continued, “And he’s also an extremely powerful little baby. He has great magical powers. Stronger than his mother, his aunts, his daddy and everyone else. Other daemons and warlocks have been trying to get their hands on his powers for months.”

The idea of possessing the Halliwell child’s magic struck Daley as very appealing. With such power, she could destroy the leadership of the local Vodoun community. Or any other magical community that opposed her. And protect her little side business, so that it could develop into a multi-billion dollar business. If only she could get her hands on the child.

“By the way,” Marc added, “I’ve discovered something interesting about the Halliwell baby.” He handed Daley a newspaper. “That’s one of the local Wiccan papers. Called THE LUNAR VOICE. Turn to page eight.”

Daley turned to the page as instructed. It was filled with employment ads and notices. “What am I looking for?” she asked.

“The ad near the bottom of the page. In the column, second from the left.”

Sure enough, Daley founded what she was looking for. It was an ad seeking a nanny for a nine month-old baby. It featured a telephone and a person of contact – namely P. Halliwell. The sorceress smiled. This sounded promising. Very promising, indeed.

END OF PART II

“Buffy’s Relationship With the Scoobies”

I have something of a problem with Buffy Summers’ relationship with her close friends, also known as the Scoobies:

“BUFFY’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCOOBIES”

I just finished watching the “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” Season Three episode, (3.07) “Revelations”. I find myself recalling the scene in which the Scoobies revealed to Buffy that they knew that Angel, the souled vampire whom she was forced to kill in the Season Two finale, (2.22) “Becoming (Part 2)”, was still alive and she had been keeping his presence a secret from them. Apparently, one of the Scoobies, Xander Harris, had decided to spy on Buffy, due to her secretive behavior and found her kissing Angel.

Now, I realize that they had a right to be angry that she failed to tell them about Angel being alive. The latter had spent the second half of Season Two as their main antagonist, due to his losing his soul. Because of this, he had caused a great deal of problems for them. He had also summoned the demon Acathla in order to bring about the end of the world. Buffy was finally able to defeat him in “Becoming (Part Two)” . . . but not before fellow Scooby Willow Rosenberg had restored his cursed soul.

But . . . God, this scene when the Scoobies had confronted Buffy in “Revelations” had pissed me off! If there is one thing about Buffy’s relationship with her Watcher Rupert Giles and the Scoobies that has burned me is that she has allowed them to dictate her behavior and moral compass, due to her own fear of losing their friendship. Has Buffy ever put such pressure on Xander, Willow or Giles? I wonder. For years, they put her on this pedestal called “THE SLAYER” and rarely allow Buffy to be herself or have her own life.

Xander was the worst offender of them all. I do not know how this character came to be so beloved by the series’ fans. Granted, Xander could be entertaining. But of all the characters, he was probably the most self-righteous of the bunch. And he has allowed his self-righteousness, along with his jealousy toward Buffy’s relationships with both Angel and Spike to compromise his morals without any remorse. Good examples would be his lie to Willow about Buffy’s wishes regarding Angel in “Becoming (Part 2)” and his attempt to murder a chipped Spike in (6.18) “Entropy” for having sex with the fiancee he had dumped at the altar. Even in “Revelations”, he was behaving in the most self-righteous manner about Buffy’s lie regarding Angel . . . yet, at the same time, was kissing Willow behind his girlfriend at the time Cordelia Chase’s back. Some would say that at least his infidelity with Willow was not a threat to anyone. But his and Willow’s actions ended up hurting Cordelia in more ways than one.

The Scoobies’ attitude toward Buffy reached its pinnacle in Season Six. In (6.01)”Bargaining (Part 1)”, Willow, with the assistance of Xander, his second girlfriend Anya Jenkins and her girlfriend Tara Maculay’s assistance, brought Buffy back from the dead . . . without her consent or anything. An act that led to a year long depression for for the Slayer. And they did this, because they needed “THE SLAYER”. They believed that Sunnydale needed a Slayer. Despite the fact that Sunnydale had managed to exist without a Slayer for nearly a century before Buffy’s arrival.

Is it any wonder why Buffy began to emotionally distance herself from her friends” in Season Seven?

Five Favorite Episodes of “ONCE UPON A TIME” – Season Four (2014-2015)

Below is a list of my top five favorite episodes from Season Four of “ONCE UPON A TIME”. The series was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz:

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “ONCE UPON A TIME” – SEASON FOUR (2014-2015)

1 - 4.16 Best Laid Plans

1. (4.17) “Best Laid Plans” – While Rumpelstiltskin and the Queens of Darkness continue their search for the “Author” of the town’s Fairy Tale Book, Snow White and Prince David “Charming” try to stop them in order to keep their daughter Emma Swan from discovering their past misdeed, which is finally revealed in flashbacks.

2 - 4.12 Darkness on the Edge of Town

2. (4.13) “Darkness on the Edge of Town” – Rumpelstiltskin aka Mr. Gold returns to Storybrooke with Ursula and Cruella De Vil in tow. Meanwhile, the Charmings, Regina Mills and Killian Joneaka Captain Hook set about freeing the fairies from the Sorcerer’s hat and deal with a threatening Chernabog demon, which was also freed.

3 - 4.17 Heart of Gold

3. (4.18) “Heart of Gold” – Emma, angry over the discovery of her parents’ misdeed, joins the search for the Author. Meanwhile, a captured Regina learns from Rumpelstiltskin on how Robin Hood ended up in the clutches of her allegedly dead sister Zelena Mills in New York City. And Robin has his first encounter with Zelena in the past Land of Oz, as he sets about stealing a magical elixir for Rumpelstiltskin.

4 - 4.07 The Snow Queen

4. (4.07) “The Snow Queen” – The origins of Ingrid, the Snow Queen in Arendelle, are revealed in flashbacks, along with her relationships with her two sisters. In the present, Ingrid manipulates Emma into losing control of her magic in order to make the Charmings fear her.

5 - 4.22 Operation Mongoose Part 1

5. (4.22) “Operation Mongoose, Part 1” – In the first half of the season finale, Henry Mills tries to undo the changes in the universe created by Rumpelstiltskin and Isaac Heller aka the Author.

HM - 4.04 The Apprentice

Honorable Mention: (4.04) “The Apprentice” – Killian blackmails Rumpelstiltskin into giving him a genuine hand for the former’s first date with Emma and ends up facing consequences. And Emma is constantly taunted by Ingrid about the former’s relationship with her parents. Flashbacks reveal Princess Anna of Arendelle’s encounters with both Rumpelstiltskin and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

“In the Wake of Valhalla” [PG-13] – 1/1

“IN THE WAKE OF VALHALLA”

RATING: PG-13 Adult language.
SUMMARY: Olivia McNeill learns about the Charmed Ones experiences in Valhalla, and its effect upon Darryl Morris. AU response to “The Valhalley of the Dolls”.
FEEDBACK: – Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: The Charmed Ones, Leo Wyatt, Darryl Morris and Cole Turner belong to Constance Burge, Brad Kern and Spelling Productions. The McNeills are thankfully, my creations.
NOTE: The story picks up about three weeks after “The Half-Blood Demon”

————-

“IN THE WAKE OF VALHALLA”

Flight 910 from Miami, Florida landed at the San Francisco International Airport without a hitch. Nearly twenty minutes later, the flight’s passengers – among them, Olivia McNeill – disembarked and made their way into the airport terminal.

The moment Olivia entered the terminal; she rushed straight into the arms of the tall, dark-haired man who waited for her. “Hey! Welcome back,” Cole murmured, before covering her mouth for a long kiss.

Once the couple’s lips parted, Olivia gazed warmly at her lover. “Wow! That’s a hell of a greeting, considering that we last saw each other only three nights ago. When you popped up in Miami.”

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Cole replied before planting another kiss on Olivia’s mouth. “Even after three days.”

Olivia chuckled, as she and Cole linked arms and strolled out of the Delta Airlines lounge. After they picked up her luggage, Cole beamed them all back to her apartment. While she began to unpack, Olivia asked if anything had happened since they last saw one another.

“Not much,” Cole replied. “Your mother purchased a new restaurant. Which means that the Golden Horn is now completely in Bruce’s hands. I haven’t heard from Darryl in the past three days. Some radio station had hosted some kind of beach party in honor Phoebe’s work at the BAY-MIRROR. I was invited, but I wasn’t interested. Besides, I didn’t want to deal with your old ‘buddy’, Jason Dean, who was.” The half-daemon winced slightly.

“Jason’s not . . .” Olivia broke off, realizing that she was about to contradict herself. “Never mind.”

Cole continued, “Harry and Paige went on another date.”

“Did they go to Phoebe’s beach party?” Olivia asked, as she removed a pair of pants from her suitcase.

Chuckling, Cole replied, “Oh no. Both of them managed to avoid it. By the way, Leo’s back. And Piper’s no longer acting like a Stepford wife.” Just before her trip to Miami, Olivia’s former whitelighter had disappeared. Not even Natalia Stepanova, one of Leo’s colleagues and now a friend of Olivia’s, had no idea of his whereabouts.

Olivia glanced up. “Piper and Leo are back together?”

“Nope. He’s still an Elder in the Whitelighter Realm.” Cole frowned. “Leo thinks that Chris was responsible for his disappearance.”

“What?”

Looking slightly amused, Cole added, “That new whitelighter. According to Paige, Leo thinks that Chris had arranged for him to be trapped in Valhalla.” His amusement disappeared. “Of course, I don’t blame Leo for his suspicions. Ever since I met Chris, I’ve had this feeling that he doesn’t like Leo. And for personal reasons.”

Olivia stared at the half-daemon. “You too? I’ve always wondered what he has against Leo.” She paused, as she removed the last item from her suitcase. “You know, there’s also something familiar about him. About Chris, I mean. I just can’t put my finger on it.” Then she added, “Did you say . . . Valhalla?”

Cole shook his head. “I don’t know all the details, but Paige told me that Leo believes that Chris had arranged for him to be trapped in Valhalla. You know, I had the feeling that Paige was holding something back. Even Harry seems to think so. Oh, by the way . . .” Cole paused and gave Olivia a knowing look. “Phoebe has a third power.”

Olivia removed her suitcase from her bed. “Oh really? What is it?”

“Empathy. I’m sure I don’t have to describe what that means.”

With a sigh, Olivia said, “Oh God. I can just see her reading people’s feelings left and right. And broadcasting her knowledge. Looks like the Halliwells have a Deanna Troi in their midst. Must be a bitch for her to control it.”

“According to Paige, Phoebe has started using meditation to control it.” Cole added, “But she’s also considering a potion to prevent her from reading everyone else’s emotion. Harry plans to refuse the potion. He thinks she should stick to meditation. And not broadcast everyone’s emotions out loud.”

Olivia smirked. “Good for Harry.” She glanced at Cole. “What about you?”

The half-daemon sighed. “I’ve been avoiding her. Which hasn’t been that difficult, considering how we had parted nearly a month ago. And that’s all the news for the week. You have any more trips to Miami planned?”

“Probably two more. The next one won’t happen until January, I think. Or February. Or maybe later.”

“Good.” Cole stood up and drew Olivia into his arms. “I don’t think I like sharing you with the U.S. Justice Department. Even for a few days out of several months.”

Sliding her arms around Cole’s neck, Olivia murmured, “I heartily agree.” Then she sighed with pleasure before lowering her mouth upon Cole’s.

———-

The following morning, Olivia arrived at her place of work – one of San Francisco’s many police stations. A member of her squad, Scott Yi, was among the first to welcome her back. “Well, look who’s here!” he crowed. “Hail the conquering heroine!”

Olivia rolled her eyes. “What are you talking about?”

“Your testimony against Alexis Gurov, of course! Looks like the bastard will finally be spending some time behind bars.”

Snorting with derision, Olivia added, “Yeah, but for how long? He’s just a local businessman. Do you really think the Federal courts will give him a stiff sentence?”

Scott replied, “A local businessman . . . with ties to a Columbian drug cartel headed by Manny Serrano? Gurov may not have previous record, but the Feds – thanks to you – have him on some serious shit. You bet they’ll give him a stiff sentence.”

Olivia sniffed. “I’ll bet you ten bucks that his sentence won’t be that severe.” She paused. “By the way, I heard the news. About the Leung brothers’ arrests. Good work.”

The younger inspector dismissed Olivia’s praise with a shrug of his shoulders. “It was nothing. Well . . . the arrest wasn’t all that difficult.” He paused and glanced around the squad room. Then he summoned Olivia with his finger. She walked over to his desk. “Listen, something happened to Darryl after he had arrested George Leung. I don’t know what, but I think it had something to do with those three witches who are friends of his. The Halliwells?”

“Did anyone else find out?” a concerned Olivia asked.

Scott indicated the closed door on the left side of the room. It led to Captain McPherson’s office. “Darryl is with the captain, right now. Giving him a verbal report on the arrest.” Scott paused. “I don’t know how to describe this. Some strange women dressed like extras from “HERCULES” and “XENA” had appeared out of nowhere and attacked us. Darryl got hurt. So did one of the Leung brothers. I think the Halliwells managed to take care of them. But Darryl . . .” Scott broke off, as McPherson’s door opened.

Darryl walked into the squad room. As he strode toward his desk, he glanced up and noticed Olivia standing near Scott’s desk. “Hey, welcome back,” he greeted with less than his usual enthusiasm. “How was Miami?”

Olivia exchanged a brief glance with Scott, before she joined her partner at his desk. “Not bad. Pleasant weather, except for a little rain during the last two days. No major hurricanes, thank goodness.” She settled in the chair, next to Darryl’s desk. “Scott tells me that the squad managed to arrest the Leung brothers.”

Flashing a wan smile, Darryl replied, “Yeah. Just a bunch of cops doing their jobs.” He paused. “I supposed that Scott told you about me being attacked by those women.”

“Yeah, he did.” Olivia paused to peer closely at her partner. “How did you explain it to McPherson?

With a sigh, Darryl revealed that he told Captain McPherson a story about the squad encountering a female biker gang, dressed up in costumes, the night they had arrested the Leungs. “Hey, this is San Francisco. Anything can happen. Of course, the Captain was a little pissed that we didn’t arrest any of the women, but he seemed willing to let it slide. Especially since we have the Leung brothers behind bars.”

“Is that what you and the Captain were talking about? Those women?”

Darryl curtly replied, “No.” Olivia stared at him. Then, “I mean . . . we were discussing a new case. You’ll find a copy of the file on your desk.”

Olivia stood up. “Oh. Okay. At least everything ended well.”

Darryl focused his eyes upon the contents on his desk. “Yeah. Just peachy keen.”

Her partner’s acerbic tone led Olivia to ask, “Darryl? Is there something else wrong?”

He glanced up with dark eyes that looked blank. Emotionless. “I’m fine,” he replied innocently. “By the way, have you bought Stefan Kostopulos’ shop, yet?” Darryl referred to an antiquity shop in the downtown area that had been the scene of a murder, nearly two months ago.

“Not yet. I have to get it appraised. Why?”

A sigh left Darryl’s mouth. “Nothing. Just wondering. Don’t forget the file on your desk.”

Olivia replied, “Yeah, I’ll get on it, right away.” She sat down behind her desk and opened the file. The latter provided general information on the murder of a nightclub owner named Brad Everett. A quick glance at her partner told Olivia that he seemed perturbed about something. And sooner or later, she will find out. After all, she can be patient.

———-

Later that afternoon, Olivia parked her BMW into an available space not far from the Halliwell manor. Before her trip to Miami, she had lent one of her favorite blouses to Paige. And now she wanted it back.

After climbing out of her car, Olivia climbed the manor’s stoop and rang the doorbell. She did not have long to wait before Piper Halliwell opened the front door. “Olivia,” the other witch greeted with mild surprise. “I didn’t know that you were back in town.”

“Didn’t Paige say anything?” Olivia replied. “Harry knew. I guess I had assumed that he would tell her.”

Piper stepped back and allowed the redhead to enter the manor. “So, when did you get back?”

Olivia said, “Yesterday evening. Cole picked me up from the airport.”

“I’m surprised that he didn’t give you a lift all the way from Miami.”

With a shrug, Olivia explained that the Justice Department had provided plane tickets and hotel reservations to her precinct. “I would have had a hard time explaining how I had traveled from Miami to San Francisco, without using the tickets they had provided.” She glanced around the living room. “Uh, is Paige home?”

“Yeah. Just a minute.” Piper turned toward the staircase and bellowed, “Paige! Olivia is here!” The redhead winced from the volume.

Soon, footsteps on the staircase announced the appearance of the youngest Charmed One. She greeted the visitors with a friendly, “Hey! When did you get back?”

“Yesterday,” Olivia said with a mild frown. “Didn’t Harry tell you?”

“I guess he forgot.” A sly smile curved Paige’s lips. “So, how was the ‘Land of the Great Boob Job’? Meet any plastic surgeons?”

Olivia rolled her eyes in disgust. “More than I care to count. I may have encountered more plastic surgeons than can be found in Beverly Hills and Switzerland, combined. One of them tried to get both Cole and me to sign up as patients.”

“Cole?” The middle Charmed One appeared in the living room. “He was in Miami?”

Olivia struggled to maintain a friendly smile. “Hi Phoebe. Yeah, he had dropped by to see me at least twice. The last time was about three days ago.”

“Oh.” Phoebe’s face assumed a pleasant mask. “Well . . . it’s nice to have you back.”

“Thanks.” Olivia literally had to force the word out of her mouth. She turned to Paige. “By the way, do you have my blouse? You know, the one I had let you borrow before my trip?”

Paige sighed. “You want it back.”

Olivia smiled. “If you don’t mind.”

“Be back in a minute.” Paige raced upstairs.

Meanwhile, Olivia found herself alone with the other two Halliwells. Unfortunately. With a polite smile fixed on her face, she asked Piper, “How are you feeling?”

“Huh?” Piper blinked.

“Well, before I had left, you were acting a little strange. Like one of the Stepford Wives. You seemed . . . well, normal right now.”

Piper sighed. “Oh yeah. Uh, Leo had . . . cast this little spell on me. Something to ‘take away my pain’. Only . . .” She paused. “Only, it took away a lot more.”

“Like your personality?” Olivia suggested. Piper frowned. “Honey, you were almost part of the Borg Collective. Did Leo . . .?” Olivia hesitated. “Did you know that he was going to cast that spell?”

Piper groaned. “Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I knew he was going to cast it. In fact, I had given him permission to do it.” One of Olivia’s brows formed an arch. “Yeah, I know it was a stupid thing to do, but I was so desperate . . .” She gave Olivia a shrewd look. “You still haven’t forgiven him for that spell Paul Whatshisname had cast, haven’t you?”

Olivia stiffened. “No, I haven’t.”

“Oh. Okay.”

Phoebe added, “You’re going to hold a grudge against Leo forever?”

Olivia stared at Phoebe. “Let’s see. Should I continue to hold a grudge against Leo . . . who had recruited a fellow witch to violate my mind with a spell so that I could murder Cole in cold blood? Hmmm . . . why not? I don’t recall Leo expressing any remorse for his actions, as of the moment. Do you? He probably still believes that he had done the right thing.”

“But still, can’t you . . .?”

At that moment, Paige appeared downstairs with Olivia’s lime green blouse. “Here you go.” She handed the item to the redhead . . . very reluctantly. “Can I hold on to it, a little longer?”

“Nope,” Olivia replied with a smile. “If I did, I probably won’t ever see it again. Why don’t you buy one for yourself?”

Paige rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. And give up one-sixth of my weekly income?”

“Put it on layaway.” Olivia draped the blouse over her arm. “Anyway, I’ll see you all later.” As she started toward the front door, a thought came to her and she paused. “By the way, Cole told me about your little adventure in Valhalla, to rescue Leo. How did you manage to get there in the first place?”

Both Paige and Phoebe exchanged wary looks. “What do you mean?” the latter asked.

Olivia closely eyed the pair. “How did you get to Valhalla? What do you think I meant?”

“We had disguised ourselves as those warrior women, of course,” Paige answered.

“Valkryies?”

The youngest Charmed One nodded. “Yeah. That’s it.”

Recalling her knowledge of the Valhalla myth, Olivia added, “But in order to reach Valhalla as a Valkryie, you would have to arrive with the soul of a warrior. Or something like that. And since Leo was already there . . .” She paused. “Did you use Chris’ soul? I’m surprised that he would allow you to use his soul, considering . . .” She shook her head. “Never mind. I guess Chris had allowed you to use his soul.”

Paige’s dark eyes widened. “Uh . . . no. No, but he did help us with . . . with those Valkryies. When they ended up here.”

“Yeah. Darryl told me about his encounter with one or two of them.” Olivia paused. “But how . . . I mean, how were you able to enter Valhalla without a warrior’s soul?”

Paige hesitated. “Well . . .”

Piper spoke up. “What are you two being shy about? I thought you had used Darryl’s soul to get us into Valhalla.”

Olivia’s eyes narrowed. “Darryl’s soul? He never said anything about that. You mean that he had actually volunteered his soul to help you save Leo?”

“Why do you find that so hard to believe?” Phoebe demanded. “We had to use Darryl’s soul to enter Valhalla. End of story. Right Paige?”

The youngest Charmed One remained silent. A dark suspicion entered Olivia’s mind. Darryl’s distant behavior. Paige and Phoebe’s evasiveness. It all seemed to be adding up. “Wait a minute. Darryl did volunteer to help. Right?”

Piper shrugged. “I don’t know. I was half-zonked, thanks to Leo’s spell and Paige’s counter spell.”

Olivia turned to Paige and Phoebe. “Well?”

An exasperated huff escaped from Phoebe’s mouth. “This is ridiculous! Why are you giving us the . . .?”

“All right!” Paige cried out, interrupting her sister. “Phoebe and I did ask Darryl for his help, but he refused. Okay? So we . . .” She hesitated. “We took his soul anyway, using a potion. But Darryl didn’t seem to mind after it was all over. He even said so. Although I think that being attacked by one of those Valkryies in this plane bo . . .” Her voice died down under Olivia’s horrified expression. “What?”

“Oh my . . . Oh my God!” Olivia cried out in disbelief. “You took his soul? My God! No wonder Darryl was acting strange, today!”

Shaking her head, Phoebe demanded, “What do you mean? Paige said that Darryl was only bothered by the Valkryies’ attack. Why are you making such a big deal about Darryl’s soul? Okay, we took it without his consent. But everything came out okay in the end.”

Olivia regarded Phoebe with pure disgust and contempt. “Wha . . . what in the fuck are you doing? Why are you standing there, making excuses? Do you have any idea of what you two had done?”

Paige’s face grew paler. “C’mon Olivia! We had no choice! Don’t you think that you’re . . .”?

“Making a big deal out of it?” Phoebe finished. “I think so. Yes, we took Darryl’s soul without his consent. We didn’t like it, but it was necessary. How else could we get into Valhalla and rescue Leo?”

“Rescue Leo? For crying out . . .” The redhead glared at the two sisters. “I don’t know whether to regard you two as stupid, or just a pair of truly callous fucks! Are you listening to yourselves? You took Darryl’s soul without his permission! Don’t you understand? You had violated his body and spirit . . . and now you’re making excuses! You know what? In our circle, that’s called psychic rape!”

A mixture of discomfort and annoyance flitted across Phoebe’s face. “Okay. Now, you’re really exaggerating.”

“No Phoebe, I’m not! Why do you think I’m pissed off at Leo? Why do you think I had asked Piper if she had given him permission to cast that spell on her? You and Paige had used magic on an innocent man! A close friend, for crying out loud! Without his consent! Magic that had caused him harm! Hasn’t that penetrated that fuck-addled brain of yours, yet?”

A wide-eyed Phoebe stared at the red-haired witch. “I . . . but Darryl . . .”

“Oh yes! Darryl!” Olivia retorted derisively. “He quickly forgave you for that whole pile of shit you had dumped on him, didn’t he?” Shaking her head in disbelief, she added, “Does that mean it’s okay to easily dismiss what you had done? And by the way, Darryl is pissed off about what happened. He’s just keeping it to himself, because as usual, he doesn’t want to rock the boat!”

Phoebe shot back, “But it was for the greater . . .”

“Oh spare me that ‘greater good’ bullshit!” Olivia shot back. “That’s the same excuse that Leo had used for getting Paul to cast that spell on me. Nothing – and I mean nothing in the world can excuse what you had done to Darryl. So what if Leo was trapped in Valhalla! That did not give you the right to steal Darryl’s soul! Who in the fuck do you think you are to play God with someone’s life like that?”

The two younger Charmed Ones exchanged uneasy looks. “I . . . I guess we should talk to Darryl,” Paige murmured. “Again.”

“Oh gee, you think?” Olivia heaved a sigh and shook her head. “Goddess! I’m out of here. I’ll see you all later.” She shot the two Charmed Ones one last dark look. “Maybe.” Then she turned her heels and marched out of the manor in disgust.

———

The doorbell to the Morris residence rang. Darryl reluctantly tore his gaze away from the computer screen and stood up. “I’ll get it!” he cried to his wife, who was busy inside the kitchen, washing dishes. He made his way to the front door and opened it. Outside stood two of the Charmed Ones – Phoebe and Paige. He struggled to maintain a friendly countenance. “Ladies! What are you doing here?”

After a long pause, Paige replied, “Hey Darryl. Uh . . .” She glanced uneasily at Phoebe. “Uh, how are you?”

Darryl frowned. “Fine. What’s this visit about?”

Again, the two sisters exchanged glances. Phoebe sighed. “Listen, Olivia had told us that you weren’t in a good mood, today. And after we told her about what happened in Valhalla . . .”

“. . . she figured out why,” Paige finished. “Why you weren’t . . . in a . . . good mood.” She looked away.

Darryl stiffened. The last thing he wanted to discuss or even think about was Valhalla. Today had been bad enough, when Olivia had mentioned it. “What do you mean?” he coolly asked.

Phoebe cried out, “Oh God! You are pissed about what happened! Aren’t you? I can feel it!”

“Phoebe . . .”

“Why didn’t you say something, Darryl?” the middle Charmed One continued.

The question turned out to be the last straw for Darryl. “Hey, I have a question. Why did you do it, in the first place?” he snapped. “Why did you use that potion on me?”

“We needed to get Leo . . .”

Darryl interrupted, “Why didn’t you simply call for that new whitelighter of yours? Chris! I mean, if you needed a soul that badly! Why pick me?”

“You were . . .” Paige’s voice dropped to a murmur, “. . . convenient.”

Convenient. Darryl could not help but shake his head at the irony of it all. He had to admit that the word best described his relationship with the Halliwells. Sure, they had treated him as a friend. A close friend, at that. But they have also treated him as a “convenient” lap dog, whenever they found themselves in trouble with the law. But this last incident – ripping out his soul from his body without his permission . . .

“You know what Paige?” Darryl finally said. “If that’s all I am to you – convenient – why are we continuing this friendship?”

Phoebe sighed. “Darryl . . .”

“No Phoebe. Let me finish.” Darryl paused, shaking his head. “Maybe I should have been more honest about my feelings. About what you had done to me – ripping out my soul and leaving my body in that alley. But what you had done wasn’t the act of a friend. Considering all I had done for you during the past four years. It hurts. In fact, I could have ended up dead, thanks to you.”

Paige took a deep breath. “We understand, Darryl. We really do. And I’m sorry about what happened. Very sorry. Right Phoebe?”

The middle Charmed One lowered her eyes and mumbled. “Yeah. We didn’t . . .” A sigh left her mouth. “We didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Nodding his head, Darryl said, “Yeah, okay. I’ll accept this apology. For once. But the next time . . . I don’t know.” He started to turn away. “Well, goodnight.”

“No late night coffee?” Paige asked with a hint of desperate humor.

Darryl stared at her. “Not tonight. I have work, tomorrow. Maybe some other time.”

“Oh.” Paige glanced away.

Phoebe gave the police officer a strained smile. “Well . . . goodnight.”

“Bye.” Darryl closed the door, unable to prolong the strained visit any longer.

———–

Wednesday morning dawned when Darryl arrived at the precinct twenty minutes later than usual. Olivia greeted her partner with a frown. “Wow! This is unusual. Darryl Morris, late for work?” The police lieutenant smiled at his partner, before placing a white envelope on her desk. “What’s that?”

“A thank you present,” Darryl replied. He sat down behind his desk. “For giving me the opportunity to remove my head from my ass. Phoebe and Paige had paid me a visit, last night.”

“Oh.” Olivia nodded. “Glad to help. Even if you should have told them how you really felt, in the first place.”

With a sigh, Darryl leaned back against his chair. “Yeah, well I don’t even know why I had said nothing. I guess I was just relieved that I had survived the whole thing.” He paused. “And maybe I didn’t feel like rocking the boat. After all, I’ve been a friend of the family for a long time. Besides . . . I don’t think they’ll do something like this, again.”

Olivia merely rolled her eyes.

Darryl frowned at his partner. “What?”

“It’s amazing that after . . . what? Four years? Five? I just find it odd that after knowing them for so long, you still don’t understand them.” Olivia shook her head. “I’ve known the Halliwells a lot longer . . . especially their grandmother and Prue. They’re the type of people who believe in their own goodness. Or at least want to. And people like that have a habit of causing misery for what they believe is the greater good. They usually have a hard time believing that what they are doing is wrong. Or if they do realize it, they usually ignore it in their minds.”

“Look, I think you’ve got them all wrong. They’ve done a lot of good over the past several years. And just because they did this one thing . . .”

“Darryl? Have you forgotten what they had done to Cole?” Olivia gave her partner a hard stare. “They killed him when he was possessed by the Source. They had jumped to the conclusion that he had deliberately chosen evil. They didn’t even bother to wonder how he had become the Source in the first place. Look at what Leo had done to me. He still refuses to admit that what he had done was wrong. And if I hadn’t said something about what happened to you, they would have dismissed the whole matter without another thought. They believe that just because they fight on the side of ‘good’ and are‘protectors of the innocent’, they have the right to do whatever is necessary . . . for the greater good. Without bothering to consider the consequences. They’ve always had trouble accepting responsibility for their actions.” A dark scowl appeared on Olivia’s face. “Prue was like that. So were her mother and grandmother. They all still believe that Victor Bennett was solely responsible for the breakup of his marriage, despite the fact that Patty had never bothered to tell him that she was a witch before their marriage. Or that she was . . . emotionally playing around with her whitelighter, before it became physical. They’re incapable of taking responsibility for their actions.”

Darryl shot back, “And you think this means they’ll do something else in the future?”

“I don’t know. But there’s a good chance.”

Shaking his head, Darryl replied, “No. No, I think they had learned . . .”

A sigh left Olivia’s mouth. “Darryl? Why don’t you simply pin a sign on your ass that reads ‘KICK ME’ or ‘DOORMAT’, every time you see them? Personally, I have nothing against a little selfishness every now and then. But that . . . family has redefined the word. Haven’t you noticed that when someone causes harm or pain to someone else close to them, they can be so fucking unforgiving? Like they were to Victor and Cole? And yet . . . when they harm someone – whether that person is close or not – they expect immediate forgiveness. Trust me. Just yesterday, Phoebe was criticizing me for not forgiving Leo.”

“So what are you saying?” Darryl demanded. “I should keep my distance?”

Olivia shook her head. “No, Darryl. But I think you should show a little more self-respect, the next time. Don’t make it so easy for them to get away with their actions.”

“What do you mean . . . the next time?”

“Hel-lo? Have we forgotten what Andy had went through, just before his death?” Darryl stared at Olivia. She nodded. “Yeah, I knew. Hell, Andy had known about my family ever since Bruce’s last year in high school.”

Darryl shook his head in disbelief. “Jesus!”

Olivia continued, “Remember the trouble that Internal Affairs had put him through over four years ago, because of his association with Prue? Have you forgotten how you almost became persona non-gratis with the department, while covering their asses after his death? And after all that, they steal your soul.” Her mouth formed a humorless smirk. “Trust me, sooner or later, they’re going to fuck you over . . . again. The question is – are you going to lie down and accept it? Or not?”

Darryl contemplated Olivia’s last question. And came to the disturbing realization that he did not have an answer.

THE END

Top Ten Favorite Movies Set in the 1890s

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Below is my current list of favorite movies set in the 1890s:

TOP TEN FAVORITE MOVIES SET IN THE 1890s

1 - Sherlock Holmes-Game of Shadows

1. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (2011) – Guy Ritchie directed this excellent sequel to his 2009 hit, in which Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson confront their most dangerous adversary, Professor James Moriarty. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law starred.

2 - Hello Dolly

2. “Hello Dolly!” (1969) – Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau starred in this entertaining adaptation of David Merrick’s 1964 play about a New York City matchmaker hired to find a wife for a wealthy Yonkers businessman. Gene Kelly directed.

3 - King Solomon Mines

3. “King Solomon’s Mines” (1950) – Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr and Richard Carlson starred in this satisfying Oscar nominated adaptation of H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel about the search for a missing fortune hunter in late 19th century East Africa. Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton directed.

4 - Sherlock Holmes

4. “Sherlock Holmes” (2009) – Guy Ritchie directed this 2009 hit about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson’s investigation of a series of murders connected to occult rituals. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law starred.

5 - Hidalgo

5. “Hidalgo” (2004) – Viggo Mortensen and Omar Sharif starred in Disney’s fictionalized, but entertaining account of long-distance rider Frank Hopkins’ participation in the Middle Eastern race “Ocean of Fire”. Joe Johnston directed.

6. “The Seven Per-Cent Solution” (1976) – Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall and Alan Arkin starred in this very entertaining adaptation of Nicolas Meyer’s 1974 novel about Sherlock Holmes’ recovery from a cocaine addiction under Sigmund Freud’s supervision and his investigation of one of Freud’s kidnapped patients. Meyer directed the film.

Harvey Girls screenshot

7. “The Harvey Girls” (1946) – Judy Garland starred in this dazzling musical about the famous Harvey House waitresses of the late 19th century. Directed by George Sidney, the movie co-starred John Hodiak, Ray Bolger and Angela Landsbury.

6 - The Jungle Book

8. “Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book” (1994) – Stephen Sommers directed this colorful adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 collection of short stories about a human boy raised by animals in India’s jungles. Jason Scott Lee, Cary Elwes and Lena Headey starred.

7 - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

9. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (2003) – Sean Connery starred in this adaptation of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s first volume of his 1999-2000 comic book series about 19th century fictional characters who team up to investigate a series of terrorist attacks that threaten to lead Europe into a world war. Stephen Norrington directed.

8 - The Prestige

10. “The Prestige” (2006) – Christopher Nolan directed this fascinating adaptation of Christopher Priest’s 1995 novel about rival magicians in late Victorian England. Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine starred.

10 - The Four Feathers 1939

Honorable Mention: “The Four Feathers” (1939) – Alexander Korda produced and Zoltan Korda directed this colorful adaptation of A.E.W. Mason’s 1902 novel about a recently resigned British officer accused of cowardice. John Clements, June Duprez and Ralph Richardson starred.

“CHARMED” – Things That Make Me Go . . . Hmmm?

The following is a list of questions regarding storylines that have been featured in past episodes of “CHARMED”. If you have an answer to any of my questions, please feel free to reply.

“CHARMED” – Things That Make Me Go . . . Hmmm?

1. In Season 7’s “A Call to Arms”, how did Inspector Sheridan and nearly everyone else know about Chris’ death in the Season 6 finale, “It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World II”, when just about everyone – except for Leo and the Halliwells – had lost their memories of that alternate dimension, following Gideon’s death?

 
2. Why did Vinceres tell Prue that her powers were no good, when she was using martial arts and not magic, against him in Season 3’s “Primrose Path”?

 
3. Why did Cole in S7’s “The Seven Year Witch” confess to deliberately impregnating Phoebe in late Season 4, when he was actually possessed by the Source at that time?

 

 

4. Why did warlocks in Season 1 morph into vampiric game faces? Are they not suppose to be witches (who are mortals) that had simply gone bad?

 
5. Speaking of warlocks, why were they portrayed as immortals? Was Constance Burge, Brad Kern and their writers trying to hint that when witches become warlocks, they become immortals?

 
6. Why do the Charmed Ones keep referring to their witch ancestors as the “Halliwell women” or the “Halliwell line” in their conversations and spells? According to family tree depicted in Season 2’s “Pardon My Past”, their mother, Patty, was the first in their family to be born as a Halliwell.

 

 

7. And why did Grams remind Prue and Piper in S3’s “Just Harried” that the women in their family kept their maiden names after marriage? She used the name of Halliwell, which belonged to her first husband. And her maiden name was Johnson.

 
8. And what was the first name of the Charmed One’s maternal grandfather – Jack (S2’s “Pardon My Past”) or Allen (S6’s“Witchstock”)?

 
9. Why did Leo claim in S3’s “Exit Strategy” that he was born in 1924? Does this mean that he was attending medical school at the age of 17, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941?

 

 

10. Why would the BAY-MIRROR’s editor-in-chief, Elise Rothman, leave Phoebe, an advice columnist, in charge of the newspaper for a whole day in order to teach the witch a lesson in S7’s “Scry Hard”? Was she crazy?

 
11. Why did Leo tell Victor that the sisters were NOT mortals, when nearly every demon on the show has referred to them and other witches as mortals?

 
12. Both Cole and Vinceres had discussed that mortals (witches included) who were not natural empaths, could not handle an overload of emotions in “Primrose Path”. Yet, Prue had claimed demons could not handle such a large amount of emotions, despite the fact that Vinceres had carried Father Thomas’ empathy power for at least two years. Did the writer(s) of “Primrose Path” create a contradiction?

 

 

13. Why was the Source so contemptuous of Phoebe’s psychic abilities in Season 4’s “Charmed and Dangerous”, when he had relied so heavily upon seers like the Oracle and the Seer?

 
14. Why did Darryl take orders from Inspector Sheridan, when as a police lieutenant, he ranked higher?

 
15. How did Cole get his job back at Jackman, Carter and Kline at the beginning of Season 5?

 
16. Why are other witches on the show portrayed as helpless or semi-helpless?

 

 

17. Why did Leo assumed that Cole was automatically “good”, when the latter had lost his powers in S4’s “Black As Cole” and S7’s“Sympathy For the Demon”? Had he forgotten the evil humans that the sisters had confronted in the past?

 
18. Why did Phoebe assume that she would die on the same date that her past self had died, back in 1924 in “Pardon My Past”? She made this assumption before acquiring any real proof.

 
19. And why did Phoebe say in the above episode that she was the same age in February 2000, as her past self – P. Russell – was in February 1924? Phoebe was 24 years and 3 months old at the time. Her past self was 29½ years old at the time of her death.

 
20. Why did the Charmed Ones and Leo had automatically assumed that using the Hollow made Cole the Source? He had the old Source’s powers when the sisters killed the latter. And possessing Piper and Paige’s powers did not make the Source two-thirds of the Charmed Ones.

 

 

21. Why didn’t the Source simply kill the Charmed Ones after he had failed to turn Paige in “Charmed Again II”?

 
22. Why did Cole have such difficulty fighting the Halliwells in S3’s “Power Outage”, when had had managed to kill the more formidable Triad so easily?

 
23. Why are whitelighters (guardian angels) given authority over witches?

 

 

24. Why does the show feature witches engaged in demon hunting/slaying ONLY?

 
25. Once they had discovered that Cole was the Source in late S4, why didn’t the Charmed Ones bother to investigate on how he had become the Source in the first place?

 
26. How did Darryl explain Andy’s death inside the Halliwell manor in Season 1’s “Déjà vu All Over Again” to his supervisor?

 

 

27. Why didn’t Paige simply orb the gun out of Rick’s hand in S6’s “Hyde School Reunion”?

 
28. When Phoebe was taken over by the spirit (karma) of Mata Hari in S6’s “Used Karma”, why was she speaking with a French accent, when the former spy had been born in Java to Dutch parents?

 
29. Why did Phoebe become hostile toward Cole between the S4 finale, “Witch Way Is Now” and the S5 premiere, “A Witch’s Tail” after he had saved her life from the witch hunter, F.B.I. Agent Jackman?

 

 

30. Why would the supernatural world depend ONLY upon the Charmed Ones to fight demonic activity? What about other witches and demon hunters who were around long before the sisters had first retrieved their powers in the S1 premiere, “Something Wicca Comes This Way”?

 
31. Why is pyrokinesis (fire power) regarded by Leo and the Charmed Ones as evil in most of the episodes, and neutral in S4’s “Lost and Bound”?

 
32. Why did Cole have to become increasingly demonic in order to kill another half-demon in S4’s “Black As Cole”, when he did not have to do so in order to form an energy ball strong enough to kill the Source in “Brain Drain”?

 
33. Why would the Vampire Queen’s death enable Paige to avoid remaining a vampire in S4’s “Bite Me”? This does not make sense. Surely she should have remained a vampire, once she had been bitten.

 

 

34. How can the Charmed Ones travel to or exist in the past and their powers cannot, especially since their powers are supposed to be a part of themselves?

 
35. How can the Charmed Ones be witches, when they have never taken oaths or taken part in an initiation ceremony to become one?
36. According to the show, a witch becomes a warlock in the first place when he/she breaks his/her oath as a witch. So, why are warlocks described as immortals on the show?

 
37. Why does the Halliwell Museum of Witchcraft in “Chris-Crossed” featured the outfit Phoebe wore as a mermaid and the outfits the sisters wore in “Witches in Tights” (shudder!) on display? All outfits should have no longer existed, since Phoebe reverted back to being a human and the superheroine outfits were figments of that kid’s imagination.