The snow is gradually melting away, and the warm spring air is making the hens busy laying eggs. Granny is looking for fresh eggs, but one of the hens is behaving in a really strange way, its head is spinning around like an owl’s…
Granny tries to catch the strange hen, but it flaps its wings, ducking away and clucking frantically.
Finally it seems to have calmed down enough to be approached. Suddenly it jumps forward, looking at her with piercing alien eyes! Granny gasps and startled she backs away. Its eyes glow like lasers and like a chameleon it changes color, going from common speckled brown to a sickly pinkish beige! Granny closes and opens her eyes twice.
What the heck was that? Is the dang chicken possessed? And if so, what the heck could be lurking inside that… Err… hen?
‘Who’s inside that body?’
‘It’s me, Charles, the evil chicken!’ it squawks.
Ohmygod, its talking! I KNEW IT! Granny closes her eyes and pinches her arm. I won’t eat no eggs coming from those hens… I better plant some eggplants right away…
When she opens her eyes the hen looks normal again… Strange. I must have dreamt the whole thing…
‘Funny isn’t it?’ Missy says, ‘I tried a new potion to make animals talk. In fact I created it for Minuit, but I didn’t want to try it on her so I picked one of the hens instead. I think I have to tune it a bit though, the laser eye thing draws too much attention. And maybe I shouldn’t add bull piss, as apparently she thinks she’s a rooster and tries to get it on with the whole coop. Exhausting…’
‘Oh. And I wouldn’t eat any of her eggs if I were you.’
‘How do I know the difference?’
‘They glow. Hmm… I better not add the plutonium either…’
Her attention is drawn from the hen to the noise coming from inside the chicken coop.‘I think we must have missed some of the eggs… Well, I have to get ready, I have an important meeting with Dr. Franke after breakfast.’
Granny looks after her departing sister.
A potion to make animals talk? Tut-tut… But it’s better than the black magic she usually tampers with…
She feels inside the coop with her hand and touches something tiny and soft.
‘A chicken! How cute… are there more of you inside?… TAÏGA! Come and watch this!’
Taïga comes running, but she skids to a halt when she sees the tiny yellow feather balls.
‘One, two, three… there are seven of them!’ She stoops to pick one up.
Carefully she holds the little chicken in her hands.
‘It’s so tiny… I can hear – or rather feel- its heart beating so fast, Granny.’ She blows on the little chicken, listening to it peep. ‘It’s so cute.’
She brushes her lips against the downy feathers… So soft…
‘Can I keep it?’
‘We’ll keep all of them, but go and tell Missy before she leaves that she won’t have scrambled eggs for breakfast today! And don’t miss the school bus!’
‘Wait, Missy! There are chicken in the coop! Oh, and look at the flowers! The spring’s finally here!’
‘So go ahead and pick them! All of them!’ Missy walks away grumbling to herself.
Taïga picks a flower, smells it and then starts counting “Love me, love me not…” all the way to the school bus.
Once inside, Missy goes into the study to look for her favorite book – “Wuthering Heights”.
‘I know I put it here somewhere…’ I’m sure the palantír could tell me where it is, it would spare me some time and effort of searching… I just can’t see why I’m not supposed to touch it… I’m an adult now, and…
‘I’m sure I can handle it!’
Furtively she looks over her shoulder. Granny’s not around? No, she’s probably still outside with the chicken…
She sits down and dries her hands on her knees. ‘Now let’s see…’ If I put my hands on each side of the ball, just like Granny does… ‘Here we go!’
The crystal ball becomes transparent and floats in the air between Missy’s hands.
‘This is easy!’ She shuts her eyes and concentrates, forgetting all about her mislaid book.
‘Now tell me, is there a man for me?’ Better be specific… ‘Ahem… A rich, handsome man – with dark hair and nice eyes who likes cats and playing poker? And who’s fluent in French, and who is a good – no an excellent kisser? Yes. Just like Magnus Darkling! Forget about the dark hair. Just tell me: Where is Magnus Darkling!?!’
The palantír has started to shiver…
… and suddenly it starts spinning uncontrollably – smoke twirling around inside and seeping out! Missy yelps and tries to stop it, but instead it spins faster and faster.
‘OhMyGod!… What have I done! What have I done!?!’
‘STOP IT. NOW. REST.’ Granny’s voice is like thunder. The ball stops spinning and sinks slowly down until it rests on the golden tripod.
‘Are you out of your mind? What the hell did you think you were doing!?! I’ve told you NOT TO TOUCH IT!’
‘You’re not outside feeding the chicken?’
‘Obviuosly I’m not! I was trying to have a shower, when the crystal ball called out!’
‘Let me see what you asked it.’
‘No, please… groumphhhh.’
Missy tries to shy away but too late. Granny covers her face with her hand, making a connection. She concentrates hard on reading her sister’s mind.
‘Nothing? Oh… I can see too many questions at once…’
Granny lets go of Missy who stumbles to a chair… ‘I just wanted to find my book…’
‘Your book? Well, let’s ask the palantìr – just to see if it’s still functioning!’
Granny makes the palantìr levitate. ‘It says something… “Sometimes a Sim’s worst enemy is family”. Hah! That’s no news, huh? Wait a minute… ‘I can see your book. It’s in a dark place… Under something heavy…’
Suddenly Granny bursts out laughing, ‘Missy, you’re sitting on it!’
Old Missy is not happy, even though she’s found out where she left her beloved book. She is waiting for Taïga when she gets home after school, and she’s definitely not in a good mood.
‘Just look at the hall! Dog hair everywhere, and dirty paws all over the floor! Would it be too much to ask you to clean up after your dog?’
‘I’m sorry, Missy. It won’t happen again…’
But Old Missy’s had enough!
Just having my sister here is bad enough, but this child is so annoying, and now a dog! It runs after the cat and barks and sheds and… I have to do something!
After a night of tossing and turning, she’s finally got the answer to all her problems… She jumps out of bed and hurries down to the kitchen, where she prepares breakfast for Taïga – porridge…
… and a beautiful, but evil looking, apple.
The plate is still steaming when Taïga enters the dining room a half-hour later. She inspects the plate set out at her usual place.
‘What is this?’
Missy takes place next to Taïga. ‘Your breakfast, dear. You need to eat something more filling than cereals in the morning.’
‘But I like cereals!’
‘This is just the same, a kind of steamed cereals. Or boiled. Whatever.’
‘But I can’t eat all this!’
‘Look. I never get up before nine in the morning, but today I set the alarm at 5 a.m. I’ve spent two hours in the kitchen to make you a delicious porridge, and this is what I get? “I can’t eat all this”… You’re the most selfish and ungrateful child I know!’
She looks sternly at the young girl. ‘You’re actually the only child I know, but that’s not the question!’
OK OK. I get it… Taïga starts to spoon porridge into her mouth.
Old Missy smiles to herself and stands up. ‘That’s a good girl. I’ll be back in five minutes, and I want you to have finished it all!’
As soon as Old Missy leaves the table, Taïga gags…
… spitting out the last mouthful!
She pushes the plate far from her. This must definitely not become a habit… I can eat the apple instead… Oh, no forget it! I’ll just bring it along to school…
Dang! She’s back! ‘Err… I couldn’t finish it all. It was too… filling.’
‘And the apple?’
‘Delicious… Can I go to school now?’
Missy screws up her eyes and looks evilly at Taïga. ‘You’re a little liar! I can see you’re hiding the apple behind your back! EAT IT!’
She stares sternly at Taïga and is about to say something more, when her cat mews out on the porch. ‘Just eat it now. I’ll be right back!’
But Missy gets distracted by her cat outside, mewing and scratching itself.
‘Look at you, poor thing, full of fleas… Let me take care of it…’
And Granny is busy smoking the bees to get some honey…
Taïga looks at the apple… Well, it’s too big to hide in the pocket…and it looks delicious! She takes a big bite out of the juicy apple. Mmm… it is delicious! She takes another bite and stops… the apple falls out of her hand and rolls away under the table.
I can’t feel my hands… Ouch, my neck hurts… What’s happening to me?
Aha. She’s eaten the apple! Missy quickly throws a spell on the door to seal it. You never know. My nosy sister might interrupt the procedure…Ahh. Here she comes…
Granny comes running. ‘Was that Taïga calling?’
Missy looks innocently at her big sister, ‘Noooo… I didn’t hear anything… Must have been the cat!’
She discreetly pinches Minuit, making her meow. ‘See?’
Granny starts down the stairs, stopping and looking over her shoulder at Missy who smiles.
The frightened girl is struggling to gain control over her body, but in vain. Her limbs stretch like rubber, aching horribly… It hurts!
‘HELP ME! Please… GRANNY!’
She doubles over and throws up, retching until there’s nothing left in her stomach.
‘GRANNY! HELP! GRAaaannnyyyy….’
Taïga’s muted voice carries outside where Tramp sits whining and scratching at the door. Granny stops and takes the stairs back up onto the porch in two strides.
‘OPEN THE BLOODY DOOR! It is Taïga, and she’s calling for help!’
‘Oh, you’re right. I can hear her now…’
A strange feeling of numbness takes over the little girl’s whole body, and she staggers out into the hall… Her cries are now just a raspy whisper.
Missy lifts the spell on the door, but it’s too late… Taïga’s legs buckles under her and she is falling… falling…
Granny dashes into the hall and with a scream she falls onto her knees beside her granddaughter’s lifeless body…
Part I – End of Chapter 19