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by Deb T.
| Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 3 | Pt. 4 | Pt. 5 | Pt. 6 | Pt. 7 | Pt. 8
After the revelation which stunned Mark, he turned his
attention to the later diaries. Those provided information
about the castle, which Mark desperately needed. He began
making maps according to the remarks made in Fiona's diary.
At last, he had a reasonable idea of the castle lay-out, and
the security system. The next thing I need to do, he
thought, is a little recon. That didn't worry him...Mark
had spent some time working for a security company a few
years earlier. He knew how to get the information he needed,
and he would have that information before the end of the
following night. The nightmare was almost over.
Over the last two weeks, Alex had tracked down every bit
of information she could find about William and Fiona
Reynolds, in the hopes of learning why Lissa had been abused.
And during those two weeks, the researcher had grown steadily
more certain that Reynolds was not Lissa's biological father.
The question was, if he wasn't her father, then who was?
The key is here somewhere, she thought, the key which
will tell me what direction I should take. A voice behind
her said, "Find anything interesting?" Alex shook her head,
chewing the tip of her thumb, and Derek added, "You've been
around Philip too much, you're picking up his bad habits. So
you've found nothing concrete regarding Lissa's paternity."
"No. And yet, the more I talk to Pippa and Lissa, the
more convinced I become that William wasn't Lissa's real
father. Pippa mentioned that her father once called Fiona a
whore, but she was eavesdropping at the time. I guess she
was about twelve at the time, and she said she could hear the
hatred in his voice," Alex replied.
"It doesn't surprise me...what William said," Derek
replied. He was silent briefly, then continued, "There is
something from the present which you need to know. Lissa has
remembered everything, Alex...when you decide to take a
break, you may want to go see her."
Alex turned to face him and exclaimed, "Oh God, poor
Lissa! Philip told me about what happened...it's no wonder
they blocked it out of their minds for fifteen years. I need
a break now." Derek nodded and Alex quickly left the room.
Her research could wait...Lissa needed her.
Lissa lay on her side in her room, her arms tight around
Bear. There was a gentle knock on the door, and Lissa sat
up, running her hand over her eyes. The door opened,
revealing Alex, and Lissa managed a weak smile. She said, "I
guess you've talked with Derek?" Alex nodded and Lissa
continued, "Oh, Xan, how could I have forgotten?"
Alex sat down on the bed beside her, taking her hands,
and replied, "You were a little girl, Lis...you were only
ten years old when your mother died, so you did what was
necessary to protect yourself. No one can fault you for
that. Derek certainly doesn't, and I know Philip doesn't."
Lissa whispered, "Philip was my best friend when I was a
kid, Alex. I called him 'Pip' then. When Derek brought me
back inside, he told me that it was Philip who nicknamed me
'Lissa,' because he couldn't say 'Elizabeth.' He was only
three, and I was only one when we first met. Xan, there are
so many things..." Lissa shook her head, unable to
continue, and Alex put her arms around her.
"Now you listen to me, Elizabeth Marie Anne," the other
young woman whispered, "you are not to feel guilty about what
happened in the past! It's not your fault. And don't be
angry with yourself! Derek and Philip both loved you, and
you loved them. And you know, they both still love you.
That's the important thing."
Obtaining the rest of the information he needed was far
easier than Mark guessed. In addition to the information
about the security devices, Fiona had mentioned several
secret tunnels and passages, leading into and out of the
castle. One of those was a cave on the beach of the island.
Mark chose this route for two reasons...first, it was
easy access into the castle. And secondly, Fiona had
included a map which her young daughter had made. It seemed
that Lissa and her best friend Pip often explored the secret
passages, and the nine year old girl had made a map of those
explorations. Mark put the map in his pockets, then returned
the journals to their original hiding place.
It's just as well, Mark thought, it's just as well that
things end soon. His dreams had been haunted for the last
several weeks by William Reynolds...Mark wondered now if
the spirit of the man he murdered was trying to tell him that
Lissa was still alive. Anything was possible. The old man
had hated poor Lissa with incredible intensity.
The bitch of it is, Mark thought, it's not the poor
kid's fault that she's not Reynolds' daughter! I could
understand his hating Lissa's mom, since she never loved him,
but Lis? Maybe I did the world a favor in killing him!
The young man turned his attention back to his current
plans. According to the map, the tunnel would eventually
lead him to Derek Rayne's office. That, Mark figured, was as
good a place as any to start. The young man rose stiffly to
his feet, then left the attic. He still had a lot of work to
do, and he had very little time to plan.
About an hour after leaving her research, Alex emerged
from her friend's room, exhausted. She didn't feel better
when she saw Derek standing at the end of the hall, looking
anxious. She said, "Lissa's asleep. She started crying
again, and wore herself out. It's like this dam has broken
free inside Lissa, and she can't hold back the memories any
more. Before she went to sleep, she mentioned the talent
show we had in our dorm her freshman year. She and I danced
to 'Dancing Queen,' you know, by ABBA. It was really old, as
songs go, but it was a song we both liked."
Alex opened her eyes to see Derek smiling wistfully, and
the man said, "Yes, I know. When she thought she was alone,
she would start singing it and dancing. She never knew I was
there...I made sure of that...but I loved to watch her.
If Philip ever saw her dance, he said nothing to me about
it...but she may have danced for him. She was always more
comfortable with him than she was with adults."
"She didn't trust adults, that's the difference. When
you're young, one adult who hurts you colors your view of all
adults. You, her mother, and her aunt loved her, but because
of what Reynolds did, Lissa couldn't trust adults. And she
feels guilty for not remembering you and Philip. Typical
Lissa," Alex said wearily, running her hand over her eyes.
She took a deep breath, then said, "I've done what I can
for Lissa, at least for right now. I have to finish up my
research. I don't understand why I'm not getting any closer
to finding out what I need to know about Lissa's family. But
I'm not giving up, not until I find out exactly who Lissa's
father was." Derek nodded, his expression solemn.
Alex pushed herself away from the wall and walked toward
the control room. But as far away from Lissa's room as she
got, the memory of her friend weeping like a small, wounded
child remained vivid in her mind.
Derek stood uncertainly at the door to Lissa's room for
several moments, but at last, he gently pushed the door open
and walked inside. Lissa lay on her side, clutching the bear
in her arms tightly. Her dark hair covered most of her face.
Derek walked to the windows and pulled the blinds shut.
"Derek?" a soft voice asked from the doorway and Derek
turned to face Rachel. The woman walked into the room,
looking concerned, and continued, "I just saw Alex in the
hallway. You two didn't argue, did you?" Derek shook his
head and covered Lissa with her denim jacket.
"No. Lissa has remembered everything, Rachel...she
remembered her mother's death, and the memories keep coming.
That wouldn't be so bad if she didn't feel guilty about
blocking her memories of Angel Island...perhaps the only
place she has ever felt safe," Derek replied. He paused,
brushed a lock of dark hair from Lissa's face, and added,
"Alex was in here for over an hour, comforting her. Lissa
eventually cried herself to sleep."
"Poor girl," Rachel said sympathetically, "but it makes
sense. The happy memories of a place she must have
considered magical would need to be repressed if her
existence was so painful. From what you have told me, and
what I've learned from Philip in the last half hour, I'm sure
it was very painful. She'll be all right?"
"Of course," Derek replied, "Lissa is a very strong
young woman. She will be fine once she rests. I will stay
with her for a while. See you at dinner?" Rachel nodded,
then left the room. Derek sat down in the chair beside
Lissa's bed, thinking of how familiar this seemed. Yes, he
thought, I have been here before...in this very room. But
Lissa was a small girl taking a nap after a day of playing
hard with Philip then, not a young woman whose protective
wall has shattered under sixteen years worth of memories.
Mark returned home after straightening up the diaries.
After much consideration, he decided to wait until the
following day to strike. In the early morning, he would take
a ferry to Angel Island and find the cave which led to the
inside of Derek Rayne's castle. Once he was inside the
castle, Mark would do what was necessary.
It was almost over. By this time the following night,
Mark Herbert would be a free man. Not that he really
believed he would ever be free...perhaps not even when he
died. Death, the young man firmly believed, was a release.
In fact, he hoped that one of the members of the Luna
Foundation would kill him once he did what was necessary.
But that wasn't why he had to kill Lissa, a bright, feisty
young cop who had nearly died at his hands.
No, he would kill Lissa because she could shatter his
life, and the life of his family totally. Learning that Mark
had shot 'Miss Lissa,' as he called her, would utterly
devastate his grandfather, and Mark knew it was a
possibility. If she saw him on the streets, and the memory
of the shooting came back, it was all over.
Mark made a decision as he began walking back to his
house. If Derek Rayne got in his way, he would die as well.
He had killed once already...what were two more victims?
The young man shuddered at the necessity, but Derek Rayne
posed a very real danger to Mark. Especially after what he
had learned in Fiona's journal about the 'Luna Foundation.'
They may be able to make trouble for me later, he
thought, if I do survive this. And if Dr. Rayne suspects
that I had anything to do with Lissa's death, then I know I'm
toast. It's like Grandpa said...no one crosses Derek Rayne
without paying a price. Despite Mark's acceptance of death,
should that come, he wasn't keen on the idea...that, too,
would shatter his grandfather and his younger sister.
As Lissa awoke, she was aware of another presence in the
room. It was an ability she had since that fateful afternoon
in her mother's kitchen. As the years passed, that ability
was honed first by her father's cruelty, then her training as
a cop. Somehow, she could sense danger before it struck.
But here, she felt safe and as she opened her eyes
slowly, Lissa discovered that her instincts had once more
been correct...Derek sat in the chair by her bed, barely
awake. Lissa smiled sleepily at the anthropologist.
He shook himself alert as soon as Lissa's eyes opened,
returned the smile, and murmured, "You're awake. I was
wondering if I would have to wake you for dinner. How do you
feel?" Lissa pondered his question as she sat up straight in
bed. Now that, she thought, is a good question!
"A bit silly...I can't imagine why I fell apart like
that," Lissa observed. Derek grinned unexpectedly, and Lissa
burst out laughing. She said, "Listen to me! I just
remember the day my mother died, and that my parish priest
was my best friend when I was a little girl...and I can't
understand why I fell apart."
"You've had much to deal with in the last few weeks.
How do you feel otherwise? Are you up to eating dinner with
the rest of us?" Derek asked. Lissa removed her denim jacket
from her shoulders and placed it on the bed beside her, then
swung her legs over the edge of the bed.
"I'm fine. It will be a little awkward, seeing Philip
now, but I'll be all right. He's forgiven me for not
remembering?" Lissa asked and Derek nodded without a moment's
hesitation. The young cop believed him. Derek had never
lied to her. Lissa continued after a moment, "If you'll give
me five minutes to straighten myself out, I'll go down with
you. Deal?" Derek nodded with a smile.
"Of course. Alex tells me that you've remembered your
love of dancing," he said as she walked into the bathroom,
"Perhaps some time before you leave, I could prevail upon you
for a dance. Do you remember dancing with me when you were
small?" Lissa smiled as she splashed cold water on her face.
"Oh, yes. You would pick me up and dance me around the
room. Everyone else was into disco, but you played Mozart
and Bach, and I loved it," she replied. The young woman
heard Derek's surprised laughter, and she grinned,
continuing, "Eventually, you would put me back on the ground,
exclaiming I would put you in an early grave, and Philip
would take over. That must have been funny to watch."
"Not funny...touching. You could always make Philip
smile," Derek replied and Lissa nodded. Yes, she remembered
how solemn Philip had been as a child. The young woman also
remembered the first time she met Philip, and her heart broke
again for the little boy. Derek added, his tone growing
light, "Your mother and I did laugh, however, when you put
your hands on your hips and sighed..."
"Well, all right, Derek, but only for you!" Lissa
completed, laughing. She had brushed her hair and now left
the bathroom. Derek was also laughing, and Lissa added, "I
remember. You never laughed when I was around, though. I
never understood why you didn't have any children...I knew
that you loved me, and that you loved Philip. You never had
children because you never really got over Aunt Alicia."
"As I told you this afternoon, Elizabeth," Derek said
very quietly as he rose to his feet, "in another century, you
would be burned at the stake as a witch. Come along...the
others are waiting for us." Lissa nodded and they went
downstairs to the dining room.
As Lissa had thought, there was a moment of awkwardness
when she encountered Philip downstairs. She could tell from
the look in his eyes that he had been told about her latest
breakthrough. They stared at each for several moments, then
Philip touched her hair gently. It was something he had done
when they were children, his way of comforting her when she
didn't want to be held. That broke the ice and Lissa
whispered, "It's good to see you again, Pip...it's been too
long." He smiled, then drew her into his arms. They held
each other as they had when they were small.
"All right, you two," Nick said, clearly struggling with
strong emotions of his own, "that's enough of that! The last
thing we need is for the two of you getting all mushy on us!"
Lissa laughed, as Philip rolled his eyes, and Nick said more
seriously, "I'm glad you're back, Lissa. Philip has told me
a lot about you when you two were kids. It's nice to meet
that Lissa Reynolds."
"Thanks, Nick. Despite the last few hours, I think I
can safely say that I'm glad to be back. Thanks again, Xan,"
Lissa replied, holding out her hand to her former college
roommate. Alex hugged her, and Lissa said, "We can reminisce
later...the food is getting cold!"
Philip rolled his eyes again and stated, "That is also
the Lissa Reynolds I remember...the one who hated cold
food!" Lissa responded by shoving her elbow into his
ribcage, laughing. Philip squeezed her shoulder and Lissa
glanced over at her younger sister, who looked more than a
little lost. I'll have to spend some QT with Pippa, the
cop thought, make sure she knows I still love her.
Everyone went to bed early that night, though Lissa had
slept more than an hour in the afternoon. She was still
exhausted from the flood of memories and emotions which had
broken through her protective dam...Derek could see the
fatigue in her eyes. Even Pippa had commented on it during
dinner, an observation which led Rachel to examine Lissa
after dinner was concluded. The young policewoman had
suffered through the examination with exaggerated patience,
and it took every ounce of self-control which Derek possessed
to keep from laughing outright at her.
Derek hadn't really talked with Pippa during the last
two weeks, since she divided her time between Lissa and Kat.
However, after dinner, the teen cornered him in his office.
She said, "I haven't thanked you for bringing my sister back
to life, Derek." He started to reply, but the girl went on,
"At times, I hated you. I knew you weren't telling Lissa
everything...but until tonight, I didn't know why."
"And you do now?" Derek asked. Pippa nodded and Derek
continued, "There are more things you need to know...for
now, though, you should rest. We'll talk more in the
morning." Pippa nodded and turned to leave. However, she
spun around and kissed his cheek shyly, then ran from the
room. Derek stared after her, then smiled. Perhaps I've
done better with her than I knew, he thought, then got to
work on last minute paperwork.
It didn't take long for Mark to realize that he couldn't
wait until morning to put his plan into effect. The young
man was too jittery...too restless. The longer he waited
to carry out his plans, the more likely failure was. At ten
thirty that night, while his grandfather and twelve year old
Tara slept, Mark left the house with a flashlight and a gun
in his backpack, along with Lissa's map.
By eleven, he was on the ferry bound for Angel Island.
He was the only passenger, but fortunately, no one seemed to
notice him or even care about his presence. That was good.
The fewer people who noticed him, the better he liked it.
He had been lucky that the ferry went to Angel Island this
late, though Mark had been prepared to take drastic steps.
He had come too far...there was no turning back now.
By eleven thirty, he was on the island itself and in the
dark, he found his way to the beach, and then to the cave in
question. He sat down, by now exhausted. He had been up all
day, researching Derek Rayne and his Luna Foundation, and
planning for his final execution.
I can rest for a few hours, he thought, putting his
backpack beside him, I don't want to get into the castle
until everyone is asleep. He set the alarm on his watch for
two thirty am, and settled down. The sound of the ocean
quickly put him to sleep, rest which was desperately needed.
Derek was in his office until nearly midnight, when
Philip entered. The young man said, "You're still up? Is
something troublin' you?" Derek hesitated, and Philip
nodded, saying, "There is somethin' that's weighin' on your
mind. I know that look. What is it, Derek?"
"Lissa seemed so vulnerable earlier, and yet so at
peace. I find myself worrying about her. She's still weak,
and when she was a child, she was constantly pushing herself.
I suppose I'm concerned that she'll have a relapse,
especially with the memories which have come back to her
recently," Derek replied.
"I don't think that's likely. After all the time she
spent in her coma, I don't think she'll push too hard. Lissa
is stubborn, Derek, but not foolish. I'm headin' to bed...
g'night," Philip replied. Derek nodded and the priest
departed from the office, leaving Derek to ponder the young
man's words. He hoped that Philip was right about Lissa...
in the last two weeks, Derek had come to love her again.
At last, his paperwork was finished and Derek headed to
his own room. His vision was growing blurry at the edges, a
sure sign of exhaustion, and he acknowledged that he was more
likely to push himself too hard than Lissa was. But there
were so many things to do, so many tasks to finish.
Yeah, Derek thought as he changed, and you won't be able
to finish any of them if you collapse from exhaustion. He
remembered Lo Tzi Quan's laughing reminder about working too
hard, as his father had, and smiled sadly. He huddled under
the sheets, and fell asleep almost immediately.
At two thirty am, Mark's watch alarm went off, awakening
him from a troubled sleep. He didn't want to think about the
dreams he had...he didn't want to think about anything. If
he started thinking about the job ahead, he would never be
able to go through with it. And that would mean disaster.
Mark forced himself to his feet and using the light from
the flashlight, he guided himself through the tunnel. The
map was surprisingly good, given the age of the map-maker.
Then again, a nine year old girl would notice things which an
adult would ignore. It only took him two hours to reach the
secret door which would lead him into Derek Rayne's office.
He hadn't yet decided what he would do when he got there.
Should he seek out the girl and kill her as she slept? Mark
rejected that immediately...that was a coward's way out.
Grandpa already thinks I'm a coward, the young man
thought, even if he doesn't know that I shot both Reynolds
and Lissa. I won't make things worse by killing her while
she sleeps. Mark shuddered, already nauseous.
I'll figure out how to end it when the time comes, he
decided as he reached the panel which would allow him to slip
into the office, for now, I need to find a place to hide.
The panel opened easily, and Mark shook his head. Rayne has
probably forgotten all about this, he thought, too bad for
him. He had made his decision about Derek Rayne's fate.
Derek awoke at seven to the sound of laughter, belonging
to children. Two female children, if his guess was right.
He lay still for a few minutes, smiling, then got out of bed
to wash and dress. On his way to his office, he encountered
Lissa, Pippa, and Kat playing in the hallway...Lissa was
spinning Kat around in circles, while Pippa watched. Lissa
said with a laugh, "We should be more quiet, girls...we
don't want to wake Derek."
"Too late for that," Derek said with a smile and Lissa
looked up. She was dressed in jeans and a blouse again
today, and Derek made a mental note to himself to ask Alex
about a possible shopping trip. It would sound far better
coming from Alex than from him. He continued after a moment,
"But not to worry. Are the three of you having fun?"
"Oh, definitely...I think Kat should wait before
having breakfast, though," Pippa said dryly. The little girl
giggled as she swayed on her feet. Lissa scooped her up in
her arms, and Kat nestled against the young woman's body.
Pippa continued, "Breakfast is at eight?" Derek nodded, and
the teenager continued, "That's just fine with me. Nick and
I are going to swim a few laps this morning. Can you believe
it, Lis, we've been here two weeks, and this is my first time
in the pool! I'm on my way to change into my bathing suit."
"And Rachel is probably looking for this munchkin, so
I'll go find her. Have fun, Maeve Philippa, but behave
yourself," Lissa said. The teen responded with an innocent
'who, me?' look, and her older sister answered, "Yes, you!
I've seen the way you've been looking at Nick!"
"Well, I have to look at somebody! Derek's too old, and
Philip's a priest...sorry, Derek. Nick's the only one
left!" Pippa retorted and Lissa grinned, drawing her younger
sister close with one arm. Pippa returned the embrace, then
drew back, saying, "I promise to be good, Lissa. See you!"
"She's a good girl...I just remember what I was like
at that age. Very uninterested in boys my own age. Looking
back, it's amazing I didn't get into trouble, but I suppose
there are advantages to being plain," Lissa said. Derek was
startled. That still haunted her? After all these years?
Before he could speak, however, Derek's Sight kicked in
with a vengeance as he looked at the smiling young cop. His
vision blurred at the edges, and the familiar dizziness
settled over him. He saw the eagle on his desk falling,
Lissa battling for control of a gun with a man whose face he
couldn't see, then heard a man's hoarse, weak voice saying,
'You're just like your father.'
"Derek, are you all right?" Lissa asked, bringing Derek
back to himself with a jolt. He looked around, slightly
dazed. Lissa's hand was on his forearm, and her dark hazel
eyes were filled with concern. The young woman repeated,
"Are you all right? You...you seemed a little lost for a
moment." Kat was also staring at him anxiously.
Derek swallowed hard, then replied, "I'm sorry, I didn't
mean to frighten you. I'm all right. After you drop Kat off
with Rachel, would you mind coming back to my office? We
need to talk." Lissa nodded with a puzzled smile, then
carried Kat downstairs in search of Rachel. The older
psychic heard the little girl's eager chatter, and Lissa's
answering laughter...always a welcome sound in this House.
Derek sighed and went into his office to get some
paperwork done before breakfast. He sensed the intruder
before he heard him, but even then, it was too late.
Something sharp and hard struck the side of his head, and
Derek collapsed to the ground. He was unconscious even
before he hit the floor.
It took Lissa only a few minutes to find Rachel and turn
Kat over to her. On her way back to Derek's office, she ran
into Philip...almost literally. Both young people laughed,
still a little uncomfortable with each other, but after a
moment, Philip said, "Playing mom already, are you?"
Her childhood friend's question pierced a secret place
in Lissa's heart. However, she smiled and said, "Yeah, I
suppose you could say that. Then again, I've been playing
mom for years, ever since Pippa's mother Starr died. Do you
ever regret not having kids, Philip?"
A shadow crossed Philip's eyes, then he replied, "I...
sometimes. Especially when I look at Kat. But, I really
wouldn't change anything. What about you? Why have you
never married?" Lissa smiled faintly, still stunned that
this man was her childhood best friend, grown up.
"I had many reasons...so many friends got married
because it seemed like the thing to do. Only to find out a
few years later that it was a mistake. You know what I
mean," she replied. Philip nodded, and Lissa went on, "Derek
asked me to stop by his office, and he only does that when
there's...well, you know Derek as well as I do." Philip
nodded and Lissa added, "I'll see you at breakfast?"
"As if you have to ask? Make sure he comes with you.
Derek sometimes forgets to eat," Philip replied. Lissa
grinned...yes, she remembered! She walked to Derek's
office, glancing at her watch...five minutes since her
conversation with Derek.
She said as she entered the room, "Derek, I..."
Lissa's voice trailed off. Derek lay beside his desk,
unconscious and bleeding. Lissa raced across the room, but
before she reached him, her intuition kicked in. Without
hearing a sound, Lissa threw herself to one side, which
brought her face to face with a blond-haired man with a gun.
"I'm so sorry, Lissa, you weren't supposed to get hurt.
You've always been so nice to me, and I've always liked you.
But someone wanted Reynolds out of the way, and it paid well.
Hell, I would have killed the bastard for free...I hated
the way he treated you!" Mark Herbert said.
Lissa swallowed hard. She had no weapon of her own,
and there was Derek to consider. But, she thought, if I stay
calm and think through this, both Derek and I will survive.
She asked calmly, "You went to my house that day to kill my
father. But I returned home early, and got caught in the
crossfire. Does that sum it up?" The man nodded. Lissa
continued, "So now you've come to finish the job."
"I'm so sorry, Lissa," he repeated. His eyes were
filled with tears, and the young cop believed him. However,
Mark was not sorry enough. He continued, "There's one other
thing I need to do first." He leveled the gun at Derek,
lying so still a few yards away.
"NO!!!" Lissa screamed and surged forward. The gun went
off as she crashed into Mark, so Lissa had no way of knowing
if Derek was alive. At the moment, she had to worry about
staying alive, as she and Mark battled for the gun.
Continue on to part ten, the last part you've been waiting for!
Now go e-mail Deb and let her know what you think!