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, November 19, 2012

Chapter 9 Dead Skunk


My friend from Moonlightforever was inspired to make this today after she read the chapter and I had to put it up.  It is awesome and I wanted to share!!

“Is everything okay with your mom?” Mick asked. He’d talked to Catherine earlier in the day and it was okay then.

“Oh, yeah. She’s fine, Mick. She told me she invited you and Beth to dinner on Friday.”

Mick watched Ben as he spoke; he was obviously upset by this new development. “Would you prefer it if we didn’t go, Ben?”

Ben leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on his knees with his hands clasped before him. “I can’t really ask that, Mick. She wants it.”

“But you don’t?”

“Hell, I don’t know how the hell to feel about it. You see, Mick, for years your name was anathema to our family; spoken in a derogatory manner and not often. She hated you, what you’d done to grandma. Not that grandma ever said a word about you, because she didn’t.”

Mick sat quietly, waiting to see what else Ben had to say. While it hurt, it was best to let the young man get the feelings out because they couldn’t ever build any kind of relationship if he didn’t.

Ben suddenly stood up and turned to look at the painting that hung over the red couch, his hands thrust down into his pockets almost as if afraid of what he might do if they weren’t. Mick could see that they were balled into fists and he knew that whatever Ben was feeling had been building for a long time and wouldn’t go away quickly.

“Mom hated you and because she hated you, I hated you too. The only one who didn’t was Grandma; she just left it all behind her.” He turned around then and caught the look of pain in Mick’s eyes and shut his own so that he could continue.

“She was happy with my grandpa, really happy and I’m thrilled about that. But how did she let it all go? I’d really like to know because I can’t seem to. Mom has managed to do it as well.”

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly and continued. “I want to hate you, Mick. It was easy to do it, you know? Even when I first met you with Beth and I thought you must be a cousin, I still hated you, because of your name. Mick St. John, the man that left my grandmother alone and pregnant. Then I got to know you and I discovered that I didn’t hate you; you were an okay guy. Beth believed in you with all her heart and that meant a lot and the more I looked, the more I appreciated how you took care of her and how you fought for what was right made me like you even more. Even when I was sure you’d taken out Tejada, it was okay because I knew that bastard would never have had any justice in the legal system.”

He sat down again and tipped up his glass and swallowed the last of the scotch. He looked at the empty glass for a moment and then sat it back on the desk. “When I found out who you really were, that you weren’t Mick St. John, cousin, but grandfather I hated you even more than before. I’ve never felt such a rage as I felt and then the whole story came out and as the details of the situation became clear I saw that you had no control over what happened, that it hadn’t been your choice.” Ben wiped a tear away hastily and fixed Mick with a stare. “I want to hate you still but I can’t. So where the hell does that leave me?”

Mick tried to chose his words carefully. He didn’t know how it had happened but he and Catherine were building a relationship. Not as a father and daughter but as two people who liked one another, had a few similar interests, that kind of thing. He admired his daughter, as he also admired his grandson. He didn’t want to blow it; Ben had to come around in his own time, in his own way. Perhaps he never would though and that scared Mick because he wanted a relationship with his grandson.

When he looked in the mirror his image belied his heart. His head and heart told him he was 86 years old, that he had a history in this life. Some of it good, some of it not and he had a bucket list of regrets longer than his arm, even if Josef didn’t believe in them. Since Beth, from the very beginning with Beth for that matter his heart had begun to open, to dream for more than what Coraline had offered. Since they’d married and he was surrounded by family and friends life became something magical; that thing that he’d dreamed of when he was 30 and had married Coraline in the first place.

Each path that he’d taken in his life, each and every step had brought him to this place and in this place he’d been amazed to discover he had a daughter and a grandson. He ached for those relationships to grow, to flourish. He wanted to know them, to share in their lives, even though it would not be as father and grandfather. He was okay with that, he really was because he’d found a sense of peace with it. Catherine had opened a door for him and he was more than grateful to step through it. Could Ben offer the same? It seemed doubtful.

“Ben, I understand and even empathize with all you're feeling and it makes perfect sense. How you decide to handle this is completely up to you and I’ll support whatever that decision is. It may take you some time to figure it out, and I’m okay with that too.”

“Is there anything you're NOT okay with, Mick? You seem pretty damn calm to me about it all. Maybe you’d rather I just walk away so you don’t have to deal with any of it?”

Ben’s voice had risen a bit as he said the last words and Beth heard them clearly in the living room. She’d actually heard it all, the whole conversation although most likely Dorothy hadn’t. She tried to stay focused on the movie but it was hard because she knew that this conversation was hard on Mick, who wanted a relationship with both Catherine and his grandson. She picked at her nails a bit, anxious about it all and noticed that her mom was staring at her.

“Are they alright in there?” Dorothy asked with a glance at the office door.

“You heard?”

“Hard not to, sweetie. Mick is wise not to push him. Give him a bit of space and he’ll come around.”

“Hope so,” Beth said, turning back to the movie. Hope so…

“That’s not what I want, Ben,” Mick told him patiently.

“Just what do you want, Mick?”

How much to say? Go for it or be subtle? He decided on the latter.

“I would really like to get to know you, Ben. I admire you a great deal, from what I know about you. Beth spoke very highly of you when she worked for you. That’s a good start, I think.”

Mick didn’t say that not only did he admire him but that he was proud of him as well; proud as hell in fact. Maybe he should have? For a moment uncertainty flashed through his mind, but he pushed it out. No, stay simple, brief.

Ben swallowed, his lips pursed as he thought about what Mick had said. No pressure, just get to know him. Okay, maybe that was a place to start.

“I think I can do that, Mick. I always enjoyed having Beth working for me as well. She’s a bit pushy, not a bad trait for an investigator.”

Mick laughed and Ben asked why. Mick was only too happy to share.

“So she had you at pushy?”

“Something like that,” Mick acknowledged. “I don’t know what I’d do without her. I spent so many lonely years, Ben.”

The sadness in his words made Ben’s own heart ache for Michele and he suddenly felt the need to tell Mick about her. Mick listened, his face thoughtful as Ben told him of his love for her, the certainty that they belonged together and about the heartache he still felt at her loss.

Mick nodded in sympathy. “I understand that, Ben. When a vampire finds the right person, they are mates for life. I have Beth and I can’t imagine life without her. I’m so sorry that you lost Michele.”

“Yeah, me too. If it’s possible for humans to know that they’ve found a mate, then we did.”

“I think they call it soul mates.”

“Yeah, but I guess vamps don’t?”

“Most vamps don’t think they have souls, Ben. But I do. I believe that we do thanks to a friend of mine. His name is Tim and he was a warrior with the Cheyenne Indians almost 200 years ago. He is the caretaker at our property near Seattle. It’s a beautiful place.”

“Yes, I interviewed for a job up there after school. Then the DA’s office in Sacramento offered me the an ADA position and it was closer to home so I took it.”

“And then you ended up here?”

“Yes, after Josh Lindsay was killed they wanted someone new to come in and take a look at the Tejada case. Of course, that turned out not to be necessary.” Ben’s eyes shifted downwards for a moment, hiding his thoughts from Mick. Whether that was a good thing or not he didn’t know.

“I suppose I should get going.” Ben stood up and held his hand out to Mick, who took it and for a moment as the two of them shook it was very comfortable. Then Ben tensed a bit; whether it was because Mick’s hand was a bit cool or something else he wasn’t sure.

“Ben, thank you for coming by. Anytime I can help, or listen, I’m happy to. I know, um, I understand how difficult all this is for you. Whatever you decide, it’s okay.” The word ‘son’ was silently unspoken by Mick. He hoped that Ben hadn’t picked up on it.

Mick opened the door and the two headed back out to the living room where the girls were still watching the movie. Beth looked up and said, “Hey, Ben, I have a question for you.” She told him about Buzzwire and how she would like him to be involved.

He thought about what she’d asked. Actually, it sounded like fun but he wasn’t sure the DA would be happy with an ADA giving out free legal advice to people who could possibly be criminals. He explained that to her and then had an idea.

“Hey, how about my mom? This is just the sort of thing she’d enjoy.”

“I thought your mom was heading to England after Christmas?” Mick asked.

“She is. But if I understand what Beth said, the segments could be taped in advance? Am I correct, Beth?”

“Yes, you are. Having Catherine McFarland be a part of the Buzzwire team would certainly be a feather in our cap. Do you really believe she’d be interested?”

He laughed, suddenly feeling a bit lighter in mood. Whether it was due to the scotch or the fact that he’d relaxed a bit he wasn’t sure. “I really do. It’s the kind of thing she’d like. Shall I talk to her for you?”

“That would be great, Ben. If she’s amenable to the idea I’ll give her a call and set up a meeting. Thank you, Ben.”

“Glad to help. It sounds like a good idea. And I revise my earlier opinion, Buzzwire is a bit more than trash journalism.”

Beth laughed, remembering his comment about pictures of Brittney’s panties. It seemed like ages ago, forever in fact. It was certainly another lifetime ago, to be sure.

“Thanks, Ben. I appreciate that. We’ve worked hard to dispel that image of Buzzwire.”

He grinned and nodded, heading to the door. “I suppose a little trash, here and there isn’t so bad!”

Beth laughed out loud and said, “Not likely, not with Rodney as the content editor. But I’ll see what we can do for you, Ben!”

Mick closed the door and lightly shook his head as he looked at the television. Looks like he’d have to sit though another hour of the movie. Just his luck!


Dead Skunk (In the middle of the road)

Logan frowned as he worked on debugging a new game program for a software company that he free-lanced for. It was occasional work that paid well and was usually interesting but tonight his mind strayed from it as he watched Clark move restlessly around the cottage.

It had been only 3 days or so since Clark had been turned and already he was pushing to be let out of what he felt was a cage, although a comfortable and luxurious one. He had stopped using the sunglasses, insisted that they speak at normal levels and wore regular street clothes in an effort to prove that he was ready to feed fresh from a freshie.

Last night Mick had sat him down, well, Logan and Mick but Mick did most of the talking and explained about his new world, including the bats and the bees talk that had made Logan want to crawl under the couch. He never in his life had anticipated having to explain to his big brother about vampire sex or watching the gleam in Clark’s eyes as he got it. Really GOT it. Too much information, to be sure but at least it was done, another thing off the check list.

“You talked to Dorothy this evening?” Logan ventured.

“Not until later. She and Beth are watching a Colin Firth movie. Probably get her all hot and bothered and I can’t even help!”

Logan had to fight back a laugh and dipped his head to keep Clark from seeing his face and the grin that slipped over it. Everything in the world was relating to sex for his brother right now and it was enough to make Logan want to stick his fingers in his ears and sing, ‘La lala la lalala…” He got it; his brother adored his wife and missed her, in the biblical sense. The moment that he felt that Clark was ready he was pushing him out the door, post haste! On Friday night Mick and Beth were coming to fledgling sit for him and he was going to go home and spend the night with Audrey and do a bit of catching up himself. He sighed at the pleasurable thought! Hell, he even missed the boys!


The loudness of Clarks words startled him out of his thoughts. “What? You scared the shit out of me, Clark!”

“I gotta get out of here, Logan. No, not leave, just get some air. Can’t we take a walk or something? It’s dark out, no sunshine to worry about.”

Logan debated the idea for a moment. They were quite a ways from the house and the girls all knew to stay away from the back of the house anyway. But it wasn’t just human blood that would draw him, Logan knew. Any creature that was out there could make Clark go a little bit crazy with their scent. Dare he let Clark attempt it?

The look on Clark’s face told him that it was happening, whether or not Logan agreed and he sighed reluctantly. He explained a few ground rules to Clark, much like a parent would explain to a child about crossing the street as he shut down his computer. He hoped he wasn’t making a huge mistake.

They went out the back door of the cottage and Clark breathed in the air with a smile. Logan wasn’t exactly sure why; it’s not like Clark hadn’t smelled the pollutant-laden Los Angeles air before but to watch his face you’d think it was pristinely pure.

“Logan, look!” Clark pointed to the back of the yard at a pool that glimmered in the moonlight. “Let’s swim!” As he spoke he ran towards the pool, pulling off his clothes as he went. He made a clean dive into the smooth surface of the water and came up a few seconds later, yelling with delight.

“This feels fantastic! Come on in little brother!”

Right before he saw it Logan caught a scent to be dreaded by all, not just vamps. “Clark, there’s a skunk near the pool! Don’t move!”

Clark spun around in the water and saw the skunk, it’s nose raised as it was surprised by the strange smelling human.

“Duck! Down into the water and stay there,” Logan yelled, heading for the door, where he could hopefully watch without being noticed by the skunk. Hopefully it would lose interest and wander away in few minutes.

Which is exactly what it didn’t do. It stood looking at the pool and the head that bobbed just along the surface with interest, for a minute or so anyway. When a baby skunk followed mama out onto the pool decking mama skunk decided to warn off the humans and sprayed, the malodorous scent settling over the water of the pool just as Clark dove for the bottom.

“Aw, crap!” Logan said, wondering how long the scent would be mixed with the water. If Clark surfaced would it cling to him? He couldn’t possibly rest in the small space of a freezer smelling like skunk spray.

“Clark! Stay under the water,” Logan said, knowing that his brother could hear him and that he could stay under the water indefinitely. He ran to his phone and dialed a number that would cause him all kinds of grief, but he had no choice.

“Josef?” Logan asked when the phone was answered. He quickly explained the dilemma and heard Josef draw in a sharp breath, but no immediate recriminations were offered. Logan knew that would come later.

“Is it still there?”

“Yes, it’s out by the back edge of the pool, watching everything. It has a baby with it.”

“Fuck!” Josef breathed. “Don’t do anything, Logan. Got that?”

“Yes, I do. I’m not going out there.”

“Glad to hear it. Now if NO ONE had went out there…” The rest of the words were left unsaid, but they both knew what the gist of them was.

Josef called Ryan who gathered up a couple of the other guys and with Josef made their way towards the guest house. The smell of skunk was strong, over- powering in fact, the closer they got. Ryan was armed with a pellet gun and a pistol, in case the pellet gun didn’t frighten the skunk family off.

“How long before it can spray again?” Josef asked.

“I’m not sure. It might depend on whether it sprayed a full load.”

“It smells like it did. Even if Clark is in the water he’s still going to smell. And stink up my freezer too!”

“Ever the pragmatic one, Josef,” Ryan said dryly, a grim smile on his face.

“Someone obviously has to be. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to take the clean this out of the pool!” With that thought he called Tango, whose loud laughter could be heard by Ryan, Greg and Rob.

“Just shut up and just get a crew down here, Tango. Got anything for people that smell like a skunk?”

“I do, actually. We’ll be there soon, promise.” His laughter continued until Josef pushed the end call button.

They entered the front of the cottage and found Logan in the dark by the back door, watching what was going on. Mama skunk and baby skunk sniffing along the bushes that lined the pool deck.

“Sorry, Josef,” Logan murmured. “He just wanted to take a walk and I didn’t see the harm.”

For a moment Josef felt bad for the young vamp. It had been a reasonable request really, and none of them could have anticipated what had happened. “Yes, well, let’s just take care of the situation. Tango and his crew are on the way over. We’ll talk later.”

Logan nodded glumly and watched as Ryan, Rob and Greg moved quietly out the door, pellet guns at the ready.

“Josef?” Ryan asked quietly.

“Go ahead.”

Ryan fired in the general direction of the skunks and they all watched as mama skunk levitated straight upwards a full foot. When she came down, landing delicately she headed straight for them, at a speed that amazed all of them. They ran for door but not before mama skunk got close enough to spray them and the back of the house. The five men, including Josef and Logan all gagged as the mist of scent settled over them.

At that point there was nothing to lose and Ryan and Rob took off after the skunk that was chattering to its baby and running full tilt towards the back hedge. Greg followed, trying to wipe the spray from his eyes because it stung like hell. He stumbled and fell into the pool and came up a moment sputtering in the foul-smelling and even worse tasting water.

Mama and baby disappeared safely into the shrubbery, leaving 6 vampires aromatic and foul smelling in the pleasantly cool November air. Suddenly the quiet of the night was broken by the raucous laughter of Tango and his crew as they came around the corner of the guest house.

Tango assessed the situation; from one smelly individual to six. “Josef, I don’t even want to know,” he said, laughing so hard it was hard to make out his words.

All of the cleaning crew continued to laugh while they sprayed the men with a compound that got rid of the smell. Mostly, that is…

To be continued…

Author's Note:
There will be no post this Thursday, due to the holiday of course!  May it be a happy one for all of you!  My family will be here and we'll continue the tradition of signing the table cloth, as we started in 2006 when What My Heart Desires was running.  To you and yours, may your day be blessed with love and joy!




Joangel said...

This post had me laughing about as much as Tango! HAHA...
So glad Ben is coming around. He's a good guy. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family! I can truly say that I am thankful for your posts...they make me laugh, cry, and have other inappropriate feelings while I'm supposed to be working (wiggling eyebrows). Thanks Hope!!!

Hope said...

Hi Joangel!!

Well, we needed a bit of something light before the holiday I thought! Well, actually that's a lie, it just happened to be number 9, LOL...

Ben will continue to come around. Whether or not he'll ever think of Mick as 'grandpa' remains to be seen though. It's a hard thought to contemplate for him.

You all have brought me so much joy over the years, Joangel and I cherish each and every one of you.

Sorry about the um, ideas...;)

Have a wonderful holiday!!