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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Matthew Richards sat back in his chair and scowled at the telephone. Detective Fiorentino hadn’t returned his calls and wasn’t answering them either and Matt didn’t like being thwarted. Where was the typical curiosity that humans normally exhibited? An ADA and now a detective, both who chose to ignore the list? Who might be next; would anyone care to investigate the people and the relationships represented on it? Of course, quite a few vamp and human names weren’t on it, those who belonged to the Equalizers, his group that would ultimately be the victor in the struggle between humankind and vampires.

The vampires and the Legion worked together to keep the peace; an unholy alliance at best. An alliance that was never meant to be. VALA (Vampire and Legion Alliance) sought to keep the secret, in order to maintain a semblance of peace and harmony in the world and that wasn’t what vampires were about, or at least it didn’t use to be. Vampires were superior creatures; stronger, faster, more deadly than any ordinary human could imagine. VALA worked to keep vampires from fulfilling their destinies and Matt was determined to change that; he just wanted to do it without bringing attention to the Equalizers. He wanted to ‘out’ the vampires ensuring panic among the human population but that was going to be difficult to do if a human wouldn’t bite on it. They were an unpredictable and detestable species at best and evidently afraid of their own shadows.


The Equalizers had human members in their ranks; desperate humans willing to betray they own species any way necessary in order to be allowed to be turned. Over the centuries, he had strung them along until most of them died off, still praying for the miracle of forever at his hands. He would often laugh as they lay on their death beds, pleading for him to turn them and then turning to God for forgiveness when they realized that their dream wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t know if God - if there were such a being - answered those prayers of forgiveness but then again, it mattered not at all to him. They were merely instruments he used to create his vision of what the future should look like, nothing more.

His mind skipped back to get a human to sound the alarm. Sure, they could publicly rip a few people apart for the press but that wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as watching the insidious fear of vampires take over humans who were weak and superstitious; they would run for the hills in fear and panic and the vampires would be waiting.

Oh yes, they’d be waiting.


The morning after her date with Carl Cami walked into work with a smile on her face. Lani saw her and thought she almost glowed with happiness, something that wasn’t easily achieved by a vampire. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lani had difficulty getting motivated this morning; her conversation with Josef last night still weighing heavily on her mind.

She hadn’t meant to tell him so much; it felt like peeling her soul bare and it scared her that he knew so much. Why on earth had she said so much to him? What had he ever done to earn her trust so that she felt that it was okay to let him see her fear, her pain?

He’d gave Mick and Beth a magnificent wedding, true enough and immediately took over when Beth had been turned as well. So he cared about them both? He felt as if it was his entire fault, what had happened, but Lani didn’t think that was true. He evidently had a conscience, something that she thought was probably rare among vampires; it was pretty scarce among humans come to think of it.

She thought of Heroku, Cami, Mick and Logan; they were good people, vampires. They worked like any human would to make something of their lives, of the lives of their loved ones. It was easy to like them, to feel comfortable with them and trust them as well. So why was it so hard to trust Josef?

She sat at her desk, staring out the window as she sipped her second cup of coffee, or maybe she should say coffee creamer with a little coffee mixed in for color as she considered that question. She felt tired, worn down which probably had to do with the fact that she hadn’t gotten more than an hour or so of sleep last night. Josef just seemed to reverberate around in her head and no amount of scotch or tossing and turning had helped her. The middle of the night was the loneliest time of all when you can’t sleep and unbidden thoughts haunted you.

Why did she keep seeing his smile, his kindness? His vulnerability when he confessed his guilt about Beth? Those were things she didn’t want to see; she didn’t want to feel bad about it, wanted to push it all out of her head. She wanted a Josef – free life!

Her silent reverie was interrupted by a knock on her door and she uttered, “Come in,” wondering who it was.

Cami popped her head in the door and said, “Are you busy?” Her smile radiated a mile wide, making her beautiful face look positively angelic. It was hard to be grumpy when Cami was so happy.

“So, the date went well, huh? Did you get a little?” Lani teased.

“A little what?” Cami asked, not sure what that meant.

Lani mentally rolled her eyes, for a hundred year old vampire what she didn’t know was epic. “It means, see a little action, do the wild thing?” At Cami’s blank stare she sighed and said, “Have sex?”

Cami’s eyes got as big as saucers and she blanched, if that were possible for a vampire. Her quick negative shake of her head said it all. “No, we’ve only just met Lani.”

Lani had to remember that when Cami was turned she and Edmund, her new husband were on their honeymoon, heading to South Africa to be missionaries. Between that and her Victorian upbringing Cami knew little of men or the modern world, as impossible as that seemed.

Lani smiled and quickly changed the subject, sort of. “So it went well?”

“Oh yes, it was wonderful. Carl is such a gentleman Lani!”

Cami’s face had taken on a dreamy quality and it made Lani happy to see it. Carl was a nice guy but she also had memories of the wild parties and times that they had at college and she hoped that he had honestly changed and wasn’t just putting on an act for Cami. She decided that the talked about lunch date with Carl needed to happen soon.

“He’s asked me out again, for Saturday night. We’re going to go to a baseball game!”

“Oh, I don’t know about that Cami; all that sun can’t be good for you.”

“It’s a night game, he made sure to tell me that, which I thought was sweet.”

“So you told him you were a vampire?” Lani hadn’t expected that.

“No, he was just being considerate I think.”

Now why would Carl be concerned about Cami being in the sun? It was a curious thought. Could he know something that no one suspected he knew? Beth mentioned in the past that Josh had told Carl that Mick was a vampire but that Carl had thought he was crazy. Maybe not she decided.

“Well, that’s good but Cami, he is a cop so guard what you say around him, okay?”

“Could he know about me, about vampires? Do you think he’s trying to trap me into a confession, like they do on tv?” Cami asked. She was suddenly not sure if she wanted to go to the baseball game.

“I don’t think that would be Carl’s style; I really do think he likes you Cami. I saw his face when you came into the office the other day. Just go slow and see what happens, that’s the best advice I can give you.”

Cami nodded, the smile back on her face as she stood up. “I need to get to work; we’re only 9 days out from the Kostan project and we still have some issues to take care of. I hear that Kostan is planning a gala event to celebrate it.”

Lani almost groaned at the reminder. “Yes, he is. Last night he asked me to be his hostess at it.”

“My, that sounds fun, but an awful lot of work I’m sure.”

“His assistant is doing all the planning; he told me all I have to do is show up and ‘wear a fabulous dress’, his words, not mine.”

Cami heard her mutter ‘chauvinistic jerk’ under her breath and smiled. Her friend had it bad for Josef Kostan but hadn’t figured it out yet. One day she would and Cami definitely wanted to be around when that happened. With a quick wave she left the office, her mind on the pile of paperwork on the desk. Well, mostly anyway.


Mick and Beth sat sipping their ‘dinner’ in the kitchen, talking about her mother. Beth was anxious to see her and not just on skype. She felt that she was missing an important part of Dorothy’s life and she really wanted to go home.

“C’mon Mick, how dangerous could I be with my own mother for heaven’s sake?” she said, her voice taking on a pouty tone.

“Look Beth, I have no idea how you’ll react around humans and besides that, we still have other things to cover. You’re impulsive at best and that makes you dangerous, to yourself and others as well. No, it’s out of the question.” He watched huge tears well up on her eyes and sighed. “Look Beth, I do understand. What I’m trying to make you understand is that you might not have any control and I don’t want you having to live with those memories if something were to happen.”

“Like something happened to you Mick? What happened? You can’t expect me to understand if you don’t explain it to me.”

He still hated revealing any of those early days with her. She might not think he was a monster but he certainly felt monstrous at some of the things he had done. What information could she benefit from and what would change her feelings for him? Each day it was harder to hide it all from her because he had long ago accepted that he couldn’t hide it from himself.

She sat waiting patiently, understanding the inner struggle that he was having. He thought he had done terrible things, things that made him a monster, but she believed that the monster he saw was only in his estimation. Guilt corrupts a person’s soul, whether it is justified or not. Frankly, Beth couldn’t imagine what he had went through with Coraline as a sire, but she was willing to listen and not judge him. Mick had been the best sire imaginable for her; patient, loving, understanding, providing her with everything she needed – except for a ticket home. They’d been in Seattle for two weeks and he’d first told her a month but she doubted if they’d get back to LA by then either.

“Mick?” she said softly, stroking his hand to try to comfort him. He was reliving something from his past and it was visibly upsetting him. “Tell me. I won’t judge you or hate you.”

His hazel eyes grew dark as he stepped back into the past. It was obviously hard for him to speak, but he did his best. “I woke up, after she turned me; I was covered in blood and it felt sticky and the smell of it overwhelmed me. I couldn’t imagine what I had done and then I saw the puncture marks on my neck and I knew, I knew that my world had changed.” He swallowed hard, trying to get the words out and Beth moved to sit on his lap, hoping that holding him would give him courage to tell the story.

“She said it was a gift, the most precious gift she could give me. I ran away, hid away from the sunlight, from her, from Coraline. She tracked me down eventually and I was hurting, badly. I wasn’t sure what was wrong but as soon as she brought a woman over to me, the scent of her blood made me crazy. I begged Coraline to kill me because I knew that if she didn’t that I would hurt the woman. Coraline said she couldn’t, that I didn’t want that but I did, I really did,” he told her, the pain of the memory palpable. Silent tears ran down his cheeks unimpeded and Beth was silent, letting him get it out.

“I – I grabbed her and pulled her to me. She was whimpering, scared to death and I knew that once I bit her I wouldn’t stop. I felt like a caged animal, desperate to feed, to drink her blood and then I sank my fangs into her, listening to Coraline telling me how good I was doing. She spoke as if I were a child, encouraging me to eat my dinner or something. I drained her Beth; I took that young woman’s life without a thought other than satisfying my own hunger. It didn’t matter who she was because all I could think of was the blood. I can’t let that happen to you Beth, I just…can’t.”

“Mick, I understand, I do. So let’s just focus on my training, okay? Whatever it takes we’ll just do it. But sooner or later I’m going to have to be around a human Mick, there’s no other way.”

He nodded, knowing what she said was true; he also knew that he had bought a little more time before they found out. No matter what, it scared him. He took an unneeded breath and said, “Hey, let’s walk over to Tim and Mary’s and see if you can hang out with her tomorrow afternoon while the satellite guy is here setting up the tv in the workout room. How does that sound?”

She smiled, knowing that he was trying to move past the sadness and regrets. “Good – it sounds good.” She leaned down and kissed him, softly at first and then moaning as the kiss deepened. “You know, tomorrow you could try and let me stay here, put me in the bedroom or something.” She ran a finger down his nose and then his lips and followed it with another kiss.

“No, I’d have to watch you the whole time, just in case. Not yet Beth.”

“You could handcuff me to the headboard you know. Take my clothes away, just to show me who’s boss. I’d just have to lie there, waiting for you,” she whispered into his ear teasingly.

Her words sent a shiver up his spine and for a moment he considered carrying her upstairs right away but finally shook it off. “Baby, I love your teasing, but we have a mission tonight. Come on,” he said, setting her off of his lap and standing up.

She’d tried, she thought. Besides, anytime they went outside she grew excited because the outside world almost vibrated with life as far as she was concerned. Every sound, from the wind whispering through the pines to sounds of small and not so small animals scampering away from danger thrilled her, made her feel so alive, that was the only way she could describe it. It was funny that she had to die to feel this way. It still seems strange to consider that her body had died because this really didn’t feel like dead.

As soon as they stepped outside she drew in a deep breath and exhaled as if to expel all the negative thoughts she had within her. Her skin tingled with the life that surrounded her and she scented the air appreciatively. She could smell the apples in the orchard, which would be ready for picking soon, and several deer that were close by. A bat flew overhead in the dusk and the flapping of its wings sounded like a rapid drumbeat. The sound she loved the most though was the sound of the water rushing to shore. Tonight they were walking in the opposite direction but it was still loud.

They walked along the path, hand in hand and Beth tried to reach out around her and see what she could sense. She stopped for a moment and closed her eyes, listening and scenting the world around her.

Mick watched her, amazed at how well she could focus; she gave herself over to the task completely. She lifted her head and her eyes opened as she looked up high into the canopy above them. The trees here were really old and close to a hundred feet tall. Towering giants, they offered shade from a brutal sun, shelter from storms and a deep fascination for his wife. A second before she did it he knew what she was going to do; he reached for her but it was too late, she had jumped high up into the tree.

And just as quickly, about 30 feet above him her head hit a branch. He listened as she screamed in pain and plummeted down to the ground, the scream continuing until the final thump.

Her head had a long, deep gash in it; if she were human it would require stitches but he knew that it would heal quickly. When he looked down her body he saw that her left leg was bent at a 45 degree angle, outwards. Definitely not good.

She tried to struggle to her feet as Tim and Mary arrived. “We heard her scream Mick, what happened?”

“She decided to play superman and jump a tall tree. The tree won.” Beth tried again to get up and Mick gently pushed her back down. “Beth, your leg is broken, I have to try and straighten it so it can heal. Lie still.”

Mary was kneeling by Beth’s head, examining the head would and mumbling words that Mick couldn’t understand. Probably just as well, she most likely was cursing him for not paying better attention. Tim was already pulling the leg of her jeans up so they could get a better look at the break. When he saw it Mick blanched because part of the bone was sticking through the skin.

“Come on Mick, help me. We have to move quickly here.”

Mick swallowed and nodded, holding her knee steady as Tim suggested. Mary watched and said, “Beth, this is going to hurt but it will be over soon. Take a deep breath, okay?”

Beth nodded and felt Tim pull hard on her leg, snapping it back into place. The pain was blinding for a few moments, like nothing she had ever experienced before but soon it ebbed away until her leg had mended. Finally she was able to sit up and she smiled at Tim and Mary, thanking them for their help.

Mick hadn’t said a word for a few minutes and Beth could see that he was mad, beyond mad at her impetuousness. This wasn’t going to be pleasant later, that was for sure. She looked at him and said, “Mick, I’m so sorry. I should have listened to you.”

“Beth, what they hell did you think you were doing? How many times have I told you that you have to be patient and that I’ll teach you these things?” His eyes met hers as she stared intently at him and he felt bad, really bad for yelling at her in front of Tim and Mary. “I’m sorry Beth, I shouldn’t have yelled. Are you okay?”

Tim watched the exchange with interest. Beth was using allure on him and he didn’t seem to realize it, but Tim also wasn’t sure if she knew what she was doing. One look at him was all it took to take him from blazing anger to contrite apology. Pretty interesting actually.

Tim held out a hand to help Beth up and as she came to her feet she grinned and thanked him. “Wow, that was a lesson I won’t forget. Hey Mary, we were walking over to your place to see if you can babysit me tomorrow afternoon while the satellite guy is here?”

“You’re not going to be jumping anything are you?” Mary asked with a laugh.

“Nope, think I’ve learned my lesson tonight.”

“Well come on over then. I’m going to be making apple butter out of the last of the dried apples before the new crop comes in. I’d appreciate the help.”

Beth smiled and hugged her, looking forward to the girl time. “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then.” She and Mick both waved at them and headed on back to the house. Not another word was said about the incident and Beth couldn’t help but wonder why that was. Still, if he was willing to let it go so was she.

To be continued…


Anonymous said...

Happy Thursday! Loving the new post schedule :)

Hope said...

Hey Anonymous!!

So glad you are enjoying it, much more to come!

Thanks for reading!! :)