Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, storylines, or even a tee shirt of P:TL. I am making no profit from this endeavor, other than it gives me something to do during boring classes. No infringement intended. Please, Im a college student. Dont sue. All good feedback, comments, and Nick Boyle clones can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All flames will be sacrificed to the barbecue goddess.
A brightness, a dizzying ray of sunshine in ethereal essence poured over a field of flowers. The breeze blew gently, washing the scent of heather through the air. Just beyond a New England stone fence row, a trickling brook flowed through the land. Where the water went was beyond his comprehension. This scene had been presented hundreds of times with the premiere element seemingly missing.
"Nick! Over here!" A female voice shouted above him. Dangling form the arms of a decrepitude apple tree was the center of attention herself.
"You look awful proud of yourself Alyssa. How long did it take to get up there?" Nick Boyle asked, gazing at the downy white legs of his friend.
The girl laughed, tinkling her auburn red curls with a hardy laugh. "Not long. What took you so long?"
Embarrassment washed over him, but the sensation was quickly disconnected. "I couldnt seem to find the place. Its been awhile, you know?"
Fearlessly, Alyssa stooped atop the hearty limb and walked it with the efficiency of a tightrope walker. "Its partly my fault. Ive been preoccupied."
"Oh really?" Nick countered, teetering from a dubious position between two branches. "Doing what?"
The girl completed her fete by turning the branch into a seat and adjusting the gauzy dress around her knees. "I told you, Ive been busy. Im sure you have too."
As her voice ended, the brilliant day darkened. The clouds were chased away by a harrowing storm, where the rain fell hard and as deep as a swift razorblade. Nick looked away from the sky to find his friend hiding at the trunk of her tree. Shivering visibly, she cried out for him, only to disappear from sight entirely within a luscious mist.
Nick Boyle sat up in bed, sweating from every pour of his body and whispering a name on his quivering lips. "Lyssa."
Brooding over a cup of coffee, Nick was lost in his own thoughts. Why would Lyssa act so strangely? In all his dreams of her, never had she left so abruptly. The details crept up on him now; the fine lines under her eyes, the sick paleness streaking her skin, how sad her eyes looked. Shaking out of his fit of analysis, Nick surfaced as Derek beseeched the question, "What do you think, Nick?"
Grasping for structure, the younger and replied, "Whatever you think is best, Derek. Im behind you."
The leader of the Legacy house eyed Nick skeptically, unsure of the ex-Seals commitment to the project at hand. "Good. Why dont you and Alex do a background check on the building? It would be wise to have a little information before we dive in head first."
Alex made her move to her blonde college, patting him firmly on the shoulder. "Comon stud. Youre all mine."
"Only because you cant have any fun on a computer without me." He countered, sweeping the nagging dream from this palette to settle on the task ahead.
After the pair left, Derek called Rachel to his side. "That was odd," the precept whispered. "Was it me, or did Nick seem to be on a mental vacation?"
Rachel Corriagn suppressed a light laugh. "He did seem a bit spaced out."
A moment of silence followed before the Dutchman volunteered, "Hes had the worse insomnia lately. Its been on his mind so much, hes running at four in the morning."
Eyebrow raised the good doctor stared at Derek intently. "And just how would you know that?"
Rains blushed slightly. "I havent been sleeping well either." He allowed a moment to pass before adding, "The night is empty without you beside me."
Rachel dropped her briefcase beside the table and chuckled out loud. "It sounds like a Legacy wide epidemic. Alex has night mares, Nick has insomnia, Patrick studies too much, Cats afraid of the dark, and I miss you."
The couple merged closer, pulling into a tentative embrace. "Are you scared?" Derek asked, "About us getting too close?"
The woman nodded. "Its been a long time, Derek. I havent been with anyone since Patrick died. And, I dont know how Kat would take to the idea of us staying together."
He held her tightly, reveling in the warmth of her body juxtaposed to his. Derek relished these moments; the private moment with his timid love interest. So much had happened between the two of them. Daemons, Curses, hell, even the devil himself couldnt part them. Well, except for the whims of a nine-year-old girl strongly planted in the memory of her dead father.
How long do you think youll be gone?" Rachel interrupted, facing the Dutchman before taking leave of Angel Island on a personal mission to pick up her daughter from school.
"No longer than a week. Depending on what Alex and Nick find out about the hospital facility itself. I do feel confident that this will be a open and shut case."
"Ive been at my wits end, Dereck. I just cant ignore whats going on anymore. One third of the staff have quit, and only a few new people have replaced those who've left."" Dr. Bencroft explained, passing her visitors a hospitable cup of tea. "Do you take sugar in your tea, Mr. Boyle?" This lady sure did go the whole nine yards. A silver tea service with china cups had scarcely made their appearance on most of the other assignments.
"Just lemon, please." Nick requested.
Alex picked her eyes up from the wheat field print gracing the wall to reply, "Two sugars and a little milk."
Dereck took his tea plain, allowing the liquid to clear his mind from the earlier vision and focus on the task at hand. "Can you tell us where most of the activity is centered?" The precept asked.
The doctor sighed as she poured her own tea, "In and around the main mental ward. It sometimes dips into the permanent section "
"Permanent section?" Nick echoed.
Bencroft presented a map of the perimeter slashed with red ink markings. "Its a ward where those who have little chance of recovery spend most of their time. Most are in a state of personality death, so they wouldnt have a chance to explain their experiences." With a sigh, Holly took off her glasses and rubbed her throbbing temples. "Have you ever seen that movie with Robin Williams? Awakenings?"
The legacy members chorused their agreement, leaving the doctor to finish her explanation.
"The patients in the permanent ward are suffering from most of the same things. They cant feed themselves to begin with. Its ironic this activity would have such blind witnesses."
The Dutchman downed the remainder of his cupped hospitality and glanced at his San Franciscan companions. Their faces spoke a mutual agreement; the time for small talk was over. It was time to get to work. "Wed like to take a look around the affected section after a tour of the hospital." Derrick prescribed.
Holly posed no objection and gathered Nurse Stein from her perch at the main station. "Would you get a nurse to give my guests a tour of the grounds? Its very important."
Dreams again. Always dreams. That damn mission with Ryder killing the rest of the crew. Nick stumbled towards the dead site only to be shoved thoroughly to meet an adjoining tree. The gun in his hand never flinched as he turned around to face his foe. It turned out to be more like a friend.
Lyssa looked at him intensely, deciding to either laugh or cry. Her ethereal luster was gone. In its place, china paleness prevailed. The auburn tresses hed admired flowing and free, were pulled staunchly back. A loose green smock couldnt hide her thinness. Her name barely grazed his lips. Nick dropped the gun in relief and caressed her face. "God! What are you doing here?" He exclaimed.
Lyssas blue eyes had not changed color, despite her degenerative state. With a pensive demeanor, she replied, "I had to come again." She started, "Because this might be the last time Ill ever see you."
The gunfire disappeared from his mind. In its place an emotional alarm was triggered. A seperational panic clouded his mind. "What are you talking about? Dont say that."
Red-hot tears streaked her paleness. A flicker of pain blinded him from looking at his friend. Wanting to shake her free of the doubts lying between them.
"Its getting too hard to see you. I-I dont know how much longer I can keep this up."
He wanted to sooth her troubles with words of encouragement, but held her in the middle of his green hell instead. It was like floating; weightlessness fogged his grain as they light thud of her heart pounded rhythmicthly against his chest. There was no more pain. A tentative peace settled over Boyals mind.
"Nick," Lyssa whispered, breathing life of the world.
The mans eyes opened, beholding his companions true glance of attraction above the crook of his chest. She was so close. Lips melting lips in a tender kiss sparked a sensation long dead to Nicks system. What was lying dormant beneath the warm, sensitive woman in his arms? It was a mystery how her arms had wrapped deliciously around his neck while his hands caressed the curve of her waist. A brief moment passed. Calmness admist chaos ensued as they parted breaths.
With no warning, Alyssa lashed from his arms not of her will. She landed between the ancient roots of a neighboring tree. A hurricane wind bombarded the forest with darkness. The air pushed the ex-seal from the dreamscape, but not before Lyssa clambered for his attention.
"Nick! The only person you can trust is Dr. Bencroft. Dont listen to anyone else!"
Bully to a weakling, the wind clawed mercilessly. Fear climbing, temperature rising, a command surfaced. "WAKE UP!"
Nick flew awake, choking for breath and control of the nerves sizzling down his back. The room at the local bed and breakfast assuaged the lust for reality. Sighing heavily, he removed the shackling bedclothes from his legs and gathered the terrycloth robe firmly in a knot. Patting the sweat from his brow, the man stared hungrily towards the shower. Turning on autopilot, his feet thwamped to the tile flooring and summoned warm water from its marble lined faucets. Still dishearted, Boyle checked his watch time of 3:15 a.m. It was going to be a long night.
Nurse Stein hated working late. But, a patient died, and the family was picky about paperwork. Her newest employee stuttered past the main working station, nervously grasping patient charts with every step.
"Nurse Taylor!" Stein bit, "Have you made your rounds this evening?"
Stacy nodded confidently, continuing her promenade down the hall.
Stein eyed the girl menacingly. Trouble was brewing in her hospital. Reaching for the telephone, the woman dialed a number. A male voice answered. "Shes poking her nose in our business. The director had her lead the research group on a tour today. You should take charge of the situation."
On her last stop for the evening, Stacy Taylor walked in on her patient. Still unmoving and equally unpliable, the patient didnt seemed to be making much improvement. Stacy couldnt describe the precise moment she went against hospital rules and held back the lithium shot from her patient. But shed had enough drug training to know the doctors were keeping this girl heavily sedated. Taking the shot kit from her pocket, Taylor loaded a minute .5 ccs into the girls bloodstream.
"Alyssa," Stacy began, "You have to start waking up now. Theres not much more I can do for you."
The patient said nothing; she merely gazed blankly into space.
Heavy thumping emanated from the hallway. Stealthily, Taylor placed her ear to the closed door, holding her breath to calm the beating of her heart. "It must be my imagination," the nurse muttered, adjusting her uniform buttons and straightening her wayward skirt.
How was she to know a figure from the shadows would follow her down the hall with death on its mind? The nurse was oblivious to the looming shadow. By the time she did notice the threat, it was too late. A less than gentle blow to the head took her life, with no one witnessing the event.
Alex stared at Nick from across the breakfast table. Hed been turning the coffee mug around in his hands, without taking a sip. Her associate was hardly classified as a space cadet. He was gloomy, obviously upset, but not giving the tell tale signs of distress. Nick was more complex than most people. His silence spoke multitudes; failures, broken promises, and splintered reality. To a stranger, Nick could look pretty normal. After working with Alex for more than five years, the Creole woman was able to spot the discrepancies in her friends behavior.
"Whats wrong, Nick?" She asked, placing her teacup politely on its saucer.
"Nothing serious." He muttered, masking his confusion of the night before with a slight smile.
Dereks entrance interrupted the womans next statement. He, like Nick, sported a brooding nature. Still impeccably groomed, Dr. Reins reached for the silver coffeepot and slowly filled his china cup. After the first gulp, the precept gazed into its contents and addressed his group; "Ive been seeing things."
Alex stared at her leader for a moment. "What kind of things? Case file things or other stuff?"
Silence fluttered the room.
"A patient in a wheelchair. Sitting with her back towards me. All the while asking for help."
"She could be our ghost. Maybe she died before her recovery was final." Alex suggested.
"Maybe, but I have something else I need to discuss with Nick."
With the mention of his name, Boyle perked up. Even when he was far from trouble, a private tete-a-tete with Derek wasnt on his list of joyful activities.
"I saw a girl with you last night, auburn haired, beautiful " The Dutchman was cut off by the younger mans growl.
"How much did you see?"
He had obviously fell upon tenuous ground. A smoldering flame had entered the seas chocolate eyes. Alex was sure Nick could spit viper poison if given the chance.
Derek chose his words carefully. "Not much. A hurricane cloud burst on the scene. I tried to wake you. I didnt see what happened to the girl. Even I couldnt hold onto the vision."
Alex, ever the mediator, stepped in and set her foot down. "Who is she, Nick?"
Gathering courage, Boyle exhaled. "Her name is Alyssa. Shes been in my dreams since childhood. I first met her when I was about eight. She grew up with me; Ive seen her go from a skinny five-year-old to the person she is today. NO matter where I was or what was happening, Lyssas been right beside me. As I look at it, I thought she was a defense mechanism for my fathers disposition, the days I spent as a seal, and the experiences Ive had with the Legacy. I doesnt matter if shes real or not. But I need her. Lyssas something I lost long ago."
A cell phone ring broke the discussion. Objectively minded, the precept shook off his garish faced companions seated and flicked on the phone. "Hello?"
"Derrick?" Dr. Bencroft asked.
"Yes, Holly. I was just going to call-.."
"Something terrible has happened, Derrick."
"Whats the problem?"
"A nurse was killed last night in the permanent section. A janitor found her stuffed in a supply closet."
"Well be right in," Derrick finished, hanging up the phone and facing the Legacy members. "It looks like our manifestation has become lethal."
Somber faces stared conceringly back. This breezy assignment had taken a difficult turn.
Dr. Bencroft was upset to say the least. With all the problems plaguing her hospital, a mysterious murder was the last thing she needed. Nurse Stein was a rock; taking care of the police reports and still managing to keep everything running smoothly.
As Holly reviewed the patient status updates, one of the private section doctors peeked his head through the door.
"Knock knock?" He prompted.
"Nobodys home," Bencroft stated, deeply absorbed in the papers at hand. "What do you need, James?"
The fellow doctor leaned casually against the door. "Im not the only one whos noticing a break in routine around here, Holly." A few of my patients are losing some of their progress with all the goings-on. I cant tell you enough times; the Luna foundation investigation isnt necessary."
Bencroft flipped her papers nosily. "Dr. Halston, my guests are of no concern to you. I asked them to come on an unofficial basis. The police have already done all they can. If you can come up with another productive idea, Im all ears."
Pensively, Dr. Halston plastered on a smile and swaggered to leave. "Hey, Im just trying to keep everything in tip-top shape. You cant hold a grudge against me for that."
"Dont you have an 11:30 appointment? Bencroft scoffed. "Someones relying on you to save their life."
Halston swiveled out of the office with worry treading on his heals. All the plans hed made were not congealing well.
"What did the report say?" Alex asked a few hours later as the Legacy team scaled the hot spot murder area. "I dont get how she was killed."
Nick scrawled the length of the bootlegged police report and recited, "A swift blow to the head by a sharp object. Not exactly what Id call an accident."
Derrick glanced over the police papers fresh from the fax; the profiler was strong and tall with complete control over the murder weapon. "But not suspicious, either Nick. Our poltergeist has been tedious at best. None of the occurrences have been violent or very strong. Wee might be in the middle of two forces clashing against each other. One evil and the other good."
Alexs interest was piqued. "Ill buy that." She stated, trying to ignore a repetitive clammer originating down the hall. "What is that noise?"
"Probably an orderly stacking boxes," Nick provided as a gushing breeze slapped his face for attention. "What the hell..?" He muttered in a confused fashion.
Chaos ensued. Doors growled fiercely while the tempest wind forsook the legacy members mercifully.
"Run!" Warned Derrick, pointing a lobby rec room at the end of the corridor. "Run!"
Alex and Nick wasted no time high tailing their way down the hall. Each successive moment propelled the wave-like disturbance within lapping distance of the group. Mentally, Alex counted the doorways; five..four..three...two
With a last gasp of strength, she threw herself head first into the dubious haven, with Nick and Derrick crashing close behind. They landed in a muttled heap on the cool linoleum, grasping for breath as they rec room door slammed with finality.
Soothing the pounding blood in her head with a gentle caress, the Creole braced her legs for standing and observed her friends. Derrick was shaking her incident like water on a wet dog. He kept looking for the cause of the effect, rather then the other way around. It was a defense mechanism for seeing the big picture too quickly. Nick had already risen, striding to the entrance for a sign of calm.
"Its locked," he stated flatly as his prying hand twisted the brass doorknob. "What do we do?" Looking to his precept for some sign of advice, the ex-Seal stuttered briefly as a lone figure in a wheel chair grasped his attention.
Reins strode softly to the anomaly, reliving his vision as if he had repeated the task over a hundred times. Déjà vu was the same as his dream. The stiffness of fate urged him closer to the figure, diminishing the gulf between vision and reality. Subconsciously, the voice of his vision echoed like a beacon. "Im here Im here Cant you hear me?" Lying a hand tenuously on her shoulder, Derrick moved to face the figment rambling around his head. A few heart beats later, the precept called his associate, "Nick come here."
Boyle released his attention from the door to his mentors side. The response muffled his throat as he slid to his knees and whispered in anguish, "Lyssa?"
"So, shes alive?" Rachel confirmed, slipping the last of the days caseload into her briefcase and adjusting the cellular phone.
"Yes, and she is exactly what Nick described her to be." Derrick stated, "I need you to come and take charge of her case. Shes between care givers at the moment, and Alex believes Alyssa Reed is on her way to recovery."
"What happened to her doctor?"
"Hes been on sabbatical and died two weeks ago. A practical nurse was in charge of Lyssas welfare, but she was found dead in a broom closet this morning."
Corrigan heaved a heavy sigh. "That doesnt sound good."
Derecks voice probed gently, "Is everything alright?" His love didnt sound normal.
"I cant sleep," She admitted.
"You will when you come," Derrick assured innocently, unaware of the implied innuendo. Dr. Corrigan blushed slightly, grabbing up her purse and heading out of her office. "Ill be there tomorrow," Came the precepts reply.
"See you tomorrow."
The blaring dial tone silenced as Rachel slipped the phone in her pocket and headed out the door toward the parking lot. Gliding her explorer through the streets of San Francisco, Rachel made a mental list for the trip to Oakland. Kat was spending the weekend at a friends house, so no need to call the babysitter. The laptop batteries were charged and ready to go. With the exception of an overnight bag, almost everything was in order. Besides, this was business, not pleasure.
Dr. Bencroft passed by James Halstons office, expecting the lights off and door locked. Little did she know her colleague was feverently researching his archiv4es from the diverse library decorating the shelved walls. Holly had never seen him so possessed. Delicately knocking on the doorframe, Bencroft held in a yelp of surprise as Halston glared malevolently from the parchment paper before him.
"What do you want?" He cautioned flatly, barely glancing above his work.
"I was about to head out for a drink, would you care to join me?" She replied diplomatically. A terse silence blanketed the room.
"Im busy," Halston stated tersely. "Maybe some other time."
"Sure, whatever." Holly ended, appeasing his call for peace.
What the hell was happening at this place? Unexplained phenomena, a murder, and now Mr. Dont-worry-be-happy was cramming worse than he ever did his final year of Med school. She was glad when Derrick had assured earlier that hed found the source of their problems. Her friend had been mysterious in broaching the identity of their troubles, but promised a full explanation when the rest of his team arrived. IN a fit of distraction, the good doctor dropped her keys and mumbled a light curse. When her mental wanderings ceased, a chant like singing buzzed faintly in her ears. Keys in hand, Holly stealthily gravitated towards the sound. James Halston was chanting, and it wasnt a Hail Mary.
My enemies are approaching! My tribute to you is slipping away. Help
me to regain control."
Silencing a gasp, the woman shrank into the shadows, praying the scene before her would not follow.
"Alex!" Rachel greeted friendly, as she glided through the hospital corridors. "Where is everyone."
The Creole smiled for the first time in days. Now that the calvary had arrived, Rachel was sure to help solve the case, if not the mystery, of the phenomena at hand. In no time, they found Derrick peering through the window of a residence room. He stood stately enough, though his eyes bestook weariness. Rachel recognized the look. His mind was deep in thought, and highly introspective.
She thought back to their last night together a little over two weeks ago. Kat had insisted on celebrating Alexs birthday at the Legacy House. The child had fallen asleep during dessert, and shed seen no reason to leave. Kat didnt have school the next day; besides, Angel Island was their home away from home. When a friendly good night kiss moved to something more, the breaking dawn found them stowed away in the precepts room. She had woken; nerves stirred and skin flushed, lying beside Derrick Reins. Her head was pillowed on his chest, breathing deeply of the previous days activities. One masculine hand stroked the length of her back subconsciously while his mind was somewhere else.
"Morning," she whispered, rousing Dereks mind from its mental wandering. "Where were you?"
Dereks answer startled the doctor. "Thinking about a place where you and Kat had never come to the Legacy. How different everything would be."
Corriagn snuggled closer and placed a gentle kiss on her lovers lips. "I think youre over exaggerating."
He gathered her in his arms again, kissing her lingeringly. "Youll never know how much I depend on you, or how much I care."
Words were lost with a sweeping of the sheets. They had managed to greet the breakfast table with measured decorum. Kat was blissfully clueless. Nick, Alex, and Phillip had their suspicions, but they kept it to themselves. His eyes possessed the same occupation of those stolen moments. He was looking for the big picture to solve the enigma at hand.
"Hey." Rachel greeted, breaking the Dutchmans musings.
Derrick turned away from the window with a sudden sigh of relief easing the tension in his face. "Im glad youre here." He began sincerely, "II think youre the only one who can get to the bottom of this situation."
Sweeping aside and gesturing to the paned glass, Derek pointed to Nick, slouching in a chair next to the bed-ridden body of a girl. He was keeping his trademark cool, even though he was more than likely screaming inside. Boyle held the girls hand in an intimate gesture.
"Have you reviewed her medical records yet?" Derrick interjected quietly, guiding Dr. Corrigan to an adjoining bench for privacy.
Rachel nodded and pulled the file from her Gucci briefcase. "Her doctor had been giving her lithium, but none of her symptoms called for that type of drug. Its a miracle shes no dead from the side effects."
"What about the physical results we faxed you? How did they turn out?"
"Thats the good news. Lyssa Reed has only a trace amount of lithium in her blood. When she shakes the rest from their system, theres an excellent chance her brain will emerge from its stupor."
Derrick glanced over the files again, with renewed interest and vigor. "Can you do anything to speed up the awaking process?"
"There are a few stimulants available. Thecrodiazine* Incratoziod*.."
"Arent those used for drug patients in rehab?"
"Yes, but in a way, she went through the same withdrawal process. It happened to be so mild, no behavior would be detected."
"When can you get started?"
"Great. Lets begin, shall we?"
Holly Bencroft sorted through her paper work and sighed. Never in her life had such a queer turn of events manifest her life. At the beginning of her career, a malpractice suit was the main fear lingering in her mind. Now
The last three days had been hell. Dereks paranormal jargon reminded her too much of abnormal psychology classes nearly twenty years ago. Perturbedly, she reached for the non-decaled bottle of painkillers and gulped them down along with the hazelnut coffee. The only thing that could make her day worse would be sparring with James Halston over the Reed case file.
Speak of the devil. The dark haired mamas boy doctor eyed her coolly through the window. Breathing deep resentment, she waved him in and braced for some sort of confrontation.
"What can I do for you Dr. Halston?" Holly asked, inviting the hansom doctor to take a seat in the adjoining leather chair.
"Why wasnt I assigned the Reed case file? Youve got some Dr. Corrigan from San Francisco digging through our files with no security clearance.."
God, she hated her job sometimes. Didnt this guy get the hint that he didnt overlook everyone in the facility? The private practice in Santa Monica was looking really great at the moment.
"Rachel Corrigan has full clearance to our information. As Miss Reeds new doctor, I thought it best for her to have all our facilities open to her use. She is very well known in her field, if its her credentials youre objected to."
James turned slightly red, trying to keep his anger to a peaceable level. "I was a close associate to Dr. Narcoff. We worked diligently on this patiences rehabilitation. I should be allowed the chance to take charge in the situation."
Bencroft interrupted the ranting man with a neutral look. "James, what does the sign on my door say?"
Halston was taken back, and answered the question in an unabashed manner. "Dr. Holly Bencroft, Director."
With an air of authority, the female doctor continued. "Thats right! Im the director, and I run this facility within the guidelines issued by the state board. I will appoint whom I see fits the job best. You, Dr. Halston, have fifteen other patients. One less on your palette means less paperwork and your keen eye focused on your caseload."
Halston continued unabated. "I want the opportunity to take the case," He raged.
"This matter is finished," Holly declared in a firm voice. "Dr. Corrigan stays. Please leave, Dr. Halston. I have many duties to perform before leaving for the day."
Halston brushed out of the office, muttering harsh tones on the way. Things were not working out the way he expected. The corridors were scant of activity. A frenzied urge to throw a fit beckoned his mind like a temptress. Seeking refuge in his office, the temptation to end this game and kill everyone in sight burned in his chest. But an even stronger urge to complete his mission overruled the impulsive thoughts.
"Miklos, hear me. Give me the strength to see our plan through." James whispered to the ruddy skull, "I cant go on without your intervention."
A comforting hum empowered the dry bone, controlling a red light of peace for the minion in its presence.
"Patience..Patience...patience." The idol promised. "Patience is the key."
Halston relaxed in the hellspawn glare of the light. It was only a matter of time until the power of the human girl would be his.
Nick flinched internally as the corazone needle pierced Lyssas delicate arm. "How long will it take for this drug to take effect?"
Rachel concentrated on the task at hand and extracted the syringe with precision. "Hours. Maybe days. I really depends on her body chemistry."
Alex squeezed Nicks arm supportively. "We can always hope for the first option."
"I just want her to get well," Nick stated, "I dont want to find her and loose her all over again."
Derrick cleared his throat. "Well help her heal. If any one can solve this mystery, she can. Till that time, lets break up into watches. Ill take the first one, then Alex, Nick, and Rachel."
"Derrick! I want to stay." Nick protested, "She needs me."
"Well follow the drill, just as weve always have. If anything happens, youll know. Alex why dont you and Rachel take Nick out to eat, then find a quiet room to sleep. We all need to get some rest for the next few hours."
Boyle begrudgingly left under Dr. Corrigans watchful eyes. The precept cohearsted a neighboring chair and began to wait.
"Nick, you need to eat more." Alex began. "Its not healthy to stare at your food. This meal is supposed to be more than eye candy."
The Creole psychic sipped her coffee defeatedly. Rachel, Nick, and herself shared a table in the hospital dining room, reaping substance from assorted deli sandwiches and a questionable Folgers blend.
Nick managed half of everything before his mind retreated back to Alyssa Reed. Alex understood Dereks order to eat; the Legacy members could use a stockpile of 3,000 calories while focusing on themselves instead of the long wait ahead. The mug in Nicks hands shifted subtlety. His calm façade was in place, ready for action in a moments notice.
"Its hard to think about anything but Alyssa." Nick stated stoically. He knew it was pointless to argue with his sister-like co-workers. But addressing the problem head on was the best action to escape the everything is going to be alright speech.
Rachel leaned into the table and placed her empty cup near the center of the structure. "Do you want to know what Alyssa is going to think when she wakes up?" The Doctor began in a motherly fashion, "Shes going to see her prince charming sporting a dazed expression and a bad case of puppy breath."
The trio chuckled lightly, polishing off their meal and heading towards an awaiting alcove for some well deserved sleep. Each person reclined on the retro couches, resting tentatively for the battle ahead.
Lyssa Reed expelled her first conscious breath. Her limbs felt heavy weighed down by gravity. The mental process in her head signaled her bodys wake up routine. Little by little, the feeling returned to her weighty limbs. A warmth enveloped her hand, strong and secure. Her sleepy eyes opened to a dime room, unfamiliar in the general way, but known in a subconscious sense. Her retinas focused on individual objects, solving the enigma of her location. This was a hospital or something like it. The heat covering her hand was an outside presence. Marginally turning her head to the side, a dozing figure caught her attention. Structurally pronounced as a male, the Calvin Klein hair cut and dark shirt disguised his well-defined figure. His presence was familiar, akin to a homecoming. Tentatively, Alyssa squeezed the hand of her watcher, praying a familiar face would come her way.
Nick felt a tugging on his mind, rousing him from much needed sleep. The petite hand in his was vying for attention. Dismissing the act for a dream, he steeled himself for disappointment. Shaking the remaining stupor from his mind, Nicks eyes opened to a curious face. Blue eyes bonded to Brown, and for the first time in weeks, Nick Boyle knew this dream would not dissolve.
"Nick," the girl whispered, gazing easily into his earnest face. "I knew youd come."
Boyle said nothing, but leaned forward and kissed Lyssa's forehead with compassion. "Welcome back."
The day dawned with a newness of being. The sun shone brightly and focused on a vase of sweetheart roses on Lyssas bedside table. The woman fingered the petals daintily, reacquainting herself with their smooth texture.
"What is it about women and roses?" Nick asked innocently, as he walked into the room with the other legacy members in tow. "Are they senonmous meanings or what?"
Alyssa smiled sweetly, filling her friends heart with joy and lessing the earlier days tension.
"Theyre lovely, thank you."
"Youre easy to please." Boyle commented. "A few flowers and kind word; I take it youre pretty low maintenance."
"Hey, Im MaytagÔ girl."
"Lyssa, these are my associates and friends; Derrick Reins, Alex Monroe, and Rachel Corrigan." Nick volunteered, "Theyre from and Luna foundation."
Each person shook hands with the bed-ridden woman, keeping a positive air about their manners.
Alyssa smiled knowingly. "You mean the Legacy Society," she stated deadpan. "My grandparents work in the Los Angeles house before moving to San Francisco."
The half-shocked looks were faded as the girl continued; "The escapades of the Legacy were great bedtime stories."
"Oh really?" Derrick inquired, "And your grandparents were..?"
Fairly bursting with pride, Alyssa answered, "Meda and Jacob Marlotte."
Alex chuckled faintly. "Meda Marlotte wrote a book on the exorcism of blood ordained demons."
Derrick smiled faintly. "Family history is interesting, but me need to focus. We think we know whats been causing the disturbances around the hospital."
"Yes, Nick told me about the problems this place has been having." Lyssa agreed.
A slight pause introduced Dereks theory. "We think that you maybe responsible. While your body was in its hibernative state, your mind and physic ability was working over time, trying to keep itself busy. Your contact with Nick and the sporadic activity in the hospital was your mind trying to catch some attention, or at least have some contact with the outside world."
"Ive been causing all the door banging?" Alyssa smirked, disbelieving what she was hearing.
"More or less." Derrick returned, "I dont believe any of it was truly intentional. The unconscious mind has many ways of blowing off steam."
"So who killed Nurse Taylor?" Rachel added.
"Susan died?" Lyssa stated disbelievingly. "When?"
Nick held her hand for comfort. "Two days ago."
Derrick continued, "She was found in the broom closet down the hall. According to the files from her round reports, you were the last person to see you."
Lyssa bit her lip pensively, unsure of her to continue. "Susan and I went to school together. We had been away at school when I worked at the Psychology Lab at Oakland University and I got caught up in psychoanalysis projects with Dr. Halston."
Alex interrupted abruptly. "Dr. James Halston?"
"Yes," Lyssa continued, "He found my ability to see visions and psychic impressions, tried to apply it into everyday life. For the first few months, everything was great, but soon, he became possessive and started ranting about some kind of higher power. One night, he brought a human skull into the office. It began to glow red from out of nowhere. The power he held in his hand was too terrible I cant even describe it. James kept ranting about having the power to control everything. And somehow, I was apart of the equation. A demon needed to be born onto a woman of my ability. After possessing James, whatever was in that skull tried to be persuasive, but I refused. I guess I was too much of a liability to go about my life. A week later, when I was working at the lab, I felt a sting in the back of my neck. Thats the last thing I remember."
The room remained quiet for a moment before Rachel inquired, "How do we acquire Dr. Halston? If hes kept Alyssa in this hospital under sedation for five years, something has got "
"Wait a minute!" Lyssa spoke up, "What do you mean? Five years? Ive been here for five.." Bemoaning her fate left the girl on the brink of tears.
Nick made comforting noises, enveloping her into a warm embrace. "I was going to tell you. Dr. Narkoff admitted you in 1993. Its 1998, nearly five years since your college days. A lot has changed."
Derrick squeezed Nicks shoulder. "Ill call Phillip and see if he can find a demon that matches the description were looking for. Well be in Dr. Bencrofts office."
Boyle merely nodded, to absorbed in comforting his friend.
"Im-Im sorry," Lyssa stuttered through her crying fit. "I didnt know. Nana Meda has got to be so worried about me."
"Lyssa," Nick interjected, "Meda disappeared from her house in San Francisco three years ago. Nothing was missing, a body was never found. The police have no leads."
Recovering a calm façade, the woman whispered, "Why has the world changed so drastically?"
Nick withheld an answer. He comforted Alyssa the best way he could; by lending his presence and strength. A smooth peace settled over the moment, a clam silence before the storm.
Phillip wasnt the least bit surprised when Derek called for the information he needed. The legacy house had been quiet for nearly a week, and although the down time had been a welcome excuse to catalog the Coptic script collection for the Frankfort house, research was wearing the priests attention thin. After recovering the precepts much needed information, Phillip inquired to the nature of the legacys current problem.
"How are you gong to defeat this demon?" Calahan asked. "I dont trust the three of you taking on this kind of power yourselves."
"If we can confine Miklos into the temporary prison, we can store it in a larger legacy house and wait for some experts to come up with a permanent containment." Derek said in a mild tone.
"Youre not going to pick the lock to Dr. Halstons office and snitch the skull, are you?" Phillip queried.
"Phillip, I think weve been spending too much time working together. Well see you when we get back."
Calahan closed the connection with a click. "God speed, my friends," he prayed, hoping the almighty father above would heed his prayers.
James Halston diverted his eyes to the lock of his office door. Rumor was spreading around the facility; Lyssa Reed was awake, and spilling her guts to the Luna foundation. Lighting a candle to summon his demon, Halston begged for action.
"There much be something I can do. I can wait no longer." Halston pleaded.
"Patience..patience.." The idol repeated, eyes glowing read with life.
"These people! They know of our plot to raise you from the past. We must ensure your place on this earth."
The skull grinned and asked, "Tell me of these invaders."
James stuttered for a moment, cleared his throat, and spoke. "There are four of them. Two men and two women. They work for an organization called the Luna foundation. One of the men, a Dr. Reins, wears a ring with an L in the center.."
"Enough!" Yelled the demonic skull. "Take me to the girl!"
Standing stiff, Halston held his breath in awe as the ruby red flame from the skull swirled around him furiously. Striving to keep his voice under control, James felt a stinging in his veins of a red hot poker fire. The eyes in his head rolled back. An unstoppable surge of power pounded his blood valves open. James Halston was no longer a man, he was the shell for a demigod.
"What do you mean hes gone?" Derek beguiled Dr. Bencroft. With no tabs on the elusive James Halston, Lyssa could be in more trouble than hed expected.
"He was in his office before you stopped by, and that was 10 minutes ago. His secretary didnt even see him leave." Holly explained, dialing security and marketing Halston as a wanted man.
Alex and Rachel hurried into Dr. Bencrofts office.
"Halstons car is in the lot. He has to be somewhere on the grounds." Alex informed.
"Wed better get a hold of Nick." Rachel said, "He should know about whats going on."
Nick was on the verge of sleep. His eyelids were slipping and if he wasnt careful, hed sleep for a few hours. Alyssa was dozing. Nick watched her chest rise and fall with steady breaths, and felt relieved to be with her. He shook her awake gently, beholding her blue eyes as they fluttered open. Boyle smiled, wondering if angels existed, why wouldnt this fragile girl be one?
"Nick, whats the matter?" Lyssa asked, grasping for some sort wakefulness.
Tiredly, Nick held his friends hand and kissed the knuckles with affection. The fatigue in his eyes was more than apparent.
"You should get some sleep." She continued.
Nick cut her off, "I will, but I want to give you something," he reached in his pocket and handed the girl a small silver pistol. "I dont want to sleep unless youve got my friend with you right now. Dont hesitate to use it, OK?"
"Alright." Lyssa nodded blankly, tucking the pistol under her pillow.
Derek pulled out his cellular and dialed Nicks pager. "Ill find Alyssa. If Nick is with her, well meet you here."
Rachel stopped his rush out the door. "Be careful, Derek. Dont be a hero if were against a lost cause."
Reins stilled for a moment and kissed Rachel affectionately. The warmth of her presence filled him to the bone. "Ill be back." He assured gently, "Dont write me off yet."
Lyssa watched as a group of orderlies and security guards patrolled the pristine hallway. With military alertness, the men tromped across the floor and around the corner. In the next room, Nick was getting some much needed sleep. He had been so patient and understanding. Lyssa didnt know how she would have made it this far into the day if it hadnt been for Nick Boyals companionship.
On shaky legs, Lyssa rose from the bed and poised to conquer the cool tile floor. Cautiously, she stood alone for the first time in years. Her balance shifted and wobbly pains waked the girls body. A stilling quiet engulfed the room. The awakening of her senses blossomed with a movement of her body. Something wasnt right. The psychic senses flowing through her mind exploded with fear. The old evil crawled up her flesh and overwhelmed the flow of air in her throat. Reeling from the connection, Lyssa closed her eyes and swallowed hard.
"Dr. Halston." She stated smally.
From the corner of the room, James materialized into the passive florescent light. "Alyssa," he hissed, "How lovely it is to see you again."
"Now thats a lie." She replied. Her toes curled for a cling to the floor. Praying to stand to meet the foe on her feet, she continued, "What do you want?"
The cat like movements of the intruder stalked the victim steadily. She had been promised to him since time began. Ordained in blood and ritual, this girl would be his lover, mother, life giver, his possession. She would not only give birth to him, but also to his children; enough of his kind to found a steady lineage on the earth. Grabbing her roughly, Halston threw the woman back to her bed and pressed the air out of her lungs with his body.
Lyssa could barely breathe, let alone cry out for help. In the recesses her mind, she reached out to Nick the only way she knew how.
Boyle was sound asleep on the couch in the adjoining room. He tossed and turned restlessly, visualizing a demons face, screwn in crevices deep as time. Angled, gnarled teeth witch spat evil and eyes that shown blood red. The seals fear superceded his rational mind. His limbs felt heavy, limp of life. A voice in the back of his head screamed his given name. It was Lyssas voice which burned on his lips. "Help!"
Boyle bolted from the couch and rushed to the adjacent door and jerked the handle. It was locked solid. As the ex-seal tried to kick in the door, Derek raced in and held the younger man back.
"On three!" Reins instructed. With the finial count, both men lunged at the door and pounded through the wood fixture.
An inner instinct to protect Alyssa thrust Nick towards the demon of his dream. As the girls choked voice pleaded for assistance, Nick rushed Halston and flung him to the darkest corner of the room.
"Back off!" Boyle commanded with a deadly glare in his eye. "Or so help me-"
A hellish voice rippled from Halstons mouth. "Or what? You shouldnt have come. I might have let you live. But no matter. Once Im finished with you, Alyssa Reed with conceive and give birth to the most powerful demon to walk the earth. Me."
James raised a battered handgun towards the Legacy members and squeezed the trigger smugly. "How clueless mortals are. My kind arent content to taking over the world in our real form, so weve had to improvise. Being born into this world isnt as easy as it looks, but then again, the best of things take work."
A shot fired, Derek and Nick flinched, but was relieved to see Halston slumped on the floor. Behind them, Lyssa held her smoking pistol.
A red mist engulfed the room. Everyone watched in amazement as the mist materialized into a snarling monster. It flashed back in fog as it snagged back into the skull Derek held in his hands. The night brightened up completely. The legacy members gave a sigh of relief. The demon was trapped, no one was hurt, and Alyssa Reed was back in the land of the living.
"So, did you send the skull off to the London house?" Rachel asked Derek as week later as they sat in the precepts office enjoying a cup of tea.
"They received it this morning," The Dutchman replied, "Slone will keep it out of the wrong hands."
"And what about Lyssa?"
Derek sipped his Earl Grey and paused. "Nick convinced her to come stay with us. Alex can help her master any psi abilities, and an extra researcher has been needed for awhile, anyway."
Dr. Corriagan smiled and nodded her head in approval. "Good. I was hoping shed decide to come here. Anyone who can pull Nick out of his shell and still hold grace under fire has my full confidence."
Derek smiled weakly and turned towards the airy bay window. "I hope she can make a new life with us, if she doesnt start with Nick first."
There was nothing much to pack; just the clothes shed worn in and an envelope of letters Meda had sent through the mail. To tell the truth, she was scared to leave. The nurses related that her grandmother had visited every day before her disappearance. If Meda ever returned, she would most likely look for her here first.
"Are you ready to go?" Nick asked, squeezing her hand.
With a deep breath, Lyssa replied, "Yes."
Nick smiled and led her through the hospital and to his red convertible. He dispelled her silence for shyness. Neither of them had been together for long, and now, she was coming to live in the Legacy house with him .Alex, Derek, and Phillip. She was already his friend, but maybe someday, well, that would take care of its self. "Comon," he said, "Lets go home."
"Yes, Lets go." Lyssa replied with a smile as she buckled up in the car.
Nick grinned like an idiot as he slipped on his Ray Bands and pulled out towards the road. The highway beckoned, and soon, theyd both arrive at Angel Island, where Nick knew they both belonged.