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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Chapter 44 Planning

Sorry to be late everyone! My mom's 80th birthday was yesterday and I didn't get home until last night.

Chapter 44 Planning

“So, what’s your plan?” Luka inquired. It was weird talking in the pitch blackness, but over the past week or so he’d gotten used to it. He wondered if the real world even existed any longer. He technically knew that it did, but it seemed so far away from this reality that it was scary.

The reality that had changed drastically when he was captured by Shatel. As a cop he’d often seen the gritty, seedy side of humanity but vampires? They were characters in movies and books, creatures of mythical legend and it never for a moment crossed his mind that they could actually be real. And yet - here he was.

Beth St. John was a vampire, but she was far removed from that thing that kept them locked away. He was monstrous, squandering lives, tearing away their humanity in unimaginable ways. How could he ever go back to that pedestrian existence that he’d lived before this revelation that humans were not the only people on the earth?

Would he have the chance?

That remained to be seen but if there was even a tiny chance he was ready for it.

“When Shatel was, um, busy earlier I looked at the bars; did you realize that they aren’t anchored to the wall? They are built into a frame that sits into the wall opening. And, I believe it can be worked loose.”

Luka thought about it for a moment, remembering that she has seemed to be pushing on it a bit earlier. But that still didn’t mean that if they managed to get out of the cell that they could get out of this room. He’d heard the heavy bolt on the other side of the door and knew they’d never be able to break it down. He said as much to Beth.

“You're right, Luka. We have to wait until he comes into the cell. We need the bars pushed out of the way just enough so that I can slip out and into the bathroom. When we got here I saw a wooden plunger in there; if I can get it I can sharpen it on one end to make a stake. When he comes into the cell we can distract him and then I can stake him.”

“And that will kill him?”

“No, but it will paralyze him; he won’t be able to move and we can get out of the cell, lock him in and more importantly, slide the bolt on the door so that he’s trapped down here.”

“Then what happens to him?” Luka had a good idea, but he had to hear her say it.

“Luka, human justice can’t deal with him.”

He nodded, understanding that. “I know,” he said softly, again realizing that the world, the human world wasn’t ready for the knowledge of vampires.

“He won’t be able to move if we stake him?” Henry asked. “At all?”

“It’s sort of like vampire handcuffs. He’ll still be alive, but he’ll be unable to move. It’s the best chance we have to get out of here, guys. We’re running out of time.” She meant for Max and for her.

The need for blood was burning her, she needed it and tomorrow it would be worse, maybe uncontrollable. She’d never felt like this before; she literally felt as if her insides were on fire and nothing, not even the water helped.

“Beth?” Max called out and Beth looked back at her, unaware that she was awake.

Beth moved to her side and lightly stroked the hair off of her burning face. “Hey, you should be resting.”

“The full moon, you told me you have to drink blood then or you won’t survive. Beth, I’m close to dying, I know it. Tomorrow, if we’re still here you need to just drink my blood. Promise me.” When Beth didn’t say anything she repeated the words. “Promise me!”

“Hey, we’ll worry about that tomorrow, okay? For now, you just rest.”

“Beth, no offence but I have a flatter chest than you do; I can get through those bars easier than you can. Let me.”

Beth smiled in silent acknowledgment of Max’s statement. “Max, you don’t need to be up and you can’t see in the dark; I can. I can do it, okay?”

Luka and Henry had listened to the exchange and both wondered about the drinking blood thing. So far Beth hadn’t drank any, but evidently the full moon was special. Could she survive it?

Could they?

Beth turned back to the boys and said, “So, are you guys ready to help me work on these bars?”

“Let’s give it a try,” Luka said and all three went to the far end of the cell, the area he made them all move to when he came in and started pushing and pulling on the frame. Little by little it moved, the scraping sound seeming very loud in the dark. Beth wondered briefly if it was loud enough for Shatel to hear if he was here, in his freezer room. She’d heard him leave several hours ago but hadn’t heard footsteps again and felt sure he wasn’t here right now and time was crucial so she redoubled her efforts. They worked on it together, getting into a rhythm of motion, ignoring the bits of the cinderblocks that fell on them as they made progress.

An hour later they had managed to move the frame about 3 inches. She worried about making it so loose that it wouldn’t stand on its own but right now all she cared about was pushing it aside enough for her to slip through. Max was right, it would be easier for her but she was out of it again Beth could tell.

An hour later the gap was big enough and she slipped through and made a run for the bathroom and grabbed the plunger and pulled the stick out of the suction cup. She slipped back into the cell with it and they worked to push the frame back into the wall. It wasn’t as flush at it had been but hopefully Shatel wouldn’t notice.

“So, how do we sharpen the end of it?” Luka asked.

“The cinderblocks in here are really rough, we’re just going to have to grind it against them. It doesn’t have to have a perfectly sharp point, but the sharper we can make it the better.”

“How long is it, Beth?” Henry asked.

“About um, 2 feet I guess,” she estimated.

“What if we broke it in half? Sometimes when wood breaks like that it sort of splinters on the broken ends; it might make a better point to begin with.”

Beth thought about the suggestion for a moment and decided it was true. They’d have 2 pieces to work with and both would be long enough to work with if it broke fairly evenly. “Okay, that’s a good idea.”

Luka said, “Here, let me.”

Beth handed him the handle and watched as she stood on one end and pulled. It broke nearly in half and Henry was right, one of the pieces especially had a nicely jagged point on one end. “Great idea, Henry. This will be much easier to work with. I’ll work on one end of it, but I think we all need to rest a bit. Tomorrow is going to be a hard day I think.”

Luka handed her one of the pieces and said, “You’re right. Let’s rest.”

Beth curled up by Max and soon she heard the soft snores that told her Henry was sleeping. Luka was still awake though she could tell. She heard him release a long sigh and said, “What’s wrong, Luka?”

“What isn’t?” he whispered.

“We’re okay, and tomorrow we’ll be free.”

“I hope you're right. I just keep thinking about all of …this.”

“About vampires you mean?”

“Yeah, but about a lot of other things too I guess. Are there a lot of vampires, Beth?”

“More than you’d think.” She knew he had questions and thought it was better to let him ask them now.

“Which means?”

“I don’t know about everywhere else but here in LA the number fluctuates a bit around 300 or so.”

“That many? Wow, unbelievable.”

“Yeah, I thought so too, once.”

“How long, have you been, you know?”

“A few months. I was at a cookout on the beach and my throat was slashed. Mick had to turn me.”

“My god, I’m so sorry, Beth.” Thinking of Mick made him thing of Tejada. “When we brought Mick in for the lineup, did Carl know? Does he know now?”

“No, he didn’t. Not until later. What are you going to do about all this, Luka?” She was almost scared to ask; if he didn’t keep the secret they’d kill him she knew.

Luka was quiet; he’d asked himself that question a dozen times since Beth got here. He kept going back to what Carl had said after the Tejada thing - that regardless of whether he’d skipped town or been killed it was a good thing. That taking it to court was only going to get more people killed and still likely wouldn’t garner a conviction. Luka knew that he was right; prosecutors, judges, witnesses all had a way of dying or going missing when Tejada was involved.

Looking at a bigger picture, at vampires as a whole he knew that there wasn’t anything that realistically could be done. Kill them all? Not likely and he was also smart enough to know that you couldn’t put them into the human justice system so he assumed that there was some sort of vampire system to deal with them.

Beth waited and was patient; he had to work things out on his own. If he was determined to out them then he’d sign his own death warrant. She hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

While they were quiet both of them had started working on the stakes, rubbing the ends across the rough cinderblocks in an effort to hone the points a bit more. The scratchy sound was like listening to coarse sandpaper rubbing over wood and it made Beth grimace. Also, she realized that she was beginning to tremble, one of the first signs that she needed to feed on the full moon. Her body was already coursing with hunger but now it would get worse, much worse. Just the scent of their blood was driving her crazy and it was almost impossible to keep her mind off of it, the burning need. For the first time she began to have real doubts about keeping herself under control.

“To live, to exist, do vampires have to kill, Beth?”

“No, they don’t. That’s not to say that some don’t, obviously. Mick and I, the vamps we know buy our blood.”

“Buy it? From where?”

“Some people buy it from morgues and such; we buy ours from a service.”

“A service that provides blood? Do they know what for?”

“Yes, of course. Some people prefer to drink it straight from the vein.”

Luka winced at the thought of that. “People willingly let you drink their blood?”

“Yes. Lots of people actually. They, uh, well they consider the bite pleasurable. It releases endorphins. Sort of a high.” She didn’t tell him it was a sexual high as well.

“Wow. I would have never guessed. So this really isn’t as big of a secret as I would have thought. How do you keep everyone from knowing, Beth. It seems so risky.”

“It is, at times. Just one person who can’t be trusted telling what they know and it would be war, a war that neither side would win.”

“Yes, you apparently have some rather pronounced gifts; the strength, your hearing and sight too.” He let out a long sigh and said, “I won’t tell anyone, Beth. Do I have to sign in blood somewhere?”

She saw a slight smile tweak up the corners of his mouth and knew that he was okay with it all. “Of course. And then there is the monthly donation too!”

He let out a low chuckle and then was quiet again. “What Max said, about you having to drink blood on the full moon. That true?”

“Yes, it is. I’m trying really hard not to think about it. I’m scared, Luka.”

He reached over in the darkness and took her hand and gave it a slight squeeze and then withdrew it. “We’ll get out of here in time, Beth. Whatever it takes.”


“So, tell me about the messages, Mick?” Rose and Mick were in the office at the loft, seated on the couch and Mick leaned his head back for a moment and closed his eyes as he thought of Beth.

“I sort of heard her, when it happened, to begin with. It was like she was in my head and all I could think about was danger. It was enough to alert us and we discovered what had happened. Then other things, like black, which we found out was probably about the black van that they were in. Later on Victorville came to mind, and I couldn’t shake it.” He told her about their connection in Victorville the previous year and she listened to it all silently, actually amazed at how much information Beth was managing to get to him, especially without any training. Some day these two were going to be truly remarkable.

“That’s when I started thinking about silver. I don’t know what that has to do with anything, Rose.”

“Do you think she’s okay? I mean, has he tried to use silver on her?”

“No, I don’t think so. Last night, I wrote her a note and held it so she could see it, I hoped. I mean, she said she could see me, so I took a shot. It worked and I held my hand out to her and I actually felt hers touch mine. It felt slightly warm and was amazing.”

She grinned; these two didn’t need her. Seriously, they’d already surpassed what she would teach them. She told Mick that and he seemed irritated by it.

“No, we need to learn how to refine it more, Rose. We need help.”

“Mick, the first thing I would have taught you both would be to create a physical connection that you could use. You’ve both figured that out. Now it’s a matter of just continuing to do it. It will strengthen as you do. Focus, Mick. Keep her face in your mind and imagine a physical connection between you.”

He felt completely frustrated; he knew she was trying to help but there had to be something else! “What about interpreting the messages, Rose? I don’t know what silver means.”

“Yes, that is puzzling. Do you get any type of image with it?”

“No, but then I didn’t with black either. The thought isn’t terribly focused, just sort of a vague thing.”

“Perhaps later when it’s quiet you can make contact with her again, do another sign. Ask her what is silver?”

“Yes, it’s worth a try,” he said, rubbing his hand down over his face. He was tired; although he’d rested a bit last night he needed his freezer to feel at his best. Problem was, he didn’t think he could sleep in it without her by his side. “We’re pretty bad at this aren’t we? Beth and me I mean.”

“Quite the contrary actually. Mick, what you two have managed so far is extraordinary, especially since you’ve not had any training. When she is back and you two work on this together - well, let’s just say that what you will be able to achieve will be mind-blowing.”

“You really believe we’ll get her back?”

“Of course. Remember what I said about her not being able to die? That’s true, although there is one way she can, that we can, that is.”

Mick’s head jerked up sharply at her words. “You said she couldn’t die!”

“The only way she can is by her own choice, Mick. She can choose to die. That’s the only way.”

Mick wasn’t sure if that made him feel better or not but it did make him a bit more confident that they’d get her back safely in this situation. But first they had to find her. He finally nodded and stood up. “Rose, thanks. I appreciate the advice.”

“Of course. If it’s okay Brody and I would like to be a part of the search process. We also have resources and have a computer specialist as well. Perhaps Ishaq and your Logan can work together?”

“Sure, I’ll talk to him,” Mick said, hoping that Logan would be alright about it.

“We also have a helicopter at our disposal, so we can get two of them in the air, with Mr. Kostan’s, if that is okay.”

Mick had to blink back the burning sensation that stung his eyes, so grateful for more help. “Yes, that will be good. Logan is coordinating the search grid so let’s talk to him and he and Ishaq, is that right? They can work on it together.”

“Yes, Ishaq.” She nodded and they walked to the door. “Mick take a few minutes whenever you can to try and focus on her. If she can see you, she’ll know what you're doing and it will be good for both of you.”

“Okay, I will. Thank you so much, Rose.”

Back in the group new plans were made. Brody was also a pilot so he’d be running the second search grid. Logan was more than happy to share information with Ishaq and so the search got a large boost in resources, which made them all happy. Audrey monitored the traffic cams in LA, figuring that sooner or later he’d come back to either dump a body or abduct someone else. They hadn’t spotted him yet, but they would. They had to.

A little while later Mark and Rodney showed up at the door. They had been working on a plan to cover the girl’s disappearance at Buzzwire tomorrow. Mick listened, amazed that he hadn’t even given it a thought but the fewer people who realized that Max and Beth were actually missing, the better.

“We’re just going to say that Beth is with her mom for a few days because she was having a rough time,” Mark said.

Dorothy nodded, agreeing to go along with that. “If any of them try to contact us I’ll cover.”

“Great. We’re going to say that Max is sick and home for a few days. Rodney is going to fill in as editor in chief.”

Mick looked up, surprised. He didn’t know that Rodney had any experience in this field.

Mark saw his shock and added, “Mick, Rodney spent 25 years at the Times. He can handle it and cover well.”

Mick realized he’d never heard Paula and Rodney’s last name but now he knew. “Rodney Hayes? The crime beat?”

“Yep, guilty,” Rodney said. “We can do it for our girls. Let’s just get them home safe.”

“They couldn’t have a better person looking for them, Rodney. Actually the whole team,” Dorothy said, smiling at Mick. “He’s brought her home before and it will happen this time too.”

“I’ve heard about that. I have complete confidence in him.” Rodney looked directly at Mick and Mick could tell that he meant it.

He hoped that he was worthy of their confidence. But he knew in the end he would find her, find them.

He had to.

To be continued…

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