October 1, 2007
The past couple of days have been a wild ride. Confusing and exhilarating, I feel like I have been sucker-punched. I’ve had several dreams about when I was taken and I haven’t had in for a very long time. But one face keeps returning to me in them, a face that has no place there and yet, inexplicably is.
The face of Mick St. John, the private investigator that I met while working on the Kelly Foster case.
Why is he in my dreams, inhabiting my thoughts? It’s like I have breathed him in and now he is a part of me, a part that I can’t shake, aand a part that I don’t want to shake.
Josh just keeps telling me that it is normal, that he saved my life when I was attacked by Christian Ellis’ grad student. Mick saved me and so it is normal that I would be preoccupied with him. Is it? Is it normal to feel a part of someone that you barely know?
I wish I knew…
What I do know is that when I fall asleep it’s Mick’s face that I see, carrying me away from the horror of when I was taken. It has sort of jump-started those old memories in a way that I can’t get away from. Part of me is glad about that – you can only hide from the past for just so long but the reality is that I can’t make heads or tails of it all. It seems like there is fire and then Mick carries me away.
Which of course isn’t possible.
Why can’t I remember it all? I think I need to, for no other reason than to finally move past it. My mom always felt it was better for me to just forget it all, but I don’t think so. How can you heal and move past if it haunts you still?
I am still riding high with the success of my first web cast; I am Mo’s golden girl right now, but we’ll see how long that lasts! She is fickle, or so I have been told. Yesterday I spent working wrap ups to the story and I must admit that while the vampire angle caught the viewer’s attention, it is pretty hokey! It was so much fun, when I wasn’t being drugged and on the list for the next murder that is.
I talked to Lani and told her my news and she was delighted to hear it all; she seemed a bit better this time, more her old self. Maybe I was imagining the stress in her voice last time we talked. I don’t know, it’s possible I guess. I also talked with Robbi and she said she hadn’t noticed anything unusual with Lani, so I probably did imagine it. She and Kevin are coming up this weekend for a barbeque at Mom and Clark’s house, to celebrate my triumphant entry into the world of online journalism. It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait!
After Mick had visited Guillermo at the morgue and discovered that there wasn’t a vampire involved in all this he headed to Josef’s for a few minutes. He was seeking something, some unknown needed familiarity. Maybe just a laugh, but Josef taunting him about his need to feed his inner vampire set him on edge and he headed home to hit the freezer.
He needed to get some sleep before he went to the dead girl, Kelly Foster’s apartment later to see what he could find. As he and Guillermo checked her out in the morgue he knew that whoever had done this wasn’t a vamp, so what was the point of it all? He tried to focus on the case but instead his mind kept twisting around to Beth.
He sort of felt like a fool, standing there staring at her. She was so beautiful; confident and poised as she made her way to where he was standing. It was amazing, she was grown up and no longer that 16 year old girl that was burgeoning on the edge of womanhood.
And this was what presented the problem.
He was drawn to her, like a man thirsting to death in a desert and she was the life-saving spring. He wanted to drink her in, her essence, her very person. She was a life line for him and he hadn’t felt that in a very long time. How did he stay away having these feelings; such mortal feelings?
After managing to sleep for a few hours he got up, realizing that there would be no more sleep for him right now. He showered and dressed and realized he still had a couple of hours before he could go to Kelly Foster’s apartment. He decided to go see Logan.
Logan was the only other vamp who knew the story of what had happened that night in 1985. Not even Josef knew all the details and how it had impacted Mick’s life.
Yes, to Logan, that was where he would go…
Beth knew she needed to go check out Kelly Foster’s apartment. She also knew that it was likely that the police would be there still, looking for anything related to the case. She spent the afternoon picking apart Kelly’s life; what classes she took, who she hung out with. She came up with several names to check out and what she hoped were promising leads.
During all that her mind kept returning to Mick St. John. Why couldn’t she get this guy out of her mind? It was driving her insane; whatever she thought about eventually wound its way back to him, to his face. It was downright creepy she thought and at the least it had to be unnatural. How could she feel as if she had known him all her life? There was something in those hazel eyes of his that spoke directly to her soul and it puzzled her.
She would get to the bottom of it though, she would…
Mick pushed the buzzer at Logan’s and he answered almost immediately and buzzed him in. It was quiet for once in the basement and Mick was glad about that.
“Hey Mick! I sort of wondered if I would see you today.” Logan sat in the computer chair and watched Mick as he nervously paced around the room before taking a seat on the couch. Logan leaned back in the chair and just waited for Mick to speak.
“I saw Beth last night.” Four simple words that rocked him to the core.
“Yeah, I know. Clark called and told me what happened. You okay?”
“Ye – um, I don’t know. I just don’t know. Logan, it, well it took me back to places I’d rather forget, you know?”
Mick had been in his freezer for 3 days and still the horror of what had happened, of what he had done wouldn’t let him rest.
He had heard that sometimes the old ones, vamps who had been around for centuries would ‘go to ground’, literally bury themselves alive for years to sort of collect themselves or something. He could understand that. If it were possible he would do the same.
He had killed his sire, his wife. The thought stunned him; in the vamp world to kill your sire was almost an unforgivable act and yet he felt no real remorse about it. She was dead; staked and burned to death by his own hand and he would do it again if he had to. It was just too much; all these years had culminated in the end of not only their marriage, but her death.
He heard his front door open quietly and he was instantly alert. He lifted the lid on the freezer and caught a whiff of a familiar vampire and got out of the freezer because he knew it wouldn’t do any good to try to hide away there.
Mick slipped on a pair of jeans and headed out to the living room. Logan was leaning against the couch, waiting for him.
“Hey Mick,” he said quietly. Clark had told him what had happened 3 days ago. When he didn’t hear from Mick, he decided to come and check on him. Although they were past the fledgling/sire part of the relationship they did touch base most days still. Logan waited for Mick to speak and the silence was almost unbearable.
Mick went to the hidden fridge and grabbed a bottle of O + and held it up to Logan in a silent question. Logan nodded and Mick got two glasses out of the cabinet and filled them half full of the red liquid. He still hadn’t said a word.
Logan waited; maybe not patiently, but he waited. The fact that Mick hadn’t said a word spoke volumes to the younger vampire and so he remained quiet and instead sipped the blood.
Mick took a long drink and sat the glass down on the coffee table. “You heard?”
“Yes. Clark called me. Beth is safe Mick, you saved her.”
“From Coraline. I saved her from my ex wife Logan!”
“Your ex? She took Beth? Why did she take Beth?” Logan was clearly puzzled.
“She wanted to make Beth a vampire so we could be a family. A fucking family, Logan. The three of us, living in blissful vampire happiness for eternity!”
The news stunned Logan. He had only met Beth once, well, if you could call it a meeting. “Did you know that I actually held her once Mick? When she was about 6 months old.”
“No, you never said. What happened?”
“It was about a year after mom Mom died and I was turned, at a barbeque at Clark’s house. Beth was crawling, all over the place and she was so beautiful. She was lying on the ground, looking at, oh , I don’t know, maybe the grass or something and a lady bug landed on her nose. It was funny to watch her, she tried to shoo it off and I got down on the ground with her and she laughed at me. I picked the lady bug off of her nose and she started crying. I felt terrible so I picked her up and we walked around the yard. I would stoop to smell the honeysuckle or lilacs and she would lean down and act like she was smelling them too, only – only instead of inhaling she was blowing on them. She was my shadow the rest of the day.” He smiled, remembering that day, of how a charming baby girl had won his heart. She was in a way family to him and it made him burn with anger to know what Coraline had done; not just to Beth but to his sire as well.
“I killed her Logan; Coraline. I staked her and then set the cabin on fire. She burned to death in it. I – I murdered my sire, my wife. And I would do it again, Logan.” He started crying then, deep heaving sobs that tore at Logan’s heart. He sat the empty glass down and reached across the coffee table and took Mick’s hand. He knew how hard it was for Mick to reveal so much of himself like this and Logan wanted him to know that it was okay, that he wasn’t alone.
“Mick, she was crazy, you’ve told me that time after time. She destroyed your life when she turned you; she has haunted you since then, dogged your every move practically. It’s for the best; maybe now you can just live your life.”
“I couldn’t believe that even Coraline would consider doing that to a child. A child, Logan. It was obscene and as soon as I saw Beth I knew that I would do whatever it took to keep her safe. The amazing thing was, after a brutal and bloody fight with Coraline, Beth came right to me when I told her I was going to take her home. She just crawled into my arms and trusted me that I was going to take her to her mommy. It amazed me, stunned me. She was so trusting.”
“That’s because she knew she was supposed to be with you Mick; she knew. You saved her, you are forever a part of her now.”
Mick looked up at Logan then, one eyebrow raised in question at Logan’s words. A part of her forever. It was an amazing thought.
“Mick? Mick?” Logan calling his name brought him back to the present.
“Yeah? Sorry, what did you say?”
“I said it’ll be okay. Clark said you indicated that she didn’t recognize you.”
“She asked me if she knew me, but I don’t think she figured it out. It will be okay I guess.” He got to his feet and said, “I need to go; I’ve got to go and do a little breaking and entering, see what I can find out about Kelly Foster. I’ll talk to you later, Logan.”
Logan nodded and watched as Mick left. That was a man who still wasn’t ready to face his demon; but it was coming soon, Logan could feel it.”
Over the next couple of days Mick and Beth worked together on the murder but it set Mick on edge. She still didn’t appear to recognize him so Mick began relax a bit which was good, because Beth was becoming more and more involved in the case. Then Beth dropped a major bombshell; she was going to attend a ‘study group’ with Christian Ellis later that night. He didn’t want her to go, but had no way of stopping her.
After he discovered the murder of the second girl, Chloe Jones, Mick set off to find Beth; she was in danger and his warning bells were thundering in his head. He couldn’t get to the college fast enough.
At Hearst College he found Chandler Hall and headed to the basement, where the study group was being held. It was quiet there, but he scented Beth and knew she had been there. He hit the jackpot when he found Christian Ellis, still there and pacing the small room in agitation.
“Where is she, man? I know she was here, I can smell her on you!”
Christian Ellis stared into the silvered eyes and razor-sharp fangs that couldn’t be real; and yet, somehow they were. He also knew that his life was in jeopardy if he didn’t speak up.
“She’s gone, she left here already!” Mick had tossed him aside and was gone before Ellis had the chance to catch his breath. But at least he was still breathing…
As soon as Mick got outside, he again caught Beth’s scent and saw that she had been abducted by the grad student. They weren’t far ahead and he took off at a run, determined to catch them. He spied them a block ahead and cut across a yard and broke through the window on the driver’s side, grabbing Daniel and swinging wildly as the car fish-tailed over the street. Mick was finally thrown free and he landed 25 feet away, awash is pain.
It took a minute for him to collect himself and get to his feet. He saw Daniel coming around to Beth’s side of the car, a knife in his hand. Mick began to run; he had to get to Beth in time.
He grabbed Daniel by the back of the shirt and yanked him away from Beth, who was lying listlessly in the front seat of the car. Only the seat belt was holding her upright and she had practically slid out of that. “I won’t let you hurt her!”
Daniel reached for Mick, ramming his knife deep into Mick’s stomach. They grappled for moment and Mick yanked the knife out, furious.
Mick growled at Daniel and said, “You shouldn’t of done that!” and tossed him into a pole like a rag doll. The metallic clink sound wasn’t satisfying enough to Mick but he let it go and pulled Beth out of the car, carrying her to safely once again.
Beth was caught up in the past, a dream world of fire and fear. It screamed through her head like a banshee and made her feel dizzy with the vividness of it all. Suddenly, it was okay and Mick was there, taking her home to her mom and she knew that it was okay. He had saved her.
He had saved her…
Beth’s eyes popped open and she looked around, trying to figure out where she was. She saw Mick sitting across the room, watching her solemnly. She sat up on the couch and said, “You saved me!”
Mick moved to the couch and settled on the edge, just out of reach. “From a grad student.”
“No, when I was little…” she trailed off. It was right there in front of her. She knew it and yet it couldn’t be. “He stabbed you! I saw the knife come out,” she said, looking at the blood stain on the front of his shirt.
“He sure tried,” Mick said, trying to diffuse her thoughts. “You got a really bad bump on your head. I’ll take you home.”
He stood up and offered her his hand and she took it. For a moment she just looked at him, his sad face that seemed to be hiding some terrible truth. The next thing she knew she was wrapping her arms around him, holding him close. She was home; right there in his arms.
For a moment Mick stood spellbound, unsure what to do.
Sixty years is a long time to deny yourself the touch of another,
but you do it because you can’t bear the thought of seeing yourself as
a monster in someone else’s eyes.
He slowly wrapped his arms around her, hating himself, loving her. He held her and knew that he was home.
To be continued…