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, August 27, 2012

Chapter 43 The Darkness Within

Shatel drove through the sheets that were cloaked in a silken sheet of darkness, looking for somewhere to hide the van for a bit while he could find his prey. It was getting much harder to find either, thanks to word of mouth by the homeless population and the fact that Tango had Cleaners out everywhere, trying to find him. They’d actually came close a few times but close didn’t really count when all was said and done.

When he finally made contact with his choice, they came willingly, usually. Kindred spirits of a sort you might say. They knew the same abject loneliness that he did; adrift in a world that neither saw them nor wanted them. He’d spent the last 170 years in this life, alone and lonely.

Vamps shunned him because of his scent and humans because of the scars. Both societies can be cruel, even when they don’t intend to be but that wasn’t usually the case - they knew they were cruelly ignoring him. He had no heart left any longer, only the painful memories of a life that hadn’t been like this etched into his head. A time when friends and companionship had made life, even as a vamp worthwhile.

Yes, the homeless accepted what he offered usually - a way out of the hurtful desolation of their existences. He sought that release and knew that when this was done he’d have it but in the meantime the two who brought all this about would pay the price, literally.

Why did he bring St. John into all this? Why? She seemed to be the darling of all who knew her but at first he only saw a way to twist the knife for Kostan and Tango a bit more. He’d had no intention of taking the human female with him but when he saw how much St. John cared for her and tried to protect her he’d brought her along in hopes that she’d be a control measure for the vampire that frankly scared him.

Her eyes! He’d never seen the likes before. They swirled in their beautiful brilliance. They were enticing, almost hypnotic and he felt strangely drawn to her. Yes, she’d tried to use allure on him at first but it hadn’t worked. She was young; probably didn’t know that allure didn’t usually work on other vamps. Especially the way she was pushing it. Subtlety, she sure could use a bit of that.

She was a fighter and he admired that. And he knew that she would go down fighting. Could he really stand to starve her as he planned? He knew that he could because she’d take care of the humans that he couldn’t.

He couldn’t touch the cop or the preacher because they had lives. He hadn’t wanted to take them but both left him no choice. They weren’t ready to leave this earth and he couldn’t be the one to shed their blood. But St. John? She could and would, when the burning hunger got bad enough.

Nineteen down and thirteen left to go. Then he’d find the sweet oblivion he sought.



Dorothy took the news calmly; deceptively so Clark feared. “She’ll be fine; she IS fine,” Dorothy said Sunday morning when he told her.

“Yes, I agree she’ll be fine. Honey, it’s alright to be upset about it, to be worried.”

“Clark, don’t mistake me, I’m plenty worried, but Mick will find her and bring her back. He always finds her, no matter how hard it might seem. We need to go and see him, let him know that we’re there for him.”

“Okay, whatever you want. We’ll go right after breakfast then.”

“Okay, right after breakfast,” she repeated and didn’t say another word.

She was in shock, Clark knew the signs. She’d be okay but she was holding onto her control so hard right now that it worried him. He’d have to watch her carefully because when she gave in to the fear, and she would he knew, it wasn’t going to be easy for any of them.


At the Kostan house Lani wasn’t taking it quite so well. No, not well at all Josef decided as she paced the room with tears streaming down her face.

“Sweetness, you need to calm down now. Mick will find her, we’ll find her. The helicopter is already up, Logan had got it on a schedule of search grids and we are going to find her, I promise.”

She cast him a baleful look as she recognized the placating voice he was using. “Josef, don’t tell me how to act or how to feel. I need to get this out of my system because we’re going over to see Mick and I don’t want him to see me so upset. He’s going to need our strength and I intend to have some for him.”

“Yes, you are right, Lani. I just hate to see you so upset.”

She nodded, acknowledging that he was being honest about it. “I have to call Robbi. She needs to know.”

“Would you like me to get your phone for you?”

“Yes, please.” She grabbed some tissues and blew her nose and then went and splashed water on her face. She had to pull herself together before speaking to Robbi. And Dorothy, she needed to talk to her as well. God, she was probably going crazy.

Josef arrived with her phone with Franklin following with breakfast for her. She looked at it and realized she was actually hungry. The tray held melon, toast and a scrambled egg with some juice. She smiled her gratitude to Franklin and sat down to eat.

When he took the tray away a while later she made the call to Robbi who was as upset as Lani was.

“What do we do, Lani?”

“Stay strong, Robbi. Pray? I don’t know. But we don’t give the bastard who took her the satisfaction of letting this take over our lives!”


Mick awoke from a deep slumber when he heard someone pounding on his door; that someone being Josef. Lani was with him, he recognized from the scent. He sat up and looked around the living room, where he’d slept last night. He hadn’t been able to bear the thought of sleeping in the freezer, their freezer. He’d went upstairs, intending to do it but when he lifted the lid her smell overcame him and he shut it quickly and stood with his hands resting on top of it and his heart thudding irregularly in his chest. The unusual dance that his heart was doing warmed him slightly, a feeling he usually only got after he and Beth had made love.

He’d stared at the freezer and headed back downstairs. Instead of being comforted by the strength of her scent he knew that it would only make him miss her more. He needed to rest because what was ahead of them was going to take all his strength and determination. He would find her, his Beth.

“Just a minute,” he said, coming to his feet and heading for the door. He ran his fingers through the tousled mess of his hair and tugged his Henley into place but he couldn’t do anything about the anguish that was vividly etched across his face.

“Hey,” he said as he opened the door for his friends.

Lani went to him and hugged him tightly. “We’re going to get her back, Mick.”

He nodded and tried to hold himself together. Josef had gone directly to the kitchen and pulled a glass out of the cabinet and then poured O+ from a thermos into it. He’d also carried in his laptop in a bag as well as the small bag that had the thermos in it. The bag held juice and snacks in it too, in case anyone got hungry. Meaning Lani or Dorothy because he knew that Clark and Dorothy would show up here as well. This would be their base of operations most likely.

“Fresh, so drink it up. You’re going to need it.”

Mick nodded silently and drank it down. He shook his head at Josef’s inquiry about more. “Do you guys mind if I take a quick shower?”

“Go ahead. I want to check in with Logan; he and Audrey have the chopper searching grids and we’ll see if they’ve found out anything yet.

They all knew that if anything had been found, however slight it might be that Logan would have let him know but Josef needed something to do, needed to be busy.

Lani straightened the pillows on the couch and realized that Mick had slept there. She could understand that; if something happened to Josef she would have a hard time sleeping in their bed she knew.

Josef set up the laptop computer he’d brought and logged on, bringing up the search grid. The areas that were in gray had already been searched and there weren’t all that many of them so far. It was slow going to be sure.

A few minutes later Mick was back, hair still damp but he felt a bit better. Josef told him what was going on with the search and he listened to it all, thinking about what Beth had managed to tell him but the silver reference still didn’t jibe with anything.

Mick and Josef heard the elevator ding and looked up a moment before someone knocked. Two human scents and four heartbeats only meant one thing and Josef went to answer the door as Mick continued to stare at the computer map of the area they were searching.

He rose to his feet as Dorothy and Clark entered and hugged Dorothy for a moment. She kissed him on the cheek and sat down in a chair across from the couch, one that was easier for her to get up from.

“Dorothy, Clark, would you like some juice or coffee?” Lani asked.

“I’d love some coffee, Lani,” Clark said, already engrossed in the computer map.

“Nothing for me, Lani. I’ll help though,” Dorothy said and joined her in the kitchen as Lani made the coffee.

Dorothy watched Lani as she performed the functions to get the coffee brewing and saw that though she was trying to hide it she was afraid. Dorothy had known her for too many years not to recognize the tight lips and worried brow that Lani was exhibiting.

“Lani, she is going to be okay, sweetheart.”

A lone tear slipped down Lani’s cheek and she tried to nod but the movement was more of a jerk as opposed to a nod. “I called Robbi, so she knows as well.”

“I see.” Dorothy wondered about the wisdom of that because it might be better if fewer people knew about it, but she recognized that Lani had probably needed the comfort from her. “Well, it’s going to be okay; I feel it in here,” she said, indicating her heart.

“I think so too but it’s just so hard waiting, you know?”

“I do indeed. Not my first time at this, but Mick brought her back safely then and he’ll do it again now.”

They both jumped a bit when there was another knock on the door. Mick answered it and stepped aside, letting in a blond woman and tall, handsome black man.

“Hi, Mick. Are we interrupting?” At Mick’s negative shake of his head she continued, “This is Brody. Brody, Mick St. John.”

The men shook hands and in the age old ritual assessed one another and both liked what they saw. Brody met Mick’s eyes unflinchingly and Mick saw not only compassion in them but strength.


“I’m glad you're here, Rose because I’m really getting confused messages from Beth and I don’t know how to interpret them.”

“I’ll do what I can to help, Mick. You should know though that the training you need was something that needed to be done together, to increase the bond you have. However, that being said the fact that she’s getting through to you at all is amazing and so it might be easier than I think.”

“Come on in and I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

Rose was very interested to meet Beth’s mom and her friend, Lani. Lani was going to be turned according to Beth, sometime after the first of the year. As the men, including Brody looked at the search process and talked strategy Rose went into the kitchen to talk with Dorothy and Lani. She noticed immediately that the younger woman wasn’t feeling well.

“Lani, forgive me but are you feeling well? I’m a doctor and I can’t help but notice that you are very pale.”

Lani glanced down rather sheepishly; she wanted them to worry about Beth, not her. “I’m okay. It’s Beth that is the concern now.”

“Yes, we’re going to get her back, but seriously, why don’t you come to see me in the office tomorrow? Let me run a few tests. You very likely are a bit anemic, judging by your pallor.” And her scent, but a human wouldn’t realize that. Kostan should have though.

“I - okay. Truthfully, Beth was going to call you tomorrow and see if you’d see me. I…well, it’s a little difficult to explain the marks on my neck to my doctor.”

Rose smiled at her and briefly put her arm around the young woman. “Of course it is. Any time tomorrow afternoon will be fine, okay?”

Lani nodded and seemed relieved; so did Dorothy. She looked very healthy and outside of the current stress the pregnancy seemed to be going well and Dorothy confirmed as much as they chatted.

“And twins for you as well. My goodness, you are going to have a lot of action going on.” She looked at Dorothy’s belly for a moment and added, “Another few weeks, I’d guess.”

“That’s what my doctor says but let me tell you, I’m ready anytime!”

“Watch yourself during this stressful situation, Dorothy. Are you having Braxton-Hicks?”

“Yes, often. One of the joys of pregnancy, I guess.”

“Um, indeed. I spoke with Beth recently about her family; whether she is a descendant from you or her father. Did she speak of that with you, if I might ask?”

Dorothy was a bit surprised by how direct Rose was. She reminded her of Beth and not just in attitude. There was something a bit similar in their features as well. “Yes, she did and mentioned a DNA test to find out if it is from me. I’d be glad to do it.”

“If it were you, if you were ever turned you be like Beth, you know.”

“You mean able to eat food?”

“Yes, that and other things. It’s hard to say what all, unless it happened.”

Mick came over and grabbed the thermos of blood and poured another glass. Neither of the human’s in the kitchen flinched or ever acted uncomfortable with it. He stood by the sink and drank it down and told them that so far only 4 grids had been searched.

They all walked back into the living room and saw that they computer had been plugged into the television so the picture was bigger and they could all see it better.

“All they have to go on is that black van, which could be in a garage for all we know. It’s so damn frustrating. These areas here, east of Victorville - that’s where they are searching?” Mick asked as he studied the map. “How do we know they are east?”

“Logan thought he might have picked up another look at the van early this morning. It’s all we got, Mick.” Josef rocked back on his heels, knowing how little they had to go on.

“I just wish I’d hear her again. Maybe she’d give me another clue.”

“I know. Mick, why don’t we go into your office while they continue the search and we’ll talk about the other things you think Beth has been trying to tell you?” Rose told him, seeing that he was getting more upset as he stared at the screen.

He nodded and they two of them headed into the office and closed the door. Rose didn’t know if she could help but she was going to try.


About 5 miles west of Victorville, Shatel was just getting back with his latest victim. Like most of the others, this one had come to him willingly after he’d dumped the other body. Yes, they just wanted peace, a place where they didn’t hurt or weren’t lonely any more. He made the drive home as the sun was coming up and winced as he got out of the van with the body that was still sleeping off the effects of the chloroform. Inside and down the stairs, into his private room for a few minutes, to pull out supplies for the others. He walked back out to the landing and opened the door to the bunker.

Beth was awakened when she heard a door close, from outside on the landing. Shatel must use that other room down here, probably where his freezer was she decided. She heard the bolt slide on this door and the light was flipped on right before she shut her eyes tightly.

Shatel opened the door and entered the room and looked around at them. He had another body over his shoulder, the man apparently unconscious. He pointed to the other end of the cell and they all moved as directed. Luka had told her not to talk to him when he was in there because he was convinced that Shatel would kill her if she did.

Beth wasn’t convinced of that at all and besides, Rose had said she couldn’t die but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t stake her and that wouldn’t help anything. He didn’t need her blood and he seemed a bit intimidated by her too she had noticed. She watched as he carried the body into the cell and then looked at the rest of them as if debating who to choose. His gaze landed on Max and Beth growled, her fangs bared and she noticed that he took a quick step backwards. He finally pointed to the one named Jimmy who grabbed the bucket without a protest.

It was hard, knowing what was going to happen next and knowing that she couldn’t do anything about it. She stayed in the end of the cell, but stood by the bars seemingly to watch what was going to happen.

Actually, what she was doing was checking out the bars themselves. She noticed that they weren’t anchored into the wall but were fastened into a frame. It seemed to fit tightly but she couldn’t see any bolts holding the frame in place. She pushed against it when Shatel was filling his cup and the resulting scrape sounded louder than a drum. The human’s didn’t hear it but she did and Shatel as well as he flipped a quick look over his shoulder but Beth was already back over against the wall.

He left the body to finish draining and went to get them their daily food rations. Beth again went to the bars and wiggled them again, now completely convinced she could work them loose.

When Shatel entered the room again he gave them their water and bananas for the humans. He stared at Beth and she noticed a slight upturn at the corner of his mouth, almost a grin. She stared at him, focusing hard and let her eyes turn and for a moment he stood transfixed, unable to move.

He wanted her to kill them, the ones he couldn’t kill.

“Not going to happen,” she said in vamp tones.

“We’ll see,” he responded.

He left then, the body over his shoulder and the lights went out, leaving them to the darkness once again. Beth grabbed a bottle of the water and the banana and headed over to Max to try and coax her to eat.

As soon as she touched Max she gasped. She was burning up. “Something is wrong,” she said. “Max, Max, come on, wake up. You need to drink some of this water.”

Luka and Henry made their way over to her, following her voice. “What’s wrong?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know. She’s burning up though.”

Henry reached out and felt Max’s forehead. Beth saw him frown in the darkness. “I was a medic during Operation Desert Storm,” he said as he reached for her wrist to take her pulse. He didn’t have a watch so he couldn’t time it but it was rapid, too rapid. That much he was sure about.

“My husband was a medic in the army,” Beth said, worried about her friend.

“The Iraq war?”

Beth smiled briefly which he couldn’t see of course and said, “World War II.” She saw the shocked look on his face for a moment but that faded as he remembered that her husband was a vampire.

“Beth?” Max said, her voice barely a whisper.

“I’m here, Max. You need to drink a bit of water, you’re burning up with a fever.”

“No, my stomach hurts.”

“Max, it’s Henry. Does you have an actual pain or do you mean you just feel sick to your stomach?”

“Both, I think.”

“Max, can you take my hand and put it where it hurts? I’m a medic.”

Max took his hand without fear and laid it on the side of her stomach. Henry gently pushed and she cried out at the pain. He moved his hand around a bit but nowhere else made her cry out like that spot had.

“I think she has a hot appendix.”

“Oh my god. Does that mean that it’s ruptured?”

“I don’t think so, not yet anyway. Once it ruptures, it doesn’t generally hurt as much. But at that point her whole abdomen becomes compromised without antibiotics.”

He moved away from Max and Beth and Luka followed him to the end of the cell. “She’ll die soon after that happens because gangrene will set in.”

She needed out of this cell and quickly. She told them, “Then we’d better get busy because I’m not going to let that happen! I have a plan.”

To be continued…

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