From an idea by Marina Broers - Belgium
When Marina Broers and I were talking about the Masquerade fundraiser stories one day, Marina told me that if she were to write a story she would write something about Myhr the Cat. Her web site has a page dedicated to Jamie Murray the artist who created Myhr. The story would be something exciting and adventurous. With that in mind and Marina’s permission I was inspired to write this story.
Breezing into her office Catherine walked straight to her desk with the firm resolve that nothing would stop her finishing the pile of files Joe had plonked there the day before. Nothing but nothing was going to make her stay beyond five p.m. this day. She simply would not be late for another date with Vincent for anyone.
As she saw Joe heading her way out of her eye corner Catherine groaned, if he attempted to shove more files onto her she would let him have it.
Ready for him, she tried to ignore his advance, showing him a steadfast concentration that she hoped would suffice to turn him in another direction. But Joe was not fooled and he continued to advance, disregarding her pose completely. He knew she was trying to avoid him.
“You seen the papers this morning, Radcliffe?”
Catherine pretended not to hear him. She continued to write faster, furiously now. Joe put a hand onto hers, “Morning, Radcliffe, you had a lousy night or something?”
A ghost of a smile touched the corners of her mouth, he was teasing her and she wasn’t immune to his tactics. She raised her eyes, settling the pen down onto the pad in front of her, “Morning, Joe.” She smiled a smile that reached her eyes, “Yes I did have a late night, but it won’t affect my work.”
“I didn’t say it would besides I’ve never seen you scribble so fast. Got a hot date tonight?”
Catherine drew her brows together, “Why do you say that, Joe?”
“Oh come on, Radcliffe. You come in early like you couldn’t sleep or something and the way you are taking a machete to these files, what is a man supposed to conclude? You aim to leave on the dot of five am I right or am I right?”
Catherine’s eyes creased at the corners, “You’re right Joe.” She laughed.
“Well I don’t mean to spoil your plans Radcliffe...” she didn’t give him a chance to finish. Though he carried no files, she jumped down his throat, “Oh no you don’t, Joe. I’m not taking any more files this day and that’s that. You try to hand me any more and I swear I’ll walk out of this office and never come back!” Her furious green eyes flashed fire.
Joe backed away holding up his hands in defence, “Hey hey, calm down, Radcliffe. I wasn’t about to hand you any more work, not this morning anyway.” His eyes twinkled with mischief. Catherine glowered at him, “Okay, okay” he teased, “Not this afternoon either. I just wanted you to know that your prime suspect got his comeuppance last night that’s all. The papers are full of it this morning.”
“What do you mean my prime suspect?” Catherine drew her brows together. Always she had to feign ignorance when something like this happened, and it had happened all too often since Vincent had become her guardian angel.
“The guy you suspected of being the murderer, well someone got to him last night.” Joe waited for his information to sink in. Cathy as always remained beyond suspicion. Joe suspected at times like these that she was a very good actress as well as a very good lawyer. Somehow her cases always came up trumps.
“Do they know who killed him?” Catherine asked. Joe had known what she would say word for word and he mouthed the question with her silently mind. But this time he had a definite answer. He almost gloated, this time he would see a different expression cross her face. “Actually, yes.” He told her and almost rejoiced by the look on her face. But the response was short-lived and not quite as he’d expected.
First horror crossed her face and then a stunned expression giving way to fear, and then he thought that she might start screaming or something. “Radcliffe? You all right?” He wished now he had said nothing.
Her eyes were filled with something he could not put a name to. Anxiety sure, there was that, but he didn’t ever think he had seen anyone more scared. Her question when it came startled him. “Who?” It was all she could say and that word by itself cracked in her throat.
Joe didn’t want to tell her and at that precise moment he would have loved to have walked away and spare her anymore anguish, but she caught his arm suddenly and shook him furiously like a puppy with a rag doll. “Joe tell me!”
Joe shrugged, why the big deal anyway? “Seems some guy in drag did it.”
Catherine’s heart plummeted. She could barel
y say the words, “In drag?”
“Yeah some kind of cat uniform.”
“A cat?” Catherine’s mind was spinning. It couldn’t be Vincent. It couldn’t. She had left him in the tunnels safe and sound, and she would have heard something from Father by now surely if it had of been him?
Shaking her head Catherine told Joe, “That’s impossible.”
“Is it? You tell me Cathy?” He didn’t know why he’d said that, but he suddenly had the distinct feeling that Catherine Chandler knew far more than she was prepared to say. Perhaps she had always known. When Joe thought back to the amount of cases she’d been involved in where the victims had been ripped to shreds, he lost count of how many there had been.
At least for once someone had been caught red handed. Joe almost laughed at his own pun. Red handed, that was a good one. Caught with blood on his hands. Only this time perhaps that didn’t quite ring true. The papers had revealed that though someone had been arrested, someone dressed as a cat complete with claws, no blood had been found on him from any of the victims.
Joe spread the morning’s paper onto Catherine’s desk, “Read it for yourself Radcliffe. Do you know this guy?”
There was a photograph. And Catherine almost collapsed with relief to see that it in no way did it resemble Vincent. A good likeness true, but more of a lynx than a lion. “No Joe. I don’t know him.”
“You want to interview him Cathy?”
Catherine looked up at Joe the question in her eyes if not on her lips. “Hey I know you got a lot of work to shift by five o’clock Cathy, but if you want to go and see this guy I’m sure I could take some of this pile off your hands.”
“Why would I want to interview him?” Catherine felt there was something she was missing here. Joe shrugged, “Thought perhaps we could go together.” He told her. Secretly he hoped that by going with her he might be able to detect whether or not she knew the guy.
“I can handle it alone, unless you really need to come. But I just wondered why you thought I should go at all?”
“Well it was your case Radcliffe, I just thought you would want to know why he killed your suspects that’s all. Maybe he knows something that you don’t?”
“And you think he’ll tell me?”
“Who knows?” Joe tried to remain indifferent like he cared neither way, but Catherine knew him better than that. “Give Joe. What’s really on your mind?”
“Look at his picture again Cathy. You sure you don’t know him?”
“I’m sure Joe.”
“Could you swear to that on the Bible?”
“Joe?” Catherine looked at her boss hard “Don’t you believe me?”
“I want to Radcliffe. But hey even you can’t deny that there have been an awful lot of unexplained deaths around the city where the victims have been ripped to shreds. Nor can you deny that every one of those cases have been ones that you have been working on. I think you know more than you let on Cathy. It’s just a hunch, but someday soon the cops are going to start to think the same way. So do you know this guy or not?”
Catherine did not need to look at the photo again, it wasn’t Vincent and that was all that mattered. “I don’t know him Joe. I’ve never seen him before, and if you happen to have a Bible in your pocket, fish it out and I’ll swear on that too.” Her temper rose and Joe believed her. He didn’t want to do, but he did. Catherine was telling the truth he knew it, she didn’t know the guy that the police were holding. But then if he didn’t kill all those people, then who did?
And what’s more to the point did Cathy know who the real murderer was? Joe would stake his life on it that she did, but hey when it all boiled down to it, shouldn’t the guy be getting a medal rather than the electric chair? After all it was thanks to him, whoever he was, that the streets were a whole lot tidier these days.
A whole lot of scum had died beneath his hands that was for sure.
“Okay, okay” Joe backed away, “I believe you Radcliffe. Come down off your high horse, boy Radcliffe if looks could kill I’d be dead.” Joe attempted a smile to soften his words, and Catherine relented and smiled back. “All right Joe I’ll interview the guy. What’s his name do you know? The papers don’t say.”
“He calls himself Myhr. I think Myhr Der would be more appropriate under the circumstances.” Joe laughed and Catherine joined him, “Oh Joe, trust you. Look I’ll just tidy my desk and then I’ll go down there. Did you really want to come?”
“No it’s okay Radcliffe, I’ll await your report.” He didn’t need to go now, he was pretty certain that Cathy did not know the fellow. And she wouldn’t reveal anything to him now by his being there in the remote chance that she did. She was too good an actress he knew that. Going with her would be to waste his time. Valuable time too.
“Right then I’ll go within the hour.”
Joe knew he’d been dismissed and walked away. He felt troubled but there was nothing he could do about it. As he had told himself moments ago, could he really blame who ever it was that protected his best investigator?
He knew the answer to that because he loved Catherine Chandler too.
*** *** ***
A little over an hour and a half later Catherine was being shown into an interview room and a man she had never seen before was led through a door in the opposite wall handcuffed to a police officer.
“Can we dispense with the cuffs?” Catherine asked the officer adding, “And you?”
“He’s a murderer madam, I cannot leave him alone with you.”
“Then can you handcuff him to the desk and leave us? This interview must have privacy.”
The officer nodded. He wasn’t pleased about it, but he knew full well that suspects often opened up when there were no police present. “I’ll be right outside the door so if you need me just shout.” He told Catherine as he handcuffed the suspect with one hand to the desk and the other to the chair.
When he had gone, Catherine attempted to tell the suspect who she was but was spared the chance.
“You’re her aren’t you?” He asked, “You are always with him right?”
Catherine regained her composure remarkably quickly, “What do you mean? I don’t understand?”
“Oh come on. I’ve seen you together. He protects you doesn’t he, just as he protected me once?”
“I’m sorry.” Catherine tried to remain cool “I don’t know who you mean.”
“Should have guessed the protection would go two way. I should have guessed your loyalty to him. Don’t worry I would never say anything. That guy is my hero. Don’t suppose you could tell me his name?”br>
“How about you telling me about yourself and let’s keep to the facts at hand, eh?"
The man nodded, “What do you want to know?”
“Your name would be a start?”
“As would yours.” He replied.
“I’m sorry, you are right. My name is Catherine Chandler. I’ve been assigned to your case.”
“I know I requested you.”
“You did?” Joe had said nothing. No wonder he thought she knew the guy. “Then if you knew my name why did you ask?”
“I knew your name from news reports connected to cases where he’s ripped the victims to shreds, but I have never seen you before. I wasn’t certain it was you they’d send.”
“Despite your questions.”
“Yeah despite my questions. So you do know him?”
“I never said that.”
“You didn’t have to.”
“Then we are at odds, you know who I am, but I don’t know who you are. Can you tell me?”
“My name is Myhr.”
“But that’s not your real name?”
“It is. And don’t go wasting time checking. I had my name changed by deed poll years ago. There is nothing to connect me to any other name. Myhr it is and Myhr it will stay.”
“When did you do this, and why?”
“I told you he saved my life. I saw him, and I wanted to copy him. He’s my hero. I couldn’t take his name because I didn’t know it but Myhr is a derivative of my old name and so I used that.”
“Was it Frank?”
“Very funny Miss Chandler. You seem surprised? Well its not the first time that someone has asked that question. Some have even gone as far to say my name was once Frank Gold. I must admit I have thought about using that. Have I lost you?”
The fellow smiled at her, “You know the two wise men?”
Catherine nodded and smiled, “Of course, I get it, one brought Frankincense and Myrrh and the other brought Gold.”
He smiled too. “Nice touch don’t you think?”
“I think Mr Myhr that it would go more in your favour if you used the name Frank Gold than the name of a cat.”
“Why? Don’t you see, if they think I am nuts I would get a lighter sentence?”
For the life of her, and she didn’t know why, Catherine actually laughed out loud. The door at the opposite end of the room opened and the officer peeped in “You all right Miss Chandler?”
“Yes I’m fine, Don’t worry.”
“I heard a noise. Were you laughing?”
“Me laughing? What do you take me for? I’m interviewing a murder suspect here.”
The officer closed the door, his face perplexed. He could have sworn he’d heard her laughing.
The moment the door was shut again, both Catherine and Myhr broke into suppressed laughter.
“I like you.” Myhr told her when they had both caught their breath, “And…” he went on pausing before continuing, “You and I both know that I am not a murderer. You and I both know that he killed those men, and by the look on your face you know that. You do know him don’t you Miss Chandler?”
Catherine denied knowledge of that.br>
“Its okay Miss Chandler I know you can’t say anything. But hey I’m not about to expose him either. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here now. I owe him my life and I’d do anything to protect him just like you would, but hey I’m not about to carry the can for his crimes. You’ve got to get me out of here Miss Chandler. You know I am innocent.” It was the first time he had spoken seriously and Catherine knew he was right.
“Don’t worry Myhr I promise I’ll get you free. I don’t know how right now, but I promise you won’t go down for this.”
Myhr nodded, “If I can help I will, just let me know what I have to do.”
“When I know how you can help I promise you can do something. Now can we just go over the facts for the benefit of my report?” Catherine opened her pad and picked up her pen.
“You know about as much as me, you were there. I only know what happened afterward.”
“How do you know I was there?”
“Did you see me?”br>
“No. But I presumed.”
“Then don’t presume Myhr it can get you into a whole lot of trouble.”
They glared at one another for long moments. “You were there.” Myhr told her adamantly, “You had to have been there just like you were there all those other times. He protects you. If he was there so were you.”
“I don’t have to do. I’m not telling anyone. This is between you and me. You know he did it, you know he killed them all, and I’m not carrying the can for all the deaths this city has seen these past three years, not even for him. But I tell you Miss Chandler I would never ever tell anyone about him. My hero he is, and my hero he stays, but I don’t want to die for his crimes.”
Catherine nodded she could understand that. “He wouldn’t expect you to.” She whispered, and Myhr’s eyes lit up. “So you do know him?”
Myhr exhaled a huge sigh of relief “I knew it. Who is he? Where does he live? Where did he get such a great disguise?”
Catherine could have almost cried with relief. He thought Vincent wore a mask! Her relief wasn’t missed, Myhr was too intelligent “I take it that is a disguise?” He asked doubtfully.
Catherine did a very good job of convincing him even Joe would have been impressed. Her face registered complete and utter surprise and humour, "Are you kidding? Do you think he really looks like that?” She laughed out loud. Somehow Myhr believed her for he laughed too. “Guess it was a dumb question?”
“Just a bit.” She laughed heartily now, more from relief but this time very careful that he did not notice.
The opposite door opened again, for a certainty it was laughter. The officer looked around the door, he caught their reddened faces, but he shut the door again without comment. Catherine laughed harder, holding a hand tightly to her mouth to drown out the sound. Her laughter bordered on hysteria, brought about by relief. She could hardly breathe.
“It wasn’t that funny?” Myhr looked at her quietly wondering again.
Catherine detected his interest, “It was.” She told him, “You didn’t see the officer’s face.”
Myhr grinned he understood now.
Catherine took a deep breath, “This won’t do. I really must get this report made up. Can we start with the third degree?”
Myhr smiled. He liked this woman, she was fair and she had humour. She was also very beautiful he could understand why his hero felt the need to protect her.
“Yes. Fire away.”
“So you heard a sound. That’s what the papers say. What sort of sound was it. Do you know?”
“Yes and so do you. You could describe it so much better.”
Catherine nodded, “Did you tell the police how it sounded to you?”
“Some of it. I didn’t tell them that it sounded like growling though. I told them there was a strange sound that was muffled by the sound of a blood-curdling moan. Like when someone has their hands around a victim’s throat but wetter if that makes any sense. I could hear the sound of bubbling, squelching if you like. Obviously it was blood-letting. There was a scuffle, people screaming, “What is that?” The sound came again, and again, and then nothing. All went quiet. I knew then that it was okay to look.”
“Why did you look?”
“As I told you before he saved my life once. I knew those sounds, but it was the first time I had been in the vicinity to hear them again. Oh I’ve looked, and I have followed the papers, I have even tried to follow you.”
“Wait a minute you said you didn’t know what I looked like?”
“I didn’t. That’s not what I meant. I haven’t followed you literally, what I meant was I followed the cases you were assigned to. I tried to be one step ahead of you all the time, doing my own spot of detective work and last night it paid off. I was there before you were Miss. Chandler and I heard everything. You were set up too do you know that?”
Catherine paled, “Tell me what you know?”
“I’m not the first person to have worked out that our mutual friend works for or with you. Other people have grown suspicious. That guy you were supposed to meet, well that wasn’t him that died. He was in the car watching from the other end of the alley. That’s how the police arrived in time to arrest me. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Irony what? The first time I actually get one step ahead of you, and I drop myself right in it. Literally. The guy called the cops the moment he saw his men fall, and they thought it was me.”
“The report says that you had no blood on you to connect you to the crime. I would have thought that was enough to cloud any suspicion of your involvement?”
“It should have been. But that guy in the car had run footage of the whole event on a video camera and left it for the cops. The whole episode is on there. Your friend is seen ripping those guys to shreds, and in the semi-darkness I was mistaken for him. You can’t blame them when you think of it. I was there, he wasn’t. I was dressed as a cat claws an all and the victims had been caught on camera being shredded by something resembling me. But how I came to have no blood on me or beneath my claws beats them silly. And I can’t tell them can I? I mean if I said it wasn’t me they would assume I had an accomplice who did do it, someone I know. They would assume we go out in pairs dressed like cats.”
“So you told them you had been to a fancy dress party?”
“It was true enough. I did pop into one, mainly for the alibi if ever I needed one. I never believed I ever would. Still though someone noted when I left and as it coincides with the time of the deaths I could still have done it. But I would never have had the time to discard the bloodied gear and change into clean stuff even if I had of hung around to do so. The police can’t work it out. They are completely baffled, but that damn video grounds me. With that as evidence I am denied bail.”
“Its going to be a tricky one Myhr, but you won’t carry the can for this I promise. Look I’ll come and see you tomorrow okay, hopefully I’ll have a plan by then.”
“You’re going to see him?”
“Give him my regards.”
“You can say that, even though you are in this mess?”
“As I said before Miss Chandler. I owe him my life. I never got to thank him, and I wish him well. Tell him that, tell him hi from me?”
Catherine nodded, “Yes I’ll tell him. Now I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’ll be here.”
*** *** ***
Catherine’s mind was troubled as she made her way from the county jail and hailed a taxi back to her office. She couldn’t for the life of her find a way out of this one but she knew she had to think of something.
Joe was waiting for her when she got back, and that worried Catherine too. He seemed to be taking a larger than life interest in this case, more so than ever. It began to worry her.
“So Radcliffe what did you find out?” he asked even before she had taken her coat of.
“Actually nothing more than the papers have reported Joe. But I’m going to see him tomorrow.”
“He agreed to that?”
“Yes. And why didn’t you tell me he had requested I defended him?”
“Didn’t I tell you that?”
“You know damn well you didn’t.”
“Cathy!” Joe spoke sharply, “So I forgot okay?”
“No but I’ve got a feeling you are going to tell me though.” He grinned sheepishly trying to appease the woman. It worked, her anger evaporated, “Oh Joe I’m sorry.”
“Want to talk about it Cathy?”
They stared at each other long and hard. Catherine knew that Joe suspected she knew far more than she was letting on, and as much as she would have loved to have confided in him, now wasn’t the time. She shook her head, “No its all right Joe, don’t worry I can handle it.”
Joe wasn’t convinced but he knew Cathy of old. When she wanted to do she could be so tight-lipped about something especially if that had anything to do with personal stuff.
“All right Radcliffe but I expect you to keep me up to date on this one okay?”
Catherine nodded, “Now are you going to get me a cup of coffee or do I have to wait here until my tongue drops off?”
Joe burst into laughter, “That’ll be the day Radcliffe.” He laughed harder at the look of menace that she issued, but was pleased to see the corners of her mouth twitch with mirth. He went to fetch her coffee obediently. He was her boss but he’d be her lap dog any day.
*** ** ***
At five p.m. she was off, and Joe did not attempt to delay her. He watched her go and wondered many things but refrained from saying anything witty. Her aura gave off the distinct impression that he might get his head bitten off if he’d tried. Her expression was serious and she had looked troubled ever since her return from the county jail.
So he watched her go without saying a word, wishing he could see inside her head for not the first time.
Catherine stepped out into the receding sunshine, smiling wistfully at the orange and pink glow that heralded sunset was near, and headed straight for her apartment.
It was a long walk, but she felt like walking, besides she needed to deliver a message. She stopped only long enough to drop a message rolled inside a ten dollar bill to a Negro playing a trumpet on a street corner and with a quick smile she hurried on. As soon as she was gone he snatched up the bill and gathered his things before hurrying to the nearest deposit spot to drop off the note.
The note was picked up by a helper and handed from one man to another until it finally found its way to its destination, handed by father to son deep in the tunnels beneath the streets.
Vincent took the note to his chamber to read it in peace.
Don’t come to the balcony toinght meet me at the threshold at 7 instead
There have been some developments after last night and
I need to see you and Father urgently.
Vincent’s heart hammered painfully against his ribs. He had felt and wondered at Catherine’s anxiety all day.
He had absolutely no idea what she needed to say to him and Father so urgently, but he knew that whatever it was affected him. Nothing else would make her so frantic with worry, and that in turn worried him greatly.
*** *** ***
When Vincent met Catherine at the threshold less than two hours later he could see by the grim set of her face that something was very wrong. He held open his arms and she went into them willingly. “Oh Vincent this feels good, I’ve needed this all day.”
“Something has happened?” He asked her gravely.
“Last night when you...” She paused knowing how he hated reminders of his killings.
“When I killed those men?”
“Yes.” She hesitated trying to form the right words unwilling to hurt him further.
“You were seen.” She felt him stiffen against her. “Have you seen today’s papers?”
“Vincent someone filmed you killing those men.” Catherine flinched when Vincent’s drew in a sharp breath. She could almost picture the images as they raced through his mind. She hastened to reassure him, “They know nothing of you Vincent don’t worry.” He calmed a little then.
“Come Catherine we must go to see Father before you tell me anything else. He has been anxious since I showed him your note.”
Catherine nodded, grateful when Vincent threaded his arm around her waist to walk towards the home chambers, grateful for his support. She suddenly felt very weary. In fact if she were honest with herself she had felt like this for some time now. This latest event just secured the feeling and made her face it.
For so long Vincent had protected her and the man that called himself Myhr had proved to her something that had niggled for some time.
People were noticing people were connecting those very strange deaths with her. Even Joe had implied it. And she knew that so long as she continued with her line of work then Vincent would protect her. A year ago she might have questioned her loyalty, a year ago she might have balked at the idea of choosing between her job and Vincent, now she knew there simply was no contest. She could live without being a lawyer but she couldn’t live without the man she loved. It was time to move on. In fact it was time to move Below but what would Vincent say to that?
They arrived at the home chambers having walked the distance very much each to his own thoughts. Vincent listened in to Catherine’s turbulent emotions trying to establish a reason and afraid to know if everything he thought of was correct. He was afraid now, and waited anxiously as Father bade her good evening and watched impatiently as Father poured her tea.
Vincent took a cup himself and was dismayed to find it rattle in the saucer, what was worse Father noticed it too, and his shrew eyes asked a million questions.
“So Catherine?” Father began when everyone was settled with a cup of herb tea, “Please tell us what’s going on?”
Briefly she outlined to him the things she had told Vincent earlier and then continued, “They have arrested a man found on the scene.”
Both Father and Vincent spluttered on their tea and looked at her in amazement.
“Its true.” Catherine told them. She drew a deep breath, “This man was in costume he had been to a fancy dress party, and heard the commotion and went to look.” She didn’t think at this stage it would be appropriate to tell them that Myhr thought of Vincent as his hero.
“Ordinarily the arrested wouldn’t stand especially as the fellow had no blood stains on him or any flesh beneath his nails, but for that video. I’m afraid that implicated him as being the killer, and he has been refused bail.”
There was silence for some moments, finally Father asked, “What would you have us do Catherine?” He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the answer.
“I don’t know.” Catherine surprised him. “I really don’t know Father. Obviously Vincent can’t give himself up, but neither can an innocent man face the death penalty. I’m afraid the police are linking all the unexplained deaths to him. If found guilty he will go down for the lot just so those files can be closed.”
Vincent sucked in a breath this was making him feel sick. He was to blame and another was suffering. And though he was no coward there were too many reasons why he could not turn himself in. Catherine understood that and so did Father, but it didn’t make him feel any happier.
They were all three quiet for some time, when Catherine told them, “There is something else.”
Father and Vincent looked up at her instantly, “I hoped to say nothing.” She told them, looking apologetically at Vincent, “This man, this Myhr he has seen Vincent before.” Father snatched a lung full of air and was about to retort when Catherine turned to Vincent and told him, “Apparently you saved his life once Vincent and he has searched for you to thank you ever since.”
Father nodded he could understand this, and his anger evaporated.
“Do you have any ideas Catherine, do you know what we should do?” Vincent asked.
“I have ideas Vincent yes, but as to whether or not you should do them is up to you.” She watched him carefully anticipating his response, but Father beat him to it. “Is it dangerous?”
“Possibly. But I can see no other way, and it would mean...”
Father cut her short, “Just tell us what you have in mind.”
Catherine collected her thoughts together, “As it stands this fellow is in the county jail and cannot be seen without going through the correct channels. Short of knocking down several walls and drawing the maximum attention to himself Vincent would not get away with setting him free, that way.” Those last two words had Father and Vincent looking from one to the other, they had caught her drift.
“You expect Vincent to free him?” Father’s voice rose.
“That’s about it.” Catherine told him.
“Flippancy doesn’t become you my dear especially in these circumstances.”
Catherine apologised, “But don’t you see there is no other way. This fellow is going to the electric chair for crimes he did not commit, just because he wanted to thank Vincent for saving his life. What irony huh?”
Vincent had listened to the exchange and drawn his own conclusions, “Catherine you said as it stands it cannot be achieved that way, is there another way?”
“You aren’t seriously considering this!” Father fumed. “Vincent I forbid you!”
Vincent stared at his father without comment, before turning back to Catherine and awaiting her answer.
“If there was some way to get him into the security prison, you know the one they took Kanin to and if they allowed him to use the yard for exercise, I believe we could pull it off.”
“You’d involve yourself?” Father was surprised.
“I’m not letting Vincent do this alone.” Her words were so determined that they brooked no argument.
“I haven’t all the details Vincent, but I believe from things Kanin told us about the place that it could be possible for one such as you to get in there. Who would think that someone would try to break into prison after all? The security is on the inside not on the out. Though there are cameras of course, but that’s the beauty of it Vincent, the way you look is taken for a disguise.”
Father leapt from his seat, “And that’s the worst idea I have ever heard. If Vincent were caught and they found it was no disguise what then? Huh? Have you thought of this, well have you?”
“I’ve thought of nothing else Father, but what else can we do? Can you think of another way? Because if you can I’d like to hear it?” Catherine snapped back.
“All right so let’s assume we play it that way.” Father strutted around his chamber sarcastically, “And lets assume that nothing happens, that Vincent very cleverly breaks into the prison, and equally as cleverly smashes through a wall to help the fellow escape, then what?” He spun on Catherine his eyes glowering at her, “Then what!” He snapped, and was about to go on, until Catherine cut him dead, “I know I know!” She jumped to her feet, “I’ll be in there and I will help give him the time he needs. But the cameras will have picked it all up, they will see Vincent do all of that, and we have only mere minutes to pull it off, and Father I know, I know what your fears are.”
“Oh you do do you?” Father snapped.
“Yes. I do understand the implications of this Father. This man Myhr will be unable to walk the streets or show his face again, and will have no alternative but to live down here in the tunnels. You have to offer him sanctuary Father, and Vincent will have to stay Below for as long as it takes the authorities to worry about some other matter. And as for me...” Her words trailed away, and both Father and Vincent looked at her long and hard neither saying a thing, waiting for her to continue. She did so slowly, “If we do it this way, if we pull it off, I know it implicates me and I too will need sanctuary down here, but that won’t matter,” she averted her eyes from Father’s and looked at Vincent only, “Because I was coming anyway.” She whispered.
Vincent gasped, but before he had time to argue Catherine went on, “I love you Vincent and I don’t plan for you to risk your life or the lives of the people that rely on you just because you have to rescue me. I can live without my life Above, but I cannot live without you. I’m coming Below Vincent and I won’t take no for an answer.”
Father looked from one to the other of them. Well that was unexpected but he had to admit not entirely unpleasant. In fact he could get quite used to the idea but what of Vincent? His son hadn’t spoken and Father found the look on his son’s face quite interesting.
Catherine hadn’t said another word, she felt a trifle silly, she hadn’t meant to come out with her plans like that, it wasn’t the time. Or was it? She stole a look in Vincent’s direction, surprised to find him looking at her a stunned expression on his face.
She could almost hear his mind ticking over. Catherine smiled impishly. There they had been discussing ways to break an innocent man out of prison and there she was pledging her undying love to a man that probably had no idea she felt that way about him. Well not enough to contemplate giving up everything she had recently held dear just to be with him.
She stole another look in his direction, he was still watching her and Father watched them both with a mischievous look upon his face.
“Did you two want to go somewhere and discuss the finer details of this latest proposal.” Father laughed, huh proposal, now there was an apt word if ever there was one. He looked from one to the other of them and saw Vincent shuffle as if to stand. Vincent hesitated, then reaching out a hand to Catherine, he told his father, “I think you are right. Catherine and I will be in my chamber if you should need us.”
Catherine took his hand but was unable to look at him, she still felt decidedly silly and a little afraid too. She wanted no argument on this for she had made up her mind. This latest incident had just brought it to a head.
In silence she allowed Vincent to lead her to his chamber not quite knowing what to expect, she trembled slightly and Vincent squeezed her fingers. He understood, of course he would, he would have felt her turbulent emotions through their connection. Three years on and sometimes she still had difficulty accepting the strength of their Bond.
Once inside he turned her to face him and she shivered when he drew her into his arms. It wasn’t until that moment that she noticed that he too was trembling.
For long satisfying minutes each drew strength from the other, and then Vincent drew back slightly to look into her eyes, “Catherine.” The way he spoke her name as always melted her heart. “When your father died...” she knew what he was going to say, she finished for him, “I asked you then if I could live in your world. And then when I let you down and decided I needed to go back I asked if there would ever come a day when we could be together, really together.”
“I remember.” Vincent told her softly, letting her take the lead now.
“And you said that when we could confront the fears and move through them there would be that possibility.” Vincent nodded. He found it difficult to breathe. He had dreamed of this moment for so long. Though he still had doubts and fears he knew that he loved her and nothing else mattered.
“Vincent I’ve done a lot of thinking lately, and I have confronted my fears. They were nothing like the fears you hold. Mine were in turning my back on the life I have led, on my friends on my career. Vincent I came to accept that those things are meaningless by themselves. Oh I love my friends but even they would understand how I feel if they knew. I meant what I said Vincent I love you, and in loving you I can live without all those other things, but I cannot and will not live without you.”
Vincent looked into her eyes, and he read her heart through the Bond. He found no doubts within her, she spoke from the heart and she meant everything.
He drew her close against him breathing deeply of her hair, holding her tighter than he had ever held her before. She felt so good against him.
For long moments they were happy to stand in silence, just being together enjoying this new closeness was a delight in itself, but bit by bit both became aware of the close proximity of the other and finally Vincent held her at arms length and started to speak.
“I still have fears my Catherine. But they are my fears, and I know that with you here by my side we can tackle them together. If you are certain Catherine, if you are really certain then I would love to have you live in my world.”
Catherine collapsed against him and had not realised her anxiety until that moment “You doubted I’d agree?” he tilted her face to meet his.
“Oh Catherine.” He drew her back against him, “Oh my love, surely you know I am incomplete without you?” He looked back into her eyes “I love you Catherine.”br>
Catherine’s whole face lit up and she exhaled a sigh of pure pleasure, before hugging him closer to her, tighter and tighter needing the contact, needing to feel him closer than she had ever felt him close before.
“Do we have a future Vincent?” She asked him still somewhat nervously. It wasn’t unknown for him to run rather than face his fears. But he stood his ground sure of her now, sure that she wouldn’t let him fall if he spoke of monsters and dragons and the dark side of himself.
“With love Catherine, anything is possible.” They held one another tighter, happy to stand that way, conscious of their bodies moulding and revelling in every moment of it.
He felt her softness, the curves he had caught only glimpses of through her satiny gowns as she had stood upon her balcony, and he marvelled that one such as she could love one such as he.
She felt his hardness, the strength of the man. The undulating muscles rippling beneath her hands and against her thighs, his arousal pressed tightly between them. Never had he allowed such contact before between them and Catherine delighted in it.
Everything would be all right. They would have a future. They would have their happy life, but right now there were other things to discuss. An innocent man depended on them for his freedom.
Catherine knew it, Vincent knew it and no amount of joy in one another at that moment could stop the thought stealing its way into their happiness.
Vincent drew away and lead her to a chair in his chamber seeing the sense of distance between them for the time being. Her nearness enflamed him as it always had, but in light of her declaration more so this night. He wanted her and she knew it. That thought almost made him die with shame but the love in her eyes calmed his rapidly beating heart.
*** *** ***
Sitting opposite one another with the table between them they were able to discuss the finer details of their plan without the encumbrance of Father’s feelings on the matter and without the feeling of stimulation that being so close to one another brought. Nonetheless they could almost taste the differences between them now and the air seemed fraught with suppressed excitement.*** *** ***
It was hard to keep to the matter in hand, especially when they had to make eye contact, then other thoughts crept in and both clamped down on the Bond to spare the other.
“I don’t know how yet Vincent, but I must request he is given a transfer to the state prison.”
“Wouldn’t that involve you more when I set him free?”
His eyes were a beautiful shade of blue, the bluest she had ever seen, and she wanted only to drown in them. Oh he was such a darling.
“I can’t allow you to do that.” Vincent told her unaware of her thoughts “The less you are involved the better, there must be some other way Catherine.”
“We could take the chance of waiting until after the trial, but it is a high risk. The chances of him being sent to the state prison are fifty/fifty to his being sent straight to Death Row, and believe me sweetheart you’d never get him out of there.”
Vincent gaped at her.
“What? What’s wrong?”
His mouth fell open, had he heard her right, did she really just drop an endearment for him within her statement or had he misheard? But Catherine was backtracking and she was suddenly smiling and apologising...No! She must not apologise!
“I’m sorry Vincent I got carried away...” She smiled sheepishly and adverted her eyes.
“Don’t be sorry Catherine.” His words caressed her “I liked it.”
She lifted her head then and met his eyes, surprised to find that they were an even intense shade of blue than they had been moments before. Lord if she was ever going to speak to him rationally again, she didn’t know when it would be. Just his eyes were doing things to her she had never deemed possible with just a look.
He was smiling again, laughing even, “Though I must admit I lost sight of whatever it was you were speaking about.” Catherine laughed out loud and reached forward to grasp one of his hands laid upon the table. The touch sent shock waves coursing through the both of them, and they stared down in surprise at their clasped hands.
“Vincent?” Catherine’s voice trembled, and Vincent didn’t think he had ever heard such desire evident in the speaking of his name before. His eyes rose to meet hers, and he was lost in them.
They were misty emeralds, he could step into them and be lost and wish never to be found again. Oh how he loved her.
Catherine rose from her seat, mesmerised by his eyes, and Vincent watched her approach without question. She remained holding his hand, and walked around the table and after hesitating for mere heart stopping moments, she let go of his hand to slip onto his lap. At once Vincent brought his other arm up to support her back, and shivered as she traced his face with the tips of her fingers. Her eyes spoke volumes. They were filled with love a little humour and a lot of desire. Vincent stiffened as fear consumed him, but he forced it resolutely away. He’d had enough of fears. Catherine obviously had no fear of him, and surely that was all that mattered?
He watched her warily and shuddered as her fingers traced the edges of his lips, and the shuddering increased as she slipped one fingertip into the cleft on his top lip. Catherine moaned slightly at the slick wetness she found there and Vincent felt his arousal pulse beneath her as she rested across his legs. She felt it and took delight in it, her eyes registering something he had never seen directed at him.
“May I take a liberty with you my love?” Her words caught him unawares, and he merely nodded, afraid of speaking. In fact he wasn’t sure at that moment if he could.
He watched her through eyes of disbelief as her mouth inched closer and closer to his, and he froze as a statue when their lips made contact. His heart hammered wildly, and Catherine ever knowing of the affect she was having upon him placed her hand upon his chest and massaged lightly, tenderly, whispering against his lips, “Its all right sweetheart. I love you.”
The pressure of her mouth increased and Vincent felt his head spinning, his body trembling with anticipation, his arms hanging loosely by his sides now void of strength. Slowly Catherine’s lips moulded to his, finding the best contact, teasing with the tip of her tongue probing his lips apart. Vincent panted now thus offering her the path she sought and her tongue swept inside to taste him further. At the feel of her there his mind exploded and the trembling that had started somewhere in his toes escalated to encompass his entire body, his breathing grew rapid and his arms regained their strength. He brought them up and around her crushing her against him and as his mouth moved in tune with hers he found that could not get enough of her sweetness.
Catherine squirmed on his lap desiring closer contact with him and she could clearly feel his hardness beneath her and delighted in it. A moan escaped her, and she knew only desire only need, her body was on fire for him, “Take me somewhere Vincent I need you. I need you.” She sobbed against his mouth, “Please my darling I want you so much.” She rocked against him, and tears fell down Vincent’s cheeks. The Bond fully opened now was sweeping him away with her desire. He could deny her nothing.
He stood, lifting her with him, and walked across to his bed, laying her gently down upon it, bending as their lips refused to break contact. Her arms refused to let him go. They wrapped around him, and he had no choice but to lower his body down beside her. It had not been his intention, but he went willingly.
Their kisses increased, grew wild, passionate, and Vincent’s mind reeled at the sensations pulsing through his blood. His need matched her need, he wanted her, and nothing like the simple act of extinguishing unwanted candles or placing a lantern outside his chamber to issue a warning of privacy was further from his mind now.
Their hands were every where, Catherine explored and Vincent let her, following her example with his own hands upon her.
Their hearts sang.
This joy, this bliss was unimaginable. Vincent had known nothing like it ever before. He did not want to stop, did not want the feelings to stop.
He had never dreamed that he and Catherine could share such ecstasy.
The feelings she inspired in him were so exquisite they reduced him to tears.
Neither knew or cared that their clothing was discarded it was only when the thrill of their naked bodies sent pure heat spiralling through them that they knew of the contact.
Their loving was wild, out of control, and Vincent thrilled to learn that Catherine’s need matched his own minute by minute.
Somewhere far away he remembered the dark one, remembered his long consumed fear of his passion speeding out of control but he knew now that his ferocity paled into comparison by the ferocity of Catherine’s need of him.
And he almost smiled to know that she possessed within her such unbridled passion for him. For him!
He took her then, stilling only for mere seconds to gaze into her eyes. What he read there screamed at him. Her love was intense, her need brutal, her desire for completion savage, and he matched her stroke for stroke, taking them higher, higher until they touched the edges of heaven itself and spiralled away into infinity on the golden wings of cherubs.
Slowly, slowly they came back down to earth falling weightless through clouds, sinking softer and softer into one another, drifting effortlessly down, until they came to rest in a boneless heap beside one another totally spent.
Vincent was the first to wake. He opened his eyes knowing that something beautiful had possessed him and seeing Catherine laid naked at his side a rush of love filled his heart. This woman, this beautiful woman had given herself to him. That one such as he could have her love in such a way filled his eyes with tears. She had given him everything, everything, and now she had given him the ultimate gift of all. How he loved her.
Gently wiping a lock of hair from her forehead he kissed her there, leaning over her to watch her face in sleep. Her features were tranquil now in fact he had never seen such a look of complete and utter fulfilment on her face. She looked at peace, a soft pink glow tingeing her skin.
Carefully Vincent stood, and padded naked around his chamber extinguishing candles, placing the unlit lantern a few yards outside his chamber, and then covering the entrance with a large dusty tapestry which up until that moment he had never used, before he hurried back to his bed.
Catherine had not moved from where he had left her, and carefully he pickled her up and deposited her beneath the quilts. She stirred then as the coolness met her skin, but he soon slipped in beside her and drew her against his warmth. She remained sleeping peacefully, and he cuddled her close. They were as one now, he and his Catherine, she was his, as he was hers, and after this night nothing would part them ever again, they would be together now for always.
With that happy thought in mind, Vincent slept.
It was late and obvious now that Vincent and Catherine were not returning, and Father was in two minds whether to seek them out and ask them to join him for supper or leave them be.
Catherine’s sudden declaration of coming to live Below had, Father noticed, quite surprised his son, not to mention himself. They no doubt had much to talk about.
As he contemplated what to do for the best, he heard footsteps approach and looking up saw Mary enter followed by a person whose face he had not seen in quite some time.
“Hiya Pop. Did you miss me?”
Devin breezed into the chamber to quickly hug his father in greeting before looking all round and asking, “Where’s Vincent?”
Mary smiled at Father, “Seems Devin has something for Vincent, and can’t wait to see his face when he gives it to him. Why do you worry so?”
“Its not that Mary....” And Father proceeded to tell her of Catherine’s decision.
Not many minutes later Devin walked back into his father’s chamber with a stunned expression on his face. Both Father and Mary noticed at once, “Why Devin what ever is the matter?” Mary asked.
Devin grinned sheepishly, “You didn’t tell me Catherine was with him.”
“Well you didn’t wait long enough to be told. I’m sure Catherine wouldn’t have minded Vincent speaking with you though, even though they have much to discuss. Surely Vincent was pleased to see you?”
“He didn’t see me.” Devin almost laughed. He’d seen him though, and what a shock he’d got.
“He didn’t see you, what do you mean?” Father was truly mystified.
“He had his eyes shut. Pop he was sleeping.”
“Sleeping? I wasn’t aware that Catherine had left.”
By Devin’s face Mary deduced what Devin had seen and her eyes opened wide - surely not?
“She hasn’t Pops, she’s still with him. She’s asleep too.”
“You mean they have both fallen asleep, I don’t understand. They went in there to discuss the possibility of Catherine’s coming here to live with us permanently. I can’t understand why they have fallen asleep.”
Devin erupted into laughter, “Lord but for a doctor you are naïve Pop.”
“Am I missing something here?” Father asked as Devin winked at Mary and she hid a giggle behind her hand.
“You sure are. Let’s just say that discussing the possibility of Catherine’s move down here was not the top priority on their minds. Let’s just say that by the looks of it Catherine has just given my little brother his first lesson in getting his leg over.”
Father gasped and reddened, “Devin!”
Devin burst into laughter, “Well look for yourself if you don’t believe me.” He continued to shake with laughter, while inside he was thinking ‘way to go Vincent.’
Father looked from Devin to Mary unable to believe his ears, Vincent and Catherine doing that? Surely not? Devin must have been mistaken. He told him so. “You must have misjudged the situation Devin, Vincent would never agree...”
“Just go and look. Don’t take my word for it.”
Father stared at his son his temper rising, how could Devin swan in here and moments later presume that his own brother would do such a thing. Devin had no idea of the amount of discussions he and Vincent had had these past three years over such an event taking place. Vincent would never ever allow it. It was too dangerous, with him being as he was.
Picking up his stick, Father hobbled towards the entrance, thinking I’ll show that wayward son of mine. His worldly ways and his worldly language are not welcome here. He is mistaken surely?
Mary watched Father go, she was torn as to whether to go along with him or stay put, but before she had decided Devin had caught her arm. “It isn’t a peep show Mary, and Pop will soon see that I’m telling the truth. They are in bed together, sound asleep.”
“Maybe they were tired, maybe they just lay down together and fell asleep?” Mary told him.
“Naked?” Devin started to laugh at the look on her face. It was priceless.
Not too many minutes later Father returned, his face expressionless.
“So?” Devin asked.
“So what?” Father snapped.
Mary stiffled another giggle, “Excuse me Jacob I’ll have William rustle up some late supper for Devin.” She was gone in an instance.
Father walked to his seat aided by Devin and sat down without a word, with not even a thank you for his help.
For long moments he was silent, and Devin didn’t know what to expect, but remained quietly waiting. Finally Father looked up at him, “I do believe you are right my boy.” And to Devin’s amazement his father burst into tears.
The next few days were spent in a whirl. Catherine took some leave much to Joe’s chagrin so that she could secretly pack the belongings from her apartment and trail them down to the basement where Vincent would collect them after dark.
That accomplished she went back into work and Joe could not deny the change in her.
“If four days rest brought me back to work looking so utterly refreshed as you look Radcliffe I would take some time too. You look great, what are you on? Got some for me?”
Catherine laughed. Even her laughter rang musical. She was positively glowing.
“Well I do feel good.” She told him happily, “And I am raring to go.”
“Well what’s first on the agenda?”
“Well I haven’t entirely been work free Joe, I did keep my promise to interview the man that calls himself Myhr as promised on my first day of leave, but as I haven’t seen him since that will be my first port of call.”
“Why the interest Radcliffe, surely two visits at this stage is enough?”
“You’re right, but I feel there is more to this than meets the eye. For example I definitely feel they have the wrong man.”
“Now why doesn’t that surprise me?” Joe smiled to soften his response as Catherine looked at his strangely. “So have you got any other clues Radcliffe?” It was such direct questions as these that always had Catherine averting her eyes, just a little, just missing the mark. She could not look him in the eye and lie, she never had been able to do. But to avert her eyes just a little, she could just about manage it, “No Joe none at all, but I feel certain he just had to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as coincidental as that sounds, bearing his outfit in mind and all that.” She hoped she sounded professional. She didn’t feel it. But Joe accepted her statement and nodded, “Actually I got that impression too from your report. There is absolutely no way he could have cleaned up in such a short space of time. Besides Radcliffe there has been a development since you were last here.”
“There has?” Catherine’s heart raced, “Tell me?”
“The police are working on the possibility that the guy was set up, for reasons unknown as yet. There was no time or date on that video left for the police, and what was shown on it could have happened down that alley at any time, not necessarily that night. Someone could have acted out such an event on another night just to set the guy called Myhr up. And in consideration of that it was decided that he would probably be ‘safer’ in the state prison.” Joe raised his hands to make the sign of inverted commas when he said the word safer and Catherine followed his drift straight away.
“Safer Joe. You’ve got to be kidding right?”
“Of course, but no one is going to admit that the state prison is a criminals paradise are they? The theory is that whoever wants to see this Myhr guy get it for whatever reason, are more likely to strike there than they are at the county jail. He’s being transferred today and being monitored very closely while he’s there, I can tell you.”
Catherine didn’t know whether to rejoice or not. Certainly Myhr’s arrival at the state prison slipped right into her plans, but his being watched so closely would hinder things.
For now though she should rejoice, the other thing she would give some thought. She knew that Myhr was not in any kind of trouble with anyone, and he would be perfectly safe while she thought of an added plan to secure to the first, so that Vincent was in no more danger than he was before.
*** *** ***
For Myhr it was a painfully long time to wait but to Catherine good planning could not be accomplished overnight and she worked very closely with Vincent over the next three weeks. Grateful that the arrival of Devin helped to secure their plan.
They went over it a final time in Vincent’s chamber before the day arrived.
“So we are all agreed?” Catherine asked looking to the two brothers in turn.
“Yes.” Both men told her in unison.
“So let’s run through it one last time. Tomorrow I will go to visit Myhr at the state prison and suggest we go out into the yard to speak. This shouldn’t be a problem as I have done this for the past four days without suspicion.
But tomorrow as I arrives I tell security that I am awaiting a messenger and to let me know when he arrives.
Then Myhr and I will be in the yard when Devin arrives bringing the message and while the security guard comes to get me, I tell him that Myhr and I are not finished, but I will return just as soon as I have spoken to the messenger.
Hopefully he will leave Myhr in the yard and at that point Vincent you jump down into the yard, break through the surrounding wall, and whisk Myhr away. Devin leaves, and I go back to the yard and find no Myhr.
I might be some time, no doubt they will hold me for questioning and I cannot tell them who brought the message since I don’t know his name, and the message was to do with another case I’ve been working on.
At this stage neither of you must worry or come looking for me. It’s possible that I will be held for further questioning, but you must promise to stay put.
If I can and if the going gets tough and I think that I am in deep trouble I will convince them that I will be perfectly secure in my apartment and ask to let me go there. Most of my stuff is already in the basement, save for a few bits of essential furniture, and if it comes to that then I will get word to you Vincent to come and collect me from there, and we will both exit over the balcony.
Vincent laughed at that, “It will be the first time, just make certain you are wearing sensible footwear or it might be your last.”
“Talking of which...” Devin could not help but say, “There is a first time for everything this week it would seem.” Vincent and Catherine drew their brows together and looked at Devin totally mystified, “What do you mean?” Catherine asked him.
Devin burst into laughter but would not say more.
Vincent and Catherine exchanged worried glances, but before either of them could question him further Devin said, “I know we have gone over and over this plan Cathy, but am I permitted to say that I don’t like it?”
Catherine looked at him in surprise, as did Vincent.
“And another thing,” he told them both while he had their rapt attention, “When were you going to run it by Father?”
When neither answered Devin looked shocked, “You were going to tell him weren’t you?”
“Are you kidding!” Catherine laughed, “Devin you know your father, he’d have a fit if he knew what was taking place tomorrow. He never liked the sound of it before we had worked it all out as it was.”
“That’s what I mean. Look you two pardon me for saying so, but I think the pair of you are too darn close to the problem to see it logically.” Devin turned to face his brother, “Vincent I think that you feel so guilty that this innocent man is being blamed for your handiwork that you want to free him as soon as possible to appease your conscience. And Catherine…” he turned next to face her, “For similar reasons, I think that you are doing the same thing.”
“Oh you do, do you?” Catherine was on the defensive.
“Calm down Cathy. Look from my point of view only I think you feel so guilty that Vincent has had to kill people to save you from dangerous assignments that you too want this over and done with and swept under the carpet as soon as possible. All I’m asking is that you should run it by the man of wisdom himself. If Father agrees to it, then go ahead, but personally I think he will throw the whole damn plan out of court.”
Catherine’s mouth dropped open and Vincent’s eyes widened, was that true? Were they too close to see the dangers?
“This isn’t a game you know. This isn’t a game where you outwit your opponents. This is breaking a man out of jail. What if, just what if Vincent gets in their and finds he is unable to break through the wall on the inside. What if the walls have solid steel reinforcements between two layers of brick? Have you thought of that?”
“The plans don’t show it.” Catherine retorted.
“Maybe not, but have you checked, do you know for certain? Where did you get the plans? Are they available at a price to anyone?”
“No I haven’t checked no I’m not certain and no they aren’t available to anyone. Only those in the right profession.” Catherine snapped.
“Okay okay come down off your high horse Cathy. Okay so they are only available to lawyers and cops and people like that. What about fraudulent lawyers?”
Catherine stared at him. She knew very well what he was talking about. The very first time they had met he had been posing as a lawyer under fraudulent means. And she understood what he was driving at, but not the gist of what he was saying.
“If anyone can get their hands on the plans Cathy, you can bet your bottom dollar that the authorities have planned for that. Plans such as these meet public demand. School projects general interest stuff like that. As far as such people are concerned that’s all they need to know. But for the sole purpose of keeping criminals behind bars the real blueprints would reveal the real status of the prison, and those kind of plans would be kept under lock and key inside a vault possibly in the very prison itself.
You know you won’t be the first people that have thought of smashing someone out of jail, but if you think you can waltz in there and pull it off I think you are going to come very much unstuck. Personally I think Vincent’s going to find himself behind bars with no where to run. It’s not going to be simply a case of ‘Beam me up Scotty you know’? If the inmates can’t get out, how could Vincent, even if he is so much stronger. That type of prison is designed to hold the strongest man in the world. I’m sorry Cathy, but your plan is not going to work.”
Catherine could see he was right, “Then what are we to do?”
“You have to outsmart the authorities. Both of you were working on Vincent’s super strength but that’s not the way. A bullet is much more lethal and so much faster, and Vincent would be down before he could move a muscle. Remember what you are doing here. Breaking a man out of jail that has been considered a mass murderer. Any attempt on that is not going to be taken lightly. And I think personally that you should leave Vincent entirely out of this.”
“I won’t have Catherine undertake this alone. It’s because of me that this has happened.” Vincent flared.
“No it isn’t. It’s because some geezer wanted to be nosy. This, this guy Myhr is to blame. He knew that the whole thing was a set up, he should have left well alone, or he may have found a bullet in his back. Come to that how can we believe his story. Could be that he is trying to flush Vincent out for the gang who arranged all this to start with.”
Catherine stared at Vincent. How could she have been so naïve? Devin was right, how much could they trust this guy in the cat disguise anyway?
“Vincent has to stay out of it. He has to.”
This time Vincent agreed. To think it could possibly be a set up, well he had no choice but to keep well away. Secretly he was relieved, he hadn’t liked the plan anymore than Devin, but could think of no other way.
“I think our first job is to see Kanin. He’s been in that prison and he knows more than any of us three as to what goes on in there. I don’t consider that any of the tunnels have links beneath the prison or if they do no doubt they are encased by a solid wall of concrete but a surprise tactic might be our only answer. At this moment in time I haven’t a clue, but lets speak to Kanin and see what materialises shall we? And also run it by Father, are we all agreed?”
Catherine and Vincent nodded. It did make perfect sense.
*** *** ***
Every time Father saw Vincent and Catherine he saw them in a new light. Images flashed through his mind of his son and the woman he loved laying naked in bed together. The top half of them exposed from where the quilt had slipped back.
Vincent had said nothing, but Father detected a new awareness in his son, and a new confidence around Catherine. He was more assertive, more attentive, and more certain of his place in her life.
The change warmed Father’s heart and though his outburst of tears had worried Devin at the time, when Father had explained that they were tears of happiness and relief Devin had understood.
The solitary life each had expected for Vincent was now banished forever. Catherine had given Vincent a life, and they would be forever indebted to her for that.
But Father was not about to agree to everything she said just because of it.
When he was finally told of their original plan some days after Devin had suggested that he should know, Father was furious, and when Kanin stood in the chamber and outlined the inner security of the prison Father was even more disgusted with them.
“None of you.” He flared, “None of you, least of all you Catherine, and I’m surprised at you for even suggesting it, none of you should be thinking about setting this man free. What are the courts for? What is a trial for? As Devin rightly pointed out this man placed himself in danger. And what you all seem to have overlooked is that he had gone out dressed as a cat to look like Vincent, and he knew damn well that Vincent would be there. Why in God’s name does one look for trouble like that? Why when he knew there was a guy with a video camera recording the whole event did he involve himself? I’m sorry but Devin’s remark of the fellow being in on it to flush Vincent out makes perfect sense to me. I reckon it is a set up.”
“But if it isn’t?” Vincent whispered, “Father this man could be innocent. He is being blamed for something that I did. He could be executed.”
“Rubbish. The least he will be tried for is being an accessory. He couldn’t have committed those crimes for he was too clean, and in typical batman and robin style he could have had an accomplice who committed the murders and then he took the heat off by baffling the detectives. This man will not be charged, he can’t be. There is only circumstantial evidence to link him to the crime, and none of that proves he did it.”
Listening to Father speak Catherine felt foolish. She was the lawyer it should have been she that stood there saying all that. Devin was right she and Vincent had been too close to the problem. They had allowed guilt to over ride common sense. Thank God Devin had turned up when he did.
“So we do nothing?”
“For the time being yes.”
“Why the time being? What would alter things?”
“If we wait until this fellow has been tried, if we wait to see whether he is genuine and wasn’t hired to flush Vincent out, then we can rethink things through. Personally I think he will be released on a conditional discharge, but even then I think it would be unwise to bring him down here as we had first discussed. In fact I personally think that we should forget about him completely and let him take his chances, just as every one caught in the wrong place at the wrong time has to take their chances.”
“That’s all very well Father, but not every one knows about Vincent. How much can we trust him to keep silent?” Catherine asked.
“Vincent knows the risks he takes every time he goes Above, and he knows that people might see him, and he runs the risk that any sighting could result in his being discovered. But fortunately life is full of sceptics and would be especially so toward a man who walks about the city dressed as a cat. The chances of his being believed to any greater degree are very remote, and then he has got to find Vincent. He doesn’t have knowledge of the tunnels does he?”
Catherine shook her head “If he has he’s not heard it from me.”
“Well then I think we should let sleeping dogs lie and leave it to the authorities. You Catherine were assigned to his case, but I think if you can wiggle out of it you should.”
“I can do better than that Father, I can disappear off the face of the earth literally and come down here.”
“Are you sure about that my dear? Without the jail break there isn’t quite the necessity now to come Below as there was before.”
“Yes there is Father. The necessity is greater. If I’m down here, Vincent is not up there, surely you can’t argue with that?”
“I’m not arguing with anything my dear, I just want you to know exactly what you are doing. What you are giving up.”
“I’m giving up nothing that I cannot receive tenfold by being here with Vincent.”
Father smiled, her words touched a chord in his heart, he could see how deeply her loyalty run for his son, in fact she showed a fierce protective spirit when it came to loving Vincent. He could understand that, and so could Devin. In fact the three of them knew what it was to love Vincent on equal terms but for different reasons.
“Then welcome my dear. It will be a pleasure having you live with us, and a real treat to have someone to challenge me over the chess board, you play remarkably well Catherine.”
Catherine stepped forward to hug him, “Besides there is another reason.” She whispered into his ear so that only he could hear her, “I’ll tell you later.” And she winked at him as she drew away.
Father drew his brows together as Catherine positively blossomed before his eyes. He hadn’t noticed it earlier, he’d been too busy watching the changes in his son, but now he had noticed, and as his medical eye did some quick calculations he positively glowed all over. If he was right, of course Catherine had to move Below.
Kanin left them shortly after this exchange and Devin followed him out leaving Vincent and Catherine in Father’s company for the first time since Devin had arrived. Father realised in all that time he had hardly spoken half a dozen words to Vincent, because for the first time he had spent uninterrupted time with his other son, time pursued in pleasurable conversation long overdue. He had learned a great deal about his fleshly son in the past four weeks, things that made him proud to be his father. In fact Devin wasn’t the bad sort he had always been led to believe. And Father came to know that Devin truly did love Vincent so much that much of the pranks he had reprimanded his son for during their childhood years had been things instigated by Vincent, but for which Devin had taken the blame.
Now finding himself alone with Vincent and Catherine Father offered them tea and hoped they would stay long enough to engage in stimulating conversation.
“Do you have any classes to prepare for tomorrow Vincent?”
“No Father nothing that needs my attention tonight.”
“Will you both stay with me for supper then?”
“Yes Father we’d like that.” Father noted with interest the ‘we’. Once Vincent would have consulted Catherine before answering. Now he automatically included her along with himself.
“So what have you two been getting up to since we last had a chance to sit and talk like this?” Father tried not to sound too interested as he poured them tea.
Vincent and Catherine exchanged hurried glances, “Actually Father there is something you should know.” Vincent spoke quietly. He had wanted to bring it up ever since the morning after he had first made love to Catherine almost a month ago. Since then they had made love at every given opportunity and now it was imperative that they mention it to Father.
Father raised his head, settling the teapot down between cups, waiting for one of them to speak.
He watched them knowing whatever it was they needed to say was difficult. He had seen his son struggle with words before, but he had never been this bad. Catherine was quiet, much more quieter than usual but she seemed to speak to his son with her eyes. He decided to help them out a little.
“Catherine did you want to tell me that other reason for you to move Below now?” He took his time filling the next cup, allowing her to decide whether to tell him. Replacing the teapot to its stand once again, he looked up to find her looking at him, a small smile playing around the corners of her mouth.
So that was it, humour tactics, well that was all right by him, if that’s what she felt happiest with.
He waited watching as the flickering candle light danced in her eyes and saw them light up with an inner spark as she started to speak, “Father do you think you could give me a pregnancy test?”
Vincent almost passed out. When they had spoken of consulting Father, he had told Catherine that he would tactfully bring up the possibility of Catherine carrying his child. So his mouth dropped open and he waited for the outburst that would surely come.
But Father calmly filled the final cup, and passed one to Vincent who took it with trembling hands, and one to Catherine whose eyes had never left him, before settling himself back with his own cup against his high back chair.
He took a few sips, aware in a gleeful way that Vincent and Catherine stared at him gone out, before he replaced his cup to its saucer and to their utmost surprise told them, “Yes I think that would be possible Catherine. It will be about a month by now wouldn’t it? Long enough for a positive result if there is to be one don’t you think, my dears?”
There was complete and utter silence. Father picked up his cup again and took some more sips. He was loving every moment of this. Vincent and Catherine lost for words? What bliss -and the looks on their faces! He wished he had a camera and could treasure that look for ever.
“You knew?” Catherine was the first to retrieve her voice. It had fallen somewhere between her toes, and it looked very much like Vincent’s had hit subterranean level. It might be a long time before he could retrieve his again. If ever he could.
“But of course.” Father replied as if they were asking him whether he knew how many candles he had burned yesterday.
“You knew?” Catherine repeated unable to believe it.
“Knew what?” Everyone looked up as Devin re-entered the chamber, walking towards the table to pour himself some tea. He had been listening outside and had gone over the possibility of discussing this delicious topic with Father some days earlier when speaking about what to say when Vincent and Catherine finally told them about the new turn their relationship had taken.
Father looked up at Devin, who detected the hidden smile in his father’s eyes, “Oh that.” He went round to Vincent’s side, “Yes we knew about that didn’t we Pops?”
“You knew too?” Vincent had found his voice, scraped it off the floor ten levels below, broken and cracked from its fall.
“That you and Cathy were lovers. Yes, way to go Vincent!” and Devin slapped his brother on the back before taking up his cup of tea and downing it in a couple of swallows.” Gotta go, I promised Mouse I’d help out with something.” And with that he had taken the steps two at a time and vanished before anyone could speak. But he did not get far. Out of sight he creased in half with silent mirth.
Inside the chamber it was a long time before anyone spoke again until finally Catherine broke the silence. She laughed. Just the merest of giggles at first, then on and on until her giggles bubbled over into full-blown laughter that sounded as if it might never stop.
Father leaned forward and grasped Vincent’s hands in his, “Congratulations my boy, you cannot know how happy I am for you.” Father’s merry eyes twinkled.
“You knew?” Vincent echoed Catherine’s words of earlier. He looked absolutely shocked and continued to stare at his parent.
Father nodded, a smile lighting his eyes, “From the very first night.”
“And you said nothing?” Vincent whispered with disbelief.
“Nothing at all. But I’ve got plenty to say now!” His voice rose high enough to penetrate Catherine’s humour and she slowed to a stop to hear him out. Her eyes were troubled. And Father couldn’t keep it up and he started to giggle. He had enjoyed himself immensely at their expense but he couldn’t trouble them further now, he just couldn’t, “Its all right, its all right.” He told them laughing heartily, “Even if the possibility of my being a grandfather is to arise it’s done now, and I understand really I do, these things happen, and happen and happen again, and the thought of contraception seldom comes up before it’s too late. Don’t worry, I am happy for you both, really I am.”
He stood as did they and the three embraced tightly, “I’m so happy for the two of you.” Father told them with tears in his eyes, “So very happy for you. You have both deserved this happy life. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. Everyone is going to be so delighted. Oh I can’t wait to see their faces.”
*** *** ***
For Myhr waiting in prison it was already too long a sentence. Something had gone wrong, he was certain of it.*** *** ***
At first he thought he had it made, a big fat cheque in his bank account and a way to discredit a lawyer.
He had nothing against her of course, but when he had been approached in his home town of Texas by a man he had never seen before Myhr thought it too good an offer to refuse. The plan was a simple enough one he just hadn’t thought that he could be double-crossed. Other people would take all the risks. He would just reel off the story to Miss Chandler as he had been requested to do, she would find a way of getting him out of jail, use her friend to help her, the men would be waiting and that would be that. He’d be paid and put it all behind him.
But things hadn’t gone that way. In the small amount of time he had met Catherine Chandler he had come to see her loyalty to the man who only ever killed for a reason. And usually to protect her and Myhr could see no reason why he shouldn’t do that. Catherine Chandler was one beautiful woman, and anybody that actually got to love her was one lucky guy.
No one knew the face behind the disguise of the guy that cleaned the scum off the streets, but Myhr had heard that he had killed a lot of people and must have one nifty weapon to instil the wounds he inflicted to make it fit his lion like appearance.
He was quickly becoming a legend in his own right and Myhr kind of admired the man for that. A sort of vigil anti that no one was able to track. In fact he seemed to disappear into thin air every time. But someone had wanted revenge someone had wanted his blood. A brother of a cousin of a father or something had died at his hands and their life was to be avenged. But Myhr knew now that he couldn’t be the one to help them, he couldn’t let this guy be caught, neither could he implicate his lawyer lover assuming that they were that close.
But it troubled him that the plan had suddenly gone cold. One moment his contacts were impressed by his reports and he was awaiting Miss Chandler’s final visit before his escape and the next there was nothing. She simply did not come again. Neither had there been anyone to come in her place. And the day of the trial was approaching fast.
He didn’t seriously think they had anything on him and he didn’t seriously worry, but he was growing impatient and he was annoyed that he would not now get his promised money, save for the few thousand he had been given up front. It did not for one moment cross his mind that his own life might now be in danger.
No simply a few days from now circumstantial evidence would not be enough to convict him. He would be free, and he was going home. Home to Texas with all this behind him. And that thank God would be the end of that.
“Morning Joe.” Catherine walked into her office one morning and greeted her boss whose back was turned to her. He swung round at the sound of her voice. “Cathy! Where have you been, I mean where the hell have you been?”
Catherine smiled, “Thanks for worrying Joe. I’m sorry I took off like that Joe but I had some problems to sort out, and they still aren’t sorted. I only came in to hand in my notice.” Joe was stunned, to have her back and see her go again, well he felt as though someone had just cut off his life-blood.
“I have to Joe. I’m pregnant.”
His mouth fell open, he felt it and his jaw seemed to be paralysed. There was no way he would ever shut his mouth again he was sure of it.
Catherine giggled at the sight he represented and placing the index finger of her right hand beneath his chin she deftly closed his mouth.
He stared at her and she nodded, “Its true Joe don’t look so surprised, I’m expecting a baby and I am leaving my career to bring up my child.”
Joe found his voice, “I suppose it belongs to whatshisname?”
“Of course. Be happy for me Joe. Believe me this is all I have ever wanted.”
“Then if that’s the case, I am happy for you Radcliffe, only you certainly pick your timing. We are so busy right now.”
“You’ll soon find a replacement Joe. Why there will be a whole line of people queuing up to work for you.”
“How long will you stay? A month?”
“Yes, sorry I can’t give you any longer, but I am moving into his place and its out of town. A month is all I can give you I’m sorry.”
“So where is this place or is that classified too?”
“Yes Joe I’m sorry I can’t tell you but I’ll keep in touch I promise.”
Joe nodded, “Let me give you a big hug kiddo, It’ll never be the same around here without you. I shall miss you lots.” They embraced and Catherine hugged him hard, “You’ve been a good friend Joe, I’ll miss you too. But hey we have another month together so what you got for me?”
“Desk job right?”
“Desk job.” Catherine nodded.
“Well since I handed that Myhr Der case onto Brad, and since it goes to trial tomorrow its too late for you to do anything on that now. Let’s see I think I can find you some mundane domestics that should get you through the month.”
“How has the Myhr Der case gone Joe. Was there any further developments?”
“Nothing. The guy is sure to get off. They have nothing on him. They don’t even think he knows the guy that does do all this vigil anti stuff anymore either. It was just as he said being in the wrong place at the wrong time, very coincidental but nothing more than that. What’s more the guy actually comes from Texas, so he doesn’t even know New York, he was on holiday here apparently.”
Catherine heard alarm bells sound in her head. “Has he been here before?”
“How long was his holiday?”
“A couple of weeks. Poor guy has been here longer than he expected. Plus he has alibis for all the other attacks that have taken place over the past three years too. He wasn’t even in this city at the time of any of them.”
Catherine drew her lips into a thin straight line. Father had been right the fellow had led them on. He couldn’t have been saved by Vincent at some stage that would have been impossible. Nonetheless she wanted to hear it from him. “Joe I would like to go and see him before the trial. Do you mind?”
“I owe him an apology I’d like to do that. I just stopped seeing him, he must have wondered why.”
Joe nodded, “Okay, well I think Brad is going this afternoon, do you want to go with him?”
“No if its all right with you I’d like to go now.”
“Okay Radcliffe, that’ll give me time to sort out some cases for you.”
On the way to the prison Catherine thought over the very many things Myhr had told her. She couldn’t believe she had been so easily fooled. Devin had been right, she and Vincent had been too close to the problem, and in being so it had clouded her judgement. But she was usually so careful and could usually spot a lie like that. Myhr had had her completely fooled, but why? That’s what she wanted to know why had he lied to her? What possible reason was there for him to do so?
She arrived at the prison before lunch and was ushered into a waiting room, where Myhr was soon brought to her, his face lit up when he saw her. “Miss Chandler!”
“Hello Myhr, I’m sorry I haven’t been to see you, I had some personal problems, and only got back to work today.”
“That’s okay, you’re back now. Is the plan on for today?”
“No that has been abolished I’m afraid, there were too many risks involved, besides its pretty well considered that you will be set free tomorrow. That video was the only thing that secured you being here so long as it is. I expect you’ll be pleased to get back to Texas after this.”
“I’ve certainly seen more of New York than I’d anticipated.” He told her without thinking.
“Certainly more than you’ve seen on previous visits anyway.” She laughed and he did too, “I’ve never been be..fore.” The last word came out slowly like he knew he had just dropped himself in it. He sat and stared at her for long moments wondering whether or not she had realised.
“Then you must have been rescued by your hero in Texas, you never said. I just assumed he had come to your aid in New York?"
“What? Oh yes, yes in Texas, yes that’s right didn’t I make that plain? Yes he came to my aid there.”
“So what made you come to New York to find him?”
For the life of him Myhr couldn’t think of an answer and out of the blue he placed his head in his hands and started to tremble quite violently. Catherine looked at him, touching his shoulder with one hand, “Myhr what is it?”
He looked up at her, she thought he looked as though he would cry, “I lied to you Miss. Chandler. The whole damn lot. My name is Myhr and that’s about the whole truth, and I do live in Texas, but the bit about your friend saving my life that was a lie. The bit about following your cases and being one step ahead of you that was a lie too. The bit about wanting to see what had happened to those three men your friend had attacked that night was also a lie. Everything was put up, I was paid for all those lies, but I can’t continue with this.”
“I grew to like you. To respect you. You believed in me, you were even willing to discredit yourself to help me escape. Your friend also felt so bad about me being convicted in his place that he was willing to risk his life for me. Somewhere in the whole of this I saw everything for what it was and I hated myself for allowing myself to become involved.”
“I don’t understand, what do you mean by that? Did someone pay you to do all these things?”
“Yes. Everything that transpired between us I reported back to them. If you had aided my escape they would have been there waiting. Seems your friend killed someone and a relative has vowed revenge. They’re after him Miss Chandler, they don’t know where he is, but they know he’s wherever you are. All they have to do is follow you, create a scene and he will come running to protect you. Whatever happens Miss Chandler you have to take care of yourself, because believe me they want blood. His.”
Catherine felt a cold shiver run through her, “And what of you?”
“What do you mean what of me?”
“Do you know who these people are? Have you seen them?”
“Not the guy that was paying but I his colleagues I guess, yes I’ve seen them. It was they who approached me about this back home in Texas.”
“You aren’t safe anymore you know that don’t you?”
Myhr looked surprised and then afraid, “Surely they wouldn’t hurt me?”
“You know too much Myhr, chances are you would never have been paid off. Except with a bullet.”
He shook now as fear consumed him, “They say I will walk free tomorrow Miss Chandler, do you know what that means?”
“Can you help me?”
“Why should I trust you?”
“I haven’t an answer to that for a certainty there’s no reason why you should.” His voice trembled.
“I’ll see what I can do. Whatever happens, however the trial goes make certain that you don’t leave the building until after dark you got that?”
Myhr nodded his eyes wide with fear.
Catherine stood, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning Okay?”
It was going to be a long twelve hours.
*** *** ***
“I believe him.” Catherine paced the chamber in front of Father, Devin and Vincent.
“You believed him before and look what happened. Look what could have happened?” Father told her gravely.
“I know, I know, but this time I really think he is telling the truth.”
“It’s not our problem Catherine. He took a risk getting involved for a pay off, and he knew what he was doing, he knew they wanted to flush someone out to kill them. I say we let him take his chances with the rest. He’s not your responsibility Catherine.”
“I know that, but he’s an innocent victim. His only crime being that he was tempted to earn an easy buck.”
“A bloody buck. Catherine you have got to let this go. You are becoming obsessed with it. Its got nothing to do with us.”
“I can’t. I’m sorry Father but I can’t.”
Vincent had said nothing. He had listened gravely while Catherine, Father and Devin had reasoned for and against being involved, but now he had a valid interest. “You will do nothing Catherine.”
All eyes turned to Vincent. The air was fraught with tension and without thinking straight Catherine rounded on him, “I’ll damn well do as I like. This is my job its what I’m good at, and I can put him on witness protection or something like that.” She seethed, breathing hard and annoyed with both Vincent and herself. Him for saying it and herself for her angry outburst.
Vincent never raised his voice, he would never do that with Catherine, but he stood his ground, “And this is my child, while you carry our child everything you do risks the life of that child. You will stay away from this Catherine.” His words brooked no argument, and Catherine knew when she was defeated.
She backed down graciously. He was right in effect, but she still didn’t like it.
Father was impressed. Never before had he known his son to be so masterful and confident enough to issue demands. Father was proud of his son.Truly overnight Vincent had become a man.
Catherine was still peeved two hours later. Vincent could sense that she was cross with him but said nothing. They were in his chamber each reading, or at least pretending to be reading, neither could to save their life have told anyone what the book was about, for all they knew they might have been reading it upside down.
No one had told Catherine what to do since she was a child. She didn’t like it, but in a quiet way coming from Vincent it thrilled her. He had never asserted his rights before, but then before he had no rights. Before they’d become lovers they were separate people with their separate lives, now they were as one, and soon the would be parents. That thought alone sent a warm pulsing glow running through Catherine. She signed with gratitude and love and raised her eyes in time to find Vincent observing her. His face was expressionless and she wondered what thoughts lay behind those brooding eyes. It was time to make amends.
“You’re right I know you are, but I didn’t like it.”
He smiled then, laying down his book at his side and rising to come across to her, he pulled her up into his arms, “I didn’t like doing it, but Catherine we can no longer think only of ourselves. From now on everything we do we must consider another. We created this child between us Catherine, it never asked to be so, and we alone must make sure it has a safe passage both before birth and afterward.”
Catherine lay her head on his shoulder, he was right she knew that. She agreed with everything that he said, but what of Myhr? Wasn’t there anything they could do for him?
“I know how you feel my love I too wish that there was something we could do. This man got himself into this mess, but indirectly I am to blame. If I had never killed at all I would be guiltless but as it is I am not. I too wish there was some way of helping him, but dare we take that risk now?”
“When I try to think of a way, my head goes round and round with the ideas and I dismiss them as fast as they come, I don’t know Vincent, I can’t seem to think about this, and yet I must think of something. The trial is hours away. This time tomorrow night Myhr could be dead and how would that make us feel?”
Vincent nodded, “You don’t have to try to convince me, I too wish I could think of something.”
“What would you do if it were anyone else?”
“If I were protecting someone you mean. Standing ready to kill if the need be?”
“Possibly I would bring them here if I thought their lives were still in danger. I certainly don’t anticipate going out to kill the men that will threaten Myhr however. I don’t even know who they are.”
“If I was with him, that would lead you.”
“No Catherine.” Vincent’s voice was firm. Catherine understood that would be taking them back to square one.
“If he was a witness I could find protection for him. And he is a witness in a way. He’s a witness to us. He knows the men that have been hired to kill you. But he can’t take that knowledge to the police because that would mean exposing you, and he won’t do that because he appreciates the things that you do. Whichever way you look at it Vincent, this man Myhr has affection for you enough to risk his life to keep you safe.”
Vincent was nodding, “Yes that’s the way I see it too. He’s a good man at heart, and he has been used because he chose a disguise for whatever reason he chose it that just happened to resemble me.”
“A disguise...” Catherine murmured, “I wonder?”
“What have you thought of?”
“A disguise got him into this mess and a disguise could get him out. He would never be able to use the cat outfit again, but that would be a small price to pay for his life. Of course he wouldn’t be able to walk from the court in any particular disguise or he’d be spotted, but if we could get him so far and then disguise him, that might work.” Her voice trailed away as she formed the plan in her mind, “Yes” she mused. “It could be the answer. Vincent, what time is it?”
*** *** ***
Devin was the only one that could do it.
He was the only one who had enough brains, guile and downright mischief to carry it through.
Posing as a rabbi and keeping his fingers crossed that Joe Maxwell did not make a sudden appearance and have the slim chance of recognising him, Devin waited at the court with his copy of the Holy Writings tucked firmly under his arm for Myhr to be brought in from the prison.
No one would try anything near the courthouse that was a fact. There would be absolutely no reason for any killer to draw attention to himself like that. In a case such as this, with an unsuspecting man they would likely wait until he reached his hotel room, or perhaps wait until he was heading for the airport. So Devin felt pretty certain that they would have time to pull it off.
With Catherine and Vincent both promising not to make an appearance, he felt positive about the whole thing. With a lot of luck it could be accomplished without any hiccups.
Catherine had written Myhr a letter, it was delivered to the jail and simply said, “Don’t wait for me, something’s come up. Sorry I couldn’t say goodbye. Next time use your 'head' and good-luck for the future.”
Myhr read it with some distaste, she had let him down at the last moment, or had she? Was there a hidden message there?
What had she last said to him?
Wracking his brains, in the armoured van on the way to court he drew to mind the last of the previous day’s conversation, and he remembered. She had told him that he wasn’t to leave the court until after dark. He had assumed at that time that she would get her friend to help him and at that moment had marvelled at her trust, now he could see she had had second thoughts about that, and if she trusted him not at all, could he really blame her?
So if he didn’t have to wait for night-fall to leave, he could go as soon as they pronounced him innocent. Then he would be out on his own. The thought scared the hell out of him. Surely she wouldn’t leave him to it like that, surely she wouldn’t?
At the court his brief awaited him. They went over the notes, and he waited in a cell until his name was called. There were several cases to be seen that day there was no telling when it would be his turn.
He thought he should do something. There was no one down here that might get a message to him. He took out the note again, had he missed something?
Use your head? Why had she written the word head in inverted commas? It had rankled when first he’d read it. He thought she was being sarcastic. Now he realised that would be unlike her. He read it again. What did she mean, use your head?
Myhr had no mirror so he touched his face. There was nothing there that gave him any clues and without his disguise he had just an average sort of face.
He drew his brows together. Is that what she meant? Was she referring to his disguise? But the police had confiscated that and besides the killers knew him by it. And Catherine Chandler knew that.
If then he was to use his head then he was to change his appearance... Was that it? Myhr’s heart beat frantically now, surely that would be a way? But how could he change his appearance now?
He had no razor, he could not shave off his beard, he couldn’t dye his hair or change the style. So what could he do to look different?
He couldn’t even walk out of there in the disguise of another animal even if that were possible, for that would be as good a give away as wearing a Tee-shirt with the slogan ‘shoot me’ on the back.
Whatever happened he had to wait until after the court hearing. He couldn’t disguise himself just yet and walk out now. Whatever happened he had to wait until then. It wouldn’t give him much time to change, he could have been watched at any time.
So he sat in his cell and counted the minutes not really knowing whether each one that passed would be the last one he would see go by at that time of day ever again.
He’d been there four hours when they adjourned for lunch. He was starving but could not eat a thing. A few visitors walked down between the cells they were mainly holy men come there to say prayers over the convicts. Myhr found that he watched each one with avid interest, was help in the form of anyone of these men? He had almost given up hope when he a rabbi came right up to his cell and spent longer moments than was necessary looking at him. Myhr held his breath. There was nothing unusual about this man. He wore the typical dress and had the same black beard and beady black eyes that he would associate with one of this religion but as he moved away Myhr could have fainted with relief. The rabbi had winked at him!
From that moment on he ate his lunch with relish. He was ravenous and he saw the necessity for eating as much as he could. It might be some time before he could stop to eat again for several hours.
Another two hours went slowly by, and Myhr grew worried. The clock on the wall showed him it was almost four p.m. The court usually finished for the day about this time. He had been warned that this might be the case, that he might have to go through it all again the next day.
He had just about convinced himself of this some half an hour later when he heard his name called and in a funny kind of way it made him laugh.
‘The state versus Myhr.” He pursed his lips tightly together to stop any sound coming out and handcuffed to an officer he made his way toward the courtroom.
The rabbi was nowhere in sight, not that he had expected him to be, and neither did he make a big thing about searching for him. Merely with his eyes he looked without turning his head, but was not able to discern if the fellow was in the courtroom or not.
He half listened as his case was read to the jury and he half dwelt on Catherine Chandler’s note for the thousandth time. Use your head. If someone was here in the court to help him then they would need secrecy to carry it off. There was only one possible place. The gents toilets.
His mind reeled, of course that had to be it. And if it wasn’t then wherever the rabbi was, he would no doubt be watching and he would follow him into the toilet and they could do whatever needed to be done in there. It had to be the only place possible.
“Sir?” Myhr was spoken to several times and touched on the hand before he realised he was being spoken to.
“What? Oh er sorry your honour. I was miles away.” He wished that were true.
“I said what have you to say for yourself, do you plead guilty or not guilty?”
“Not guilty Sir.”
The judge nodded and scribbled something down in his book, “Why was this man held in the state prison for the past month when there was only circumstantial evidence against him?”
“It was believed Sir that he was the person responsible for all the mysterious deaths over the past three years where the victims were ripped to shreds as if by a large predator.”
“And there has been no evidence of this?”
“No Sir. None. All of the defendant’s alibi’s have checked out.”
“So the wrong man, an innocent man was held in custody and denied bail for a whole month?”
“Mr Myhr do you seek compensation for unfair treatment?”
Myhr had not expected this.
“Yes. A claim must be made within the next ninety days. Perhaps you would prefer to take time to consider this?”
“Then you are free to go.”
“Free? You mean I can walk out of here?”
“Yes. Through that door over there if you like.” The judge indicted with a nod in the opposite direction.
Myhr wanted to whoop with joy, but he wasn’t home dry yet. He very much wished that compensation could buy him a suit of body armour and now.
So he walked away with as much dignity as he could muster intending to head straight for the gents, but was unprepared to meet a crowd of reporters eager to take his story and pay him for it too.
“Excuse me gentlemen but there is simply something I must do first. A trail of laughter followed him to the toilets and words of ‘We’ll be right here.’
Inside Myhr leaned upon the door with relief, and at first felt a stirring of fear when he believed the toilets were empty. He had been so sure the rabbi would be here. But almost as soon as he had thought it, he caught a reflection in the mirror just around one corner and sighed with relief.
“Miss Chandler sent you?” He asked hopefully.
Devin nodded, and put a finger to his lips. Myhr understood at once, he mustn’t say a word, even walls had ears especially in court-rooms.
Quickly Devin discarded his robe to reveal a suit beneath, and placing his book of Holy writings on the counter he opened it to reveal inside a smaller note book but running all around its edges was a frame in which was placed makeup of varying descriptions.
Deftly Devin made up Myhr’s face. Darkening his skin and his beard as Myhr shrugged into the robe and secured his head-wear in place.
Within the time it takes to use the toilet and wash one’s hands Myhr was for all intents and purposes an ordained rabbi and Devin was just an ordinary reporter with his notepad and pen at the ready.
Devin pointed inside the robe to a hidden pocket that opened to reveal a thousand dollars and an airline ticket bound for Colorado.
Myhr understood, as much as he wanted to go home, that too would be a dangerous place right now. Maybe he would never get that compensation either for the risks of applying for it were also too big a risk to take on his life. Someone would be expecting that too.
Next Devin slipped the Holy Book into the robe, just in case Myhr should drop it and it should fall open but needed to keep it with him. He might need a fresh touch up of make up long before the day was over or during the next few days.
That done they shook hands and Devin indicated that he would go inside a toilet and wait there for half and hour before coming out.
For all intents and purposes, the rabbi that went into the toilets had come out, and Myhr that had gone in after him was still sat on the loo.
It worked. Myhr in his new disguise walked free from the court and out into the late afternoon sunshine. He wanted to run and shout but could do no such thing.
Instead he walked on looking at life anew, everything seemed that much brighter, that much sharper, life looked good when you suddenly realised how close you came to never seeing life again.
Whoever that fellow was he owed him, and he just hoped that he could get far enough away before anyone discovered the deception.
*** ** ***
“Got anything for piles Pop?” Devin came down the stairs slowly startling the three sat waiting for him with hearts in their mouths.
“Devin!” they cried as one, “You’re back?”
“Here take a seat you must be exhausted” Catherine stood up to let him have her chair.
“No keep it please. I don’t want to sit anywhere ever again, well not in a good long while anyway.”
Catherine smiled at him curiously, whatever was Devin on about now?
“I told him I’d give him half an hour, but I didn’t think that was long enough. So I stayed in the toilet sitting on the loo for a while longer to give him a better chance. How was I to bloody well know that the court house was locked on the dot of five!”
“Oh Devin!” Catherine exclaimed with laughter creeping into her voice.
“They even locked the toilet doors. There was nowhere to sit. The loos had no lids, I had to sit on the damn toilet the whole time, until the cleaner arrived at seven o’clock to let me out.”
“So you don’t know if Myhr made it?”
“Nope. And I doubt we ever will. He’ll not know how to contact us after all will he?”
“No I guess not. But do you think he got away?”
“Well there was no blood on the street, and I listened to the bulletins before I came back, oh and one another thing I checked with the airline that the guy bearing that particular ticket number had actually boarded. They confirmed that he had.”
“Oh Devin why couldn’t you have told us that straight away?”
“Cos, little Miss Chandler I like to see you stew a little. It somehow makes up for the way my backside feels right now.”
Catherine burst into laughter, as did Vincent and Father. Perhaps Devin’s choice of words weren’t so bad really, Father mused, in fact sometimes his son really made him laugh.
Of course though, he would never tell him so.
*** *** ***
All of Catherine’s belongings finally made their way from her apartment to her new home in the tunnels bit by bit over the next two weeks, until only the cumbersome furniture which was impossible to slip through the threshold door remained.
Catherine organised for a removal team to take it away, and had all her mail diverted to Peter’s address, but after the day Vincent had told her not to risk their child she never went Above again.
It was a little after two months when Catherine sorted through the latest batch of mail Peter had brought for her when she came across a postcard addressed to her at the D.A’s office. Obviously Joe had had it sent onto her apartment not knowing anything about Peter handling her mail.
Catherine turned the postcard over and it showed a wonderful scene of rugged snow capped mountains and valley full of columbine. Catherine recognised the area and her gasp of delight had Vincent's rapt attention at once.
”What is it Catherine?”
“This.” She held up the card and made her way to his desk where he sat filling in his journal.
“It’s a postcard, and it answers all our questions. See?”
She turned it over and draped one arm around Vincent’s shoulders as he began to chuckle with relief.
Myhr had got away then.
And what was more he was obviously making a new life for himself in another part of America.
“Its great isn’t it?” Catherine’s eyes were bright with happiness.
“It certainly is.” Vincent replied drawing her onto his lap and laying his hand tenderly upon her gently rounded belly.
Catherine read the words again and again, laughing all the more as she did so. It was sweet and to the point and no one would ever see it and suspect a thing.
“Life’s just purrfect in Colorado.”
*** *** ***
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.