his looks like a good spot," Phoebe said.
"OK," Stuart said.
He placed the basket on the ground and took out the large
blanket, spreading it out beneath the tree.
"I can't recall the last time I had a picnic," he said.
"Me neither," she said. "And I really need a
break from the pressure of trying to find the demons before the
solstice." She picked up the
basket, dusted off the bottom and put it down on the blanket.
"If I tried to have a picnic as Alyssa in LA," she
said. "I'd be noticed right away and be surrounded by people.
But here, no one cares about Phoebe
"I care," Stuart said. The back of Phoebe's red
cotton blouse was sticking out of her denim cutoffs. Stuart put his hand around
her back and as he tucked her shirt back in for her he lightly kissed her.
"Thanks," she said, her eyes smiling at him.
"This is a perfect day for a picnic.
It's so nice and peaceful in this part of the park ."
"As long as we don't get disturbed by any demons,"
he said as they sat down. She opened the basket and began taking things out of
"Demons don't have the good taste to come to a place as
nice as this," she said smiling.
"You know how to make a good sandwich," he said,
opening the wrapping around one and handing it to her.
"Thanks," Phoebe said. "Sometimes I think
that I could have been a great chef had I not followed my dream of becoming an
actress. Maybe my occasional cooking is
my way of giving this other part of me an outlet."
"It's wonderful when you can follow your dreams,"
"You haven't?" she asked.
I guess not," he said, biting into his sandwich.
"What did you want to do?" she asked.
"I...want to create things," Stuart answered.
"No...not want. I need to
create. Deep down inside I've...I guess
I've always wanted to be a writer.
"A writer creates things," he continued.
"People, characters, personalities.
And they're not static. Once
created, he can make them...or let them...interact and develop.
Have lives, stories, evolve...you can make
something, color in details, have it keep growing. You can make things come
"Why haven't you tried?" she asked.
"I lack a small thing called talent," he said.
"It's a prerequisite."
"You can't know whether you have talent unless you
try," Phoebe said. "Talent is honed with practice like anything else,
just like acting."
"You must have had encouragement when you first began
acting," Stuart said. "Maybe if I would have had some...I would have
"Well, I'm encouraging you now," she said, taking
a bite of her sandwich. "I want you to give it a shot."
"I wouldn't know where to begin," he said.
"Begin with what you know," Phoebe said.
"Write about what you're familiar with."
"I'm familiar with you," he said, smiling.
"OK," she said. "Then try writing a Charmed
episode. Just for yourself."
"For myself," he chuckled. "You're right. If I did try writing one, I certainly
wouldn't have the nerve to show it to anyone."
"You can show it to me," she said as she opened a
bottle of Snapple.
"Uhh...you're serious?" he asked.
"Of course," she said. "Following a
dream...is such a special feeling. And
I want you to have it too."
"Being here with you is a dream," he said. "Uh, I'm not really dreaming all of
this, am I?"
Phoebe leaned over and kissed him. "OK, you're real," he said. "It's not a
"But writing is," she said. "I want you to
try to make it real, also."
He thought for a moment.
"Well...maybe," he said. "But...only if you
agree to read it and tell me...uh, gently, what you really think of it."
"Deal," Phoebe said smiling.
"There is one other problem," he said. "I
"What?" she asked in surprise.
"Two fingers - which sometimes get out of sync with
each other," he admitted.
Phoebe looked up.
"That came from the other side of those trees," she said.
They jumped up and ran in the direction of the scream.
A girl was lying on the ground, a man standing a few feet from her. As he turned his hand towards her, a large
ring on his finger began to glow.
Phoebe let into him, kicking up her leg into his
stomach. She followed that with a few
chops with her hands.
The man fell down but quickly scampered towards the
clearing. He looked at Phoebe, turning
his hand towards her as he did. Phoebe
saw the ring start to glow again and that caught his attention. He looked back at Phoebe and ran off.
"Are you OK?"
Stuart asked as he helped the shaking girl to her feet. "What happened?"
"I was walking here and I saw him coming towards me,”
the girl said . "As he got closer, he held up his hand to me. And his ring
"He stopped and pushed me down. Then...he pointed his ring at the ground
around me. And every time he
Phoebe kneeled down to look at it. "Pentagrams. Four of
"What's your name?" Stuart asked.
Sanders," she answered.
"Have you ever seen him before?" he asked.
"Maybe near where you live?"
"No,"she said, still shaking. "I've never seen him."
"It's OK now," Phoebe said trying to calm
her. "We're going to help
"How?" Robyn asked.
"We're going to get you police protection," Phoebe
said. "Just in case."
"Police?" Robyn asked.
"We have friends there," Stuart said.
"Robyn, we know of another case like this," Phoebe
"The same man?" Robyn asked.
"We don't know but we've been...trying to help the
police with it," Phoebe said. "We need to see if there is any
connection here. Where do you
"How old are you?" Phoebe asked
Or...I will be on the twentieth," Robyn replied.
"June Twentieth?" Stuart asked.
"Yes," Robyn said.
"The eve of the solstice," Phoebe said.
"Come back with us to where our things are and I'll the
call police," she said to her. "We'll stay with you until they
"So much for demons not coming to a nice park,"
"Where are the sheets Morris gave us on the four girls
who were killed?" Phoebe asked as
she came into the living room.
"On the table," Piper answered. "What happened?"
"There was almost another killing but we stopped
it," Phoebe said, taking the papers.
"Are you all right?" Piper asked.
"Yes, we're OK and the girl is too," Stuart
"Here, look at this," Phoebe said. "The first victim, Blair Haslett. Her birthday was June Twentieth.
"And Amity Kirk.
Also, June Twentieth. And so was Kaleigh Mc Dermitt's.
"And here, Jodie Robbins. June Twentieth."
"And Robyn Sanders today,"Stuart said. "Also June
Twentieth. All five birthdays on the
eve of the solstice."
"We know that their plans have to be completed by the
solstice but we don't know why," Phoebe said. "There has to be a connection
to that one day.”
"Sanders said the ring glowed when he pointed it at
her," Stuart said. "Maybe that's what tells him if a person was born
on that day. That's how he finds
"It glowed when his hand was pointing at me, too,"
"But your birthday is in December," Piper said.
"I know," Phoebe said, a puzzled look on her face.
"I'm going up to the attic and see what I can find in The Book of
Phoebe went up to
the attic but she didn't open the Book.
Instead, she went over to a small chest of drawers. She opened the top drawer, then the second
and pulled out a small metal box.
Opening it, she took out a handful of papers. She looked at the first few, putting each
one on the side as she did. She
unfolded the next one and stopped, staring at the rectangular sheet of paper in
her hand. After a moment she folded it
and put everything back into the box.
"I think I found it," Phoebe said as she came
down, the Book of Shadows in her hands.
Prue had just come home and had joined Piper and Stuart in the living
Here," Phoebe said, laying the book open on the
table. "The demon is Argyris. He can reverse time if he gets six linked
souls. Each soul corresponds to a chrono-quad, a four-hour period within the
day. The six souls linked together
would give him control of all twenty-fours of the day and thereby let him
"So now we kow who is behind the murders,"Stuart said, "and
the victims’ connection to each other.”
"The four girls who were killed and Sanders today. They have the same birthday. That's an integral part of their souls and
that's what links them together."
"But why that day?" Piper asked. "Why June Twentieth? Why not girls all born on some other
"I don't know," Phoebe said.
"How do we stop him?" Piper asked.
"There's a spell here to vanquish him," Phoebe
said. "But it says that Argyris is outside of time, so it will only work
if he hasn't already reversed time."
"So we have to vanquish him before he does," Piper
"And if he reverses time before we can get to
him?" Prue asked.
"Then the only way to vanquish him is to throw him
'into time' - whatever that means," Phoebe said.
"What about the demon in the park?" Stuart asked. Was that Argyris?”
"No," Phoebe said, turning the page. "That demon is Balin. He derives his
powers from Argyris and does his bidding. The ring is his connection to
Argyris. The power is channeled through
it to him from Argyris."
"How do we find Argyris?" Stuart asked.
"I don't know," Phoebe said. "The Book
"So Argyris is sending Balin around to find souls that
are linked by their birthdays being on the eve of the solstice," Prue
said. "How does Balin know which
person to go after?"
"His ring glows when he comes upon someone born on that
day," Phoebe said.
"That can't be," Piper said. "It glowed for
"Because...my birthday is June Twentieth," Phoebe
"No it isn't. It's December Nineteenth," Piper
"Alyssa's birthday is in December," she
replied. "But I'm Phoebe now. And Phoebe's birthday...is June
"I don't remember that ever being said in a Charmed
script," Prue said.
"Maybe not," Phoebe said. "But when our
Charmed roles became real, everything that would have normally existed for us
became real, too. In a box of papers in the attic, there's a birth certificate
for Phoebe Halliwell...June Twentieth, Nineteen Seventy-five."
Piper said, wincing.
"That's why the ring glowed when it was pointed at
you," Stuart said. "And now you're
"A lot of people are in danger," Prue said.
"Everyone with that birthday. I
have to warn Morris."
"And we have to figure out a way to find Argyris,"
"You're telling me that everyone in this city born on
June Twentieth is in danger. And you
want me to find them - and do what?"
"Protect them...somehow," Prue answered, wincing.
Morris stared at her incredulously. "How am I supposed to find them? Even if I pulled the state driving license
records...what about all of the tourists here?
And the people who don't have a driver's license?"
"I know. I wish
I had a simple answer," Prue said.
"How about a simple explanation," Morris said.
"Even if I could figure out how...to start something like this...I need
more to go on than...you think they're in danger."
"Do you really want to know?" Prue asked.
"No - but go ahead and tell me anyway."
Prue took a deep breath.
"There's a demon who needs six souls born on that day."
"You used the 'd-word'," Morris said.
"I know," Prue said. "Uh...look, he's taken
four souls already and almost killed another girl today. He needs them by their birthday and he won't
stop until he gets all six of them."
Morris was silent for a few seconds. "Do you have a way to stop him?"
"Maybe, if we can find him," Prue said. She looked at her watch.
"I have to get back to the house," she said
"I'll do what I can," he said reluctantly.
"I know you will Darryl," she said.
The door to the Manor was open as Prue came up the steps.
Prue hurriedly ran inside and into the living room where the
scream had come from. Phoebe was
standing by the sofa while a man stood opposite her aiming a glowing ring at
Prue waved her hand at him and he went flying across the
room. He got up quickly, crashed
through the window and ran away.
"Are you OK?"
"Yes," Phoebe answered as Piper and Stuart came
running into the room.
"Balin was here and tried to kill me," Phoebe
"How did he know where to find you?" Prue asked.
"He must have followed us back from the park,"
"The window," Piper said. "That's the same window the Frubos
demon crashed through. I just had it repaired. I haven't even paid for it yet."
"He must have seen me come home, then waited until he
was sure I was gone before trying something," Prue said, "thinking he
would find you alone.”
"After seeing your powers, Prue, I think he'll look
elsewhere for a soul to take," Stuart said.
"Probably, but we’ll still have to be careful,"
Piper walked over to the broken window.
"Maybe I won't bother fixing it again," she said
with a resigned look. "I'll just put up an arrow pointing to the window with
a sign - 'Demon Exit - This Way'."