Thank you LaLa!
Chapter 36 Limbo
stared at the second unidentified body in the morgue. It was the same
MO as the first one and the same as the eleven bodies the Cleaners had
found. It was a serious situation, dire in fact.
watched Mick’s face as he pondered what the hell was going on. They
were waiting for Carl to show up, as the ‘official’ representative from
LAPD, and the unofficial friend of the family who could help (hopefully)
hold the other curious minds of LAPD at bay.
“You think this one
was meant to be found by the Cleaners too, or is this vamp trying to
bring it to the attention of the humans?”
“I don’t know G, hard
to say. Every single one of them has been the same, gash in the neck,
most likely done with a talon as opposed to a knife. See how ragged it
is?” Mick leaned over the body and inhaled deeply, catching the strange
vamp scent again. “What I can’t figure out is what the hell makes this
vamp scent so foul.”
“Don’t know man, but I ain’t never scented one like it before. It’s not natural.”
Mick’s eyebrow rose, almost in amusement. “Like any of us are natural?”
“Come on, Mick, you know what I mean.”
Mick cleared his throat and nodded. He knew exactly what Guillermo meant. “Thirteen bodies. So far,” Mick said with a grimace.
“Thirteen, the magical number,” Guillermo stated. “Bad luck some consider and I think these guys would agree.”
“And it all has been guys too, that puzzles me. Can’t be random.”
“Probably not, but if this bad, freaky ass vamp is sending a message it sure isn’t clear.”
both looked up when Carl came through the door and headed directly to
them. “Hey, Mick, Guillermo. Same as the other one?”
Mick nodded, “Yes and the same as the ones the Cleaners have found. Any luck identifying any of them?”
homeless, that I can tell anyway. Three of them were listed as missing
though. Of course, I can’t let it be known that they’ve been found.”
nodded and ran his hand over his face, more worried than he cared to
admit. “I’m betting we’re going to find more, although I don’t know why
I’m thinking that other than we don’t have a clue who’s behind this.
Any word on Luka?”
“None. It’s been 4 days now. Every time I
get a call about a body I keep thinking it’s going to be him. We
weren’t great friends but he was a good cop, great instincts,” Carl
said, watching Mick’s face at that statement.
“Yeah, he did have
good instincts.” In other circumstances Mick might have laughed since
Luka had been so sure that Mick had killed Tejada. It just wasn’t as
amusing now. “Do you think somehow he stumbled onto something that
night and that’s why he’s missing? I mean, he doesn’t fit the pattern.”
“I don’t know. I wish to hell I did.”
All three men nodded at that thought. How much longer until they did know?
sat in she and Beth’s favorite Thai restaurant fiddling with the
wrapped bundle of utensils as she waited for her friend. She was going
to tell her about Mrs. Carter today and she felt ridiculously nervous,
as if she’d done something wrong. Which of course she hadn’t. Had she?
was going to cause more issues for the already stressed vampire. Even
Josef, who normally kept his cool, was on edge because of the bodies
that were turning up all over LA. Another one in the morgue this
morning she’d heard. Thirteen; thirteen bodies, dead bodies. Thirteen,
the witchy number. She shuddered as a chill crept up her back.
jumped as Beth pulled out the chair across from her. She hadn’t
noticed when Beth walked up but then since she’d been a vamp she had the
same stealthy movements as Josef did. It was creepy sometimes, and
almost always startling.
“Hey, Lani!” Beth said and then took in her friends pale face and nervous scent. “What’s wrong?”
“Well, nothing, I hope,” Lani said and then was interrupted when their server greeted Beth and handed her a menu to peruse.
“Thanks, “ Beth said and added, “I don’t need that though, I know what I want.”
The server nodded and quickly wrote down their orders. She took their menus and walked away, leaving the girls alone.
“Beth, what do you know about Mick’s family?”
frowned for a moment, wondering what had prompted this question. “What
do you mean? He had a mother and father and a sister too. Why?”
“Well, what would you…um. God, I don’t know how to say this.”
“What?” Beth asked, suddenly fearful.
“It’s Mick’s sister. She’s still alive and I know her.”
“This is a joke, right?”
“No, Beth. No joke. You remember me telling you about Mrs. Carter, the elderly lady I met and have had tea with?”
What does she have to do with this?” She stared at the animated look
on Lani’s face and it suddenly hit her. “Mrs. Carter is Maeve St. John?
How do you know?”
“The time before last when I was there I saw
pictures on a wall. One of them looked like Mick, when he was in the
army. She said it was her brother and that he’d died tragically. So, I
went to visit her again last week and asked questions and she showed me
pictures from an album. It is his sister, Beth.”
“You told her?”
“No, of course not. I just asked her to tell me about her family. He used to call her Squeaks
because when she was little she squeaked when she laughed. Oh, Beth,
you’d like her, you really would. She still has such a spark to her, I
love her, I really do.”
Beth was quiet for a moment and jumped
when their food arrived. She looked at her panang and suddenly the
sweet coconut curry didn’t sound nearly as good as it had when she’d
“You're sure, Lani? Positive?”
“Yes I am.
She, well the family, believed that he was killed when he married
Coraline. Oh, and they didn’t like her a bit!” She grinned, hoping
that last bit of news would at least spark a smile on Beth’s face.
it all washed over her Beth thought of telling Mick this news. He’d
had so much to deal with lately and now the latest body that had turned
up was consuming him and the other vamps. There was a serious rogue
vamp problem out there and they didn’t have a clue where to look. First
Catherine and Ben and now his sister. It was more family than he’d
ever dreamed of and she knew he wasn’t sure how to deal with it all.
She licked her lips before speaking, digesting it all.
it rains it pours, huh? I have to tell him but the timing is really
bad. Still, maybe it would make him happy to know that she’s alive
“Yes, alive and pretty active too. I can’t help but think that she’d love to know that he is still alive, Beth.”
“Lani, how on earth can you say that? She’s elderly; she might have a heart attack or something, discovering the truth.”
have to say that I don’t believe that at all. She’ll probably make
cookies to celebrate. The old girl is awesome, Beth. She’s not the
type to faint away at the news.”
Beth groaned, remembering Paula. She hadn’t told Lani yet about that and quickly filled her in on it.
“Wow, his past is really barking at his heels, huh? How’s he handling that?”
in the past day or so. He is finally beginning to believe that while
he scared her to death practically, he also saved her life and the fact
that she was pregnant with Max helps a lot too.”
“Well, you’re right about the timing. Still, what are you going to do?”
“Tell him of course. He’ll want to know.”
“Will he want to see her?”
“I don’t know, Lani. I’d think so, but it will be up to him.”
Lani nodded and took a sip of her Tom Yum soup and savored the rich flavor. “Well, let me know.”
how are things going in Josef land?” Beth asked, giggling at the bright
blush that swept over her friends neck and face. “That good huh?”
then some. I’ve never known a man like him!” She laughed when Beth’s
eyebrows rose as the obvious answer to that. “No, that the fact that
he’s family and also just how amazing he is. He’s like a curious and
horny 18 year old and then at the same time he’s cautious and methodical
in his thinking. It blows my mind.”
“He’s good for you Lani. I’ve never seen you so happy, so content with life.”
“Yes, he is good for me. I can’t wait to join the family in the new year.”
“So you’ve decided that already?”
“Yes, nothing to stop me. We can’t have kids so might as well do it.”
“You feel ready?”
“Don’t tell me you’re being cautionary here? You, who couldn’t wait to join?”
not really. I do want you to be sure you're prepared though. But just
think, Lani - we’ll be family together! It’s going to be good! And in
the meantime, I’m going to start doing some training, physically. Want
to join me?”
“Oh yeah! This will be fun!”
They each picked up their iced teas and took sips to clinch the pact. The future looked amazing to them both.
reporting the info about the newest body to Josef and Tango, Mick
headed back to his office to try to focus on getting some paperwork
done. He’d managed to complete two cases in the past few weeks but he
needed to get the reports done and the files made for them. He’d also
had a message on the machine about a new case but he was going to pass
on it. There was just too much going on. He’d forwarded the call to
one of his PI friends so they could look into it.
It was quiet in
the office and he sat back in his chair, trying to push all the dead
bodies out of his mind and focus on Paula and what had happened this
past weekend. It had been a total shock but there was a small part in
him that rejoiced over what had happened in 1982. Yes, he’d exposed
himself but he’d saved at least two lives that night and it made him see
Coraline through different eyes. Suddenly it was pathetic, this whole
life he’d shared with her. He’d walked away that night knowing that
he’d finally reached the end of it all.
He heard the elevator
ding and rapid footsteps approach his door. He caught a scent of
perfumed female, a scent that he knew. Surprised, he rose and went to
the door, waiting for the knock. When it came he opened the door and
“Hi. I hope I’m not disturbing you, Mick?”
“No, not at all. Please, come in. Can I get you some coffee or something?”
but thanks. Mick, I, I honestly don’t know why I’m here.” She looked
around the office and walked to the red couch and sat down, crossing her
legs and sitting back in comfort.
Mick smiled at his daughter
who for once didn’t look at all in control of herself. Vulnerable, she
looked intensely vulnerable to him. He nodded to the seat next to her,
silently asking for permission to sit and she nodded at him and waited
for him to sit down.
“How are you Catherine?” Begin simply, he decided.
“I’m okay. Benjamin is struggling. He says he’s seen you a couple of times over some unidentified bodies.”
“Yeah, we have. We haven’t talked about anything, uh, personal though.”
She nodded. “It’s on his mind I know.”
“He’ll talk about it when or if he wants to.”
“How do you feel about that? What do you want, Mick?”
eyes opened wide in surprise. She was direct, he liked that, but it
was still a bit surprising to hear her come right out with it. No one,
not even Beth had asked him that. Hinted at it curiously, but she hadn’t
asked outright. He thought about it for a moment, trying to frame his
“I guess I would like to get to know you, both of you
better. Ben and I didn’t exactly start out on the best of terms. I - I
was actually a bit jealous of him because I thought he was interested
in Beth,” he admitted, feeling a bit foolish over it now.
watched her as she digested that information and a question popped into
his head and he put it out there because he had to know. “She was
happy? Really happy, Catherine?”
Tears sprang to her eyes and
they shimmered a bit in the afternoon light. “She was - is, Mick. He
was so in love with her and they were very happy together. We were a
happy family. Neither mom or I ever lacked for anything.”
swallowed hard, trying to keep his own tears at bay. He couldn’t have
asked for anything more, not for Margie or his daughter.
“Do you believe in fate, Mick?”
“I guess in some ways I do. I think sometimes things just happen and they’re supposed to.”
pursed her lips a bit at his answer. Was it all fate that had brought
them to this place? Was he supposed to be in her life? Fate had
removed him from it once but here he was back into it. Maybe there
really was no escaping destiny.
Mick’s thoughts were pretty much
the same as Catherine’s except for different reasons. Fate had taken
him from Margie and led to Coraline. While that seemed a horrifying
trick of fate it had led him to Beth and he knew with all his heart that
this is where he was supposed to be. How could he say that to her
though? This woman who was his daughter?
“Maybe even fate has a
way of righting itself, Mick, of restoring balance. I don’t know where
all this will lead but I’m glad to know that you’re alive. I hope that
we can get to know one another.”
He nodded, choked up again. “I’d really like that. How does Ben feel about that?”
think he respects and admires what you do, Mick and that given time he
may come around. He’s had a hard time in his life.” She told him about
Michelle and all he had went through because of it.
“I guess there is sort of a parallel to his life and his grandmother’s, isn’t there?”
“Yes. They are incredibly close. When the day comes that he loses her he will be inconsolable.”
wanted to tell her that he’d seen Margie but thought it better to let
it go. She was happy and he felt at peace with it all now. “Let’s hope
that won’t be for a long while then,” he murmured.
smiling for the first time that day. The conversation went easier from
then on and before she knew it two hours had passed. She decided that
she actually liked him.
It was a good start.
was pitch black and the dank and fetid air reeked of death. Yes, death
and human waste as well. He thought he must have a blind fold on but a
quick check with shaky fingers assured him that he wasn’t wearing one.
floor where he was sitting was cement, he thought and fairly cool too.
He listened to the sounds around him, slight movements that indicated
he wasn’t alone. Human companions or other types? He couldn’t tell.
forced himself to sit up and fought a wild wave of vertigo as he did
so. He leaned his head back against a wall and pulled in a couple of
deep breaths and then was immediately sorry that he had. He retched,
miserably aware or maybe thankful that there was nothing in his stomach
to cast out. He was suddenly aware of breathing, close to him and all
his body movements stilled and he sat silently unmoving, waiting.
for the unknown. It seemed he was going to find out what was here with
him sooner rather than later as he felt something touch his cheek.
He fought the urge to yell because he knew that it wouldn’t do any good.
He was in hell.
To be continued…