As I push the sliding door shut to the balcony, it catches.
A diamond earring in the runner, ‘Veronica Venom?’, I fall to my knees. Though not at the torturous thought that I slept with my insane ex-wife, but from a gaping pain piercing my body, making my muscles clench to stone.
I black out.
6pm – Shadowborn Vault.
I dedicate my life to protecting Forrest City and this is how she thanks me? I stare at the flashing warning sign on my device. I repeated the test several times. Positive for Venomax.
I only have 24 hours to live. The only thing on my mind is to secure my daughter’s future.
I peer over to the oak deposit box holding pride of place beside my grand fireside chair. It’s been tampered with!
‘The heartstone talisman is gone!’
6.30pm – Venomax Towers.
‘Veronica! Open this door!’
‘Jonathan, glad you came to say goodbye’, the ornate oak door swings open, as she stands in her killer-heels and bodycon, leaning against the doorframe.
‘Yes, goodbye – to our daughter! Who will be without a father because of you! How could you do this to her?!’
‘You over-estimate your importance in her life, Jonathan, she was only too happy to run into mummy’s arms. Leaving her to save lives in Forrest City every night, not knowing her father is Shadowborn, the vigilante!’
‘I do what I have to do to protect this City, to protect her, from crazy – like you!’
‘Well, how’s that going for you?’, she scowls at me, ‘with the Heartstone Talisman I can cast the Shadowmoon spell to complete her shadowmancer transition when she’s 18. And I will be her rightful moonsoul – not you!’
‘What have you done to deserve her? You abandoned her and I kept your secret, because it would break her heart if she knew.’
‘You’re running out of time, Jonathan! But I can make you an offer you cannot refuse’
Veronica snaps a crystal vile with blue luminous liquid from around her slender neck ‘this is the antidote, which you can have if you live in exile! But if you return, I will kill her and there goes your precious legacy!’
I suddenly smell a whiff of Vanilla and Spice in the air.
‘You would… kill Ruth?!’
‘I abandoned her; you think I’d hesitate to kill her? I will control Forrest City, with any means possible’, she breaths in amusedly, ‘she is mine, now take the antidote. And leave forever. Or die.’
8pm – Shadow Manor
Taking the antidote means I can live another day, for Ruth.
I hear a key turn, as Ruth peers around the door, ‘I heard everything she said dad, and I escaped!’
I hold her tight. Vanilla and spice.
It triggered my memory, holding her in my bed as she cried herself to sleep over a boy.
‘I knew you were there, my darling!’, I breathe
a deep sigh of relief knowing I hadn’t slept with her mother the night before after all!
A Woman’s Scent
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”