After Hecate’s departure, Missy stomps off, grumbling about her “selfish, egotistical, stuck-up, conceited” sister. Granny starts to answer, but she is intrigued by the flutter of yellow she saw in the trees a bit further off…
‘Oups!’ Granny ducks as a goldfinch dives towards her.
It circles closer and closer around her head, then it chirps and flies off. It starts over again and again, until Granny understands it’s trying to show her something. It seems it wants to drive her towards the blood red coating of the sacred grounds.
Granny understands what is happening. The magic of the area where the witches were burnt is strong, and the full moon is giving the bird power to communicate with the old witch. It settles on Granny’s shoulder, and starts twittering in her ear. Granny listens carefully… So they came this way last night…
‘Thank you, little bird… Now – fly away so I can investigate your information further!’
Missy has been hovering in the vicinity, watching how her sister “talked” to the little bird. Of course the bird picked her, not me! She always gets to do the fun stuff. And what is she doing now?
Granny bends down to have a better view of the faint traces in the earth.
What is this? The little Goldfinch was right – there are foot prints… Where’s my stubborn sister?
‘Coming, coming…’ Better run to show a little good will.
Out of breath she asks, ‘What is it now!?! Did you find something?’
‘Err… I found some footprints…’ Granny points to where Missy is standing, ‘… and I think I know where they were heading… But first, did you hear what Hecate said just before biting me?’
Missy shakes her head. ‘She said a lot of mumbo jumbo…’
Granny concentrates. ‘If I recall it right, it was something like: “The curse cannot be stopped… the healing lies in the glow of the orbs…” I think I know what she was talking about.’ I need more Glow Orbs to make cure potions to the people who gets bitten!
Missy is patiently waiting for her to continue.
‘Now this is what we shall do…’
Missy takes off into the confines of the forest in search of Glow Orbs…
… while Granny heads for “Passé Park”, following the bird’s information.
The waiting is long, and Granny is exhausted after two nights without rest. I’ll just lay down a little…
It doesn’t take long before she falls asleep.
Granny wakes with a start. What was that? Where am I? She looks around her and slowly recalls the last day’s events. Her back aches, and she’s starting to feel the beginnings of a migraine. Oh, I must have fallen asleep on the stone bench…
Laboriously she sits up…
Missy has accomplished her mission, even if it took a little longer than expected.
Hiking around all alone in the dark forest looking for magical mushrooms… I just hope one Glow Orb is enough… Now where did she say we should meet? … Park, park something… Gloomy Park? Passé Park? Pitch Park? … Amstramgram…
When she at long last reaches the right park, she can see Granny has found the zombie they were looking for.
Missy stops dead in her tracks. I’ll better let her do this her way. In any case she’ll just say I’m getting in her way…
She hides in the bushes, and enthralled she watches how Granny hardly has the time to pull out her wand before the monster attacks.
Still numbed by lack of sleep, Granny is not fast enough. Somehow the zombie gets hold of her wand and breaks it in two before Granny punches it in the face and it falls in a heap at Granny’s feet.
Ha! That was close… Now I’ve dealt with the zombie problem, where’s Missy? She should have been here by now – Glow Orb or no Glow Orb!
The crack of a twig breaking behind her makes her spin around, and she’s almost eye to eye with another, bigger, more ferocious zombie. Two? There are two of them!
Missy is frozen in place behind the bushes where fascinated she watches the scene unfold. Maybe it’s for the best… It’s destiny… She won’t be all over the place with her snarky remarks anymore. “You should do this!” “You shouldn’t do that!”
Missy can’t help feeling a little elated and excited by the drama taking place in front of her.
Oh.My.God… Granny is petrified by fright at the horrible vision of the approaching zombie. Without her wand she’s defenseless, and punching this beast in the face won’t be enough. He’ll probably just chew her fingers off…
Scared witless, Granny shrinks back, but she stumbles on the dead one on the ground behind her. It claws at her skirt and Granny kicks it viciously, sending it rolling away.
That’s when the monster strikes! Courageously Granny tries to fight him off, but the un-dead are stronger than any living man and Granny doesn’t stand a chance.
The zombie holds her in a tight grip, keeping her from using her arms. He bares his rotten teeth and lunges towards her face.
Ohmygod, he’ll rip my throat off! She realizes she will get bitten and become a braindead walker, too. If it doesn’t feed on her brain of course. Because then she won’t become anything but a rotting corpse…
Granny screams. A long bloodcurdling scream of pure terror…
Suddenly Missy feels all blood drain from her face. But I’m sure she’ll be back to haunt me! Oh no! I can’t let that happen… But if she can’t take them down, I won’t be able either… And I’m on my way to become a Zombie Master… So I can’t really eliminate all the zombies I’m supposed to master, can I?
Granny shies away as much as she can, trying to save her face and throat. The teeth of the monster snaps in thin air but he aims again and this time bites through the grey cloth, sinking deep into the flesh of her shoulder with a sickening sound.
The other zombie is back on its feet and also coming for her. The prospect of joining the ranks of the walking dead diminishes as fast as the other dead one approaches…
Missy has finally decided do to something. The prospect of her sister haunting her for the rest of her life has snapped her out of her inertia and she comes charging to help Granny.
But it’s too late. Her sister struggles to maintain her balance, holding on to her mauled shoulder.
Granny falls to the ground, bleeding, as Missy draws her wand, taking the zombies by surprise.
With a well-aimed burst of fire, Missy eliminates the smaller creep first…
Smiling evilly she watches the zombie screaming try to fight of the flames.
‘A taste of Hell, Sweetheart!’
The larger zombie is still hovering over Granny, growling at Missy. Coolly she glances at it, and surprisingly it backs off a few feet.
‘Yeah. Meet your master, creep!’
She kneels next to her sister, making sure she’s only unconscious.
When she sees the wound, she is suddenly filled by an overpowering rage!
‘Oh no!’ She closes her eyes and feels the blood rushing to her head.
‘Oh nonono!’ She squeezes her hands so hard it hurts.
‘NO-NO-NO! She can’t just leave me like this! I won’t let her haunt me til’ I die! I don’t want to take care of a little kid! And her disgusting dog!’
If Granny’s scream was bloodcurdling, there’s no word for Missy’s howling. Even the zombie stops and stares.
She stops screaming as abruptly as she started. Breathing heavily her gaze fixes on the zombie.
‘And it’s all your fault.’ she whispers.
That’s when the braindead monster decides to make a run for it. He hobbles away as fast as he can, with Missy tailing him, yelling insults at him.
‘Dang cold bodied biter! Lamebrain! Rotting dead creeper! You’ll wish you were really dead when I’ll catch your rotting ass! You brain-dead walking hunk of stale meat!’
She catches up with him in “Pitch Park”.
She won’t set this one on fire, it would be over too soon. No, she will use the death spell, even though it’s dangerous for herself.
She aims her wand, singsonging the ancient Voodoo spell, making the zombie fall on its knees, gurgling and growling…
Coldly she watches him suffer and die…
With a slight smirk she looks at the ground swallowing him.
This is almost as fun as creating them…
She even stomps on the hand, to make sure it’s underground, all right!
Then she takes care of her sister. Getting her home and upstairs into the room she shares with her granddaughter took a fair amount of ingenuity and time.
Crying Missy puts her to bed. As she doesn’t really know what to do about the Glow Orb, she decides to carefully tuck the precious mushroom under the pillow.
Missy knows she should get out of there, lock the door and throw away the key. But she can’t leave her sister alone.
Maybe she won’t transform into a … Into a … I better check on her!
But Granny’s skin has already taken on a sickly greenish hint.
Suddenly her sister sits straight up in bed. She opens her eyes and looks around her. Missy draws her wand, just in case. Slowly Granny fixes her dead stare on Missy, and a flicker of recognition washes briefly over her face.
Relieved, Missy starts to ask a lot of questions. ‘I was so worried! How are you? Do you need something? Err… Tara, answer me!’
Suddenly zombie-Granny, is out of bed, aiming for a kill!
‘Aaaaaarggghhhh… huuuungggry… brrraaaaiiiins…’
Missy is petrified with fright. Gasping for air, she tries to back away, but her limbs doesn’t seem to obey.
’Aaaarrrgh… head… huuuuuurts…’ Granny can’t seem to attack her sister. She clutches her head in her hands, growling. Trembling, Missy starts to back away from the beast that is her sister…
Granny sways from side to side, clutching her head in her hands. Scratching, pulling and tearing, awful sounds escaping her lips. Missy continues to back towards the door, not leaving her sister with her eyes.
Hurriedly she escapes out into the hall, locking the heavy oak door behind her. She leans against it, until a loud thud makes it tremble.
Ouch… better go and get her something to eat…
Brains “à la mode” with a touch of Xanax… Now what is she doing over by the window?
Granny has found the Glow Orb under the pillow. She has taken a bite but it makes her want to throw up…
What is happening to me?
She stares at her hands. It feels like her body belongs to someone else, and she has trouble focusing her thoughts.
Where am I?
She knows one thing though. She must eat that spongy thing on the… on the?
‘Here you are, fresh brains straight from… well, fresh food…’
Granny turns around at the sound of the familiar voice behind her. Drooling she finishes the glow orb.
Missy tries to smile, but it’s difficult. The sight of the sickly green creature in front of her gives her goosebumps all over her body…
‘I see you’ve eaten the Glow Orb. Ahem… I guess that’s good.’
Missy jumps at the sudden outburst and the bowl falls to the floor, shards and food scattering everywhere. Missy runs out of there and slams the door shut.
Granny claws on the door, growling and spitting…
Missy doesn’t know what to do next. ‘I’ll find a way to help you, Granny… I promise.’
She refuses to admit that whoever her sister once was is gone forever. Checking the door is securely locked, she heads off to try to get some sleep.
Granny wolfs up the food on the floor, scooping up the brains and swallowing without chewing. The effect is immediate. Granny falls, falls…
Minuit has been hiding under the bed, scared of her new growling mistress. But now, when Granny reaches for her, she ventures out and curls up, licking the claw like hand that once used to stroke her.
Granny cuddles up with Minuit in her arms, soon lulled to sleep by the cat’s peaceful purring… And the massive dose of Xanax…
Granny’s sleep is haunted by nightmarish visions of violence… She attacks her sister… and eats her up.
… and the delivery man gets a part of his arm chewed out!
But even in her dreams, she can’t harm Taïga… Is it because deep down she doesn’t want to hurt her? Or is it because she really can’t?
Missy too had a bizarre dream that night. Maybe a raw Glow Orb wasn’t enough to cure her sister. Maybe Granny had intended to use it in a potion of some sorts. Missy recalled her sister said she had prepared cure potions in case something bad happened…
When she wakes up in the morning, she hurries outside and digs out a tiny key from Granny’s torn jacket. Now she has access to Granny’s potion cabinet!
Missy lines up one bottle of each and tries to decide which one to use.
Hmmm… Ad Nauseum… Vial of Bliss… Flask of Sleep… Invigorating Elixir… Jar of Discord… and of Friendship… Skill Booster… Vial of Bottled Genie… Bottled Witches’ Brew… Fountain of Youth Elixir – I’ll try that one later… Age of Instant… Clone Drone… Potent Personality Adjuster… Potent Invigorating Elixir… Procreation Elixir – I wonder if it’s some kind of love potion. I’ll try it also. Later! … Lean and Mean? Wow… Now this one seems good – Large and In Charge! She’s always in charge. Hehehe… What’s that? Wish Enhancing Serum. No… I better look at the ingredients.
She takes down each and every flask and reads Granny’s tiny handwriting on the etiquette…
Potent Cure Elixir: Wolfsbane Flower, Glow Orbs… Yes! This could be the one… I’ll just mix in a little of that Large and in Charge thing, and some Potent Personality Adjuster to get rid of the blood thirst… And some Bliss will make her happy and less nagging! …
Armed with a bottle of bubbling liquid, she hurries back to Granny’s room. She listens at the door first. Wouldn’t do to run straight into those iron claws now…
Carefully she opens the door and steps into the room.
The bed is empty. She had counted on calmly pouring the liquid into a sleeping Granny’s mouth…
But where is she? ‘Granny?’ she calls out tentatively. ‘Ahem… Tara?’
‘Aaaaarrrgh!’ A ferocious growl comes from behind her, almost making her heart stop.
Granny has been hiding behind the door, and now Missy is trapped in the room. She has to succeed in curing the Granny-monster, or she won’t get out alive. Her sister is coming at her, drooling and growling. Missy looks around for a weapon and reflexively throws the bottle at her sister…
She didn’t think that throwing the flask at the growling monster would work, she just wanted to stall her sister a moment.
Granny stalls all right, enclosed in a warm glow… Missy stares, forgetting about escaping.
‘It worked!’ Maybe a little too well considering Granny is now a size XXXL…
‘Oh, Granny! I was so scared!’
‘I was scared too, Missy! But now everything’s all right! I feel wonderful! So happy, almost euphoric… But we must keep this a secret, huh? Nobody can find out, there are people plotting everywhere…’ Granny looks around her suspiciously…
Uh-oh… maybe I should have left out that personality adjuster thingy…
‘But…’ Granny catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror. ‘What have you done? I must weigh at least 300 pounds! (136 kg)’
Missy backs away from her very large and in charge and oh so furious sister…
‘Don’t say anything… I’ll take care of this now! The key!’ Imperiously Granny holds out her hand. ‘The key!’
For once Missy doesn’t know what to say… She just hands over the key to the potion cabinet. Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed in so much Large and in Charge. She gulps. I’ve created a new kind of monster! The Potent Cure Elixir was probably enough…
‘Get dressed! We have zombies to kill! And a cloud to annihilate!’
Granny waits for Missy to close the door behind her, before she heads over to the walk-in closet that houses the elixir cabinet. She hesitates before opening it, listening for footsteps.
Nobody’s watching…I have a feeling I’m being followed… But no, nobody’s watching…
She gasps at the disorder on the shelves.
‘Missy has touched everything!’ she grumbles. ‘Might even have taken it for herself, God knows she needs it…’
Granny fiddles around with her potions until she finds what she is looking for.
‘Right! This will do the trick!’ She gulps down a whole glass of “Lean and Mean”.
‘But!?! It doesn’t work! Gaah! I should have known it didn’t work on magic weight gain…’ She tightens the belt of her robe. I guess I’ll just have to exercise a little…
Part I – End of Chapter 24