Sorry to be late everyone! My mom's 80th birthday was yesterday and I didn't get home until last night.
Chapter 44 Planning
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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?”
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.
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
“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.”
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.”
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?”
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?
Beth turned back to the boys and said, “So, are you guys ready to help me work on these bars?”
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
“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.”
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
“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
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.
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?”
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
“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
“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
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.”
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.”
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?”
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
“You really believe we’ll get her back?”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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…