A/N: I'm sorry for being late today. Real lifes pace is still frenzied and I had to leave home so early this morning that I forgot all about this. SORRY!!! I'm really behind on answering comments but things are going to slow down soon and I will catch up. Thank you for your patience and support and thank you Julia for the reminder!
Chapter 41 Hidden Away
Beth put the key in the starter and said, “Where to?”
“Throw your purse out the window; your friends too.”
let out a frustrated sigh and did as she was told. She’d been hoping
he might forget that and that Mick could find her by her cell. No such
luck. She glanced over at Max, who was laying limply against the door,
her unfocused eyes staring out the front window. Beth continued to send
her calming thoughts and decided to see if she could manipulate Shatel.
closed her mind off for a moment and tried to focus hard before telling
him to let them go. It didn’t do anything she realized a moment or two
later when she caught his eye in the rear view mirror.
impatiently stared at her and let his eyes flash silver. He was taken
aback when her eyes turned a vibrant, swirling blue in return. He
lowered his hooded eyes and tried to figure out what kind of vamp she
was because one thing was for sure, she was different.
realized she’d panicked him for a moment with her eyes and decided to
use her differences to keep him off balanced, as much as possible
anyway. “Hey, where to?” she demanded and heard a low growl from him,
as if he was upset she was taking the lead.
“Take I-10 east and head for Victorville. And keep your mouth closed!”
let her eyes go vamp again and had to bite her lip to keep a smile off
her face at his nervous look. She turned the key and the van started up
and she pulled slowly out of the parking lot, heading to the I-10
access ramp. Another glance at Max assured her that she was going to
stay quiet and so Beth focused on driving and thinking about how to try
and let Mick know what was going on.
Rose said they could
communicate without words, with training and practice, of which they’d
had neither. How did she do it? Focus for sure, but what else? What
she didn’t know could make the whole thing fail. Finally she decided to
just push all her thoughts out to him and hope that he’d ‘hear’ her.
She could ‘see’ that he was with Josef, Logan, Carl and Tango, probably
talking about the dead body.
MICK! DANGER!! SHATEL HAS MAX AND I. NEED HELP!
just kept running those thoughts through her head and hoped for the
best. She didn’t have any idea if he heard her or not or even if he
could respond if he did. It was a risk she took; it was the only chance
they might have and that frightened her a great deal but she’d be
damned if she’d let that foul-smelling sorry excuse for a vamp sitting
behind her get to her. Nope, not gonna happen.
She saw Mick
stiffen and panic hit him; she knew that he knew something was wrong.
What she didn’t know is how much of her message he got and what he would
do with it.
Mick, Logan and Carl were at the Cleaners headquarters debating the
situation. About the only thing they could agree on was that they
needed to find the rogue vamp and quickly. The Cleaners had taken to
doing stake outs but even that hadn’t helped to locate Shatel.
stood up, feeling uneasy for a moment. Suddenly the hairs on the back
of his neck stood up and a pin-prick feeling overtook him and made him
BETH! She was in danger and he pulled in a sharp breath
and reached for his phone while the other men stared at him in
confusion. He dialed Beth’s number and after ringing a half a dozen
times it went to voicemail.
“Mick, what’s wrong?” Logan finally asked because the feeling of alarm Mick was generating was palpable to all of them.
head was swimming; pain and confusion overwhelming him and he sank to
the floor. “Beth…” he finally gasped. “Beth is in danger. I think
Shatel has her.”
“What?” the others chorused, all of them
confused. Logan leaned down and put his arm around his sire and said,
“Mick, how do you know?”
“I - I heard, I think I heard her in my head. She said danger and Shatel. I’m not imagining it.”
“No, I’m sure you’re not. Where is she?”
“At Buzzwire, last I heard.”
“Okay, let’s start there.”
“I need to call Larry, the guard.”
a start.” Logan picked up the phone that had fallen to the floor and
handed it to him. “Call him and I’m going to track her phone, okay?”
nodded and called Buzzwire while Logan went out the car and grabbed his
laptop which had the capabilities he needed. By the time he got back
inside Mick had found out that Beth and Max had left the building a half
hour before. Mick was waiting for him to check the parking lot to see
if her car was still there while Logan booted the laptop up and started
the search for Beth’s cell phone.
“Mick?” Larry said. “Her car
is still here, but I didn’t see her out there. I called her name out a
time or two as well. You want me to call the police?”
coming over there. I have Carl Davis with me; he’s with LAPD and he’ll
take your statement.” Carl nodded and prepared to leave.
“Her phone is still at Buzzwire, Mick. She has to still be there.”
“Or she doesn’t have her phone with her and the only way she wouldn’t is if she couldn’t. Come on, Carl, let’s go.”
“You got it.”
men left the building at a run. It was a 20 minute drive to Buzzwire,
if traffic was good and it would be the longest 20 minutes of Mick’s
As Beth drove along
I-10 she remembered the last time she had went to Victorville, when Mick
was dying and she’d been so worried about him. Stupid, stubborn man,
she’d had to almost hack into her own vein with a nail file to get him
to drink from her. It was pretty desolate out that way and she’d
couldn’t help but wonder where they were headed and the silent vamp in
the back wasn’t saying a word. Neither was Max and Beth wondered for a
moment if she were asleep because she wasn’t moving or saying anything.
focused on the first sign that said Victorville and tried to send that
message to Mick along with the interstate and the fact that they were in
a black van. She knew he had picked up on her mental SOS because he
was driving somewhere again and it looked as if he was heading to
Buzzwire. It took a lot of mental energy to ‘see’ him all the time and
so she let the visual go and tried to focus on his face and sending him
more messages, that she was okay for the moment and the van.
made the merge with the Barstow Freeway and it became more deserted out
and seeing any kind of lights was rare, even headlights. Finally they
made a turn off onto US 395 and headed north, skirting Victorville.
Shatel was a man of few words, only using the most basic words and
simple directions, such as, “turn” and “here”. She didn’t know if he
just didn’t like talking or what. Any attempt that she made to
communicate with him made him growl, which alarmed Max so finally she
just shut up.
From 395 they took a dirt road heading west and
traveled about 4 miles before Beth saw an old, silver Airstream trailer
sitting alone in the desert. Shatel had her park the van and he
immediately took the keys from her. For a moment she considered
throwing them out into the desert but realized that probably wouldn’t be
wise; it could trap she and Max if this was the only way out of here.
She heard a small generator running somewhere near them and knew that at
least there was electricity in the trailer.
Max opened her door
at Beth’s request and Beth walked around the van, putting her arm around
her friends shoulders to help support her. She felt a bit feverish
Beth thought but then, they’d been cooped up in the van for a long time
and maybe she just needed to move around a bit.
As they stood
there for a moment, Max swaying a bit unsteadily on her feet Shatel
looked away briefly and Beth used that moment to attack, fully vamping
out and knocking Shatel into the dirt and ripping at him with her teeth.
The taste of him was putrid and she spat out the blood and flesh as
quickly as she bit him. He was stronger than her and managed to roll
her over and hit her hard across her face. For a moment Beth thought
she was going to black out and she waited for his fangs to descend and
him to attack.
Instead he was on his feet quicker than Beth could
imagine and was holding Max against him as he sliced a small portion of
her neck. Not the vein or artery Beth noticed and whether that was by
mistake or plan she didn’t know. She willed Max to drop to the ground
as Beth got up and she did but Shatel caught her and growled loudly,
making Max whimper.
“I will kill her. Try anything else and she’s dead.”
nodded and walked up to Shatel, eyes and fangs focused on him. He
shoved Max towards Beth who grabbed her and then he shoved Beth’s back
towards the door and as the girls headed for it Beth couldn’t help but
wonder what waited for them inside. She took a deep, unnecessary breath
as Shatel reached around her and unlocked the door. As soon as the
door opened she wished she hadn’t taken that breath because the stench
drive to Buzzwire Mick could still ‘feel’ Beth and that was reassuring.
He only hoped that he wasn’t imagining her presence, but he didn’t
think so. If they were right Mick was going to need to call Mark and
that was one call he didn’t want to make. He hoped that at the most
they would find that Beth had been staked, but if that was the case
where did that leave Max? Not a thought he wanted to contemplate.
kept thinking about his time in Victorville for some reason and didn’t
know if it was just because it had been such a desperate situation and
Beth had saved him or if it was something she was trying to communicate
to him. And he kept seeing black and silver, but not together. Damn,
he needed some help interpreting all this and knew he was going to call
Rose as well. It was too much for him.
When they got to Buzzwire
Carl went to talk to Larry and Mick scented the scene and saw the girls
come out of the building and being confronted by Shatel. Even in the
breezy evening there was still a hint of his stench in the area and it
made Mick want to gag. He couldn’t imagine how Beth would cope with
being around him.
He saw Max being held and Beth watching, trying
to figure out what to do judging by the contemplative look on her face.
Finally the girls walked to another area of the parking lot and Mick
followed and found both of their purses on the ground. They got into a
vehicle and left then, a van he thought.
While Mick was at
Buzzwire Logan was making use of satellites to view the parking lot at
Buzzwire. Taking the clock backwards he saw figures walking from the
building, two of them but there was no way of knowing whether they were
actually Beth and Max or not but the timing was right on it.
“How the hell are you doing that?” Tango asked, fascinated by what Logan was doing.
Josef grinned and said, “He’s amazing, isn’t he? That boy can crack anything!”
get too cocky, Josef because that isn’t true. And in a few minutes, if
I find a vehicle I’m going to have to break into a spy satellite and
that ain’t gonna be easy.”
“Oh, well I’m sure you can handle, Logan. Um, without getting caught that is.”
fixed Josef with a burning stare for a moment but otherwise ignored the
remark and focused on the parking lot. A third figure appeared and
then the three people walked to another area of the parking area and
climbed into what looked like a black van. Logan watched as it moved
away but couldn’t get an angle on it for a tag. He saw it leave the
parking lot and head for what could be I-10 but he lost it there. He
reset the timer to real time and saw what had to be Mick and Carl there
and gave them a call.
“Mick, they left in a black van; looked like it was heading for I-10.”
“Black? I kept seeing the color black in my head, Logan. Was there any silver on it?”
that I saw, pretty sure it was solid black. I’m going to try to get
into a different satellite and see if I can find it on the I-10.”
Carl is going to take a statement from Larry and we’re hoping he won’t
call in the police. I’m going to call Mark and then we’ll head back to
the Cleaners offices. Keep looking, Logan, don’t give up!”
“Not a chance, Mick; after all, she’s my favorite niece! I’m going to find them.”
ended the call and reluctantly called Mark, hating what he was going to
have to say to him. When he answered he gave him the facts and
listened as Marks heartbeat skipped a few beats and then pounded in his
chest. He agreed to come to the Cleaners offices once he got Paula and
Rodney to come and stay with the kids and he hoped that would be soon.
and Carl headed back and both of them were quiet on the way, each lost
in their own thoughts. When they got back in they found Logan still
working on the computer, setting up what he hoped would be a hard to
trace trail so he could get into a government satellite.
relaying it through 6 phantom servers and 13 satellites. They might not
be able to trace it at all, but if they do it will still give us a
while before they nail us. Hopefully enough time to spot that van. If
we can find it on I-10 then we can switch to traffic satellites and
camera’s and get a different view which might possibly give us a tag
number. Here goes!”
looked around at the spartan furnishings of the trailer and couldn’t
figure out where on earth the smell was coming from. Even Max, with her
human nose could smell something based on the way she winced and
wrinkled her nose. Beth stood in the small room that might pass as a
living room since it had a chair in it and raised her eyebrows at Shatel
expectantly as if to say what now?
He led the way to a bed that
was on a platform at the end of the trailer and lifted it up, revealing a
stairway heading down. He motioned with his head for Beth and Max to
start down and Beth stood still and said, “It’s a little dark for human
eyes.” She stared defiantly at him and he motioned to a switch on the
wall and Beth pressed it, lighting the descending steps.
went down about 25 feet Beth gestimated and looked to be in good repair.
There were two doors on the lower landing, one straight ahead and one
on the right. She and Max began moving downward and Beth held Max
tightly when she felt her trembling and her knees threaten to give out.
She just kept reaffirming with allure that it would be okay, that Beth
would take care of her.
At the bottom of the landing Shatel
stepped around them and unlocked the heavy bolt on the door in front of
them and flipped a switch as the door swung open. All Beth had time for
was quick glance around as the stench hit her and Max and she saw Max
turn green and cover her mouth, trying to hold back a gag and failing.
looked around and saw a bathroom and ran with Max to get to it. At the
sight of the mess around the toilet Max retched into the sink which was
only a shade cleaner. Beth turned the tap on and thankfully water ran
and Beth said, “Splash some on your face, Max. It should make you feel
Shatel was standing in the doorway watching and when it
seemed as if Max was done he pointed out the door and Beth’s eyes
flashed again, anger rolling off of her and Shatel stepped back, giving
her space to walk around him. As they stepped back out into the main
room Beth saw a cell on the same side of the room with 4 men inside.
Shatel stood by the door, pointing to the opposite end of it and the men
silently moved before he opened the door and pointed inside for the
women to enter. After they were inside he pointed to one of the men and
then at a bucket at the end of the cell, obviously used as a toilet.
a moment he looked like he might object and then the fight seemed to
drain out of him and he grabbed it and carried it into the bathroom.
After he’d emptied it he put it back in the cell, all under Shatel’s
watchful eye. When he was done he stood staring at Shatel and quicker
than the human’s could react Shatel had grabbed him and carried him to a
counter on the other side of the room. He came back briefly and locked
the door again before going back to the man on the counter.
watched in horror as he used his talon to puncture the artery on the
neck and the hold a cup under the stream of blood that was quickly
pumping out of the body. A gasp escaped her and she looked around and
saw someone shaking his head and making a quiet motion.
That someone was Luka Fiorentino.
“They’ve got all 6 servers, Logan,” Mick said, watching the board light up as the trace was made.
yeah, I know. Almost back to where I need to be. Tell me when they
hit the sat’s and count them down for me. When they hit 2 let me know
because I’ve got to break the connection at that point.” Logan frowned
as he searched the screen, looking for the van and he thought he’d
caught it. “There, I think that’s it. The time sig is right and it
just got on, so it will show up on the traffic cams. I’m getting off
the satellites now and switching to traffic cams.”
all this in amazement; so much for all the precautions the government
took to protect this country. Logan was amazing and kind of scary as
Logan predicted the time signatures and then followed the
camera’s until one got the van in sight and snapped a picture of the
tag, a clear one at that. “Okay, got it!”
“Do you need to me to run it, Logan?” Carl said and then laughed as Logan already had done that. “No, of course you don’t.”
van was registered to Isaac Vermillion and when they checked the
address it turned out to be a vacant lot, not really a surprise to any
of them but still a huge disappointment. All of them were frustrated
when Mark was shown in a few minutes later, out of his mind with worry.
”Tell me you’ve found them,” he said and Mick saw the look of pain and fear that was reflected in his own eyes.
but we know that they were in a black van and heading east on the I-10,
Mark. We’re doing our best.” Mick poured a glass of scotch and handed
it to him and Mark knocked it back in one drink.
“What the hell
happened, Mick? She went to the press conference because she thought
she needed to be there. She hadn’t felt good all day, her stomach had
been hurting and she’d been sick once but she wouldn’t stay home.”
explained everything to him, everything they knew about Shatel and the
situation, sparing him nothing. Tango and Josef both watched and felt
helpless, feeling somehow responsible and yet neither really knowing
“So, the rogue vamp you called him? He has actually killed
19 people now and you don’t know for sure who he is, only who you think
it is and he might or might not have a grudge against Tango and Josef?”
“That about sums it up,” Tango said tersely. “We’re sure it’s Shatel LaFleur, but we don’t have a clue why he’s doing it.”
lost the van,” Logan said, rubbing his hand over his face tiredly.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t locate it again. It could have turned off
somewhere, out of a camera range, most likely it did.”
get all the way to Victorville?” Mick asked because he had felt
something about Victorville earlier. For the past 30 minutes he hadn’t
felt anything from Beth and that worried him but he wasn’t going to say
anything in front of Mark.
“I don’t think it made it to Victorville, Mick. I’m going to keep looking but right now I need some O+.”
went to the door and said something to someone and within a few minutes
several carafes of blood were delivered into the room.
looked at Mark, waiting to see how he’d react and noticed he didn’t even
blink an eye. He was a doctor so blood wasn’t unusual for him but Mick
would bet that he’d never seen anyone drink it. As he sipped his glass
he thought about Beth and the fact that it was the full moon in a few
days and she’d need blood then for sure.
We have to find her before then…we have to.
To be continued…