And there it stood in all its evil glory...the embodiment of her worst fears...in the middle of the kitchen.
Judy's mouth opened to let out an involuntary scream and her first instinct was to run, but like in a nightmare, she couldn't move and her scream came out in a strangled gurgle. Purposely thwarted before it even started, it left her silently gasping for a breath, hoping beyond hope it wouldn't be her last.
"Did you miss me?"
Please let me be dreaming, Judy pleaded within her head. Her eyes beginning to tear up from having had her outcry so emphatically and forcefully squelched, she blinked frantically, repeatedly trying to clear her vision. She had to be dreaming, she thought, desperately wanting to believe the disturbing sight in front of her was nothing more than a product of her subconscious after eating ice cream too late at night. But the strong smell of...Was that brimstone?...mixed with espresso still hanging in the air told her otherwise. No...I'm not dreaming...this is really happening!
Her eyes somewhat blurry but her sense of reasoning still fully intact despite the panic-strickened turbulence that was her mind, Judy stared helplessly at none other than Satan's daughter, Christina Nickson's slightly out of focus features smirking smugly back at her as a sudden feeling of being stuck in some kind of evil deja vu time warp washed over her. She'd already taken her family hostage once before and let them go. Why was she back?
Oh God no!
The paralyzing, almost possessive grip on her limbs more than vaguely familiar...Judy had a chilling suspicion that this time around there would be no escaping the blond's frightening clutches.
At that exact moment, this inevitable forgone conclusion wasn't only occurring in Judy's mind. Taking into consideration who she was, Christina's ominous presence obscured any thoughts of escaping the intangible yet very real hold she had on both mother and daughter, which seemed to be, not only powerful but all-encompassing.
"No, of course you didn't miss me," Christina went on to say when neither Judy nor Meg responded. Not that they could have commented even if they wanted to seeing as, along with almost completely immobilizing them, she had taken away their ability to speak...which although it seemed very much like overcompensation on Christina's part, quite possibly might have been kind of a good thing considering that either one or both of them wouldn't likely have had the most politically correct response at the ready and that the slightest misplaced comment or provocation might just tick Christina off. And the last thing they needed to do was to anger the 'Child of the Beast', who they already knew from experience didn't handle feelings of displeasure very well. "But don't worry...that doesn't hurt my feelings...I've gotten used to people hating me."
Meg was almost certain from Christina's all too familiar fake smile and tone of voice that she wasn't being truthful. But, her breath coming in shallow gasps, she was more certain that the life was slowly being squeezed out of her, and after realizing her voice of reason was being silenced as well, her last vestibule of hope was fastly fading along with it. She had thought that if they found Christina they could save her, and in turn...save themselves. She could truly see now how foolish she had been.
Judy! Meg cried out inwardly when with a flick of her hair, Christina's intense preoccupation seemed to shift. But not in a good way. Driven by her maternal instincts, Meg tried with all her might to turn her head to assess the predicament her daughter was in. Finding the effort frustrating in its pointlessness she at least managed to roll her eyes to the left where she saw...to her relief...Judy, still alive, but struggling uselessly within her own personal hell.
"What's the matter Jude? Cat got your tongue?"
Her thoughts reeling at a frenzied pace, all Meg could think about was how much more evil Christina seemed now than a few weeks ago. And remembering how battered and broken Sarah Parker's body had been after being spitefully granted her last request to 'go to' her son Jesse when Christina knew very well he was lying dead under a heap of wreckage that was once the Kramer's family's home, Meg quickly said a small silent prayer...Oh Lord, please don't let Christina be using the term literally...
And, as great minds think alike...or like mother, like daughter...or whatever other phrase that might befit the moment, knowing her ex best friend's warped sense of humor all too well, Judy's eyes widened in horror and she nearly peed her pants a little thinking that sometime in the last three weeks...perhaps during a visit with her biological father...Christina had acquired some kind of demonic cat from a Petco in hell since she'd been gone. She really really hoped she was wrong. Although her tongue felt numb and unfortunately was quite useless at present, she had grown rather fond of it over the last seventeen years.
As inconspicuous as possible Judy swallowed inaudibly and carefully unclenched her kegel muscles in an attempt to regain her composure. She didn't want to give Christina any ideas to torture or maim her with. She most likely had plenty of her own.
"By the way, nice outfit...I'm going to assume you were going for the Daisy Duke look?"
Oh God where was Duke when you needed him? Judy asked herself, suddenly recalling how the family's usually docile dog had growled and barked at Christina shortly after she had first entered their lives. And speaking of the devil, Judy thought, grimly suspecting that the answer might lie with the peculiar fact surfacing for the first time in her brain that no one had seen hide nor hair of him since that fateful day, did Boyd kill Duke after realizing he could sense the evil Christina possessed within her and then secretly put some kind of spell on all of us to make us forget?
Before Judy had a chance to delve deeper into the mystery of what gruesome and sorrowful fate the long time family pet might have met that summer, Christina began burrowing deeper into the questionable fashion statement she was making, even going so far as to offer her a tip. But the real question on everyone's mind was - would she really have time to use it?