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 9, 2012

Chapter 32 Digging Deeper

Lani took the afternoon off so that she could run some errands to get ready for Dorothy’s baby shower in two weeks. Her list of things to do included getting the flowers picked out and ordering the cake and finger foods. She crossed the food off the list and the cake as well and headed to the florist to pick out some flowers for the shower.

The choices were mind-boggling but in the end she went with a couple of simple arrangements, in subtle pastel colors since they still weren’t sure of the sex of the second baby. Dorothy felt sure it was a boy too, but Clark had decided it was a girl. He said that only a girl could so obstinately stay hidden. Lani had to laugh as she remembered the discussion at Bri’s party; it had been a lively one for sure with everyone putting in their two cents worth.

As she got ready to leave the shop she spotted a large display of Gerbera daisies in a multitude of colors, including several shades of purple. She stopped and admired them for a moment, thinking of Mrs. Carter and her love of purple. On an impulse she bought a large bouquet of purples ones in a variety of colors from palest lilac to a deep grape color. She thought they were beautiful and hoped that Mrs. Carter was home because she intended to stop on her way to Josef’s house in the hills.

She was mostly living there with him now and it felt good, right, as if it was the only place she wanted to be. They hadn’t really talked about living arrangements yet, but since she knew that they were on the same page about the future she wasn’t concerned. One thing was certain, they spent all their nights together, whether at her place or his.

She hadn’t told Beth or Mick about Mrs. Carter yet; there had just been too many things going on, for all of them. Plus, she thought for sure that the picture she had seen was Mick but she wanted to ask some questions, just to be sure. Subtle questions that is because she didn’t want to upset any of them or get hopes up that were unfounded.

She pulled into the drive and saw Noodle in the yard, lying in a sunny patch of grass and she smiled as the floppy-haired dog hopped up and immediately started barking as she shut the engine off.

“Hey, Noodle! How are you boy?” she asked, scratching the pup behind the ears as she saw Mrs. Carter open the door and smile widely at her guest.

“Why, Lani! How nice of you to stop by. Did your nose lead you here? I just finished baking a batch of oatmeal cookies dear. Please, come in,” she said, wiping her hands on an apron.

“I hope I’m not being a pest but I saw these at the flower shop and I just had to get them for you. So I’ll trade you them for a cookie or two,” Lani said, inhaling the spicy aroma that permeated the house. “You know, oatmeal cookies aren’t really bad for you, they're ‘heath food’,” she laughed.

Mrs. Carter looked puzzled for a minute and then smiled, playing along with the game. “Well of course they are dear!” She took the bouquet of flowers and admired them for a long moment, obviously pleased with the gift. “Now, just let me put these in water.”

Lani followed her into the kitchen, again thinking what a pleasant room it was. It looked homey, comfortable, a place to spend an hour or two chatting the afternoon away.

Lani helped get the tea and cookies ready and they finally sat down at the table and each woman picked up a still warm cookie and took a bite. It was slightly spicy, with raisins and nuts and it melted in Lani’s mouth.

“Oh my goodness, this is delicious!”

“Thank you Lani. So, tell me dear, how is that young man of yours?”

Lani smiled and Mrs. Carter saw her eyes light up at the thought of him. “He’s very well, thank you. We’ve talked things through and we’ve agreed after the first of the year to get married.”

Mrs. Carter frowned for a moment and said, “Well, dear, that doesn’t sound very romantic!”

“It wasn’t exactly a proposal; he said when he does that he wants to do it right. But we both know what we want and where we are headed; together always. Oh, Mrs. Carter, Josef is a wonderful man, he really is and he loves me so much.”

“And you love him that much as well?”

“Yes, I do. I have no doubts that he is the man I want to be with forever. Something inside me just - just knows it. I don’t know how to explain it. We’re…connected I guess you could say.”

Mrs. Carter nodded, seeing the truth of her words on Lani’s face. Yes, she was deeply in love with her young man, as it should be. “You must bring him around with you sometime, I’d love to meet him.”

“I’ve a feeling that you will be meeting him,” she said with an enigmatic smile that gave Mrs. Carter pause. Maybe she meant that she’d be invited to the wedding? She didn’t have time to think about it as she spotted Noodle begging for a bite of the cookies.

“Noodle, you bad boy! Please forgive him, Lani, he loves oatmeal! Sadly, he doesn’t feel the same about the raisins,” she laughed as she watched as Lani broke off a piece of a cookie and gave it to the dog. He chewed for a moment and then spit the raisins out onto the floor. “Bad dog!” she admonished. Noodle hung his head in shame and retreated a few feet to stare as Lani got up over Mrs. Carter’s protestations and used a napkin to pick up the chewed up bits, laughing as she did so.

“So, Mrs. Carter, tell me more about your family. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures last time I was here. Do you have others?”

“Oh why yes, enough to bore you to tears my dear. Let me just get out an album or two.” Lani waited for her shook her head at Noodle who had resumed his begging posture. He could sit like that for long periods of time evidently. He was also hard to resist, especially when he held out a paw as if asking for more cookie.

“Oh no you don’t you little con artist. Not until you either learn to like the raisins or clean them up yourself!”

Mrs. Carter came back into the room carrying two large photo albums, both covered in well-worn leather.

“Oh my, you do have lots of pictures. I can’t wait to see them,” Lani said and watched as her friend opened the first one, displaying very old and worn photographs. She explained who the people were; her grandparents and parents, pictures of her and her brother as well. “So what are their names?”

“My grandparents were Michael and Eileen St. John; my brother was named after our grandfather but we called him Mick,” she said, pointing at a picture of Mick as a young boy. “This is my da and ma, Patrick and Mary Ellen St. John.”

There, confirmation; it definitely was Mick. She looked at the picture of his parents and saw a strong resemblance to his father, especially the cleft in his chin. The startling thing was that he could be his grandfathers brother because they were so similar in appearance.

“You said last time I was here that your brother was killed in a tragedy in 1952?” At Mrs. Carter’s nod of agreement she continued, “What happened? Unless it’s too painful to talk about that is.”

“Oh, Lani, it all happened so long ago.” She got a faraway look in her eyes, remembering the past and settling back into the chair. “Mick was 8 years older than I was; my ma lost two babies between Mick and I and I think they actually gave up on having any more children, but then, there I was. I’m afraid I was such a pest to Mick though, always wanting to follow him and Ray and Lila around. He called me ‘Squeaks’ because when I was little my laughter sounded more like squeaking they tell me.”

Lani smiled as they both sipped their tea. She could imagine Mick feeling annoyed by a little sister who constantly tagged along. But, somehow she also thought that he’d loved her a great deal because Mick was someone who loved and cherished the people around him.

“Still, we had so many good times when we were children. I idolized Mick, I truly did. As they got older Ray and Lila became an ‘item’, but still the three of them were inseparable. Ray and Lila went together like peas and carrots and yet Mick was never a third wheel. When the war started Mick and Ray both joined and Ray and Lila got married before they left. Oh, she was a grand lady to be sure. I remained friends with her until she died, in 1991. Ray had died about ten years before that.”

Again Lani watched as that faraway gaze swept over Mrs. Carter’s face, as if in another place, another time. She glanced down at her tea cup and realized it was empty and poured a bit more from the pot and offered Lani more as well.

“Late in the war Mick was seriously injured and was told that he was the only survivor from his unit; he came home but he was a different Mick then. Since Ray had been killed he helped Lila a good deal and eventually they became well, involved, I guess you’d say. Da and Ma were adamantly opposed to it though and Mick and our parents argued a good deal about it. It was a difficult time for all of us.”

“What happened then? Did he stay with her?” Lani felt a bit guilty for asking for details she already knew but hearing what the family thought might be helpful for Mick she decided.

“As fate would have it, Ray hadn’t been killed and when he showed up Mick just walked away from Lila and Ray both and for the most part our family as well. I’m sure he was embarrassed and guilt-ridden about it as well. His life took a bit of a wild turn then; he started playing in a band and keeping late hours and such. Da just couldn’t accept it and he and Mick didn’t speak for almost a year.”

That information was hard for Lani to digest since the Mick she knew likely wouldn’t ever do that. People change so much she thought - time and circumstance can make them into such different people. How had time affected Josef?

“For several years we only saw him occasionally, holidays and such mostly and then he met a wonderful girl, Margie. Oh, she was a ray of sunshine in Mick’s life and finally he started thinking about the future; playing in the band was still important to him but he also realized that if he wanted a family he needed to figure out what he would do in the future. Then suddenly, it all changed. He met that woman, that Coraline Duvall and within a month he had broken up with Margie and married Coraline. It hurt Da and Ma so very much.”

“Did you go to their wedding?”

“Yes, for what little that was worth. He’d brought her to Sunday dinner once, when they told us they were getting married on the following Friday. She was so rude! She refused to eat a thing and ma had worked so hard on that meal too. At the wedding, she only had one friend there and no family at all and she wouldn’t let us take any photographs either,” Mrs. Carter said, flipping forward in the photo album. She pointed to two blurry photos and added, “I took two anyway, when that woman wasn’t watching but as you can see they didn’t come out well at all. Two days later the police came and told us that Mick and Coraline had disappeared, were most likely dead and we never heard from him again, so it seemed to be true that he was no longer alive.”

Lani saw tears spring to her friends eyes and reached her hand across the table to lightly pat Mrs. Carters. “I’m so sorry for asking about all this; I didn’t mean to make you relive such unhappy memories.”

“Lani dear, only the last bit were unhappy; I have such wonderful and loving memories of my brother. For many years I wished I could know what really happened to him for sure, but those thoughts are long gone nowadays; I only hope that he rests in peace now.”

Lani ducked her head, afraid that Mrs. Carter would see the truth in her eyes, that Mick was still alive. Would she see him being alive as a blessing or was it better to let it all go? She needed to talk to Josef about it all, now that she was sure.

As she drove home she mulled it all over; she’d heard Mick’s side of it all from Beth but hearing the pain the family had felt made it all so much more real to her. Would it be better to just let it go?

When she walked into the house Franklin was waiting, as usual to take her jacket and to offer her something to drink. “Nothing, Franklin,” she responded to his query. “Is Josef home yet?”

“Yes he is. I believe he’s in his office.”

“Thank you, I’ll just go and see him now.”

“Certainly Miss Lani. Dinner will be served at 7, as usual.”

She nodded and walked down the hall to the office and before she could even knock Josef had opened the door, grinning impishly at her. When he took in her sad demeanor he held his arms out to her and she walked straight into them. He settled them both down on the couch and listened as the story poured out of her and gently wiped her tears away when she was finished.

“Wow, that’s quite a story, Sweetness. A chance meeting that could really change lives.”

“I know. Josef, should we tell him? He’s had so much to deal with lately.”

A deep frown marred his handsome face as he mulled it over. He knew that Mick would want to know and it might eventually do him a lot of good. He had a lot of guilt over those sins of his past but the question was, could it possibly be fair to hit him with more right now?

“Perhaps a talk with Beth first would be in order, Lani. I know that Mick would want to know this, but it might be best if we wait a bit. Beth should be aware of it all.”

“I think you’re right. I’ll see if I can meet her for lunch in a day or two. I agree that he would want to know.” Lani settled back into his warm and protective embrace; it had been a hard day and she felt a bit shaky right now. Probably ate too much sugar at Mrs. Carter’s, what with the sweetened tea and cookies.

“What else is wrong my love?” Her scent still wasn’t quite right.

“I think I’m just over-wrought by it all. And I consumed way too much sugar this afternoon; I’m really not used to it,” she said with a laugh.

He smiled, pulling her onto his lap and settling his arms around her. “So, you’re extra sweet, hm?” he teased, nuzzling her neck. Her responding giggle tempted him to kiss his spot and he felt her shiver in his arms and stretch her neck so he could get better access. Suddenly, she didn’t feel so bad at all. In fact, she felt perfect!


At 5:05 pm Luka’s phone rang, an unavailable call. Damn! Carl had already left for the day; he had a date with Cami and had been anxious to get out of here. Not that Luka could blame him but he didn’t have anything, anyone to escape to.

“Still interested in a face-to-face detective?” The voice on the phone sounded more sinister than usual. Luka wondered briefly if it was the same guy.

“What are your terms?” he asked.

“Go to the corner of Kimbridge and Valley View. Wait for further instructions.”


“Now would be a good time.”

Now? The bastard wanted to meet now? It was almost dark out, not a good idea. He decided to stall.

“No can do. How about tomorrow morning?” That wasn’t enough time to try to put a team in place.

“Nope. This is your shot.”

“Look, I’m getting ready to interview a suspect here. I can’t get away yet.”

“Nice talking to you detective.”

Fuck! “Look, can you give me an hour? That’s the best I can do.”

There was complete silence on the other end of the phone, not even the sound of breathing could be heard. Had the guy hung up?

“One hour detective. And if you don’t make it we’re done here.”

“Okay; one hour. See you there.”

“Wrong. There will be other instructions for you at that location. And detective? If I so much see anyone nosing around there you will regret it.”

Luka wasn’t aware that Malcolm could hear as his heart speed up at those words. Alone. Okay, he’d do it, just to see what the hell this jerk wanted.


“Good, we have an understanding.”

Luka heard the line click and then nothing, the call had been ended. He called Carl and got his voice mail and left him a message, letting him know what was happening. That was the best he could do under the circumstances. He thought for a moment about getting some undercover back up but decided against it. He’d deal with the freak himself.

He checked his gun and made sure it was ready to go. The clip was full and he had another one stashed in the car. He was ready.


Carl had to drop off some paperwork at the DA’s office and saw Ben getting ready to leave. “Hey, Ben! How you been?”

“Good. Well, sort of I guess. Still, um, processing I guess, you know?”

“Yeah, I do. Ben, Cami and I are meeting for dinner. How about coming along?”

“No, don’t want to intrude on your date.”

Ben had looked so withdrawn the last couple of times Carl had seen him. He needed to get back to living his life and having dinner might help a lot. Cami was good company and maybe if Ben began to see vamps in a different light he’d start to relax a bit.

“You will not be intruding, promise. Cami has asked me to bring you along several times. Come on man, dinner, a drink or two?” He grinned at Ben as he saw him weakening.

“You sure?”

“Absolutely. C’mon. I’m meeting her at the Breakwood. Great steaks. Know where it is?”

“Yes, I do. Okay, I’ll see you there.”

When Carl got to the car he saw Ben following him and relaxed. Cami would be happy, he knew that because she really had asked Carl to bring Ben sometime. Ben was Carl’s best friend and they were each trying to assimilate into the other’s world. This was a great step.


Beth was gathering up her laptop and coat when Max popped her head into Beth’s office.

“Hey, see you Sunday?”

“Yep. I’m bringing wine and Mick rented a margarita machine! That should be fun!” Monday was Buzzwire’s first ‘live’ day and Max and Mark were throwing a staff party at their house on Sunday. The whole staff was looking forward to it. “Sure that’s all I need to bring?”

Max chuckled and said, “I think that will be plenty. Margarita machine? Oh lord, this is going to be fun! Half the staff are going to be hung over when we go live!”

“Hope not. See you Max!” Beth said as she waved good bye. Things had been pretty exciting this last week as the countdown was on. Added to that was the fact that 3 more bodies had turned up, although only 1 at the morgue. Tango’s crew had found the others. Altogether there had been 6 bodies found so far and none of them knew how many more there could be. One thing was for sure, Beth would be the one covering it for Buzzwire if it became any more public. They couldn’t let one of the rookies handle the story since a vampire was involved.

Personally she hoped it would all stop, that Tango and Josef would find this guy but so far they hadn’t had any luck at all. He was a ghost apparently, but a very dangerous one. Beth leaned her head against the steering wheel for a moment before starting the car. She was tired and a bit weary too. It had been a hell of a week. Some down time this weekend was just what she needed.

That and Mick’s arms around her, holding her tight. The thought of her mate brought a smile back to her face and it never left it during the short drive home.

Home. Yes home, Mick’s arms.


Rose was sitting at her desk when there was a brief and perfunctory knock on her door before it was opened. Robin was standing there holding a file in her hands.

“Dr. Hampton, I have some test results for you that you marked urgent. For a…,” she frowned for a moment, “Beth St. John?”

“Yes, thank you Robin.” Rose held out her hand and Robin handed her the file. “Go on home, it’s been a long week!” Rose said with a smile.

“It has been. By the way, it looks like Yolanda Miller is about ready to deliver Dr. Carlson said so let’s hope all goes well.”

Yolanda Miller had had a very difficult pregnancy so far. Rose had strongly urged that they should just do a C-section but Yolanda wanted to have a child naturally. Sometimes people just wouldn’t listen to common sense.

“Okay, call if you need me. And at the very first sign of fetal distress I want Dr. Carlson cutting. Tell her I said so. She can call me if she can’t do it.”

Robin nodded and left the office, closing the door behind her. Rose opened the file and scanned the pages that contained the test results, scrutinizing the last page carefully. It contained the genetic testing results and she smiled broadly at them.

Welcome to the family Beth!


Luka pulled up to the corner of Kimbridge and Valley View and looked around. It was in the warehouse district and deserted right now. It was also pitch black as several of the street lights were out. Luka peered out of the window and glanced around into the inky darkness.

Fuck. He was starting to get a very bad feeling about this. Logic took over and his hand went to the key to start the car. He didn’t give a damn what information this guy had, he’d be a sitting duck here. He glanced at the 9mm that was sitting on the seat next to him, making sure it was ready if needed.

Big, bad cop, freaking out at a few shadows! He taunted himself, trying to shake off the creepy feeling. He turned the engine off and pocketed the keys before reaching for the door handle.

Out of the shadows a silent figure appeared, walking steadily towards him. A big guy too. This must be the ‘other instructions’ he was supposed to get. He stayed put in the car and waited as the guy approached him.

What he saw made him reach for his gun. But it was too late.

To be continued…


Anonymous said...

I hope you had a great vacation! But I am glad your back :) Nice cliff hanger ... The story just keeps getting better. Thank you! Jennifer

Hope said...

Hey Jennifer!!

It was nice and very relaxing. We just sort of played it by ear but there was a whole lot of watching DVD's and tequila, LOL...

Thank you so much for your kind words. Lots of surprises ahead, I promise you!

Lady said...

Ok, now you know me. I overanalyze EVERYTHING. And thanks for the heads up earlier, because you know I would be looking and scrutinizing all day and night! ;)

If I was Beth, I would've used my senses and "spied" on Mick to see what was up. I know I wouldn't be able to sit around watching movies all night knowing I had a 6th (7th and 8th) sense. LOL

I can't wait to get to the next chapter. I still have my suspicions, but I'm trying to hold on to them a little longer.

You love to tease us!!! Great chapter.


Hope said...

Hey Lady!!

LOL, I do my best to keep you on the edge of your seats!

Beth is trying really hard to keep that 'spying' thing under control. In truth, if she had looked in she probably wouldn't have stayed home so it was okay, if frustrating for her!

Thank you my friend, for polishing my messed up stories so well and making me smile so much!!