Out of the Past
October 6, 2007
I don’t know where to begin this; I don’t even know what to write. I don’t know that I should actually write it. Certainly it is too much to even say out loud.
Did you ever have one of those days or weeks where nothing was as it seemed? You know the kind, where every basic belief that you hold true is proven wrong? Where your emotions hit rock bottom and then start digging?
That was this week. I almost lost a friend and the person who saved her isn’t who I believed he was. He was a hero, but how can I live with the knowledge of how he did it? Is he the person I thought he was? Yes, he is and yet he is so much more.
He said we all have secrets; true enough. We have secrets like we stole some earrings when we were in the seventh grade or we smoked pot in college, maybe cheated on a test. Ordinary stuff that makes us cringe and blush with shame years later because deep down we still know that we are good people and we regret our actions.
But what if this is something that can’t be taken back? This very secret is so big, so important that you want to forget it but you can’t? How do you live with that kind of secret?
Mick St. John is a vampire.
There, I said it. There’s no such thing as vampires he told me only a week ago. He lied. There are vampires among us, living all around us and probably always have been. Have I known other’s I wonder? I’m too afraid to ask because I might not want to know. No more secrets, no more. Yet I will have to live this secret with him; no telling Josh or my parents or other friends. This secret Mick and I share and I do want to protect him. He isn’t evil or horrible; he is the antithesis of what you might imagine a vampire to be even. He saved me; fought to protect me and I understand now even more so; he had been stabbed and he still fought for me, cared for me. That makes him a hero in my book but I’m wise enough to know that the world would disagree.
So this secret I will keep; for both of our sakes. He fought for me and I will fight for him, for his right to live and be a part of this world. I can do no less.
The past few days had been grueling; her friend Julia had a book published, Wronged Man, about Lee Jay Spalding who had been wrongly convicted of murdering his wife 25 years ago. He was being freed from prison and was starting a new life with Julia playing a starring role in it all. As soon as Beth had seen the book, before it was even out she knew that a private investigator by the name of Mick St. John had been involved in it all. She took the book to him, confused about it all.
Mick had looked at the old picture and told her that it was his dad and that Lee Jay was a broken individual and that Julia needed to take care. She had left his loft totally unbelieving that Julia could have been so mislead. Julia was an excellent investigative reporter and was well able to spot a scam; she was convinced that Lee Jay was on the level and so Beth had to trust in her friends instincts.
She did know one thing though; there was something fishy about it all. Mick was acting really strange about it all and she couldn’t figure him out. She just didn’t know whether it was about Mick or Lee Jay but something was wrong with the whole damn thing. Yes, her instincts definitely told her that!
Mick had stared at the picture in the book in slight shock. It was taken in 1950, back when photographs could still capture his image. He had told Beth that it was his dad and when she mentioned that it could be his twin he said that he inherited some strong genes. Inside he was seething; about the book, about Lee Jay being released from prison but mostly because Lee Jay knew exactly what he was. Mick had missed the opportunity to kill him back in 1983.
After Beth had left he sat and thought about the whole situation. Lee Jay’s wife, Ilene Hannigan had come to Mick, asking for his help and protection against Lee Jay who had been abusing her. Mick had promised to protect her and he had failed; like Lee Jay’s first wife, Ilene had been found dead, the apparent victim of suicide.
Mick hadn’t believed it for a moment and neither did Detective Bobby Desmond, Mick’s friend on the police force. They had the police file on Lee Jay’s first wife and that ‘suicide’ had raised suspicions but since there was no evidence of foul play on Lee Jay’s part it was written off. But Bobby and Mick both knew better.
Mick had been determined to kill Lee Jay; it was a done deal in his mind, but when he found Lee Jay a cop came out of nowhere and Mick didn’t get to finish the job. Instead, he faded into the shadows and made up his mind to bide his time. At trial, Lee Jay was sentenced to 25 years for Ilene’s death; had the file on the death of Lee Jay’s first wife been allowed to be admitted as evidence he might have gotten life in prison, but a savvy lawyer representing Lee Jay got the information blocked. It was what it was; Lee Jay would still serve 25 years and Mick had always hoped that perhaps an ‘accident’ in prison would take care of the situation.
No such luck. Now Lee Jay was getting out of prison and he knew what Mick was; a vampire. Oh yeah, he knew; he had saw the fangs and Mick’s eyes as they fought briefly before the cop showed up that night. He knew.
Josef had asked him why he hadn’t just killed him and Mick had admitted that it was interrupted by the cop. Mick also told Josef that Lee Jay knew what he was and Josef said to find him and waste him.
But it wasn’t that easy and Mick knew it. Lee Jay had found another woman to play; Julia, the author was eating out of his hand and buying his bullshit by the barrel. Mick knew she would be the next to die unless he stopped Lee Jay and exposed the whole mess, keeping the truth about himself out of it all that is.
At the party to introduce the book about Lee Jay Mick had two things on his agenda; the first was to tag Julia’s car with GPS, just in case. The second was to give Beth the case file on the death of Lee Jay’s first wife so that she could see that there was more to Lee Jay than her friend knew and that would hopefully make Beth more alert when it came to her friend and Lee Jay. He did accomplish both of those objectives but he also had a run in with Lee Jay.
It was a stupid thing to do, to follow Lee Jay into the men’s room and confront him. He wanted Lee Jay to know that he was watching him but he didn’t count on the drive that Lee Jay had to expose Mick. After threatening Mick with a stake to his heart, he had put his own head through a glass door, cutting it and then started yelling that Mick had done it. He wasn’t seriously injured, but it brought people running to his defense. Mick watched in anger and disbelief as Lee Jay walked out of the bathroom, holding a handkerchief to his head.
Beth had been incensed by the incident and didn’t believe it when Mick told her that Lee Jay had did it himself. It didn’t make any sense to her and Mick couldn’t blame her for those thoughts; it didn’t make sense to him and he had watched it happen.
The next day Mick had come home to find Lee Jay in his apartment, having broken in while Mick was gone. He had searched it and not only found the gun that Mick kept stashed in the office but also Mick’s blood supply. He sat calmly, waiting for Mick’s return, holding one of the bags of blood and made a show of sipping it when Mick came in. He then threw it on the floor in disdain and taunted Mick about having food issues and not being able to have anyone close to him for fear of them finding out his secret.
Mick had watched Lee Jay toss the bad of blood onto the floor and became infuriated; this was it, the moment of Lee Jay’s death but Lee Jay was still two steps ahead of him. He announced that he had told everyone that he was coming to Mick’s to make peace with him and then pulled out Mick’s gun and a cell phone, already programmed to ring 911. With that he shot himself in the arm and pushed the ‘send’ key and told the dispatcher that he had been shot by Mick St. John.
Mick stared at the scene for a moment, debating his chances of talking his way out of it with the police. As the sirens approached he looked around at the gun laying on the floor and the discarded bag of blood and decided he had to split. After he cleaned out the blood that was in his hidden fridge and stuffed it into a bag he made his escape, calling Josef to meet him and trying to figure out a plan of action.
Josef met him and as usual, wanted to know why Mick hadn’t killed him. Mick had tried to make him understand that if he could bring Lee Jay down it would be a chance to erase a regret in his life and set things right. Josef didn’t get that and told Mick so and suggested that Mick should relocate. He offered his help with that because he knew a guy who worked with vamp relocation. Mick turned him down flat and a plan began to form in his mind.
He had to get to Beth.
Beth and Josh watched the news about Mick shooting Lee Jay. Beth was stunned and when Josh asked her if she believed it she told him no, she didn’t.
Josh was beginning to lose patience over this whole Mick St. John deal. Beth had not been herself since his appeared into her life. Things were starting to get crazy and Beth was just going with it all, buying whatever St. John was selling hook, line and sinker. Josh appreciated the fact that St. John had saved her life and he was grateful for that. But there was something about all this that was too strange and he decided that he needed to start checking this guy out, doing a bit of investigative work of his own.
“Josh, I really don’t think Mick did it,” Beth told Josh.
“You know, since you met this guy screwed up is starting to seem normal,” he had told her. Josh was totally frustrated by it all.
The door bell rang and startled them both and Josh opened the door. Standing there was someone who Josh realized was Mick St. John himself. When Mick asked if Beth was there Josh told him no, but it was too late, Beth was right behind him, ushering Mick in.
When Beth asked him why he didn’t stay at his place and tell the police what had happened, Mick didn’t know what to say. Actually, what was going through his head was, ‘because I’m a vampire’ but he certainly couldn’t admit that. He told them he panicked and hoped it would suffice. Looking at Josh, he knew that it didn’t.
“He can’t stay here,” Josh told Beth. ‘I’m an attorney, in the DA’s office. I’ll get disbarred!” Josh pleaded with her, hoping she would make Mick leave. Instead, he could see her softening towards Mick and knew that he had lost the battle.
Mick wanted to tell his side of the story and Beth filmed it and put it on Buzzwire. It hit the internet and was almost immediately picked up by the TV networks. Julia saw it as she was waiting to pick up Lee Jay at the hospital and was hurt and angered by what she saw as Beth’s betrayal.
A short while later Beth’s phone rang and she looked to see that it was Julia calling. Her heart sank because she knew how betrayed Julia would feel. Instead, what happened next changed everything.
Julia knew what Lee Jay was because he was holding her hostage and he demanded to talk to Mick. Mick picked up an extension and listened to Lee Jay, as did Beth and Josh. Beth had the presence of mind to turn the answering machine on to record the conversation.
Lee Jay demanded that Mick turn himself in to the police and gave him an hour to do it. He also admitted that he would do to Julia what he had done to Ilene if Mick didn’t cooperate. It was enough for Josh to agree to help and he took the recording to a friend of his who would hopefully put out a press release that Mick had turned himself in, which would give Mick time to find Lee Jay.
Mick and Beth used the GPS tag on Julia’s car to find them, locating them in a warehouse. Mick instructed Beth to stay in the car but before he left he had her get a gun out of the glove compartment with instructions to wait 10 minutes and if he didn’t come back to call the police.
As Mick left to find a way into the warehouse Beth sat in the car and fumed. “Why does the girl always have to stay in the car?” she wondered aloud. It wasn’t an easy wait and she thought about the conversation that Mick and Lee Jay had on the phone as she waited.
“I know what you are Mick!” Lee Jay had said. Beth had asked Mick about it on the ride to find Julia and he had evaded the question at first and finally said they would talk about it later.
Beth had accused Mick of evading her questions and Mick had replied, “Everyone has secrets Beth and that’s not evading.”
What on earth could that be about she wondered? Did Lee Jay mean ‘I know who you are Mick’? And who was he to Lee Jay anyway? Mick seemed a lot more invested in all this than you would think he would be, even if his father had been involved with it all. Then Beth remembered that she hadn’t been able to find any trace of Mick’s dad and it all became more curious to her.
Suddenly, she heard a shot coming for the warehouse and Julia scream. Beth debated for half a moment about calling the cops, but as she saw Julia run out she was out the car door and heading to the warehouse on a run. As she passed Julia, standing there in shock they heard another shot and Julia said, “Lee Jay shot Mick!”
When Beth got inside she saw Mick lying on the floor, blood seeping from his wounds and Lee Jay, standing above him brandishing a blow torch. Flashbacks came rushing into Beth’s head of fire; the scary woman being burned and for a moment it was all clear to her, when she was taken. Mick was carrying her out of the fire and she was clinging to him, watching the scary woman burn.
She didn’t stop to think; she took aim and shot Lee Jay, her shot hitting him in the neck. She saw his face plastered with surprise as he sank to the floor, dead. Beth stood there in shock, dazed as she heard sirens rushing towards them. Mick looked at her and said, “I thought I told you to stay in the car.” She closed her eyes for a moment and when she glanced down at the floor again, only Lee Jay remained.
Beth moved woodenly outside and saw Carl talking to Julia. “Mick saved me,” Julia said. “I was so wrong!”
Beth stopped for a moment, not even aware that she had. She listened to what Carl was asking Julia.
“So Mick shot Lee Jay?”
“No,” Beth said, moving forward again. “I did.”
“Hey, hey Beth! Beth get back here,” Carl called out to her, but she didn’t stop. She had to find Mick.
Mick had made it to his car and headed home without being stopped by anyone, which was a small miracle. He called Josef on the way.
“Josef, I’ve been shot, by Lee Jay. Silver buckshot…I need help! Meet me at my place.” His loft was closer than Josef’s and he needed to get some blood into him.
Mick was functioning on auto-pilot by the time he made it home. Out of the car, up the elevator, he stumbled along, barely making it into the loft and forgetting to close the door behind him. One thing was on his mind, getting some blood down him while he waited for Josef.
“Guillermo? This is Josef, I need your help. Mick has been shot, silver buckshot. We need to get over to the loft and help him.”
“I’ll get Terrence to cover for me man and meet you there. Is he alone?”
“I think so. He didn’t sound good so put some speed on, okay?”
“You bet. Heading out now.”
Beth found her way to Mick’s loft and she climbed into the elevator in a zombie like state. She needed to know that he was okay, but how could he be? He had been shot and she had saw blood streaking down his back so she knew he had been hit. Why in the hell didn’t he get some medical attention? The thought occurred to her that maybe he had; maybe he was at the hospital right now and she wouldn’t find him here. Then she noticed the smear of blood on the button to his floor and she knew that he was here.
Anger started to take over then and she shook with it, her fingers curled into her palms, so hard that they drew blood, but she failed to notice that. He left her there! Left her there to explain the whole damn thing! How dare he? She wanted answers and she wasn’t leaving until she had them.
As the elevator dinged its arrival the doors opened and she walked out, headed straight to Mick’s loft. When she got there she saw that the door was open and she stepped inside. Mick was on his knees with his back to the door. She couldn’t quite see what he was doing but as she saw him, bending over in pain her anger left her and all that was left was fear and questions.
“Mick, you ran off again. You were there one second and then you were gone,” she told him and she couldn’t quite keep the fear out of her voice.
She watched him sort of sink down and his body jerk, whether with surprise or pain she couldn’t tell. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“Please leave,” he told her and his voice sounded slurred.
“Not without answers,” she told him. He turned away and tried to shrink away from her sight. “I keep dreaming about you. Why?”
“Please don’t look at me,” he pleaded.
Beth walked around the back of the couch so she could see him better. What she saw both shocked and frightened her. Mick was holding a bag of blood; his hands were stained with it as was his mouth. He was breathing shakily and she watched as his body jerked with involuntary movement.
She sucked in her breath sharply, her eyes opened wide. She felt suddenly afraid, for them both. “What are you?” she asked, her words catching in her throat.
“I’m a vampire,” he said to her, fixing his silvered eyes on her.
Her hand flew to her mouth and she took a step back. Mick met her gaze, knowing that she was seeing him for the monster he was. It both hurt and horrified him for her to see him like this. “Beth, please leave now. Please…”
She could only nod and backed towards the door. “Should I call a doctor Mick? 911?” she asked as she got to the door.
He shook his head and repeated, “Please leave.” She saw tears streaking down his face and realized that her own face was wet at well.
She turned around and left the loft, pulling the door shut behind her. She debated what to do; maybe she should go ahead and call 911, but could they even help a vampire? And this was a secret; she knew that and she also knew that no good could come of the world finding out.
Maybe he had called someone to help him. The thought occurred to her suddenly and she looked around the hallway and spied a corner that was sort of tucked away from the hall. She went and sat down on the floor and as she did so she realized how badly her knees were shaking; it was good to sit down.
She told herself that she would wait 30 minutes and if no one came she was going back in there, regardless of what he wanted. She would not see him die from lack of care.
Beth pulled her knees up and leaned her forehead against them, breathing deeply and felt her body shake uncontrollably as more tears streaked down her face. The flowed unheeded, deep wrenching sobs followed and she thought about the events of this night and the new knowledge about Mick.
He was a vampire. There’s no such things as vampires he had told her; was it only last week? A vampire; how can that be?
She heard the elevator ring and she pulled herself into an even tighter ball, trying to make herself fade into the dark corner as she heard the doors swoosh open. Footsteps made a quick run down the hallway to Mick’s door and Beth peeked up to see two men enter the apartment. Beth sighed with relief; someone was here to help him.
Beth stood up and headed for the elevator. She only wanted to go home now and sleep, maybe forever.
Mick had managed to down one of the bags of blood by the time Guillermo and Josef arrived. He was lying on the floor, fading in and out of consciousness and Guillermo scooped him up as Josef made a bee line to the dining room table and cleared it off so that Guillermo could lay him down on it. They worked together, pulling his tattered duster and shirt off and stared at the wounds on his back and chest. They were red and angry; the silver was poisoning his flesh as well as getting into his blood.
With every moment he sank further down into oblivion and every moment brought him more pain. Guillermo opened the bag he had brought with him that had some surgical tools in it so that he could remove the bits of silver from Mick’s body. Both he and Josef pulled on latex gloves, not so much as to protect Mick from infection but to protect themselves from the silver.
Guillermo made the first incision and Mick moaned in pain as Guillermo pulled the first bit of offending silver from his body. Over and over the scalpel cut and the forceps pulled until they had every last bit out of Mick’s body. Josef watched as the incisions started to close up a bit and knew that it wouldn’t get better until they got blood into Mick.
When Guillermo was done Josef helped Mick to sit up and handed him a glass of blood, which Mick drank down quickly. Josef replaced it with another glass that was downed just as fast. Finally, after three glasses of blood Mick’s wounds had healed, closed and the skin reformed so that you couldn’t even tell where they had been. He pulled himself to his feet and said, “I’m going to hit the freezer. Thanks, both of you.”
“What the hell happened Mick?” they both asked as he headed up the stairs.
“Later, I promise. Lock up behind yourselves, okay?” With that, he was gone.
Josef and Guillermo stared at one another as they watched him disappear up the stairs. “What do you suppose happened?” Guillermo asked as he put his instruments back into the bag.
Josef threw the empty bags of blood into the disposal unit and said, “I don’t know but I am sure as hell going to find out!”
Beth was afraid that Josh would be at her apartment, waiting on her and she didn’t have a clue what to tell him about the events of this past night. There was now a wall between them that she knew she couldn’t breach and she also couldn’t think of a logical explanation about it all either.
Luck was with her; he wasn’t there and she showered quickly and turned her phone off as she crawled into bed. She slept for 9 hours straight and if she dreamed, she didn’t remember any of them.
To be continued…