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Portal of Time III: Fiesole 1489, Part Eight

by Jennifer Loyd

“Marlena!” Josh yells, reaching for his transmitter and rushing to take Marlena away from Stefano. But Stefano grabs the transmitter from Josh’s hand and knocks him to the floor.

“Mimi!” Stefano calls for his assistant and then remembers she is not there. “Franco!” he yells instead.

“Stefano, what are you doing?” Marlena asks.

“He is one of those people I told you about, who would do you harm,” Stefano explains as the cortegiano appears.

“Signor diMera, what is wrong?” Franco asks and then yells, “look out!” as Josh has risen to his feet and lunges toward Stefano! Stefano steps aside and Franco tackles Josh to the floor as Marlena looks on in horror. Thinking quickly, Stefano unties one of the stacks of books and after a brief struggle, the two use the cord to tie Josh’s hands and feet.

“You’ll never get away with this, DiMera!” Josh yells. “We have people all over the palazzo, they’ll find Marlena. John will never give up until he finds her!”

“Can’t you shut him up?” Stefano ordes Franco who, seeing the napkin beside the goblet, takes it and ties it around Josh’s mouth like a gag. As Josh watches helplessly, Stefano leads a bewildered Marlena to the far wall where he lifts an exquisite tapestry in vibrant shades of crimson, gold and indigo. Behind the tapestry is a door, which Stefano opens to reveal a small room beyond. “You will stay here until I have gotten rid of these intruders,” he tells Marlena, ushering her into the room.

Franco has not taken his eyes off the prisoner when Stefano returns. “We must do something with him,” Stefano commands. “He must never tell anyone what he has seen.” If we were in the 20th century, I could simply use a laser to wipe out his memory, Stefano thinks, but now....

“Do not worry, Signor diMera,” Franco replies. “I will make sure he does not breathe a word of this to anyone....”

“So, how were the tombs?” Lisa asks, coming down the staircase to greet the returning newlyweds.

“We had a lovely picnic,” André replies as Lisa ignores Kristen and walks over to André.

“Wish you could’ve been there, Mimi,” Kristen interjects, with a note of insincerity.

“Maybe some other time,” Lisa responds, smiling sweetly. “Oh by the way, Kristen,” she adds as an afterthought, “someone stopped by to see you.”

“To see me? Here?” Kristen asks, surprised.

“Yes, she couldn’t stay long though, I’m afraid... but I’m sure if it’s important, she’ll be back.”

Mimi stares at the monitor which had come on a few minutes earlier. As she watches her twin’s behavior toward André and Kristen, a new thought comes to her, one which fills her with dread. I’ve got to get out of here....

Alone and perplexed, Marlena sits in the room, wishing she could remember and understand. Stefano said there were people who wished to harm her, yet the man she saw in the library did not look as though he meant her any harm. Rather, he seemed to want to help her. Surely there must be a misunderstanding. If only there were someone she could trust, someone she could talk to instead of being hidden away in this room, where somehow, inexplicably, she feels a presence of evil....

Stefano descends the staircase and finds John ranting and Adriano unperturbed. John sees Stefano and lunges toward him; several courtiers have to hold him back.

“What have you done with Doc, you bastard?” John demands to know.

“So we meet again, John,” Stefano replies coolly. “I never thought we’d have the pleasure.”

“You tell me where she is, now!”

“John, John, John. I do not know where Marlena is.”

“You’re lying, she’s here with you, you brought her back here!” John insists.

“I do not know what you are talking about, but you are creating a disturbance in this court and if you do not leave on your own, I shall have to have you removed....”

“I don’t know where your friend is,” Annamaria begins, “but I know someone who may be able to help us find her.” She heads toward Cristina, who is listening to Tessa, and the others follow.

“So you see,” Tessa concludes, “her children need her. Her family misses her very much, and--” She stops short as she sees Maggie May and Abigail. “What are you two doing here?” she asks.

“We’re Marlena’s friends, we weren’t going to let you all come alone,” Abi explains.

“Marlena’s friends... then you are from another time as well?” Cristina asks.

Tessa looks up, surprised. “You know about that?” she asks.

“Yes,” Cristina sighs. “Come with me....”

Yes, Emilia decides, she can do it... with a little help from her friends. Determined and confident, she starts back toward the palazzo when she hears a sound behind her, as though someone had stumbled. She turns around but sees nothing; to be safe, she moves behind a tree and watches for several minutes. Much to her suprise, she sees a bruised and disheveled Franco making his way back to the palace. Looks like he got into a fight, she thinks, but what’s he doing out here?

“Oh no,” Kristen sighs as she and André have just gone upstairs.

“What is it, Kristen?” André asks, concerned.

“My purse, I must have left it downstairs. I’ll be right back...”

Kristen goes downstairs and finds her purse right where she left it. But just as she is about to turn around, she hears voices and stops to listen. That sounds like Mimi, she thinks, but who is she talking to and why? Only as she listen does she begin to realize the horrifying truth....

To be continued....

Part Nine

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