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, July 19, 2012

Chapter 35 Tension

Thank you Lynn for the picture, as always, and La La for keeping me straight and on task!!

Chapter 35 Tension

The group watched as Paula slid to the floor, Rodney sinking down with her in order to catch her before her head hit the floor. Mark immediately knelt down as well and said, “Max, get my bag!” When she hesitated for a moment, torn between getting the bag and fear of leaving her mom, he barked at her, “MAX! My bag - NOW!” Suddenly she ran from the room and Mark started to focus on Paula.

Rodney was smoothing Paula’s hair out of her face and quietly repeating her name. Mark checked her pulse and lifted her eye lids and said, “I think she just fainted. Rodney, I think she’ll be fine.”

Max returned with the bag and popped it open, displaying its contents. Mark reached for his stethoscope and listened to her heart. “Strong and steady. She’s fainted.”

“Are you sure? She’s never fainted before. Darling, come on, Paula, wake up,” Rodney said, visibly shaking.

Mark dug into the medical bag again and found a vial of something which he uncorked and held under her nose. Mick and Beth winced at the strong smell of ammonia that filled the air and Beth coughed a bit, overwhelmed with the scent.

Paula’s eyes opened and she too began to cough. Mark capped the bottle and dropped it back into the bag, it’s purpose having been fulfilled. “Hey, Paula, just lay still for a few minutes, okay?” Mark said, speaking softly.

Beth looked over at Max who was trembling, worry and fear clearly written on her face, which had grown extremely pale. Beth reached for her and grabbed her hand, holding it tightly as they watched as Mark asked Paula to repeat some words and move different parts of her body.

“She’s fine,” he declared, smiling at her.

“The hell she is!” Rodney declared. “She doesn’t faint like that!”

Mark was pulling a blood pressure cuff out of the bag and wrapped it around Paula’s arm, above her protestations. “I’m fine, really.” She looked at Mick again and a small, wry smile appeared on her face. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

Rodney looked at Mick and studied his face, trying to spark a memory. Suddenly it occurred to him what Paula was referring to. Mick obviously didn’t have a clue about it though.

Panic swept over Mick and Beth by default as he stared at her. Had she been one of Josef’s freshies? He didn’t remember her at all, or did he? Something in his memory told him he should remember her. He glanced at her arms and couldn’t see any scars from fang marks but he had a strong feeling that this had to do with vampires.

Paula sat up and asked Max to get her purse from the bedroom. Max was back quickly and handed it to her mother, as puzzled as Mick, Beth and Mark were. Paula opened her wallet and pulled a piece of paper out of it that was folded. It was slightly yellowed and the creases in it well-worn.

**“You probably don’t know this Mick but I’m an artist; drawing has always come easily to me, portraits especially. I drew this sketch in 1982, after going to a party with a group of other teenagers. The house was quite spectacular, it was a glass house, in fact. The odd thing was, there were vampires there and then suddenly this one guy came and started yelling at the woman who was hosting the party. Apparently, she was his wife and then he screamed at us and told us to run if we wanted to live. I was one of those people Mick. You saved my life.” ** She handed him the piece of paper and he looked at it, staring at his own face.

Beth let out a small gasp, her hand covering her mouth in surprise. “Oh my god, Mick.”

He looked up at her and then his eyes swept the others faces. Not one of them seemed in the slightest bit surprised by Paula’s story. He was stunned and didn’t know what the hell to say.

“They know, Mick. I’ve told them the story, although I’ve never told anyone else,” she said, trying to reassure him. “I drew the picture because I never wanted to forget the face of the man who saved my life.” She smiled at Mick, hoping he would accept it all.


Beth took the sketch and studied it, taking in the amazing likeness. She knew that Paula was a gifted artist and she had captured Mick so well. She looked at her husband, still standing awkwardly at her side and then carefully folded the picture up and handed it back to Paula. “Mick, you did a good thing. It’s okay.”

He glanced at her, his mind still furiously thinking about it all. It was getting to be too much. Too many people knew the secret and a good portion of them found out from him, in some way or other. This is so not good, he thought.

They all jumped a bit when the door bell rang, heralding the arrival of the first guests. “Mick, I won’t tell anyone. I swear it. I just want to say thank you,” Paula said, giving him a small hug while Max and Mark went to answer the door.

Mick hugged her back but really, all he wanted to do was get the hell out of there. He needed to think, to figure all this out.

“Mick, hey dude it’s good to see you!” Steve called out, heading directly for him and grabbing his hand to shake it.

“Steve, glad to see you,” he replied and if his words lacked any enthusiasm Steve never noticed. He introduced his fiancĂ© to the group and Beth couldn’t hold back a smile at Tasha, a model! Steve was coming up in the world evidently. She was really beautiful and seemed to adore him.

The rest of the group slowly trickled in and the party seemed to center around the margarita machine and the grill in the backyard which Max and Rodney were manning, along with the help of Steve. Later in the afternoon Beth was in the staging area of the kitchen, refilling platters and Mick, Paula and Mark were in the seating area off the kitchen chatting amicably, although they hadn’t discussed the past again.

“Mick, you look like a scotch guy to me and I have to tell you, I can’t stomach another margarita. Would you care for a glass of scotch?”

Mick grinned and happily accepted the offer. He sipped the aromatic drink with appreciation and settled back into the comfortable sofa.

“Mick, I know that you're uncomfortable about the past, what happened, but I wanted you to know something.” Paula took a sip of her wine and licked her lips nervously. “When you ran us out of there that night, I was 19. Rodney and I had had a terrible fight and I was looking for trouble. I almost found it, until you came along. What I didn’t know that night was that I was almost 3 months pregnant with Max. She wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t done that. I am just so grateful.” She stared at him, her large blue eyes sparkling with unshed tears. “I’m just so very grateful. Other than Rodney, Max and Mark I’ve never told anyone what I saw that night. I - I was too frightened.”

Mick smiled at that, hell, who wouldn’t be. He was sure he had been like a demon that night because he was so enraged. In hindsight, he should have killed Leo that night but he wasn’t exactly thinking clearly.

“I do believe you Paula, but thank you for affirming that.” He gave a small shrug of his shoulders, not sure what else to say.

“Mick, I can’t help but be curious, in a medical way that is. Would you answer a couple of questions for me? Only for me, no one else.”

In a way it wasn’t surprising to hear Mark ask that. Doctors obviously didn’t have a chance to see vamps professionally, he thought wryly. At all, actually. If it could be helped that is. Questions? What the hell…

“I’ll try to answer them, but you have to understand that some things are just the way they are and I don’t know why.”

“Fair enough,” Mark said, leaning forward in the computer chair, resting his elbows on his knees. “Obviously you need blood to survive? Can you eat food too?” He gave a quick sideways glance over to Beth who had just popped a stuffed mushroom cap into her mouth.

Mick saw his eyes stray to Beth and shook his head with a smile. She was dancing around the kitchen, humming to a Beach Boys song that was playing on the patio, happy as could be. “No, I cannot eat food, I can’t taste it or digest it. Beth can.”

“Do you know why?”

Boy, that was a loaded question and Mick decided to go with the easiest, simplest answer. “She’s of a different familial bloodline than I am. Apparently they can eat.”

“I see.” Mark still looked puzzled but didn’t probe any further on that question. “Are there things you can do as a vampire that you couldn’t as a human?”

“Yes. We have enhanced hearing, sight, smell, and some physical attributes as well, such as strength.”

“Wow, this is fascinating. Seriously.”

“Don’t romanticize it Mark. To be a vamp you have to die and there is no going back. I’d give up all the enhanced attributes to be human again in a minute.” He stared Mark in the eyes, trying to make him realize how emphatically he felt about it.

They were interrupted when some of the others came into the kitchen to grab more food to take outside and somehow they never got around to speaking of it all again.

They all left in the late afternoon and luckily no one was too inebriated to drive home. Mick and Beth left a little later after helping to clean up the remnants of the afternoon. Their drive home was quiet and Beth was aware that something was bothering Mick. They needed to have a talk when they got home and hopefully there would be news about Luka too.


Ben’s phone rang on his way home from his mom’s house. He saw it was Carl and frowned for a moment, knowing it couldn’t be good if Carl was calling on a weekend.

“Hi, Carl, what’s up?”

“I wanted to let you know that Luka Fiorentino disappeared last night. It looks like tribe involvement.”

Ben pursed his lips for a moment in a silent whistle. What the hell did vamps want with Fiorentino?

“Why would they target him?”

“Remember that list you had, with all the names on it?” At Ben’s affirmative Carl told him about Luka being contacted and what had gone on from there.

“So he went out to meet this guy on his own? Was he crazy?”

“Well, he didn’t know that they were, well, you know.”

“Damn. Have you told our friends?”

“Yes. We all went searching last night, after LAPD got done checking out the area. Nothing really to go on though.”

“So what do we do?”

“Hurry up and wait I guess while the tribe digs deeper into places that we can’t.”

Ben sincerely wished that he knew nothing about the tribe or anything or anyone related to it but it was too late for that. Like it or not, he not only had to uphold the law but he had to protect the tribe. Talk about walking a tightrope.

“Okay. Let me know what happens, will you?”

“Always, buddy. Be talking to you.”

“Yep,” was the only reply Carl got before the line went dead. What a way to ruin a great weekend.


Both Beth and Mick were lost in thought on the drive home, mulling over what had happened, among other things.

Beth still wanted to talk about being left home Friday night and she had cooled down a bit and had some perspective on it. Lani had made a valid point, even if Beth hated to admit it. She’d never been in any type of physical altercation, human or vamp. Yes, she’d fought back a few times but would she be able to attack and would she have any clue at all as to how to fight a vampire or as a vampire?

No. She didn’t and that was something that they needed to take care of and soon. She needed defensive and offensive training. Someone had to be able to help her with it if Mick wouldn’t.

She was also thinking about what happened with Paula. It had turned out fine, sort of anyway, but that meant more people who knew the secret. Although, they had known it anyway, whether Mick was a catalyst for discussion or not. How in the world did so many people know and yet it remained a secret in this world?

Mick has similar thoughts and it all felt like the weight of the world was falling down on him. Family he hadn’t known about with vampiric connections and now Paula. He thought back to the night at Coraline’s that he’d found Paula and other teens there. It was the night that he’d decided that he’d had it with Coraline, for good. He’d saw her with totally different eyes that night and nothing she could do would ever change it.

It was a momentous night for both of them and their future was predicated on it as well. Mick walked away for good and Coraline made the plans to kidnap a child, which led him to Beth. Of all the horrible things that Coraline had done, ever, in their lives together and separate, that was the one thing that made him change his life and he would be forever grateful for that.

He’d changed Paula’s life as well and for the better too he would admit. Still, all these years she’d known the secret, carried around that drawing of him in case she ever saw him again. She’d told her husband, her daughter and son in law. More and more people knew the secret. Suddenly, he felt as if he was boxed into a more and more dangerous place and now Beth was residing there with him.

He’d been here too long - it was just that simple. Too many people knew, how many more that he didn’t know about. Maybe it was time to move on?

When they got home Beth held his hand in the elevator, silently aware that something was troubling Mick a great deal. He glanced down at her, knowing that she could see him in her mind but could she also see what was in his mind, his heart? For some reason that scared him.

After they got settled at home each with a glass of O+ to sip she asked him point blank what was going on.

“I think maybe it’s time to leave LA Beth,” he said simply. He heard her sharp intake of breath and looked away, unable to handle the fire that burned brightly in her eyes.

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“No, I’m not. Too many people know, about me, about us, vamps, because of me.”

“For heaven’s sake Mick, half the women in LA know about Josef! The few that you know are nothing compared to that.”

He fought a smile at her words because he knew that she was right. Finally it crept out and she laughed. He joined her, he had to or he might very well go crazy.

“Okay, so it’s a bad idea, huh?”

“You’ve had better ones. Mick, you’ve just been getting hit with a lot lately. It will get better, together we can accomplish amazing things and we can certainly withstand a few hundred of your long lost relatives and past acquaintances.” She gave him a cocky grin and saw him respond with one of his own.

“Only a few hundred?”

“Okay, so I exaggerated a bit. But it will be fine. What isn’t so fine is that fact that I stayed at home the other night and I’m still not okay with it.”

“Beth, I didn’t have any idea what we were walking into.”

“I know that and I even, reluctantly, accept that. I didn’t have enough experience to deal with it if there had been problems. But that needs to change Mick. If I’m going to have your back I need to know how to do that. I need training Mick. Can we work on that?”

He was taken aback for a moment. She wanted to be able to help him, protect him? The knowledge of that melted his heart. Was there anything she wouldn’t do for him?

Was there anything he wouldn’t do for her? He knew the answer to both of those questions.


Malcolm was livid! An uncontrollable rage welled up in him and there was no outlet for it right now. He’d been double-crossed by the cop. The bastard had let another vamp in on it all and now Malcolm’s plan was about as useful as ice in the arctic. He didn’t know what the hell was going on but that when he went to the rendezvous site the cop wasn’t there but another vamp had been. Both of them probably laughing it up over it all. When he’d saw another car pull up he’d been tempted to wait and see what happened but caution made him get out of there immediately. Calls to Fiorentino’s phone had gone unanswered too so he wasn’t even going to be able to talk to him.

Vamps were the rightful rulers of this world - top of the food chain. No doubt about it and the Equalizers were going to be the ones to make sure it happened. It could only happen if the humans turned on one another and so it was time to call in a few other people to make it happen. The humans had to suspect and fear one another, just like in the French Revolution. Globally it hadn’t been possible to make it happen then but now? It could be done with the right catalyst and that was information.

Yes, that’s what he needed to do, gather the others and get the information out there. First he’d have to find out exactly what the hell was going on with the cop though. One thing was for sure, he was a dead man, one way or another.

To be continued…

**Beth’s Diary, Part 28 - 2

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