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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chapter 46 Discovery

Chapter 46 Discovery

Tango walked into Mick’s loft, his face grim and everyone knew that another body had been found. A hush fell over the room and Audrey fought the urge to cry, choking back the stinging tears that welled up in her eyes. She’d been monitoring the street cams, looking for signs of the van or Shatel himself but so far hadn’t had any luck.

Logan and Ishaq, who was working from New York were constantly checking the global satellites and even Ryder in South America was staying busy monitoring. They all worked at it diligently even though it was hard on their eyes and spirits to constantly find nothing of help.

Dorothy was sitting on the couch, her feet up as she waited for their dinner to arrive. Lani still wasn’t home and she was trying hard to not be concerned about that. Clark and Carl were out canvassing the streets, disguised as street people and both had a GPS device imbedded into their clothing in hopes that Shatel wouldn’t see or find it. They kept one another in sight at all times but didn’t go near one another in case Shatel was watching.

Dorothy was scared that Clark would be captured but when Clark and Carl volunteered she knew that this was something the vamps couldn’t do so she just prayed that all would be well. Of course, the fact that they were both armed with mace and silver bullets made it a bit easier for Dorothy to take but it was still nerve-wracking.

It was all amazing, how everyone was working together to find the girls. She knew that they’d be found, something inside her told her that but the waiting was really wearing at her emotionally. She just kept remembering that for the babies sakes she had to stay calm and she did, most of the time. She watched with interest when Mick, Josef and Tango disappeared into the office and closed the door and wondered what was going on.

In the office Mick took his seat behind the desk and nodded at the other two to have seats as well. Tango sat heavily, a scruff on his face that wasn’t worn for effect but rather from the fact that he’d had no time to shave for a few days. Tango was always very fastidious about his appearance so it was unusual to see him like this.

“Okay, I want to know just what the hell you two did to piss this guy off!” Mick declared with no preamble. “Spit it out!”

Tango and Josef looked at one another and they both shrugged. “You see, Mick, that’s kind of the problem. We don’t exactly know. I mean, we did piss him off once, but to this degree? Doubtful,” Tango said, a look of true puzzlement on his face.

Josef nodded and both of them were clearly confused. “Honestly, Mick. It happened in 1840 I think?”

He looked at Tango who added, “1841, I believe.”

Josef nodded tersely and continued. “We, Tango and I owned a riverboat, a floating gambling establishment catering to the wealthy plantation owners in the Mississippi delta area and let me tell you, there were lots of them. Shatel LaFleur was from France; he migrated to the states during the French Revolution, which as you know was a very dangerous time and place for vamps. Unfortunately, the states were a very dangerous place for a man of color in those days. Even though he had papers stating that he was a citizen of France and a free man he was often hounded by slavers who said he was a runaway.”

Mick could only imagine the horror of those times. To be hunted and used solely for the color of your skin seemed inconceivable, and yet it had happened. He settled back into his chair, realizing that this story was going to take some time.

“We often told him that he needed to go to Canada perhaps or back to France because it was safe there again but undertaking a sea voyage for a vampire was not something to be taken lightly, not in those days. So, he stayed and rode The Lady of Mystery from time to time, whenever he needed a bit of amusement or companionship most likely. He had money, but like anyone else, he could always use more and was usually pretty lucky at cards.”

Tango took up the story at that point and said, “We were a legitimate business and allowed no cheating or swindling on her and Shatel never did. However, this last trip he was hot, very hot and playing against a New Orleans planter who was terribly short on cash but colossal of ego. He couldn’t believe that he would lose, especially to a black man. He came to us and tried to convince us that Shatel was cheating but we knew that he wasn’t. Still, he had amassed most of the planter’s money and the only thing he had left to lose was the plantation. When it got that close we watched carefully and saw that he’d pulled a gun out of his coat and laid it on his leg, under the table. We knew that if Shatel won the plantation he’d shoot and we’d have a huge mess on our hands.”

Josef nodded, his eyes focused on that moment in the long-ago past and continued. “We finally pulled Shatel outside and told him what was happening. It didn’t go well, to say the least. He didn’t think it likely that the planter would consider shooting him in cold blood, in front of witnesses. We tried to convince him that he didn’t need a plantation and that it would be unlikely that he’d be allowed to keep it, the laws being what they were. Also, if he were to be shot then we’d have to explain why he didn’t die after being shot at such close range. We insisted he had to walk away with the winnings he had and get off the boat at Natchez, which was only a half a mile away.”

“He was stubborn, to be sure,” Tango said. “In France, there was no slavery and people were a bit more accepting of people of color and Shatel never got it that things were different here. He finally had enough of our attempts to convince him and started to walk away so we did the only thing we could think of.”

“And that was?” Mick prompted.

“We dropped him over the side of the boat. We were only about 50 yards from the shore and the water wasn’t that deep. You have to remember that riverboats had a very shallow draft because of the changing river patterns. We told him as he hit the water that we’d leave his bags at the dock master in Natchez and went on. We took the winnings he’d gotten, packed it in his bag and did what we said.”

“And did he pick it up?”

“Don’t know. We only were there long enough to take on a few new passengers and supplies for the engine room and galley. An hour at the most and then we went on our way. That was the last we’d seen of him.”

“Till now?”

“Yes. I can understand that he was angry, but this angry? Not quite the Shatel we knew. That Shatel would have been more likely to laugh his ass off about it all. He had a big heart and a hell of a sense of humor. This Shatel? It’s as confusing to us as it is to you, Mick,” Josef said.

“Obviously he isn’t laughing his ass off, gentlemen.” The story didn’t explain any of this, what had prompted Shatel to go rogue. Mick closed his eyes and ran a hand down his face, tiredness had seeped into his very soul and he just wanted to find his wife and be done with it all.

“Look, we know that the story doesn’t help anything, Mick, but we really are confused too. Nothing explains this rampage he’s on.”

“Something does. It has to.”


Lani waited nervously in the exam room, her legs hanging over the side of the padded table she sat on. It was really chilly in here and she was debating whether to try and find another blanket when Rose came back into the room.

“Hi, Lani. We’ve got some preliminary results here. Why don’t you lie back on the table for me please.” She noticed that Lani was covered in goose bumps as she sat back and swung her legs up onto the table so Rose pulled a drawer out and got another blanket for her, unfolding it and laying it across her legs. She moved a machine that was on wheels over to her and said, “You are a bit anemic, Lani, but you aren’t a diabetic. Your blood sugar was okay for now. One of the tests that we’ve run will tell us what the average of it is over the past 3 months but I expect it to be fine. We’ll find out tomorrow.”

“I’m glad to hear that, I’ve been really worried.” She watched as Rose took out a tube of something and then lifted the paper gown up a bit to expose Lani’s stomach.

“This is going to be a bit cold, sorry,” Rose said as she squirted a thin stream of the clear gel over Lani’s abdomen. Rose turned the machine on and a screen lit up on it and she showed Lani the instrument she was holding. “This is called a transducer and I’m going to move it around on your tummy so we can see what is in there!”

“Oh my gosh, what’s wrong?”

Rose laughed a bit and focused on the machine and then pushed a button that froze the screen. “See this little spot right here?”

Lani stared at the spot and turned her head from side to side to try and figure it out. “That little thing that looks like a cashew? Do I have a tumor? Do I need surgery?”

Rose laughed again and said, “No. This little spot will come all on its own, I’d say in about 7 more months.” She watched as confusion washed over Lani’s face and added, “See this little bright spot, right here?” she said as she pointed to a place on the cashew that was brighter than the rest of it. “That is the baby’s heart, Lani. Beating strongly I must say.”

“Baby? I - can’t be pregnant. Vampires can’t have babies.” Suddenly she understood, she was pregnant with Eric’s baby, she had to be. But that baby would be 4 months along and it sure didn’t look big enough for that. She’d had periods since then too.

The transducer moved a bit more and Lani saw the almost pulsing spot of the heartbeat and it made her breath catch in her throat. A baby, there was a baby right there, growing in her body. Her baby and Josef’s.

But how?

“Rose, how can this be Josef’s baby?”


Max’s fever was getting worse; her skin felt almost painfully hot to Beth’s cool fingers. Henry was bent over her and pressing lightly on her belly, but it didn’t seem to be hurting Max as much.

“That’s a good sign, yes?” Beth asked, holding an unnecessary breath.

“Not exactly. Probably not,” Henry said with a sigh. “I think it has ruptured which is why it isn’t hurting as much.”

“What does that mean, Henry?”

“It means she could go septic. No, it’s not good.”

Beth was quiet for a moment, lightly chewing her lip. “There might be something I can do. I mean, I don’t know that it will work but it might be worth a try.”

“What? You’re not going to turn her into a…a vampire are you?” Luka asked.

“That wouldn’t be my first choice, no. But a bit of my blood, a few drops might help her. Our blood has amazing healing properties. It might help long enough until we can get out of here.” Beth would never turn her in here; when Max woke up she’d likely be mad for blood and that wouldn’t be good here in this cell.

Beth could see Henry nodding his head in the dark. Luka apparently wasn’t sure about it. “It wouldn’t turn her into a vampire? You’re sure?” he asked.

“No, it wouldn’t. She’d have to lose most of her blood and drink some of mine. I’m just going to put a few drops in her mouth. It can’t hurt her and it might help.”

“Max,” Henry called softly. “Did you hear Beth? Would you like to try that?”

“Yes, anything. I’m so hot; help me, Beth.”

“Okay, Max.” She punctured her finger and watched as blood beaded up on it. “Max, I want you to suck on my finger, okay?” She placed her finger on Max’s lips and felt her friend draw the blood from it. After a minute Beth pulled her finger away and sighed.

“Now what?” Luka asked.

“Now we wait,” was Beth’s reply. The fact that she was totally unsure if this would even work she decided to keep to herself. It wouldn’t help Max to hear any doubt in her voice.

Wait, that’s what they had to do.


Lani stepped off the elevator at the loft and knew one of the vamps would hear it and greet her at the door. She was in such turmoil over the pregnancy; she was walking on air, but she doubted that Josef would feel that way. He’d be positive that the baby couldn’t be his, she knew that. And even if that wasn’t the case, would he want kids? He’d been a bachelor for so long having kids might not be in his plans.

She’d listened to Rose’s explanation about how this might be possible. The genetic tests would be back tomorrow and if Rose was right, if she was a descendant too that made it all possible. Rose had asked many questions about Lani’s family, if her family was related to Beth’s. Lani knew exactly what Rose was hinting at, that her father and Beth’s were the same.

Lani didn’t think so. Her parents were four years older than Dorothy and were living in New Jersey when Dorothy got pregnant. They were both attending Princeton, but Lani’s mother had dropped out when she got pregnant. A hurried wedding and 7 months later Lani arrived. Her parents never left New Jersey until Lani was 3, when her father finished grad school and they moved back to California.

Could Dorothy be related? That would mean that maybe her father wasn’t her father, or maybe she was adopted. Again, Lani didn’t think that was the case because Dorothy had been the spitting image of her mother and Beth’s grandparents were totally devoted to one another.

That wasn’t a plausible answer. No, if Lani were a descendant it wasn’t because she was related to Beth. Still, if she is a descendant, how cool will that be when she’s turned?

Beth hadn’t told her yet that she and Mick would be able to have children, but so much had been happening that she understood that. And now Lani felt horrible about this news because of Beth. She’d decided to not tell anyone until Beth was home. She’d be honest with Josef about the anemia and vitamins, but the rest had to wait until things calmed down a bit.

She hoped it would be soon.

As she walked towards the door Josef opened it, having caught her scent. She smiled at him and walked straight into his arms and part of her wondered if he’d welcome her into his arms when he knew she was pregnant because she was sure he wouldn’t believe it was his.

Lani smiled at him but her scent was off; she wasn’t totally happy. “Hey, sweetness, what did the doctor say?” He stepped out into the hall and closed the door behind him so they would have a bit of privacy.

“I’m a bit anemic, which isn’t a surprise. She gave me a bottle of vitamins and instructions about eating. Lots of green veggies and proteins, small meals but more of them, that kind of thing. I am okay, Josef.”

Her heart was racing as she said the words and again her scent betrayed her. Something was wrong, she was being deceptive. Why? What on earth could be wrong?

Dinner had been delivered a few minutes before and Dorothy was in the kitchen, getting dishes and opening food cartons. Lani walked in and set her purse on the counter and heard the vitamins in the bottle rattle when she did. Dorothy glanced at the purse and saw the familiar tell-tale blue bottle that the vitamins came in looked at Lani, who blushed.

“Don’t, Dorothy. Not now,” she said softly.

Dorothy nodded and pulled Lani to her for a hug and whispered, “I love you, sweetie. It will be okay.”

Lani fought back tears and nodded, holding tightly to Dorothy for a moment.

Josef watched from across the room. The exchange was curious for sure. Something was up and Lani needed to tell him what it was. He didn’t like being kept out of the loop and he had a feeling that whatever was wrong was big.

He had no idea…


An hour later it seemed as if Max’s temperature was coming down and she seemed to be resting a bit more easily.

“Do you think she needs more?” Henry asked.

“I honestly don’t know. Maybe. I mean, she was so sick and I don’t know how much she actually got. Maybe a bit more.” The process was repeated and Beth and Henry continued to bathe her as best they could with cool cloths.

“Henry, you seem to be comfortable and familiar with vampires. May I ask how?” Beth asked as she smoothed Max’s damp and tangled hair out of her face.

“Yes, I guess I am. Beth, I’ve been working the streets for 20 years, since I got back from the Kuwait and you see things, you know? People come into the shelter with marks on their arms and such.” He shrugged and continued, “They talk, too. Almost none of them were freaked out about it either. Do I believe that they are all good? No and I didn’t need Shatel to tell me that, but it seems that we are all existing together so I say let it be.”

Beth nodded and voiced something that she had been thinking about since she’d been there. “What do you suppose all those scars are on him? They’re so creepy and while you can’t smell it, they carry a very acrid and biting scent. And before he brought us down here I tried to attack him to get away and bit him and the taste was putrid.”

“I have no idea and he certainly hasn’t said. As you can tell, he doesn’t talk and he doesn’t want us to when he’s in here either.”

“Yeah. I think he sleeps in a room that adjoins this one; at least there is another door down here. It makes sense.”

“I suppose so. Well, I think we’d better get some rest, Beth. We don’t know when he’ll be back and if he steps foot in here again I want our plan to work.”

“Me too, Henry. You know, I hate how it happened but I’m really happy I’ve met you.”

He smiled at her in the darkness and nodded. “Me too, Beth. Goodnight.”


After dinner Logan and Audrey decided to head home for showers and sleep, since Ishaq and Ryder were going to be working to cover for them. They were both tired and needed rest. Lani curled up on the couch to rest while it was quiet and Dorothy took the bed upstairs. Josef and Mick took turns in the freezer, catching a bit of rest but Josef finally curled his body around Lani’s on the couch, unable to rest without her by his side.

Mick stared out the window in the office, hesitating to sleep because he was afraid he’d miss a message from Beth. Finally, he crawled into the freezer for a couple of hours but it wasn’t really restful.

It had been 4 days and all he’d had was a few feelings, messages. He refused to give up.

After everything they’d been through he refused to lose Beth, his Beth now.

Stay strong, Beth. We’re close, I can feel it. I love you.

In her uneasy slumber, in a bunker below the silver trailer Beth sighed and mumbled I love you, Mick in her sleep.

She did, always and forever.

To be continued…


mum said...

I think Josef will be thrilled! You know, Hope, I don't think ANY of us would be opposed to an extra "surprise" post in the near future. This story is just too good! mum

Hope said...

Hey mum!!

Well, eventually he might - after the shock and denial wear off. Vampires can't have babies...

Or so he thinks. Four hundred years should have taught him that he can still be surprised. :)

Oh, if only there was time for an extra post!!!

Thank you mum!!!