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Portal of Time III: Fiesole 1489, Part Eleven

by Jennifer Loyd

Emilia and Caterina have searched the entire third floor and have found no sign of Marlena. They have just come down the staircase and are about to check the second floor when they find the object of their search, accompanied by John, Tessa, Maggie May and Abigail. “There you are!” Emilia exclaims, then realizes something is wrong. “What is it, what’s wrong?” she asks.

“Emilia,” Marlena begins, remembering her kindness earlier, “maybe you can help us. There was a man in the library, who tried to help me, and we have reason to believe that Stefano and another man may have taken him somewhere. We don’t know what they’ve done to him and it’s very important that we find him.”

“Who was this other man with Stefano?” Caterina asks.

“I don’t know, I had never seen him before, he...” Marlena hesitates. “Wait!” she suddenly exclaims, “I remember, Stefano called him Franco!”

“Franco?” Emilia asks. “I just saw him outside, he was coming back from... oh no!”

“Do you know where he might have taken Josh?” Tessa asks.

“I am not sure,” Emilia says, “but you must come quickly: if what I fear is true, we may already be too late!”

Stefano stands in the courtyard, on the edge of victory. A few buttons to push and everyone will go back where they belong, except Marlena. Marlena will finally be his and he will have defeated John once and for all. Checkmate, John. You lose. And yet somehow, something is missing. Without knowing why, he feels that victory is not as satisfying as it should have been. It’s not that he must remain in another time; he could even take Marlena back to the 20th century and leave the others stranded here, if he wanted to. He chuckles to himself at the thought. But no, he rather likes it here. He is even surprised at just how much he enjoyed the weeks he spent here. And now he is to remain here forever. With Marlena. Isn’t that what he has always wanted?

John, Marlena, Tessa, Maggie May, Abigail, Emilia and Caterina arrive breathless at the tombs. “How do we know which one?” Maggie May asks.

“Over here, it looks like this stone’s been moved recently!” Abi shouts.

“Stand back,” John warns the others as he pushes the monolith with all his might.

“John, be careful,” Marlena cautions him. With considerable effort John manages to dislodge the stone, creating a narrow opening.

“Josh!” Tessa calls into the tomb, but there is no reply. She looks down and sees the candlelight, and a body... “No,” Tessa whispers.

“Is he in there?” Maggie asks, but Tessa does not reply. Instead she slips into the tomb and kneels beside the lifeless form. She can see his face in the candlelight, his eyes closed, a radiant smile on his lips. She can’t imagine what his last thoughts must have been.

She looks up, a tear running down her face, and sees Abigail peering into the opening. “Is he...?” Abigail asks, unable to complete the question.

Tessa cannot bring herself to answer. She looks back down at her friend’s face and... is it a trick of the candlelight or did she see his lips move? “Josh!” she says his name again, gently shaking him and tapping his face in the hope that maybe, just maybe...

“Baby Spice?” he murmurs as his eyelids flutter open.

“He’s alive!” Tessa shouts to the others, who breathe a collective sigh of relief. She turns back to Josh who is looking around the tomb, disoriented.

“Where did she go?” he asks.

Tessa smiles and helps him to his feet. “That way,” she says, pointing to the opening.

“André, I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” Lisa says as the three of them are leaving the library and walking towards the staircase.

“Don’t you talk to him as though I’m not even here,” Kristen yells, outraged.

“Will both of you please calm down, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for this,” André suggests. “Kristen, why did you think Mimi had someone locked in the room?”

“She’s not Mimi, and I heard her talking to Mimi through the remote monitor,” Kristen insists. “She wants to kill me so she can have you for herself, and I’m not going to let that happen!”

“Oh now that is ridiculous,” Lisa protests. “André, she’s paranoid, why would I want to do that?”

“Because you’re after my husband!” Kristen yells, grabbing Lisa by the shoulders and turning her around to face her. “Because you’ve got some twisted plan of revenge against your sister. I don’t know how you managed to get her out of that room before we could find her, but we will find her and she will tell us what you’ve done.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kristen,” Lisa says, pulling away from her and moving toward André. “André,” she whispers conspiratorially, leaning close to him and putting her arm around his waist, “I think she’s delusional, maybe we should--”

“GET YOUR HANDS OFF HIM!” Kristen shrieks, pulling Lisa away from André, and the two women begin to fight.

“Watch out!” André yells, seeing the staircase beyond, but it is too late. With a violent shove Kristen sends Lisa tumbling down the stairs until she lands motionless on the ground floor.

“Oh my God,” Kristen cries, running down the steps with André close behind.

At that moment Mimi comes in. “Kristen, André, I--” She stops when she sees her twin’s body lying in a heap at the foot of the stairs. Horrified, she looks up at Kristen and André.

“Mimi... it was an accident,” André tries to explain.

“No....” Mimi shakes her head in disbelief. “No... I’m too late!” she cries in anguish.

“I’m so sorry, Mimi,” Kristen offers. “I never meant...”

“No, you don’t understand,” Mimi whispers. “It’s too late. Everything I saw in the portal... it’s all going to come true.”

To be continued....

Part Twelve (Conclusion and Epilogue)

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Since Jan. 22, 1998,

people have entered the Portal of Time!

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