The Lady in Red

The Hole in the Plan

Mitch stiffened and frowned. "You killed Doctor Stensrund?"

Selina bristled. "You have absolutely no right to look at me that way! If it wasn't for you two and your silly memory-erasing then I might have remembered that he was a good guy and maybe I wouldn't have done it! So in a sense, his being gone is your fault not mine."

Just then the front door opened and Stefan called out "Selina! Mitch! Where are you?"

Selina went to the door. "How about I just go let them in?" she left her old bedroom and navigated through the hallways. Finally, she found Damon, Stefan and Elena by one of the staircases near the front entryway. "Thank God you're here," she said. "You wouldn't believe some of the things Daddy Dearest has told me."

"Are they good things?" Elena asked.

Selina thought a moment. "They should have been good things," she said finally. "But they aren't. Now Mitch is all mad at me because I just told him that I killed Dr. Stensrund. Even though that's really his fault not mine, if you think about it." She began to walk back to her bedroom and the other three followed.

"How is your killing Dr. Stensrund Matthew's fault?" Stefan asked.

"Why don't you ask him?" Selina said. "I'm sure he'd love to tell you about how he used to visit me after he was turned but after I started talking, he and Dr. Stensrund would always erase my memories of the visits so I wouldn't go blabbing about them to my mother."

"Your father and Dr. Stensrund were friends?" Elena asked just as Selina opened her bedroom door.

"We were," Mitch said. "He was the doctor at the army hospital when I had typhoid fever. After I was turned, he taught me the ropes. And when he realized that I couldn't be with Selina anymore, he took the doctor job in Mystic Falls so he could watch over her and report the goings-on back to me."

"That's what made him kill Mr. Pierce," Selina said, sitting back down on the bed.

"Wait a minute," Elena said, sitting down on the cedar chest "Dr. Stensrund was a good guy?"

"Yeah," Mitch nodded. "And that's why I'm having trouble understanding why Selina would kill him."

"She had every right to!" Elena said. "He turned her and ruined her life!"

"He turned you?" Mitch looked at Selina in shock.

"Yes he did. That's what I meant when I asked if he turned you too. You know that story of the Lady in Red that I told you in the library? The doctor in the story is Doctor Stensrund. If you take the pro-Lady in Red story and replace 'raped and murdered' with 'exchanged blood with and poisoned' then you get an idea of what happened."

Mitch was shaking his head. "I don't understand. He was so good to you. He treated you like you were his granddaughter. Why would he want to turn you?"

Selina sighed. "He told me he was in love with me," she said finally. "When I first woke up as a vampire, I was tied to a chair in his attic, and racked with bloodlust. After I had some blood in me, I discovered the locket was missing, just like I told you. He hid the locket in the front yard and replaced it with an 'engagement ring'." She held out the hand that had the ring on it and Mitch looked it over. "The surprise he talked about in the last letter he wrote you was probably that he turned me and that the two of us were engaged."

"My God," he said finally, "This is his. Or at least a copy of one that he had."

"And instead of giving me a nice animal diet like he gave you, he would lure drifters and other people nobody would miss to his house so that I could practice on them."

Mitch was looking sick to his stomach. "And by practice on them, you mean…?"

"He would untie me; I would rush them, attack them, and suck them dry." Selina said. "I don't know why, though. Maybe he wanted to make me a stronger person then I'd been when I was alive. That lasted about a week. Then I escaped.

"Once I was out, I thought about going back home, but I was still kind of out of it and didn't want to hurt anyone, so I hid out in the woods and ate squirrels and bunny rabbits for six months. That was a real treat. Then one day, Michael found me."

"Who's Michael?" Mitch asked.

"My cousin," Selina said. "Uncle Thomas and Aunt Rose's son."

"Ah," Mitch said. "A Lockwood. You miss a lot of things when you go off to war, don't you?"

"Michael was in love with Selina," Damon added.

"No he wasn't!" Stefan, Elena, and Selina said together.

"Anyway," Selina continued, "Michael found me feeding on a squirrel and the sight of him absolutely terrified me because I'd heard they were rounding up vampires in town and taking them away. I thought he was going to stake me, but instead, he handed me a paper that had an article in it about those two," she indicated Damon and Stefan, "taking my sister Katherine to the Founder's Day Ball. Then he promised that as long as he and his descendents lived in the town, I could stay here and be safe.

"When I saw the article, my mind cleared. I realized the extent of what had happened to me and everything that it had cost me. I left the woods, went back to Doctor Stensrund's house, sucked him nearly dry, and then staked him. I've been staying at his house, spending his money, and drinking his booze ever since."

"So you killed him because Katherine went to the Founder's Ball with Damon and Stefan instead of you," Mitch said. He was starting to look angry. "I can't believe you. The guy was one of my closest friends."

"She and Damon were engaged at that point," Elena said.

"Really?" His expression lightened and he looked back and forth from Damon to his daughter. "You never mentioned that."

"I would have eventually," Selina said. She slipped the locket off, and after some gentle maneuvering, managed to get it open. Inside was an old picture of Damon on one side and a lock of his hair on the other. "See?"

"Wow," Elena said. "We tried to get it open after we found it, but we couldn't make it budge."

Selina looked at her. "Well, now you know what's in it." She kept it open a little longer, then shut it and put it back around her neck, and looked at Mitch. "And do you understand at least a little why I killed Doctor Stensrund?" she asked.

Mitch sighed. "I guess I do. I just don't understand what would make him act that way. He was the nicest guy in the world when I knew him. If you believe me," he said, looking at Selina.

"Why would you lie about it?" Selina asked.

"So the question is," Stefan said looking at Mitch, "what happened between the last time you saw him in whatever year that was-"

"1860, just before Selina moved in with you," Mitch supplied.

"Right," Stefan said. "What happened between 1860 and 1864 when he took in Selina to turn him from a nice guy to an evil, ruthless one?"

The room was silent while they tried to think up an explanation. Finally, Selina had it.

"Katherine," she said quietly.

"What?" Stefan said.

"She wanted me out of the way so she could turn you and Damon so she and Emily plotted to make me sick," Selina said. "They knew that Dr. Stensrund was the only doctor in town so I'd have to go see him to get a diagnosis. Maybe Katherine messed with Doctor Stensrund's brain and that made him delusional or something."

They just stared at her.

"Hey, it's just a theory," Selina said. "Don't look at me like I'm insane. Let's hear your ideas."

Nobody said anything.

"I thought so," Selina frowned. "This is just another good reason for us to continue with the other project at hand. Let's go back to the house and continue looking for whatever it is that will tell us the location of Emily's grimoire!"

She got up and left the room.

"What project is she talking about?" Mitch asked.

"Well," Damon said, "Katherine was taken away by the citizenry of Mystic Falls during the Great Vampire Cleansing of 1864. To save her life, Emily cast a spell that kept her and 26 other vampires in a mummified state in tomb underneath the church. My original plan before I knew Selina was here was to resurrect Katherine so that the two of us could live happily ever after."

"But now that you know Selina's here?" Mitch asked.

"Now, we're going to call her up so Selina can show her that she's changed and have closure."

"I don't think that's a good idea," Mitch said.

At that moment, Selina came back in the room. "Isn't anyone else coming with me?"

"Your father doesn't think our plan to resurrect Kathrine is a good idea," Damon told her.

"And why not?" Selina asked, glaring at her father.

"Because Kathrine is-" Mitch began.

"A bitch that deserves a kick in the ass?" Selina said.

"No, Katherine is-" Mitch tried again.

"The spawn of hell in human form?"

"No!" Mitch said. "Selina will you let me finish my sentence please?"

"No," Selina shook her head. Her voice was resolute. "I don't care what you say. I'm going to bring her back and give her a piece of my mind. And there's nothing you can say that will stop me."

And with that, she turned on her heel and left the room.

The other four watched her go and then sat in silence. Finally, Elena said "Mitch, why is resurrecting Katherine not a good idea?"

Mitch sighed. "Because Katherine's not in the tomb at all. I don't know where she is now, but I saw her about twenty-five years ago. In Chicago, 1983. And in the state Selina's in, if she gets her hands on the grimoire, she might inadvertently release someone who's very, very dangerous."

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