Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us,
we see the past, present, and future.  ~Gail Lumet Buckley


Magic Mirrors

by Nefereu



Chapter 1


Catherine was lying on the hospital bed in the high rise she’d been brought to less than a week before. The withdrawal pains from the weeks of drugs she was given were especially bad right now. She was even unable to stand up any more today. Though the drugs had been stopped and her environment had improved, Catherine’s spirits were at their lowest.


Just a few days earlier, Catherine had discovered a pipe and begun tapping a message she hoped would reach Vincent Below. Several hours later, there had been a commotion at the warehouse where she was being held. At one point, Catherine’s heart quickened as she heard what she thought was Vincent’s characteristic roar. Unfortunately, the guards burst in and swept Catherine away to her new location before she was able to discover anything. Since then, she’d been left alone until two days ago.


On that day, a doctor and nurse entered. Her pleas for help had fallen on deaf ears. They had subjected her to numerous physical exams and taken many vials of blood. Finally, today, she had learned their purpose. The man who kidnapped her wanted her baby, the child of Catherine and Vincent’s love created that dark night so long ago it seemed an eternity.


Catherine overheard two guards talking while they escorted the nurse and her to the exam room for another physical. Remaining silent was a skill she had cultivated during her ordeal, one that had served her well on more than one occasion. Vincent, it seemed, had indeed tried to rescue her. Realizing he was the baby’s father, the man who held her was no longer interested in the black book or her. He only wanted her child.


Catherine couldn’t hold back a sob. The one thing that had kept her going through this whole ordeal had been her child. Though she despaired of what effect the poisons she had been given might have on her unborn baby, the very thought of the life growing within her had been a continuing source of hope. Now that she knew that this monster wanted her infant, Catherine began to wonder if it might not be better if they both simply perished. Never had she felt so hopeless. Once again, she wept at the loss of the magical bond that once connected her to Vincent. She knew in her heart that if they still shared it, she might be able to find the strength to somehow go on. Without Vincent, she was too bereft and weak; she felt like simply surrendering to the waiting darkness.


Just then, the sounds of gunfire drew Catherine’s attention. The door burst open and the doctor entered followed by a man with the coldest eyes Catherine had ever beheld.

“Kill them both,” the man ordered bluntly. “If I can’t have the child, no one can.”


The doctor approached Catherine and grabbed her arm. He was carrying a hypodermic syringe. Catherine wanted to fight, but was simply too weak. Just as the Doctor got the needle in, the man with the cold eyes went flying across the room, knocked back from the impact of a gunshot wound. Blood began gushing from a large hole in his chest. An ice cold voice rang out in the doctor’s direction.


“Push that plunger and you’ll be dead before you hit the floor.” Then, the darkness consumed her.


“Are you absolutely certain that she’s going to be all right, James?”


“Yes. The doctor managed to inject her with a small amount of morphine. That’s why she’s still sleeping. But we managed to get there before he was able to give her the full dose. The maid helped to get her bathed and changed. I gave her a big tip so she wouldn’t ask too many questions.”


“And Gabriel?”


“Dead! Along with most of his men. The doctor and nurse managed to slip away during the clean up operation. But, I knew how much you wanted to have the woman brought here, so I made it our first priority. We’ve found Gabriel’s files. It seems John Moreno, the woman’s boss, was on his payroll as well. That’s probably how they got to her. Gabriel’s criminal network is pretty far reaching from what we can tell.  I have a friend in the Justice department in D.C. who would find this material of use.”


“Of course. Do what you think best.”


“There’s more. We also found the videos. I think you’ll find them of interest. I’ll set them up for you in the study.”


“Thank you. And James, you know you will always have my gratitude for this.”


“No need to thank me, old friend. I still owe you for a time or two.”


The voices drifted into Catherine’s conscience from close by but still hardly registered.

Part of her simply didn’t want to return to that awful place, better to drift in the darkness.

More voices drifted in and out but none made much impact. Finally, after floating for what seemed forever, she managed to find the strength to open her eyes.


 Once again, her environment had changed. For a moment, she blinked, afraid she was dreaming.  She was now in a large bedroom tastefully decorated in old, oversized antiques and muted, harvest tone colors of brown and green. Though a bit dark, the room was opulent and almost reminded Catherine of a luxury hotel suite. She herself was in a flannel gown. It didn’t take much to realize she’d been bathed, the smell of fresh soap still clinging onto her skin. Her hand flew to her stomach and the slight bulge there reassured her a bit. Her baby was safe. Still, she didn’t know where she was. Any prison, not matter how well appointed was still a prison.


In another room, a well dressed man was watching a recording of Vincent clawing one of Gabriel’s guards as he roared with anger, desperately trying to fight his way to Catherine.


“My God!” murmured James behind him. “So it’s true!”


Yes, James. It is. Four long years of nothing but fruitless searching and now, finally, here is the proof.”


“I knew about the rumors, but...”


“That’s no rumor, James. That’s him and he’s real!” the well dressed man replied enthusiastically. “I only pray she’s all right. I’ve read your report: kidnapped, drugged, and then to be only kept alive so he could steal her child! Gabriel truly was a monster! He deserved his death! I only hope she can recover from this! She has to!”


“Perhaps she will.” James said reassuringly.


“I hope so. Dear God, I hope so!” came the reply. “She’s our only link and my last hope.”




Suddenly, the door to Catherine’s room flew open and a strange, sneering man entered, followed by another in a uniform.


“All right, dear.” The first one said in a sickly sweet patronizing tone. ‘I’m sure this will be unpleasant for both of us; so let’s just get it over with, shall we?”


‘Who are you?” Catherine cried, still a little disoriented. “What do you want? Stay away from me!”


“Now, now.” the man replied with false kindness. “You must calm yourself or I’ll have to give you a sedative.”


“No!” Catherine sobbed. “No more drugs!”


 Frantic, she retreated to the corner and hunched down, unable to stop trembling. She felt as if she were going mad, unable to bear any more.


Outside the den, as he strode back to his bedroom, Octavian heard a faint sob coming from the room where he had Catherine Chandler placed. Quickly, he moved to the doorway with fluid grace and was horrified to see the lovely but terrified young woman huddled in the corner. His keen eyes took in the scene from behind his black silk mask; noticing the guard and the small, irritating man next to him.


“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?” he challenged loudly.


The guard looked nervous, but it was the little man who answered. “I’m Doctor Morton. I was summoned here to examine this patient, that’s what. I was not informed that I was to be treating a mental case, and I must tell you, I am not happy about it. My clients are usually among the elite of society. If she’s not cooperative, I shall have no choice but to sedate her,” the so called ‘doctor’ intoned pompously.


Octavian looked over at the shaking, huddled form of Catherine Chandler, and his heart lurched.


Good God!  He thought. She’s terrified! Considering all she’s been through; is it any wonder? Why haven’t they noticed?   For a split second, the image of Kimberly or worse, one of the girls, in a similar position flashed into his head. The very thought made his anger begin to burn.


“Who is this man and what is he doing here?” Octavian demanded, addressing the young guard.


The guard shifted nervously before answering. “Umm, he’s a doctor, sir.  I overheard Mr. James say the woman needed to see a doctor for medical treatment.”


“I understand that. Where did he come from?” Octavian continued impatiently.


The young guard looked on in confusion. “Uhh. He’s the one the hotel uses, sir. I called the front desk and they contacted him.”


Octavian sighed.  Not only was this guard quite young, but obviously dim as well. For Octavian, it was an intolerable combination.  “Summon Mr. James immediately,” Octavian ordered curtly to the young man who promptly hurried away. Octavian then turned his attention to the so called ‘doctor’. “You services won’t be needed. You may go,” he said dismissively.


“Now just a minute...” the little man began.


Anger rose in Octavian at the sheer stupidity and callousness of both the guard and the physician. Couldn’t they see Ms. Chandler was very obviously traumatized?!! He needed to get these men out of her room now.


“I said YOU MAY GO,” he repeated in a much louder tone.


“I don’t know what you think you’re pulling,” the little man wheezed nasally, “but if you think I’m not going to charge you a fee for coming here...”


“OUT!” Octavian snarled.


“I’m going to report this,” the little man whined.


Suddenly, the uncertainty and tension of the last few days combined with the strain of being so close to obtaining his goal of four years finally broke through his considerable reserve and Octavian’s temper snapped. In pure rage, he did something he hadn’t done for some time. He tossed back his head and roared!







Chapter 2


As the terrifying sound reverberated through the room, Dr. Morton squeaked with fear and promptly fled. Across the room, however, the roar was having an entirely different effect.


Catherine had been huddled down shaking and a bit in shock from all she’d been through.

When a deafening, but familiar bellow rang through the room, Catherine’s head snapped up. It sounded like Vincent! But, after pausing for a moment, Catherine realized it wasn’t. Though quite similar, the sounds were subtly different. Vincent’s roar was a bit deeper. She doubted anyone but she would have noticed. Since being kidnapped, Catherine maintained her sanity by recalling every detail she could about Vincent, no matter how small. His roar had been no different.


Oh, no! Octavian thought. What have I done?!!  I’ve probably traumatized her even more! Frantic, Octavian rushed over to Catherine but paused a few feet away. Carefully, he crouched down in front of her, trying to appear as unthreatening as his large size would allow and put out his hand in supplication.


“Please, don’t be afraid!” he pleaded quietly. “You’re safe; I promise!”


Instantly, Octavian followed Catherine’s eyes that were now focused intently on his naked outstretched hand. Dear God! He’d forgotten to put his glove back on!

The roar had gotten Catherine’s attention, but it was the sight of the clawed hand so wonderfully like Vincent’s that that finally broke through to her. With a speed that surprised them both, she moved over to Octavian and tenderly took his clawed hand in her own, turning it over and over as she gazed at it.


 Here too were similarities to Vincent, yet subtle differences were there as well. This hand was softer, the work calluses missing. The hair was a slight shade lighter and interspersed with bits of grey. The nails were blunter, obviously filed down; but there was no mistaking the way it resembled Vincent’s hand.


Drawing in a sharp breath, for the first time, Catherine fully took in the well dressed man crouching next to her. His shoulders were quite broad and he seemed quite tall and muscular. His hair was a mix of a deep reddish auburn streaked heavily with highlights of grey and pulled back from his face in a ponytail that fell down his back.

 But it was the dark mask covering him from hairline to neck that fascinated Catherine. Trembling, she raised her hands and carefully unhooked the mask from where it was secured behind his hidden ears. What she saw made her gasp, but strangely, laugh with joy. The face she revealed looked just like Vincent!


Octavian watched with great trepidation as Catherine Chandler shifted to remove his mask. It had taken all of his willpower not to jerk away. But he forced himself to remain still, deliberately putting aside the caution of a lifetime. Her reaction to his roar gave him pause. Whereas the little doctor fled in terror; his roar actually seemed to draw Catherine Chandler to him. He could only hope he had made the right choice.


Catherine’s face broke into a brilliant smile as she gazed at this man before her, so like the one she loved. Deep brown eyes rested below a distinct sloping forehead. Though he appeared older, the facial hair and cleft upper lip were almost exactly the same. Somewhere inside Catherine, something gave way. Frantically, she clung to the familiarly clawed hand as she began to weep in earnest, smiling yet crying as the tension of the past two months poured out. Mystified, but hopeful, Octavian tenderly enfolded this poor girl into his arms, cradling her gently as she wept. After a time, her sobs began to subside, and he felt her body relax. He realized she had cried herself to sleep.


Carefully, he lifted her up and returned her to the bed. Then, he pulled up a chair. Tired, but elated by her response to him, Octavian resolved to remain until she awoke. He’d waited four long years for the answers to his questions. He was not about to leave now that they might be answered. Shortly, James appeared.


‘Sorry, Octavian. I was delayed by that little man,” he apologized.


“Is he gone?” Octavian inquired. James chuckled in reply.


“He practically flew out of here. I heard you earlier. Is everything all right? I can’t help but notice...”


“You mean the fact that my mask is off, James?” Octavian chuckled. “She did that. My shout sent that idiot doctor scurrying. But it didn’t scare her.” he continued, his voice full of pride. “When she saw my face, she laughed . . . laughed, James!  She wasn’t afraid! She knows him; she must! It’s the only explanation!”


“About that doctor...”


Octavian snorted derisively. “Yes. Did you know that new guard of yours sent for him? He overheard you and decided to take it upon himself to call the front desk!”


James winced. Octavian required all people who came in contact with him to be carefully screened first, for security and the other obvious reason. The young guard’s blunder was inexcusable and put them all at risk. He would have to go immediately.


James hesitated. “We should still look for a physician to treat her, but it may take some time to find one we can trust.”


From the bed, a small voice spoke up. “Dr. Peter Alcott.” The two men looked over to see Catherine Chandler now awake.


Octavian sat up with a huge smile that showed his canines and moved to take her hand.

“You know him and trust him?”


“Yes.” Catherine replied with a teary smile. “When we first met, I was naked.” She continued with a weak laugh. Octavian quirked an eyebrow in question.


“He delivered me,” she explained.


Nodding positively, James grinned as he departed. “I’ll get him over here at once.”


“I’m glad you’re awake, my dear,” Octavian intoned gently. “I think we have a great deal to talk about.”


Sitting up, Catherine looked at this man and felt another wave of amazement. This is Vincent in another twenty or thirty years, she thought to herself. Frankly, she looked forward to it.


“You look just like...” Catherine cut off her words, ever mindful of her vows to protect Vincent and the tunnel community. Though part of her wanted to say more, she held back but couldn’t resist squeezing his hand more tightly. To her relief, he seemed to understand.


“Maybe I’d better introduce myself, first. My name is Octavian Demetrios, and I am looking for my nephew. I believe you may know him. In fact, if my suspicions are correct, you’re carrying his child.”


“Nephew?!!” Catherine pronounced in amazement.


“Yes,” Octavian responded. “Until about four years ago, I didn’t even know he existed.”








Chapter 3


Octavian Demetrios then began the tale of his family’s history. His ancestors were from a small island in the south of Greece.  Octavian’s grandfather made a considerable fortune from war profiteering during World War 2, allowing him to purchase their small island called Katos. It was now their family home. The son of a wealthy Greek and an English lady, Octavian grew up there with his younger brother, Nikos until their parents died.


“But what about...” Catherine paused, suddenly worried about offending him.


“My face and the rest of me?” Octavian chuckled, not the least bit put off.


“It’s a condition inherited in the male line of our family for as long as anyone can remember, Catherine. Ever hear of the Nemean lion? That was one of us, or so family legend would have it,” Octavian joked.


Then he grew more serious. “In truth, it’s very rare; only appearing every five generations or so. For two of us to appear in the same lifetime is unheard of. That’s why I was so shocked to learn about my nephew. After our parents died, my brother Nikos went a bit wild. Up until then, we’d both lived our whole lives sheltered on the island. With his inheritance, Nikos left to see the world. He was barely seventeen and I was twenty. I stayed for obvious reasons,” he said, a bit ruefully.


“I lost contact with Nikos for almost three years. He never stayed in one place much, always travelling. The next time I received news of him was when I heard from a friend in New York that he had been killed in a car accident, along with the young woman he married nearly a year before. According to all the reports, they and their unborn child died on impact.”


“So, what brought you here now?” Catherine inquired, her curiosity getting the better of her.


Octavian smiled again. “Four years ago, James brought to my attention the stories and rumors concerning a reputed ‘monster in Central Park’. The descriptions given were simply too close to our family to mistake. I knew there had to be a connection. It was just too much of a coincidence!”


“What did you do?” she asked.


“Started at the beginning,” Octavian responded. “I had James go to St. Vincent’s Hospital to get Nikos’ medical records...”


St. Vincent’s?!!” Catherine cried, finally willing to believe.


Octavian froze. “Is that significant?” he offered, almost afraid to ask.


“That’s where Vincent was found, wrapped in blankets behind St. Vincent’s Hospital. It’s how he got his name!” she responded eagerly


“Vincent!” Octavian laughed joyously. “So that’s his name; it’s a good, strong one, too!”


“I like it.” Catherine replied emotionally.


Once again, tears overcame her. Haltingly, she began to tell Octavian all about Vincent, the tunnels and their life together. He sat quite still, remaining totally silent. But, Catherine could tell by his expression that he was listening intently to every word. At last, she came to the end of her narrative. Octavian shook his head in amazement.

“They live under New York? All this time . . . no wonder we couldn’t find him!”


Just then, the bedside phone rang three times and abruptly stopped. Octavian moved to replace his mask and gloves. Catherine’s face became anxious as she saw him rise.


“Don’t worry, my dear,” he reassured her. “That’s James’ signal that someone is coming up.”


Within minutes, a door opened in the distance, and a loud, but comfortingly familiar voice resounded. It was Peter Alcott. Two young guards deposited him in front of James and Octavian and quietly departed.


“Unhand me! This is kidnapping!  I was summoned here to this hotel to see one of my patients, and now you’ve dragged me up to the penthouse. I demand you release me this instant!” Peter demanded in a hostile voice as he glared at the two men.


Dr. Alcott...” Octavian began. But Catherine was too quick for him. She flew out of the bedroom straight to Peter.


Peter!” she cried as she flung her arms around him. Stunned, he dropped his bag and embraced her.


“MY GOD! CATHY!” he exclaimed. After a moment, however, the physician in him took over and he instantly noticed her frail, wan look. “What have they done to you, honey?” he whispered. “You won’t get away with this!” he bellowed belligerently.


No, Peter. You don’t understand,” she tried to explain through her tears. Turning helplessly to Octavian, she pleaded with him. “Please. Peter’s known Vincent all his life.”


Cathy!” Peter gasped, horrified. “How can you...?”


Whatever else Peter was going to say was lost as his voice trailed off. Octavian had once again removed the mask and his face was now visible again. Smiling through her tears, Catherine made the introductions.


Dr. Peter Alcott, Octavian Demetrios. Octavian is Vincent’s uncle.”


“Uncle?!! Well, they’re definitely related; there’s no mistaking that.”


Octavian noticed Catherine beginning to sag and quickly moved to scoop her up.

“Perhaps we could discuss this after you’ve examined Catherine, Dr. Alcott,” he offered.

Immediately, the group headed for Catherine’s room.







Chapter 4


Peter came out of Catherine’s room and quietly closed the door behind him. James quickly led him to the study where Octavian was waiting.


“How is she?” he asked.


“Doing remarkably well, all things considered. She’s asleep now,” Peter replied.


“And the baby?”  Octavian went on.


Peter hesitated before answering. “Time will tell. Hopefully, the drugs didn’t have too detrimental an effect. Since the baby has Vincent’s genes, I’m betting he’s pretty strong.”


“He?” Octavian remarked in amusement.


“Well, you can’t blame me for hoping, Mr. Demetrios,” he replied sheepishly.


“How much did she tell you about what happened to her?” Octavian inquired.


“Enough.” Peter replied with a shudder. “But something tells me there’s a great deal more.”


“I’m afraid so,” James interjected, commenting for the first time.


“Coffee?” Octavian offered politely.


“Frankly, I could use something a little stronger; like a good shot of whiskey.”


Octavian grinned, flashing his canines. “Would you settle for Ouzo, Doctor?”


Peter smiled back. “Yes, I think I will. It’s quite strong as I remember.”


Octavian nodded in reply.


“Good,” Peter exhaled. “Something tells me I’m going to need it.”


“Good God!” Peter exclaimed much later after hearing the whole story. “This Gabriel really was a monster! You’re sure he’s dead?”


“Absolutely,” James confirmed. “I took him down personally.”


Peter surveyed the thin, wiry man across from him and shook his head.


“An ex-mercenary? Forgive me, James, but you don’t look the type.”


James merely smiled. “You mean because I’m not a six foot muscle man?”


Ruefully, Peter nodded; but James merely laughed. “It might surprise you to know, Doctor, that very few true mercenaries actually look like the movie stereotype. In our kind of business, brains win over brawn every time. If you’re not smart, you don’t tend to live very long.”


“Now, James runs a security firm,” Octavian commented. “They specialize in protecting clients in high risk situations, as well as extraction rescues. Remember that oil executive kidnapped last year? James’s company was the one that rescued him.”


“But how did you learn about Cathy?” Peter asked, still curious.


“I’d been investigating the reports about a ‘Central Park Monster’ for Octavian for a quite a while. Ms. Chandler’s name kept popping up. I even managed to interview Steven Bass a few months ago.  That’s when we knew there was a connection for sure,” James explained.


“But, before I could contact her, she disappeared. About a week ago, one of Gabriel’s guards got drunk at a local bar owned by an old friend of mine and started talking. My friend knew I was looking for information on Ms. Chandler and filled me in. The rest was simply a matter of surveillance, catching Gabriel off guard and getting her out safely.”


Peter looked impressed. “You make it all sound so simple. Something tells me there’s a lot more to that story.”


Octavian chuckled. “Don’t hold your breath, Dr. Alcott. James isn’t known for being very talkative about his work. Remind me to tell you sometime about how we first met. It was at a monastery in Bhutan.”


“That sounds like quite a story. Please, call me Peter. Something tells me we’re going to be getting to know each other quite well from now on.”


Octavian laughed. “I agree. And please, call me Octavian.


 Involuntarily, Peter yawned and looked at his watch. “Good grief! I haven’t been up this late since med school, unless I was delivering a baby. You don’t happen to have an extra room around, do you?”


“Of course.” Octavian replied genially. James quickly showed Peter where he could rest.


Catherine awoke and looked outside to see it was dark. For a moment, she thought she’d only been asleep a short while. But a glance at a nearby clock showed it to be almost nine. Good heavens. She thought. I’ve slept through the whole day!


If Catherine had had the strength, she would have run to the tunnels the night before, desperate to see Vincent. Only Peter’s repeated assurances that Vincent was well and his solemn promise to take her Below at the first opportunity had allowed her to sleep.


Quickly, she took a shower and put on the clothes she found laid out next to the bed. Refreshed, she went in search of Peter and Octavian.  She followed the sound of voices and made her way to the study. Peter’s booming voice reached her as she arrived at the door.


“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes! Octavian, you are absolutely the worst chess player I’ve ever seen. I think you may be more terrible at it than Jacob. I didn’t think that was possible! He’s going to love you; he’ll finally have someone he can beat.”


“Disgusting, isn’t it?” James chimed in. “The man can create a formula that will grow

wheat on barren rock, but he can’t play a simple game of strategy.”


“Formula?” Catherine asked as she entered the room. Seeing Octavian and Peter getting along so well warmed her heart.


Catherine, you’re awake. Good. I’ve had a tray left for you. Why don’t you sit down and eat? You must be hungry,” Octavian said as he crossed the room and led her to a nearby table.


“Thank you.” Soon, she was seated and eating the delicious meal.


“Yes, Cathy,” Peter answered. “Octavian here is a biochemist, self taught no less. We’ve been discussing some of his work. It’s really remarkable. He’s even done research on his own physiology. I wish he’d been around a few months ago during Vincent’s illness.”


Octavian merely smiled, but made no comment. After talking to Peter Alcott and learning more about Catherine and Vincent’s ‘relationship’, he had his own suspicions about the cause of Vincent’s so called madness. Wisely, he chose to keep his speculations to himself. That was an issue best discussed with his nephew alone.







Chapter 5



Finishing her meal, Catherine turned to Peter. “Peter, did you send a message to Vincent yet?”


“No,” Peter said hesitantly.


“Why not?!!” she cried.


“I’m afraid that’s my doing, Ms. Chandler,” James interrupted. “You see, Dr. Alcott was being watched by the police, courtesy of your friend Joe Maxwell. That’s why we had to get him here on the pretext of seeing a patient.”


“I’m sorry, Cathy. I was afraid, if I contacted Vincent, he’d risk his own safety to come to you immediately.  Octavian, James and I have been brainstorming ideas on how to get you both Below safely all day; we’ve almost got it worked out. We were just waiting on you. I refused to let them wake you. You needed your rest.”


Catherine’s eyes filled with tears, and Octavian swiftly moved to kneel in front of her.


“We’ll get you back to him as soon as possible; I swear it, Catherine. I intend to go with you. That’s the real reason for the delay. Can you forgive me?”


“Of course,” she replied softly. “I know how much meeting you will mean to Vincent. He’s waited his whole life.”


Octavian smiled widely in return. “Not half as much as he’s waited for you and the news you have to tell him, I’ll bet.” A wave of incredible joy rose up in Catherine as she imagined their reunion, and impulsively, she grabbed Octavian’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.


Instantly, the bond between her and Vincent seemed to roar to life and her head spun wildly at the sensation. She swayed in the chair as it overwhelmed her.


Below in the tunnels, Vincent was resting briefly in his chamber before going out for another night of searching for Catherine. Since his abortive rescue attempt, there had been no further hint of her whereabouts. Father had given up trying to convince him to abandon his nightly searches; nothing would deter him from finding her


Suddenly, his senses swam as he felt something he hadn’t since before those dark days of his madness. It was Catherine! Bewildered, he focused intently and was amazed to feel an overwhelming joy coming from her. After a brief second, the bond mysteriously expanded, and Vincent actually sensed another presence as well. Stunned, Vincent bolted upright in his bed. Catherine was with another man and she was happy!


Somewhere inside Vincent something snapped and he felt as if his very soul had been ripped from his body. For months he’d been searching for Catherine, only to now know another man had brought her what he couldn’t . . . true happiness. Despair greater than anything he’d ever known washed over Vincent and he lost all reason.  Wildly, he roared in soul destroying anguish before dashing off into the darkness of the tunnels.


Back in the penthouse, Catherine exclaimed out loudly. “Vincent!” and began to cry.


Octavian instantly became concerned. “Catherine, what is it?!”


“It’s Vincent! Suddenly, somehow, I could sense him. After his madness, our bond disappeared; just now, it came back, but only for a second!” she sobbed.


‘But that’s wonderful, Cathy,” Peter tried to soothe her.


“No, you don’t understand! Something upset him! He was in terrible pain and despair, worse than anything I ever felt from him before. But, it was almost as if....” Catherine broke down unable to continue.


“As if?” Octavian prompted gently.


“He’d lost the will to live! Oh, Octavian! I can’t lose him, not now! Please I have to go to him! Help me!” Catherine begged abjectly.


“Looks like we’re doing this,” James replied, heading for the elevator. “I’ll bring the car around, the sedan, not the limo. It’ll attract less attention in Dr. Alcott’s neighborhood.”


Octavian carefully replaced his mask and gloves and turned to Peter. “Shall we go?” he asked as he led Catherine to the private elevator.


Getting into the tunnels proved easier than expected. James picked the trio up and headed by a rather circuitous route to Peter’s brownstone to assure they weren’t followed. The little group managed to slip into Peter’s home down a back alley and headed straight Below. Octavian offered to carry Catherine over the rough terrain, but she adamantly refused. She was going to Vincent immediately, and nothing was going to stop her.


Father was in his chamber speaking urgently to Pascal. “You’re sure the sentries haven’t sighted him?”


“No, Father. Vincent seems to have vanished. I’ve sent word to everyone. No one has seen him since he ran out of his chamber so upset earlier. Even Mouse can’t locate him!” Pascal replied. “You don’t think he’s becoming ill again?”


“Frankly, Pascal, I’m not sure what to think. That cry that Vincent made! I’ve never heard him ever make that sound before. It was soul chilling.”


Pascal nodded. “Many people heard it too. That’s why they’re all worried.”


“All the more reason to find him,” Father asserted. An urgent message coming over the pipes interrupted their discussion.


Intruders in the tunnels!


Continued in Part II