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Kathryn Ionata’s previous work for The Toast can be found here. This post was brought to you by @helensmolinski.

The Surrogacy Trap

MV5BMjA4OTYzMDk2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDY1MTM0OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Once upon a time, there lived a woman and a man who hoped with all their hearts for a little baby to call their own. They sought the help of shamans, who drew their blood and mixed spells to create a child, but nothing could remedy their plight. One day, a blonde witch in disguise as a princess came to them, boasting a kind heart and plush uterus in which to carry a baby. The couple’s prayers were answered, and soon the blonde witch was round with child.

Little did the couple know that the witch wanted the baby for herself. She would swaddle the baby with blankets and love it like no one else ever could. The woman began to grow suspicious of the witch, who everyone still believed to be a princess, when she pressed her hands against the woman’s husband. She would call him in the night and use her magic to draw him to her. The man resisted with all his might, and he, too, began to see the witch for what she was.

The baby came into the world a healthy, squalling little boy. The mommy and daddy named him William and swept him away to live with them in their mansion. This made the blonde witch very angry. She wanted the baby that was rightfully hers. All she needed was the baby and the woman’s husband to form the family she knew was meant to be. She kidnapped the baby and escaped. The woman and man were frantic. They alerted all the knights in the land to seek out the missing infant. They devised a scheme to trick the witch, but in her cunning, she outwitted them. The witch and the woman fought with clubs and knives. The witch had her powers, but the woman had her virtue, and it was this very virtue which enabled her to defeat the witch by throwing her off a balcony into a large glass table, where shards of glass killed her.

The true family was reunited at last! Magically, the woman found herself carrying another baby. They became the happiest family in the land.

The Perfect Neighbor

MV5BMTQ1ODAwNDUxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTczMjEzMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_On a chariot ride across the country, a wise elder told the young woman, “Do not marry, lest it kill ye.” Little did the elder know that this woman, Donna, had already blazed daggers when the man she loved rejected her, and this very chariot was taking her far from her crime.

Donna’s chariot delivered her to the home of Auntie Grace, with whom she was to live. Grace, a kind-hearted but naïve woman, took pity on Donna, so clearly alone, and escorted her to the local ball across the meadow. There she met William, the handsomest man in all the land. His eyes were the blue of the most brilliant summer sky. Even the way he cooked pig parts on an open flame drew out her love. Alas, Donna soon learned that William shared his life and land with a wife and young daughter.

Love is a powerful force that colors one’s eyes and poisons the blood, and such was the case with Donna. She committed every act in her power to make William love her. She sliced herself with glass to feel his hands bandage her. She cooked a meal for him and cared for his child. She removed her bodice and rolled around on his bed in order to infuse it with her love.

Auntie Grace, with her strict moral compass, scolded Donna for her intrusion on William’s happy family. In a rage, Donna pushed Grace down the stairs to her death. William’s pure and unsuspecting wife, Jeannie, thinking the death was an accident, decreed, “You must come stay with us, Donna. Surely living in the presence of our love will heal your grieving heart.”

And so Donna came to live in William’s estate, but she was no closer to earning his love. Her love turned feverish, and she connived to tear apart William’s once-happy marriage. As had been the case in years gone by, Donna’s love turned dangerous. She brandished another weapon, this time to murder an comely serf of William’s. She finally revealed her devotion to William, sure that he would return her longing. But he said, “Nay, Donna!” and tried to cast her out.

Now Donna’s fury became a force greater than love. Tears flowing down her innocent-looking face, she took out a pistol and gravely wounded William. Jeannie engaged her in a struggle. Would the decent woman prevail over a soul turned jaded and evil?

Donna charged her with a knife, and the wife had no choice but to shoot with the same pistol Donna had used to hurt William. Poisoned blood poured from Donna, and the evil died with her earthly body. True love, the kind William and his wife had for each other, was the healing force that allowed them to live on in health and prosperity.

Black Widow

MV5BNjYyMDgwOTY1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDg4NTAzMTE@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Many years ago, there lived a prince named Danny. The prince had a life of great prosperity: he had caring friends, a castle, and enough gold to coat the kingdom. But the prince had an emptiness in his heart which only the presence of true love could fill. Little did he know that his friend Mel, who had no royal blood, possessed this love for him. He saw her as a mere companion.

One day, the town criers blew their trumpets and told of the beautiful, mysterious woman who had come to the village. Her name was Olivia, and she told everyone that she had been an orphan. Because of her sad start in life, she wanted nothing more than to help the needy women of the land. Prince Danny was overcome by her compassion, loveliness, and ample bosom. After an evening spent together in the magical lagoon, Prince Danny and Olivia were in love.

The prince’s companion Mel, lonely without him as her friend, grew suspicious of Olivia and how she had won the love of Danny and the townspeople. Mel commanded her one servant to discover from whence Olivia had come. Soon they discovered that the woman was up to no good. Her friends were scoundrels and charlatans, and Danny was not the first prince on whom she had cast a spell of love. Mel tried to warn Danny, but the spell was strong. “One day you will know love like this,” he told her.

Sadly, Olivia turned the village against Mel, even though she spoke the truth. She seemed fated to wander the country a lonely maiden. But as fierce as her love for Danny was, her commitment to justice was even more powerful. She stormed the castle gates and said, “This woman is not who she says!” No one believed poor Mel until Olivia could hide her true nature no longer. She wounded Mel bloody. The castle was in a flurry!

Thankfully, the village knights rode up on their noble steeds and saved the day, murdering Olivia as she had done to so many others, and freeing the village of evil. The townspeople nursed Mel back to health. While the friendship between she and Prince Danny would never be the same, she took comfort in his apologies, and in the peaceful atmosphere that once again permeated the land. 

An Unfinished Affair

An_Unfinished_Affair_DVD_coverThis is a tale as much about love and family as much as it is about hatred and betrayal. This is the tale of a man whose foolhardy ways threatened to hurt everyone who cared for him.

Our story begins one year ago, when the angelic wife of a wealthy man took ill. Doctors from around the world came to offer their care and medicine, but alas, it appeared that this good woman would die. Her husband was so overcome with grief at the thought of losing his beloved wife that he turned to a young temptress for comfort. Readers may wonder at such a decision, but remember, he only made such a choice because his love for his wife was so great.

Then a miracle occurred: the wife was cured. She would now live a long and healthy life. Her husband parted ways with the temptress and devoted himself anew to his family. They gave thanks to God for their luck. But in a cruel twist of fate, Thanksgiving Day brought the temptress back into their lives. The couple’s adult son arrived at their door with this woman on his arm.

The man did not know what to do. Should he tell his wife the truth and risk her anger? Should be say nothing and allow this vile creature to permeate his world? Complicating matters further, the temptress refused to return a priceless work of art that he gave her during their romance. In an act of desperation, the man hired a thief to steal back the art. But the temptress, wily minx that she was, outsmarted everyone. She stabbed the thief and made it look as though her boyfriend, the unsuspecting son, had done so. Confident that she had pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes, she took the painting and ran away.

In this life, those who deceive deserve to be punished, but those who repent their wicked ways may be redeemed. So it was with a heavy heart that the man confessed his transgression to his wife and son. Though naturally upset, they banded together and caught the temptress before she could escape. A violent battle ensued. The temptress tried to slay the man, but good prevailed over evil. She was thrown in the dungeon and the family was reunited. They lived happily ever after.

Kathryn Ionata is a writer living outside Philadelphia. She is at work on a novel and blogs about what she's reading here.

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