And Death Shall Have No Dominion

By Fields of Lavender

Chapter Index


Chapter 6


All he knew was need.  He wasn't sure what he needed, but he knew he needed it now.  There were only two things to do.  Lie there and wait or call out to those others who would come in and give it to him.  He was by nature peaceful and patient and so he lay quietly staring at the ceiling and waited.  The need gnawed at him.  He shifted where he lay.  He squirmed and tried to wait some more.  But by now, the discomfort became so acute that he couldn't help it.  He called, quietly at first, a soft mewling sound.  Nothing, just more of the need.  He kicked his feet and flailed his arms free, but that did not alleviate the feeling of need.  He couldn't take it anymore and he began to scream and cry, louder and louder.  He kicked some more and the blanket covering him came off and bunched at the end of the bed.  He cried and cried.  Finally, a crack of light opened up the darkness and She walked in.

She came to him and lifted him up.  She changed his lower clothes then sat in a chair.  She put the bottle to his mouth and he drank.  She burped him, clinically, and laid him back in the bed.  She pulled the blanket back over him and left the room.  She never said a word or touched him except as she absolutely had to. 

He expected the light to go off then.  It usually did.  But this time a Man came in and leaned over the bed.  The Man reached out and touched his hand and stroked his cheek.  He reached out and grasped the ring on the Man's hand.  Then the Man whispered, “Go on.  Grasp it.  Don't be afraid.  The day will come.  You'll know the truth.  When the ring is on your finger, that day, your life will truly begin.  Listen to the shadows.  Nothing is impossible.  The truths are so simple.  Their fear will build your castles.  Their greed will make them slaves.  Look.  When they close their eyes.  Push forward whenever they pull back.  Eat the meals they dare not taste.  The power will come so easily.  Century after century, the truths never change.  Someday.  Sleep now.  Grow strong, my son, my Julian.”

He didn't want to sleep.  There was still need growing in him, but the change and the bottle had satiated most of this desire and in spite of himself, he felt his eyelids drooping.  The Man spoke as if he was his parent, his father.  But he wasn't.  And suddenly, his eyes popped open and he knew what his true need was.


Joe had spent the better part of the morning tracking down all the Dr. Peter Alcott's in the city.  Fortunately, there were only three and the first two had never even heard of Catherine Chandler.  The third wouldn't even get on the phone with him.  So Joe pulled on his rumpled suit coat and went out again into the city.  He carried with him his copy of the initial results that Hughes had given him and found his way to Dr. Alcott's office.

Peter's near run-in with the police officers at the hospital nurse's desk had rattled him.  He began to think that maybe it didn't matter if Cathy would stay awake or stand or eat anything.  He began to think that it might be best to get her Below as soon as he could.  He was thinking over plans and ideas in the back of his head all day while seeing his patients in the clinic.  Finally, there was a lull in the afternoon and he went to his office to pen another note to Jacob.  He heard voices rising and it caught his attention.  As Peter walked to the front of the clinic, he could see his receptionist, Rita, and one of his nurses, Marlene, arguing with a younger man in a rumpled suit.  He was holding up a manila folder.

“Look, all I need is to talk to him.  I can make an appointment if I need to.  Just tell him I need to talk to him!”

“I'm sorry sir.  Dr. Alcott is all booked up for today and he is too busy to simply speak to you.  If you are not a patient of his, you'll have to wait for his first available appointment which is in six weeks,” Rita said, in a soothing tone.

“Do not condescend to me!” Joe cried.  “I need to see Dr. Alcott now.”

Peter stepped in.  “What is all this about, Marlene?”

“This gentleman was harassing Rita about seeing you, doctor.  We were trying to explain to him that you are booked for the day.”

“What is this about?” Peter asked Joe.

“A mutual friend,” Joe answered.


“Cathy Chandler.” 

Peter's heart nearly stopped at Joe's words.  “Thanks ladies, but I'll meet with him.  My 3:00 is a no-show.  When Mrs. Miller is settled, come get me in my office.”  Peter nodded to his employees and then escorted Joe back through the clinic to his office.  He closed a door, moved a pile of charts off one of the chairs and indicated Joe should sit down.  “To whom do I owe the pleasure?” Peter asked, sitting in his own chair across the desk.

“Joe Maxwell, sir.  I worked – No I work with Cathy.”

“You're with the DA's office?”  Peter was definitely tachycardic.  He took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

“Not at the moment.  I've been suspended.”  Peter calmed a bit at that news.  “It was because of my search for Cathy.  My other work suffered.  I'm not here in any official capacity, sir.  I simply want to know what happened to Cathy.”

“Do you always show such concern for your work colleagues?”

Joe blushed and looked down.  “Cathy is special.”

“Are you in love with her?”

“Everyone seems to think so.”  Joe shook his head.  This wasn't supposed to be about him.  This was about Peter Alcott and the bottle of Narcan on Cathy's bedside table.  He cleared his throat.  “I know that you are the executor of Cathy's estate and an old family friend.”

Peter frowned a bit.  How had Joe come by this knowledge?  Well, it was the truth.  “Yes, I am.  I went to college with her father.  I actually delivered Cathy.  After her father died, she was left alone with no family.  I think of her as a surrogate daughter.  What brings you here?”

“I wasn't sure if you heard, but there has been a break in her case.”

Peter's heart started back up again.  “What?”

“The cleaning woman you hired found a large bloodstain on Cathy's bed two days ago.  She called the police.”

“Dammit,” Peter thought.  Aloud he asked, “Is it Cathy's?”


“Well, where is she then?”

“That was going to be my question for you, sir.  The police also found an empty bottle of Narcan and a syringe.  The fingerprints on them are yours.”

Dammit, dammit! Peter cursed in his mind.  He stayed silent.  Plead the Fifth, he thought, remembering an old joke with Charles.

“Where is she, Dr. Alcott?”

“I can't tell you.”

“Can't or won't, Dr. Alcott?  Look, your fingerprints are all over her apartment.  They are on the bottle and the syringe.  Who did you inject on Cathy Chandler's bed?”

“I can't tell you.” 

“Okay, I will have to return with a warrant.  Don't go anywhere, Dr. Alcott.  I will find her and if you had anything to do with her disappearance, well.  A judge isn't going to care who delivered her when they are sentencing her kidnapper.”  Joe stormed out of Peter's office and out of the building.

Peter sat there stunned for a moment, then hurried out of his office.  “Marlene,” he called.  “I need to cancel the rest of my day.  There's an emergency.”

“Of course, doctor.”  This was not an unheard of event for a Family Practitioner, but coming on the heels of Joe Maxwell flying out the door, it made Marlene somewhat suspicious.  “Is there anything I can do?”

“No, just reschedule the rest of the day.  Thanks!”  And then Dr. Alcott was flying out the door, still in his white coat with his stethoscope draped around his neck. 

Peter went directly to the basement of the office building and sought out the special pipe Pascal's father had installed when Peter started his practice.  He tapped out a message - “Father prepare to move C NOW.  Peter” - and then returned up two flights to the main floor.  He flagged a taxi and headed to the hospital where Catherine was as quickly as possible.


Joe found a payphone and tried Diana Bennett, but she didn't answer.  She wasn't home.  She was in the front office of Elliot Burch, waiting to be seen.  Suddenly, the door opened and a handsome bearded man with piercing blue eyes approached her.

“Ms. Bennett?”  At her nod he extended his hand.  She took it.  “I'm Elliot Burch.  Please come in.”

They walked into his office and he shut the door.  He indicated a chair by his desk and stood and looked out the window.

“I'm investigating the disappearance of Catherine Chandler.”

“You want to know who kidnapped her.”

“Was it you?” she asked.


“Do you know who did?”


“But you'll find out.”  It wasn't a question.

“I suppose, if you do your job.”  He began to walk to the door of his office and she stood and followed him.

“How do you feel about Vincent?”


“Cathy had been seeing him for the last two years.”

“We never discussed him.”

“You ever meet him?”

“Nope.  Look, I've told you everything I know.”

Diana took a business card out her purse.  “No, I don't think you have, Mr. Burch.  But I'd appreciate you telling me the truth about one thing.”

He took the card.  “What's that?”

“I want to find him, too.  So call me.  At least tell me whether or not I'm looking for a dead man.”  She walked out past him.  “I hate wasting my time.”


It had been difficult, but it was done.  Father leaned on his cane and looked at his old friend, sitting quietly in his study.  Peter laid his head back and kept his eyes closed for a long time.

Peter had gotten to the hospital where he found Catherine relatively unchanged, but also undisturbed.  Chelsea was dozing in her chair.  She had startled when he entered the room.  She had agreed to his plan, but he cursed the necessary paper trail.  Hiring a private ambulance to transfer her and getting it to stop in an alleyway had been the easiest part of the plan.  The bureaucratic red tape was another matter!  He had forged the transfer papers and made up the name of an attending at a rehabilitation hospital in Newark.  Someday soon, that was going to come back to haunt him.  Joe Maxwell's words kept ringing in his ears.  Maybe it was time to retire.

Vincent had met them at the entrance with a stretcher and two strong men to bear it.  When Peter's frantic call had come over the pipes, Pascal had worked double time getting everyone into position.  They transferred Catherine to the stretcher from the ambulance gurney and sent the ambulance away.  One hundred dollars in the pockets of the driver and his assistant had bought their silence.  Chelsea followed the stretcher Below with Peter.   Vincent had carried her IV bag and walked the entire way, holding Catherine's hand in his.   Peter had assumed that they would be settling her into the hospital chamber, but said nothing when the last set of stretcher bearers went directly to Vincent's chamber.  They settled Catherine into bed and Chelsea changed the IV bag and hung the new one on the pole next to the head of the bed.  She stood quietly to the side, talking in a low voice to Mary.  Peter put the bag of supplies he had brought for her on the table and then conferred with Jacob.  While Father was busy with his new patient, Peter had gone to his study to just relax.

Father stood watching him from the doorway.  “You should stay here tonight, Peter.”

“I may take you up on that, old friend.”

“Stay for a few days.”

“I'm tempted, but I need to return.  To keep this secret, things must continue as normally as possible.”

Father looked at him.  “What is it Peter?”

“Did Vincent tell you about the police?”

“Yes.  He said both of you forgot to clean up.  You were both relieved at finding her and then consumed with saving her life.”

“I didn't wear gloves when I started her line and gave her the Narcan.  And I didn't take the bottle or syringe with me.”

“What does that matter?”

“Fingerprints, Jacob.  A Joe Maxwell from the DA's office came to the clinic with some hard questions to answer.  And I will have to answer.”

“Well, if you need to disappear, you are always welcome here.”

“Thank you, but I have so many other responsibilities Above.  By running my own practice, I've been able to help you so over the years.  But, it comes at a cost.  Perhaps I'll go out and visit Susan.”

“That is a good idea.  Let me see about a guest chamber and some dinner for you.  That is a long walk.  You must be exhausted.”

“Thank you, Jacob.”

“No, old friend.  It is I who must thank you.”


Chapter 7


Catherine woke slowly.  There was a vague pain in her belly and pressure on her chest.  The next thing she was aware of was sound.  There were clatterings and metallic tappings around her that made no sense.  It was strange, she thought, to hear something after so many months of silence.  It reminded her of being Below, with Vincent.  She kept her eyes closed, holding on to the memory.  How she missed the sounds of the Tunnels after so many months of white, bright walls and silence.  Her captors kept her in a room so far above the ground that she often went days without hearing the normal sounds she had grown up with – the sounds of the city.  No one spoke to her, other than to ask her to move or lie back or extend her arm.  She was going slowly insane from lack of human interaction.

She turned her head when she heard someone walking about the room.  She refused to open her eyes.  She couldn't face the nurse who silently brought her food, who said as few words as possible to her and only when necessary, who guided her to the dreaded exams with an evil clinical glee.  Catherine sighed.  How she wished to see Vincent.  She wished with all her heart that she would open her eyes to find herself lying in his chamber, to see him sitting, reading at his table, the candlelight making his hair glow.

“Catherine,” that amazing voice from her dreams whispered.  “Open your eyes, Catherine.”

“Mmm.  No.”


“Don't wanna wake up.”

“You must.”

“Dream will end.”

“The dream is just beginning.”

Catherine frowned and against her better judgment, opened her eyes.  She was lying on Vincent's bed in his chamber and the candlelight was making his golden mane glow.  “Oh, God,” she whispered.  “Is it real?”

“Yes, Catherine.  This is real.  You are safe now, my love.”

Catherine stretched out a shaky hand to Vincent who caught it and brought her fingers to his lips.  He kissed them gently.  “You're safe.  You're here.”  She blinked slowly and then looked at him again.  His blue eyes shone from under the ridge of his brows and then crinkled as he smiled.  She smiled and tried to laugh, but it turned into a sob.  Another followed and then another.  Vincent gathered her up in his arms and held her as she cried and cried and cried.


Mary was on her way to check her patient when she heard Catherine's sobs from the hallway.  She knew Vincent was with her, so she detoured to Father's chamber and found him with Peter.  They had been discussing how to explain Peter's fingerprints on the Narcan bottle in Catherine's apartment when Mary entered.  “She's awake.”  All three hurried to Vincent's chamber.

Father had initially balked at having Catherine in Vincent's quarters rather than the hospital chamber, but now he was glad he had lost that argument.  He was glad his son was close to her.  After what she had been through, she needed Vincent and his all encompassing love around her.

The three all paused at the entrance to Vincent's chamber and took in the sight of Vincent holding Catherine and rocking her gently.  Her sobs had begun to quiet and they could hear Vincent crooning in her ear.  They waited quietly for Catherine to calm.  Her sobs stopped, but tears continued to stream down her cheeks.  She took several shaky, shuddering breaths.  She looked up at Vincent.

“Is it over?”


She took another deep breath and buried her face in his neck, his hair falling over her head.  He kissed the top of her head and turned to the others.  “Catherine, can Father and Peter see to you now?”

She nodded and the three entered the room fully.  Mary held Father's bag and stood to one side, waiting for direction.  Peter approached the bed first.  Vincent laid her back on the pillows and reluctantly stepped away.

“Hi, honey,” Peter said.

“Oh, Peter.  I thought I'd dreamed you, too.”

“Nope.  I'm real.  How are you feeling?”

“Sore, tired, hungry, confused.”

“All right.  We can take care of all of that.  Jacob, will you?”

“Of course, Peter.”  Father stepped forward with his stethoscope in hand.  “Welcome home, Catherine.”

“Home?” she asked.

“Of course.”  Father put the stethoscope in his ears and placed the bell on her chest.  “Deep breaths, my dear.”  Everyone stayed silent as Father finished his examination.  He stepped back and handed his stethoscope back to Mary.  “You may want to check as well, Peter, since you've seen her from the beginning, but it appears as if she is continuing her recovery.  Heart rate is regular.  Lungs are clear.  Her belly is not tender.  She doesn't appear dehydrated.  I suggest a meal and a bath.  Mary?”

“I'll send a message to the kitchens.”

“Wait,” Catherine said weakly.  “I have to know.  What happened to me?  How did I get here?”

Peter sat beside her on the bed and took her hand.  “Vincent found you.”

“Where was I?  How long was I gone?”

“Just over six months,” Vincent replied.

“Vincent looked for you every night,” Father added.  “Finally, three nights ago, he found you.”

“You were very ill,” Peter continued.  “You had been given an over-dose of morphine.  You had recently given birth and retained the placenta.  You had a terrible infection and were bleeding profusely.”

“I thought I'd lost you,” Vincent murmured.

“But we didn't.”  Peter looked up at Vincent significantly.  “Vincent took you to your apartment and when he discovered you were still alive, he called me.  I took you to a hospital under an assumed name and stabilized you there.  We transferred you here just last night.”

“Where is my baby?”

“I'm not sure,” Vincent said.  “But we will find him.”

Mary had stopped the conversation then, insisting that Catherine needed food and a bath and a change of clothing.  She shooed the older men out, but kept Vincent for his brute strength alone.  Mary bathed Catherine in the bed and with Vincent's help, washed her hair.  She changed her into clean, warm clothing.  Vincent lifted her tenderly from the bed and set her in a chair while he and Mary changed the bed.  He put her back into the clean bed and she sighed happily.  Mary brought over a bowl of soup and some bread. 

“I'll leave you two, now,” Mary smiled and gathered up the laundry.

“Mary, wait,” Catherine said.  She looked up at Vincent and then lowered her eyes.  Their Bond had not completely returned, but Vincent knew she needed a private word with Mary.  He stepped away silently and stood near the door.

“Mary, my breasts are so sore.”

“Oh, your milk has come in.”

“What should I do?  I want to find him and I want to be the one to feed him.  But, it hurts.”

“I believe we have a hand-pump in the hospital chamber.  I'm not certain if we can save your milk, but if you keep pumping, you won't lose it.  And then when we find him, you'll be ready for him.”

“Will that work?”

“I've heard of women who deliver too early and the child must remain in the hospital.  The mothers pump their milk until the child is strong enough to nurse.  It will be the same thing.”  Mary patted her hand.  “You eat and then I'll come help you in a little while.”

“Thank you, Mary.”

“My pleasure.  I'm just so glad you're back.”  Mary stood and walked to the door.  She stopped by Vincent.  “Are you all right, dear?” she asked him.

“A bit over-whelmed, but she is here and she will be well.  I've never been better.”  He smiled.

Mary smiled in return.  “I'll be back soon.  You be sure to eat as well.”

Vincent returned to the table and began to prepare the food for her.  Catherine tried to sit up higher in the bed, but fell back weakly.  Vincent came to her and eased her up on the pillows.  He returned to the table and brought over the soup.

“Thank you,” she said.  “I've never felt this weak.”

“You bled a lot.  With the infection and the morphine, you have a lot to recover from.”  He sat near her and ladled out a spoonful.  “Let me care for you, Catherine.  I need to.”

She sipped the soup off the spoon and looked into his eyes.  “Was it difficult?” she asked after swallowing.  “While I was in the hospital?”

“Yes,” he breathed, spooning up more soup.  “It was difficult when I didn't know where you were.  Then, when I knew where you were, but couldn't be close to you, it was worse.”

“That is how it was for me, when they had me.  I was trapped up in that room for months.  I knew if I could just get to a stairwell and out the door, I could find you.  I knew you were looking for me.  I knew how hard it was for you, to not know where I was.”

“What happened, Catherine?”

She closed her eyes and laid her head back on the pillow.  She opened her eyes and looked at him.  “Did you get my message?”

“You wanted me to meet you at your threshold.”

“Yes.  I was leaving work to go there directly.  I had been working on something.  Did I tell you Joe had been injured?”

“I don't believe so.”

“You were still so sick.  I didn't want to burden you with anything.  Joe had met with an old friend from law school who was working for a big firm.  He discovered some illegal dealings and had a ledger with information.  He gave it to Joe.  Then, he got into his car and it exploded, killing him and gravely injuring Joe. 

“When I visited Joe in the hospital, he asked me to take the ledger and look into it.  I donated blood for him.  That is when I found out.”

“Found out what?” Vincent asked. 

“About the baby.”  He took her hand.  “I rushed here to tell you, but you were still so weak and upset over the loss of our Bond.  I didn't want to worry you.”

“Is that what you meant?  'Maybe the gift will return to you in a different form; something you had never even dreamed of.'  I never would have dreamed of a child, not then.”

“No, I know.  But I thought we had all the time in the world.  I had no idea what was in that ledger and that it would cause all of this.”

“What was in it?”

“I'm still not sure.  I showed it to John, since Joe was still out, as my direct supervisor.  He asked for it, but I made him a copy.  I took the original to Elliot Burch.”

“Did Elliot…”

“No,” Catherine interrupted.  “Elliot had nothing to do with this.”  She took a deep breath and allowed herself to remember and to tell Vincent what had happened.

“The next day, I decided I would tell you about the baby.  I had been thinking about it and your reaction and finally, I couldn't take not knowing what you'd say anymore.  I just had to tell you and find out.  I sent you that note and gathered up my things and briefcase and went to the parking garage.  When I got in my car, someone approached it with a gun.  I tried to escape in the car, but they had cut me off.  I left the car and ran for the elevator.  When it opened, I saw John.  I thought I was safe.  Then, he nodded to two men behind me and they took me.”

“John?  John Moreno?  Your boss?  The district attorney?”

“Yes.”  She was crying openly.  “That betrayal has haunted me all this time.”

Vincent gathered her up and held her crying form to his chest.  His mind was racing.  Finally, he pulled back and looked at her face.  “Tell me the rest.”

“They drugged me almost immediately.  I remember feeling so hazy and confused.  They wanted the ledger and I couldn't tell them where it was.”

“Why not?  Wouldn't they have let you go if you had?”

“I couldn't, Vincent.  I had given Elliot another copy and hid the original behind some loose bricks just past the threshold in my apartment building.  If I told them where it was, they would have found you.  I couldn't let anything happen.”

“How did you resist?”

She pressed her lips together.  “You are everything to me.  Everything.”

He pulled her back to his arms and pressed his lips to her hair.  They stayed together, motionless, for several minutes.

“Tell me the rest.”

“They had found out about the baby.  I was sick and they did all sorts of things to me.  But, they stopped because of the baby.  I found myself somewhat lucid at one point and noticed the pipes in my room.”

“And sent a message and I found you.”

“I think the man in charge of everything saw you then and determined that my baby was yours.  He saw your power and strength and wanted that child for his own.”

“I should have followed the car.  I should have hung on tighter.  I should have...” Vincent held her firmer in an almost painful grip.  Catherine pulled herself back and looked in his eyes.

“Don't, Vincent.  I have had months alone in that room to think of 'should haves' and 'if only's.'  I won't let you do that to yourself.  It is done now.”  She freed her hands and pulled his head down to her and kissed his brow.  “It is done.”

“You were moved to a different place and they just kept you there until you gave birth?”

She nodded.  “I was completely isolated.  No one spoke to me, except as part of the examinations.  I was all alone, except for him.  Our baby.  I'd whisper to him.  Then, three days ago?  Four?  I'm not sure.  I went into labor.  I knew what would happen when he was born.  I knew that man would take him and likely kill me.  I tried to hide it as long as I could, but it just hurt so much.  They showed him to me, but I couldn't touch him.  Then, they snatched him away.  I didn't even deliver the afterbirth before the doctor gave me that injection.”

“I went to the roof.  I never felt you inside that building.  When the helicopter flew off, I thought you were gone again.  And then, you were in my arms.”

“It was him, taking our baby.”  Catherine leaned back against the pillows, exhausted.

“I thought you died, there on the roof.”

“I thought I did, too.  I was so glad I got to see you again.”  Vincent laid his head on her shoulder and they were both silent again.  Catherine raised a shaky hand and stroked his hair.  “Vincent?”  He raised his head and looked at her.  “How did you find me?”

“I've thought about it a great deal.  I thought our Bond had returned, but I don't think so now.  I don't feel you now as I once did.  I think.”  He paused, afraid of what this revelation would do to her fragile state. “I think I felt the child.”

“What?  You can feel him?  Go!  Find him!”  She was frantic and her eyes were wild.  “Vincent!”

“Shh, Catherine.  Let me explain.”  He calmed her and laid her back on the pillows.  “I've spoken with Father and he agrees.  This connection with our child is flimsy and delicate.  I felt him so strongly the day he was born due to the trauma of birth.  Now, I only sense him when he is in distress.  Only if I am very still and quiet can I get any sense of him at all.  It is too weak for me to pinpoint his location.  I need more information.” 

Catherine closed her eyes and tears leaked out.  “I thought...” she whispered.

“I know.  I would if I could.”  He stroked her face gently.  “You have been awake longer now than you have in nearly four days.  Rest now.  Let me go speak to Peter and to Father.  They found Peter's fingerprints in your apartment and Joe Maxwell from the DA's office has questioned him.  We need to find out what to do.”

“I trust Joe.  If he knew what was in that ledger or had any inkling of what Moreno was capable of, he never would have had me investigate.  I also trust Elliot Burch.”  Her eyes were closing of their own accord.

Vincent bent and kissed her forehead.  “Rest now, Catherine.  I'll ask Mary or Jamie to sit with you.  I must speak with Peter and with Father.”

“I love you,” she murmured, falling asleep with tears still wet on her cheeks.

He gently traced the track of her tears with one finger.  “And I love you, Catherine.”


Chapter 8


“Cleon, I've got people from the police department asking me about Cathy.  Tell me you've got something, anything, for me.”  Elliot Burch ran his hands through his hair and looked down at his private investigator.

“Sorry, boss.  I think I'm on to something and then it all goes south.”

“No trace of her?”  Cleon shook his head.  “No Jane Doe's admitted that night match her description?” 


“That detective asked me about a guy named Vincent.  You find anything?”

“Not a trace.”

“What about the ledger she gave me?”

“We know that the top guy is working through Malloy-Davidson and he's got people in the police department and the DA's office.  But who he is or works for?  Nothing.”  Cleon stood up and grasped Elliot's shoulder.  “Look, boss.  Maybe it is time to let it go.”


“Maybe she can't be found.  Maybe she doesn't want to be.”

“I don't believe that.”

“Well, I don't think I'm the one to do it.”

“There's finally a break, Cleon!  This could be it!  We just need to try harder.”

“I'll give it another week.”  Elliot sighed in frustration.  “I've got a family, man.  My guys have families.  This is dangerous.  Whoever that guy is, is dangerous.  And he don't want to be found.”

“All right, Cleon.  One more week.”  Elliot walked over to the window and looked out over the city.  Cleon shook his head and left the room.  Elliot continued to look out the window.  “Ah, Cathy, Cathy.  Where are you?” he whispered.  A noise at the door brought his head up.  “Did you forget something, Cleon?”

“Don't be frightened,” a graveled voice coming from a black cloak in the shadows said. 

Elliot turned and stared.  “Who are you?”

“I'm Vincent.”

Elliot moved towards a lamp.  “Please, don't,” Vincent said.  Elliot stopped.

“So, you're Vincent.  A lot of people want to talk to you.”  Vincent remained silent.  “What can I do for you, Vincent?”

“Catherine trusted you, Elliot.”


“Can I?”

“I don't know, Vincent.  Trust is usually earned.”

“I haven't the time.  And I need help.”

“Does it have to do with Catherine?”  Vincent nodded once.  “Do you know where she is?” 

Vincent hesitated and then shook his head.  He hated to lie, but he still wasn't sure if Elliot was trustworthy enough to keep all his secrets.  “I know where she was held, for a time.”

“Is she still there?”

“I do not believe so.  I need information about this place, Elliot.  A man of your resources should have no difficulty finding that information.”

“You want to know who owns the building?  Who rented space there?”

Vincent nodded again.  “Also, have you had any luck with the ledger?”

“How do you know about that?”

“I also have resources.”

Elliot sighed and sat down on the sofa between his desk and the door.  “I've been working on it.  I've sent it to cryptologists.  I can only get through part of it.  The rest of it is too deeply encoded.”  He leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees.  “I do know that two companies, Malloy-Davidson and Hammond-Norton Trust, are implicated in the ledger.  I know that they have people in the police department and in the DA's office.  So, who can you trust?  And, they are giving my business a hard time.  I'm having difficulty in getting funding for a new project and my casino in Atlantic City just burned to the ground.  Over 200 innocent people died.  I believe those companies are a front for someone else and he is trying to send me a message.”

“Be careful, Elliot.  The way is dangerous and not yet clear.  You do not have to commit yourself.”

“I know.”  Elliot stood up and walked over to his liquor cabinet and poured some Scotch into a highball glass.  “But, it's Cathy, you know?  I can't rest until I know.”  He tossed back his drink.

“I do know.”

“What is the address?”

“1900 Sixth Avenue.”

Elliot nodded.  “How can I get in touch with you?”  Elliot turned back to the bottle and poured himself another measure of Scotch.

“I'll contact you.  Tomorrow.”

Elliot turned back, “But what if...?”  His question went unasked because Vincent was gone.


It was early in the morning when Diana thanked the uniformed officer and entered Catherine's darkened apartment.  The officer flipped on the light and closed the door.  Diana let her bag fall slowly to the ground and then turned off the lights.  She leaned on one of the sofas and looked around the room.  Her eye lit on the doors to the bedroom and she walked in.  The bloodied bedspread had been removed, but Diana could see it there in her mind's eye.  She walked in and ran her hand over the pillow.  She turned to the balcony doors and went out.  She looked at the view, the surrounding buildings and the park below.  There were dead plants scattered about and a rosebush in a large container on its last legs.  She touched the brown leaves lightly. 

She walked back inside through the doors in the dinette and went to the desk in the corner.  She sat down and examined the contents.  There was a photograph in a frame on one side, presumably her mother.  On the other side, there was a framed invitation.  It was a drawing of a stringed instrument with the words “You're invited” written in crayon.  Curious, Diana pulled the frame towards her, turned it over and removed the back.  She took the invitation out and opened it.  Inside, in a flowing script decidedly different from the crayoned words on the front, was written, “The children are putting on a concert tonight and beg the pleasure of your attendance.  I'll meet you Below at the threshold.  Vincent.”

Diana turned the card over, but it was blank on the back.  She stood up from the desk and walked over to the couch.  “Below at the threshold,” she murmured.  “The threshold Below?  Hmm.”  She put the card in her bag and then stood and left the apartment. 

She nodded at the uniform and took the elevator to the basement.  She walked along the walls, looking for doorways.  She nearly missed it, but there in the dark corner was the edge of a doorway.  There were boxes piled in front of it, but they proved easy to move as they were mostly empty.  Diana reached out and pulled on the handle.  The door opened into a hole in the wall that went down.  She couldn't see the bottom.  She dug around in her bag and pulled out a flashlight and shown it down the hole.  She could see bottom and a set of rungs set into the wall.  She turned off the flashlight, tucked it in her bag and threw the whole thing over her shoulder.  She climbed down the rungs.  At the bottom, she fished out the flashlight and looked around.  She stepped out of a bluish shaft of light and saw a hole in a brick wall.  She stepped through it.  At that moment, her flashlight went out. 

Diana was a fairly brave woman, but traveling in underground tunnels in the dark was at the end of her courage.  She climbed back up the rungs and returned to the basement.  She closed the door and replaced the boxes.  “Well, Catherine Chandler.  It looks like you've got quite the secret there.”  She brushed off her hands walked back up to the ground level.  Once outside, she caught a cab and headed over to Joe's apartment.


Joe was frustrated.  He had spent the morning trying to contact Diana Bennett and getting a warrant for Peter Alcott.  Since he was suspended and not officially involved in the Catherine Chandler case, he couldn't ask for or receive a warrant.  He had no legal capacity to question anyone, but the numerous receptionists and assistants he had spoken with in that hour would be happy to pass his concerns on to the investigators in charge. 

Diana Bennett was not answering her phone.  He had gotten through once and her boyfriend said she was working a case and couldn't be disturbed. 

“But I'm working it with her!”

“Yeah, right.  She always works alone.”  The boyfriend hung up.

Joe sat back on his couch and rubbed a hand over his face.  He was thinking of going over to Bennett's apartment, when there was a knock at the door.  Joe groaned and rose to open it and stood stunned when he saw who it was.

“Good morning, Joe,” Peter said.

“What are you doing here?”

“I'm ready to answer your questions.”  Joe just stood there.  “Can I come in?”

“Yeah, yeah.  Sure come in, come in.”  Joe guided him past the piles of empty take out containers and pushed a stack of papers off a chair.  “Sit down.  Can I get you some coffee?”

“No, thank you.”  Peter sat gingerly on the edge of the offered chair.  “I need to know that I can trust you.”

“What do you mean?  Of course you can.”

“No, Joe.  This is serious.  This is more than Cathy, more than her kidnapping.  Hundreds of lives are at stake.”

“Well, now I'm intrigued, doctor.  What do your fingerprints on a bottle of Narcan in Cathy Chandler's apartment have to do with hundreds of lives?”

“Well, the short answer is that I saved her life four days ago with that bottle of Narcan.”

“Do you know where she is?”


“Is she okay?”

“She will be.”

“Where is she?”

“Hundreds of lives.  It's complicated, Joe.” 

“Yeah, sure, sure.  But, doc,” Joe stammered.  “She's okay?  Cathy's okay?”

Peter reached out and clasped the younger man's forearm.  “Yes, Joe.  She's fine.”

There was a knock at the door.  Joe got up to answer it, still in a daze.  Diana Bennett came in talking.

“Joe, I was at Cathy's apartment this morning and I found something that you missed and the police missed and I think it's important, but I wanted to run it by you first.”  She turned and stopped suddenly as she noticed Peter sitting still gingerly on his chair.  “Hello.”

“Diana Bennett, this is Dr. Peter Alcott.”


“Nice to meet you,” Peter extended his hand, but she ignored it.

“Joe.” She pulled him to the side.  “What are you doing interviewing him here?”

“He found me, Diana.  I went to his office yesterday, but he wouldn't talk.  I left to get a warrant.  I couldn't get one and this morning, he knocks on my door.”

“Huh.”  Diana turned back toward the doctor.

“Who is this, Joe?  Can I trust her?”

“Yeah.  She's working the case for me.”

“Is she a cop?”

“Yeah, I am.  I'm a special investigator with the 210, special crimes.  Who are you?  Why were you in Cathy's apartment with Narcan?”

“You should know who I am.  I'm the executor of Cathy's estate and her next of kin.  I've been taking care of her property while she is missing.”

“So what do you know about a huge bloodstain belonging to Cathy on her bed?  What was the Narcan for?  Where is Cathy Chandler, doctor?”

“As I just told Joe, she is safe.”

“But where?”

“Look, I can't tell you.  I only have permission to speak to Joe.”

“Permission?”  Diana was outraged.  “Did you have anything to do with her kidnapping?”

“What?  No!  Look, it is complicated and it is a secret that I have kept my entire professional life.  I can't just tell anyone.”

“What can you tell us, doctor?

Peter stood up and paced around the living room.  Joe and Diana sat on the couch.  Intrinsically, they both knew that Peter did not kidnap Catherine, but he very likely was the only one who knew where she was.  They sat in silence and let him order his thoughts.  After a few moments, Peter began to speak. 

“Joe, do you remember right before Cathy came to work for you at the DA's office?  She had been attacked.”

“Yeah, her face was slashed up and she had disappeared for ten days.  She said she didn't know where she was.”  Diana looked at them.  “What?”

“You've only had this case for two, three days at most?  You work fast, Bennett.”

“Most of my cases need me to work fast.”

“Anyway,” Peter said pointedly.  “She did know where she was.  She was bound by a secret, just as I am.  When she was attacked, someone from a secret community found her and nursed her back to health.”

“What is this community?” Joe asked.

“It is a group of people who either cannot or choose not to live among regular society.  They have formed their own society and live on the fringes of ours.  They have rules and a governing body.  Everyone works together and helps each other.  Some people live their entire lives in this community.  Some come for a short time.  Cathy was nursed back to health there.  She also stayed there when her father died.  This community cannot survive without helpers from our society.  I have been a helper since the start.  I attended medical school with one of the founders.  Cathy recently became a helper.  One of them found her.  He thought she was dead and brought her to her apartment, but she was still alive.  He feared for his safety as well, so rather than call an ambulance, he called me.  I revived her with the Narcan.  And now, she is Below, where she is safe.”

Peter didn't catch his slip and it went right by Joe, but Diana caught it and began to think.

“Doc, you've got to take me to her.  I've got to see her.”

“She's safe, Joe.  For now, that's all I can do.”

“The threshold Below,” whispered Diana.  “Dr. Alcott,” she said aloud.  “Does someone named Vincent live in this community?”

Peter started at the name.  “Yes, why?”

Joe interrupted Diana.  “We found things with his name in Cathy's apartment:  books, letters.”

“An invitation.  It said to meet him Below at the threshold.”  She turned to Joe.  “I was coming here because I found a hole in Cathy's basement.  It leads to a tunnel.  Then, my flashlight gave out.”  She turned back to Peter.  “Where is this community, doctor?”


Vincent was walking up to a helper's to send a message to Elliot.  Suddenly, he felt something in the pit of his stomach.  He stopped and leaned against the tunnel wall for support.  It was there again – the pounding, the buzzing.  He knew it now.  It was his child.  “Hold on, my son.  We will find you.”


Chapter 9


“Miss Bennett, if you've heard anything I've said, then you know I cannot answer that.”

“Very convenient, doctor.  How can we trust you, when you give us a fairy tale of some utopian community?”

“How can I trust you, Detective?” Peter fired back.  “I know that whoever took Cathy has people working for him in the DA's office, the police force, and God knows what else!”

“Hey!” Joe said indignantly. 

“The point is,” Peter said.  “I cannot tell you more than I have.  Catherine is safe, in a safe place.  I will not say anymore.”

“Then I guess I gotta go buy flashlight batteries.”  Diana flounced up and prepared to go out the door.

“Wait.”  Peter sighed.  “Before you go traipsing all over creation, give me a little time.  Let me see what I can do.”

“And in the meantime?” Joe asked.

“Be patient.”  Peter picked up his coat and quickly left the apartment, leaving Diana and Joe in his wake.

“Can you believe that?” Diana asked after a moment.  “I ought to arrest him as an accessory.”

“You've got nothing to hold him,” Joe replied, ever the ADA.

They were quiet for a minute.  “You know what he didn't mention?”

“What,” Joe asked.

“Cathy's baby.  Do you think it's with her?”


The stoic Asian nurse stood before his desk.  Her hands were clasped in front of her, but otherwise, she betrayed no emotion.

“What is wrong with him, then?”

“He won't take the formula.  He turns away from the bottle.  What little he takes, he spits up.”

“What does the doctor say?”

“He thinks it is a formula intolerance.”

“So try a different formula.”

“I have.  Three different ones.  He turns away from Pedialyte as well.”

“Tell the doctor to do what is necessary.  My son must live and thrive.”

“Yes, sir.”  The nurse left the room.

The man leaned back in his chair and looked at the monitor on the edge of his desk.  There was an image of a newborn crying and kicking his legs up and down.  “It is too late for his mother, but perhaps his natural father can help.”


Elliot left his office near midnight.  He walked to the elevator, flanked by his two body guards and went down to the parking garage in the basement.  They all entered the car and drove up to the surface. As the car went around a curve, a hideous sight was illuminated by the headlights.  Strung up with chains, hanging from the support beams was the body of Elliot's private investigator, Cleon Manning.  The driver came to a sudden stop.  “Sir?” he asked.

“Keep going,” Elliot said in a stunned voice. 

After driving through the relatively quiet streets, the Town car stopped near the carousel in Central Park.  One of the bodyguards opened the door for Elliot.  “Are you sure, sir?”  He looked around the darkened area apprehensively.

“Ten minutes.”  Elliot adjusted the cuffs of his shirt and walked towards the carousel.  He found the door Vincent had mentioned in his note and pushed it open.  It was a bit eerie in there with the carousel horses standing still and the moonlight streaming in through the open roof.  It was hard to see in there.  “Vincent?” he whispered.

In a shadow to Elliot's left, Vincent called, “I'm here.”  Elliot moved towards him, but he said, “Come no further.”  Elliot stopped.  “What have you found?”

“I can't find who owns the building, or even who rented part of it.  It is hidden among mazes of holding companies and third party lease-backs.  My people say it will take months to trace.  This man, he killed my private investigator, a friend.  He left his corpse as a warning to me.  What kind of man is that?  He has no scruples, no moral code.  He will do anything to get what he wants.”

Just as Vincent was about to reply, there was a creak as the door swung open.  Elliot turned to Vincent, but he melted into the shadows.  Elliot turned back to the door and a short, balding man stepped into the light.  A second, taller man was behind him with a gun.

“Moreno,” Elliot said quietly.  In the shadows, Vincent startled.  This was the man that fed Catherine to that evil wolf.

“You've got to be crazy, Burch,” Moreno said.  “What could be worth all this?”

“You wouldn't understand.”

“Probably not.  Gaines!” 

At the sound of his name, Gaines fired at Elliot.  He was expecting this and ducked and began to run among the carousel horses.  Elliot hid in the center of the carousel, on the opposite side of the door.  Gaines walked between the two rows of horses, his eyes darting right and left.  Moreno went the opposite direction of Gaines, pulling a gun from his pocket as he went.

His heart pounding in his ears, Elliot wondered where Vincent had disappeared to.  Had he been hit by the first volley of bullets?  Then, Elliot saw Gaines approaching.  He ducked lower in the shadows until Gaines was next to the horse he was hiding behind.  Elliot sprang up and grasped the other man's hands and struck his wrists against a carousel pole, once, twice, three times and the gun flew across the floor.  Gaines threw a punch that struck Elliot in the jaw and he fell, striking his head, stunning him for a moment.

“Gaines!” Moreno called, moving towards them.

When Elliot recovered his senses, it was to see Gaines aiming his retrieved gun at his head.  Suddenly, there was a roar and Vincent jumped down from the ceiling.  He ignored the gun turned in his direction and struck out, knocking Gaines to the floor, unconscious.  Elliot remained sprawled where he was, too astonished to move. 

Moreno stopped at the sound of Vincent's roar, but Vincent did not.  He continued forward and growled, low in his throat.  Here was the man that Catherine had trusted, had looked up to, had wanted to impress for two years in the DA's office.  He was almost a father figure to her.  When she was being chased and was desperate, she had seen Moreno and thought she was safe.  But he ignored all that was good and right and let that madman take her, take their baby.

Moreno saw the anger and indignation in Vincent's eyes, as well as the madness of a beast advancing towards him and he fired his gun twice, striking Vincent in the right shoulder and leg.  The beast looked down at the blood beginning to stain his clothes and then looked back up at the man who shot him.  He took three more steps as Moreno stared in horror and slashed out at the miserable excuse for a man who had betrayed his one true love.

“Who owns you?” Vincent snarled as Moreno trembled, bleeding on the ground.


“What is his name?  The man you work for!”


Vincent turned away from the miserable excuse for a man and moved back towards Elliot.

When all was silent, Elliot found himself on his feet, just as Vincent collapsed to his knees.  Elliot reached out, grasping Vincent's hand, pulling him upwards.  Vincent reached out with his other hand, bracing himself on Elliot's shoulder and stood.  As he did so, the two men who loved Catherine Chandler faced each other.  Elliot gasped and then understood everything – Vincent's need for the shadows, all the gaps in Catherine's life, the mysterious tunnels she had led him through when they escaped the Goronistas.  Elliot looked at Vincent's face, full of fear and pain and yet still so beautiful, and knew why he could never truly win Catherine's heart.  Vincent moved away quickly, back to the shadows.  “Vincent!” Elliot called, but Vincent never looked back.

Vincent limped quickly out of the carousel and down the hill to the drainage tunnel.  He opened the metal grate, tripped the lever that opened the stainless steel door and slammed the grate closed.  He fumbled for the gate, opened it and slipped inside as the door was still sliding open.  He pulled the gate closed and then tripped the lever on the inside near the carving of his and Devin's names and closed the steel door.  He leaned against the wall, then slowly slid down it, collapsing in the dirt.

Elliot made his way shakily toward the Town car, in the opposite direction Vincent had gone.  His driver was hanging up the car phone, but Elliot did not notice. 

“You okay, boss?” one of the bodyguards asked.

“Just take me home,” he said quietly.


In the darkest hours of the night, just before dawn, the thin, dark man stood in another part of Central Park.  He was in the zoo, watching a male lion pace in his cage, back and forth, back and forth.

Another man, thin as well, but well-muscled, with hair so blond it was nearly white approached along the path that led up to the cage.  There were two stone lions flanking a park bench nearby.  “Cold night,” he said.

“Yes,” the dark one said.  “Winter's coming.”  He turned to the other man.  “How long have you been there?”

“Long enough to make sure you came alone.”

The dark man sighed and stepped away from the cage.  “I've outgrown those games.  I have a job for you.”

“I'm retired.”


“Why should I?”

“There's money in it.”

“You're boring me.”

“For old time's sake.”

“For old time's sake?  I could kill you quickly.”

“You could try.  But then there would be no one left to blame.  You'd be all alone.”  The dark man smirked at the light one.

The light man shook his head.  “I heard about your little war.  It is no challenge for me to kill a man like Elliot Burch.”

“Well, Burch is an inconvenience.  I wouldn't dream of wasting a man of your talents on him.  No, what I have in mind for you is much more intriguing.”  He pulled a video tape out of his pocket and extended it towards the other man.  He turned away.  The dark man crouched down and set the tape on the park bench between them.  “This may interest you.  The night this tape was made, eight armed men were ripped apart, eviscerated.”  The dark man turned back to the lion.

The light man turned to the tape, then back.  Finally, he picked it up.  “Creature features.  Maybe I should make popcorn.”  He began to walk away.

“Snow!” the dark man called.  Snow stopped and turned back.  “I have a child.  A son.”

“I don't kill children anymore.  Not even yours.”

“My son is sick.  I need him,” he gestured towards the tape.  “I need him alive.”

“Who is he?”

“My enemy.”

Snow walked back to the dark man and looked at his face.  “You're frightened, Gabriel.  You can't sleep nights, can you?  But, I'm gonna fix it for you, so you can sleep like a baby, Papa.”  He turned and walked back down the path. 

“Then do it!” the Gabriel called out.  “If you can.”

Snow turned back while pulling a gun from a hidden holster under his jacket.  He fired six times at one of the lion statures, turning it into dust that sprayed over the dark man.  Gabriel frowned, angry and looked up at him.

“I can.”


Chapter 10


Catherine was walking towards Father's study, leaning on Mary's sturdy arm.  She was feeling stronger.  Being safe in Vincent's chamber surrounded by her surrogate family was doing wonders for her health.  She stumbled a little as they approached the entrance, hearing angry voices echoing into the hallway.

“Vincent, you must!”

“It is fine, Father!”

“What is it?” Mary asked, entering the room, leaving Catherine leaning on the tunnel wall. 

Father glanced over at Mary, and seeing Catherine, hedged.  “He is just being obstinate again.”

Vincent noticed Catherine in the doorway as well and moved slowly towards her.  “Are you sure you should be up and walking so soon?”

“I'm fine, Vincent.”  She reached up and patted his right shoulder.  He winced slightly.  “What is it?”  Concern crossed over her face.

“I'm fine.  Just a minor injury.  Nothing to worry about.”

“An injury?  What happened?”  Mary turned to Vincent and eyed him up and down, appraising him like the mother she was to all the Tunnel-dwellers.

Father couldn't take it anymore.  “He met with Elliot Burch last night and was shot!  He needs to use a sling and refuses.  He'll reopen that wound that I just closed.”

“Shot!”  Catherine gasped.  “Vincent!  What happened?”

“I'm fine,” Vincent said.  “Your former employer attempted to eliminate Elliot and I prevented it.”

“Why were you meeting Elliot?”

“For information that will lead to our son.  The man who held you is named Gabriel.”

“Is Elliot all right?”


“And John?”  Vincent's head drooped.  “Oh, Vincent.  I'm so sorry.”

“I am, too.  At the time I couldn't help but think that he had a choice, and his choice caused all of this.  He is supposed to stand for truth and justice.  Instead, he allowed a man like Gabriel to control him.”

“You both need your rest,” Mary broke in.  “Come along now.”

“I'll be along shortly with a sling for you, Vincent,” Father called after him.

Catherine put her arm around Vincent's waist and he held her with his good left arm.  “I'll see that he wears it, Father.” 


Diana spent a fairly unproductive morning searching for maps of the tunnels beneath the city.  She found several maps, but none seemed to be of what she had found under Catherine's building.  Frustrated, she left the building, but as she opened the door, she nearly collided with a white-blond-haired man dressed all in black.  She went outside and stopped at a payphone to check her messages.


“Oh, hey, Mark.  I didn't think you'd be home.  I was just going to check my messages.”

“Hey, babe.  Yeah, there's one.”  She could hear paper rustling in the background.  “Some old guy named Peter Alcott called.  He wants you to come to this address when you can.”  He read the address to her and she scribbled it down in her notebook.

“Did Joe Maxwell call back?”


“Kay.  Thanks, babe.”

“Love you.  Bye.”  Mark hung up.

Diana looked over the address she had written down.  “What are you up to now, Dr. Alcott?”


Joe stepped out of the cab in front of the Chinese restaurant.  The sign above the door simply said, “Wong's” in large red letters.  He squinted up at it, then looked at the address in his hand.  This was definitely the place, but as to what information regarding the whereabouts of Catherine Chandler could be obtained from this run-down restaurant remained to be seen.  Dr. Alcott had called him early this morning, asking him to meet there.  He promised more information.  Joe shrugged to himself and opened the door. 

Lin Pei was working at the front counter in her husband's restaurant that morning.  She had received messages from Father and was looking for the former Deputy DA and the flame-haired detective.  She approached Joe.

“Good afternoon, sir.  May I show you to a table?”

“Yeah, thanks.” 

She guided him to a table in the corner, away from the window.  “Are you dining alone today or meeting someone?”

“I don't know.”  Joe slapped his newspaper on the table.  “You tell me.” 

Lin lowered her gaze and moved away.  “I'll bring you some tea.”

Joe sighed and rubbed his eyes.  He had been searching hospital records for abandoned newborns, but had as much luck as when the search had been for Jane Doe's matching Catherine's description.  A newborn could be anywhere; he didn't even know if he was looking for a girl or a boy.

The bell over the door rang as another customer entered the restaurant.  Joe looked over his shoulder.  “Hey, Bennett!” he called.

She walked over.  “Hey, Joe.  Did Alcott contact you too?”

“I guess so.  This is so weird.”

“No kidding.  I spent the morning at the Hall of Records.  Did you know that there are literally miles of tunnels under the city?”

“I'm not surprised by anything anymore.”

“Did you find anything about the baby?”

“No.  Did you find any maps of the tunnels under Cathy's building?”


Lin returned with a teapot and two cups.  “Hey?  How did you know I'd need two cups?” Joe asked.

Lin just smiled enigmatically and poured the tea.  She went back to the front counter.

Joe picked up his paper and gave it to Diana.  “Did you see this?”

Diana picked up the paper and read the article on top.  “New York DA John Moreno Found Murdered.”

“I know, Joe.  Are you okay?”

“Yeah.  No.  I don't know.  This is getting bizarre.”

“Do you know anything?”

“Nope.  Nothing more than the front page.  I couldn't even think about it.  I just kept calling hospitals about abandoned babies until I got Alcott's note.”

“When we're done here, I'll go sniff around.”


The two sipped their tea and looked anxiously towards the door every time the bell rang.  Finally, two cups later, Lin approached their table.

“I have received a note for you.  You are Mr. Maxwell and Ms. Bennett?”

Diana nodded and took the note.  Joe slid his chair to her side to read over her shoulder.  “That's Cathy's handwriting!” he exclaimed.


“Dear Joe,

“I am fine, now.  I am somewhere safe.  I know Peter told you something about it, but I can't tell you any more.  Just know that I am safe and being well cared for.  Perhaps soon we can meet face-to-face, but for now this note will have to suffice.

“I was kept for over six months at the top of an office building.  I was alone except for the delivery of my meals and a daily medical examination.  I was pregnant and kept until I delivered my son.  The man who kept me ordered my death after my baby was born.  I nearly died.  Peter and other friends saved me.  I am well on the road to recovery.  There is only one thing I need to be truly well – my son.

“My kidnapper took him from that building in a helicopter.  The man is thin with dark hair and eyes.  I only saw him once, but his cold, unfeeling eyes burn in my memory.  His name is Gabriel.  I don't know his last name and his first may be an alias.  He is powerful enough to have bought the DA.  Joe, John was there when I was taken.  He let it happen.  Be careful.  I don't know who you can trust.

“Please tell Detective Bennett to stop looking for the Tunnels and for Vincent.  She is wasting her time and endangering numerous lives.  She should concentrate on finding my son.  If she finds him, she will find Gabriel.  We have looked to Elliot Burch for help.  You should pool your information.  If we learn anything else, we will let you know.

“I cannot stress the importance of discretion in this matter.  I do not know how far this goes.  You and Ms. Bennett are the only ones I can trust.

“You may leave notes for me here and Lin will see they are delivered.  Peter has left town.  If there is any danger to the Wongs, we will have to find another delivery point.

“Be careful.  But write soon.



“Oh, my God,” Joe whispered.  “I can't believe it.  I knew she was alive.  I knew it.”

“Yeah, yeah, Joe.  You're very smart.”  Diana had opened her notebook and was jotting notes from Catherine's letter.  She looked up and caught Lin's eye.  When she approached, Diana asked quietly, “Can you send a return note as soon as possible?”  Lin nodded.  “Great.” She flipped to a clean sheet and began to write.  “Joe?”


“I'm asking Cathy for more of a physical description.  I'd love to get a sketch artist to her, but maybe she is with someone who can draw.  I need a picture of this Gabriel guy.  Do we know the address of the building she was held in?”

“I don't think so." 

"I left my files at home.  Maybe she told Burch?”

“Maybe.  Look, Bennett, we need to be careful.  Watch your back as you're poking into all of this.  She trusts Burch, but I don't know if I do.”

“Yeah, I know.”  He picked up his paper and Diana finished her note. 

He said, “Why don't you contact Burch when we leave here.  I'm gonna call the office and find out what's what.”


They both approached the front counter and Joe paid for the tea. He slid Diana's note under the bill and gave Lin a $20 tip for a $3 pot of tea.  “Thanks.” 

“Come again,” Lin said gaily.

“You bet I will,” Joe smiled.


The baby lay in the crib.  He cried and cried.  His face was beet red and tears streaked down his cheeks.  His voice had become hoarse from his screams.  Suddenly, a snowflake fell and landed on his head.  Then another and another.  The baby squalled even louder.  Then the wind picked up and drowned out the baby's cries.  A blizzard swirled and howled around the baby and the room he was in turned into the Central Park Tunnel entrance.  A man was sitting against the wall, frozen.  Then his head turned, pushed by the wind.  It was Vincent.

Catherine woke from the nightmare with a gasp and a scream.  She began to cry.

“What is it?” Vincent asked in his soft voice.  His right arm was tied to his chest in a sling, but he pulled her to his side with his left.  “Another nightmare?”

“Yes,” she sobbed.  “The baby is crying.  And there was snow, a storm, in the tunnels.  And you!”


“You were frozen.”

“Shh, Catherine.  We are safe.  No storm can reach us here.”

“The baby?”

“He misses you.  We will find him and make up for this lost time.  All will be well.”

“No, Vincent.  I think the worst is yet to come.”


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