© Elliot Richard Dorfman
Adam stared into his new large improved crystal ball and saw the face of a matronly woman. A fellow warlock who sold him this model had guaranteed that it would be much more effective than any of the others he had owned.
He banged his fists angrily on the table. “ I asked to see what woman would be the perfect match for me. Is this the best I can get?”
Suddenly, the woman's face in the ball became much more youthful and pretty.
Adam relaxed. “Oh yes, I forgot that I will probably have to use some kind of magic on her to make her suitable for me. I'd better go find the ancient book and pick out which potion and spells to use.”
Loraine Burger, Adam's destined mate, had no idea what was about to happen to her that as she sat that November night watching TV.
“There's nothing but mediocre shows,” the bored woman thought, switching the channel to a local station that had the news. “Guess this will have to do.”
Loriane had lived all her life in this three-bedroom farmhouse in Upstate New York. As an only child, she had inherited the place from her widowed mother six years ago. Now turning fifty, this woman had sadly resigned herself to remaining a spinster for the rest of her life. Oh, there was a time when she was young that she had expectations of getting married, but after a series of bad experiences, she became discouraged and gave up trying. This turned out to be a bad decision because she sorely missed having a family of her own. Compounding the issue, was her being an elementary school teacher and constantly seeing children five times a week to remind her of the void.
Recently, she had allowed her hair to turn gray and was beginning to wear matronly clothing.
“What difference does it make?” she figured. “No one really cares how I look.”
Unfortunately this was a true fact. Having become extremely private after being emotionally hurt by friends she trusted, Loraine chose to live a painfully lonely existence outside of her job.
A cute young reporter with curly black hair appeared on the tube. His bright green eyes seemed to look directly into hers. She didn't recall ever seeing him on television before. He was talking about some kind of contest the station was holding.
“Hi, this is Adam Darwell. Tonight, WVSD is giving away a beautiful antique, gilt framed mirror to the first viewer who calls us and can correctly answers our history question. Come on and give it a try! The number to call is . . . ”
History was always Loraine's favorite subject. “Why not try,” she thought. “ There's nothing to lose.”
Dialing the station's number, she was immediately connected to a staff member. “In what war did the United States first start drafting soldiers?”
“The Civil war, " she answered promptly.
“Right you are!” said the voice on the phone. “Congratulations, You have just won a beautiful full length antique mirror. Adam Darwell, WVSD's top young reporter, will personally deliver the prize to your home on Saturday morning at 11 o'clock, if that's convenient to you. Now, if you can give us some basic information . . . ”
At school, Loraine expected at least one or two of her colleagues to come over and congratulated her on winning the contest, but no one did.
“Oh, who cares,” she thought, “They're all jealous,” and decided to keep the information to herself.
When school ended that day, Loraine had her hair done, and then went to Rubinstein's, the most expensive dress shop in town, to purchase a new outfit.
“I don't want that young reporter to think I look like an old bitty,” she rationalized.
Waking early the next morning, Loraine got dressed and walked Reilly, her Irish Setter. Once that was out of the way, she went into the kitchen and prepared a brunch, just in case Mr. Darwell had some time to spare and was hungry. At eleven, the front door rang.
“He certainly is punctual,” she thought, opening the door.
“Hi,” Adam cheerfully said. “Got your mirror in my truck. If you know where you want it hung, I'll be glad to put it up for you. ‘Brought along my toolbox. Got plenty of time since I don't work on weekends.”
“That's very nice of you, Mr. Darwell,” Loraine responded, impressed by his thoughtfulness. “I think I'll put it up in my front hall.”
“Just call me Adam,” he requested. “And what is your first name?”
“Loraine? I always like that name,” the reporter responded as he went out to his vehicle which he had parked in her driveway.
The thick oval shaped mirror had a wooden, gold painted frame, embellished with delicate hand carved flowers and a cherub on the top of it. Adam had it up for her within fifteen minutes. The mirror added a nice touch to the hall.
“It's so beautiful,” Loraine said, admiring the workmanship. “They don't make things like this any more.”
“That's very true,” agreed Adam. “It's more than a hundred years old. Custom made for some rich family in New York City.”
Seeing he was not in any rush, Loraine invited him for the brunch she had prepared.
Adam happily accepted. “I didn't have any breakfast this morning, and my stomach is starting to grumble.”
Loraine, who was a good cook, had made a nice spread. There was a quiche, tuna and egg salad, blueberry muffins, homemade rolls, and even a small chocolate cake. The thin young man ate with a relish that satisfied the aging old maid.
“Fantastic,” Adam contentedly remarked, helping himself to a second piece of cake. “I haven't eaten this well in a long time. I usually grab something at a fast food place. I'm temporarily renting a room at a residential hotel that is close to the studio.”
The school teacher was getting a soft spot for this young man. “How about going into the living room and relaxing for a while.”
“That would be great,” he replied and warmly gave her a smile.
The sun beat through the two large windows as they walked in. It was a pretty room in earth tone colors with a comfortable sofa and two arm chairs. Adam sat near the fireplace and within a few minutes fell asleep.
Loraine smiled, and quietly sat down on the sofa with her sewing basket. The poor boy looked like he was neglecting himself. Then an idea popped into her head. Why not ask him to board here? There were two empty bedrooms, and she could make sure he was well-taken care of. Inwardly, the lonely woman was looking forward to that.
An hour later, Adam awoke refreshed. “Gee, between that meal and the nap, I feel great.” His smile made her affected heart melt some more.
“Adam, I have a nice extra room and don't mind cooking for . . . ”
“Say, if you're asking me to board here, the answer is yes, if it's within my means.”
“Oh, whatever you're paying at that hotel will be fine.”
“But you mentioned meal, wouldn't that be extra?”
“Oh, no, that will be my pleasure. Give you a chance to save a little money. Come, let me show you around.”
Adam was more than pleased after the tour, so it was arranged that he would move in at the end of the week. Suddenly life had more of a purpose for the spinster. It was going to be good having someone else in the house. Loneliness was hard to deal with. Loraine happened to glance in the antique mirror after Adam had left. A flattering image of herself reflected back.
“I seem to look younger,” she thought.
The week went by quickly. It was close to Thanksgiving and Loraine was preoccupied in getting her sixth grade class ready to present a holiday play. Still, she managed to purchase a new blanket, sheets and a more masculine bedspread with matching curtains for Adam's room. Being a reporter, she made sure to put the spare television in his room as well.
“Gee, this is swell,” he said when he saw the alterations, and impulsively gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Oh, yes,” Loraine thought, “we are going to get along fine!”
Reilly, happy to have a new friend, came into the room and jumped on top of the bed.
Adam's job as a local reporter kept him busy. When he returned at night, Loraine always had a hot meal waiting for him. On his weekends off, he enjoyed spending time at home. Eventually the two began taking little rides, going to the movies or finding some other place of interest. They seemed to have a lot in common.
Within a few weeks, Loraine's appearance became extremely attractive and youthful. Even the uppity colleagues in her school had noticed the miraculous change. A couple of bachelors even asked her out, but Loraine was not interested. A ll of her free time was being focused on Adam. This middle aged woman, who until recently had given up on life, was in love with a younger man - she thought.
By the new year, Loraine's miraculous transformation was complete. She actually had the physical body of a young woman.
“Guess I'm effecting you like a good tonic,” Adam joked when she brought it up to him.
It didn't take long before their relationship turned romantic.
“There's no doubt that we are perfectly matched,” the happy reporter exclaimed.
During the school winter recess in February, Loraine was surprised and overjoyed to learn that she was pregnant when she went for a check up after starting to get morning sickness. She had chosen a new doctor out of town who wouldn't be aware of her physical change. Still, even this doctor was impressed enough to comment that she had the body a woman in her twenties.
As soon as she got home, Loraine decided to call the television station and let Adam know of the good news. That was when the revelation came.
“There's no reporter named Adam Darwell working at WVSD ,” the station representative who answered told her, “nor have we ever held any type of contest that gave away an antique mirror to the winner.”
Stunned, Loraine hung up the phone. Outside, Reilly was barking in the backyard. Looking out of the back door, she saw Adam playing with the dog and quickly went over to him.
“Adam, what's going on? I called WVSD and . . .”
Adam affectionately took her around. “ You're trembling. Let's go inside and I'll explain everything to you, but be prepared to alter a lot of your traditional beliefs.”
It was chilly in the room. Adam put some more wood in the fireplace.
"Loraine, do you believe that magic can exist?”
“But how can you say that when after seeing your youth mysteriously return. Doesn't it make you wonder what has happened?”
“Yes, but there must be some kind of logical explanation!”
“There is. I slipped a potion into your coffee the first day I came here to make us become more compatible. You see, I ‘m a warlock.”
Loraine looked closely at Adam's face to see if there was a hint of a smile, but he had a serious expression.
“Warlocks are evil!”
“That's nonsense," he angrily responded. “Such ignorant type of thinking has caused my people to suffer throughout history. They have been burnt at the stake, hung, stoned to death, and sentenced to other unfounded cruel punishments.”
By now, this was getting a little too much for Loraine to take. She shook her head in disbelief.
“Why is it so hard to accept?” asked the sorcerer. “You are a teacher. How can you be close minded? At least hear me out!”
She nodded. “You're right. Please continue.”
“Thanks,” he said with a tone of relief. “My ancestors came from an extremely advanced civilization that settled on a large island in the Atlantic Ocean. It perished at the end of the last ice age after a large comet unexpectedly collided with Earth causing catastrophic damage by triggering earthquakes, tidal waves and a sudden rise in the earth's temperature. Only a small group of scientists who had gone to the mainland on some business survived. Although they retained a lot of their knowledge, they were reduced from living in a structured and ordered civilization to that of the nomadic tribe forced to wander the land in the aftermath of a cataclysm that destroyed everything they owned. At first they stayed together for protection. They pooled their knowledge and wrote down all the scientific knowledge they knew. As civilization redeveloped, they splintered into groups around the world. Each leader carefully carried a book of what they had collectively transcribed for future generations to use.”
“You aren't trying to bluff me, are you Adam?”
"Not a word!”
"Then you have deceived me ever since we first met,” said the perplexed woman, beginning to get angry.
Adam gently held her hands. "There wasn't any other way. I was determined it should work out between the two of us. After all, you never would have accepted me had you known the truth, and it has taken me hundreds of years to find you.
Loraine's eyes widened more and more. “But how did you learn to reverse my age?”
“My people learned how to slow down the aging process innumerable years ago. I first created a spell to make you think you were watching me on television. Afterward, everything fell into place. Do you understand? We were meant to be with each other. I just had to get rid of any obstacles that were in the way. What's so bad about that? Look at yourself. You've gone from a lonely old maid to a beautiful young woman with a bright future that most people can only dream about. In a short time we'll be moving away from here and starting fresh.”
“And how can you be so positive that we belong together?”
“Because my newly improved crystal ball told me so, and this model is the first one that's fully guaranteed,” Adam answered, giving her a wink.
Reilly suddenly jumped into Adam's lap, happily wagging his tale.
“See, even Reilly knows I'm right.”
Loraine couldn't help laughing. “Then I guess it's all settled.”
The two passionately embraced. Then after a few moments, the amorous warlock gently rubbed Loraine's stomach. “Say, Honey, isn't there something important you forgot to tell me?”