arol moaned into his mouth as he began to stroke her. “You bastard. Take me here and now before I change my mind, and yell rape and we both get shot full of holes. This is crazy and dangerous.”
“Admit it. You’re loving it.”
“You’re such an asshole. Now take me before I regret this.” She pulled his mouth to hers and reached down to unzip his pants. His hardness sprung free. Son of a … he doesn’t even wear underwear. Damn it, this was hot and absolutely crazy. And I want him. What is wrong with me?
He slid his finger between her legs. “Oh yeah, you’re wet.”
“Quit stating the obvious.”
She moaned as his thick hardness entered her. He entered slowly, filling her. All she could do was moan into his mouth. He pulled back out and again slowly pushed himself into her. I need my head examined. I shouldn’t be doing this.
The feel of his throbbing hardness tore her away from all else. Filling her. Carol gasped and clutched him to her. Yells filled the air, thumps of bullets, bodies falling. They can blast away, this feels too damn good. Thrusting up, pulling the entire length of his desire fully into her, she bit at his neck, Shit. Every internal nerve danced like hands juggling a pot aflame trying not to scream. He kissed her, and she gasped. So fucking hot. I shouldn’t be thinking like this. What am I, some sick kind of kinky perv, like Rebecca? I can see why he liked him woman on the edge.
This is so bloody American and PC uncorrect.
But Christ he feels good, deep inside me and gone again. Like ocean waves battering at the fragile coastline of my sanity. Sanity? No, this was insanity. She cried into his mouth lost in the erotic sensation of being flung over the edge of reason and caution. This is so frigging hot and most definitely not the right thing to do.
All too soon Carol felt the convulsions building inside. So kinky, so sexy, to be making love like this.
Thump, thump. Gunfire continued to explode all around them.
Oh, god I’m coming. She opened her eyes and stared into Tony’s.
Tony, what the…?”
Carol woke inside the ambulance as it caromed around a corner. Just a dream? It wasn’t Jake I desired, but Tony. Even my subconscious knows who I really want.
“You’re awake, that’s good. I think you’re going to be okay, Agent Moore. You were moaning a lot while you were unconscious,” the attendant told her.
She blinked twice, focusing, and realized it was Vidler.
“We’re on the way to the Victoria General.”
“Was there a guy with me?”
“Jake Holden, FBI. You mentioned his name before coming to. He contacted us and then left when we got to the shore where you’d washed up. He resuscitated you. You’ve taken on a lot of sea water, but otherwise I think you’re going to be okay.” Vidler kept his face expressionless.
God, he probably knows what I was dreaming about. Still he’s a consummate professional. She tried to sit up and realized she was strapped down, vaguely remembering something slamming into her as she struck the water, Jake? Resuscitated? He probably enjoyed sticking his tongue down my throat. Oh well, at least he was gentleman enough to make sure I was okay.
“Is he here?”
“No, said he had other matters to attend to and took off with a couple of other agents in a blacked-out SUV.”
Other matters, like taking an ice pack to his balls. She giggled to herself.
When the attendant wasn’t looking, she reached down and checked herself. Man, why do I have a serious consciousness and why couldn’t I live like my dream? Why, because I take my job and my oath too flipping serious, that’s why. Only I didn’t dream it was Jake, but Tony.
Damnit! My subconscious is telling me something.
When this is over, I need to talk to a psychiatrist, about a dark side that until this assignment I never realized I had. Damn, that Jake.
* * *
Her phone buzzed the next morning. Samuel texted her that Tony Belletti wanted to meet her in his room. Oh hell, I hope this isn’t more Italian Mafia crap going down. Carol sneezed twice. Think I might be coming down with a cold. I know one thing, he wouldn’t pull the kind of crap Jake does.
Tony Belletti stood as one of his minions opened to door to his suite to let her in. Another minion hovered nearby. She had no idea what this was about and as per Big Dan’s orders she was miked-up with him on the other end of the wire, just in case it got rough. She calmly sat where indicated on the sofa and he sat down beside her. He reached up with one hand as if to shake hers and as she lifted hers to meet his grasp he turned it palm down and kissed the back of her hand. “Ah, Ms. Moore, glad you could make it.”
Carol blushed. “Hello, Mr. Belletti. How may I be of service?” She pulled a hanky from her pocket and sneezed deeply. The dipping in the cold harbour water last night, had plugged her sinuses. “Sorry, think I’m catching a cold.”
“Ah, I did not ask you here on work related matters and your explanation to both parties earlier seems to have settled the peace. While this is a sad event, the wedding still goes on and for that I am, grato, how you say, grateful. I wish to get to know you better and find you very attractive. There is a certain wild Canadian charm, I find very sexy, what we would call, provocare, about you. I have asked you here to take you out to dinner as I mentioned earlier on the ghost tour.” As he spoke, he ran his hand over hers. “Care to follow me downstairs? And I presume I can have your company alone, without the elegant, but how you say, posseduto, possessed elder.”
She laughed slightly. He’s already booked a private table for two downstairs, knowing I wouldn’t turn him down. “I think the word for Agnes is more eccentric. You are a handsome man, Mr. Belletti, as I’m sure you know. There’s something about an Italian accent I find attractive. Now give me a moment to let the staff know, unless it is urgent, to belay my calls and if you don’t mind, I’d like to change out of this uniform. Give me fifteen minutes to meet you there.”
“I shall be waiting senza fiato. Breathless!”
She turned and quickly left the room. Before speaking to the mike, she made sure she was well down the hallway and no one was around. “Well this is a pleasant turn of events. I’ve been asked out for dinner. I’ll de-mike for the dinner.”
Big Dan responded, “Why, think he’ll ask to have sex with you or something?”
Carol smiled. “You didn’t see the lust-filled look in his eyes. Possibly, but after last night, I couldn’t possibly.” She had debriefed Big Dan on what happened once Jake got her back to shore and the medical authorities had cleared her. Only she hadn’t told him about what happened in the lifeboat. She still couldn’t believe it. “I think he seems to have the hots for me and I ain’t about have an audience. Would take the edge of the moment off.”
“I thought you were a dedicated employee.” He half laughed, something Carol rarely heard him do. “And if it gets too intense, remember I’ve got Vidler and Carson ready to intervene in a moment or if all goes well. Remember the golden rule, always raincoat protection.”
Carol gasped. “Dedication only goes so far in the line of duty. The rest you’ll just have to imagine for yourself. Gotta go.”
She rushed upstairs and quickly changed into a well cut red and yellow dress that didn’t show her breasts off, just accented them, but did show off most of her legs, which she thought was her best asset. She drew on a pair of black sheer patterned nylons. A glance in the mirror, oh yeah lipstick. She looked over the several shades and grabbed the deepest red. She stepped into a pair of sparkling red stilettos, which again helped accent her calves. This should grab his attention and if it doesn’t, he’s interested in the wrong kind of equipment.
Tony was already sitting at the table by himself. A glance around the room showed there was none of his henchmen gathered. It would be just them.
“Bellissimo,” he breathed quietly as she slowly sauntered into the room.
He stood up and moved to pull her chair out.
Wow, don’t get many true gentlemen these days.
“I have seen many beautiful things in my life time, but few bring such bellezza pura, sheer beauty, to my eyes as the sight of you,” he whispered into her ear and let his breath wash over her neck. Carol melted into her chair.
Son of a… never had a man do that to me. Who the hell wants to eat? “You are utterly gorgeous, are all Canadian women of this ah, meravigliarsi, wonder?”
His eyes, she knew spoke the truth. Whatever spell she had cast on him was working. He placed his hand over hers and gently stroked her fingers.
Oh god, this man was too much. But this is sheer utter bliss.
He turned his hand under hers and ran his fingers gently down her palm. His eyes seemed to burn deep into her soul. “I tend to like stronger assertive women, there is something about you that is beyond what I have for words and that which I’ve never found in someone.”
Damn it. She felt a deep shudder thrill through her whole body. No one has touched me that intimately in months, if ever. It was like the first time Alan had touched her. She wanted to say something intelligent, but couldn’t as he stroked her hand and fingers. Man, what he does to my soul. Tony handed her the wine list. “As a complete change to tradition I shall let you choose the wine”
“If I know Italian men, I think you like would like a full-bodied red.” I might as well get something out of this undercover operation, always wanted to try some.
“The only full body I want is yours. But you are correct in this.”
She nodded over to the waiter on duty and ordered a bottle of Painted Rock Skaha Blend, one of the more expensive red wines on the list. They waited patiently as the waiter uncorked the wine and pour a small quantity for Tony to scrutinize it. He sniffed at the glass, swirled it and tasted, slowly and seductively. “Is this Italian or perhaps Argentinian?”
“Magnifico, this matches the best of the wines I have sampled from the wine capitals of the world.” He tasted again and swished it in his mouth. “I get, Welcome to Canada. The wilderness and open spaces that brings out the strength of character. The living on the edge of nature. A cliff I am finding myself tumbling from.”
“I like living on the edge.” She smiled slightly as he sipped his wine and sampled some herself as they clinked glasses. And not like the edge of a boat she was shoved from last night.
Nor the hell that bastard American placed me in. She fought to keep another sniffle down.
“Very good. Great choice.”
“This winery this is from is in the next set of valleys inland from us, the Okanagan, and keep playing your cards right and you might end up on the edge of something else.” “Would that be my bed?” he asked from out of the blue.
“Is that all Italian men think of? Sex?”
“No, but the bella bellezza of you betrays the desires inside. From our two nights on the ghost tour, I have found myself drawn to you and have had a hard time sleeping without the vision of yourself before me. I am not usually lost in infatuation for a woman. So, this is my way of wanting to get to know you better.”
Carol smiled. Yup one horny Italian dude. Could be a fun night. An unexpected bonus from this job. Well I was told to get close to the mob.
“I didn’t invite you over for dinner to just get you into bed.”
“Really, I’m let down. I was told Italian men are how do I say this …?”
“No, passionate and romantic lovers.”
He lifted her hand to his lips and lightly breathed on her skin. Shivers ranged up her arm. “Oh, I see you’ve found me out. But I do wish to see more of this enchanting island, would you care to show me about. I am not one to jump into the covers with anyone. I prefer to get to know you better first. It’s my Catholic upbringing.”
Relief welled in her. They talked about various things after that getting to know each other better. Carol had agreed to show him around the island.
God, this guy is too, too much.
“Hatley Castle is closed to the public for the week. I have already gathered your possessions and you can stay there until the wedding. But you need to keep a very low profile until then. It was bad enough that I had to rescue you from the police car, now Ms. Moore has had the police issue an all-points bulletin for your arrest.”
“Bitch. I don’t take lightly to anyone interfering in my fun.” Rebecca sneered as she got off her cell phone.
In the morning, Donna Amberside woke, her heading throbbing. “Fuck what a weird dream that was. I dreamt my baby, Cindy, returned to me aglow, like an angelic blue fairy.” She reached for her half glass of rum, smelled the contents and as she was about to take a drink, she felt her guts begin to heave.
Running over to the reeking toilet she puked long and hard. Staggering back to her bed she sat a moment.
I remember now. The bitch did something to me in the dream. She reached for the drugs and went to get a glass of water from the constantly dripping tap. “These will make me feel better.” She put two into her hand and tried to put them into her mouth. Her hand began to shake as she fought to ingest the drugs. For long moments the body fought with itself until Donna gave up and tossed them down the sink and turned the tap on. “Fuck, I can’t do this. She did something to me.
I hate her.” She threw the glass against the wall as tears she hadn’t felt in a long time fought their way to the surface.
She pulled up her phone and looked at the one number she swore she’d call one day and never did til now. “Hello, mental health services, I need to talk to someone. I need help. I think I’m going crazy.” Donna Amberside sat down and began to sob uncontrollably.
* * *
Carol strode into the Q (as in Queen) at The Empress dining room where she knew she’d find Agnes at breakfast. As usual the room was tastefully done in white linen covered tables, royal blue and purple cushions decorated the sofas and the row of benches. Victorian wooden chairs and balustrades lent an air of class. Agnes had chosen to sit against one of the windows and there was no one near her to overhear their conversation, Carol noted as she sat. “Good thing we’re somewhat private here. I was just wondering, is it possible ghosts, maybe even Sir Francis Rattenbury, were involved in the murder of Senior Rizzuto?”
“Unlikely, but I can’t seem to see much inside that room. Just feelings.”
“Well, he came to me in a dream. He came out of the Shelbourne vortex they talked about on the tour. He whispered something to me just before vanishing as the vortex collapsed.”
“And what did he say?” Agnes’ eyes opened, suddenly more interested in Mr. Rattenbury than her breakfast kedgeree. Agnes, even in breakfast mode was done up in a pale-pink frock with turquoise trim, reminiscent of a bridesmaid’s dress. All frills and flowing.
Man, she looks amazing, like a 1940’s catalog. The broad must have a few bucks stashed away. Carol opened her eyes and stared saying nothing with that, okay come on read my mind, lady, on her face.
“Okay I’m not God, I don’t read everything in there. What?” Agnes slowly nibbled again on her breakfast, losing interest in the conversation.
“Man, I like keeping you on tender-hooks. This is quite a change.”
“He said to me before he disappeared; ‘the earth remembers’.”
“I think I discussed that over tea with him once with Cider.”
“She told you? You talk to long deceased spirits over bloody tea? I thought I had one on you, finally. This sucks.”
“Sorry, bad habit of mine, comes with seeing and reading people’s minds. And yes, the earth does remember, hence why the Mafia are stirring up the ghosts in this town. They don’t forget curses, nor do they like others interfering in their territory. As you know they have already performed some perfunctory initiations at the castle, as we learned from Begbie, the native band from this area was cursed to languish underground. Which goes against their beliefs. These are arousing even more unrest. I won’t say much more than to guard your back at all times.” “Back at the crime scene you ran out of there pretty fast. Why?” Carol asked.
“I am still trying to sift through some of those murky details. I was very disturbed, like I said earlier, the whole room has been placed into a kind of morphic field to keep people like myself from finding anything out. Even Cider can’t penetrate through.”
“So, are you saying it is possible that a ghost is involved in this hanging after all?”
Agnes sipped at her morning coffee. “There is that distinct possibility;
like I said the earth remembers. Care to join me for some breakfast?”
Carol took in the dish of flaked fish, rice and hard-boiled eggs and thought the better of it. Give me good old pancakes and maple syrup any day. “Think I’ll pass.”
Carol sneezed again. The old gal smiled insidiously as she delicately forked her kedgeree to her mouth. Carol shook at the water still stuck in her ears.
“Still got salt water in your ears. Enjoy your late-night dip?”
“I was going to mention it but then thought why bother? I knew you’d already know. But did you know about the gun men? I definitely wouldn’t have gone if you did.”
“No, didn’t know about them. All I knew was that you were on a boat and then you were in the water. I don’t get everything all the time. Hope you don’t catch cold.”
“Now one thing I do want to know about. Why is Sir Francis Rattenbury trying to get in contact with me and from what you tell me you as well and don’t give me that ‘the earth remembers’ crap?”
Agnes thought a moment before responding. “It’s a bit more complicated than you realize.”
Agnes slowly poured herself another tea and added sugar with the dainty spoon. “Now I’ve dug into some of the background stories that as a mystic are rather troubling. I can’t say much more than that. There are things going on you need to discover for yourself.”
“Agnes, how do you know this stuff?”
“Again, I can’t tell you. I’ve said too much now, you need to do the digging and perhaps one day you’ll find out. Just use caution.”
“Man, you use one riddle after another. I get the feeling there’s a lot you’re keeping from me.”
Agnes sipped slowly at her tea before simply saying, “You, my dear are most astute. I will say this much only. Visit the Pendray house, check the history of Deadman’s Point first.”
“Sure, will do. Now Agnes. Tell me really why you are here? And don’t tell me for the Mafia or the ghosts tours or like I said earlier ‘the earth remembers’ BS. There’s something going on here bigger than that. Isn’t there? You may forget first and foremost I’m a police officer and know when someone is lying to me.” Carol stared hard at her, telling herself to try and keep her mind blank.
“You, my dear can be hard to read sometimes. And you’re right, I came here because I was hired by someone to find their missing child. The Gibsons. Have you heard of the case of missing Jordon Gibson?”
Carol blinked for a moment. “Yeah, vaguely, but isn’t that a really old case. I don’t know much of the details.”
“In October of 1990 Samantha Gibson, was watching her husband play soccer when four year-old Jordon asked to play in the playground off
Quadra Street. Even though the playground was only a few meters away.”
“At four, man, today she’d be charged and have social services take him away.”
“Yes, today, but the world in the quiet suburbs of upper end Victoria was a little different back then. Safe, peaceful and very civil, or so she thought. They never found him when they went looking for him. It began one of the largest police searches ever undertaken, with a huge reward. The police got thousands of tips, including the sighting of a man and a tan van in the area, but the boy was never found.”
“How horrible she must have felt. You wouldn’t expect your child to vanish so close to you. So why are you re-investigating this? The reward?” “I was offered the $100,000 for the reward. But I took the challenge not because of that, I don’t want the money and don’t need it. I took it because you asked me to.”
“So why the challenge to solve the case, surely he must be dead by now? Hang on, me?
How? I haven’t asked you to help me.”
“Yet. Apparently. That is why I was contacted. Samantha began to get visions in her sleep, and now she’s claiming he’s trying to contact her, from a tunnel somewhere under the city. The tunnel where he was held and made part of the Satanic ritual.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of the claims that Victoria is full of devil worshippers. And tunnels. Tunnels that many have said exist under the older parts of town. Some claim under the purple lights set in the sidewalks.”
“Only no one has ever found the entrance to these, until now. Samantha claims he’s trying to lead her there in a dream. She saw me on a TV show and tracked me down via my web page.”
“You’ve got a web page?” Carol didn’t even think the old woman knew how to turn on a computer.
“Yeah, just because I’m old doesn’t mean I don’t know how to keep up with the times. I pay a lovely young man to update my page and keep me on the first page of Google.”
“Really? That works? I thought it was just hype by sales people.”
“No, something to do with music, rhyming logs or something like that.”
Carol smiled, “Algorithms. It’s the way we can use the information in the internet to compile information. The police use it a lot in searching for data regarding a crime or suspect. If we know the suspect is a white male, drives a red Honda and lives in this area, we can log it in and find all the known people.”
“Stop. If this more complex than programming my blender I’m hearing blah, blah, blah.”
Carol thought about the two new stories that just hit the papers in the last couple of days. “Is this somehow hooked to the two new abductions, one of which is my nephew?”
“Yes, it is related to those I believe, including your nephew.”
“Now, being an unclosed case is there any way you have access to the files? Might help me wrap my head around this case and maybe lead us to the other two.”
“I’d need to get clearance from my boss, Big Dan. You think they’re related after all of this time?” she already knew the answer before Agnes spoke it.
“Yes. I’ve also heard someone mention the book about a girl who was abducted in Victoria, she also reported tunnel systems under Victoria and Satanic rituals. I just found a copy of the novel in the local bookstore downtown. Michelle Remembers. I’ll get you to read it and see if there’s any truth to the book.”
“And in return for helping you?”
“We might be lead to the two boys and a third about to happen.”
“Yes. Ratty is saying there’s reports of usually three to five needed for these rituals.”
“Crap. I’ll notify the chief and get what I can for information. And this is related to the mob being here.” Ratty? She must talk to Rattenbury a lot if she’s got a pet name for him. Who else would talk to a dead guy?
“I’m afraid so.” Agnes rearranged today’s hat, which was a turquoise that precisely matched the dress’s trim, in an indication that she was done and about to get up.
“I have some free time today which I’m going to spend with Barb. I haven’t been able to give her anywhere near the attention I’d have liked. Then later I’ll get permission to show you my nephew’s file and take a look at that book of yours, see what I can dig up on that, then the
Pendray House thing. Man, so much to do.”
* * *
Wings fluttered behind the fairy being as she walked around the rank confines of the sewer room, talking to herself.
I was young, maybe six. My last memories are of picking berries on a cool fall morning. I heard the snarl of a cougar. The crunch of teeth, my cries as I was dragged from the bushes. My mother screaming as she launched herself at the feline. It ran off not willing to fight another human bigger than it. Her stroking my hair as my blood drained onto her lap. Her singing my name as I died. My name I remember it, in English it means, floats with butterflies. I’ve never seen a butterfly, would like to.
The blue elfish being sat against the wall of the sewer, talking to itself. Close your eyes, I remember a place. I will take you somewhere.
They both closed their eyes and Cindy took them through the earth via its spiritual pathways to a cool mountain slope. The field was littered with spring flowers. Our school took us here on a field trip. My mom would never do anything like this with me. I remember walking into the field and having all of these things flutter all around me.
They pulled to the surface of the same field and dozens of butterflies lifted free. All colors and shapes, some small others large danced around, little wings gliding on subtle winds. Several, finding her either none threatening, or of similar likeness, landed all over them.
My eyes hurt, but this is so beautiful. The sun, the warmth. I have never known this wonder before. What are these delicate beings that surf the breezes?
These are your name sakes.
The Lekwungen said nothing for a long time. Cindy, as she remembered herself, knew it was crying and let it have its moment until the pain began again.
We must go now.
Pain seared through its being.
They both closed their eyes in agony.