Legacy – The Fourth and Concluding part of the Moonbeams Story.
With poetry by Katrina Relf. - Chapters 4 to 10.
Laying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, Julian could not think, could not feel. He knew only that something terrible had happened to him, and that the very thing which less than an hour ago, he had spoken to Snow about, had erupted from him, like some mighty being, and just because he had grown angry!‘When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
He’d been angry in the past of course, but not like this. His father’s intentions to bring a woman to him, for him to, to.....good God, Julian rolled over, adopting the foetal position and groaned. Close to barbaric, his mind reasoned, and why would his father have felt that he should have wanted relations with this woman, with any woman?
Yet it was more than that, thinking back to Mariah, the way she had tried to seduce him, the whole damn business, almost as if she had been employed to act that way around him. He had sensed her nervousness at first, so her behaviour wasn’t natural. The more he thought about it, the more obvious it became, but Julian did not like to question why. Because for what possible reason would his father pay someone to have sexual relations with his son? It didn’t make any sense.
That his father cared about him was a lie, Gabriel had never cared in all his life about anyone, save himself.
His head hammering with pressure, Julian rolled off the bed, coming to stand by the window, and lean his flushed forehead against the hard, cold glass. Beyond the courtyard he could see the circle of fountains, he so loved to watch them from this very window on a fine evening. The setting sun cast rainbows through them, making his eyes smart from their vibrancy.
Sometimes, Julian had dreamed of escaping, and on occasion had climbed out of this very window, down to the ground, and foiled his father’s plans to keep him locked away. Yet Gabriel had grown wise to this, and whenever he kept his son locked away now, he would set loose the Dobermans, and from his vantage point, almost as if they anticipated his escape, even now, three of these large dogs sat looking up at his window from the courtyard.
Turning from the window, Julian suddenly felt so alone. The love he had shared with Lauren these past few days, only emphasised his need to be part of someone, to know the love that had so long been denied him.
Tears slipped easily down his cheeks, and through misted vision, Julian picked up one of his favourite books, the complete works of Shakespeare. Snow had brought this book for him, after much persuasion, and Julian had always found solace in its pages. And there was one, one sonnet that stood out above the rest, one that seemed to smooth out his pain when all else failed, helping him to put things into perspective. Julian turned it up, happy to see the words swimming before his eyes, and brushed the tears away, so that his velvety voice could read out loud;
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
and look upon myself and curse my fate.
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope
with what I enjoy contented least.
Yet in these thoughts myself despising,
haply I think on thee,
and then my state, like the lark at break of day arising,
from sullen earth springs hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
that then I scorn to change my state with kings.’
Julian closed the book of poetry, “Arh” He sighed, “Shakespeare knew everything”, and as he had anticipated, he felt better, stronger, more in control of both himself and that other self. And he began to wonder about that.
How had he got something like that to possess him? What had he ever done to bring such a thing inside him?
Turning his hands over before his eyes, he noticed the fine down of hair that grew on the backs of his hands. His body had been covered with a dense growth of hair for as far back as he could remember.
Lauren had remarked upon it the first day they had made love. He smiled, it had been a part of him for so long, that he took it as second nature, but as Lauren had stared at his covering of tawny hair, so soft that it reminded her of fur, she said, he thought for a split second that she would be repulsed, until she lay her cheek against his torso, and confessed to rather liking the feel of it against her skin.
Julian smiled, what he would give to be with her now, yet those feelings that had erupted within him had frightened him. If she should ever see him that way, how then would she feel towards him?
Right now, with his mixed emotions, and his confusion by his own behaviour, and that rumble that had burst forth from him, sounding more like a roar than a shout, well Julian didn’t want to go to her feeling so mixed up as he did right now. She would sense something was not right, and she might conclude it had to do with her. And Julian didn’t want that. He loved her, and never wanted anything to worry her in any way, least of all if he were the cause of it.
A sound outside brought him to the window again, and Julian was intrigued to see his father getting into a small buggy which they used to travel around the island in. Perhaps he was going in search of Mariah.
For fleeting seconds, he went over his barbed conversation with his father earlier, at how surprised Gabriel had been to hear that his son might already have someone, and did not need his help in finding another. Did not want another. Lauren and he were connected, Julian did not understand how or why, but being a person that had spent so much time alone since coming to the island, he concluded that this other self was part of everyone. And that Lauren could partake of it, only added weight to that conviction.
Nonetheless, it was unusual for his father to do his own dirty work. Gabriel had seen Mariah, knew what she looked like, Snow knew too, so why didn’t he send Snow to do his bidding, as he usually would have done? Snow the hunter, sent out by Gabriel to track and dispose of unwanted persons, or persons who had not fulfilled the part that Gabriel had set for them. Julian could not feel sorry for Mariah, her fate was set even as she had agreed to helping Gabriel, no doubt for a vast sum of money that he had no intention ever parting with, and her death would not be due to his refusal to comply, simply, Julian knew without a doubt, that his father would not have had allowed her to live anyway, once the deed was accomplished.
Julian analysed that, broke it down and thought through each part slowly.
If Gabriel had set the woman up, in order for her to seduce his son, then why would he have her killed afterwards? Unless he’d hoped to hurt his son, Julian shook his head, there were so many possible reasons, none of which he was really happy with, but if he should have liked the woman, and had hoped to see her again, perhaps then that had been his father’s plan? Did he therefore, hate his son so much, that he would give in the one hand, and snatch away with the other, and if so, what did he hope to achieve?
His anger? Was that it? But why?
And if it had of been for that reason, then Gabriel must have known, that his anger would turn him into that, that, thing.
Julian did not know that his train of thoughts had led him away from his father’s original plan, and nothing could have been further from the truth, because Gabriel did not know for definite that his son harboured a bestial side to himself, a side which even Julian was in ignorance of its power, yet in his thinking, he drew a conclusion which in itself saved Lauren’s life.
Suddenly Julian gasped...his father would send Snow, he would. Never would he go himself, unless there was a reason, something he did not know perhaps, or someone he had not seen before...Lauren!
Immediately, Julian pulled up the window, watching as the dogs in the courtyard wriggled in anticipation, panting heavily, releasing long low whimpers of excitement, as he climbed down from the bedroom above.
Afraid for Lauren, and furious at his father, Julian jumped the last few feet, and backed against the wall. The three dogs drooled, licking the saliva from their jaws, as they trembled and side stepped one another, watching his every movement.
Julian stared at them, held their gaze, each in turn, “I am not frightened of you!” he spat at them, and he knew it. There was indeed no fear. One by one the dogs crouched to the earth, silenced by those penetrating blue eyes, and by the air of courage that prevailed around the boy, watching as he walked easily past them, and began to run towards the waterfall.
The fate of the three dogs were thus sealed, for if he did not arrive back before his father, then Julian knew that would be three less hounds to worry about.
And on the way to the falls, Julian infused his love through the connection with Lauren, praying that she would respond.
*** *** ***
Vincent stared out at the fountains, unseeing. His mind void of thought, his emotions rich with grief. This day Catherine was undergoing tests to reveal the extent of her fears, and Vincent had never felt so frightened.
If he should lose her, if the biopsy should reveal their worst fears, then Vincent felt he would surely go insane.
Catherine’s heart beating gently alongside his own while she slept beneath the anaesthetic was a source of great comfort to him. From the very first, when the tiny ethereal fingers had entwined her heart with his Vincent had never felt alone again, always whether Catherine had been alongside him or not, he had felt her there, glorified in the feel of her being so close to him, and now to know that one day that gently lull of her heart could cease to exist, choked him.
The hot tears cascading down his cheeks, fell to the dusty ground, and he did not bother to wipe them away. There was no shame in his crying, his heart was breaking, and the pain of his fear caused him grief such as he had never known before. Not even when they had lost Jacob.
At the mere thought of their son, Vincent lifted his head, tilting it in the way that Catherine loved so much, and his penetrating blue eyes took on a distant look, as his hands came up to slowly brush away the tears. For almost fifteen years, Vincent had been aware of his son’s life. And he knew that somewhere, Jacob was alive and well. Yet it was somewhere distant, out of reach, and even if Catherine had gone in search of that belief, Vincent knew that without him to guide her, it was a hopeless cause. Simply, Catherine no longer shared the same strength of the Bond with their son since her coma, and without a lead she was powerless to find him. For all that though, Vincent firmly believed, as did Catherine, that one day Jacob would return to them, that somehow, through their connection Vincent would lead his son home.
Now with Catherine’s life hanging in the balance, Vincent groaned. Time may be the one essence that they no longer had control over. Simply if the biopsy revealed their worst nightmare, then Jacob may never return in time to see his dear mother.
Of all the tragedy, that had to be the worst, and Vincent felt the tears gather and fall once again, powerless to stop them.
*** *** ***
Lauren didn’t understand the pull at first, but for some reason, thoughts of Julian suddenly filled her mind as she prepared for bed. It had been a long day, and she was tired. The journey to the other side of the island was tough going, there were many obstacles, not least her father, who for all the rough terrain was in himself her worst obstruction.
Both physically and mentally drained, Lauren raised the brush to her hair, tugging at the long silky length of it, trying to rid it of the tangles put there from pushing through dense forest, and wriggling beneath fences.
Yes it was a tough journey, both emotionally and physically, but it was worth it, and an early night would leave her refreshed enough to tackle it another day.
Turning back the covers, the bed invited her to lie beneath the sheets, when a fresh flood of Julian came through to her. Lauren stilled her racing heart to listen, something was certainly amiss here. Closing her eyes, she concentrated hard, Julian was trying to speak to her, she was sure of it, even though she was new to the strength of such a connection.
And though his words were hard to establish, the urgency was there, and Lauren knew he needed her, and he needed her now!
Turning from the bed, Lauren pulled her night-dress over her head, reaching for her clothes again, and donning them rapidly. It was still light outside, but the walk was a long one, and much of it would be covered beneath darkness. Rummaging in a box beneath the bed, Lauren sought for and found a torch. The beam was not strong, the batteries were old, and Lauren searched for a replacement. It was not a problem, electricity was non-existent on this island, and most things were battery controlled, and within seconds Lauren had replaced the batteries, happy when a fresh beam broke through bright and clear.
That part of the problem over, she stuffed her arms into her jacket, putting the torch safely within the pocket, and made her way out of her room and down the stairs.
It would have been most unusual for Gabriel to have been seen talking to local people. Simply they were below him, and thus were scum. Yet upon the island at that time was a man whom he considered slightly more in his league, and for the moment while the man was useful, he could be relied upon to help him.
As Lauren made her way down the stairs, she was startled to hear voices coming from the living room, and at first with relief, she headed for the door while her father was otherwise engaged, until she heard the name Julian mentioned. Stilling herself to listen above the pounding of her heart, Lauren waited by the open door, and peeped inside.
Her father, back to her, stood talking to another man, a tallish man, lean, well built and dark haired, and strained her ears to hear them.
“This is his photograph, have you ever seen him on this side of the island?”
Her father studied the photograph, held out in Gabriel’s hand, and shook his head, “Can’t say I have, though I am certain I would have remembered him, you say he’s your son, he looks nothing like you.”
Gabriel glared at Lauren’s father, “He takes after his mother, “ he told him, as Lauren’s father went on, “Run away has he?”
“Not at all!” Gabriel flared, then simmering down, softly added like a concerned parent, “no, I am just curious as to his whereabouts, who he knows, mixes with, you know how it is, we have to keep our children in line. They make such mistakes.”
“Yes I know how it is. And if you think bringing up a boy is hard enough, you should be grateful, for I can tell you a daughter brings more than its fair share of worries.”
“You have a daughter?” Gabriel asked interested, “Here?”
“Of course, I take her everywhere with me.”
“Perhaps I could meet her?”
“Why should you want to do that. I try to keep my business associates and my daughter far apart.”
Gabriel nodded, “Yes I understand. I wondered if perhaps she had seen my son.”
“If you leave the photograph, I’ll ask her in the morning.”
“Why not now?”
“Because she went to bed about an hour ago, and is probably sleeping now.”
“A little early, how old is she?”
“Fourteen. She was tired, spends most of the days here out exploring.”
Gabriel was intrigued, “My son is fifteen, its possible that they know one another.”
Lauren’s father shook his head, “No, impossible, your place is too far for her to travel, and also too well protected, she would never attempt to go there.”
Gabriel was not convinced, but suddenly the situation looked less likely, he nodded, “Well I’d be grateful if you could ask her, and watch her eyes, would you know if she were lying to you?”
“And why would she want to do that? If Lauren knows your son, she’d say so. She’d have no reason not too, besides she is far too young for a relationship, probably doesn’t even know what its for yet,” he laughed, “no don’t worry Sir, if Lauren has seen him about she’d tell me.”
Gabriel nodded, “as you say then.” he turned to leave, stopping only to reply when Lauren’s father asked, “Will you be returning home now?”
“Yes, I have some business to attend to, why do you ask?”
“Because if Lauren should wake up before I retire for the night, and she does know anything I’ll call you. That’s the one good thing about this place, and I’d sure like to thank the guy who had the forethought to install telephones, even if there is no juice on this side of the island.”
Gabriel nodded, “I accept your thanks, I had them installed, as to the electricity, no where on the island has it.”
“But your place...?”
“Generators.” Gabriel told him.
The other man nodded, understanding at once, “Perhaps you can bring some over this side sometime, it would sure as hell make life less complicated.”
Gabriel smiled at him, humouring him, “the photograph.” he offered it in his hand, and waited while Lauren’s father took it, and then headed for the door, stopping only briefly, “the other thing?” he queried.
“Taken care of, the last shipment left today.”
“Good. So you’ll be moving on now?”
“Day after tomorrow.”
“Back to the city?” Gabriel asked, though he wasn’t really interested, the fellow was as good as dead anyway.
“Yeah, back to the sweat and grime.”
Gabriel nodded, “See that the photograph is returned before you leave.”
Lauren raced away from the door, opening it out onto veranda and exiting as quickly as possible. Outside a large buggy was parked, and thinking fast, Lauren climbed into the rear, squashing herself down behind the front seats. If this was Julian’s father, and she was sure of it, then getting a lift back to his side of the island, would sure as hell beat walking, and get there a whole lot faster.
Heart in mouth, Lauren listened as footsteps crunched down the path, the door opened, and the vehicle sank as Gabriel got in to the drivers seat.
Listening with interest, as her father’s voice shouted above the roar of the engine as it burst into life, “See you.” and Gabriel’s reply, lost to her father but not to Lauren, “don’t count on it. Dead men can’t see.” and her muffled gasp went unnoticed as Gabriel’s sinister laughter filled the air.
Disorientated, Julian paced up and down, waiting for Lauren’s arrival. He sensed her approach, yet it was not via the forests through which she usually came, this time, she seemed to be heading towards the very house itself from the road!
Fearful that she would encounter the dogs, Julian made his way quickly back in that direction, hoping that he could arrive ahead of her.
Gabriel brought the buggy round to the front of the house, and was met by Snow at the door, “He’s gone Gabriel, Julian’s gone.”
“What of the dogs?”
“Their fate has paid for their crime. I’ve seen to that.” he answered his brother, then as a figure alighted from the buggy and darted across the grounds he shouted, “Hey you stop!”, and turning Gabriel’s eyes lit up knowingly, “So the mountain comes to Mohammed. No Snow leave her be, this is even better, she will play right into my hands.”
“She could have heard your name!” Snow gasped, “I’m sorry I didn’t think.”
“When my own brother cannot utter my name, what is the world coming to? Don’t worry Snow, she won’t get away, or be given the chance to tell it to anyone. Come let us follow her at a slower pace in the buggy.”
*** *** ***
Gasping, and slithering her way in the semi-darkness, Lauren followed the path in which she hoped was the right direction. Julian’s anxiety transmitted itself to her, and she followed the sense of him. Running low and fast, stopping only now and then to listen to see if she were being followed, Lauren chided herself for her foolishness. She’d heard enough from her father and Julian himself to know what a dangerous man his father was. And she’d heard his name, spoken by that other man. Gabriel! And he’d know that of course. Her life now was very much in danger.
Running blindly Lauren literally collided with Julian before she saw him, and he steadied her with strong arms, “Lauren!” crying her name, he looked over her shoulder, “Who are you running from?”
“He saw you?”
“Yes, and that other man.”
“I don’t know, maybe. He had white hair.”
“Yes that’s my uncle. Come I know a place, they will not find us there.” Turning her with an arm fastened around her shoulders, Julian led her quickly to his safe haven. No-one had ever discovered this place. There were times when Gabriel had Snow search for him, and though he could see Snow, his uncle could not find him. It was to this place that he now took Lauren. “You are going to have to get wet, but you will be safe there. Trust me.”
“I do. Julian I felt your anxiety, you wanted to see me.”
“Yes. My father knew I had someone, I wanted to warn you, he was coming in search of you. Lauren I have much to tell you, some of it will sound strange, but then no more than it is to me, but you must believe me Lauren, and you must trust me. I love you, nothing will alter that, no matter what my father might tell you.”
Her eyes wide with fear, Lauren replied, “I hope your father never gets the chance to tell me anything Julian, he’d kill me. You see, I heard your uncle speak your father’s name.”
Julian sucked in a breath, it whistled as it passed through his teeth, and he held Lauren closer, “Don’t be afraid Lauren, please don’t be afraid, I will take care of you, my father will not harm you I promise. Now, duck beneath this outcrop of rock, and mind your feet its slippery, this is the place we will be safe.”
*** *** ***
“Can you see them anywhere Gabriel?” Snow asked rounding the final bend on the approach to the falls, and dimming the lights.
“No, but then that doesn’t surprise me. Don’t you see Snow, whether he realised it or not, Julian possesses the same skill as the beast before him. Do you not remember how the beast would always come whenever Chandler was in trouble. He knew Snow, he always knew, no matter where she was sent, he would come for her, and he would save her in the nick of time. I don’t know how it works, but somehow he was able to sense where Chandler was and when she was in danger.”
“And you think Julian possesses this gift too?”
“I know he does. How else would he have been able to make the girl return here at this time of day. It all makes perfect sense. I am no fool Snow, and I will not be made to look like one.”
“He might have telephoned her then?”
“No not possible, I was at the house, no call came through while I was there, and Julian was locked in his room before I left.”
Snow nodded, his brother was seldom wrong, that’s how he had got where he was in the world, “Any idea where they might be then?”
“I know exactly where they will be.”
“Behind the waterfall. And if you do everything I ask of you, we will easily trap them inside.”
*** *** ***
Crystal flopped herself wearily down beside the mirror pool. It was her most favourite of places, and she came here as often as she could to get away from her chores, and since her mother had been away from time to time, there had been more to do, and more to think about, and Crystal felt the need to be alone.*** *** ***
This day though as she sat, dangling her feet into the pool, distorting the reflection of a blue sky overhead, she looked up surprised, when Joseph settled himself down beside her, saying, “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Then you didn’t look hard enough, you should have known I would be here.”
“What’s wrong Crystal?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean for weeks now, you have been different, changed somehow?”
“And you haven’t?”
“No, should I be?”
“You mean to tell me you haven’t noticed?”
“Joseph!” Crystal exclaimed, “I can’t believe it, oh honestly, men!”
Joseph laughed, “don’t you mean boys, I’m not that old yet.”
Crystal grew serious, “I’m worried about dad. And mom.”
“You really haven’t got a clue have you. How can you be so blind.”
“Crystal tell me what on earth you are talking about, you know I hate riddles.”
“Its not a riddle Joseph, its a fact. I’m worried about dad, and he in turn is worried about mom, surely you have noticed,” Crystal shook her head with disbelief, telling her brother softly, “Joseph, I think there’s something wrong with mom.”
Joseph’s eyes opened wide, “You don’t have to tell me, I think she is going off her rocker, you seen how many times she has balled me out just lately, and over the slightest of things...”
“I don’t mean that!”
“Then what do you mean?”
“There’s more to it than that. I think she is ill.”
“No! Joseph! What’s wrong with you don’t you care?”
Joseph shook his head, “Its not that, of course I do, but you know what dad’s like, he’d tell us if there was anything to worry about.”
“No I don’t think so, not this time. This time, its, its...serious.”
Joseph was shaking his head, “I doubt it, you have a vivid imagination. Look, if you are so sure, why don’t you ask him. Go on, you’re the one with all the guts, go and ask him.”
“Will you come with me?”
“What! Is that fear I hear? Wow, put the flags out.”
“I’m not scared Joseph. Least of all of my own father!” Crystal exclaimed, “I just thought you might like to come with me, hear what he has to say, after all she’s your mother too.” Crystal reminded him sarcastically. Sometimes her brother could be downright insensitive.
“Oh if I must. Do you know where to find him?”
“Uh huh, he’ll be where the fountains echo. He always goes there these days.”
“I never knew that.”
“You never know anything.”
Shivering from fear, and coupled with the wet of their clothing, Julian held Lauren tight in his arms, rubbing her limbs in an attempt to keep her warm, their whispered words echoed to the back of them while in front the very same words were drowned out by the roar of the cascading water.
“I’m frightened Julian.” Lauren shivered, stunned when a voice beyond the falls challenged, “So you should be.”
Julian stiffened, fury rising like a tide within him, as the beam of a flashlight signalled his father’s approach, through a channel of rock that Julian had not discovered was there.
“You said we’d be safe here,” Lauren’s teeth chattered from the cold and from fear, “I trusted you.”
Gabriel laughed, “I can see my son has mislead you my dear.”
Turning wide eyed to Julian, Lauren searched his face with disbelief, hearing as Julian cried, “You lie old man. I would never betray Lauren. I love her.”
“Love, love what do you know of love.”
“More than you do that’s for sure!” Julian cried, holding Lauren tighter against him. “All my life I waited for love from you, some sign that you regarded me as your son. Now I know you never wanted that from me, you wanted only to use me. Well I’m past being used old man, Lauren and I are going to live our life together, with or without your blessing.”
“You think so do you?” Gabriel’s voice mellowed, and only Snow knew what it took to keep it that way. The bunch of his shoulders alone told Snow of the hidden fury inside the man.
“And does your lady fair, know of the beast you harbour inside of you?”
Julian’s eyes were wary, and Gabriel laughed, “I can see she does not. Perhaps then we can hope for a demonstration to enlighten her?”
From deep below Julian felt the fury rising like a tidal wave, and attempted to squash it, no amount of goading would make him give in to his father’s taunts. If Lauren should see that thing arise, he knew he would lose her for certain.
With measured control Julian fought against his inner self, and won. Yet Gabriel was not to be put off, knowing his son would not admit to anything, he set to snare him, “So how far has this little affair gone. You do realise that the girl is underage I take it?”
Refusing to be wound up, Julian replied softly, “I know how old she is?”
“And breaking the law doesn’t bother you?”
“Its never bothered you!”
Gabriel sucked in a breath, his anger mounting, yet he had to know the truth, if his son had been having sex with the girl, then there was already the possibility of a child on the way.
“That is not what I asked.” Sensing Julian was more of a match than he bargained for, Gabriel tried another tactic, “And how do you think your father would feel Lauren, if I were to tell him that you have been sleeping with my son?”
Ignoring Julian’s silent plea, Lauren’s eyes opened wide, “You wouldn’t tell him!” She gasped, “Please...” Lauren shook her head, “don’t.”
Jubilant, Gabriel rejoiced, the girl had been so gullible, and unwittingly had fallen into a trap that he was now only just beginning to see existed, “I won’t tell him.” He told her, and saw her relax, as Julian’s piercing eyes warned him not to hurt her, “providing...”
Lauren held her breath, watching mesmerised, as Gabriel stroked his chin thoughtfully while a plan formulated in his mind. “Your father has to go to the mainland tomorrow for a couple of days, I shall tell him you are staying with us. Now come, I can see you are cold, and my son is forgetting his manners. Our home is warm and you will be most welcome there.”
Lauren looked up at Julian, she could sense his distress through their connection, but his father was right, it was cold there, freezing in fact, and the tiredness with which she had sought an early night, was slowing seeping into her bones, coupled with the release of the anxiety she had been feeling. Julian sensed her giving way and held her more tightly, begging her to understand.
His father had not welcomed a soul in his life, and going to the house could only prove to be dangerous for her. Yet even as Julian’s piercing blue eyes challenged the cold hard darkness of his father’s, unmoving, unfeeling, ones, Julian knew that for the moment his father had won. “Then Lauren is to share my room.” He told his father, unwilling to let her out of his sight.
“But of course.”
“And you are not to lock us in there?”
“As if I would.” Gabriel replied silkily.
“And tomorrow we can be together, you will not try to part us?”
“I promise, tomorrow you can be together.”
Julian stiffened, he heard the emphasis, knew his father well, but for now he was too tired to think anymore. Tomorrow was another day, and tomorrow he and Lauren could make plans. He’d play his father at his own game, let him believe he had won, while all the time plotting their escape. Without replying, Julian nodded, leading Lauren back beneath the falls, unaware that Gabriel, casting a look from Snow to Lauren, made the cut-throat sign behind her back!
*** *** ***
Waiting, beside the fountains, brought about one of the hardest times Vincent had to endure. Leaning against a hard stone wall, he could feel the dampness seeping through his long cloak and trousers, but that was the least of his worries.
Father would chide him if he caught a chill, he well knew that, but this place, the place that had held so many wondrous moments for himself and Catherine, he would not be drawn from no matter what.
This would be where she would picture him sitting when she came around from the anaesthesia and the moment when Peter spoke to her, he would know as would she, whether she would live or whether she would die. Choking back a sob, Vincent fought for control, he had to be strong, for her, for them.
This was Catherine’s most favourite of places Below, it was so tranquil here, with the bubbling fountains providing just the right amount of sound as a backdrop to her thoughts. He had laughed once, “How can it be Catherine, being here is a fraction noisier that being at the waterfall, how can you concentrate?”
He could remember every word of her reply, and still it made a warm glow rush over him, “Its the echo Vincent. Here I can speak aloud my problems and the while the fountains echo, my words trail away into that echo and are washed away. Gone forever, and I have no more need to worry about them. And you, my love, can be thankful that you brought me here, because there is no place on earth that I would rather be.”
Being here then, awaiting Catherine’s recovery from her second operation, Vincent knew there was no place more perfect to cast his words to the wind, the gentle breeze created by the rushing water sucked them away, mingling with the fountains’ echo, and relieved him from his pain.
Catherine was right, while the fountains echoed, their sound did wash away all problems. The beauty of the place, the tranquillity, it was just perfect, and it was their place, the place they would come just to be together, to talk, to heal.
It was the place they sought and had spent hour after hour, when Jacob had been taken from them, and it was the one place they sought when memories of him became too unbearable to share.
Reminiscing on the past with Catherine in his life, Vincent dwelt on the time after Charles Chandler’s death when his daughter had come to stay Below to heal.
At that moment in time, Vincent had found her nearness a physical strain, being so close. He laughed now, the sound sucked away into echoes the moment it became airborne.
How hard he had fought the desire to love her, and how easily in time, she had broken down his reserve, and let him see that what he had fought against so hard was just an impossibility.
There were so many joys Catherine had brought him, but one moment stood out above all the rest, the moment when she thanked him at the threshold for letting her stay Below while she had grieved for her father.
And while the fountains echoed, Vincent spoke out loud of that time, knowing without a doubt that the echo would take his words straight to Catherine’s heart;
‘Some memories never die,
They live on, golden in our hearts,
Like candles burning in the wind,
Forever lighting our way,
They become as dreams,
Always to be dreamed anew,
So many memories - dark and light -
Bitter and sweet,
Never ending, never letting go,
Yet one moment in time I shall not forget.
You touched my soul with eyes filled with longing,
With words filled with love,
And you held me in your arms,
Tiny hands around my heart,
Then, in a heartbeat that lasted a lifetime -
You kissed me.’
Sighing, Vincent brushed away a tear, the memory stirring up his emotions, of all they had shared since, their life together, the happiness she had brought him, how would he ever get through a life with only his memories to keep him company, without her?
Choking back further sobs, Vincent stared out at the fountains that Catherine loved so much, and wondered if he could ever dare to come to this place if it meant coming alone in the future.
To be there without Catherine would surely be the death of him, if he hadn’t died already. For how could live without her?
The answer came as a movement to one side of him caught his eye, and brushing away his fallen tears, he looked through misty eyes to the sight of his two children hesitating in the entranceway. How could he leave them? They needed him to live.
He smiled weakly at them, as Crystal asked softly, “May we join you dad?”
Holding out an arm, Vincent beckoned them inside, not trusting himself to speak, and they came, one on either side, settling themselves down beside him, and wrapping their arms around his waist.
“What is it?” He asked, knowing that they were troubled, though unable to sense their emotions.
“What’s wrong dad?” Crystal asked gently.
“With whom?” His words were guarded, Catherine had not wanted their children to know anything, until there was something definite to tell them.
“With you, with...mom? Don’t put us off dad, there is something wrong with mom isn’t there? Its not just a routine check up is it? What aren’t you telling us?”
“It is your mother’s wish that you should be kept in the dark, I would betray her if I should give you the answers you seek”
“Why, because we wouldn’t understand? Dad we love you, both of you, and seeing you like this, it hurts us, we know something is wrong, and sometimes you know, the imagination can take us to further heights than the reality and we could be worrying greater, than we would if we had been told the problem.”
Vincent shook his head, “You speak just like your mother.”
“Don’t evade the subject dad.” Crystal told him crossly.
Tilting his head to seek her eyes, Vincent felt a tightening in his chest, his daughter was just like her mother, almost as if it were Catherine’s eyes that looked back so defiantly into his own. How many times had he seen that look, how many times had he heard the words utter from those same lips, “Vincent, we can be anything to one another, if only you’d let yourself believe’?
Shaking his head, Crystal thought he was again denying everything, “No dad I wont let you, not this time, something is wrong, I can feel it, in here.” She pointed to the region of her heart, and Vincent was awed. Never before had either of these two children felt a connection to either himself or Catherine, it was one of their greatest of sadness, that only with Jacob had they felt a connection. Catherine had reasoned once that maybe the extended gift died when Jacob was lost to them, and only remained between himself and her, and that little part that Jacob still held.
“There are things that are not mine to tell, it is your mother’s wish, but you are correct, she is unwell, but we are not to worry, Peter is with her and he will do everything he can...”
“Not worry like you are not worrying you mean? Dad this is so unfair, you know us, you know what this means to us!”
“You are very quiet Joseph?” Vincent remarked upon his son’s silence. Crystal exhaled a breath of exasperation. Her father had very cleverly changed the subject yet again.
Joseph exhaled a hint of laughter, “You know Crystal, dad, she always was the one for the words.”
Vincent nodded, “Yes, just like your mother.”
“And I take after you, the strong silent type.”
Vincent laughed out loud, the sound rippling through the cavern, further and further away as it echoed around them.
“This is a wonderful place dad.” Joseph told him, “I can see the attraction of being here.”
Nodding Vincent agreed, there were no words to describe its beauty.
“So tell us dad?” Crystal attempted to bring her father back to the conversation at hand, “why is mom in hospital?”
“She’ll be home soon, why don’t you ask her yourself?”
“I’ll do better than that, I’ll go Above and visit her.”
“I will.” Defiantly, Crystal stared back at her father’s distress to hear her say such a thing.
“Please.” the word escaped on a sob, and immediately Crystal felt sorry. Ever since their brother was taken, her parents had prevented either Joseph or herself to go Above, and fear of being kidnapped too, had made them obey.
“I’m sorry dad I wouldn’t do that, forgive me.” Sobs came then and Crystal buried her face into his chest, in a gesture that once again reminded him so much of Catherine.
“Don’t worry Crystal, when there is something to tell, you will be told. We have each other and that’s all that matters for now. In a few days your mother will be home, and we will tell you everything.”
Tear filled eyes raised to his, “Promise?” She hic-cupped.
Kissing the tip of his daughter’s nose, and hugging his son more fiercely to his side, Vincent promised, “Now we had best go, I for one am getting cold, and it will soon be time for lunch.”
Crystal attempted a smile, “I love you dad. No one could have a dad more special than you.”
Her tender words left them all in tears.
*** *** ***
“Lauren wake up!” Julian rocked his love hard, “Wake up!” rewarded when Lauren opened her eyes, and upon seeing him there beside the bed on which she lay, she struggled to sit upright.
“What are you doing here!” she almost screamed, “My father will kill you.”
“You’re at my home remember, and those words are truer than you think, but it is my father who will kill you! Come we must get out of here, before he wakes up.”
“Where can we go? There is no way off this island Julian.” Lauren told him as she suddenly remembered the events of the previous evening.
“We have to try, there must be a boat we can get on. If we leave now, we can go out with the fishing boats. If we don’t try, our lives are at risk staying here.”
“Won’t your father be expecting us to do something like this?”
“Of course. Nothing escapes him, that’s what makes everything so hard, but Lauren we still have to try, sitting here will not save us.”
“Where will we go?” Lauren asked as she quickly dressed, “We cannot possibly go to my father, he would only telephone yours.”
“My father was sending yours to the mainland today, we must be careful not to get onto the same boat as he will be on, so we have to watch when he comes out of the house, and after that, we’ll find a boat to stowaway on, and hope it takes us to the mainland, from there we will search for that secret place I told you about.
Lauren shook her head, she wanted to believe him, and she knew it was it was futile to argue with him. The place he spoke of may exist only in his dreams, she reasoned, but he was right about one thing, any place was safer than where they were right now.
Taking his hand, the pair of them alighted from the bedroom window, much the same as Julian had hours earlier, thankful that with the death of the Dobermans, they had one less thing to worry about.
Jumping down the last few feet to the courtyard below, Julian used all his senses to sum up their predicament.
“Come”, he whispered, “ keep low, and run on the grass, follow me.” Taking her hand Lauren followed, as heart in her mouth, they ran through the grounds, hesitating only moments for one last look at the fountains as they passed by, and ran onwards towards the high security fence.
“How do we get over?” Lauren asked looking up at the wire, “Perhaps we should have gone my way?”
“We are, we are just making it hard for them. They will expect us to go in a straight line, take the quickest route out of here, either straight to the road, or straight to the falls. Father will not be expecting this. Come, this way, and when we are on your familiar ground you can lead me.”
Running hard and fast, the two young lovers made their way past the waterfall. There was no time to stop and look, for just the sound of the cascading water brought its memory fresh to mind. Julian would miss being there, sat beside the waterfall, and he would miss the fountains, still there would be other waterfalls, other fountains, he was sure of it, and even if there weren’t the alternative was better than staying besides the ones he loved just for the sake of it, for he knew with all certainty that to do so, he would be sacrificing Lauren’s life. His father was a dangerous man, Lauren had heard his name, and his father would not allow anyone to know it, save his brother and his son.
Lauren was as good as dead in his father’s eyes.
It took almost two hours before Lauren was relieved by the familiar sight of the track that she had been using for the past week, and ducking beneath a large shrub, she paused only moments to point to the area, and show Julian the way ahead. “We must be careful now, my father knows this island better than anyone. He was born here. This might all be for nothing Lauren, but at least we have tried.” With that they stood for long moments regaining their breath in one another’s arms, and Julian kissed her long and hard before they started their escape once again.
The way was hard, for once Julian marvelled that Lauren had undertaken such a journey just to see him. Pushing through bushes that were intent on scratching if one was not careful, and ducking beneath outcrops of rock, they made the journey stealthily, making good time. It was still dark, only the light from the moon lighting their way, and Julian knew that while the cover of darkness remained, they still stood a chance.
Eventually the sound of the ocean crashing on rocks beneath them, signalled that they were almost there. “Here”, Lauren lifted a piece of fencing, “You have to roll, mind your clothing doesn’t get caught. You first.”
Julian did as she bade him, and then helping her through, they set off again, “You have to mind your footing, its slippery here, and its a long drop down to the beach.”
Again Julian marvelled at the way Lauren had trod so often, at the same time grateful that she had chosen such a dangerous route. It was less likely his father would believe they had come this way, there were much easier routes they could have taken.
“Not much further now.”
“Does this come out near your villa?”
“No, thankfully, that’s over there, opposite direction, but you can see the door clearly from another spot. Come I’ll show you.” Lauren led Julian by the hand past rows of poles which appeared to be some kind of fencing, until he smelt the heavy scent of fish, “They dry it here, then salt it for transportation.” Lauren told him sensing his interest, “Come we are almost there.” At last she bade him be still, and to lie flat, “See, the villa is just down there, from here, if we wait, we will see when father leaves.”
Catching their breath, and arms around one another, Julian and Lauren lay amongst the tall grasses, hidden from view above the line of villas, Julian sighed, they were safe here, as safe as could be, and he relaxed, allowing further plans to formulate in his mind.
Along the shore the fishing boats were anchored, ready for a fresh days fishing. Some boats would not go to the mainland, some would stay out on the ocean all day anticipating a good catch, it would do neither off them any good to be on one of those! But wait, it would!
If he could outwit his father, let Gabriel believe they had got on a boat making fish deliveries to the mainland, they might stand a chance.
Better to spend the day out on the ocean waves, and then switch to another boat to make the journey the following morning. His father would not suspect this, would assume that he and Lauren had tried to get off the island at the first possible opportunity. As he thought things through, Lauren whispered, “I have an idea Julian. See that boat, that one anchored out there, its always there, I think the owner died or something, we could get onto it.”
“Could we use it to get away.”
Lauren shook her head, “Not a wise move, it would be missed, and the coast-guard alerted. But we could stay on board until it was safer to move again. What do you think?”
“It beats being out on a fishing boat all day.”
“What?” Lauren drew her brows together.
“Nothing, just another idea I had, okay, its perfect, well, do we swim out?”
“Yes, but take off your T-shirt first.”
“If you take off yours and I do the same, we can fill them with fruit to take with us. Knot the neck and arms, T-shirts make terrific hold-alls when there is nothing else to use.”
Julian smiled, “You’ve done this before?”
“Not on this island, but believe me, you can collect so many things in a T-shirt. I’m a real beachcomber at heart.”
“So we don’t have to wait until your father leaves now either?”
“No, come on, lets get the fruit, and go.”
*** *** ***
A sinister sneer formed on Gabriel’s face when Snow brought him the news that Julian and Lauren had made their escape, “Just as you had surmised, did you want me to help you search for them Gabriel?”
“Yes, but I don’t think we need look far. They will have made for the road.”
“I’ll bring the bloodhounds anyway.”
“As you wish.”
Gabriel could think of better things to occupy his time, than following behind two great dogs, that with noses to the ground, pulled his brother along. From time to time, one or the other would lift its mighty head and bay into the night, signifying that they were on the track of their quarry.
Heading straight passed the fountains, Gabriel could not contain his laughter, “Just as I thought, typical children, we don’t need the dogs Snow. Take them back and bring the car, we will cover the distance far quicker without them.”
“Let’s just take the dogs to the gate, just to be sure.”
“No, let them go, we can watch from here, if they mill around the gate baying, then whistle them back, it will save us the journey by foot.”
Snow unleashed the dogs, watching as they bounded away beneath the diffused light of pre-dawn, reached the gate, milled around a few moments, then set off baying along the perimeter fence, Gabriel shrugged, “So they took some time finding a convenient way out, don’t worry. Just get the car.”
Leaving his brother, Snow headed back for the garage, while Gabriel continued to watch the dogs. Believing that at any moment they would stop, and set to baying at a certain spot to indicate frustration at not being able to pursue their quarry, he frowned when the two dogs set off in hot pursuit showing no sign of abating, and were soon out of sight. Running now, Gabriel followed, led by the sound of their baying, realising with fury, all too late that the two young lovers had been cleverer than he had assumed, and it looked as though they had gone into hiding after all!
*** *** ***
Safe upon the boat, Lauren and Julian found dry rags to rub themselves down with, and put out their clothing to dry upon the deck by the noon day sun, “Do you think anyone will try here?” Lauren asked concerned at leaving her clothing where it was plain to see.
“No, all the activity will take place around us. We will be safe, this is perfect, I feel it in my bones. But we must rest, we have a long way to go yet, and our troubles have only just started.”
“But we are together.” Lauren reminded him, “And nothing will ever change that Julian, not ever.”
“Never”, Julian agreed, “I love you Lauren. Somehow, we were meant to be together, and I aim to see that it stays that way. Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of a wonderful way to relax and get me off to sleep.”
Lauren smiled, coming into his embrace with joy in her heart, they were together, that’s all that mattered, and from this day forth nothing would ever change that.
*** *** ***
The sound of the explosion startled them. Jumping to their feet before they were fully awake, Julian and Lauren looked out of the murky windows and saw with dismay huge flames burning upon the very sea itself, as the fuel spread in multi-coloured circles outwards from the boat that had just been ripped apart.
“What could have happened?” Lauren cried, hugging Julian fiercely, “It sounded like a bomb!”
Staring out to the remains of the craft awash upon the ocean, Julian knew that’s what it had been, and there was only one person he knew to have planted such a device, and for one reason only.
Lauren sensed his unrest, “What is it?” she cried, “Tell me, what’s on your mind, you’re frightening me.”
“Its nothing. Don’t worry. Its not our problem, and we need to keep low, and bring down our clothing in case the coast guards send a chopper over to search for survivors.”
“You don’t think they’ll search here?”
“No we are too far for anyone to swim to, besides that blast would have surely killed the passengers.”
Lauren nodded, relieved, yet there was still something that bothered him, she was certain of it, but she let it be. He would tell her if he thought she should know.
Yet Julian could not tell her of his suspicions. If Gabriel had been behind that blast, he would have known for a certainty who he was terminating, and if Gabriel could not be sure that Lauren was the victim, then it had to be someone else, and there was only one other person that Julian knew of, who was set to travel on a boat that day to the mainland. And that person had to be none other than Lauren’s father himself!
*** *** ***
Coming around from the anaesthesia, Catherine discerned Peter’s dear face watching her, and struggled to wake up. This had been her second biopsy, the first having revealed nothing, yet the pain and the lump had continued to grow. Undergoing the second operation, Catherine and Vincent had been filled with the most foreboding dread they had ever had, believing that the cancer was eating its pathway through her internal organs and that nothing now would stop it.
So as Peter’s face came into focus, and Catherine saw not distress but joy etched into his dear face, Catherine rejoiced, “Tell me?” she croaked through dry lips.
A smile lit Peter’s face, “You’re awake. I would have waited all day if I had to do, I just had to see your face when you were told. Cathy, its all right,” he shook his head, as if he still had trouble believing it himself, “it was a tumour, but it wasn’t malignant, Cathy do you hear what I am saying to you? You are going to live!”
Relief flooded through Catherine like the waves of the sea, and tears burst from her green eyes. “Oh Peter!” was all she could manage, then “Does Vincent know?”
Peter nodded, “I sent word as soon as I knew, but if he doesn’t know yet he will by now, I expect your relief has transmitted itself to him even as we speak.”
Catherine nodded, “Yes he will know. Oh Peter, what a relief, I can’t believe it, we were so afraid.” Catherine’s voice deep with unshed tears wavered.
“I know, and we’ll need to run checks on you from time to time of course, but I can’t believe it myself Catherine, it was quite a large tumour, but honestly we have sliced it up, and tested it through and through and still there is nothing there, not even the slightest trace of cancer.”
“Then what caused it?”
Peter shook his head, “A miracle perhaps.”
“No I mean what caused the tumour.”
Peter smiled, “Yes I know what you meant young lady, I couldn’t resist that’s all. I don’t know Cathy, if I did I’d be a millionaire, just be thankful that’s all and that you live to tell the tale.”
“When will I be allowed home Peter?”
“In about three days, you are going to be awfully sore for some weeks so take it easy. Now shall I leave this window unlocked, no doubt a certain someone will visit you tonight.”
A smile lit Catherine’s eyes, as she nodded, she had only been without Vincent a few hours, and already it seemed like a lifetime. “Funny isn’t it Peter. Once, I could never have contemplated the thought of spending fifteen years beneath the earth, but since Jacob was taken from us, I have never had the desire to see the light of day again.”
“Yes its been a long time Cathy, and no doubt it still holds its own fears?”
Catherine nodded, “Being without Vincent, the children, yes, being here, looking out at the sunshine, it feels alien to me. And I can’t wait to get back home to where I know its safe.”
“It has been a long time Cathy.” Peter mused, and Catherine followed his train of thought by his saddening expression, “almost fifteen years now. Yet you never gave up hope.”
“Never. One day, Peter, he will come home. I don’t know what it is, why I hold on to that hope, but I know it will come true.”
“In the end, hope is all we ever have Cathy, and it is a good thing if it keeps you sane.”
“Its more than that Peter. Vincent knows Jacob is well, he feels him. Not strong enough anymore to know his whereabouts, but well enough to know he lives. That driving force has kept us going Peter, that and the conviction that he will return to us eventually. Sometimes, Vincent has vivid dreams that Jacob remembers life Below.”
“Yet he was only six months old when he was kidnapped Cathy.” Peter had his doubts.
“Nonetheless Peter, Jacob was a remarkable child, gifted like Vincent. I believe he will remember. Neither of the other two children show any sign of having this gift. It has been a source of great sadness to Vincent, and I, that we have no such Bond with either of them. Jacob was special, is special, I have no doubts Peter, he will come home.”
Peter nodded, and stood up to leave, “Well young lady talking of dreams, that’s what you should be doing right now. You need to sleep Cathy, and I’ll see you in the morning eh?” Catherine nodded, watching as Peter unlocked the windows as promised, and then watched him walk from the room with a final smile before closing the door behind him. Catherine smiled, everything was right with the world again, and though Peter had shut out the sunlight when he drew the curtains to hide the unlocked windows, her happiness was such that her heart burst with a warmth that totally eclipsed the sun.
*** *** ***
Furious now, at being so obviously fooled by his son, Gabriel made his way to the mainland. Leaving Snow on the island, with instructions to keep up the search, while Gabriel employed the help of his employees on the mainland to watch out for the two young lovers.
Giving a photograph of Julian to each of them, they set off in various directions all along the coastline, asking anyone they saw, if Julian had been seen.
*** *** ***
Julian knew the dangers associated with his and Lauren’s change of plan to delay their escape, but it was a chance they’d had to take. The day and night they had spent on the deserted boat gave them time to rest, and refreshed, they set off at last for the mainland, stowing away on a boat taking salted fish to awaiting lorries.
Disembarking onto dry land, the pair made their way steadily through the port, ever mindful of the care they had to take, as hand in hand, dodging fishermen as often as possible, unsure of the way, they followed road traffic signs leading to the highway.
*** *** ***
The radio in Gabriel’s hand crackled, and holding it to his ear, he was delighted when a voice told him, “Your son, would he be wearing a dark blue jacket, with yellow seams?”
At once, in his minds eye, Gabriel recognised the jacket, “Yes, can you see him?”
“Would he have a girl with him, ‘bout twelve, thirteen, long blonde hair?”
Gabriel smiled, he had given this information to no-one, “Yes, where are they?”
“Heading your way. For the freeway I guess. You could intercept them at the junction.”
Switching off the radio, Gabriel ran quickly towards his car, the one he kept on the mainland to drive through to New York in, a car which Julian had never seen.
Driving towards the intersection, Gabriel waited, watching every movement through the tinted windows, strumming the steering wheel with his fingers impatiently.
*** *** ***
“Hey mate”, Julian addressed the trucker, as he made final preparations to leave, “Would you take me and my girlfriend as far as you are going?”
The trucker smiled down at him, “Sure, and where would that be?”
“Any place out of here.” Julian laughed, “Where you headed?”
“Right across the state. Into America, through to Mexico eventually, you want to go that far?”
“Can you drop us off in New York?”
Lauren tugged Julian’s arm, whispering, “We don’t have to head for my home Julian, another place would do. Father might be home by now.”
“No, its okay Lauren”, he whispered back, “we’ll start there, its a place you know, better to go there then anywhere else, and if there is a chance your father isn’t home yet, perhaps we can stay at the house?”
Lauren nodded, “All right.”
Turning back to the trucker, Julian went on, “Can you take us. I can pay you.”
“Keep your money. I’d be glad of the company. How soon do you want to go?”
“Is now too soon?”
“You running from someone?”
Julian nodded, “My father.” He didn’t usually tell people so readily, but somehow he felt he could trust this man.
“Do those men work for your father?” the trucker nodded in the direction of a group of suit clad men standing in a semi-circle watching them.
Julian followed his gaze, “I don’t know, have they been watching us?”
“I think so. They seem awfully interested in looking this way. Its like they are waiting for a signal or something. You want my advice?”
“You might not like it, but as it happens you are talking to one with experience. My wife and I eloped too. I could take your girl with me, drop her off in New York, and you could take another lorry and meet her there. If those men are after you and not the girl, it would be the safest way, they already presuming you will be in this vehicle.”
“Is there another lorry going your way today?”
The driver nodded, “There’s a convoy of us leaving today, I could radio through to my mate, he’d take you.”
“Yes, please do that, how will I know which lorry is his?”
Picking up a pen and paper in one hand, and his C.B. in his other, the driver scribbled down a registration number of his mate’s lorry, at the same time speaking into the receiver, “Firecracker you there?”
“Yup. That you Woollyback?”
At Julian and Lauren’s questioning look, the trucker whispered, “I keep sheep back home.” then to his mate went on, “There’s a kid, needs a lift, I’m taking his girl with me, will you take him wherever he wants to go?”
“Sure, send him over. Are you almost ready to leave?”
“Ready and waiting, what about you?”
“Twenty minutes should do it, I’ll meet you out on the freeway.”
“Thanks Firecracker.” Turning to Julian, he pointed to a group of lorries, “You’ll find him among them. Hop up girl, get in the back, stay low, and don’t worry, I’ll see you safe, this is kinda exciting, brings back the memories.” turning to Julian he went on, “You’ll be safe too, want to know how I met Firecracker?” he went on without waiting for Julian’s reply, “he helped me and my girl escape all those years ago, he’ll not let you down.”
“Thank you.” Julian told him gratefully. “Thank you so much.”
The driver grinned. “Think nothing of it, it’s kinda nice to help someone else.”
*** *** ***
The radio crackled again, while Gabriel waited. Picking it up, he flicked the switch and answered, hearing the voice of another of his men, “They’ve split up. The girl is in one Zedtac trailer, the boy is going across to another.”
“Stop him!” Gabriel cried, “I’ll meet you over there.”
*** *** ***
Watching as the lorry containing Lauren made its way out of the port was the hardest thing Julian had to do. He knew it made sense, but he wanted to be with her. They had only moments to embrace and whisper loving words before she had got inside the lorry. Those words echoed in his mind even now, “Remember Lauren I love you, and if anything should go wrong, find the place Lauren, that secret place, and I’ll find you, come what may, I’ll find you I promise.”
Clinging to him, Lauren had felt her tears falling, “I love you Julian. Take care, see you soon huh?”
Julian nodded, “Be Well Lauren. I love you.”
And then within moments, the great lorry’s engine roared into life, and Julian stood watching Lauren’s sorrow filled face pressed against the glass, as the driver drove towards the highway.
Quickly now, Julian made his way across to Firecracker’s trailer, ever conscious of the many eyes upon him. Hoping that Lauren had got away safe, he couldn’t be sure of his own escape. For suddenly there were suited men striding towards him in every direction that he looked.
Firecracker held open the door of the cab for him, “They after you?” he motioned towards the men, as a long black car slowed to a halt beside them.
Julian nodded, “I think so. My father has found me. Can you radio through to your mate and tell him to look after Lauren, tell her to stick to the plan and not to worry, and please don’t tell anyone where they are headed.”
“That’s one thing in your favour son, there are a whole bunch of Zedtac trailers on the road today, once Woollyback reaches the highway, there’s no telling which lorry will have your girl inside. Don’t worry he’ll take care of your girl. He has daughters that age himself.” then as the door of the car opened, he added, “Good luck son.” before climbing into his cab to mind his own business.
*** *** ***
Gabriel alighted from the car, facing his son with a sneer, “So you thought you could outsmart me. You have much to learn. Get in!” he held open the door, as Julian looked around him quickly. His father’s men had now formed a circle around him, there was no-where to run, and with a defeated sigh, Julian obeyed his father, watching as Gabriel got back into the driver’s seat and with a curt nod towards his men, closed the door. In silence they drove back towards his private boat, and in silence Julian allowed his father to lead him on board, his heart was with Lauren, feeling the distance separate them, and he prayed that with each passing mile that shetravelled, her safety was assurred.
*** *** ***
“This could be good. This might be something. Could use this. Yes, find good use for this.” Mouse mumbled to himself as he picked his way over the debri discarded outside a factory for collection by the refuse truck.
With his bright eyes used to finding and selecting items suitable for his gizmos and inventions, the blonde haired fellow rummaged through the various items, until he was satisfied he could carry no more, then making his way through a well known ally, he entered an old burnt out pancake house, and disappeared inside.
Daylight filtered through the broken windows, and his sudden movements made the dust particles dance, just how he liked to see it, and for a moment he hesitated to watch. He remembered as a child, how he had believed it to be fairies dancing on a sunbeam, and had never forgotten how happy that belief had made him feel, to know he was not alone in the world, to know that someone watched over him.
It had been so long ago since he had felt so alone, not since before the day that Vincent had found this gentle scavenger, living amongst the rubbish, seeking scraps and waste thrown out at the back of bars and diners to keep himself alive.
He had been unable to talk then, only muffled sounds, frightened and alone. Until Vincent with his velvety words and gentle speech had won him around, taken him Below to a life he had never before known, to a place where he was welcomed by people who accepted him as one of them, and who had given him the affectionate name of Mouse.
And in time Mouse had fallen in love with and married another member of the tunnel community, Jamie, and they had two children of their own.
Yet Mouse had never forgotten the joy of scavenging, and though Father despaired at him often, the young man just would not give up going Above to see what he could find.
This day, watching the fairies dance again, he smiled when he thought of his friend Vincent. This latest design was for him, something to bring the sunlight Below, something to bring Vincent happiness.
A movement in a corner caught his eye, “Who’s there?” he turned quickly, “Vincent?”
“No.” came the soft frightened voice.
“Who are you?”
“That doesn’t matter, can you help me?” there was pain in the voice, and despair.
“Are you hurt. I know a doctor?”
“Yes,” the word came forth on a sigh, “A doctor yes, I need one, can you bring him to me?”
“No, he is old, can’t walk far, I’ll take you to him.”
“No, I wouldn’t make it. Please bring him to me.
Mouse shook his head, “Can’t. But wait, I know someone. Wait here, don’t go, promise?”
“I promise. I don’t think I could move anyway. But please hurry, I think I am having my baby.”
At those words, Mouse hesitated just once, dropping the items he had so painstakingly sought all evening, running to a section where he could raise the alarm, then coming back to his place, he waited for help to arrive.
*** *** ***
Muffled voices and warmth, beautiful glorious warmth, brought a sigh to the young girl’s lips, as gentle hands examined her. And there was a soft amber glow that flitted, in and out of her dreams, and a background sound of gentle tapping that lulled and soothed her tired mind.
“Water please Mary.” the words were born on a whisper, the hands were gentle and firm that held a cup to her lips, “here drink this, just a few sips, can you tell me your name?”
Taking the liquid down into her dry throat, she swallowed gratefully, “Lauren”, she croaked when the soothing water had eased away the pain.
“Lauren.” her name was repeated, “You must try to tell me, how many months are you?”
Lauren sought her mind for memories, only one came to mind, “Julian?” She questioned.
The name was dismissed, “Lauren try to listen please, you have to try to tell me, how many months pregnant are you?”
Lauren shook her head, she had lost all track of time in just trying to survive these past few months. Searching for a place that only existed in Julian’s mind, waiting for a father who never returned, for a boy who had not kept his promise to find her, tears squeezed beneath her lashes, as the only time she could remember came to mind. “July.” She replied.
“July? Was that when the child was conceived?”
Father did a quick calculation and straightened, telling Mary gravely, “Send for Peter Mary, I don’t like this. The child is well on its way, it will be premature, and the girl needs to be in a hospital.”
Mary quickly left the room, as another contraction shot through Lauren, leaving Father with only one thought in mind, “Mary!” he screamed, waiting as she doubled back, “there’s no time, the baby is almost here, we have to deliver the child ourselves.”
“But Jacob, we aren’t equipped, we’ll need an incubator.”
Father shook his head, “We’ll have to do the best we can Mary, I can already see the head. But the girl is weak, we can only hope and pray that both survive this.”
Mary nodded, watching as another great contraction filled the girl with pain, “She is so young Jacob, no more than a child herself, too young to be faced with bringing up a child.”
“With a seven month pregnancy, Mary, I shouldn’t worry,"Father whispered so that only Mary heard him, "it will be a miracle if the child survives!”
*** *** ***
For those same seven long months, Julian, had been kept locked in his father’s house on the island, with no way of making a further attempt at escaping, his only joy, at Lauren’s obvious survival, if his father’s temper was anything to go by.
Oblivious and confused as to the reason why Gabriel sought Lauren so desperately, other than the fact that she knew his name, Julian could only rejoice, as week after week his father’s frustrated plans reached another dead end. Simply, the girl seemed to have slipped off the face of the earth.
Yet one thing bothered him, had it not of been for his father’s obvious frustration at not finding her, Julian would have concluded that he had, because all sense of her slowly trailed away as the first weeks of their separation went into months, until finally Julian found no sense of her at all within his heart.
And then one day, miraculously, joyously, it was there again!
It woke him from his dreams. Sitting bolt upright, the sense of Lauren flooded his being, almost as if she were in the same room as him, and she was happy, he was sure of it, deliriously happy, and Julian was filled with a fresh sense of hope. He felt her love for him, and there was something else, something she tried so desperately to tell him, and he could not grasp its meaning, but the joy it gave him made everything he had suffered at the hands of his cruel father worthwhile, and Julian knew one thing, that the days of his aloneness were now gone for ever, for somehow, some way, Lauren would rescue him, and soon they would be together, never to be apart again.
,br>*** *** ***
One name, just one name shrieked from Father’s lips as he brought Lauren’s baby into the world. Taking one look at the tiny well developed child in his hands, the name had left his lips without forethought, “VINCENT!” he bellowed, making the poor girl jump, and the baby whimper with fear.
Vincent met Mary in the tunnel running to find him, “Vincent you must come quickly, and Catherine...” Mary was relieved to see Catherine bringing up the rear, then instantly afraid, halted her, “No stay here. Catherine wait!” but the younger woman followed her husband regardless of Mary’s restraining hand upon her arm.
Lauren was only just coming around, as Vincent charged into the chamber pulling up his hood over his head as he did so, hiding from her view, and stopped abruptly as Father held up the new-born child, his eyes wide with shock.
Looking down, first Vincent, then Catherine, gasped at the tiny replica of Vincent himself, a cub-like creature that stared back at them with defiant deep blue eyes, leaving Catherine and Vincent to exchange startled looks from one to the other, and Vincent shaking his head in denial as he began to realise the way his wife’s thoughts were heading.
“I promise you Catherine, its nothing to do with me.” Vincent shook his head, “I would never be unfaithful to you.”
“I know that. I know that!” Catherine cried, coming into Vincent’s open arms, “But how then?” She whispered.
“What’s wrong?” a tiny voice whispered from the bed, “What’s wrong?”
“Oh my dear.” Father passed the child to Mary, coming round to Lauren’s side, “Nothing is wrong, the child is perfect, just perfect, and Mary will give him to you, just as soon as she has cleaned him up. Now my dear, can you tell us a little about yourself while we wait?”
Peering from one to the other of them, Lauren wanted to trust them but could not, “There’s something wrong with him isn’t there?” she asked.
“There’s nothing wrong with him.” Vincent’s velvety voice calmed her, “He’s perfect, in fact he looks just like me.”
“Like you?” Lauren queried, “I cannot see you, why do you hide?”
“Because I am not as other men. Tell me Lauren, who fathered this child?”
Ever cautious, Lauren became silent, until Catherine stepped forward, “Please” She pleaded, “its important that we know.”
Lauren trusted Catherine, her beauty spoke volumes, and besides she reminded her of Julian!
“My, my, boyfriend.” She uttered slowly, “his name is Julian.”
“And where is Julian now?” Father asked gently, “Is he in New York?”
“No, his father stopped him from coming with me, we were running away from him.”
Vincent and Catherine exchanged looks, as hope pounded in their hearts, and things suddenly, fantastically, began to drop into place.
“How old is Julian?” Catherine asked breathlessly,
“Fifteen.” Lauren replied watching as Catherine grasped hold of the cloaked figure lest she fell.
“Can you describe him?” Catherine whispered hoarsely.
Lauren’s face softened. "Oh yes, he’s beautiful. I’ve never met anyone like him, and we have this strange connection...”
Catherine sobbed, stumbling forward and grasping Lauren’s hand, as blinded by her tears, she begged, “Tell me! Tell me everything.”
Bewildered but relenting Lauren began to speak, she did not know why, but she knew these people meant her no harm, and there was the added reminder that this beautiful woman reminded her of Julian. Instantly she felt her heart fill with trust.
“Julian is a wonderful person, he lives on an island owned by his father, but Julian is nothing like his father.” Lauren shook her head as she remembered Gabriel, ”Julian is beautiful with the most wonderful coloured hair that I have ever seen, a rich tawny gold, and the bluest of eyes...” Her voice faltered as Vincent groaned and collapsed to the floor, taking Catherine with him, and holding one another tightly, he whispered, “Can it be so, can it be so?”
Lauren watched them, “You know him?”
Reaching out to take her hands, Father told her softly, “My dear, these two people are Vincent and Catherine, and it looks very much like this Julian that you love is their son. He was kidnapped fifteen years ago, by a man with white hair and albino eyes. Is that the man you call Julian’s father?”
Lauren’s face broke into a smile, but she shook her head, “No, not his father, but the man with white hair, the albino...” Father nodded, waiting expectantly and holding his breath as Lauren went on, “that is Julian’s uncle. I’ve seen him, he lives with them...and for a certainty...I do believe...” She shook her head, unable to believe it herself, yet as everything started to make sense, and especially the likeness to Catherine, she went on, “that...Julian is your son.”
*** *** ***
“Is there still no news?” Snow poured his brother some coffee, as Gabriel leaned back in his chair, his opened mail on the desk before him.
“Nothing”, Gabriel replied, with a mixture of frustration and despair, “Seven whole months and nothing, where the hell can she be Snow?”
Snow shook his head, “She could be anywhere, what did you know about the family anyway, no mother, her father now dead, no brothers or sisters, no living relatives, she could have gone anywhere. Might even be dead. Have you thought of that?”
“She’s not dead that I do know.”
“Oh, and what makes you so certain?”
Gabriel raised his eyes indicating the room above, “Him. He’s so darn cheerful. Seven months cooped up in this house, and he’s still capable of singing. Somehow he knows Snow, despite the distance, he knows she is alive, just like the beast knew whenever Catherine Chandler was in danger.”
Gabriel stood up, and went across to the window, “If I thought for one moment he would lead me to the girl, I’d set him free.”
“But you don’t think that’s possible?” Snow asked.
“I can’t say, and I don’t really want to risk it. I might lose him too.”
“Then what will you do, what else is there? If she had of been pregnant, the child will soon be ready to be born, how much longer dare you leave it?”
“Do you think it would work?”
“Its worth a try, but where would you take him, where would you start him off?”
“It has to be the mainland, Snow, and he has to believe that he has escaped. Look give me a day or two to work things out, to get my men onto it. If the girl is alive, he’ll lead us to her huh?”
Snow nodded, “I think that’s all you can do, but remember he’s a clever one and you are going to have to plan for his every move.”
Gabriel nodded, he knew that, but for the first time in months, he felt exhilarated, at least this way they were in with a chance, and maybe if they planned it well enough, then everything would go his way at last.
*** *** ***
“This place is something else, you know that.” Lauren remarked a few days after she had been carried down from the burnt out pancake house to the hospital chamber in Vincent’s strong arms. “And its just how Julian described it.”
“I cannot believe that he could remember. It was so long ago, he was only six months old when they took him from me. Its comforting to know that he never forgot his roots.” Catherine replied, as she and Lauren walked together through the tunnels, between the chamber she had been given on the way to the one Catherine and Vincent shared.
Arriving at the chamber, where they had arranged to meet Vincent, Father, and a few of the tunnel community, Catherine and Lauren entered, to see if any plans had been made.
“Is the baby sleeping?” Father asked.
Lauren nodded, “He’s in Mary’s safe keeping.”
Father chuckled, dear Mary what would he have ever done without her all these years? “Well, while you have been gone, we have formulated a plan. Its not going to be easy and its going to be dangerous, but we believe that the only thing possible is to get the help of the D.A.’s office, and that Catherine, and her old colleagues go over to that island, and bring Jacob back with them. And hopefully...Lauren? What is it my dear?” Father stopped in mid speech as Lauren’s face whitened, and then slowly began to light up, and his plan faded and died as she shrieked, “Its Julian...I can feel him again! He’s free! And he’s coming to find me!”
*** *** ***
Julian couldn’t believe how easy it was. After seven months of captivity and joy at his father’s frustrated plans, he had been let out to accompany Snow to the mainland on what his father had called a good behaviour reward.
Julian knew it was nothing of the sort, as cunning as Gabriel, he knew that his father would be following his every move, knowing that as a last straw Julian would lead them to Lauren. And who was he to disappoint them? But first he’d lead them on a wild goose chase, and think up a suitable escape plan en-route.
It was great to be free, and with every mile he covered, and with the aid of the Zedtac trailers, but different drivers to those he had met before, Julian could sense Lauren’s joy, and he knew that she knew he was coming to her.
Arriving in New York, it was all he could do not to go straight to her, he could sense she was close, but nothing would make him lead Gabriel to where she was. He had some money, and went along to the J.F. Kennedy airport and booked a flight to Los Angeles, a flight he had no intention of making. Then he went into a large department store, bought and paid for various items of disguise with the last of his money, and inside the airport toilets, changed into them, donning a black wig, and tucking his unruly tawny hair, that his father had refused him to cut these past seven months, beneath the black locks, and then satisfied with his reflection, he exited, and made his way from the airport.
Gabriel’s men had been watching the toilets, and took no notice when the black haired youth left the toilets and walked straight past. As they leaned against a pillar behind a newspaper, Julian passed them by, grinning from ear to ear, they had not recognised him!
His father would board a private plane and await his arrival in L.A., and he would wait in vain. Julian rejoiced, he’d done it, happy that for once he really had outwitted his father!
*** *** ***
Lauren sensed his happiness a few days after she had first felt him coming to her, “He’s coming!” She whooped for joy, leaving her seat in Father’s study and started forward.
“Wait!” Catherine called out after her, “I’ll come with you, you’ll get lost by yourself.”
Together they set off at quite a pace through the candlelit tunnels, faster and faster as Lauren felt his approach, “He’s close, I think in the park. I can feel him above me.” Behind them Catherine was aware that Vincent followed, his joy seared through her, matching her own.
“If he’s being led by Lauren, you should take her to the park entrance.” Vincent called, and Lauren’s face lit up, “Vincent, I didn’t know you were there.” she laughed happily, “This is kinda like a pied piper procession huh? Julian led to me, you led to Catherine, is there anyone else?” She joked.
“You’d better believe it” came a feminine shout from behind, “just try stopping us, this is our brother you know.” Lauren thought her heart would burst, Julian didn’t know it, but this was really going to be one happy reunion. Expecting to find only herself waiting for him, he’d soon learn that not only had she found his secret world, but also his real parents, his brother, his sister, his grandfather, and a host of other people who knew him as a child, and not only that but he had a son of his own now.
Leading her to the park drainage entrance, Catherine asked, “Is he still coming?” Lauren nodded, “Yes, he changed direction when we did, he’s entering the drainage culvert now, oh Catherine open the door, open the door, hurry, please.” Lauren jigged with excitement.
Touching the mechanism, the door slid back effortlessly, and they saw Julian waiting on the other side, who for several moments had been confused to suddenly feel Lauren so close but to find the area empty, and heard him gasp as a memory of the huge sliding door returned to his mind. And then there she was, his true love, running to meet him and throwing herself into his arms, and Julian never wanted to let her go.
Blinded by their tears, Vincent and Catherine could only stand and watch the happy scene unfolding, allowing precious moments for the young lovers to be together, until Catherine could stand it no longer, and stepped forwards, leaving Vincent to draw up his hood, and wait behind, his heart a mixture of emotions at having to do so, knowing his own son might be afraid of him.
As Catherine stepped through the doorway, Julian saw her approach, and a memory was triggered in the back of his mind, and suddenly in an instance he remembered everything and his face lit up, “Mother?” He cried, leaving Lauren’s arms, tears brimming and falling down his cheeks, as he embraced her, “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it.” He sobbed holding on to her tightly, as she clung to him, her tears exceeding his own.
“We can’t stay here,” Catherine told him breathlessly, “Lauren, step inside, he may have been followed.”
Julian shook his head, “No its okay I gave them the slip, with this disguise.” He pulled off the wig revealing the long tawny mane of hair, and grinned as he thought about how furious his father would be by now. And then he stopped in that line of thought...his father...? Gabriel wasn’t his father...he knew that now...and slowly... wondrously... little things fell into place... the picture in Gabriel’s drawer... That was his father!...
Suddenly Julian knew that without a doubt, he had another father, a father special, unique, a father with whom he shared an amazing connection, a father whom he felt close to even at that moment “Where is he?” Julian asked breathlessly, wanting to know so desperately, as he remembered those piercing blue eyes so like his own, that mass of tawny hair around a beautiful leonine face...that gentle voice made of velvet, that he only now realised he had heard echoed in his dreams all the years he had been away.
Catherine closed the door behind them, and Julian seeing a movement in the tunnel a few yards away stepped towards it. “Father?” he queried, “Is that you?”
Vincent stepped forwards into the light, and Julian gasped for the sight of him, running the few yards between them to throw himself into those strong and mighty arms never to let him go. With tears and great rejoicing Catherine joined in the embrace, as Crystal and Joseph stepped into the light, and Julian heard Vincent say, “This is your younger sister and your brother,” and as another figure hobbled into view, Julian raised his tear filled eyes to see who it was, as Vincent reached out an arm to draw the old man in, “And this is my father, your grandfather.”
Julian sobbed, tears of joy and tears of sorrow for all the lost years, and all that he had now, as a smiling faced Mary came towards them down the tunnel, a tiny wool clad bundle in her arms which she passed to Lauren, “and this...” Lauren’s face lit up, as she placed the bundle into his arms, “Is your son.”
Awed by the sight of his child, he could only gasp with wonder, “I never knew, I never suspected, Oh Lauren, he’s beautiful and so like his grandfather.”
“Oh my God!” Vincent exclaimed, as the full import of those words reached his mind, “I never realised ‘till now!”
Everyone waited in anxious expectation while wide-eyed Vincent struggled to tell them, “Catherine! I’m a grandad!” And all burst into laughter at the stunned look on his face!
*** *** ***
Everyone had to agree that each time Vincent and Catherine shared a celebration in the Great Hall it surpassed the last and this one was no exception.
The naming ceremony was two-fold, an unusual event, but insisted upon as much by Julian as by his parents.
Standing there upon the platform, his son in his arms, with Vincent standing proudly alongside him, Julian waited for the moment when Father would nod for him to tell the community his child’s name and reaching out a hand to Lauren, he tucked his arm around her as she came to his side, and together, they awaited the special moment.
They had taken much time over choosing their son’s name, not because it was hard to decide, but because of the confusion it might bring forth, but in the end, they knew that this name had to be, that simply there was no other they could possibly chose, and as Julian heard Father welcome the child to a life Below, and nod in his direction, everyone gasped and cheered, when Julian looking at Lauren with eyes full of love announced, “We name our child Vincent.”
Vincent and Catherine gazed at one another, mouths dropping open in utter surprise and could only stand and stare, until a deep smile lit their faces, and filled their eyes with joy.
“And” went on Father, knuckling away his own tears of joy, and still amazed that his grandson had an English accent like himself, “that’s not all. Many of you remember the dreadful day when Vincent and Catherine’s first child was cruelly snatched away from them, but we haven’t invited you here to reminisce on that sorrowful time, instead, by their son’s own insistence, we have invited you here to a double naming ceremony, so that their son might from this day be known by the name that his parents first gave him...Vincent...if you would please.”
Vincent stepped forward, pulling his firstborn son towards him, hugging him fiercely, and kissing the top of his head, “We named our son Jacob.” he told the group of delighted friends, “And from this day forth that shall again be his name.”
Jacob smiled and hugged his father tightly, burying his face into the strength of him, inhaling once again the memory of candle wax, leather and old books, and stepping aside, drew Catherine and Lauren into the shared embrace.
And as another cheer went up from the delighted crowd witnessing the event, Father brushed away more tears, and had to agree, never had there been a more wonderful sight to behold than this.
*** *** ***
Standing beside the fountains not many days after that, Jacob sighed the purest of sighs, “I remember this place.” He told Vincent and Catherine as they stood arm in arm watching his face light up, “And there is another like it...a waterfall! There is a waterfall isn’t there?” seeing Vincent nod, Jacob’s heart pounded in his chest and he shook his head with disbelief, “I love waterfalls and fountains, I always have done. I’ve always been drawn to them for some reason. That’s where I met Lauren, beside the falls.”
“What else do you love?” Catherine asked him, delighted when he replied, “Books, and poetry, Shakespeare especially, and Great Expectations, I know why now, you used to read them to me all the time didn’t you Father?”
Vincent nodded, his intense blue eyes never free from tears since the day Lauren had stepped into their lives and given birth to his grandson, and Jacob went on, “And this place, I love this place, I never forgot it you know, it was always so real to me, and though I never knew where to find it, I never doubted that one day, given half the chance I would find it again.” He searched both of their faces, happy when Catherine replied, “We never doubted it either Jacob. We knew you would come home. Just as soon as you could.”
A shadow crossed Jacob’s face, “What will happen now, to Gabriel I mean, are you going to do anything?”
Catherine shook her head, “We’ve talked about it, and he is an evil man, a dangerous man too, but we have no desire to seek him out, and your father has no desire to kill anymore, it brings out a side to him he’d rather left buried,” Vincent nodded, taking up from Catherine, “Until such a time that Gabriel becomes a threat to our world, if ever he does, we will leave well alone. He does not know this place exists, and you and Lauren will be safe here, and it goes without saying that young Vincent, like me, can never leave here.”
Jacob nodded, “Gabriel is indeed a wicked man, but in many respects I’m glad of your decision, he did look after me, in the best possible way that he knew, and though his intentions were corrupt, I have much to thank him for. I know you two have suffered greatly from Gabriel’s taking me from you, but if he hadn’t of taken me to that island, I may never have met Lauren even if we did both come from New York. And look what I would have missed. Can you understand that?”
Catherine nodded, “Yes, its much the same as my own experience, being slashed and dumped in the park was an experience I would rather not have had.. Yet it was worth it, all the pain, all the sorrow, it was worth it, for look what I gained.” reaching for Vincent and Jacob’s hands in both of her own, Catherine squeezed them tightly, “Had it not of been for that terrible night when I almost lost my life, I would not be here now, and that would have been the greatest shame, but more for your Father than for me.”
“Catherine...” Vincent whispered, looking down at her, his intense blue eyes misty with love, and sighed with pure joy, as Catherine brushed a soft kiss upon his lips, “I love you Vincent.” She told him, and turning to her son, “And I love you Jacob. Have no fear, I promise you, wicked as he is, Gabriel will never touch your life again. You are home now, home where you belong, and your future is only just about to begin.”
Jacob nodded, that much was true, though he may never again see the sunlight, it did not matter, for this secret, safe world beneath the city streets, held its own delights, and looking up at his dear father’s beautiful leonine face, he knew that he was by far the most wonderful delight of all!
And for generation after generation, passing down from grandfather to grandson, the dear name continued to be, Vincent Wells, gentle protector, fearsome beast, devoted husband, each with the same beautiful spirit and the same extraordinary bond as the first, on and on and on, a legacy passed on from one to the other, as leader of the tunnel community, keeping it safe, protected, together, for all time...
...for as long as the fountains continued to echo.
*** *** ***
The stories found within this website have been written by and for lovers of the American television series Beauty and the Beast and no infringement upon the rights held by Ron Koslow, CBS, Republic Entertainment, Witt-Thomas Productions or any other Copyright holder to Beauty and the Beast is intended.
Furthermore all the stories found on this website belong to Wendy Tunnard de-Veryard, are protected by copyright and none should be copied, added to or subtracted from or altered in any way, without the prior authorisation of the author.