The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Betsy Visits River City.


He crept through the darkling garden to the window where the curtains weren’t closed properly and peeked in. He saw a nose protruding beyond a mass of straight, thick, unruly, light blonde hair. The nose was supported by an unseen head which was attached to a body long and skinny. She was dressed in her normal blue maxi dress thing with the stars and moons pattern and the, for want of a better term, belt. Very new age, he thought, but, then again, his knowledge of new age wasn’t of the best. He was, at last, in his element. Normally she shooed him away just as he took a step in her garden. He never found out how she did that. As far as he could see, she never moved, but he did. He was ejected firmly over the hedge into the street. Each time that happened it made him even more determined. This time, finally, he was lucky. She was asleep.

Faeryfaye snoozed in front of her telly. She had ensured she was totally private and then watched her secret programme, Strictly. She loved that show, but it didn’t go with her image, so she ensured nobody knew about it. Her half full (never half empty) cup of herb tea had cooled to room temperature, which was cold. Faeryfaye didn’t believe in heating. She was fine as she was and she was gently snoring, dreaming of herself dancing with that Gorka. She liked them all, but Gorka especially. She desperately wanted to float around the floor in his encompassing manly arms. That was something nobody would ever know.

She was quite secure. Her mental alarm would wake her at one, refreshed and ready to go to the faery dell in Pendle woods. She didn’t mind being out at night, even here. This place had a reputation, but she never saw any of the goings on she heard were going on, because while she did know these goings on were going on, she just didn’t want to be bothered with the goings on, so the goings on never impinged on her horizons, because they were all afraid of what she would do if their goings on did impinge. Imagination was a wonderful thing and Faeryfaye encouraged it whenever possible. It saved her a lot of effort and things went smoothly in her life.

Suddenly, she sat bolt upright, her eyes wide open. The alarm had activated and she must get there at once. She got up, slipped on her sandals at the door and left her home at around about 11pm on a wild, wet, windy, winter’s evening, ejecting Peter the Perv out of her garden as an automatic afterthought. She ran to her neighbour and banged on the door.

The door swung back angrily. “What the fuck...” The voice trailed off. “Oh it’s you. Come on in, love.”

Faeryfaye entered. “I need a lift now, please Doris” she asked.

“I’d take you, but the kids? I can’t leave Carl with them. They’d run rings round him.”

“Carl can take me,”

“But you know he’s on curfew. He’s got one of them ankle things on.”

Faeryfaye had entered the living room by now. Looking at Carl she said, “Get your keys, Carl. Your driving me to the trading estate. Now.”

He lifted up his foot, showing off his ankle. “Can’t,” he said. He was careful not to sneer. “I’m not allowed.”

“I’m giving you permission,” she said. He looked at her, shrugged, rose and got his keys. They both got in his car, well, the car in the street in front of the house, and he drove her to the Trading Estate.

With anyone else he would be asking all sorts of questions about this, not least about how he would explain it to the police when they discovered he’d broken curfew. But he didn’t. He disliked this cow, but he feared her even more. He didn’t know why he was afraid of her, he was afraid of nobody, wasn’t he? She didn’t look like anything to be afraid of. A long streak of new age babble was what he thought, along with vague thoughts of her being too skinny for any man and not enough tits either, (he liked them really big, not the average ones she had). And a big nose. And she dressed funny. She was wearing a long blue dress thing from her neck down to her ankles for God’s sake. And sandals? Without socks? Her feet were filthy, or they should be. In fact, he never saw them dirty but this incongruity never impinged on his consciousness. Her dress was full of shapes. He didn’t even wonder if she wore underwear. He didn’t want to think about that. And all them bangles? What’s with that? All them charms and medallions around her neck and wrists and ankles were enough to stock a Poundland. But his thoughts were his own and he didn’t share them.

Eventually he arrived at the furthest factory, on the edge of Pendle woods, and she got out. He drove away, once she gave him permission. He forgot the entire thing and would be able to tell the police, with a clear conscience, that he went nowhere that night. That would be a distinct new experience for him.

Faeryfaye sprinted over to the shack in the corner and woke Albert up. He got a fright and fumbled on his desk for something, presumably something lethal, before he realised who had woken him.

“Oh, hi love. What’re you doing here at this time of night?”

She smiled at the old security guard. Everybody knew there was nothing worth stealing here and it was far enough away for the local scallies, of which there were many, not to even think of checking it out.

“Just need to check something, Albert. Get yourself another cup of tea and go back to sleep.”

He frowned. “I wasn’t asleep and you know that. Saying things like that could get me fired, even if it’s only in jest. No jokes please, Miss.”

Faeryfaye looked contrite. “Sorry Albert, I’ll just go on in and leave you be then.”

He smiled at her. She was the only person in the world who called him Albert. Nobody else did. It was as if she knew that’s what he wanted to be known as. Not Al. That was so common. He made himself another cup of tea.

Inside the factory, Faeryfaye sprinted to the lift where she pressed the button hidden in plain sight and she dropped to the subterranean levels. There she went and checked the Immortality Cube. It had activated and was working at furious speed. Noting the time left, she went to the log, checked the history and discovered it was Betsy that had triggered it and this was the second time in just a few days. Faeryfaye frowned. She had never known it to be triggered before and she had been with the group for a long time now. Trust Betsy to set new records like this.

She loved it here. They were helping people and she could get on with her researches. Unfortunately her outing to the faery dell in a couple of hours now would have to be cancelled. Well, there were plenty of other crescent moons. Tonight she had different work to do.

And to work she went. She prepared the bed and then the milk food, fetched a chair, placed it in front of the immortality cube and, with her baby bag to hand, she sat down and watched it. Once settled, she slowly ate the milk food, making certain she masticated it properly, and intermittently checked her baby bag was complete with all the stuff she might need.

It took a while, hours actually, before Betsy was born again. Faeryfaye watched as the wall opaqued and changed into a membrane and something inside scrabbled at it. Faeryfaye wanted to help but knew she mustn’t. If Betsy was to live again it must be through her own efforts. Faeryfaye worried. She didn’t know the odds but she did know that some people had died trying just this.

Eventually, there was a small tear, then a larger one and a finger emerged, hooked itself, and was dragged down by the body behind falling slowly in the thick bloody syrup inside. But the body fell and the rip was now large enough for an arm to emerge, then another arm. The arms struggled mightily and, just when Faeryfaye started to think of giving up hope, the membrane was pulled aside and a body fell out along with all the goo that was sustaining the body until now. She wondered why none of the goo had spilt when the membrane was first torn.

Faeryfaye smiled. She knew Betsy would manage it. She’d managed a lot worse in her life after all. She rushed to Betsy’s side with her baby bag. First she wiped Betsy’s mouth then cleared the inside after inserting a leather bridle to stop from being bitten. She worried about that when training. She had delivered a lot of babies but not one of them had teeth like this one. She worried she’d forget that fact and lose a finger or two when she cleared the mouth. Betsy could be rough at times and fingers were time consuming to replace. But she had remembered and Faeryfaye silently rejoiced. After the preparations, she clamped the umbilical and cut it. Then she lay Betsy face down across her knee and walloped her bum—hard. Betsy screamed and straightened, becoming as stiff as a board. Good, nothing wrong with her lungs and she was breathing air again.

After double checking everything was to plan and cleaning up the more prominent bits of the afterbirth, she carefully picked up the still twitching, fully grown Betsy, carefully because Betsy was rather heavy, and laid her gently onto the prepared bed. Prepared with plastic sheets protecting the mattress. Mattresses were expensive and it would be a crime to spoil a good one for want of a simple preparation.

She swaddled Betsy with difficulty as Betsy didn’t want to be swaddled. Faeryfaye wasn’t a submissive but she was normally backwards in coming forwards. However, she could rouse herself for the right occasion and if this wasn’t a right occasion she didn’t know what a right occasion was. Anyway, Betsy’s movements were still uncoordinated and random.

She lay her lanky length, still fully clothed, alongside Betsy, wrapped her arms around her charge and gently sang lullabies to her eighty sixth new baby. Faeryfaye was surprised at how quickly Betsy accepted this situation, once she couldn’t escape. She saw Betsy’s lips repeatedly purse and then relax. “Oh Betsy, I knew you were different,” she murmured to herself. “You’re so impetuous. It really is you isn’t it?” She hoped it was true. This process wasn’t perfect, even after the new born had managed to escape the womb. Sometimes they were different and had to be nursed back to some form of usefulness to the community. Or, in the worst cases, they went to a special house miles away from nowhere, where they could live out their, probably short, lives being loved and cared for despite what they did and what they said. But Betsy was her star baby now. She was responding so very quickly. She slipped her shoulder strap, pulled down her bra and presented her nipple to Betsy’s lips.

She realised she should have some pads ready, but she had given them to Mrs. Riley when her seventh was born. It was a girl called Rosa, after her grandmother, but her mother was a bit short of the readies, so Faeryfaye had given her the pads and the maternity bra. They were basically the same size. She remembered Rosa fondly as though it was yesterday, which, in fact, it was. Rosa was her eighty fifth baby. Pendle was hours away from any National Health facility and the locals trusted Faeryfaye more than the hospital anyway. Well, the local females did and that’s all that mattered. Betsy suckled and Faeryfaye’s breasts provided the sustenance Betsy desperately needed. Faeryfaye’s last worry evaporated when Betsy’s programming held and she didn’t use her teeth during this process.

Eventually she realised Betsy was sucking on empty, so she gently pulled her teat away from Betsy’s lips. But Betsy was Betsy and didn’t want that. She held on mightily with her lips and suction, happily not with her teeth, and Faeryfaye had to use rather too much force to remove her temporary redundant nipple. It hurt, even without Betsy using her teeth, but that was part of the joy of motherhood.

Faeryfaye was all into the joy of living and nothing was joyously living like joyously giving birth. Both mother and baby were living in joyous harmony with all the Nature Gods at birthing time and just after. Things go quickly downhill after that, but that’s for another story.

She quickly hopped over to the other side and presented Betsy with her spare teat. She had to be quick because Betsy could react if she was thwarted, and refusing a baby its rightful milk on demand was definitely a thwart. But she was fast enough and Betsy latched on easily. She flapped around with her spare arm for her baby bag and found it by touch. Inside she found some food she used for moments like this. Happily and dreamily she let her mind wander and diffuse into the Cosmic All while Betsy suckled and she ate to replenish her supply quickly. Fearyfaye’s gentle orgasms while undertaking this task were reward in themselves. While Faeryfaye loved all her babies equally with a love that passeth all understanding, she also knew Betsy was a greedy bitch and no doubt the two full teats wouldn’t be enough. She also didn’t want to end up with one teat full and the other empty. She didn’t like that. It was wasteful and lacked symmetry and joyous nature was all about symmetry. She didn’t like expressing milk. Her opinion was that milk should be there in the teat on demand and she would make certain Betsy got all the milk she demanded.

Her dreamy meditations on the wonder of the Cosmos and her gently continuous orgasms had disappeared into frustration when she passed over to the other side for Betsy’s fourth round. She definitely wasn’t worried that this was the whole Betsy and nothing but the Betsy now. Betsy was a greedy bitch and pushy with it. She was onto her last round of lactose bars and Betsy still wasn’t finished? Betsy would just have to go hungry if she wanted more. Faeryfaye was feeling the effects of such continuous milk production. She was becoming tired and irritable. Fortunately for Betsy, she stopped after emptying the teat, leaving Faeryfaye’s other one full and leaking. She looked down at the sleeping Betsy and snarled. Betsy’s thumb in her mouth didn’t improve her mood. How had she done that? She had swaddled her herself. She quickly rose, stiff and aching and swaddled Betsy again, this time putting a dummy into Betsy’s mouth. Her heart softened when she saw Betsy suck on the dummy and then relax. Betsy repeated this action for a few turns then spat it out. Somehow, Betsy got her thumb back in her mouth. Faeryfaye cursed all babies, made certain Betsy was safe and warm and asleep with her thumb in her mouth, then went off, never out of earshot, to get a flannel and take care of herself, clean up the rest of the afterbirth, then hopefully get some sleep. She was a tad frayed.

Betsy slept and Fearyfaye slept with her.

“What the fuck?” said Betsy on waking, a day later.

Faeryfaye immediately knew she was back with them, safe and sound.

“Take it easy, Betsy. You’ve been through rebirth and this is the second time as well. Nobody’s done that before.” Faeryfaye naturally put love and warmth into her speech. It worked with most people but she didn’t know if it would work with Betsy. Betsy could be a little obstreperous at times.

Betsy looked at her and tried to wave her arms about only to realise she couldn’t. “Why’ve you tied me down?” she demanded.

“It’s standard for a rebirth. You know that. “Think back to the course, Betsy. Can you remember it?”

“Course I can,” answered Betsy while trying to remember any course on this. She couldn’t but wasn’t going to admit it. She probably had something better to do while it was given. But now she had to accept this was standard. “OK then, please get me out of this.” She struggled as she asked that and was rewarded by tying herself more in knots than she was originally. Faeryfaye marvelled at that. Betsy had slept soundly for twenty four hours and had hardly moved in all that time and now she was totally entwined with the blankets. It took a good ten minutes to untangle her, time that would have been reduced if Betsy hadn’t kept on informing Faeryfaye how to do it. But it was eventually finished and Betsy stretched as if for the first time in her life.

“What happened?” she said.

Faeryfaye looked concerned. A look Betsy didn’t like. It could mean she was going to act in a way Betsy disapproved of. And Betsy wasn’t fit enough yet to handle her. Faeryfaye eventually asked, quietly and lovingly, “Aren’t you the one to tell me that, Betsy?”

Betsy looked embarrassed at that. “Oh. OK. Yes. I suppose…” She mumbled her way through these meaningless phrases while desperately trying to remember what happened. Then her eyes opened wide. “I’ve got to get back,” she eventually announced.

“You’re in no condition to go back, Betsy,” said Faeryfaye kindly, trying to inject some standard common sense into Betsy, while realising as she said it, it would do no good. One thing Betsy didn’t have was common sense, standard or non-standard.

“That can’t be helped. I can recover on the plane. When’s the next flight? And what’s the nearest airport from here? Are we in Pendle?”

“We’re in Pendle, Betsy,” Faeryfaye answered quietly and reasonably. Betsy realised Faeryfaye could easily be a social worker with her gentle and oh so condescending voice she didn’t realise she had. “Manchester’s the nearest airport. But I’m in charge now, Betsy, and I say you’re going nowhere without a thorough recuperation. I’m still worried about any hidden repercussions from your visit to Germany. Remember you drank a Goddess’ potion. And they’re not to be taken lightly.”

“No, they’re to be taken in one gulp,” answered Betsy immediately and immediately regretted saying that.

Faeryfaye stared at Betsy with concern in her eyes. “You took Rati’s potion in one gulp? What was the dosage Franz used?”

“Never mind that,” said Betsy quickly, remembering the drops he gave her first time and the litre she gulped down when she was on her own. “I’ve got to get back to River City or people will die. And they’ll die dead. It’s vital.”

“Well, you know I can use my own judgement here, Betsy.” Betsy hated the overuse of her name, but Faeryfaye did that to everyone, so it wasn’t personal. She thought it was being caring and it probably was, for her. That didn’t stop it being fucking annoying though. “But to do that I need to know what’s happening so I can make my own judgement. You know that, Betsy.”

Another annoying trait. Making statements that were true. Betsy pouted. She wasn’t at her best physically, she knew that. She needed recuperation, she knew that. She had to get back as quickly as possible, she knew that. She’d just have to sleep on the plane, if she could convince Fearyfaye to let her go in the first place. She’d just have to tell the story. One thing was for certain, Betsy would definitely not try to con her way past her. She remembered what happened the last time she tried that. If she did, she’d have to explain it all to ‘Her’, and ‘She’ would definitely not be pleased.

So Faeryfaye made breakfast. She insisted, despite Betsy’s protests. After all, Betsy owed Faeryfaye for her help and Betsy would freely admit that, even embellish on it, if Betsy could make the breakfast. But Faeryfaye was nothing if not conscientious, so she made breakfast and Betsy ate it all up and pretended to like it like a good little girl. And while she ate it she told the tale. She even wondered if she should include Loki’s role in all this, but she wisely decided to. The tale ended when Betsy backed up her brain for the last time.

Faeryfaye looked on wide eyed, but still didn’t let Betsy miss any of the nourishing breakfast she made. Betsy made appreciative noises Faeryfaye didn’t believe. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was Betsy ate it all up like a good little girl.

“So, the three of you were going back to that castle to deal with Dr. Orlof after you returned. You must have gone and were captured again.”

“No, that can’t be right. We knew how to get in and Dr. Orlof and the others were seriously depleted. There can’t be more than ten or fifteen of those bimbos left now and they’re only effective in large numbers. Ten or fifteen bimbos will hinder them not us.”

Faeryfaye looked at Betsy with those big, bulging, innocent, washed out, pale blue eyes of hers. Eyes that, Betsy knew, could deceive her even now with all her experience of them. She must have done some sort of deal with those faeries to have that sort of power.

“Aren’t you forgetting Dr. Orlof may be learning how to deal with you, Betsy? And he may have more bimbos by now. You did say there were thousands in that mall.” Betsy wished Faeryfaye would, at least once, forget something. “And those other two as well, of course. If he got you then we must fear the worst about Vicky and Pearl. And Pearl interests me greatly. You say that elf asked about her freckles? And that Ffanci Cloyd-Morgan noticed she had more of them at one point? That is interesting. Then there’s the pixies, of course.”

“Why?” asked Betsy in a louder voice than normal. What’s it about those bloody freckles? What have freckles got to do with anything? And what about pixies? There aren’t any there. Anywhere in the city or the surrounding area either. It’s weird, but so what?”

“You say that elf took your suggestion seriously?”

Betsy looked puzzled. “What suggestion?”

She was drinking her tea now. Tea made by Faeryfaye was something else. Something weird and horrible. It wasn’t made with tea, so how could she call it tea? Some sort of herbal tisane was what it was. It was horrible was what it really was. But Betsy saw her eyes study her, noting every reaction with great interest as she drank it. Faeryfaye placed a great deal of trust in that tea. She gathered the herbs and moss and roots and fungi and God knows what else herself from Pendle wood, so Betsy didn’t want to know exactly what was in it. And Faeryfaye prepared everything herself as well as doing the incantations personally instead of outsourcing like Betsy and most of the others did. Betsy was in no position to complain, so she drank it and tried so hard not to gag and to look as if it was normal to drink such stuff.

“I mean about the pixies.”

“Oh,” said Betsy. “Yes, she seemed to. But I was thinking off the top of my head. It was just a thought.”

“Oh Betsy,” she answered in the manner that irritated Betsy yet again. “Don’t you think that’s important? I mean you are so clever but you don’t understand how clever you are. Your top of your head comments, as you say, are ALWAYS to be taken very seriously.” Well, Faeryfaye took everything seriously, so what did this mean? “And that elf understood you better than you do.” This was said in sorrow, as if Betsy was some dullard who couldn’t understand the simplest lesson. It rankled. But Betsy still kept to her best behaviour.

Faeryfaye washed up, forbidding Betsy from helping. While she washed up she hummed. She hummed a weird soulful, vaguely sorrowful tune. It grated on Betsy’s ears, but Betsy had heard Loki’s tune, so this one was, fortunately, easy to take. With the dishes washed and dried, and the tea towel placed on the oven’s handle to dry naturally, Faeryfaye came to a decision. Betsy saw it and prepared to argue mightily.

“We have to get there as quickly as possible,” was what she said.

Betsy was prepared for this and started to argue. She was feeling a lot more like her old self now and was up for the battle. She stopped after she issued a couple of words in a controlled but firm manner. She stopped because Faeryfaye had agreed with her. She didn’t immediately know what to say. Faeryfaye started towards the exit.

“Hey,” said Betsy, finally cottoning on. “What’d’ye mean ‘we’?”

“I mean what I say, Betsy. Why do you think I said it?”

‘Oh God, she’s back with stating the truth’. Betsy didn’t like arguing against the truth. It was so bloody awkward.

“You can’t go. I mean,” she hastily amended, “it’s not your fight. In fact it’s not our fight. It’s mine though. They’re my friends and I want to help them.”

“Your fight is my fight,” answered Faeryfaye, noting Betsy’s ignoring of Loki’s geas.

‘Oh shite, she’s being noble. How do I deal with this?’ thought Betsy.

“Plus I think this is more serious than you seem to realise.”

Betsy looked at her askance. She always wanted to know how to look at a person askance and now she knew. It was a pity she didn’t realise it at the time, because she would have remembered it properly instead of remembering it improperly a few months later. That would have made all the difference and saved her left nipple. But she didn’t know that now, so she didn’t then. All she could do then was store the nipple in formaldehyde and grow another one. The good news would be that stored nipple made a great conversation piece whenever she had friends round.

Betsy calmed herself again and said, “Explain.”

Faeryfaye looked at her.

“Please,” added Betsy.

“I can’t,” said Faeryfaye. “If you can’t see it now, I can’t explain it to you. You’ll eventually see I’m right, Betsy.”

Betsy fumed. She was back to being a baby.

Betsy cast around for something to fight back with. Eventually her malicious smile appeared. “Have you remembered we’re dealing with elves here? Do you want to deal with them? You don’t get on with them, do you? You could end up fighting them and think what would happen then. You’d be beaten, there are more of them than of you, so what’s the point?”

“You’d fight with me,” stated Faeryfaye.

Again with the fucking true statements. “Yes, but, so what? There’s more of them than the two of us and we’d both end up dead. I can’t afford another death. It’d take months to resurrect me again. There’s no clone prepared now. ‘She’ wouldn’t like that.” Betsy had played her trump card invoking ‘Her.’ Faeryfaye looked at Betsy with pity in her eyes.

“But that’s not going to happen, is it, Betsy? Elves can, and do, work with me when it suits their interest. And they work with faeries too, when it suits both their interests. You favour elves but you have worked with faeries, haven’t you? Why don’t you know this? Yes, elves want to exterminate the faeries and the faeries want to exterminate the elves, but, so what? They live in an armed truce and have done so for the last few thousand years. An armed truce we negotiated in the first place at Storegga, I might add. They’ll get around this disagreement in another few thousand years when their tempers have cooled down and events like this will have helped that reconciliation and it’s our duty to help that reconciliation.”

“Hey, I’ve just realised,” said Betsy with heat, desperately trying to change the subject. “You said this is my second rebirth. It isn’t, so my second clone must still be available. And while I’m on this subject, why was I reborn here instead of in the factory where I set up? Is there something wrong with the system?”

“No Betsy. This is definitely your second rebirth. I checked that most carefully. Your first was just a few hours before your second. In fact, your first clone wouldn’t have had time to be reborn before you died again.”

“But…” spluttered Betsy. “But that’s impossible. If I was reborn I would’ve reported in. That’s axiomatic. You saying you never got that?”

“I never got that, Betsy,” Faeryfaye said slowly and carefully.

“So, what the fuck happened? Did that first clone just die? It was designed to be self-actuating and something could’ve just gone wrong with it. After all, the whole design of that portable womb is a new compromise. I set that warehouse up with everything required, but…” Betsy tapered off here, not liking this thought.

“It was born, Betsy. I can’t say where, but it was born. And all the information I have is it was successfully born.”

Betsy was uncharacteristically quiet as she accepted this new information. “Then, what happened?” she finally asked.

“I don’t know Betsy. Hadn’t we better go and find out?”

Faeryfaye and Betsy were outside now and in the area where the signals reached their mobiles. Betsy didn’t answer that last question, preferring to think and worry about it on her tod. She worried that she had resurrected twice and her clone might still be alive. That would call for a lot of explaining. She’d have to be on the top of her game to get round that without serious consequences. Hells Bells, if the system is as fucked up as it looked, the original model might still be wandering around. This could get complicated. And, if a levelling was decided, then the original model would get priority. She started wondering if she could just dispose of it without anyone knowing. And, hopefully, that second one at the same time. And, even more hopefully, she’d only have to deal with that second one as she would have dealt with the original by the time she got there. And she wouldn’t know she was coming either, so that was in her favour.

Faeryfaye called for Carl again and told him to come now and take them to the town centre.

“The town centre? Why’re we going there? We need to get to an airport.” Betsy had accepted Faeryfaye’s companionship on this stage of her River City adventure. She didn’t like it but there was nothing she could do about it, so she had to try and keep her on track. That wouldn’t be easy. Faeryfaye had her own ideas and got in everybody’s way. She wasn’t used to the rough and tumble of modern life, especially in places outside of civilisation, like America. And River City was even worse. Yes, she could cope with the chavs in Pendle easily enough, but those super heroes and villains in River City were a tad different. Faeryfaye could cope with them eventually, once she got the difference into her thick head, but it would be chaos until then.

“Aeroplanes are too slow, Betsy. Didn’t you say time was of the essence. We’re going for my broom.”

A deathly chill ran down Betsy’s spine. Then it ran down her legs, gave her toes frostbite, bounced off them and returned to her spine whereupon it travelled up to her neck, taking a detour to give her fingers frostbite on the way. From her neck it passed deep into her brain. It lost none of its cold by the time it flooded her brain with scaredness.

“You can’t be thinking of crossing the Atlantic on that broom of yours? It’s not up to it. In fact it should never have passed its M.O.T. for the last decade. I don’t know how you managed that. Face it Faeryfaye, you’ve got the local farmers to set up heaps in strategic places just so’s you can land safely, and a couple of them are dung heaps. It’s not safe.”

“It’s in the garage now for its M.O.T. and it will pass. I know the owner,” she answered smugly. “I’m also having the landing spells upgraded as well, so there’s no need to be frightened Betsy.”

“Oh, come on. You can’t expect me to believe that. You can’t afford all that. You can barely afford to live.”

“I did a favour for the mechanic’s girlfriend and he’s ever so grateful. So grateful he’s doing the work for free,” she answered smugly.

“What favour?” asked Betsy, with one or two suspicions bouncing across the cavernous spaces inside her head.

“Private,” was all she got in reply. Faeryfaye made another call and spoke to someone she obviously woke up. It was still the early morn. Her face fell.

Betsy looked and didn’t say a word. Faeryfaye’s face told it all. “It’s failed the M.O.T.” she said, eventually. The government has revamped all the M.O.T. inspectors and allocated a new one to Pendle. She’s some sort of authoritarian and stickler for the letter of the law and doesn’t appreciate the nuances of everyday life in a place like this. Why do they place women in positions of power nowadays? Men are much more amenable to logic.” Her face was a picture.

“Well, we’ll have to take a plane then,” said Betsy, trying to keep the triumph out of her voice.

“No, Betsy,” replied Faeryfaye as they waited in the dark for their lift. Faeryfaye looked up at the stars.

“Don’t you think stars are God’s daisy chain?” she asked of Betsy out of nowhere.

Betsy stared at her, horrified.

“You’ve been reading Wodehouse again, haven’t you? You know what that stuff does to you and you still go back to it time and time again. You mustn’t think of such things. They’re dangerous.”

Faeryfaye was embarrassed. After all, she had had treatment for this, but it was so enticing. Fortunately their lift appeared, just in time to save her, chugging up in another car from the one he brought her in.

“Why the different car, Carl?” she said.

Carl was surly, but, he always was. “Police took the other one away. Said it was a clone or something. I don’t know.”

They got in. “We’re going to the museum,” said Faeryfaye.

“Where did you get this one then?” asked Betsy. He didn’t look like the type of person to own one car, never mind two.

“Borrowed it,” was the reply as Betsy realised what Faeryfaye said.

“Why the museum? We need to get to the airport.”

Faeryfaye looked at Betsy but said nowt. Her lips curled into a smugness Betsy didn’t like.

“What’re you up to now?”

“You’ll see. Planes are far too slow anyway. We’ll never get there in time.”

Betsy was panicking. “We’ll hire one then. We’ll commandeer one if necessary. Where’s the nearest military airport? It’s not difficult, well, except for the paperwork afterwards, but that’ll be later and we could have some other job by then.”

“Oh, Betsy,” Faeryfaye said in sorrow. “Why must you always try and do this? Don’t you realise proper records are the foundation of everything we do?”

“The elves get away without any paperwork,” Betsy muttered. “And so do the faeries.” This was added to make it more personal to Faeryfaye.

“Elves and faeries have their own methods we can’t use.” Again she looked at Betsy with great sorrow in her eyes. “But you know this, Betsy. You do, if you stop and think about it. Please don’t be so impetuous. You’ll manage a lot better if you simply obey the rules.”

Betsy fumed.

Carl dropped them off at the museum and Faeryfaye lost no time in dragging Betsy round the back and banging on the door. It opened eventually and they were looking at an old geezer. Well, Betsy thought the word ‘old’ didn’t accurately describe him. Betsy knew what old was and this guy was beyond that. She started thinking about vampires and how they lived for ever. She hadn’t realised they would still age though. She wondered if this one had some pointed ones in his falsies. She wondered if they could be got from the National Health. Did vampires pay taxes? She also wondered if this one was a relative of the oldie in the allotment next to hers. He could be. She couldn’t tell if there was any facial similarities because of all the wrinkles and folds in their faces.

Faeryfaye smiled. “Morning Fred,” she said in her brightest cheeriest voice. To Betsy’s amazement, Fred smiled back, at least she thought it was a smile. He could have been preparing, in his arthritic way, to swoop and bite her neck.

“Morning Faeryfaye. How’re you? You’re up early. Brew?” He invited them in as he said all that.

“This is Betsy, Fred. She’s with me.” She didn’t answer the brew question, as acceptance was axiomatic.

“Hello Betsy,” said Fred with a cheery and friendly voice. Betsy felt bad at what she thought about him. Well, until she remembered vampires were all about fascination and mind control. Then she was wary all over again. Fred didn’t notice and took her good will as a given, seeing as she was with Faeryfaye.

‘Pendle is fucking weird,’ thought Betsy as they trundled slowly to the small kitchen, where he set about finding mugs and tea bags and putting the kettle on. Faeryfaye sat down and started chatting to him. ‘How’s the wife? How’re the kids? How’re the grandkids? How’re the great grandkids? What about the cost of eggs? The Co-op’s put them up again. What’s the country coming to? Did you hear what Alice did last night?’ All the things that drove Betsy mad were there in spades. And how did Faeryfaye know what happened to Alice last night? Betsy had never heard of Alice, but Faeryfaye actually knew what happened to her last night? Despite her being with Betsy, incommunicado, all last night.

Betsy sat and endured. She had to do that whenever Faeryfaye was around. This was Faeryfay’s territory and she was a master at it. Or should that be the mistress at it? If it was mistress, shouldn’t Faeryfaye be wearing thigh highs with seven inch heels? And a leather corset and…

…and that thought evaporated when she tried to picture it. It must be ‘master’ after all, she concluded.

Betsy thought about that while the conversation, if you could call it that, ebbed and flowed around her. After a while, Betsy had her cup of tea put in front of her on the rickety old kitchen table. Betsy liked tea. She was definitive about how to make the stuff and what tea to use and what water and everything about it. She had heard of a man who always used loose tea because he could taste the paper in tea bags. Stupid. Didn’t he know it was the paper that added to the taste? You had to get the right kind of paper though. A good old fashioned Berwick Mill Loom was superb, but you were lucky to get that nowadays. On the bright side, there were some modern papers that were very acceptable substitutes.

She took a sip and grimaced automatically. She needn’t have. It was delicious. The only problem was it was too hot to drink all at once. Betsy liked Fred and wondered why he was consorting with the weirdo that was Faeryfaye.

After the cuppa and the chat, Faeryfaye finally got round to the reason why they were here. “Do you still have The Dragon in the basement, Fred?”

“Aye,” he replied in his broad, old fashioned Lancashire drawl. Betsy concentrated. He was a tad difficult to understand and she wanted to miss nowt now. “It’s still there. Why d’ye want to know?”

“I need to borrow it for a while, Fred. It’s important.”

Fred looked pensive and sucked his teeth like a good used car salesman looking at what was brought in to him for a part exchange. Betsy wondered what The Dragon was. She had noted the capitals on the words.

“How long for? We’ve got an inspection in a couple of months and I’ll need it back in one piece by then.”

Faeryfaye smiled. “It’ll be back long before then, Fred.”

Fred smiled. “Well then, seeing as it’s you…”

Faeryfaye hugged him. Betsy looked on wide eyed. He may make great tea, but hugging him? She wondered if he washed inside his wrinkles. But then, Faeryfaye was into the elementals and all that nature stuff wasn’t she. She was probably immune.

“If it’s OK with you, we’ll just borrow it now, Fred. The sooner we do the sooner we’ll get it back.”

“OK then. You’ve checked it out each Friday for the past six years, so you know where it is. Does Betsy know how to drive it?”

“Oh yes. She’s qualified just like me.”

‘What the fuck am I qualified for?’ thought Betsy as she smiled back at Fred. Faeryfaye left then dragging Betsy into the museum.

“Great tea,” said Betsy as she departed. Always keep in the good books of anyone who could make good tea. That was Betsy’s motto. You never knew when you’d need a good cuppa.

Five minutes later Betsy’s mood was back down where it started from. She was looking at a broom, but not any old broom. This one was vintage. World War Two vintage. It was made near the end of that war to counteract the Nazi warlocks’ own brooms, which were a bit of a nuisance. But it was made too late and the war was won without it. This was the prototype. It had flown and passed all its tests, but then it was mothballed. Apparently the government didn’t want the public to know what they were doing to protect them. ‘Keeping it from the Americans would also have been on their minds’, thought Betsy. ‘After all, look what they did with those atom scientists.’ Betsy approved of this Put Britain First policy. She approved of it so much, she didn’t want to break it now.

“We can’t use that. It’s been banned.”

“Oh poo,” answered Faeryfaye, walking round it, drinking it in in all its glory. “They can’t worry about what they don’t know about.”

“But there’ll be forms to fill out and permissions to get.”

“Not if we don’t tell them.”

This argument persuaded Betsy there and then. But the fear of actually using the fucking thing was prominent in her mind. She had flown with Faeryfaye before, with Faeryfaye driving, and she still had nightmares. Give her a good solid proper aeroplane that worked on proper physics any day.

“This can’t be faster than a plane.”

“Of course it can, Betsy. It’s designed to be faster and more manoeuvrable than the Fokker-Hag, so it’s the best there is, even today.”

“But the load. And the distance. And look at it. It’s not designed for two.”

“It’s designed for war conditions, Betsy. That means it’s adaptable. We can adapt it for two easily.”

Betsy didn’t like the ‘we’ bit. How the fuck can this rough streak of willow with twigs on the end be adapted to carry two?

“But war brooms need pilots who are trained specifically for their use. We aren’t.” Betsy was getting desperate now. Faeryfaye had actually lifted the thing off its stand, complete with two pilot helmets that looked like they were from World War One, and was walking with it back to the museum proper. “How do you know it’s still airworthy? And does it have a current M.O.T.?” Betsy thought that was a killer blow.

“Humph,” snorted Faeryfaye. “It’s a war machine and doesn’t need an M.O.T. And, of course it’s airworthy. It hasn’t done anything but stay here since the war.”

“Military machines still need to be checked,” said Betsy following her.

“Of course they don’t, Betsy. This one was checked before it was left here. It’s in perfect working order.”

Faeryfaye had reached the museum proper now, but was heading to a side room, and not the great outdoors. Anything that stopped her taking that thing outside was good in Betsy’s books. She followed Fearyfaye into a room full of fishing paraphernalia. What the fuck was a museum in Pendle, of all places, doing with fishing stuff? Pendle was in the middle of the country. The nearest any Pendleonians got to the sea was in their fish and chips on a Friday night. Betsy knew it was a Friday night from her courses here way back when. She also knew these people never strayed from their tiny domain and she was certain none of them had actually seen the sea. They thought they knew it all when, in fact, they didn’t even know how much they didn’t know. ‘And best to keep it that way,’ thought Betsy. ‘It wouldn’t do to let foreigners know we had a place like Pendle. We’d be the laughing stock of the world if we did’.

Betsy frowned when Faeryfaye picked up a fishing net from a display and then started to walk out.

“Get that anchor please, Betsy,” she asked, oh so politely. Betsy complied. She just didn’t know what was going on now.

Just near the door, Faeryfaye shouted to Fred, “I’ve got the net as well, Fred, the anchor and a couple of helmets.”

“OK,” came the reply. “Thanks for telling us.”

Betsy trotted along behind, hating Fred for his lackadaisical regard for the valuable artifacts entrusted to his care. What was the government thinking of when they put him in charge?

Out back, Betsy found Faeryfaye spreading out the net. “What do you think you’re doing? We’re wasting time. We should be going to the airport.” She thought of another time waster she could try.“Wait, I’ve got to find out…” Betsy dialled a number.

“Hello, League of Heroes. Robot Girl speaking,” said in an authentic and experienced professional tele-sales voice that dripped sincerity and concern. Unfortunately for Robot Girl, nobody with any sense believed her. They all thought they would be given the brush off if they wanted anything or sold to if they didn’t, and they were all on their guard against this despite the reason for their calling in the first place. And that’s precisely what Betsy felt when she heard that answer. She didn’t hang up but pulled herself together.

“Hello Robot Girl. This is Betsy Leohtar. I met Flapper Girl a few days ago when Pearl Girl introduced us at your headquarters.”

“Oh yes. I read the report Flapper Girl left as well as Pearl’s report, and they intrigue me.” That professional telephone voice sounded pleased to speak to Betsy and radiated a truthfulness Betsy automatically warded off. “I’m afraid I’m the only one here just now Betsy. The evil ones are still up to no good and it’s tying up all our heroes. Well, except for me. I’m due for an urgent check up which is why I’m here. Where’s Pearl Girl? She’s sorely missed. And her friend Vicky as well. And obviously you. Pearl Girl’s report flatters both of you and we do need extra bodies right now.”

Betsy was a bit embarrassed now. “Er, well, I’m in England at the moment. I had to return, well, I had no choice about it. I don’t know what happened to Pearl Girl and Vicky. I was sort of hoping you could tell me.”

“Oh, that is worrying. I don’t like the sound of that. Will you be returning? And how did you circumvent the storms?”

Oh God, another one. Betsy hated niceness. She couldn’t fight against it. Robot Girl never even intimated about her scurrying off back to Britain when all hell was breaking loose over there. She just accepted it, stayed calm and carried on. Betsy looked at Faeryfaye, who was fiddling with the broom. Betsy didn’t expect to get out of this alive, but, even so, she couldn’t just slag off her own comrade in arms to anyone outside the group. Especially not to a foreigner. And even more especially not to an American. That just wasn’t done. It wasn’t cricket. “I, er, returned through abnormal channels. It was a once off and can’t be repeated. Just a second Robot Girl.”

“Faeryfaye, when will we arrive there?”

Faeryfaye smiled delightedly at Betsy. “It’ll take about seventy minutes, Betsy.”

“What,” screamed Betsy. “You do know the Atlantic’s bigger than the Irish Sea and America’s fucking big all by itself and River City’s on the west coast? That’s the coast furthest away from us.”

“Of course, Betsy. My estimate is accurate.”

“We’ll create a sonic boom all the way across Ireland and the States. We’ll permanently deafen the Irish and Americans a hundred miles from us.”

“No sonic boom, Betsy. And no Americans will know we’ll be there. Not even their air defences.” She thought for a bit. “The Irish will know, of course, but they’ll just ignore us.”

Betsy felt her whiteness intensify. She must look like some vampire had sucked out all her blood and she was operating as dead meat. She’d be a shoo in for any Goth event now.

She put the mobile back to her lips. “Robot Girl…”

“I heard, Betsy, and I’m grateful. I’ll inform the others you and your friend will be here in less than two hours.” Her voice sounded so grateful it was heart wrenching. Betsy didn’t like her heart wrenched. It hurt.

“Now wait a minute Robot Girl. I’m…” Faeryfaye suddenly stared straight at her with those big washed out eyes of hers. They were excessively prominent because she had also widened them as well. The effect was unnerving. “Sorry—we’ll—er, we’ll be heading straight to the castle. I’m very worried about Pearl Girl. We’ll probably go straight in before they have the time to react. We won’t be able to help with your own fights there. At least not immediately. How’s the weather there anyway? Are those storms ended yet?”

“The storms are still here, Betsy. And I do understand about your plan of action. But we have been able to send a, well, a scout, I suppose, to check out the castle. I’m expecting his report back any minute.”

Betsy thought for as long as she thought Faeryfaye would let her get away with. “That’s good, Robot Girl. Thank you. We’ll stop off at your HQ before going on the the castle.”

“I’ll see if we can get some help for you then,” said Robot Girl, “as well as the report. But, I’m so sorry, I can’t promise that. But you didn’t mention Vicky. Do you know anything that has happened to her?”

“Of course you can’t get help for me. Don’t worry about…”

That bloody look again.

“I mean us—help for us. We know what we’re doing,” she lied. “As for Vicky, I never worry about her. She leads a charmed life. She always comes out on top.”

‘Especially in bed,’ she added in her head, after one or three memories immediately inserted themselves into her consciousness. Normally she would hang up just about now, but she was reluctant to do so. After all, every second she was talking to Robot Girl was a second she wasn’t flying on an antiquated and unmaintained broom at multi Mach speeds driven by a manic, speed crazy, new-age lunatic. And it wasn’t even full moon.

After a short pause, Robot Girl said, “I’m sorry but I’ll have to go, Betsy. I promise I’ll do my very best to help you and try and get you some help there.

Faeryfaye tied the ends of the net to various padeyes on the broom and hooked the anchor over another. “Get in Betsy.”

Betsy went white. “You can’t expect me to get in that. You’ve just tied it on. The net’s old. It’ll fail. The knots’ll fail. That broom hasn’t got the power…”

“Do you want to discuss this with ‘Her’? I’ll call ‘Her’ now,” she had her phone out. “I’m certain ‘She’ won’t mind this early call as it is an emergency. At least, that’s what you said, and I do believe you Betsy.”

Betsy thought she went white before. Now all the Goths for miles around would be automatically stumbling, zombie-like, towards her.

“You can’t mean that?”

Faeryfaye started dialling.

“OK, OK. We’ll try it. But I’m driving.”

“Oh Betsy,” her eyes were soft focus again, all caring and wondering how to break it to the poor simple fool next to her that what she said was totally impossible.

“Don’t you remember your test, Betsy? Especially the section where you carried a partner over a set course? I was your partner for your test, wasn’t I? And you were mine. I took three and a half minutes to complete the course while you took over two hours. I had to lift my feet to keep them from scraping along the ground as well.”

Betsy pouted. “So what? It was within the guidelines.”

“Those guidelines were amended after your test, Betsy. Didn’t you know? They had to add a minimum time for the course and a minimum height.”

“Well, brooms are dangerous. There’s no need to actively put yourself in danger for no reason, is there?”

“That’s not what the test is for, is it? It’s to make certain we’re all competent on a broom. You passed, just, but I don’t think you’ve been on one since. Have you?”

Betsy didn’t answer.

“I mean Betsy, why didn’t you practice afterwards? Nobody would have minded. In fact, nobody need have known. But you didn’t. So now, when you need this skill, you want to waste money and time by using a military plane. Can you imagine what the Americans would think when an uncharted fighter plane crosses into their airspace? Especially with this President they’ve voted in. There would be a lot of trouble, wouldn’t there?”

“But not for us. We’d just parachute in and the pilot could explain later.”

“The pilot would be arrested, Betsy. Would you want that?”

“Of course not. So we’ll get him out after we’ve dealt with Dr. Orlof and his crew. Their President is easily bullshitted. No worries.”

Faeryfaye gave Betsy a look and said, “Get in, Betsy.” Betsy donned her WW1 helmet with dread in her heart, positioned the goggles and got in. Faeryfaye donned her helmet, a cooler looking one noted Betsy, positioned her, again, cool looking goggles, tied up the last end of the net, got astride the broom sidesaddle, as befitting a gentlelady, which Faeryfaye thought she was, checked the controls and took off.

They went straight up. Betsy screamed. Looking up she saw Faeryfaye holding on by her hands and screaming herself as the broom ascended at a rate of knots that took Betsy’s breath away. It achieved cruising height and stopped and Faeryfaye scrambled back on to the driving seat, her long skirt hampering her as she tried to get back on. She ended up sidesaddle again. Faeryfaye did not like to display her assets for all and sundry to see. Betsy looked at her from the entanglement of the net around her and prayed. She even prayed to Loki as well as all the Gods and Goddesses she could think of. This was no time to be discriminatory. She’d worship any one who could get her out of this mess.

“Which way is River City?” yelled Faeryfaye.

Betsy looked askance (again) at her and pointed. Faeryfaye turned the war broom to the right direction and did the equivalent of opening the throttle. The broom leapt to action and was soon hurtling on its way with Betsy in the net streaming along behind—screaming. Faeryfaye couldn’t hear Betsy’s screams because of the wind noise. It was cold up there, even for Faeryfaye but she eventually worked out how to activate the heating spell. She didn’t realise the heating field didn’t cover Betsy as she streamed out behind.

Betsy panicked as ice started to weld her toes together. In desperation she launched a simple wormwood attack at Faeryfaye who finally looked back and saw Betsy’s plight. She enlarged the heating field to include Betsy. Now all Betsy had to cope with was the extreme buffeting that threatened to separate her limbs and head from her torso.

Then they went supersonic and Betsy’s renewed screams were left far behind.”

Five minutes later, Betsy was above Faeryfaye and would have been looking down on the top of her head if she hadn’t been counting the rivets on the wing of a Virgin Atlantic Airways plane Faeryfaye had just swerved down to avoid. Betsy wanted to inform her pilot that her net didn’t follow the exact path of the broom, but her brain was far too scared to be able to work out how to communicate. Instead it took refuge in a bout of OCD and counting the rivets as they flew past her nose was just the thing to distract her brain from the reality of her situation right this minute.