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The Portal of Time, Part II

by Jennifer Loyd

Slowly Marlena regains consciousness. She is lying on a cold, damp, hard floor and her head is throbbing. The stench is almost unbearable. She tries to open her eyes, but everything around her is dark, and soon she gives up and closes them again. She tries to remember how she got there, remembers a bright light, and Stefano.... She shudders, from the cold or from the memory. Or perhaps both.

"Marlena... Marlena, my Queen..." She opens her eyes again and recoils in horror as she realizes Stefano is there with her! "You must believe me, I never meant for this to happen. I am going to take you far away from here, where no one will ever hurt you...."

"Where am I and what have you done to me?" she asks, but she is still weak and her voice comes out in a whisper.

"Shhh... you must rest now, my love. I promise you this will all be over very soon."

For the first time she notices that he appears to be wearing a uniform of some sort. She looks down at her own torn and filthy dress. They look like costumes, like something out of eighteenth-century France. John, where are you, she wonders in despair. But she is tired and overwhelmed and fades back into unconsciousness....

Stefano watches her sleep. He has not come this far only to lose her, now that he has finally gotten her away from John. But he didn't count on landing in Revolutionary Paris and Marlena becoming the Duchesse Marie-Hélène d'Évannes. Now they are in the most isolated dungeon of the Château de Vincennes, where "Marie-Hélène" and the other prisoners both innocent and guilty are awaiting execution tomorrow afternoon. He must get her out of there, and to this end he has already stolen the uniform of a soldier in the Revolutionary Army. But smuggling her out of the prison won't be so easy....

John is standing on the cobblestone street in the black Paris night. One minute there was this blinding light, and the next, total darkness. He looks frantically around him--where is Marlena, where did DiMera take her? "Doc!" he calls into the darkness, but there is no response. Then he sees her! Not Doc, but the woman who brought her back--brought her to Stefano, he thinks angrily as he rushes towards her and grabs her shoulders, shaking her. "All right, where's DiMera, and what has he done with Marlena!" he asks.

"I don't know!" she answers, pulling away from him.

"Of course you do, you're working for Stefano, now tell me where they are!" he demands. But he knows something isn't right, the sounds, the smells, the way they're dressed, everything's different. "Where are we?" he asks.

"I said I don't know, this wasn't supposed to happen! YOU weren't supposed to go through! If you hadn't come running after us, I wouldn't have had to try to pull you back and we wouldn't be here! Except it's not so much a question of where we are as WHEN we are."

"When?"

She sighs. "It was a time machine we went through, and I could make an educated guess that we're in the middle of the French Revolution."

"Oh my God, how could you let him do this to her? Marlena could be killed, she could be-- We have to find her before it's too late. Do you have any idea where he could've taken her?"

"I don't even know if they're here!" But she knows they probably are, and she's worried. They had all known the risks involved but of all the times for them to land in, this has to be the most dangerous, and if anything goes wrong it will be all her fault. She knows John will not rest until he finds Marlena, and she would like to find Stefano too. Perhaps they can work together, for the time being....

Kristen awakens, disoriented, looking into the dark smoldering eyes of a stranger. She is lying on a bed and he is kneeling beside her, watching her, relief that she is well evident on his face. "Where am I?" she asks.

The doctor stands, unsure of what to tell her. Even she did not know of the time machine. "You are safe, and right now you must rest," he says calmly, reassuringly.

The voice is familiar to her, and as her vision begins to focus she recognizes the dark-haired man. But he looks so different, the way he's dressed, it's not surprising that she did not recognize him at first... "Andre," she says, struggling to sit up and take in her surroundings. "Where are we, how did we get here?" she asks.

"Lie back," he urges her, uncertain of the effect the time travel has had on her. "Do you remember anything?"

"I remember... the hospital... John!" she suddenly cries out as the memories come flooding back and she looks wildly around the room. "John, where is he, what happened to him?" She is ready to jump out of the bed but Andre holds her back, not wishing for her to overexert herself.

"We will find John, but first there is something I must tell you..." And he begins to relate to her the story of the time machine, how they landed on the rue de la Victoire in Revolutionary Paris. She was unconscious, he explains, and a man and his wife came to their aid and offered them shelter for the night. Kristen listens, incredulous.

"He went through right before I did," she explains. "And there was a woman with him, a nurse I think, trying to stop him, I don't know what she was doing there..."

But Andre does. "Mimi," he says, half to himself, looking out the window as dawn is breaking. But Kristen is already out of bed. "Come on," she urges him. "We've got to find John, there's got to be some way to go back!" When he doesn't answer she becomes increasingly agitated. "There is a way back, isn't there? You were in on this with Stefano, tell me there's a way back!"

Andre takes a deep breath. "Actually," he begins....

Part III

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Since Jan. 2, 1998,

people have entered the Portal of Time!

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