Where Evil Lurks

Welcome to Moonlight Madness - Where Evil Lurks

This is the fourth story in my Moonlight saga.

Story One - The Beginning - Beth's Diary

Story Two - With Arms Wide Open

Story Three - Barely Breathing

Cast of Characters

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Four

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any recognizable characters or the basic story of Moonlight itself. If I did, that’d be cool though, wouldn’t it? Alas, I only play with them.

Many thanks to Engbunny for all her help!

January 12, 1998

Almost time for the winter semester to begin which means that I survived my first semester in the freshman pool. I had no idea how big of a pool it was going to be before I got here. Talk about feeling insignificant, a semester here will do it for you. Forget the fact that you are literally lost for the first two weeks, that’s nothing. No, what got me the most is that I went from being a straight A student who was recognized and lauded for her achievements and class valedictorian to someone who doesn’t even hardly register on the platform of humanity.

I get it; we’re the low men on the totem pole, so to speak. You’re sort of on trial here, and everyone is waiting to see what you can offer, what you can do; or to see you fall flat on your ass. I’ve always thought I was smart, smarter than many but here I’m not even close to some of these people; some are simply brilliant and that is very intimidating for me. Even Robbi, who had a 4.0 as compared to my 3.8 GPA is even struggling and that is just scary. I think it is even harder for her; she has always been driven to perform, both by her parents and herself. Now instead of Friday and Saturday nights spent hanging out, she’s being tutored to maintain those grades. Lani, of course, is just simply Lani; college is one big goldfish bowl of fun and men and she is taking a dip in this pond, let me assure you!

I have met a few new friends and that has been fun. A guy named Carl Davis is in my Public Speaking class. He is so much fun and also very HOT! We hang out sometimes after class and have coffee and chat. He’s a year ahead of me but still remembers what it feels like to be the new kid on the block. There are other friends too, Chrissy, Jane, Randy and Sydney, all willing to commiserate over our lowly status. Haven’t really had the time to go out on dates though, studying comes first. I have a scholarship to maintain and it is just not as easy as I thought it would be; which makes me have to push harder to keep up. I have participated in some campus events though and it has been fun. The university is like its own small city, a microcosm of cultures, beliefs and ethnic backgrounds and there is so much to see and experience. Next year I hope to be able to work on the campus newspaper which will be a lot of fun!

I’m still not seeing or feeling my shadow man. I know it is ridiculous but I miss him; the security I felt because of his presence. It’s not that I’ve been threatened in anyway, it’s more like just knowing all those years that there was a ‘back up plan’ I guess, if anything did happen. I know I can count on Mom and Clark, but somehow it’s not the same. I guess in some ways I felt special, having the shadow man out there. I wonder sometimes if it were me that made him go away? Did I do something wrong or did he just get tired of the watch? I’m sure he has his own life to live and maybe that’s what happened, his life took him somewhere else.

But I miss him. Isn’t that strange since I never knew him? I felt a connection with him though and I think that a part of me will always be connected to him. I like to think that someday I’ll see him and my heart will just know.


Mick heard a knock on his front door; a rare occurrence. Usually anytime someone was knocking it was on his office door so he approached the door cautiously. A couple of feet from it he caught the scent of vamp, a familiar scent and then he spied the person waiting on the other side of the door and grinned, delighted to have this visitor.

“Uh, Mi - Michael? Is it okay that I’m here?” his guest asked, looking past his shoulder and into the empty house.

“It’s always okay for you to visit me Logan. But what are you doing here in Seattle?” Mick asked, giving Logan a quick ‘guy’ hug. He looked at the young vamp, taking the sight of him in and subtly nodding his head; all was well with Logan he could tell.

“I was up here to help launch the new Microsoft platform. I still do consulting work for them from time to time. Anyway, I just thought I’d stop by.”

“I’m so glad you did. Come in! Can I get you something to drink?”

“Yeah, that would be good. I’ve been at meetings all day and I’m starved!” Logan followed Mick into the kitchen, looking around at Mick’s new house. It was nothing at all like the loft in California, except that it was fairly dark. This apartment was all wood grains, rich walnuts and mahogany’s with granite counter tops and slate floors. It was still Mick, just different, Logan thought.

After he poured glasses of blood he handed one to Logan and said, “Here, let’s go out on the deck.” Mick slide the wide door open and they stepped outside onto a beautiful teak deck that overlooked Puget Sound. Logan knew that during daylight hours it would be a spectacular view. They settled into deck chairs and sipped their blood. It was 33 degrees out and both of them thought it felt great.

“Um, fresh,” Logan exclaimed, surprised. “You got yourself some freshies tucked away here, Mick?” As soon as the name was out of his mouth he winced; it seemed wrong to say Michael, it just didn’t feel right.

Mick smiled and shook his head. “No, but thanks to Josef I do have a fresh source. I have to admit it is better than the bagged morgue stuff. So, tell me what is going on with you Logan.”

While Logan launched into his latest escapades with Microsoft, Mick’s mind drifted back 18 years, to when Logan was in college and already was proving himself to be a genius in the up and coming computer technology field.

Mr. St. John, I need to hire you. My wife has been kidnapped!” Alexander Griffin told him, handing Mick a note written by the kidnapper.

“Why haven’t you gone to the police Mr. Griffin?” Mick asked, trying to focus on the note. He picked up a lot of hatred and anger off of the note but little else.

“It says not to; I’m playing this exactly by the book! Please, you’ve got to help me. Please?”

Mick studied the man’s distraught face that was etched with pain and fear. He was dabbing at his eyes and the smells rolling off of him were genuine; his wife really had been taken. “Tell me what happened.”

“I had just picked up our younger son, Logan, from LAX. He’s been going to college at Berkeley and will be home for the summer break. I’m a judge Mr. St. John; this is probably someone that I have sentenced that has taken her. Please!”

Mick nodded, listening. “So you weren’t at home? Was anyone else there? You said Logan was your younger son. What about the older one?”

Alexander shook his head no and said, “No, he doesn’t live at home any longer. Michelle was alone. Mr. St. John, I, uh, don’t know how to say this but you were recommended by a mutual, friend. I know that you have some rather special abilities. I can pay whatever you require, just please help me.”

The knowledge by Mr. Griffin of his ‘special abilities’ was enough to make Mick cautious. People did know, but not that many and certainly fewer outside the vamp world. “Mr. Griffin, or perhaps it should be Judge Griffin? Who is our mutual friend?”

“Mr. Griffin is fine; Alexander would be better even. And our mutual friend is Josef Kostan. I have aided Mr. Kostan occasionally in some of his endeavors. It’s a good situation for both of us. Please, check with him, I just urge you to do it quickly!”

As he finished speaking Mick’s phone rang. The answering machine picked up the call and he heard Josef’s voice. He picked up the phone and listened while Josef explained that he was sending a ‘friend of the family’ over for his help.

“Yes, he is here already.”

“Quick. Well anyway, he knows about us, help him if you can. I’ll explain more later.”

Mick murmured “You had better,” as the line went dead. He sat the phone down into the cradle and leaned back in his chair, his lips pursed as he thought about the situation. Being a ‘friend of the family’ could bring additional complications to the situation. He needed answers before he could help.

“So Alexander, could there possibly be any ‘family’ involvement in this?”

“I don’t think so; I don’t know who it would be. Other than Josef, I don’t really know any others.” His shoulders slumped forward and Mick distinctly heard a muffled sob. He looked up at Mick and said, “She’s my life, Mr. St. John and she doesn’t deserve anything bad to happen to her. Please…”

Mick nodded, making a quick decision. “Call me Mick Alright Alexander, I’ll help. Tell me as much as you can about the situation.”

Mick listened for a half hour to all that the judge knew, including a run down on likely cases where someone would try to take action for a pay back. They decided on two that were the most likely and the judge said that he would immediately have some police files concerning the cases sent over to Mick. Hopefully there would be enough time to check them out before anything else happened. All the note said was that they would be contacting the judge soon.

As soon as the judge left Mick’s office he packed up some equipment and made arrangements to do some surveillance on one of the suspects. He seemed the most likely, just out of prison and a younger brother was killed in the raid 11 years ago. It was a drug operation and the judge handed down the maximum sentence. But with time for good behavior, Jess Crum was already out. He had connections, motive and just the kind of retaliatory attitude to be involved in this. The case files wouldn’t be delivered until tomorrow, but Mick didn’t want to wait to get started. He called his friend Bobby at LAPD and got a current address on Jess and told Bobby he was going to do a little observation. Bobby knew there was more to it than that but let it go, knowing that Mick worked best when he followed his hunches.

After only a few hours of surveillance Mick knew that he had found Michelle Griffin, but the sun was getting ready to come up so he reported back to Alexander. It would be next to impossible to get her out of the building safely; they would need to wait until the demands came in and they moved her to a more open location. They luckily didn’t have long to wait.

What they wanted was to trade Michelle for Alexander. Mick adamantly refused to let that happen. Alexander just as adamantly intended to do just that.

“Mick, we have to make it seem like we’re cooperating. If I am there that will distract them and you can get in to get to Michelle.”

“First, we have to verify that they have Michelle with them Alexander; make sure it’s not a ploy. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Mick watched the emotion flow over his face, fear, pain and then sheer terror.

“You – you think they don’t intend an exchange?” he asked shakily.

“We have to be prepared for anything Alexander. ANYTHING. We aren’t handing you over if she isn’t there. That’s a sure way to lose you both.”

“Look Mick, I’m expendable in this picture, okay? You get her out, save her regardless of what happens to me, it’s all that’s important.” He met Mick’s gaze without wavering; he was sincere. “If it comes to a choice, there IS NO choice, okay?”

Mick nodded; there wasn’t anything else he could do at this point, other than to try and ensure that he got them both out safely.

At 8:00 PM that evening Mick, Alexander and Logan Griffin set off to follow the bread crumbs that would eventually lead them to the rendezvous spot. Alexander was against Logan going but he refused to stay at home and worry. Mick was concerned about having both of them there; it made it more dangerous to try to protect three instead of two.

As the three of them waited through the afternoon for more instructions Mick got an opportunity to talk to Logan; the kid was some kind of computer genius apparently. A guy named Bill Gates was doing amazing work with computers and Logan was planning on joining his company as soon as he graduated in May. At 22 he would graduate with a Masters in computer technology and information systems. He was a nice kid and Mick enjoyed talking to him.

“So uh, you’re like, you know, different?” Logan asked, not daring to say the words.

Mick raised an eyebrow, definitely not appreciating the fact that Logan knew about vampires. Damn it, why the hell did Alexander tell him?

“I guess that depends on what you mean by ‘different’ Logan,” Mick said, hoping that he was wrong about what Logan knew.

“You know,” Logan said and made like he was going to bite something. “YOU know.”

“Logan, that’s uh, not for people to know. You understand you can’t tell anyone don’t you? Ever?”

Alexander had been listening absent-mindedly to the conversation and finally caught the subject. “How the hell did you get that information, Logan?” he asked.

“I have ears, Dad! You talk to Mr. Kostan about ‘special’ things and I’m not an idiot, I can figure it out!”

“Well, like Mr. St. John says, you keep your mouth shut! Period. You do not tell anyone! EVER? Got that?”

“I GOT IT!” Logan shifted in his seat and looked around, hoping they would change the subject; he was sorry he brought it up to begin with.

A little after midnight they pulled up to the abandoned warehouse for the exchange. Mick got out of the car a half a block away and told Alexander to wait until he came back to approach the site. The meeting was set for 1:00 AM so they had a bit of time; time in which Alexander and Logan both worried themselves sick.

Mick was back in 20 minutes; he had seen that they did have Michelle in the back of a van but he couldn’t get to her because there were too many captors with her and she was chained to the inside of the van. They would have to wait until her captors removed the chains and then Mick could get to her.

Mick went over the plan with Alexander; he was to wait until 12:55 and then pull up to the rendezvous site. Mick would already be waiting in the shadows to grab Michelle and take care of her captors. He would disable the van if possible, but in reality he didn’t think there would be anyone left to drive it away, if all went as was planned.

At 12:55 exactly Alexander pulled the car up to the warehouse and killed the engine. He opened the door and stepped out, holding his hands up to show that he was unarmed.

“Who’s in the car, Judge?” Jess Crum asked, seeing Logan’s head. “I told ya to come alone? Didn’t understand that? Was all that education wasted on ya?”

“It’s my son, he wanted to be here to help his mom in case she was too shaken to drive. Where is she? I want to see her before I take another step.”

“I’m the one calling the shots. Get your kid outta the car, NOW!”

“Logan, step out please. Look, we’re both unarmed. Just bring Michelle out here and she and Logan will leave. It’s as simple as that!”

Jess pointed a gun at another guy who was standing there and said, “Search them both.” To Alexander he added, “Billy ain’t going to find no weapons is he? He don’t like finding surprises!”

“No weapons, no surprises, Crum.” They stood as Billy searched them both. As he leaned over Logan the smell of his fetid breath made Logan gag and his reaction was to try to step back. Billy immediately back-handed Logan, hard enough to knock him off of his feet. His head hit the pavement and blood started gushing from his nose which had gotten broken, whether from the fall or from the force of the blow, he wasn’t sure.

“Now I didn’t tell you it was okay to move. Get your ass up kid, NOW!” Jess all but screamed.

Logan stood up shakily and swiped as much blood as he could off of his face, but it continued to flow freely. He kept wiping it on his sleeve and soon that was soaked with more blood than it could absorb. He tried to focus on what was happening to try to keep his mind off of the pain in his nose.

Alexander and Logan both watched as Michelle was brought out of the van. She was a bit bloody and battered herself but she managed a weak smile for them, trying to calm them down.

“Are you alright, honey?” Alexander looked at her pale face that was streaked with blood and his heart immediately skipped a beat or two. He clenched both of his fists to his side in an effort to keep from grabbing Billy, who was standing near him. Billy had his gun pointing at Logan right now and Alexander was afraid he would shoot at any sudden movement.

Michelle looked at her husband and son and tried to keep herself together. All she wanted was to feel safe, to be held by them, but she had learned quickly when she was abducted that to show any weakness only brought her a swift blow. She squared her shoulders and nodded and started to say “I’m okay,” when all hell broke loose.

As soon as she opened her mouth Jess back-handed her across the face, knocking a couple of teeth out and sending her flying across the pavement. He followed her and began to kick her viciously yelling, “I told you not to talk, didn’t I?”

Logan immediately ran for his mother and so did Mick; he ran through the two guards on his way, snapping both of their necks and tossing them aside like the garbage they were.

Logan knocked Jess down to get to his mother and Jess dropped the gun and then scrambled for it. Alexander was moving by that time to try to get the gun away from Billy, but he misjudged their distance from one another and Billy fired off two shots at him. The first one missed but the second one hit him in the leg, taking him down.

Logan saw it all: played out in slow-motion and vivid color. He started to rise to get to his father just as Jess managed to grab the gun off the ground. Mick was heading for Jess but was too late; he emptied his barrel into Logan and Michelle just as Mick got to him. Mick picked him up and tossed him carelessly over the van and heard a satisfying whoosh of air as well as the snap of his neck as he hit the ground.

Billy’s eyes opened wide with fear as he realized he was the only one left. Mick was moving quickly to him with eyes that were glowing silver in the light of the street lamp. Billy screamed and started firing his gun, until there was nothing left in the chamber. He hit Mick and Logan again before clicking the trigger again and again, uselessly. Finally, he threw the gun on the ground and turned to run when he realized that Mick wasn’t stopping. Before he had gotten two steps, Mick had him and with a roar, grabbed him by the throat and screamed his rage at Billy.

Billy knew what was going to happen next; he saw it in the mad light in Micks eyes, in the fangs that were shining in the pale light. His bladder immediately released and he felt the hot rush down his legs as his bladder emptied itself. Mick let him sink to the ground, breathing in his fear, his defeat. The vampire within was shrieking for revenge; it was battle that the human had no desire to control. The last thing Billy felt before his heart stopped was razor-sharp fangs ripping into his throat.

The human took control again as the vampire growled with victory. Mick wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve and gradually became aware of what was going on behind him. He turned to take in the scene and immediately ran to the three humans.

Only two heartbeats remained; one rapid with fear and the other weak and thready. Mick took in the scene, assessing the damage. Michelle was dead, half of her head gone from one of the shots. Logan lay next to her, pale, his blood leaking out of a wound that had all but severed his femoral artery. Mick knew that he had only a few minutes at most to live. He closed his eyes, feeling the pain that Alexander would endure at losing his wife and son.

Mick knelt down and placed a hand on Alexander’s arm and squeezed it lightly. Mick knew that there was no time for an ambulance to get there and yet he had to ask Alexander if he wanted him to find a phone and call.

Alexander stared at him, his eyes glazed over with shock and despair. He opened his mouth to speak and closed it again quickly, as if re-thinking his words. Then he said, “Help him, Mick!”

“I-I can’t Alexander. His artery is destroyed; he’s lost too much blood. I’m sorry…”

Mick hung his head and as he did he felt Logan’s hand reach out and touch his leg. Mick looked at his face, so young, in so much pain; fear was written starkly across it, fear of death, of the unknown. “Mick,” Logan said, his voice only a mere whisper. “Mick, don’t let me die.”

The plaintive words made Mick catch his breath as he realized what Logan was asking. He immediately shook his head, “No Logan, no, I can’t do that!”

Mick felt Alexander grab his arm roughly, his fingernails digging through the fabric of Mick’s jacket. “Yes you can, you know you can.”

“No I can’t. This isn’t the way it should be Alexander. This isn’t living…”

“It’s better than the alternative Mick.” Logan’s words were spoken quietly, trailing off into whispers. Mick looked him in the eyes and saw Logan’s eyes stare unblinkingly back at him, with the tiniest bit of hope still alive in them.

Mick drew in a sharp breath and swallowed hard. He had never done this. How could he do this to another human being, turn them into a monster, forced to live in the dark; spurned by society, exiled from everyone and everything you loved? How could he do it?

“Mick, please, save my son. You can, you can do it, please. I’m begging you. I’ll pay anything you ask, just save him.”

Hot tears were streaking his face and Mick caught the salty tang and scented the anguish that was in the air. A father’s anguish at not only losing his wife but now a son as well. What would his own father have wanted? Not this – NOT THIS, his mind screamed. This is a death sentence, worse, a nightmare that never ends; Hell on this earth. A tear drop fell on his hand and he realized it was from his own eyes. Could he live with himself if he did it? Could he live with himself if he didn’t?

He heard Logan and Alexander both say “Please,” together and Mick steeled himself; not against their pleas, but against his own need to run and not do this thing. Finally he nodded and said, “I’ll do it. Logan, this is going to change everything for you, do you understand that? You have to understand that or I can’t do it and I don’t have time to explain everything now.”

“Just do it,” Logan said, his voice barely audible. His heartbeat had slowed to almost non-existence. Mick had to do it now if there was any chance of helping Logan make it.

“I – I just need to take a little more of your blood Logan, and then I’ll slash my wrist and you’ll have to drink. My blood will speed through your system and take over. But you’ll have to drink, it will be up to you how this goes…”

Logan nodded almost imperceptibly and Mick leaned over, his fangs fully emerged and bent to make the fatal bite in Logan’s neck. He was as scared as Logan, his own memories of this were so hazy and filled with pain; he just tried to focus on Logan, not tearing his neck too badly.

Listen to the heartbeat Mick, listen…

When it had all but stopped Mick tore his wrist open so the blood could flow freely into Logan’s mouth. He held his arm over Logan’s head, letting the blood drip, counting off the seconds as he waiting for Logan to respond. A full minute went by and Alexander was starting to panic.

“Why isn’t he drinking?” he yelled. “WHY? What’s wrong?”

“I think it can take a minute or two. Give him a chance.” Mick was silent, ticking off the time in his head. At last, Logan opened his eyes and reached for Mick’s wrist, pulling it frantically against his mouth. He ruthlessly pulled the blood into his mouth, greedily swallowing down as much as he could get. Finally, Mick pulled his arm away and leaned back on his heels, watching Logan carefully.

“What about all the bullets in him? Do we need to get him to the hospital?” Alexander asked.

“No, no hospitals. I can remove them back at my house. Logan is going to have to stay with me for a while so he can learn, uh things. Alexander, I wasn’t kidding when I said his whole world will be different. It’s going to take some time for him to …adjust. We’ve got to get the police here for Michelle. I’m going to go and find a phone. Keep him down for a few minutes, until I get back.”

Alexander nodded and watched Mick head off at vamp speed to find a phone. He looked at his son, who was resting on the pavement. Whatever happened to him, he was still here, with us. That was all that mattered.

Mick and Logan chatted for a bit longer and made plans for the next evening and Mick later realized how much he was looking forward to it. He had missed Logan so much; their bond was tight and always had been. He went to bed with a smile on his face for the first time in a long time.


“Hey Mom,” Beth said as walked into the house. Life had been so hectic lately with that Beth felt as if she hadn’t really talked to her mom in a week. “What’s up?”

She listened as her mom caught her up on the latest news from the neighborhood. Beth smiled as she listened to it all until her mom’s last two pieces of news. “Honey, your grandma is not doing well at all. I’m so worried about her Beth.” Beth heard a small sob and sat there as her mom quietly blew her nose. “I’m just so worried about her.”

“I know Mom, me too. I hope we can spend some time together this weekend. I’d like to spend time with you both.”

“Yes Beth that would be good. But oh, on Saturday morning I have a funeral to go to. You can stay with your grandma while I’m gone.”

“Okay. Who died?”

“Judge Griffin. Clark is really broken up over it all. It’s so hard to lose a parent.”

“Oh man, that stinks. The judge was a nice guy. Clark has lost so many people in his life already.”

“Yes, he has. I love you Beth!”

“Love you too Mom. I’m looking forward to the time with you both. Unfortunately, right now I have to go study! See you later.”

To be continued…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Three

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any recognizable characters or the basic story of Moonlight itself. If I did, that’d be cool though, wouldn’t it? Alas, I only play with them.

Again, thanks to Engbunny for her wonderful editing!

January 22, 1998

I can’t believe it, another birthday and only 4 more months of school! Summer vacation, YAY! It has been an unbelievable month so far; I found out I got my scholarship to UCLA for the fall! I am now officially enrolled and ready to go and while I’m so excited, I’m also scared to death. I wonder if everyone feels this way about going to college. Robbi and Lani are just as excited and both will be going to UCLA as well, although we will each be in different ‘colleges’ at the university. Still, we’ll see each other a lot I hope. I will live at home the first year, but I hope to get to live in the dorms my sophomore year. Mom says it’s a big enough change for me just to go to the university, that I don’t need the stress of dorm life right away.

I can see her point but it sort of disappoints me, you know? I mean, I am SO ready for some independence, of being in charge of my own life! It’s only a year – I’ll just have to continue to repeat that! Both Robbi and Lani will be stuck at home too so at least I won’t be the only one.

I still have frequent nightmares about my shadow man. I wish I understood what happened. I know that he is gone, but what I don’t know is whether or not he was ever there. Maybe I just made him up; maybe it was a crutch I needed to feel safe and secure, who knows? What I do know is that since last summer I haven’t caught any glimpses of him, I haven’t felt his presence. I’m not scared really, not of the scary woman any longer anyway. I still think about what happened then, but so much of it is only dream-like now. Bits and pieces flash through my mind, a remembered image of the fire, but never the faces, the white dress she wore that night and for some reason I also see the color red.

What I do remember vividly is being in his arms; I remember feeling safe. He held me close and told me that I was going to be okay, that he would take me home. It’s funny, but I don’t really remember coming home though. Mom says that’s because I was actually asleep when I got there. I’ve asked her about him, that man and she doesn’t say too much, only that Clark had told her about him.

I admire my mom so much; if ever anyone ever needed an ideal role model it would be my mom. She wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong and we’ve certainly had our share of disagreements but I always knew that she was there, no matter what I needed. The older I get the more I realized how much she had to have sacrificed for me, including a personal life, although I never asked that of her.

Clark has always been around and I’ve often wondered why they never got together? They care for each other I think and in many ways he was a great substitute dad. Neither one of them will talk about it though, just like mom never talks about my dad.

So many things to wonder about!



The weather didn’t cooperate this year for an outside party; the group ordered pizza and Beth, Lani and Robbi waited impatiently for it as all three were hungry. It was cool and rainy out and Lani was breathing on the window in the living room and then drawing dirty pictures on the steamy display.

“Lanelle Parker, STOP that immediately!” Dorothy said as she walked up and saw a drawing of a very overly - endowed man. “Where do you get these ideas?” Lani hastily wiped the drawing off the window, a shocked look on her face at being caught. Dorothy laughed to herself as she turned away and headed back into the den.

That girl is certainly going to be disappointed some day!

Dorothy saw her mother sitting in a chair in the den and she looked a bit chilled. She grabbed an afghan off the back of the sofa and wrapped it around her mother’s shoulders.

“There, is that better Mom?”

“Thanks Dorothy. Yes, it’s better now. I’m just feeling a bit chilled today; must be all the rainy weather here. And I thought it never rained in California!”

Clark smiled and said, “Well, that’s how the songs go but I guess they are wrong, today anyway. Grace, how about I get you a cup of tea?”

“Oh, no thanks Clark, this wrap will be just fine.” She pulled it a bit tighter around her and missed the look of concern that passed between Dorothy and Clark.

The door bell rang, peeling loudly in the conversation lull and they heard the girls cheering.

“Mom! The pizza is here,” Beth said, coming into the den. “And you had better go and rescue the delivery guy – Lani thinks he’s cute!”

“Lord!” Dorothy said, starting to get up.

“I’ve got it,” Clark said, beating her to her feet. He followed Beth back to the living room and told the girls to go and help Dorothy set the table.

As they headed into the dining room Robbi remarked, “You know, it’s like he lives here too. It’s kinda weird Beth.” She quickly quieted when she saw Dorothy looking at her.

“Beth, get the paper plates out of the cupboard please? And Lani and Robbi, grab the cups and the ice for me, if you would?”

All three girls nodded and went to follow her instructions.


It was 6 pm in Seattle and Michael Sandoval was just getting up to start his day. If he could have slept the night away he would have gladly because he was fully aware of what day this was and that for the first time in 13 years he wasn’t there to watch what was happening. He wouldn’t see her, wearing her tiara blowing her candles out or her family and friends around her, hugging her and wishing her well. He was no longer a part of it all.

Face it Mick, you were never a part of it, ever. He told himself that over and over; maybe one day he might actually believe it too. But right now it just hurt. It was a pain that stabbed his undead heart mercilessly.

What he couldn’t shake was the fact that he still felt her; in his heart and in his head. Like some kind of emotional connection that just wouldn’t go away, not with time or distance and it puzzled him greatly. A thought burrowed through his brain that maybe the connection wasn’t meant to go away and for both of their sakes he hoped that wasn’t true.

He padded barefoot to his hidden fridge and grabbed the bottle of A positive that he favored and prepared to pour a glass and then he thought better of it. Instead, he set it back down and reached for his syringe and a vial of O positive; he needed a main line shoot this time, a jump start so to speak.

He filled his syringe and then settled into a comfortable chair to plunge the needle into a vein. He slowly depressed the plunger and felt the blood being infused into his vein. He sucked in an unnecessary breath and blew it out slowly enjoying the heady feeling and for a moment just savored the rush of the blood making its way through his veins.

Mick yawned and stood up, taking the syringe back into the kitchen and pulling it apart so that it could go be cleaned. After he was finished he hopped into the shower, trying to focus on the case he was working on in an effort to take his mind off of the events unfolding in California.

Instead his mind wandered back to a time 13 years ago, to a deserted building in the valley where his ex-wife had taken a 4 year old girl in some deranged effort to convince him that they could be a family.

She had been expecting him to show up, of course, she had left a huge trail of bread crumbs that only an idiot could have missed. The clues were all totally unnecessary since he knew as soon as he caught the scent where the child was and who had her. As soon as he stepped through the door, his heart went out to that child; she was petrified and she looked at him as if he were her savior. She was okay physically and Mick felt enormous relief; Coraline hadn’t turned her yet.

Coraline herself was ‘floating’ on the ceiling and immediately settled down on the floor behind the girl, holding her out as if she were an offering to Mick. He knew that Coraline had some special skills and while he wondered briefly about her ‘floating’ he quickly dismissed it as he tried to make sure the child was alright.

“Cora, what are you doing?” he asked her, sickened by the fear in the child’s face.

“Mick, we can be a family; you, me and baby!” Her hands caressed the side of the girls face and huge blue eyes blinked as she gazed at Mick, tears streaking her tiny face.

“I won’t let you hurt her, Coraline!” he said, and Cora could tell he meant it.

The ensuing fight was ugly, violent and the child shrank into a corner, trying to be invisible. Cora’s shrieks and screams were loud and terrifying to her and she feared that the man would die because he was quickly covered in blood.

It was funny how certain moments are pivotal in a person’s life. A single thought or action will change everything and this was that moment for Mick. Life with Cora played through his mind in Technicolor for Mick and in that split second he decided he had had enough. The craziness was going to end – right here, right now.

The stake through her heart was fast and true; a rush of air escaped her lungs in a paralyzed scream that ruptured the air. For one half of a second Mick was amazed at what he had done. She was not only his wife but his sire; her eyes pleaded with him to remove the stake.

NO – NO, he would not do it. He went to the child and told her he was taking her home. She crawled quickly into his arms, hugging him tightly about the neck. He looked around the room and saw a lantern and before he could think he grabbed it and tossed it towards Coraline. The fire ignited a chaise and spread rapidly, flames licking at everything in its path. Coralline’s keening screams became louder but he tuned them out, only thinking of getting the child out of the building. They left the inferno, a blaze of heat chasing them. For one moment he thought he saw Cora rise and beat against the window, the stake no longer in her heart. An impossibility. He turned away, closed the book on her.

All these years later he still could remember every detail of that night; every smell, every look and every terrified scream that was pulled from Coraline. He had killed his sire, the vampire equivalent to killing your parent, a crime that was regarded as horrific in either world. Your sire is your connection; to your heritage, to yourself really. Each blood line has different attributes to some degree and many vamps were overly proud of their heritage.

Mick wasn’t one of them. Cora was her own brand of crazy; she was also like a drug and she pulled him into the craziness with her. She had no conscience, no real loyalty and no regard for life; all ideas that Mick couldn’t support.

She was dead, period.


The party was over and Beth stood looking in the mirror; gazing at her face. Seventeen, she as seventeen today and she didn’t think she looked all that different from last year. The light from over head caught the sparkle of the tiara on her head and she carefully removed it, looking at it with a bit of sadness.

It reminded her so much of her grandpa and how much she missed him. Lifesavers and the tiara were all she had left of him; maybe of childhood. Next year at this time she would actually be in college, no longer a child, but a young woman who would be on the verge of discovering her own life. A salty tear slipped silently down her cheek and spattered onto one of the pink CZ’s adding an unwanted sparkle.

She traced the filigree on the tiara with a cautious fingertip, ever mindful that it was getting older; she didn’t want to dislodge any more of the stones on it. Memories came flooding back to her; of birthdays past that were shared with the people she loved the most in this world. Those people loved her and supported her but there was something missing now and she thought about it every day. Maybe that should be ‘him’, her shadow man, her guardian angel.

Beth knew without a doubt that he was not here any longer. She didn’t know how she knew; she just did. What she didn’t know was what had happened to him; why he was gone. She didn’t know who he was – she did know that he existed. For awhile she thought maybe she imagined it all, but last year when he left she knew; she knew. He had been real.

There was a knock on her door and she called out an absent-minded “Come in”. Her mom opened the door and walked into the room, watching as Beth carefully wrapped the tiara up to put it away for another year.

“Your grandfather would be so happy to see that you still wear it. His princess, he loved you so much, Beth.”

Beth nodded, swallowing hard. “You think he watches now, or that he can’t?”

Dorothy frowned for a moment, thinking how to answer. “I guess I want to believe that’s possible Beth; in truth I don’t know. Does it comfort you to think he does?”

“It – it makes me feel closer to him I guess.” Beth put the tiara into the box and set it on the shelf in her closet. She sat down on the bed and motioned for her mom to sit too. “Mom, why don’t you ever talk about when I was little? You know, when I was ta…taken?” Beth stumbled over that last word; it brought back so many memories that she tried to forget.

“Beth, I – I, it was a painful time, for all of us. I don’t see that it does any good to talk about it. You were found and you were okay. That is what mattered.” Dorothy’s heart was pounding wildly as the memories came rushing back to her; the fear, the fear that choked her until she couldn’t breathe. Until she found Mick, she knew that he was the one to help her as soon as she found him.

“Mom, sometimes I DO need to talk about it. I can’t hide from it forever, I just can’t! Who took me? Who found me? It was a man, I remember that, but who was he? Mom, I need to know!”

“Beth, I, it was a woman who took you, you know that. I didn’t know her. A private detective found you; someone a friend recommended. He- he was amazing and had you back to us very quickly. That’s really all I know.” For a moment she felt a pang of guilt about the lie she told her daughter, but it was a lie born of necessity. It was better for everyone that Beth didn’t know too many details. Once you knew you couldn’t go back and Dorothy didn’t want Beth to have to bear the burden of that knowledge.

Beth shook her head impatiently; she had heard this before and it wasn’t the answers she needed, wanted. “Mom, there has to be more, more that you can tell me. I just don’t believe anymore that you don’t know more than that!”

“Beth, your being returned to us was a gift, the most precious gift imaginable. I didn’t ask that many questions; the questions weren’t important, only the fact that you were safe in my arms again. Can’t you understand that?”

“NO! No, I don’t. Mom, you have always told me to fight for what I believe in, to push for answers and not to settle until I was satisfied. Well, I’m pushing now! I need answers.” Beth’s defiant blues eyes stared into eyes that were remarkably like hers; the same shade of blue except right now her own were darkened with the passion of her need to find out the truth.

Dorothy recognized that look well; she wore it often herself but she had nothing else to offer and so she rose off the bed and bent to kiss Beth on the top of her head. She reached a gentle hand out to caress her daughter’s cheek and wiped a warm tear away. “Honey, I don’t have any more answers for you. I’m sorry, but I don’t.” She tried to smile and failed miserably so she turned to walk to the door. Before she closed it she looked once more at her daughter, sitting on her bed, her knees drawn up and arms hugging them. Beth looked at her with wounded eyes and Dorothy saw betrayal in them. It was something she had chosen to live with a long time ago and she couldn’t go back now. She nodded at her daughter and softly said, “Goodnight Beth. I love you.”

Beth nodded her head, a jerky movement; an angry movement. “Goodnight Mom.”

No ‘I love you’ in return, but Dorothy knew that it wasn’t because she didn’t love her; it was just because she was angry right now. She paused for a moment and then closed the door as she left the room.

As the door softly closed Beth fought the urge to throw a pillow at it; instead she laid her forehead on her knees and let the tears flow. They weren’t healing tears though, they were angry tears and eventually she stopped them because they did her no good.

What is she hiding? Is she hiding something, or does she truly not know anything? And if she doesn’t, how can that be?

She was 17 now, time to grow up. Beth knew that she wouldn’t ever wear the tiara again; that was her past. It represented a time of protection and innocence; now she felt neither. Her shadow man was gone and for some reason she no longer felt innocent. She felt like a woman who needed answers about her past and she was determined to find them.

To be continued...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Part Two

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any recognizable characters or the basic story of Moonlight itself. If I did, that’d be cool though, wouldn’t it? Alas, I only play with them.

July 4th, 1997

I saw him again tonight, or maybe I didn’t really, I don’t know. It could have been the fireworks, which always remind me of fire and fire of course reminds me of that night.

Mom let me go to the beach with friends today and it was so much fun. Robbi and Lani were there as well as Penny, Mark, Michael, Brian and Justin. We brought a picnic and played Frisbee and swam in the warm water. It was a great day!

I got to drive Mom’s car with all the usual promises – NO drinking, nobody other than Robbi, Lani and I in it, follow the speed limit, etc.. Still, it felt wonderful; I felt so grownup and free. We turned on the radio and sang along to our favorite songs while we traveled; Robbi has a beautiful voice and even if Lani and I don’t, it is still fun to sing along.

Anyway, I thought I saw him as we sat watching the fireworks. Brian had his arm around me and leaned down to kiss me. When I turned my head towards his I thought I saw him watching from behind a dune. For a brief moment I thought his eyes looked almost like they were glowing, but it was the reflection of the fireworks of course. It sort of startled me though and I pulled my head back quickly and Brian’s kiss landed on my cheek instead of my mouth! Embarrassing, for both of us.

Brian goes to my school and I kinda like him; he’s never tried to kiss me before though and I was sorry that I had screwed up the moment. It wouldn’t be my first kiss, but I haven’t had that many and I’m almost 17! I need to get in more lip to lip time and Brian is just perfect for that!

After the fireworks Brian walked me to my car and I did get the kiss then! It was awesome, let me tell you. I can’t wait for the next one. I drove home feeling like I was on cloud nine!

If my shadow man watches me, why doesn’t he ever just let me see him; really see him? If he’s real what is the deal? This way I never know whether I am crazy and imagining the whole thing or not. Maybe he isn’t real, maybe that’s the thing – I only imagine him. Maybe my sub-conscious has only created these fleeting glimpses of him to make myself feel safe? That’s a disturbing thought…

Mom was waiting (I hope not too anxiously) when I got home and I shared the events of the day with her, even the missed kiss and the real one. (But I didn’t tell her about why the first attempt as the kiss didn’t work) She thought I had a bit of sunburn on my face and I got the ‘Didn’t you use enough sun block?’ lecture. I told her that I did, and tried to use it often, but geez, it’s easy to forget it, you know? She reminded me that skin cancer wouldn’t be so easy to forget.

She has a point…



“SO,” Lani asked, “Was there tongue?”

“What???” Beth sputtered, trying to focus on driving and not run off the side of the road when she heard Lani’s question.

“You know, when Brian kissed you? I love it when they slip me the tongue!” she said with a sigh.

Robbi rolled her eyes and said, “Listen Miss ‘Do Me’, it’s none of your business. Sheesh Lani, do you ever think about anything besides boys and sex?”

Lani laughed as she looked at her friend, “I sometimes wonder if I should talk Mom and Dad into letting me get my boobs made bigger. Boys like ‘em big!” She woefully looked down at her breasts, B cups at best and let out a frustrated sigh.

“I really can’t believe you sometimes Lanelle Parker! And I can’t imagine you ever making it through business school!” Robbi said.

“Hey, I have it all figured out! And like Melanie Griffith said in Working Girl – ‘I got a mind made for business and a bod made for sex’ or something like that anyway. I may not have a bod made for sex yet, but I will. One of these days the girls are going to make it big!”

Beth was aware of the bantering going on between her two best friends but paid little attention to it. She heard it all the time and could easily tune it out. At first she was thinking about the kiss, or rather the missed kiss and then she thought about her shadow man.

She really was beginning to think she imagined him; it all made sense. He never showed himself outright and so if he was real that pissed her off. It definitely wasn’t cool to let someone think they were crazy. He must be imaginary, he has to be…


Mick watched Beth from the safety of the sand dune, being cautious to keep well-hidden in the shadows of the night. For the most part the kids were just having fun, no drinking, just usual teen types of preoccupation, i.e. chasing the opposite sex. And Beth wasn’t really that different in that although certainly not as blatant as some of her friends.

Several of the teens had sort of paired off for the evening, Beth being one of those. She was sitting in the sand watching the fireworks display when her young man leaned in for a kiss. Even from where he was sitting Mick could smell the boy’s attraction for Beth and for a moment Mick’s eyes flashed silver in the inky black night and he stepped back, appalled at his reaction.

He had known that sooner or later this would happen. She was a beautiful young woman and she was going to date boys, men and he also knew that he had to let all this go. He made his way down the beach to where the Benz was parked and got in behind the wheel and sat silently for a few minutes. He leaned his forehead down and rested it on the steering wheel for a minute to try and shake it off.

This wasn’t healthy, it wasn’t good for either one of them and he knew it. He tried to tell himself that he had a fatherly interest in her well being, and maybe in years past there was that. But as she grew and matured it was harder for him to buy that. When he looked at her he saw a woman, a beautiful young woman and he had to force himself to remember that she deserved a life that was untainted by anything that he could bring to it.

He had to find a way to let it go…


Knowing that his best friend Josef was always a great distraction, from anything, he headed there. The top was down in the car and he cruised along, feeling the night. He felt the wind blast through his hair and he pushed the accelerator down a little bit more, enjoying the rush of speed. He cruised for a bit down PCH before heading back toward Josef’s.

As he walked in to Josef’s he saw that he was just finishing dinner. And quite a dish she was, Mick had to admit.

“Care to join me for a little dessert?” Josef inquired, sweeping his arm about to offer some of the other ladies to his friend.

For a moment Mick actually considered the offer. It had been a long time, maybe too long since he had fed fresh. It was his own, self-imposed rule; he could break it if he wanted. Finally he shook his head and replied “I’ll take mine in a glass if you don’t mind!”

Josef shook his head and snapped his fingers and before Mick knew it a lovely woman brought Mick a glass that rested on a silver tray. Mick smiled to himself over the formality of it all but took the glass and sipped slowly, savoring the taste. The blood wasn’t straight from the vein, but it was still fresh and much better than any morgue blood Mick got from Guillermo.

“So,” Josef said, flicking an imaginary piece of lint off of his suit, “What brings you by? Hankering for a game of pool or poker or did you just miss me?” He grinned, knowing they would irritate Mick, who never admitted to needing company or being lonely. Still, Josef thought, something was up tonight, he could smell it all over Mick.

“No Josef, I – “he closed his mouth for a moment and rethought his next words. “You know what? Maybe a game would be a good thing. I think I’m up for that.”

“Uh huh,” Josef answered, sure now that something was bothering his friend. They had this rule that they didn’t pry into each other’s lives, but then again, rules were made to be broken and Josef had broken them all at one time or another. He snapped his finger’s again and said “Call the guys – tell them poker here at my place, right away!” One of Josef’s servants rushed to do as he was told.

“Care to tell me what’s going on?”

“Nothing. No, just, I don’t know, a case I guess.”

“A case? They don’t usually get you so out of sorts. Hell, if I got to follow people around and watch them have sex I’d consider it a great night!” Josef watched as Mick’s eyes flashed silver and he started to rise from the couch.

“What the hell do you know about it?” Mick all but yelled.

“Well, obviously I hit a nerve there boyo. Sorry,” he said, getting up to stroll over to the bar. He picked up a crystal flask of single malt and proffered it to Mick, who nodded his head.

Josef poured two generous glasses and carried them over to the table between the couch where Mick was sitting and his own chair. They each picked up a glass and Josef held his high and offered, “To the night!”

“And it’s secrets,” Mick answered. Mick all but downed his in one swallow and then sat his empty glass back down on the table.

Josef’s eyebrow quirked upwards and he asked, “Another?”

“No, not right now.” He leaned back on the couch and shut his eyes for a moment, savoring the burn that still trickled down his throat. The burn was good; he only wished he could feel the results of the alcohol; he wanted to numb his brain, he wanted oblivion right now really badly.

Josef observed all this quietly, sipping his own drink. One leg was crossed over the other and he looked the picture of gentile relaxation, but quite the opposite was true. Mick was on edge and now so was he.

“Anything going on that I should know about Mick?” he probed.

“No – yeah. I’ve got to get out of here,” he declared.

“What? You just got here!”

“No, I mean out of LA Josef. I need to move on! I have to.”

Josef nodded his head; he knew he wasn’t going to get anything else out of Mick right now so he only said, “I’ll get my people working on it.”

Mick nodded, satisfied.  This is how it has to be.


A week later Mick had packed up the rest of his belongings. Some things would go into storage, the rest Josef was disposing of. Josef’s guy had taken care of everything Mick needed for a new start; new ID and documentation to go with it that would fool any system out there. He had said his goodbyes to the people he cared about; all except one. That one would never know and that was how it should be.

There were questions though from one other who cared about her. “Why must you go? Where will you be? How can we reach you if we need you?” Mick could only shake his head to most of those questions; for everyone’s sake the answers were better left unsaid. He left a number though, just in case; it was the best he could do.


That night Beth woke up from a nightmare, her heart pounding wildly. She was covered in sweat and her nightgown was drenched and twisted around her legs. She sat up in her bed, staring at the full moon that was shining through her bedroom window. She tried to remember what the nightmare was about.

She concentrated and the dream came back to her, slowly at first and then rushing in like a runaway train. Her shadow man was gone; she didn’t know how and she didn’t know where, but he was gone.

She cried herself back to sleep that night full of despair. Would she ever feel safe again?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

January 22, 1997

Welcome to the first chapter of ‘Beth’s Diary’! When Moonlight was on I always wondered about who Beth really was; why she was so pushy and independent, what made her ‘tick’. This is my explanation of her life. Maybe it will answer some of your questions too.

I have two people to thank for their help with the story. The first is my editor, Engbunny. She has been with me since the early days of What My Heart Desires and is the biggest supporter of my efforts. I am endlessly thankful for her, especially in this endeavor. You see, she cannot handle blood! Yes, thats right, she finds nothing fascinating or intriguing about vampires! She has watched two episodes, mostly because of my nagging and insistence that there was something magical about the show. She would agree (I think) that Mick is indeed a hunk and that Josef’s snarky attitude is wonderful. She tells me that she likes the story, but has to ignore the blood part. Hard to do, but so far it’s going well. Thanks ‘sistah from anothah mistah’, I couldn’t do it without you!

The second person I want to thank is VampFan5. For months she has listened to my thoughts on building my own ML universe and characterizations. She has enthusiastically offered thoughts and opinions and freely given her advice. Good thing those cell minutes are free because otherwise we’d both be in trouble! Those hours spent e-mailing and talking, fine tuning different points of the stories have been such a meaningful boost to me; I’ve not only gained a friend, but also another sister. My gratitude is endless for this awesome woman. Thanks J, from the bottom of my heart!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any recognizable characters or the basic story of Moonlight itself. If I did, that’d be cool though, wouldn’t it? Alas, I only play with them.

Beth’s Diary – The Beginning

January 22, 1997

Today is my 16th birthday. Just an ordinary birthday really; family and friends are gathering together for laughter, hamburgers and cake. Chocolate of course. What would my birthday be without my mom’s special to-die-for chocolate cake?

I’ve decided to start this diary because they say that keeping a journal can help you with issues. And boy, do I have a few. Not that things are bad in my life, but things haven’t always been like this. Calm – ordinary, full of school and home work, gossiping with my friends over my latest crush; the usual things that occupy a teenage girl’s life. Someday I would like to become a writer, so this is just practice I guess.

My name is Elizabeth Elaine Turner. I live with my mom in Glendale, California. Mom is single, never married in fact. She’s the best mom anyone could ever have though; we’ve never had to worry about a roof over our heads or food for the table. When people talk about their dads, I can’t help but look at them blankly. Never had one, so I guess it’s true you don’t miss what you never knew.

I remember my Grandpa Turner some. He died when I was 7. He would take walks with me and pull Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers out of his pocket for me. When I think of him, that’s what I miss the most; the smell of those Lifesavers when I hugged him. Mom and Grandma were devastated by his passing, but I always felt he was still here somehow, watching over us. Every now and again I buy a roll of Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers and think about my Grandpa and hope that he is proud of me.

Grams is getting older now; I see it as I watch her move slowly across the dining room floor, her hesitant steps planned carefully and cautiously executed. Mom says she needs a cane, but Grams just shrugs off the idea. She asks if we think she’s old or something and then gives me a rakish wink. But as I get older I am more aware that her time with us is limited too. Other than a few assorted cousins that’s it for family really. We Turner’s were not really a prolific bunch I guess you could say.

Oh, but I forgot mom. Beth, how could you forget her? As I said, best mom ever!!! Dorothy Turner got pregnant at 17, only a year older than me now. I wonder about that, how it changed and complicated her life? My grandparents lives as well, but no one ever complained about it. Mom left high school in her senior year; the year when we are so socially conscious of where we are heading in life and how we are going to get there, or so they tell me. Her life was heading for diapers and 2 am feedings, running straight for the fast track to nowhere fast.

Unless of course you take my grandparents into consideration. After mom had me they gave her just enough time for a good taste of reality and then ushered her right back on the track for school and a future. She got her GED and then enrolled in college and much to her own surprise finished not quite four years later with a teaching degree in social sciences. Ms. Turner, the teacher. I’m so proud of her. Of course, it’s a lot to live up to, but I’m trying my best.

I’ve got a year and a half of high school still and then I’m off (keep your fingers crossed) for the school of journalism at UCLA, hopefully with a scholarship. I know Mom and Grams have put aside money for my education, but if I can score a scholarship for most of it that’s just more money for Mom’s future. She just laughs over that and asks me what in the world did I think she was saving for anyway?

School – well, it’s okay I guess. I really like debate and my creative writing classes. I’ll get through the algebra and chemistry, always mindful of those looming SAT’s and the magical word ‘S-C-H-O-L-A-R-S-H-I-P!

I have two best friends – Robbi and Lani. We’re pretty much the three musketeers (doesn’t that sound so cliché?), but it’s true, none-the-less! Since kindergarten we have done practically everything together, they are the sisters I never had, just not the blood kind which is fine with me. Robbi wants to study marine biology and work with the whales and stuff, pretty cool and that suits her just great. Lani wants to be a business girl, is planning on getting a degree in organizational management when we go to college. That sounds pretty intimidating to me, but she’s just the girl for it!

Even with all that, sometimes the past still comes back to me and at times I can’t even figure out the reason for why. The past with the scary woman who floated above the room and shrieked and the man who saved me from her. Sometimes it seems clear what happened, and other times it’s like I can almost remember it, but like it was really only a dream or something. Mom and Grams tell me that if I were supposed to remember it I would, so I should just let it go. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it though, not really. But wouldn’t it be nice if I could?



Beth sat back and re-read her first diary entry. She’d never done this, kept a diary and she had really debated over whether to start it out Dear Diary. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to start? But it felt stupid so she just skipped that part.

As she read the words images of her Gramps floated through her mind. She frowned as she realized that it was harder and harder for her to remember him, what he looked like, and the sound of his voice. Only the smell of the Lifesavers was clear anymore and that made her sad. She really did feel like he was still out there somewhere, keeping watch. But Beth also knew that he wasn’t the only one – HE watched, the man from the shadows.

She had never told her Mom and Grams about him. He didn’t scare her, not at all. Actually, he made her feel safe; he rescued her from the scary woman and she knew he would never hurt her. Sometimes the flashes of what happened were fairly clear; she could remember him picking her up and telling her that he was going to take her to her Mom. She held on tightly to him, clinging with her four year old arms to the man with hope, the kind of blind faith and hope that children have that makes them believe that a mom can kiss a boo-boo away or that the tooth fairy will leave you money. He was her hero then, her own personal super-hero or guardian angel. He was with her then, the way he was now.

Some people would probably tell her that she imagined him – that the quick glimpses of him were only her imagination, but Beth knew better. He was real, but he was also her secret.

Her reverie was interrupted by a knock on her bedroom door and it startled her. She realized that she had been chewing on her pen and she dropped it down on the desk and shook her head at the deep bite marks on it. She managed to scoop it into a drawer and close the diary before Robbi and Lani burst into the room.

“Hey! C’mon, everybody is waiting for you down stairs!” Lani said, tugging on Beth’s hand insistently in an effort to get her on her feet.

“Okay, okay. What’s the big deal? They aren’t going to start without me are they?” she laughed.

Robbi was looking at the diary on the desk and she raised a quizzical eyebrow as she realized what it was. She saw Beth watching her and she only smiled and gave a slight shrug. If Beth wanted to talk about it she would, Robbi knew.

Both Robbi and Lani knew what had happened to Beth as a child, the whole neighborhood did. They also knew that she had nightmares about it sometimes too. Beth had often talked about her troubled dreams with her friends, telling them about the scary woman in white and the shadow man who saved her.

Lani liked to fanaticize about the man, Beth’s hero. She told so many stories about him one day returning and sweeping Beth off of her feet that it was sometimes a game to the girls. They played 20 questions about him; what color eyes did he have, what did his voice sound like? Never mind the fact that he would be old now, that was 12 whole years ago. He wouldn’t likely be someone that Beth would ever think was handsome now! But it was a fun game and they spent many happy hours invested in it.

Lani was still tugging on Beth’s hand and said, “We gotta go! Where’s your tiara Princess Girl?” Years ago Beth’s Grandpa had given her a tiara for her birthday and it was tradition for her to wear it every year and this year would be no different. Beth pulled open the top drawer in her dresser and reverently pulled it out and held it up for Lani and Robbi to admire.

The tiara was fit for a princess; it was silver plate set with pink and white CZ’s. Through the years a few of the stones fell off but Beth still treasured it. Her Gramps had given it to her for her 5th birthday. Her mother thought it was an unnecessary indulgence for a small child but Gramps insisted.

“Beth, you are a special girl, our princess and so you should have a crown,” he had told her.

Beth had hugged him tight and kissed him soundly on the cheek. “Thank you Gramps! Will I always be your princess?”

“Of course you will. But more importantly, someday you will be someone else’s too!”

Beth hadn’t understood what that meant back then but the memory of it made her smile. So each year she wore the tiara; for her Gramps and she hoped that he could see her that he was still proud of her.

Beth set the tiara on her head, pushing the small plastic combs into her hair to keep it in place. She turned her head this way and that, admiring the sparkle of the CZ’s. It really did make her feel like a princess she decided!

The three girls made their way downstairs where other people were gathered to share in the birthday festivities. It wasn’t a huge crowd, which was fine with Beth; it was the people that she loved the most and so it was perfect. She gave her Mom and Grams a quick kiss each and said hello to each of the others. Even though it was January it was an uncommonly fine day and they were going to have the party outside, so everyone went out the back door to where the yard had been decorated with balloons and banners in celebration.

“Mom, aren’t I a little old for balloons? Please tell me you don’t have a clown hiding somewhere?” she teased.

“Some Chippendale’s guys would be nice!” Lani interjected with a giggle.

Dorothy turner raised an eyebrow at that and shook her head. Her parents were going to have trouble with that one, she knew. “Nonsense Beth, you are never too old for balloons!”

Beth and Robbi were both still laughing over Lani’s remark but finally managed, “Well, thanks for the thought Mom.”

The grill was going and Beth could smell hamburgers cooking. Her stomach growled loudly and she was glad that everyone seemed to be talking so no one heard it. She wandered over to the picnic table that was set with a brightly colored cloth and had lots of food setting on it, waiting for the burgers to be done. Beth grabbed a pickle off of a platter and popped it into her mouth, savoring the taste that made her mouth pucker a little.

“How much longer Clark?” Beth asked. Clark was a neighbor and a friend of the family. Beth often wondered why he and her mom didn’t date because they were really good friends and he was often around their house. He was a nice guy and when Beth was younger if her bike chain needed greasing or something, Clark was the go-to guy.

“What Beth, you think you’re hungry or something?” he asked her, his eyes twinkling with humor. He probed one of the burgers and said, “Hm, I think this one is about done. Grab a plate; I wouldn’t want to keep the birthday girl waiting!”

“You don’t have to tell me twice!” She grabbed a plate and headed back to the grill. Clark plopped the sizzling patty onto the bun she had grabbed and she inhaled deeply, enjoying the aroma of one of her favorite foods. Everyone else was lining up to get theirs so she moved quickly out of the way and went to pile on the fixings!

The girls took their plates and went to sit on a blanket that had been spread over the lawn. Beth took her first bite of the hamburger and chewed slowly, savoring the taste.

Is that one of your ‘specials’ Beth?” Robbi asked.

“Yeah, and it is GOOD!” She had piled jalapeño’s, guacamole, pepper jack cheese and hot sauce on the burger. She loved anything spicy – the hotter the better. She took another bite and a sliced jalapeno fell out of the burger and onto her plate. She frowned and picked it up and popped it into her mouth; she refused to waste a bit of that treat. “What did you put on yours?”

Robbi shook her head and said, “Nothing like that – same old, same old! I don’t know how you can eat that stuff!” Robbi lifted the top bun and stared at mayo, lettuce and tomato.

“I know you don’t!”

“You two are freaks, you know that? How many times have we had this debate?” Lani asked, eating her own cheese burger which was piled high with pickles and potato chips and mustard.

“Let’s just admit it ladies, we all have our own favorites. If we were ever stranded on a desert isle, we wouldn’t have to argue over ingredient toppings for our burgers!” Beth said.

“Uh, assuming that some cows got stranded with us of course?” Robbi quipped, ever the practical one.

“Yeah, I guess,” Beth laughed.

“And maybe the Chippendales guys too!” Lani added.

Both Robbi and Beth rolled their eyes as they finished their food. Lani had a poster of the guys hanging in her bedroom; it seemed to be all she ever thought about, finding a way to see them for real.

“Yeah, them too!” Beth and Robbi chorused to together, giggling.

The day passed happily, mostly spent talking and laughing with friends and neighbors. At dusk Beth’s Mom lit the candles on her birthday cake and carried it outside. Beth’s eyes lit up with excitement as she saw it.

“Oh Mom, I’ve been waiting all day for this!” she told her, hugging her Mom after Dorothy set the cake down on the picnic table. Beth gazed at the cake, the candle glow shining in her blue eyes, making them sparkle.

“Hurry up! Make a wish and blow ‘em out!” Grams said, as excited as Beth was. When you get to be her age, you appreciated birthdays a whole lot more. You might not be as thrilled with them she thought, but you appreciated having them.

“Hm, let’s see,” Beth said, taking her time. She enjoyed this moment and she enjoyed teasing her grandma. It was a game they played each year and the best part of the day; well except maybe actually eating the cake. “A wish huh? What do I wish for?” She grew quiet for a moment, he wish decided. It was an easy wish; it was the same each year. She closed her eyes and concentrated.

Bring my shadow man to me!

It wouldn’t ever happen, she knew. But still, it was her wish…


He watched quietly from the shadows of the neighboring yard, hidden from the view of most. A few cats and dogs knew that he hid there, but they wouldn’t approach him he knew. This was the way the party ended each year, with Beth making a wish and blowing out her candles before the entire group ate cake.

He remembered some of his own birthdays when he was a child; the cake, the candles glowing brightly. Ah, the taste of his mom’s lemon cake, his favorite. She prepared it each year for him, only on his birthday. The last time he had had that cake was his 30th birthday, a lifetime ago.

He gazed at Beth as she ate her cake and smiled as he saw her lick chocolate frosting off of her fingers. It had been 12 years since he had carried her away from that burning inferno where he had killed Coraline. He remembered Beth’s small arms clutching him desperately around his neck, the fire reflecting brightly off of her blue eyes. He turned away from the fire, refusing to watch it burn, satisfied that he had done what he needed to do. He would suffer the consequences (and maybe the grief) later on; right now Dorothy Turner was waiting for her daughter and so he left the building burning brightly.

When Mick got Beth into the Benz, he tucked a soft blanket around her gently and sat her down in the rear seat before taking his own place. Silently she crawled into the passenger seat next to him and all he could do was smile and nod that it was okay. Before they had driven a mile she had fallen asleep, apparently exhausted after her ordeal with Coraline. He wondered if she had been hurt, but she seemed to be fine from what Mick could see. At least he had gotten to her before Coraline had tried to turn her. Mick could never have forgiven himself if he had not made it in time.

At the Turner house in Glendale Mick handed Beth over to her mother’s arms. Three pairs of grateful eyes shed tears of joy to have the child home, apparently safe. Mick said very little about it all and they asked little as well. At the time they were just so thankful to have her back that the questions didn’t really come to them. Mick knew that they would come later and that would hopefully give him time to formulate some replies. He turned down their offer of a meal, a drink and made to leave. Harold Turner handed Mick a check for a ridiculously large sum of money; Mick waved it away.

How did he explain that finding this child had set him free? That now maybe his life could go on and he saw that it was possible to change the direction of his life, in ways he never thought possible? That he was grateful to them?

You didn’t he knew. He only knew that he couldn’t accept their money. And a week later, when the check arrived in the mail he had finally sent it to a local children’s shelter, in the Turner’s name. It seemed a fitting way for the money to be spent.

Through the years he had watched, making sure she was safe. He feared that she had caught glimpses of him from time to time; it used to worry him but time has a way of taking those kinds of worries away. If she had seen him, she was obviously okay with it. So he watched, telling himself that it was for her, to make sure she was okay. Year after year he stood silent guard over her life seeing it as his duty. He stood in the shadows when Harold died and shed a few tears himself as his body was laid to rest. He had watched as Grace aged; he could see how her body ached and hurt her as she moved and he also knew that she would not long be in this world either.

He sunk a bit farther into the shadows as he heard a movement nearby. As he saw who approached he stepped forward and nodded a greeting.

“She looks beautiful, doesn’t she?”

“Yes. And happy,” Mick said.

“I think so.”

“Does she remember?” Mick asked.

“If she does she doesn’t ever speak of it, to me anyway.” The words were spoken with a resigned shrug.

“As long as she’s happy, nothing else matters.”

Both nodded and Mick stepped back into the shadows. He was content.