When Star and Michael Emerson die in a car crash, their daughter Luna is understandably distraught. While sorting their belongings for Goodwill, she stumbles over some very old journals belonging to her mother. These journals call everything Luna has taken for granted into question. A trip to Santa Carla—one meant to shed some light on the subject—causes yet more confusion. Who are the gang mentioned in Star’s journal? And why does Luna’s new love-interest, who appears only a few years older than herself, remember Star and Michael?
Category: The Lost Boys
Characters: Alan Frog, David, Edgar Frog, Luna Emerson, Marko, Sam Emerson
Genre: Alt Universe Fic, Angst, Drama, Romance ? Het
Warning: Character Death
Series: The Moonlight Series
Disclaimer: Warner Brothers etc. own ‘em. I just borrowed them and I’ll have them back before anyone even notices they’re gone. (Marko may be a little late in returning though!)
Thank Yous: Right, first off, to Rach, aka Goddess of the Song. Thanks for the lyrics for the final chapter. I love you, babe. You rock. Secondly, to JX17, for emailing me constantly about this fic. Thank you, I probably wouldn’t have finished it without your encouragement. Thirdly, to my Lost Cave family, Sammy, Carla, Nicolette, Angie, Red, Raeann, the list goes on forever, but my brain doesn’t. You guys are fab!
Notes 1: Let’s just pretend that Star, Michael, Sam and the Frogs managed to kill Max, but not The Lost Boys. They flee from Santa Carla and start new lives. You could call this an alternate universe fic. By the way, I wrote a fic called “An Unlucky Star” that tells how Star became a Lost Girl, this fic alludes to events in that I guessed Star was (meant to be) seventeen in 1987 (although she looked at least nineteen – but Lucy makes that comment about school – so seventeen) and her daughter is sixteen.
Notes 2: This fic is a bit of a Mary Sue. Actually, it’s a lot of a Mary Sue. It was… *thinks* the second fanfic I ever wrote. Don’t hold it against me.
Cause and Effect
Luna drummed her fingers on the desk, forcing herself to concentrate, but it was difficult. There was only three more weeks left of school before the summer break and she was determined to get a half decent report card.
Although, the effort was pretty futile now so late in the term. She could see it now, lines and lines filled with the words ‘could do better’ and ‘needs to apply herself better’ and the old favourite ‘must learn time management’.
She wondered why, in a stereotypical world anyway, it was acceptable for jocks to be dumb, for cheerleaders to be airheads, but why the world came down on her like a ton of bricks when she failed academically. She was the best athlete in the school, and had the trophies to prove it, but the teachers wouldn’t give her a break.
Her mind turned once more to the upcoming summer break. She had plenty planned with her friends, and also her family.
Uncle Sam, and his business partners Edgar and Alan, whom she also called her uncles, were coming to visit. They ran one of the most successful comic book stores in LA, and between them owned the most extensive selection of rare comic books under the sun.
She liked Edgar and Alan, they always told the most fantastic stories, and although she was too old to be scared, she still enjoyed their tales of monsters, vampires and werewolves. Maybe she enjoyed them because her family didn’t approve of the tales. She had once overheard Uncle Sam telling the Frog brothers not to keep telling her the stories, as it wasn’t relevant any more.
He had probably meant that she was too old for the stories anymore, but all the same, it was a weird way to put it…
“Luna Emerson, perhaps you could explain the causes…”
“Huh?” Luna’s head shot up. Damn. Miss Sargeson was good, she could zone in on non-school thoughts like a homing pigeon.
“As I thought, you weren’t listening were you?” Miss Sargeson said in exasperation.
“Oh, no. I was.” Luna thought fast, the last thing she wanted was a detention on this lovely sunny day, sweating in a classroom when she could be home enjoying air conditioning. She’d been on detention every single day after school this week so far, and her parents were starting to get crazy about it. She couldn’t help it, she’d daydream, get called on and then her mouth would run away with her.
“Then tell me what I was just saying.”
“Um. You were telling us about the Second World War,” Luna said, glancing at her textbook.
“Of course I was you foolish child!” Miss Sargeson wasn’t known for her patience. “We’ve been studying it for the past month. We were talking about the causes. Tell me one cause of the Second World War and you won’t be on detention tonight.”
“Um…” Luna stalled for time. There was only one answer on her mind and she was biting her lip not to let it out.
“Well…?” Miss S. prodded.
“One cause of the Second World War was…” Think girl, think!
Uh-oh. She’s doing the single eyebrow raise. One decent sentence and you’re off the hook. C’mon, Luna, think!
“Was that Hitler was a Nazi shithead.”
Great going, Lu. Detention for life.
She called home at lunch and left a message on the answer phone, thanking the stars above that she didn’t have to talk to her parents about it. She’d simply said that she was staying late to do some studying. They might ask her about it and then she’d have to fess up about the detention, but she might get lucky.
She was constantly in trouble, but it wasn’t always her fault. She knew she didn’t pay attention in class, but who did? It was the fights that bothered her. She could defend herself; her Mom and Dad had been sending her to self-defence and martial arts classes since she could stand. But every so often, someone would feel threatened by her ability to fight, and start on her. She managed never to hurt anyone, well, no more than they hurt her. She had great scope for inflicting pain, but always tried not to do any more than self-defence, never be on the offence, it wasn’t her nature. But she would always get caught fighting. She knew she was walking a fine line at school, at some point they would expel her.
She got the feeling her Dad might see the funny side of today’s incident, but her Mom wouldn’t.
Despite the fact that her mother was a hippy child, and wore gypsy clothes in her teens, she was strangely uptight about school.
Her Dad was more relaxed about it, and had told her once that Star, (her Mom even had a hippy name) only wanted for Luna what she never had for herself. As families went, they weren’t too bad. Ok, she fought with them, they were madly over protective of her, she wasn’t allowed to go anywhere at night, and she was the first kid in school to be given a cell phone. Most kids had them now, as a trend thing, but her Mom and Dad had given her hers for safety.
There were lots of rules, don’t invite anyone in to the house who you don’t know, don’t go off with strangers, never drink. If you must drink—and we strongly advise you don’t—make sure you know what you’re drinking. You never know what someone might give you and pass it off as ‘just a drink’.
She’d heard it so many times before.
But, her Mom and Dad were still together, which was more than most kids her age could say.
Luna studied her way through detention, and scribbled out an apology to Miss S. about rudeness, insolence and disruptive behaviour, grabbed her bags and walked home.
The sun played on her back, making her itch. There was another thing. Her Mom and Dad couldn’t seem to get enough of the sun. The slightest mention of sunlight was enough to get them running outside to soak up some rays.
Luna couldn’t stand it. She wished she loved the sun, and she would love to be able to tan, but she was ‘gifted’ with a fair complexion. Her white-blonde ringlets and light skin were very attractive—according to some people, mostly her family—but she burned like nobody’s business.
It was a family joke that while her Mom was outside tanning, Luna would be inside burning on her behalf.
“Hey! Anybody home? Mom? Dad?” She called, dropping her keys in the dish by the door and slinging her bag down where one of her parents would fall over it later.
She inspected the house from top to bottom. “Alright! I got away with it!” she exclaimed on finding no-one home. She deleted her message off the answer phone and settled down with a can of soda and some chips in front of the TV. A small luxury that she wouldn’t get away with if her Mom was home.
The novelty of this luxury wore off after an hour or so.
Another hour later and Luna was going through a full-scale panic.
Another hour had passed, and she had called everyone in her parents’ phone book, but nobody knew where they were. She called Sam for the second time that night.
“They’re still not back?” he asked worriedly.
“No, I—” Her voice broke, her throat constricted and she fought back a sob.
“Don’t panic, Luna, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation,” he told her reassuringly. “Just think of the guilt trip you can pull on them when they get back.”
She smiled weakly into the phone, but was far from calming down. “I know, they’re just probably…” She tailed off. Her parents—the mad-panickers, the people who didn’t pop next door to borrow coffee without leaving three different contact numbers—were three hours late. In fact, Luna didn’t know when they had left to go wherever they went. They could have left right after she went to school. Where were they?
“I’m scared, Uncle Sam,” she told him.
“It’ll be alright,” he said, sounding less than convinced.
“I just—hang on!” She heard a car in the drive. She could now hear it crunching up the gravel driveway. “I think they’re—”
I think they’re back, is what she was about to say. But her parents’ car wasn’t white and blue.
And it didn’t have a flashing blue light on the top.
Miles away, Sam not only heard, but felt her scream.
“Are you the daughter of Michael and Star Emerson?” The police officer spoke for the third time, Luna stared at him uncomprehendingly. She finally realised that he was expecting her to reply, and nodded.
Her throat was raw from screaming, and her head was pounding so fast she thought it might explode.
“Mom and Dad…” She bit back a fresh assault of tears. “Where are they? They’re late.” She could tell from his face what he was about to say. “They’re never this late, they don’t like the dark,” she continued speaking, it didn’t matter what she said, anything to stop this kindly-looking man delivering the news. He didn’t want to say it anymore than she wanted to hear it, but he managed to interrupt her gently.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, Miss Emerson, but there’s been an accident.”
“So they’re at the hospital. Big deal. Couple of days they’ll be right as rain.” Luna knew this wasn’t the case, but couldn’t seem to stop talking.
“I’m afraid it’s more serious than that,” the second police officer broke in.
“They’re gonna be ok, right?” Luna looked at them hopefully. Their identical expressions were answer enough.
“They’re not, are they? They’re d—” she couldn’t say the word.
The older policeman touched her arm gently. “Is there anyone we can call for you?”
The rest of the evening passed in a haze. The police called Uncle Sam for her, as he was the nearest of her kin. Nancy, the lady from next door came round and held her while she cried, occasionally offering platitudes such as, ‘When the chair becomes empty, you must sit in it’ until Luna felt like jumping up and screaming “I’m fucking sixteen, I don’t want to sit in the god-damned chair. I want my Mommy and Daddy!”
But she didn’t jump up, she didn’t scream, she didn’t yell, she just cuddled closer and cried.
She cried until she fell asleep on the sofa. She woke when Sam appeared. He picked her up and carried her up to her room. For a few brief seconds she though he was her Dad.
“No, Luna,” he replied softly, tucking her into bed. “It’s Sam.”
“Oh.” She turned over and tried to sleep.
She heard her uncle thank Nancy for coming over. She heard Nancy express her condolences. She heard Sam clunking around in the kitchen.
Then she heard him cry, and wished that her hearing wasn’t so perfect.
Eventually the house fell silent but Luna couldn’t sleep. She glanced at her bedside clock, it read 03:57 in red glowing numbers.
Almost four a.m. I’m never gonna be able to get up for school. She thought. Then laughed, who on earth would expect her to go to school? Her parents had just died.
The snort of laughter died in her throat and her stomach swirled. She rushed to the bathroom and threw up as quietly as she could. She leant back against the wall and prayed for her stomach to settle.
Just as her breathing was returning to normal her stomach lurched painfully again. She leant and heaved once more. She got some in her hair, and that thought alone was enough to have her gagging again.
When there was nothing left in her stomach she lay down on the floor, her hot head resting on the cold tiles.
Any minute her mom would come in and help her into bed again, and then she would sit with her, pressing a washcloth to her face until she felt better.
Except her mother would never do that ever again.
“Mommy,” she muttered, the tears trickling down her face once more.
Sam found Luna passed out on the bathroom floor, he carried her back to her room, and sat with her through the night. He wiped her face with a damp washcloth, and wondered what Star and Mike would do.
His thoughts turned, oddly enough, to the events in Santa Carla. It somehow seemed unfair that they could live through that, and then be wiped out by something as every-day as a car crash.
Sam and his family had managed to survive vampires trying to kill them. Except Grandpa and the Frog’s parents. They had refused to leave Santa Carla, refused to be driven out of their life-long homes by a bunch of vampires.
They had accepted their fate when they stayed, and no amount of persuasion could have changed their minds.
Max had died, Star, Laddie and Michael had been released, but the others, the four Lost Boys had lived, and nearly killed them as they fled the murder capital of the world.
Laddie had vanished around his fourteenth birthday, and Sam had a strong suspicion that, if Laddie wasn’t a vampire, he had been killed by one.
Grandpa dead, Laddie missing, Star and Michael dead. Four of them. It wasn’t quite the success story they had hoped for.
He looked at Luna’s sleeping face. So much like Star, except for the colouring. White-blonde hair instead of brown, pale skin instead of the perpetual tan that Star had. Of course Star’s obsession with the sun had come from those months when the sun was an enemy. Luna looked nothing like Michael, but had inherited his temperament. Including his pig-headedness.
He wondered what would happen now. At her age he had fought vampires, and, if not won, survived. But Luna was just a normal girl, she had just lost both her parents at sixteen. Her whole world had just caved in.
He was worried what she would do once she got over the first period of mourning. Right now all she could do was sleep and cry and try and figure out what had just happened. When the news finally settled in, things could go horribly wrong.
Sam was aware of Luna’s strength. He knew her morals would never let her hurt someone, but she had just lost her parents, rational thought would not be the first thing on her mind.
Luna’s days hazed into each other. She wasn’t aware of anything much, except for all the phone calls, people offering condolences. Uncle Sam took care of most of them. He made arrangements for the funeral and tried to make her eat. Sometimes she did eat for him, her hunger had left her, but she couldn’t bear the despair on his face. She had to run to the bathroom and throw up quietly for fear or worrying him more.
Her small family appeared for the funeral. Her uncles, Edgar and Alan, her Granny Lucy, and Granny Lucy’s ex-husband, Jack. The funeral at least seemed to soothe their estrangement that had lasted longer than Luna herself had lived.
She stood between Granny Lucy and Uncle Sam, endured shaking people’s hands, occasionally having to hug, and the most often used, least tolerable phrase on the planet.
“It was a lovely service.”
“Thank you,” she gave a watery smile and accepted a hug, while every bone in her body was screaming, “It wasn’t a lovely service, you fucking moron! I just cremated my parents! They’re dead! They’re never coming back! A few nice words from a minister won’t change a god-damned thing!”
More hugs, drinks at the house, neighbours donating food, flowers all over the house. When she couldn’t take anymore, Luna excused herself and went into her room.
She was angry. Shaking with anger. She was angry at her parents for dying. She was angry at all the people in her house that wouldn’t go away. She was angry at the stupid things they kept saying. She was angry with every single person who looked at her with pity and asked if she was ok. She was angry because she wanted to yell at the top of her lungs, “No I’m fucking not ok! Would you be?”
She was angry at herself for all of these feelings.
She was sick of crying. She was tired of throwing up after she ate. She just wanted to have her family back.
Someone knocked on her door.
If that’s one more blasted person asking if I’m alright, I’ll…
“Everybody’s leaving. It’ll be safe to come down soon.” Edgar Frog stood at her door.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” she said.
“I won’t ask you how you are,” he replied. “What I will tell is how proud we all are of you. You’re very brave.”
“I don’t feel brave.” She didn’t look him in the eye, she didn’t want anyone to see her red eyes.
“It gets easier.”
“What do you know?” she spat out. “Did you lose your parents when you were sixteen?”
“No. I was fifteen.” His face, as usual, was expressionless.
“Oh. I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” She felt guilty, but felt better at the same time. Knowing her uncles could get through it made her feel stronger.
“It does get easier.” He left without further comment.
After the funeral came the sorting out. Not the will, that wouldn’t happen for another month or so. She and Sam had to sort out her parents’ belongings, deciding which to keep, and which to send to goodwill.
She steeled herself to go into their bedroom. It would be the first time since… well, since. Uncle Sam had offered, but she had remembered Edgar’s words, and decided to prove to herself that she was as brave as they thought.
For awhile she just sat on their bed, thinking of her childhood, and then her adolescence, and the things her parents would never get to do with her. They would never meet her boyfriend, she had never had one so far, and now she would never know if her father was as scary as some of the dads on TV. She would never rush up to her mother and whisper that she was in love.
And years from now, she would not rush home to show her parents a shiny diamond ring.
They wouldn’t be present to see her stand next to the man she loved, and watch as he added another ring next to it.
They would never see sonograms, and make jokes about being old.
They would never be grandparents.
They would never do anything ever again.
She bit back the tears that threatened to fall and forced herself to start sorting things. There was a box by the door for the goodwill items. She opened her mother’s bedside drawer, it was stuffed full, tissues, cotton wool, a romance novel, so well-read that the spine was cracked and pages were loose.
Beneath that, some incense sticks, a complimentary book of matches from a restaurant, film stubs, Luna’s report card from three years ago, a few photos. Some hair clips. A lipstick so old its package had been revamped three times since. A fairy story book. A picture of Laddie.
Nothing for goodwill. Luna lit a couple of incense sticks. The scent reminded her of her Mom.
She went to her father’s side and repeated the process. Nothing much, unlike her Mom, he didn’t fill his drawer up. A cologne, still in its box, an unwanted Christmas gift obviously. A Doors tape. His emergency pack of cigarettes, for when work was too stressful. A silver Zippo lighter, with the words ‘Yours always, Star’ engraved on, and a baby photo of herself.
She slipped the tape on for company, and moved on to the closet.
She forced herself to be strong when it came to the clothes, making sure she only kept her favourites. Dad’s leather jacket, Mom’s gypsy skirts, the suits could go to goodwill. The jeans would fit her, she could keep them… but she had enough jeans. She tossed them in the box.
Dad’s sweaters? Not her style. They joined the jeans in the box. Uncle Sam could go through it later, see if he wanted anything.
She moved onto shoes, almost everything went in the box, except for the few pairs of boots or sandals that might suit her. She was feeling quite proud of herself for making these decisions with minimal tears.
She reached deeper into the bottom of the closet and jammed her fingers hard against something. She winced and drew back, sucking on her fingers to take away the tingling.
When the soreness stopped she reached into the closet once more, and drew out the box that she’d stubbed her fingers against. It was old, dusty and had that pulpy feel that cardboard gets when it’s been around awhile.
She opened the box and was surprised to see it filled with dozens of books. Many of them plain, some had patterns on, but all had one thing in common. They had the year written down the spines in silver marker in her mother’s girlish scrawl. Some of them had ‘Star’s Secrets’ or ‘Star’s Journal’ written on, the more recent ones did not.
“Mom’s journals,” she said, settling down to take a closer look.
Luna made herself finish the rest of the closet before she settled down with her mother’s journals. She just knew if she started reading she would lose track of time and not finish anything.
She dragged the box containing the journals into her room and began to sort them chronologically. She found the earliest journal was about to open it, but she stopped herself.
She was hungry. For the first time in two weeks, she was hungry. She ran downstairs and fixed herself a snack, making sure it was light and wouldn’t upset her stomach. She reached for the coke, but stopped herself. Her Mom always prescribed milk when she had a bad stomach.
She went back upstairs and settled herself comfortably on the bed; she was determined to read as much as she could. She opened the first journal, and a couple of photos fell out.
At first she thought it was Laddie, but on closer inspection she realised this kid was younger, and his eyes were a different colour. She felt sad and didn’t understand why. She didn’t know this kid, but there was something haunting in his eyes.
She flipped it over and read the words on the back ‘Nick, sixth birthday’ written in her mother’s looping script.
God, that was his sixth birthday? She thought. How come he looks so sad?
The other two photos showed her mother standing with Nick. They were both smiling for the camera, but the smile didn’t reach their eyes.
She turned the first page, wanting to know more about her mother and this sad child.
Wednesday 20th May 1987
Another night on PPD. I hate it. The only plus is, I made enough tonight to cover rent, so I won’t have to go out tomorrow. I hate it. But I don’t have a choice. It’s this or live off air.
What the hell is PPD? Luna wondered.
I had another dream about Nick. He was lying at the bottom of the stairs, like always, and he looked up at me with dead eyes, and said, “It’s your fault. You should’ve protected me.”
And I went to him, trying to stop the bleeding, knowing it was too late. He glared at me again. “It’s too late now. You could’ve saved me. You should’ve saved me.”
At that point I woke up. I know he’s right. If only I’d dared speak, but I was scared too. I should have been able to save my brother.
Luna didn’t like what she was reading so far. Her Mom and Dad had always told her that Mom was an orphan and an only child.
Monday 25th May 1987
I haven’t written for awhile, I’ve been too tired. When I’m not working, I’m sleeping, but the nightmares have been putting me off sleeping, so I’ve been working twice as much.
I don’t know what’s worse, the guilt of my ‘job’ or the guilt my nightmares bring.
I sometimes don’t know if I’m awake or asleep. I saw a kid last night, on my way to work, that looked so like Nick it nearly broke my heart. I couldn’t stop staring at him, and he tugged on his Mom’s skirt and said, “Mommy, why’s that lady looking at me?”
She glared at me and said, “That’s no lady. Ignore her, she’s worthless.”
It hurt so much, because he looked so like Nick, and it was like it was some higher power’s way of telling me that I’d failed. And that Nick could never forgive me from not saving him from our parents.
I thought about ringing home, the cops, not my parents, and telling them everything, the beatings, the abuse, the harsh words. But what’s the point? It’s too late, I can’t save him now, and I don’t want my father knowing where I am.
Luna’s eyes were full of tears, no wonder her mother didn’t like to talk about her life before she met Michael. Imagine the guilt she must have felt over her brother’s death.
Thursday 28th May 1987
I met someone, but I don’t think I’ll ever see him again. I was crying on the street, memories came flooding up unexpected. That’s the worst, when you think you’re having an ok day, and they bubble up out of the blue.
Anyway, D introduced himself to me and asked if I wanted to go for a ride on his motorbike. I was very tempted. I know, I know, he could be a murderer or a rapist, or any other kind of psycho. But he was so kind to me. It’s pretty sad, when your day is so bad that a kind word from a stranger can brighten it up.
He offered to be my friend. And after coming home alone, as I have done for the past two months, a friend sounds pretty good to me, and I kind of regret saying no to that bike ride.
Even if he is a nutcase, so what? What have I got to live for, and who would miss me if I died?
I would, Mom. I miss you now. Luna thought. She wondered who this mysterious ‘D’ was. She hadn’t known it before today, but she had the same trait as her mother. She referred to everyone in her diary by their initial, just in case someone else read it.
Friday 29th May 1987
He came back! D came back and met me. I didn’t expect him to, but I’m glad he did. He didn’t seem to mind what I did to make a living. He offered that bike ride again, and this time I took it. Ok, so I’ve got to dodge Bill, the landlord, for awhile, until I can make the money up, but it was worth it.
Riding on the back of a motorbike is so exciting. D is a wonderful driver, very fast, not a risk taker, but a thrill seeker. I wonder perhaps if the thrill had something to do with D. He’s got these eyes that seem to see right through all the walls you put up, right inside you.
Or is that just the type of stuff girls always write when they might be interested in someone?
Anyway, he took me to the top of a cliff and the view was amazing. He said it was where he came to clear his head, his place to think. I could see the whole of Santa Carla, and the sight of the ocean with the moonlight glinting off was incredible. I don’t know what exactly thrilled me the most, the view, the ride, the company, or all of the above.
I’ve been numb for so long, it’s nice to know I’m still alive.
Santa Carla, she’d heard of the town many times. It was where her folks first met. It was where Uncle Sam met Edgar and Alan, but they didn’t stay there long. Did ‘D’ have something to do with it?
Luna was also getting a vague idea what her mother did for a living. She didn’t get the PPD, but she got the gist of it. Her mother’s shame about it. She didn’t want to dwell on it.
Saturday 30th May 1987
Again I met D. We had a wonderful time. He took me to a restaurant, I only had eight cents in my pocket, so I tried to put him off, despite the fact I’m starving. I’ve had a packet of Doritos and a can of Pepsi in the last three days.
D wouldn’t take any money off me for taking me out. He said that ‘my company was payment enough’. Which I thought was very sweet of him. It’s so nice to feel full of food.
Halfway through dinner, he asked what I was running away from. I couldn’t tell him right then and there, it was too public, I didn’t want to embarrass him by making a scene, so I said “Will you take me to your cliff?” He understood right away, and changed the subject. Have I mentioned how charming his manners are?
When we got up there, I told him everything about Nick. I told him about how it all started, my dreams, my parents, everything.
And then I fell apart. It was so good to let everything out after so long of bottling it up. He just held me and told me it wasn’t my fault. I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time, not love, something even more important to me, I felt safe.
He brought me home, some time later, and I asked him in. He said he didn’t think either of us was ready. I think I would have been offended if anyone but D had said it. I would have taken it to mean a nice way of saying ‘no way. I don’t want damaged goods.’ But D, he always says the right things. And I wasn’t ready, Nick was too heavily on my mind, I only really asked him in because… Well, if he really wanted to, you know, it would have been a nice way to thank him for his friendship.
I think he knew this, and that’s why he said no.
No matter where I go from here, I’ll never forget what D has done for me.
Luna tried to think of any of her parents’ friends whose name began with a D. All she could come up with was Desmond. A crazy British guy her Dad worked with. And they’d only met him a couple of years ago, when he first came out to the States. He couldn’t have met her mother in 1987. Besides he was about five years younger than her Mom, who was seventeen in 1987, she couldn’t have been swept off her feet by a twelve year old.
The only people she knew with the surname beginning with D were the Denton family, and she’d met them through her school.
And besides, if this ‘D’ was as special as her Mom obviously thought he was, wouldn’t he be an honorary uncle too, like the Frog brothers?
Luna had stopped briefly to eat, shower and change and now came back to her room to continue with the journals. She still wondered who ‘D’ was.
Sunday 31st May 1987
It’s five pm. I’m sitting on the street surrounded by my belongings. Bill kicked me out. I can’t believe it, I’m only a day late with my rent… except can’t pay it today either. Too many nights out with D, rather than working. But Tina, from next door, is six weeks late with hers.
Unfortunately, Bill gets, how do I put this? Bill gets a form of compensation if Tina is late with her rent. He said he would be willing to work out a payment plan with me too, but I couldn’t. I hate doing that with guys I don’t know, let alone someone who lives in the same apartment block as me.
I told him to go to hell. I called him a filthy lecherous old pervert, he in turn called me a dirty whore, and here I am, sitting on the street, waiting for D to arrive and help me figure out what to do.
I wonder what he does all day. He told me that his family is very important to him, and during the day they… talk and bond or something. I’m not too sure. He said something like daytime is family time. It kinda freaked me out. He loves his family, and I can’t bear to even think about mine. But he told me that a family isn’t about who gave birth to who, it’s about support. I just hope D wouldn’t mind being my family for awhile. I have nowhere else to go, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than with him.
Well, at least Luna was in no doubt about what her mother did for a living. She tried not to dwell on it, it was a long time ago. She told herself this several times, but it didn’t help.
Not when her brain was screaming, A prostitute! My mother was a hooker!
It’s almost ten pm. Come on D, where are you? There are people staring at me, laughing and throwing money.
Monday 1st June 1987
Ok, I’m now settled in my new home, and able to write what happened last night after D arrived. He told me I’d done the right thing when I told Bill where to go, he then went and borrowed a car to transport my stuff to his place. In the car he managed to keep my mind off my problems by playing a game of ‘what it’ about eternal life, it was sweet of him.
Then he said something like, “It’s time you met my boys.”
I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was “Oh my god! You’re married!” He laughed at me, which didn’t make me feel any better emotionally, but at least allayed my fears about him being married.
He took me up to a cliff, not the same place he took me to the other days, this part was near the lighthouse. I got scared, you know. It didn’t seem like a place someone could call home, and I must admit that I had visions of him pushing me over the cliff.
He had hold of my wrist, and spoke to me, reassuring me that he wouldn’t hurt me, as he led me down some steps, and over a wooden walkway into a cave. I would have fled, but he was carrying the bag containing this journal, and my only pictures of Nick. I was very scared, this didn’t seem normal at all.
Anyway, a few minutes into the cave, it suddenly opens up to a huge room. There’s a fountain, (it doesn’t work) candles, and oil drums with fires that constantly burn. Ok, it’s not a normal place to call home, but what do I have as a frame of reference? A house containing two alcoholics, one of which beats his wife and children.
Anything could be called home in comparison. D told me that it used to be a very grand hotel, but was built on a fault. A big quake knocked it underground, and now D and his boys live there.
D’s boys turned out to be three other guys about his age. I’m anxious around them, I’m barely comfortable around D, let alone M, P and Dw. One of the gang’s name also begins with a D, so I’ll call him Dw.
At least I’m safe.
I don’t think you are, Mom. Luna thought for no reason, and closed the journal with a snap. The mysterious ‘D’ was playing heavily on her mind. There seemed to be a connection that was on the tip of her tongue. Something about Santa Carla. Nobody ever talked about it, they mentioned it, sure, but nobody talked about it.
What did she know about it? Well, her Dad and Uncle Sam moved there after their parents’ divorce. Her Dad met her Mom, and Uncle Sam met the Frogs, now his business partners. And that was it.
Her Dad met her Mom on the Boardwalk, they fell madly in love and rushed away to elope, and Granny Lucy, her uncles Sam, Edgar and Alan followed quickly, not wanting to settle in Santa Carla.
Why? She didn’t know.
Her stomach growled angrily. What’s your problem, she thought idly. I fed you once today. How can you be hungry? I’ve not eaten that much in days.
However, she decided to go downstairs and fix herself another snack and found her uncle in the kitchen, with much the same idea.
“You hungry?” he asked. “You’ve gotta be, I’m making my famous peanut butter, banana and apple sandwich.”
“With chocolate spread?” she asked, she was the only family member who appreciated Sam’s concoctions.
He looked surprised that she was eating, but said nothing.
“Uncle Sam, tell me about how my parents met,” she said as she got the apples out of the fridge. They had to be ice cold and crunchy or they just weren’t worth it.
“Don’t you ever get tired of this story?” he asked, but continued without waiting for the answer, he knew it already. “Ok. We moved in with Grandpa in Santa Carla after my folks got divorced. Have I mentioned that he didn’t have a TV?”
“So we went down to the Boardwalk for entertainment. It had a big open air concert almost every night, rides, oh, and a great comic book store, that’s where I met your uncles.”
Luna withheld an impatient sigh. She had heard this many times, and usually found the entire tale entrancing, this time she wanted details she might have missed before. Perhaps a mention of ‘D’.
“Anyway, we were at this concert, this ugly greasy guy was singing. He had chains wrapped around his neck. Eesh!”
Luna smiled politely again.
“And then your mother bounces up. I didn’t notice her, but Mike did, right away. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She kind of stood out because she was wearing that gypsy skirt of hers and she was pretty, very pretty, and making eyes right back at Mike. I guess it was love at first sight for them.”
“So what happened next?”
“Lu, you know what happened next. She ran off and Mike followed her. He ditched me in the comic book store that belonged to Edgar and Alan. And while that was happening they got talking and he asked her out. A week or so later we all left Santa Carla and they got married.”
“That’s it?” Luna got the feeling there was more to the story that Sam was letting on.
“How many times have you heard this story?” He handed her a sandwich. “You know it better than I do, and I was there!”
“So why did you leave Santa Carla after only a week?” she asked, wondering why the question had never occurred to her before.
“We’ve told you. It wasn’t a nice area.”
“And Uncle Edgar and Alan just came with you?”
“Uh-huh. You know, I think it’s going to be a nice warm afternoon. You wanna go out?”
Luna rolled her eyes, her uncle’s subject change was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. “No. How old are you?”
“Lu, why all the questions? Has something happened?”
“Yeah, my parents died, I just want to know more about them before I came along, is that ok with you?” she snapped—she felt bad for shouting at him and worse about guilt tripping him—but then again, he was hiding something, she could tell.
If he was startled by her outburst, he managed to hide it. “I’m almost thirty-two,” he told her, reaching out to touch her arm.
“And the Frogs are the same age as you?”
“Yeah, Luna, why so interested?”
“I’ve never asked before, I just wanted to get the feel of it. You know, how old you all were at the time, and all.” She counted backwards working out the ages. “So, Mom and Dad were seventeen, and you and Uncle Edgar and Alan were sixteen?”
“Fifteen, almost sixteen,” he corrected. “Yeah.”
“So, Edgar and Alan came with you when you left because they were orphans?”
“What?” He looked confused.
“Uncle Edgar told me that his parents died when he was fifteen, so they came with you when you left because they didn’t have any family to hold them down?”
“Um, yeah,” he agreed. “Yeah, you know my Mom, she loves to mother everyone.”
“So did she adopt them? And who did they live with before, because they were underage?” Luna knew there were too many questions, and her uncle was getting suspicious, but she had to know.
“No, she didn’t adopt them because they turned sixteen not long after we left.” He stared at her quizzically. “Again I ask, why all the questions?”
“I told you, I just want to hear more about my Mom and Dad, I miss them.” Her voice quivered, and she realised she was a long way from being all cried out.
Sam held her while she cried, troubled by her questions.
Thursday 4th June 1987
I haven’t written for a couple of days. Mainly because I was worried that one of D or one of his ‘boys’ would want to know what I was writing. Naturally, I was wrong, I have as much privacy as I want. I’m writing this lying on my bed, where no-one comes uninvited.
Just to prove my point, M is going on a food run tonight, (they take turns) and was hovering behind the curtain, trying to get my attention without interrupting my privacy.
D and the boys seem to keep an almost nocturnal schedule. They wake up an hour or so before sunset, go out and come back before sunrise. They seem, P especially, kind of hyper when they get back, and it takes an hour or two for them to calm down before they go to sleep. P’s way of calming down involves walking around the lip of the fountain, humming. Occasionally either Dw or M trips him up and it gets rowdy, then D has to go and break it up.
I myself have not left the cave since I got here, always someone stays with me so I don’t get lonely. Neither have I gone into the back caves, where, I presume, the boys rooms are. They respect my privacy, and I respect theirs.
D and I spend a lot of time talking. I think tonight might be the night…
He’s become my friend, my guardian angel and my mentor, he helps talk my problems out… but I don’t think I love him. But it’s ok, he’s mine, and I’m his, that’s enough for me.
Don’t, Mom. You’ll meet Dad, and then you’ll fall in love. Don’t. Not with ‘D’. Something’s not right. Luna screamed mentally, knowing it would do no good. She turned the page.
Sunday 7th June 1987
I regret letting D make love to me (make love, what a joke—it’s all about power). At the very least, I’ve told him in no uncertain terms that I’m no longer his girl. He just laughed and told me that I’d change my mind. I’ve changed, alright, but not my mind. I know what I drank at dinner last night. I’m one of them now. Lost, forever. D told me what I have to do. I don’t think I can. But I also know my will won’t hold out forever. D’s strong, and I’m weak. And it was intoxicating. Such a rush, the power. To know I could feel that good just by…
Dear god, help me.
Luna frowned at the page. What? What was going on? Had the mysterious ‘D’ given her mother drugs? Slipped something in her drink?
If he had, it would certainly explain her parents’ paranoia over knowing exactly what they were drinking.
She flipped to the next page, hoping it would hold some answers, but a good many pages were blank until she came across one written in smudged ink, as if tears had fallen on the page.
Thursday 25th June 1987
Oh dear god. I’m pregnant.
Luna blinked a couple of times. Her Mom had been pregnant before her? No… she counted backwards. Her birthday was March. She supposed it was entirely possible that her mother had miscarried or… something, especially if she was using drugs, and then got pregnant by her father a month or so later, wasn’t it?
She didn’t know a single thing about pregnancy or babies. It didn’t have to mean anything. She read on, hoping against hope.
Friday 26th June 1987
I went into town yesterday while the boys slept and bought a test. I did it in a restroom in a café. It came up positive. I did another. It came up positive too.
I can’t have a child here. I can’t have a child that will become one of them. None of them can find out. I have to leave. I shall go tomorrow when the sun is up. I have to go, I can hear them stirring, it’s almost sunset.
Sunday 28th June 1987
Bastards! Bastards! BASTARDS! They knew. They knew I would go. Bastards. To do what they did! I’ve got to calm down, my anger won’t help.
I’ve calmed down. I’ve smoked one of D’s cigarettes and calmed down. I don’t care if it hurts the baby. In fact, good! I hope it does. I don’t want D’s baby. That evil manipulative…
Maybe I should start again. They’ve got me. I can’t go. They knew I was thinking of going, that maybe my small strength would fight this… addiction, for lack of a better word. And they brought me a child.
D and his boys must have scoured Santa Carla, maybe even the state, for someone so closely resembling Nick. They took him, and changed him, made him like me, and told me to look after him. We call him Laddie, I feel safe to write that in here as it’s not his real name.
And now I can never leave. Stuck here in a hellish version of Never-Never Land. I can’t go, I can’t fight it. I’m doomed. Lost.
The only good thing is that D doesn’t know the real reason behind my desire to leave. A couple of months though, and he will. Anyone with eyes will know…
Wednesday 1st July 1987
I think I might be losing my mind. I’ve not been out of the cave for a month. D won’t let me or Laddie out until we want to ‘join in the festivities’ as he put it. Bastard, how can he be so callous?
Laddie is beginning to cave. I can feel it, he looks so longingly when they leave. At this point he’d do anything to get out of this fucking cave. I feel exactly the same. Almost. I don’t dare go out, in case I do something. I’m scared.
Dw tells Laddie tales about what they do out there, he makes it funny. I can see him bonding with the boy, trying to take his love away from me. I know the boys think that I’m a failure. D thought he knew exactly what he was doing, taking a half starved, unloved girl off the streets and offering her the world. They also know I’m holding Laddie back, if it wasn’t for me he’d be one of them. I’m trying to save him. I’ve got to.
I had another dream last night. My dreams about Nick have been few and far between since I’ve been here, much nastier horrors to face than guilt, but this one stayed with me all day.
In the dream, Nick was lying at the bottom of the stairs, except we were in the cave, if that makes sense. As always, I ran to him, knowing he would inflict a verbal wound, but unable to stop myself.
He looked up at me and said, “Gonna stay quiet again, Star? Not going to be able to save an innocent child again?”
I replied, “I didn’t mean for this to happen, I’m so sorry.”
“Shut up! I’m dead. So what? Laddie’s not dead yet. Aren’t you even going to try to save him?” His face merged into Laddie’s. “Help me, Star.”
I woke up to find Laddie curled up on my bed, I cuddled him into my arms and started speaking, I don’t know what I was saying, but he asked, “Who’s Nick?”
I have to get us out of here.
It was hard for Luna to imagine Laddie as a little boy, needing her mother. He had always been seven or eight years older than her, impossibly old, almost adult. He had disappeared on his fourteenth birthday. Nobody knew what happened, but her mother had taken it the worst.
Luna had always been jealous of Laddie, but now she began to understand their bond. He had needed his mother, and she had needed a friend in a situation that seemed to scare the life out of them.
And Laddie did look like her mother’s dead brother. No wonder she had been so upset. Come to think of it, her Mom had nightmares for months after his disappearance, it got so bad that her Dad had taken her to the doctor to get some pills to help. If the dreams in her journal were anything to go by, it was no surprise that she had needed the pills.
She checked the clock on her nightstand, almost midnight already. How could that be? It was only mid-afternoon when she started. But then, she hadn’t just been reading the entries, she had been visualising them, picturing her mother, trying to put herself in her place, trying to feel what she felt.
One more entry before bed, she told herself, but doubted she’d stop reading after just one. It was an exceptionally long entry, and messily written, as though her mother was in a hurry.
Friday 3rd July 1987
So much has happened in such a short space of time. Something both terrible and wonderful at the same time. D finally allowed me to leave the cave. I took Laddie with me, I’m taking no chances, leaving him around Dw—even P has started to join in with the ‘humorous’ tales of what they do. He likes it when they talk to him like an adult, but I’m not allowing him to be a part of that. Not while my heart still beats.
We rode as a pack down to the Boardwalk where I took Laddie to the open air concert. It was so wonderful to be around people again. I felt like screaming “You’re lucky you’re alive!” to every person I passed, but contented myself with dancing to the music. I think Laddie felt the same, for he was bouncing too. The only good side of what D has done to us, is that what Laddie and I go through, we go through together, it’s made us very empathic.
Then I noticed this guy looking at me. He was gorgeous, brown hair, brown eyes, and a smile that actually reached his eyes, unlike D’s. But what could I do? I know what I am, and I couldn’t drag another person down with me. So I took Laddie’s hand and ran. I could tell he was annoyed that our foray into the real world was cut short, but it’s what I had to do.
He followed me though. I could feel it, so I ran. Ran to D, ironically, hoping to lose him, but no, I climbed on the bike behind D, looked around and there he stood. I looked at him, wanting to shout at him “Go away! I can’t let this happen to you.” But he just looked right back at me. And I wanted to go to him.
D sensed this and we rode off. I had a feeling he’d be back.
Well, at least I know that everybody’s been lying to me about how my parents met. Luna thought. I don’t care what their reasons are, I should have known. She carried on reading, wanting to know the truth about her parentage. If they lied about how they met, they could certainly lie about who her father was.
Saturday 4th July 1987
He was. We went out last night, D told me it has to be him, one way or another. I know what he means, and I agreed just to keep the peace, but what I was actually thinking was if I can’t keep him out of it, maybe this guy can help us.
He was wearing a new leather jacket, (dear god, don’t try to be like us) and was looking at the price of ear piercing. As per D’s instructions, I made my entrance. I asked his name, I’ll call him Mi in here though. When I told him my name he said, “Oh, your folks too?”
And I couldn’t help it, I flinched and demanded that he explain himself. He meant hippy parents, he was nearly called Moon Beam or Moon Child, (which is nice, I like Moon Child if I have a girl) but he doesn’t suit a hippy name. His name suits him.
He asked me to go for a ride, and I accepted. Oh, you think I haven’t learnt a lesson from all this? Well I have, I’ve accepted rides from dangerous men, there’s nothing worse than D out there. We were just about to go when D arrived, his boys in tow.
Laddie had been with Dw, I wondered for a moment, had he? But no, he was still my Laddie. D wouldn’t let me go, and challenged Mi to a bike race, or in D’s words, “You don’t have to beat me, you just have to try and keep up.” Mi, like the fool, trying to win me, agreed and nearly got himself killed on the rocks.
I should have just defied D and ignored Mi. Or told him the truth. He may have thought I was insane, but at least he’d give up. But at the same time, I wanted him to beat D. I wanted him there. I wanted him.
The boys played mind games with him. If nothing else I finally understand that comment D made on my first night here. “Let’s play nice, boys. She’s our guest, no games at dinner please.” Then they gave him some ‘wine’. I tried to talk him out of it, but after all the games the boys played, he was in no mood to listen.
Laddie enjoyed making fun of Mi about the food, but when it came to the wine, he knew what was happening, and cuddled up to me.
So now I’ve brought another person here. First Laddie, no Mi. What happens next. I know what D wants, but that’s not going to happen.
I wish I weren’t so hungry.
The last comment struck Luna as very odd. The diary had just told of how D’s boys went on food runs, but her mother was hungry? Unless they were starving her. A new form of torture. Bastards.
She wondered where ‘D’ and his boys were now. Wearing suits and working in the bank? In rehab? Still on the Boardwalk, not knowing when ‘too old’ was?
She wanted them to pay for what they did to her mother.
Wednesday 8th July 1987
Mi came to the cave last night, asking questions that I couldn’t answer. We ended up making love on my bed. I heard the boys return, and felt their disapproval. I know they wanted something different to happen, but I couldn’t. Strange as it seems, I think I’ve found my soul mate. And I can tell when I look in his eyes, he feels the same, we’re both unable to say what’s going on in our hearts, it’s too soon, the situation is too horrible. It can’t end they way we hope.
Even if he can save Laddie and me—and now himself, I’m still carrying D’s baby.
Luna’s breath caught. She counted on her fingers. If her mother miscarried or whatever, and got pregnant a month later from now, she would be born at seven months. And that hadn’t happened. She was exactly on time, right down to the predicted date, everyone mentioned it. Her Dad wasn’t her Dad.
She shut the journal. Unable to read any longer, but unwilling to leave it unfinished. There was a great deal she didn’t know, but she was too frazzled to finish it right now.
Her world was caving in. Her Mom and Dad had just died. Except her Dad wasn’t her Dad. Her biological father was the head of some gang in Santa Carla who had bullied and tormented her mother, initiated the man she had always called ‘Dad’ into the gang for an unknown reason, and snatched a child as another way to torment her mother and tie her to the pack.
It was too much. She needed an outlet for her feelings. She didn’t even know what she was feeling, they were whizzing by too quick. Anger. Rage. Sorrow. Confusion. Grief. Hatred.
Usually she would put on some music and bounce around until the excess physical energy wore off and she could deal with the mental confusion, but it was, she checked the clock, it was three am. Now was no time for Guns N’ Roses.
She tiptoed into her parents room, and took out the cigarettes and silver lighter from her Dad’s—from Michael’s—bedside drawer. She went back to her room, perched on the windowsill and lit her first cigarette.
She raked her fingers through her hair, as she usually did in times of stress, causing a small sizzling noise and the stink of burning hair. She couldn’t seem to think rationally. Or even at all. Her mind was racing too quickly to consider any of the thoughts as they whizzed by.
Did Michael know he wasn’t her father? If so, did he care? Was he secretly hating her for being ‘D’s child? Was that why he wasn’t as bothered as her mother about the trouble she kept getting into at school? Who was ‘D’? Where was he now? Still dealing drugs, for that was what she assumed he did to her mother. Was he still in Santa Carla?
Now there was a thought that stuck. That thought brought stillness to her mind. Was ‘D’—her biological father—still in Santa Carla?
“Only one way to find out, blondie,” she muttered to herself. Not even sure of what she was doing she went to her closet and dragged out the rucksack she and her father—she and Michael—used whenever they went camping.
She began to pack, her mother’s journals, not all of them, just 1987 to 1989, that would cover any immediate questions. She stuffed in clothes, her mother’s gypsy skirt went in without even registering, Michael’s leather jacket wouldn’t fit in, so she decided to wear it. She crammed her long blonde curls into a baseball cap and made her way downstairs.
She went into the kitchen and helped herself to the stash of money in the ‘emergency pot’. I’d say this qualifies as an emergency, she thought, trying to muffle the clinking of the coins. My parents died and my Dad isn’t my Dad. ‘D’ is. Whoever that is. She grabbed the joint credit card from its hidey-hole behind the refrigerator and made her exit, trying to remember the pin code. She paused at the front door, noticing the framed picture that had been on the phone table for as long as she could remember.
She was only a few months old in it, her parents looking impossibly young and attractive. She took the picture, took a final look around her home, then left life as she knew it.
The town was still and dark, and every noise, the hum of the street lights, the thud of her own heart, the sound of a newspaper being blown up the street on a gust of wind, the occasional cat fight made her nerve endings twang. She was two seconds away from turning and running all the way home. She hadn’t got a clue what she was doing out so late—or early, depending on your point of view.
She paused at a cash point, wondering what she would do if the account had been frozen. She didn’t know how it worked, if a person died, did everything get frozen, or did the banks have to be notified by the next of kin?
She punched in the pin, suddenly remembering it was her birthday numbers, as it was the only thing her Da—Michael—could remember straight off the top of his head.
Luckily for her the account was still active. She emptied it and began to divide up the cash around her person, just in case she got mugged. She had nearly eight hundred dollars on her, which made her jumpier still.
She walked to the bus station, her mind was strangely empty. She settled down on one of the metal seats bolted to the floor and stared at the wall. It was all she seemed capable of doing. For a few moments after reading her mother’s journal her thoughts had bombarded her at an alarming rate, but the decision to go to Santa Carla seemed to have put a stop to the whole thinking process.
At six a.m. when the depot officially came to life she paid for her ticket, made polite chit-chat with the vendor about visiting her family in her summer break, then sat down once more and waited for her bus.
At seven am she was getting edgy. Her uncle Sam could be awake by now, he could have already noticed she was gone. He could be on his way here by now.
She forced herself to act calm and not arouse anyone’s suspicions, but could not hide her sigh of relief when the bus arrived.
It was when the bus crossed over the town line that her actions hit her. She had run away. She hadn’t told anyone where or why she was going. The last thing her family—what was left of it—needed was more grief and worry, but that’s what she had done.
She tried to block the thoughts out, and eventually reached for her mother’s journal to immerse herself in more half-truths about her family.
The next entry was short.
Friday 10th July 1987
Mi’s brother, has a plan. And connections. He’s going to get us out of here.
Tuesday 14th July 1987
Oh, god. It’s so awful, I can’t write about it. Laddie, Michael (for that is his full name) and I are alive and… we’re alive, I’m not sure we’re well, but we’re getting there. Lucy, Sam, Edgar and Alan have also survived. We are safe, for now. I have found people I can trust, and it’s about time I grew out of the habit of only writing initials in my journal.
We’re now in a motel, miles away from Santa Carla. We could put a million miles between us and them, it still wouldn’t end.
I’m going to focus on the positive, not the negative of this ordeal. Michael loves me, and I love him. Believe it or not, he asked me to marry him. He asked me a few moments before all hell broke lose, just so, no matter what happened, I would always know how he felt about me. And I told him yes, just so he would know too.
‘All hell broke lose’? What’s that supposed to mean? Luna wondered. What happened, Mom? What? What had you fleeing Santa Carla in such haste? She read on eagerly. ‘D’ and his boys must have come after her mother. But she only found empty pages, and then, finally, an entry.
Friday 24th July 1987
I told him. Finally, I found the courage to tell Michael that I’m pregnant. I told him in one sentence so there was no confusion. Michael wanted to formally announce that we were getting married, but I couldn’t let him do that without knowing.
I said, “When you met me I was a month pregnant.”
“By him?” he asked after several moments of thought.
“Yes, it was only one time. He was kind to me, it was before I knew what he was, and I was lonely.”
“Did you love him?”
“No, I was just lonely,” I repeated, waiting for the anger and disgust.
“But you love me?”
“More than I ever thought I was capable of.”
“Then our child will be well loved.” He took me in his arms and began to whisper sweet things about naming our child and getting me to a doctor for check-ups and sonograms, things I know we can’t afford. But somehow I think we’ll manage. Michael brings amazing strength to me. I told him I really liked Moon Child as a name for our child, he just told me that his Mom would be very impressed with the choice, but would our child?
I’m not sure. Maybe something else, I like the concept too. I’m Star, Michael was nearly Moon Child or Moon Beam, our child should have a name that follows the pattern.
Well, I like Luna better than Moon Beam. She thought, suddenly realising tears were in her eyes. Michael had known he wasn’t her father, and still loved her.
Saturday 25th July 1987
Oh god! Michael’s Grandpa and the Frog brothers’ parents have been found murdered. It’s terrible, I can’t believe they did that. Well, I can, I know what they’re capable of, but what I mean is—and there’s no nice way to put it—I can’t believe the boys left it so long. We fled Santa Carla eleven days ago, and nothing happened to the family members left behind. Now they do it. When we begin to feel safe. It’s just like him to play such a horrible mind game, and so viciously. Bastards.
Everyone is in shock, even Laddie, who never even met them. Laddie may be young but he knows what’s going on. Lucy has taken it the worst, she doesn’t seem herself at all. Before all this, despite what had happened, she was acting like a worried mother, assuring us that everything would be fine—but I think this has been too much for her. The loss of her father had made everything sink in very quickly.
As the only other female in our group, she has reached out to me, which has, at least, forged a bond between us. I know before that she saw me as, if not the cause, the start of all this trouble at the very least.
I asked her if she blames me for the deaths. I know I blame myself, but she doesn’t. She blames her father’s pig-headedness. His inability to leave his home despite the danger. And she blames them. But she manages not to blame me, because if she blamed me, she would have to blame Michael as well.
It’s ok, Lucy, I blame myself enough for all of us.
Again the ink was smudged with tear splatters. Luna was frustrated. What had happened, before ‘D’ and his boys wreaked revenge on Grandpa and the Frog parents? Did the police catch them?
Her questions went unanswered as she read more of the journal. It held very little of interest or importance, it mostly documented her Mom’s pregnancy, the family’s reaction to every kick, the mad cravings and so forth.
The only reference there was to that time in her life was several months down the line where her mother had put:
I refuse to dwell on the dark, my child will go into the light. Only Michael knows the whole truth about the episode, and it shall stay that way. Michael is the baby’s father in every way that counts. It shows when he comes home with baby-grows, despite the fact I’m only six months along. I love him, he loves me, and we love our child. There is no darkness in my family.
No, just secrets, lies, deceptions and death, Luna thought bitterly, as sleep tugged at the edge of her consciousness. She put the journal back in her bag and tried to get comfortable on the seat.
When she woke up, an old lady was sitting next to her, and true to stereotype, when Luna made her wakeful state known, the old lady turned to her and told her the long version of her life story.
They had just got to the sixties, where Veronica’s daughter—Veronica was from next door and was rather above the station god gave her in life because her husband was one of those stockbrokers from the city—had run off to join a hippy commune.
“See, pride comes before a fall, that’s what my Mom always used to say—Did I tell you—”
“Sorry to interrupt—” Luna stifled a yawn. “—but are we near Santa Carla yet?”
“We’ll be there in five minutes,” the old lady replied. She had told Luna her name, but she had been unable to remember it as she had been bombarded with too much boring information at the time. “What’s in Santa Carla for you, Dee?”
Luna had given her the name Dee, since it figured so heavily in her thoughts. “Family,” she replied with a trace of irony.
“Family is a wonderful thing. Did I tell you about my nephew? He’s a lawyer, you know. Not one of those nasty ones that protect criminals, but the kind that lock them up. Anyhow, my nephew—Charles is his name…”
It’s gonna be a long five minutes, Luna thought sardonically, as she listened to Charles’ exciting escapades.
Luna noticed a sign welcoming them to Santa Carla, and breathed a sigh of relief. Then she noticed the writing on the back, Murder Capital of the World, and wondered just what she was getting in to.
Santa Carla was an assault on the senses. Everywhere she looked she saw something new and exciting, people dressed differently here, it was all about style. None of the people she saw on the streets would end up in Vogue or Moi but they had a distinctive style, multi-coloured hair, leather jackets, girls walking around in bikinis.
It was a long way from her home town, where everyone was so nice and… proper that on the rare occasions when there was graffiti, it was spell-checked and grammatically correct. She felt drab and boring next to them. Long blonde ringlets, black trousers and a leather jacket was all very well at home, the leather jacket was positively rebellious, but here… it wasn’t enough.
But now wasn’t the time to consider appearance, she had to find a place to stay, a base to dump her bag, and a place to get some sleep.
She wandered aimlessly at first, just following the flow of human traffic. She was reluctant to ask anyone for help, she was a stranger here and she didn’t know who she could trust not to mug her, or just send her in the wrong direction.
Finally she hailed a cab and asked the driver to take her to a motel, somewhere cheap.
“You want near the Boardwalk, or further away from the tourists?” He asked her.
“Boardwalk please,” she responded without any thought. It was where her mother hung out, it may be a good place to start.
Start what? An inner voice questioned. Start the hunt for your ‘daddy’. The guy who most probably killed your great-grandfather, and your uncles’ parents. He’s probably a million miles from here, Lu.
The voice had a point, but she was here now. It was too late to turn back. She shrugged that thought off, and set about finding herself some food and a room.
Once she had eaten, she took a long hot shower and afterwards flopped down on her bed for some sleep.
She dreamt of Laddie.
He stood before her, as she lay on the bed. He was still fourteen, the age he had been when he disappeared, but as always, he appeared far older than herself, despite the fact that she was sixteen now.
“What do you want?” she demanded.
“What I’ve always wanted. An invite. An invite into your life. It absolutely killed you to share your mother—actually, no it didn’t. It killed me.” He looked at her with dead eyes.
“No! I don’t want to hear, just like you don’t. You come looking for answers, you’ll end up dead, just like your parents, just like me. Just like D and his boys.”
“Laddie, who’s ‘D’?” she asked, certain he knew the answers.
“I am. I’m Laddie. I’m D. It doesn’t matter we’re all dead!” He began to laugh, and as he laughed, his face began to morph into a more feral visage. His teeth became elongated, his face began to pale and his eyes had turned ice blue and were burning with hatred and loathing. His laughter became guttural, not the childlike giggle she had heard moments before.
“Vampire!” she whispered, too scared to say it loudly as she bolted upright in bed, covered in a fine sheen of sweat, her heart pounding.
“God damn it!” She muttered, after catching her breath. She was still shaken and the room was dark now. She didn’t know how long she’d managed to sleep. “Damned vampire stories. Damn the Frogs!” she grouched, trying to soothe her edginess with the venting of anger at innocent people. “Damn the Frogs, damn these journals, it’s too much!”
She made her way slowly to the light and turned it on. She checked her watch, just gone nine, the place was going to come alive around now, cutting lose might be just the thing she needed. She headed to the shower once more.
Outside the window David began to make his exit. He hadn’t known what had compelled him to come here. He had awoken several hours before sunset—which, while not unusual for him, was not normal practice—and been on edge, waiting for the sun to go down.
When the sun finally set, he had left the cave without even waiting for his boys and followed—he wasn’t sure what it was he had followed. Not a scent, more than that, more than instinct. It was strong enough for him not to be able to resist.
He finally came to the motel where this—power—seemed to be emanating from. He had stood by the window, hidden in the shadows, looking through the gauzy curtain. He was surprised that the cause of this had been a mere girl.
He sensed that she was not a slayer, that she was not even aware of the supernatural that lived around her. But she seemed to have power.
She was deep in a dream, occasionally talking aloud, despite his pre-natural hearing he could not make out the words, except for one that may have been ‘Daddy’.
And if that were the case, it probably meant she was just another girl with telekinesis brought on by and abusive family. They were ten a penny in Santa Carla, not worth another thought.
But like all cases, she had to be checked out just in case there was another fiasco like there was with—he checked that thought at the door, best not to dwell.
He went out like this when needed, every few months or so, his senses highly tuned for the paranormal. Paul had once called him the ‘mystical sniffer dog’. David had given him a look that made it clear that derogatory term would not be used again. Secretly he had found it rather funny, but he had to keep his boys in line. They had learnt a lesson the hard way.
He would keep an eye on the girl though, there may be something different about this one.
He edged away from her room, the pulse of someone nearby calling to his most primal sense.
Had he lingered a few moments longer, he may have heard her curse the Frogs, and may or may not have put two and two together.
Luna sang loudly in the shower, trying to drive away the residual images from her dream, unaware of how close she had been to a real vampire.
Half an hour later she was on the Boardwalk, feeling lost in a sea of people. She again felt that she looked too normal. She allowed herself a small smile over that one, by dressing to stand out a mile, you blended in with this crowd.
She wandered closer to the parade of shops, noticing a hair salon. In the window was a picture of a girl with a shaved head, except for two multi-coloured points, shaped like devils horns either side of her head.
Luna gathered her hair up unconsciously, wondering how she would look with her hair like that.
“Don’t do it,” a voice spoke up.
She turned to look at the source of the voice, he was about her height, with hair as long and curly as her own, but a shade or two darker, his eyes were blue, and she had to admit, he was very, very cute.
“Don’t do what?” she asked him, then regretted being conversational. If the history of her family was anything to go by, this was not a town to make friends in.
“You were thinking of cutting your hair. Don’t,” he replied.
“It’s my hair, I’ll do what I damn well want with it!” she retorted, then winced as he made a face ‘fine, whatever’ and pulled back from her. Maybe Santa Carla wasn’t the place to make friends, but it certainly wasn’t the place to make enemies.
“Sorry.” He began to retreat.
“No, wait! I’m sorry. Can we start the conversation again?”
His face lit up. “I’m Marko.” He offered his hand out to her.
“No, Marko, with an ‘o’.”
“Oh,” she said, feeling dim. “I’m Luna.”
“Pleased to meet you, Luna.” He brought her hand to his lips briefly and she blushed. “If you’re new to town, I can give you the guided tour.”
“What makes you think I’m new in town?”
“Oh, you haven’t developed that look, you know, that I’m dying to look different, but in truth I look exactly the same as everyone else look.” He gave her an impish grin, that she couldn’t help returning.
“The look that you have?” she teased, feeling comfortable with his, despite the fact she had met him only moments ago.
“Hey, you just insulted me. That’s not very friendly.”
“Yeah, but you’ll get over it. How about this tour then?”
“It’s pretty extensive, are you sure you’re ready for it?” Without waiting for her response, he pointed to the water. “Ocean.” Then gestured to the area they were standing. “Boardwalk.” He finally pointed to himself. “Marko. Tour over. That’s Santa Carla’s main attractions in a nutshell.”
“You’re a main attraction?” she asked in a mock-disappointed tone, wondering how she had managed to find someone she felt comfortable with in such a short space of time. “Guess I’ll start looking for a better town then.”
“You cut me to the quick. But I’ll forgive you if you ride the roller coaster with me.”
He offered her his arm, and they walked to the coaster.
I know this time keeping doesn’t follow the previous chapter, please just go with it, there wasn’t time to fit it in before.
“What do you mean, she’s not officially missing yet?” Sam asked, not grasping what the officer was saying.
“Well, sir. You first noticed your niece missing at nine a.m., this morning, correct?”
“Yeah, but I haven’t seen her since last night.”
“What time?” The officer got out his notepad and began to jot down notes as Sam spoke.
“Around midnight, maybe before.”
“Around midnight,” he repeated. “It’s only nine p.m. now. A person must be missing for twenty-four hours before being reported as missing… we can obviously start taking the details now though. Is there nowhere else she might be?”
“I’ve phoned all her friends, they haven’t heard from her. She hadn’t spoken to any of them since the funeral.”
“Does she have a boyfriend? Perhaps she’s having difficulties with him?”
“Look!” Sam snapped, losing his temper. “Luna doesn’t have a boyfriend. And even if she did, he would be the last thing on her mind, her parents have just died!”
“Ah? What the hell does ‘ah’ mean?”
“Well, sir. You’re niece is obviously distraught. She’s probably just blowing off steam, she could well be back later.”
Sam resisted the urge to get up and strangle the pompous prick in front of him. “And if she’s not…?”
“We have the details.”
“Here’s that picture.” Edgar walked in and handed the officer a recent picture of Luna.
“Thank you.” He took the picture and closed his notebook with a snap. “I think we have all we need. We’ll keep in touch.” He rose and shook Sam’s hand. “Thanks for the coffee.”
“What a prick,” Sam muttered when the officer was out of hearing range.
“No more! I’m gonna throw up!” Luna giggled exiting the waltzers.
“Just once more?” Marko pleaded.
“No, no more waltzers, or any other ride here,” she responded, a little dizzy. She clung on to Marko’s arm tighter to get her balance.
Marko smiled at her. “Ok, you want to get something to eat?” he asked.
“You think I can keep it down?” She quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Ok, I’ll eat, you can sit there feeling sick.”
She laughed again, wondering how this had happened. Several hours ago she was miserable, new to town, she had lost her parents and was searching for her biological father. Now she was here, laughing with Marko like they were old friends, having the time of her life. And it didn’t hurt that she had a crush on Marko the size of Texas.
Marko led her to an empty bench. “Have a seat and get your sea legs,” he suggested.
She laughed again.
“What’s so funny?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “I’m just having a really good time tonight.”
Marko took a seat next to her. Very close, she noted. “Me too.” He took out a cigarette and lit it.
“Can I have one of those?” she asked, largely as an excuse to ‘accidentally’ touch his hand.
“You smoke?” he asked, looking a little surprised.
Luna nodded, then grinned. “Kinda. Shitty week.”
“I hate those. Wanna tell me about it?”
“Not really,” she replied, then noting his confused expression added. “Well, see, this is the first time I’ve laughed and felt good for what feels like a long time. I don’t wanna start thinking about… anything bad.”
“Fair enough.” He smiled at her and passed her a cigarette. “So what do you want to do when you’ve finished feeling sick?”
She grinned, several possibilities flashing through her mind, most of them involving Marko’s lips. “You decide.”
“Do you wanna go for a ride?”
Luna’s brow creased, as she looked around the Boardwalk. More rides… unless he meant…? She moved back from him a little.
“Motorbike,” he clarified. “I have one, do you want to go for a ride on it? With me.” He flashed his Cheshire Cat grin once more, and she relaxed again.
Then she remembered her mother’s diary. She had met someone who seemed nice, and turned out to be a nightmare and worse. He also had a motorbike. “Lot of bikers around Santa Carla,” she mused, hardly aware she had spoken aloud.
“I thought I was the first person you met around here,” he said.
“Seen the bikes,” she lied quickly. Then again, Marko seemed nice. And her parents had met the Frog brothers here, who were now her honorary uncles, which must mean something. Not all of Santa Carla was evil. However…
“Marko, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve only just met you and I’m…”
“Not totally convinced I’m not a psychopath?” he guessed.
“Something like that,” she agreed. “Nothing personal, I’ve just had a really protective family, and it’s kinda rubbed off on me.”
“So not tonight, but another time maybe?”
She smiled. “Yeah. Another time.”
He stood up, and she thought he was leaving, until he held his hand out to her. “How about something to eat? Somewhere nice and public, where you’re safe from me and my potential psychosis?”
She grinned and took his hand.
“You didn’t have to walk me home,” she said, but was glad he did.
“Yeah I did. There’s some nasty people out there. I kinda like you, so I’d be upset if something happened to you.” He squeezed her hand.
“Thanks.” She looked around. “Well, this is me,” she said, finally spotting her room. “Thanks for tonight as well. It was fun.”
Marko bit his lip. “I’m kinda nervous.”
“Why’s that?” She asked. She was more than ‘kinda’ nervous. She was hoping for a kiss, but since Marko was the first guy she was really interested in, she didn’t know what to say or do.
“Well, I’m thinking of kissing you in a minute—once I’ve worked up the courage—but I’m not sure if you’re gonna kiss me back or beat me around the head.”
She smiled. “If it helps, I’m kinda nervous too, but I won’t beat you around the head.”
Marko leant forward to meet her for the kiss. Her nerves flew away when his lips touched hers. She moved closer, deepening the kiss, feeling his hands tangle in her hair.
They broke apart breathless, and smiling. Marko recovered first. “I’ll see you tomorrow? I’ll pick you up here, around nine?”
Don’t worry, I know it seems that way, but I’m not writing one of those ‘Vampire goes good for true love’ type fics. There’s millions of them out there. I promise no smushy unbelievable endings.
Paul was humming when Marko entered the cave, on sighting him he stopped. “Marko, where you been, man?”
“Avoiding your singing, man,” he replied, hoping the subject was dropped.
“There’s no need to get personal! I’ve been lonely tonight. David vanished before I was even awake, then Dwayne went to find him, and when I turn around you’ve gone too.” Paul lit a joint.
“I’m sure you found someone to keep you entertained,” Marko said distractedly, his mind still on Luna. There was something about her that reminded him of someone. He couldn’t quite figure it out. He hadn’t meant to approach her, and then he found himself talking to her. And after the first few moments of conversation, he could no longer think of her as a meal, but as… a mate? Had he found his soulmate?
It was a ridiculous notion, thinking that he could be in love after only knowing a girl a few hours, but nonetheless, the thought still lingered.
“Are you freebasing, bud?” Paul asked.
“What? No!” Marko replied vaguely. “Why?”
“Well, I’ve just asked three times if you’d seen Dwayne or David on your travels, but you just didn’t answer. What’s on your mind?”
“You’ve met a girl! Our little Marko has scored!” Paul shouted gleefully, jumping up on the fountain to dance around the edge.
“Shut up!” This was not going the way he wanted. He had wanted to take David to a side, tell him that he had met someone he was considering changing, and let things flow from there.
“What’s she like? Is she hot?” Paul asked. “C’mon tell me about this girl.”
“Yes, Marko. Do tell us about this girl,” David commanded, entering the cave with Dwayne behind him.
The best laid plans… thought Marko wryly. “What’s to tell?” He tried to shrug it off.
“What’s not to? The boy’s been spacing ever since he got back. I think he’s in luuurve!“ Paul interjected.
“Sounds serious. But the answer—before you bother to work up the courage to ask the question—is no. We shall remain a small pack.” David smiled coldly.
“Why?” Marko asked, astounded at David’s unreasonable nature.
“We were quite happy as a small pack. It was a mistake to try to expand,” David replied shortly.
“That was over sixteen years ago!” Marko pleaded. “And you’re the one who chose St—”
“You will not say her name!” David thundered, moving quickly to grab Marko around the neck. “And your insubordination will not be tolerated.”
Marko felt his throat constrict, for reasons other than David’s hands. “Fine!” He managed to say, then shrugged out of David’s hold, and walked to the sleeping quarters in the back of the cave.
Paul opened his mouth to comment, but saw the look on David’s face and wisely shut it once more. Only Dwayne remained impassive.
Luna spent the day trying to add personal touches to her motel room. She didn’t know how long she was going to stay, but she hated the starkness of the walls. She only had a few belongings, but it made it feel more like home.
She threw her jacked over the end of the bed, hung her clothes up and put the picture of her parents by her bed.
She even went out into town and bought a few things, candles mainly, an oil burner shaped like a castle, a few other items to give it a more homey feel.
She also stopped at a payphone. She threw in a couple of dollars worth of change and dialled home.
“Luna?” The panic in her uncle’s voice cut her to the core. He hadn’t even waited for her to speak.
“Yeah. I’m ok,” she replied slowly, finding a lump in her throat.
“Where are you? I’ve been worried sick.”
“I’m ok,” she repeated. “I just needed to get away for awhile.” It wasn’t exactly a lie.
“Get away for awhile?” he repeated incredulously. “You’re only sixteen! You can’t just leave.”
She fought the tears that were threatening to fall. “I had to. And I’m coming back, I promise.”
“Where are you? I’ll come get you,” he said frantically.
“I’m fine. Honestly. But I’m not ready to come home. Not yet. I’ll call you again. I love you.”
“Give my love to Uncle Edgar and Alan,” she said before hanging up.
She walked away, proud of herself for not screaming down the phone to him that he had lied to her. Despite the fact they weren’t really related, despite the fact that he had lied, he was still her uncle, and she loved him. She didn’t want to hurt him until she had things straight in her head. Well, she didn’t want to hurt him anymore that she already had by running away.
Besides, if she’d have said something it might have tipped him off to where she was.
She went shopping to cheer herself up, but it didn’t work. One thought made her smile though: Marko.
Marko left the cave before the others woke up. He was deeply disappointed with David’s reaction to the idea of bringing someone new to the cave. He didn’t want to be around the others. He also didn’t want David—or any of the others—to see Luna. He wouldn’t put it past David to kill the girl, just to ensure that his pack wouldn’t be divided.
It wouldn’t matter that he’d lose Marko’s respect over it. David knew him far too well. Marko would never leave. The Lost Boys were his family, his pack. Blood ties were much stronger than lo—than whatever he was feeling for Luna. It’s just the way things work, he thought sadly.
He was just going to spend a few more nights with Luna. She didn’t look like the type to stick around anyway. She didn’t have that panicked look when she talked about her family. She’d probably just needed to blow off steam, she’d go back to them eventually.
She may well end up hating him if he turned her. She could resent being unable to walk in the daylight, and being away from a family she cared about.
Marko sighed. No matter how many good reasons he came up with, it still hurt that he might lose her.
He chuckled darkly. He’d got it bad for this girl. And to quote Paul, he might well be falling in luuurve with her.
He couldn’t, could he?
He ran his hands through his hair anxiously.
Whether he loved her or not, he was going to protect her. He wouldn’t let David hurt her. He wouldn’t let anyone hurt her.
Lyrics are from “Overfire” by THC, which is possibly the sexiest song in the world… to me anyway!
He knocked on Luna’s door and she opened it almost instantly, showing that she was waiting for him. He smiled softly at her. “Hi.”
“Hey,” she replied. “What are we doing tonight?”
“How about we don’t go to The Boardwalk,” he suggested. “I just came that way, and there’s a load of guys causing trouble. I wouldn’t want you caught in the middle of it.”
“Oh, ok. You wanna come in?” She opened the door wider.
“Thanks.” He felt the invisible barrier falling away as he stepped inside. “Hey, nice.” He looked around, noticing the candles, and several lace shawls about the place.
“Oh, yeah. The… uh… light bulb blew,” Luna lied. When she had lit the candles, it had seemed right. It gave a nice glow to the otherwise ugly room, it hid the dirt, the cracks and the mould. Now it just seemed like a seduction scene from a cheesy movie. And she hadn’t got a clue what to do when it came to that, cheesy or otherwise.
And besides, she had only really been playing around. She thought they were going out. She didn’t realise he would see them.
Marko sensed her discomfort, and touched her hand. “I think it looks nice. Makes the room more friendly.”
“Whatever, I wasn’t expecting company.” She frowned. “That came out wrong. Can we just pretend I said ‘thanks’?”
“Done.” He intertwined his fingers with hers.
Luna shifted awkwardly, at a loss at how to behave. She’d never even kissed a guy before—except for Jason Wilson during a game of spin the bottle when she was twelve—and now she had a guy in her room and no parents—relatives, her mind amended quickly—to walk in and stop what might happen. Not that she was sure she wanted something not to happen, but the comfort zone was gone.
“Luna,” Marko tugged gently on her hand to get her attention.
“Did I zone out?” she asked sheepishly.
“Kind of,” he told her. “But, I just want you to know, I just want to spend time with you. There’s no need to be nervous around me.”
“Nervous?” She tried to laugh it off.
“Yeah, you are. I can sm—sense it.” He only just caught himself in time. He could smell her fear. “I’ll behave myself. I’m a true gentleman, I assure you.”
She smiled a little and shrugged. “This is kinda new to me.” Wonderful, Lu. Fantastic. Admit that you’ve got no experience, while simultaneously sounding like you want Marko to jump on you. Marvellous. “I mean…” She faltered.
Marko held up his hand to stop her. “I can see I’ve terrified you just by standing in your room. Do you want to go out instead? We could get something to eat. And you did agree to letting me take you for a ride on my bike.”
Luna relaxed. “Ok. Yeah. I’d like that, I’ve never been on a motorbike before.”
“Get your coat, it will be cold.”
“Marko, I’m sorry—”
“Don’t be,” He cut her off. “You only met me about…” He checked the clock near her bed. “Twenty-two hours ago.”
She smiled properly this time, and shrugged into her jacket.
Several hours later, they arrived back at Luna’s motel. She had no hesitation in inviting him in this time. He’d been remarkably sweet to her, taken her out to dinner, then they had ridden along the beach—it seemed like something out of a movie to her.
“I had a great time,” she said, turning to face him, resting her hands on his hips. “Really.”
“Me too. You’ll be glad to know that I’m only slightly nervous about asking if I can take you out tomorrow night,” he replied, his hand stroking her back.
“I’m not even slightly nervous about accepting,” she told him smugly.
She moved closer to him, wondering if she could fall in love with someone over night—or was that feeling just there because it was all new to her?
His hands moved to stroke her face and tangle in her hair as he leant forward to kiss her.
She moved her hands under Marko’s jacket, trailing her fingertips over the small band of smooth skin between his jeans and his T-shirt. She was very surprised to hear herself whisper, “Do you want to stay?”
His smile was answer enough.
I’ll take you up
Beauty, love, flows, down, reach, out…
Every inch a new sensation
Stretches me out of my head
Out of my head
To taste it’s mind myself
I’ll take you up
Beyond every time
More than I…
With my blood trapped around me
And my taste on my lips
My brain and marrow
My flesh wrapped around me
My taste on my lips
My brain and marrow
I’ll take you up
“Overfire” by THC
Luna awoke to find Marko getting dressed. She rubbed her eyes. “Where are you going?” She felt hurt, and exceptionally stupid.
“This isn’t what it looks like, Lu,” he said. “I have to get home tonight.”
“Why?” She asked.
“I have to be home, I can’t really explain why. People worry if I’m not back by sunrise,” he admitted, with a smile.
“So you’ve got a protective family too?” she said dubiously.
“Something like that. But I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll come by at nine for you.”
“In the morning?”
“No, evening. I have stuff to do during the day.” He put a hand on her shoulder, she shrugged away. “But I promise…” He tailed off, noticing the picture of her parents on the bedside table.
She frowned, following his gaze.
“Why’ve you got a picture of Star and Michael with you?” he demanded angrily.
“What? How do you know who they are?” She responded, frightened by his anger as much as his recognition of her parents.
“Why do you have that picture?” he asked again, his fingers digging into her shoulder.
She blinked back the tears. “Let me go! That hurts!”
Marko suddenly let go of her. “I’m sorry, Lu. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just never expected to see Star and Michael again.”
“How do you know them? You must have been a baby when they were last here.” She rubbed her shoulder, Marko had left finger marks.
“I’m sorry I hurt you.” He moved to touch her cheek, and bit his lip when she flinched. “I’m sorry. I really am. It was a shock to see a picture of them. How do you know them?”
“They’re my parents,” she said, confused. Too much had happened in the past few minutes. She rubbed her eyes again and sat up. “Can I have one of your cigarettes?” she asked.
He lit two and passed one to her. “I can’t believe Star and Michael are your parents,” he said in a tone she neither recognised nor liked. “I knew you reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t place it…”
“How do you know them?” She asked once more, noticing that he still hadn’t answered. “They’ve not been back to Santa Carla since they left over sixteen years ago. You’d have been a kid at the time. Did Mom baby-sit you or something?”
“Something like that,” he answered, then looked straight at her. “They can’t possibly support you coming here, bad things happen, Lu. It’s a dangerous place.”
“They died,” she replied shortly, inhaling deeply on the cigarette.
His eyes filled with concern. “I’m sorry that you’re hurting over that.”
She let him take her hand, but wondered about his wording.
“Why did you come to Santa Carla, Luna?”
“What do you care?” she snapped suddenly. Sick of everything in her life, the death of her parents, the lies and deceit, the fact that Marko was going to sneak out without saying goodbye after she had given her virginity to him, and now that he knew her parents it was too much.
“What do you care? You were about to sneak out, away from me, probably to your real girlfriend or something? What gives you the right to know about my life? So what, you met my parents. Big deal! I lived with them for sixteen years, it didn’t stop them lying to me! What gives you the right to know about my life, when I don’t know anything about it either, except it was a big fucking lie!” She tapered off as the grief and pain caught up and sobbing overtook her.
Marko took the weeping girl in his arms and gently soothed her until she was calm again. “I don’t know what to say, Luna. I just want you to be safe, and it’s not safe in this town. I can’t think of one good reason why you should be here.”
“My father.” Her answer was muffled by Marko’s chest.
“Michael?” He asked.
“No, Michael was my… I called him Dad, but I just found out that he wasn’t my father. My Mom wrote in journals. My father is some guy she got mixed up with.”
“Mixed up with how?” Marko asked, mentally calculating.
“He had a gang. There were four of them. I think they were on drugs or something, it’s not too clear.”
“Did your mother mention any names?”
“No, she uses initials in her journal. His initial was D, if that means anything to you—what am I saying? You were a toddler at most when my Mom was around, like you’d remember anything.” She laughed, but it wasn’t funny.
She met his eyes, and didn’t like what she saw. He smiled gently at her, and whatever she had seen was gone. His eyes softened and filled with concern for her.
“Are you sure you should be here, Lu? I remember what happened to Michael’s Grandpa after he and Star left.” He winced. “What if their enemies are still here? You’d be in danger.”
“I can’t imagine that they would be,” she replied, touched.
“Does anyone know you’re here?”
“My uncle knows I’m taking a time out.” She sighed. “But no, he doesn’t know I’m in Santa Carla.”
“Sam must be worried about you,” he said.
“You’ve got a good memory.”
“One of my skills.” He gave her a distracted smile. “But you said that you called Michael ‘Dad’. Why upset yourself looking for a guy that you might not find? He won’t live up to Michael, I assure you.”
“Do you know something that I don’t?” she asked suspiciously. “Because you seem awfully keen to get me to leave. Or maybe you want me to leave so you can go back to your girlfriend.”
“Luna, you’re my girlfriend—if you want to be,” he quickly amended. “You’re the only girl I want, I promise you. I’m just worried that something might happen to you. It scares me that you’re here alone.”
“I’m your girlfriend?” she whispered.
“If you want to be,” he replied softly, stroking her face. “It’s been a long time since I’ve cared for anyone except myself. But I care about you, and that’s why I don’t want you to stay in Santa Carla.”
She kissed him and Marko pulled her into a tight embrace. Again she wondered if she could fall in love with someone she’d only known a day and a half.
She got an answer when Marko murmured into her hair, “Truth is, I’m already in love with you. It’s crazy, but I am.”
Marko left Luna’s motel room with only half an hour before sunrise, his mind was whirling. He had just fallen in love with his pack’s enemy. Luna technically hadn’t done anything wrong, but he doubted David would see it that way.
David! There was another problem. Luna was sixteen, Star had left Santa Carla seventeen years ago, and stated in her diary that ‘D’ was the father. He doubted that it could be anyone other than David.
Which was confusing him, as he was always led to believe that vampires generally couldn’t have children. There were several occasions that he had read of in David’s books, but in those cases there had been years of chanting, sacrifice and ritual to prepare for it.
He had to get Luna to leave Santa Carla. That was the only possible solution. If David found out that Star’s daughter was so close by he would kill her. Marko couldn’t guarantee that he wouldn’t kill her even if he knew that Luna was his.
And Luna would never forgive him for being a vampire. One that kept her mother captive for months. Not to mention he had been present when David had killed Michael’s Grandfather and Mr and Mrs Frog.
Why hadn’t Star and Michael warned Luna what a nasty place Santa Carla was? Why had Star kept journals? Why couldn’t they all let the past die.
He thought back to the time when Star and Michael had fled for their lives from Santa Carla. The emotions came back strongly. He had been mad enough to kill them. Taking the lives of Mr Emerson and the Frogs hadn’t bothered him in the slightest. It had felt justified. It had been fun. He had wanted to kill the remaining Emersons, and the Frog Brothers too.
Meeting Luna hadn’t made him see those events in a different light. He hadn’t changed. He was still a vampire. He was just now torn between protecting her, and telling his pack what was happening.
In truth, he owed his pack his loyalty, not a girl he had met only a couple of days ago. But he loved her. And he didn’t want anything to happen to her.
So he’d convince Luna to leave, and David would be none the wiser.
“Marko, we were just about to have a moment of silence for you,” Paul greeted him as he entered the cave.
“What?” he replied distractedly.
“Sunrise is in about eight minutes, bud. We thought you had been toasted,” Paul explained.
“So, Marko, where have you been?” David asked in a cold tone.
“Feeding,” he replied. It was technically not a lie. He fed on the way home.
“All night?” David raised an eyebrow.
Paul lit a cigarette and stood well back from the fight that was bound to ensue.
“Didn’t want to be around the pack,” Marko answered, knowing that David was likely to attack him for a derogatory comment—no matter how slight—about his pack.
David did attack. Moving with speed a human would never achieve, he grabbed Marko by the throat and pinned him against a wall.
“You’ve been with that girl, haven’t you?” David questioned, his fingers tightening around Marko’s throat.
Marko didn’t answer. He couldn’t even if he wanted to, David’s hands were too tight.
“David.” Dwayne spoke up hesitantly.
David ignored him and continued talking to Marko. “Well, if it’s so serious you would lie about where you’ve been, maybe we should meet her.”
Marko’s throat was being crushed, slowly and painfully.
“David, stop.” Dwayne touched David’s shoulder. “Is it worth killing your own childe over?”
David released Marko angrily. Marko’s knees buckled and he sank to the ground, clutching his bruised throat.
David did not respond to Dwayne’s question, but leant down to meet Marko’s eyes. “I will not have a mortal tear my pack apart.”
“It won’t,” Marko assured him in a hoarse voice. “I won’t turn her.”
“You certainly will not. I am your sire, and I have already forbade it.”
Marko didn’t trust himself to speak. Anything he was considering saying sounded sarcastic in his own head and he couldn’t rely on Dwayne to calm David down twice in one night, so he nodded instead.
“And you won’t see her again, Marko.” David softened his tone a little. “For years we have been a small pack. Many master vampires have died because of bad judgement, I won’t let that happen to my pack.”
“I understand, David.” Marko responded, and looked into his sire’s eyes. “And you are right. I’m sorry.” Apologising for his feelings felt strange, but ultimately he knew that David was right. And the sooner he got Luna out of Santa Carla the better.
Things might return to normal after that.
Luna spent the day turning over what Marko had said in her mind. She supposed that he was right. It wasn’t as if she was actively looking for her father. And Marko had been right, there was no way he could compare to Michael.
The man she called ‘Dad’ all her life had been a wonderful father. Kind, generous, he’d had a wonderful sense of humour. And he had loved her like his own.
The man who had created her had tormented her mother for months, and as far as she could tell, pushed her mother into using drugs.
But she couldn’t see the urgency to leave either. Whoever it was that were her family’s enemies would be older now, and hopefully wiser, so probably had better things to do than torment her because of who her parents were. And if they weren’t wiser, they were probably in jail or rehab now.
Besides, she had Marko here, and she really liked him, and he had said that he loved her. Which made her feel a lot better. He was pretty much the best thing that had happened since her parents’ death.
She decided to stay another week and then head home.
By the time Marko awoke Paul, Dwayne and David were in the main cave, waiting for the sun to finish setting so they could leave.
Paul, as usual, was hyperactive, and singing You Could Be Mine at the top of his lungs as he danced around the lip of the fountain. Dwayne was watching him in amusement, the look on his face told Marko that any minute now he would knock Paul over. David was quite happily ignoring them, also knowing that they would start fighting any minute, but not caring as it was commonplace in the cave.
Marko smiled. It was just like old times. He decided to get there before Dwayne. As he walked past Paul, he held his arm out, catching the backs of Paul’s knees, making his legs buckle.
Paul tilted sideways, then collapsed on top of Marko. They wrestled for a few minutes before David half-heartedly separated them.
“You’re no fun, boss,” Paul complained good-naturedly. “I was winning then.”
“In your dreams,” Marko retorted.
“Dwayne, who was winning?” Paul turned to him, trying to get him on side.
“Doesn’t matter, I could beat you both,” he replied.
“Boys,” David interjected tiredly, but showing his rare wintry smile. “We’re hunting as a pack tonight.” He looked pointedly at Marko. “After that you can go and do what you like, but we’re feeding together.”
Marko understood perfectly. David not only wanted to keep an eye on him, but he also wanted to bring his pack together to get over the problems of the previous nights. He hoped Luna would understand about him being late.
“Let’s go,” David commanded, and turned to leave, his pack followed him.
Luna drummed her fingers on the bedside table. She had smoked and eaten and called Sam once more and now there was nothing left to do except wait for Marko. She checked the clock. Ten past nine. He was late.
She tried to ignore the feeling that he’d used her. Reminding herself that he had said he loved her. Trying not to think of that as a line. Trying to remember that he had seemed genuinely concerned for her safety.
She got up and started pacing.
Marko didn’t leave as soon as he had permission after the feeding, hoping that by staying longer David would forgive him. Not that he seemed to need forgiving. David appeared in good humour, as did the rest of the pack.
Though as soon as he left, David issued one order.
Marko arrived at Luna’s, rushing through the door at high speed. “We have to go.” He told her. “Pack whatever you need.”
“What?” she asked in confusion.
“I’ve got to take you back home. It’s not safe here,” he said.
“I’m not going home,” she responded, hurt by his sharp tone. “And what’s going on?”
“Luna, trust me on this. Grab a bag and then we have to go.” He stopped, finally taking in what she was wearing. Star’s gypsy skirt. And the reason her leather jacket was so big on her was because it was Michael’s. David will kill first and ask questions later if he sees her in that. God she looks so much like Star.
She didn’t notice the way he was staring at her. “What’s going on, Marko? Why have I got to leave?”
“If I found out who your father was would you go?” he pleaded.
“I know who killed Michael’s grandfather too,” he said. “And I have to get you out of this town.”
“What?” She noticed she was abusing that word at this point. “How do you know—”
“Look, they will come after you, Lu. And they won’t just beat you up.”
The look on his face convinced her more than his words. She grabbed her bag and began stuffing her clothes and her mother’s journals into it. “Will you give me the full story?”
“Not now,” he said. “Put it this way, if I drop you off at your house, and your uncle sees me, he’ll tell you the whole thing.”
“Why can’t you tell me? And how does Uncle Sam know everything?” she asked, zipping her bag with shaking fingers, deciding that everything that wasn’t her mother’s journals could stay here.
“Believe me, you don’t want to hear it from me,” he told her sadly. “And I doubt Sam knows who your father is, but if you ask him about a man from Star’s past with the initial D it will all click. Are you ready?”
She nodded and shouldered the bags.
“I love you,” he said. “It might be too early to say it, but it’s true. I just want you to know that.”
The finality in his voice scared her, and she responded honestly. “I love you too.”
Marko took her hand and led her outside. He was well aware that if David caught him he might end up dead. He was going against everything he believed in. He was abandoning his pack to save a mortal. A mortal enemy no less.
Even if he didn’t get caught, David would want to know where he had been. He would have to say he killed her. That if he couldn’t have her, he couldn’t let her live. David would understand that. Whether he would believe it was another thing.
“I still don’t understand what the big hurry is.” Luna complained.
“Trust me?” He asked.
“I do. But you’ve not given me a single reason why I’m running away. Scared me, sure, but no reasons.”
“I scared you?” They reached his bike and he climbed on.
“No. You made me scared of whoever we’re running from,” she replied, shifting the bag in preparation of climbing on behind him.
“Well,” a new voice commented. “You should be.”
Luna looked up to see the newcomer. He was an average looking guy with blonde spiky hair and icy blue eyes. He was flanked by two other guys, one with long dark hair, the other with long blonde hair.
She heard Marko curse several times.
“This is who we’re running from?” she asked. She had been expecting someone a little more formidable.
“You’re running from us, Marko?” Spiky Hair enquired.
Marko got off his motorbike, noticing the disappointed looks on Dwayne and Paul’s faces. They didn’t want it to end like this, but pack law decreed that anyone who betrayed them would be killed. And if he was going to be hung without a trial, he was at least going to protect Luna as much as he could. He stepped in front of her.
“This isn’t what it looks like, David. I would never leave the pack.”
“Then tell me, what is happening here? Because it does look a lot like you’re leaving us.” David’s tone was icy.
“I was just taking Luna away from here. I wasn’t leaving. I was coming back,” he replied, knowing just how weak his words—his whole argument—was. David, as his sire, had ordered him never to see her again.
“Marko? What’s going on?” Luna asked.
For the first time David really looked at the girl in question. If she hadn’t spoken, he probably wouldn’t have. But her voice reminded him of Star’s. He appraised her silently. She didn’t just remind him of Star, she was a duplicate of her, but with blonde hair, instead of brown. He felt his rage start to spin out of control. “Star?”
“Marko?” she asked again, badly frightened by the look in David’s eyes and the mention of her mother’s name. “What’s going on? You know these guys? Do they have a problem with me, or with you?”
David strode towards Luna. She dropped her bag in fright and moved behind Marko, trying to keep some distance between herself and David.
Marko said the only thing that might possibly save her. “Luna, meet your father. David. The infamous ‘D’.”
Luna found her voice first. “What? Are you insane? He’s only about five years older than me!”
“Marko, explain yourself. And do it quickly, before I lose my temper!” David threatened.
“Star was pregnant before she left Santa Carla. Not with Michael’s child. Her diary refers to ‘D’ being the father,” he responded quickly, not wanting to try David’s already-stretched patience.
“What’s going on?” Luna demanded. “How can he be my father? I’m sixteen. He was a kid when I was born.”
“So Marko hasn’t told you his little secret then?” David chuckled. “Well our little secret.”
Luna was dangerously close to tears, nothing was making sense. The guy who claimed not five minutes ago to love her was playing games with her and there were three guys who may or may not still be greatly interested in killing her.
“Someone fucking explain what the hell is going on?” she shouted, trying to convert her fear into anger. Anger was something she could work with, it would give her confidence. Fear would just paralyse her and make her a victim.
“The mortal wants to know what’s going on.” David smiled at Paul. “Paul, what’s going on?”
“I dunno, David,” he replied playfully. “What’s going on, Dwayne?”
“Wait a minute, who wants to know?”
“The mortal wants to know,” Paul informed him.
“Oh cut the crap! Either kill me or let me go, but don’t bore me to death, that’s just plain mean!” Luna snapped, then regretted it. Probably not a wise move to insult three guys who had big plans on beating her to a pulp.
To her surprise, David laughed. “You’re either brave or foolish, young mortal.” Before she knew what was happening, David pinned her against the wall of the motel by her throat.
“David, let her go.” Marko tried to knock David away from her. “She’s your daughter. You can’t kill her.”
David let go of Luna’s throat and whirled round to face Marko. Luna collapsed to the ground, gasping for air.
“Why can’t I kill her?” he demanded of Marko. “And you too, while I’m at it. You claim she’s my daughter, it could be a simple—and very poor—lie to save your skin.”
Marko picked up Luna’s bag from where she had dropped it, he opened it and handed David a battered leather-bound book. “This is Star’s journal.” He nodded at Luna. “And that is her daughter. Yours too.”
He pushed past David and helped Luna to her feet. “I won’t let you hurt her, David. Kill me, fine, but don’t hurt her. She can’t help being Star’s daughter. She just came her looking for some answers.”
David faltered. He had been planning to kill the both of them. Marko seemed so sincere. And now he had some form of proof in his hands that somehow, he had a daughter.
He had never known a vampire to have a child, not by accident. There had only been three cases of it in history, and two of them had died during infancy.
He sighed deeply. “I won’t kill either of you. Come back to the cave, I want to hear more about this.”
“What about me?” Luna asked, almost incoherent with confusion and fear. “You pin me to a wall, you threaten us and we’re supposed to go back with you? And I keep saying that you can’t be my father. You’re not old enough.”
“Come back to the cave,” David repeated. “We shall explain everything there.”
Luna reluctantly climbed on the back of Marko’s motorbike. She hadn’t wanted to go at all, but Marko had assured her that she would be safe. It wasn’t she couldn’t trust Marko, but the other three guys were intimidating.
And she was confused as hell.
On the journey there things began to click. The initials, D, Dw, P and M, David, Dwayne, Paul and Marko. She was riding with the same boys that her mother had seventeen years ago.
Except for that was impossible. She saw the lighthouse and remembered that her mother had seen it as she approached their home. The wooden steps that lead to the mouth of a cave.
She shivered and Marko put his arm around her. She wanted to shrug it off, but at the same time wanted his touch as it was familiar.
Paul walked next to them. “Well, it’s a small world,” he said. “Must be, if our little Marko’s first love is the daughter of our original Lost Girl.”
Luna could barely speak. David had talked to her mother about Never-Never Land, and who lived there? The Lost Boys. The name of this gang, according to Marko.
Marko stroked her shoulder, trying to reassure her. It did little to help.
They entered the cave and it was just as Star’s journal had described it, and just as cold. Paul and Dwayne walked around, lighting fires in the oil drums.
“Have a seat,” David offered. Luna stared at him, it was a softer tone than she expected, and by the looks on the boys’ faces, they were surprised too.
She sat down on the couch opposite David, who sat in an old wheelchair of all things.
“Does anyone have a cigarette?” she asked. She just need something that seemed normal. David passed her his pack of smokes and a zippo lighter. She lit up, while thinking crazily, Look at me, I’m smoking in front of my ‘Dad’. I wonder if he’ll ground me.
“Who are you people? What did you do to my Mom? What drugs did you make her take?” she asked, as Marko took a seat next to her and took her hand.
“Drugs?” David questioned. “What makes you say that?”
“Well, you did something to her. She couldn’t leave and she mentioned that she wanted overcome an ‘addiction’ so she could leave you,” Luna explained, fashioning speech marks with her fingers.
“We’re not on drugs, Lu,” Marko told her. “Well, except for Paul, who uses pot on a regular basis, but it mellows him out—and you don’t want to deal with Paul when he’s not mellow. He never shuts up.”
“Thanks, bud,” Paul replied.
“Boys,” David said warningly. “Let’s stay on topic, shall we?”
“So what did you do to her?”
“We tried to make her like us,” David replied.
“And what makes you so different?”
“We’re vampires, Luna.”
Luna laughed shrilly, more from fear than humour. “No, really, what are you?”
David didn’t answer with words. As she looked at him she watched his face pale and his teeth elongate. She looked around the room and saw that both Paul and Dwayne were in fang too.
“Marko?” she asked in a small voice, relieved to see he still looked human.
“I am too,” he told her. “Don’t be scared, I won’t hurt you.”
Luna gulped, fighting the tears. She didn’t want to believe any of this, but how could she ignore what was right in front of her. “No,” she said in a small voice.
“Yes,” Marko told her. “We’re vampires.”
“And you turned my mother?”
“Yes,” David agreed. “We tried. I was trying to take her away from the pain in her life. All of the pack had lives that they wanted to escape from when I turned them.”
Luna began to protest, but David held up a hand and continued.
“I won’t glorify what we are, Luna—or my reasons for turning the few that I chose,” David told her. “Yes, I chose people who were unhappy—not to save them, but because they were more suited to the life I could offer. I’m not going to make this easier on you by telling you that we only feed on evil people. I won’t tell you that we only take a little blood, that we leave our meals alive—and that’s what they are, meals, not people. I won’t tell you that we don’t enjoy it, that’s it’s our curse to do this. We are vampires. We kill people. We don’t feel remorse about it. It’s not romantic. It’s not beautiful. It’s just what we do.”
Luna shivered. Although he had nothing to lose, she admired his honesty. He could have made it seem romantic and gentle. He could have let her live in denial about what he, Marko, Dwayne and Paul did, but he didn’t.
“I get it,” she muttered. “You’re evil. You won’t be coming to parent-teacher nights at school.”
David shifted back into his human form, a smile on his face from her words. “But we do have feelings. That much of our old lives we keep.”
She stared at David. “At least the age thing makes sense now.” She sighed.
“I knew there was something about you,” David mused, barely aware he had spoken. “I felt new energy in the town, and it was coming from you.”
“She was what sparked off the mystical sniffer-dog?” Paul asked, joining the conversation for the first time.
David fixed him with a glare, but nodded.
“But if you’re a vampire, how can you be my father?” Luna enquired.
David lit a cigarette. “To be honest I don’t know. Perhaps Star was pregnant before she came to the cave, after all she was…” He stopped. For some reason he was now reluctant to hurt the girl in front of him, despite the fact that half an hour ago he would have ripped her throat out without thinking twice about it.
“I know what my mother was,” Luna said quietly. “But she wasn’t pregnant before she got to the cave. Her diary…” She faltered, unsure of how to word it. “There was a little code she used to keep track of… Anyway, you were the only guy after she last…” A blush heated her cheeks. She scarcely talked of ‘women’s problems’ as her PSE teacher at school called them, let alone in front of four guys—vampires—she barely knew. “You can read it if you want,” she offered reluctantly.
“I don’t want to invade something that’s private to you,” David replied. “But I think I should read it. Whatever the outcome, you’re not in any danger from us.”
She checked around the room for reactions. Marko looked almost as relieved as she felt, Paul looked confused, but agreeable and Dwayne’s face, as always, was unreadable.
“Thank you,” she replied. “I feel weird thanking you. You killed Edgar and Alan’s Mom and Dad, and my great-grandpa. I don’t know what to think. At least I know where all those stories the Frogs used to tell me came from. You’re not going to go after them are you?”
“The past should stay buried,” David decided. “It’s been a long time.”
Luna ran her hands through her hair, then stole another of David’s cigarettes. “This is difficult for me. I’m sitting in a cave with four killers. I’m the girlfriend of a murderer. I’m dating the man who helped kill my family.”
Marko faced her. “You never met them. And you aren’t technically related.”
“That’s not the point. Sam isn’t really my uncle, but he’s family,” she retorted, standing up.
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. I just need to be somewhere that’s not here,” she replied inhaling on her cigarette.
“You can’t just leave,” he told her.
“I know that!” she shouted at him, furious at herself for trusting him, furious at him for not being honest with her. “I’ve got no idea where the fuck I am! But right now, being outside in the dark seems a lot more appealing than being trapped in a cave with four cold-blooded killers!”
“Don’t go far,” Dwayne told her as she left the cave. “One of us will take you home tonight. It’s not safe out there.”
“It’s not much safer in here!” she responded angrily.
I know I didn’t write it, but assume that Marko told David that Star and Michael were dead before she got to the cave.
Marko got up to follow Luna.
“Let her go,” David told him, and Marko sat once more. “Let her get her head together.”
Marko looked at David closely. “Is she really safe, or are you playing with her?”
“No, she is safe. I don’t want to kill her,” David admitted. He had watched Luna closely through the whole conversation. The more he saw of her the more differences he found between her and Star. He looked at her and saw his own blue eyes staring back, she moved with more confidence than Star, there was almost an arrogance in the way she moved.
As a human being, he liked her. He would have considered turning her himself if he had just met her and not known who she was.
Luna sat on the cliff, her gaze fixed out on the water but not really seeing anything. She sensed someone next to her and turned to see David.
He sat down next to her. “This is a lot to process,” he said. “I was just wondering if you’d shown any signs of being like us.”
She laughed sharply, and he saw the silvery tracks made my tears on her face. “What signs? I don’t know about vampires. Just what I see on TV.” She rubbed her face. “Though to be honest, I’ve been thinking about it just now.”
“And?” he prodded.
“I’m allergic to garlic, makes me really ill. Silver of any kind brings me out in horrible rash and I don’t tan. My skin burns easily. But I don’t drink blood or fly or whatever other stuff you guys do.”
He hesitantly put a hand on her shoulder, surprised that she didn’t shrug it off.
“I should hate you,” she said. “All of you.”
“But you don’t?”
“No. Aside from being a blood-sucking fiend who wanted to kill me, you seem like a reasonable guy.” She laughed again. “Of course, seem is the key word. What you did to my Mom…”
“It’s what I do, Luna.” He offered no apology.
“Yeah, I know. But…” There just didn’t seem enough words to explain what was going on. She sighed. “Can one of you take me home?”
He got to his feet and offered her his hand. She took it and stood. He led her to his bike.
She paused at her door and turned to him. “It’s invite-only for you guys, right?”
“Yes. Be very careful who you invite in. Once a vampire is invited, he can not only come and go as he pleases, but it also renders you powerless. Crosses won’t work against them,” David replied.
She frowned. “I thought you said I was safe from you guys.”
“We’re not the only reason that Santa Carla is the murder capital of the world.”
“But you won’t hurt me?” she questioned, still anxious.
“No, my boys and I shall protect you as much as we can while you’re here.”
“Why?” she asked, wondering if she was pushing it too far. Perhaps she was, but she was standing inside her doorway now, and if David got angry he couldn’t come in.
“If you are my daughter, I won’t kill you.”
“If not?” She stepped back, further into her room.
“You’re Star’s daughter.” He sighed. “I can’t forgive Star for what she did to my pack, but it’s not your fault.”
“It wasn’t Mr and Mrs Frog’s fault either, or my great-grandpa’s!” she responded.
“You’re going to force me to admit that I like you, aren’t you?” he said, showing a smile that actually made it up to his eyes.
“It’s good to know,” she said, slightly reassured. “But…”
He held up a hand to stop her from continuing. “I think you should get some rest. Think over what has happened. If you need us, we’re on the Boardwalk every night.”
“I think I need space,” she replied flatly.
“You’re leaving?” he questioned.
“No. Not yet anyway… I don’t really want to be around anyone right now,” she explained. “I should hate you. I should hate Marko, but…”
“You’ll say goodbye at least?”
“Yeah, I guess. You’ve got my Mom’s journals, so I’ll have to get them back.” She was a little alarmed at David’s questions. Since when did a vampire start caring what she did, parentage or not?
Little did she know David was asking himself the same question.
Luna spent a few days avoiding the Boardwalk, she only went out during the day. She tried to shake the paranoid feeling that lingered after David had told her that he wasn’t the only nasty roaming the town, but didn’t succeed. In truth, she was too scared to go out.
She bought some books and spent her days reading and wondering why she was still in Santa Carla. She had the answers she needed, she didn’t seem to have a reason to stay. She was scared of the town. She was scared of the Lost Boys, despite their offer to protect her.
She was mad at Marko for lying to her. So mad that she started pacing whenever she thought about him. She was pacing now. She lit a cigarette, disgusted with herself for staying with the habit.
Someone knocked on the door. “Who’s there?” she called suspiciously before opening.
“Marko,” came the reply.
She sighed and opened the door. “I bet David told you to stay away from me.”
He nodded sombrely. “I’ve left you alone for three days. David asked one of us to check on you, make sure you were still in town, and that you were ok. I volunteered.”
“Well,” she replied shortly. “I’m here. I’m ok. Bye.”
He got his foot against the door before she was able to slam it. “Luna…”
“What?” she snapped.
“Can I come in?”
“David said that once you’re invited you can come and go as you please.”
“I was being polite,” he replied.
She sighed, but made no move to shut the door again.
“Can we talk?”
“You lied to me,” she said sadly.
“I had to. I may love you, but they’re my pack. In theory nothing is supposed to take priority over that.”
“In theory?” she asked.
“David forbade me from coming to see you. I still came. And then I found out you were Star’s daughter and I had to protect you.”
“Thanks,” she said sarcastically.
“Look, I didn’t want you to know your father was a killer, and you said that Michael loved you like his own. I didn’t want you to get involved with us, I was going to take you home and then deal with the consequences.”
“If you betray your pack the penalty is death,” he replied.
“You would have died for me?” she asked, shaken by his words.
He smiled slightly. “Well, I was hoping I could talk my way out of it…”
She touched his hand. “If I stay with you, my family will never forgive me. If I go, I won’t have you… and I don’t want that.”
“Are you saying—”
“I’m not saying anything,” she interrupted sharply. “Other than I’m confused. I’m fine. Can you go now?”
He didn’t stop her from slamming the door this time.
Luna couldn’t work out whether she was relieved or disappointed.
Lyrics belong to Rach, my favourite person in cyberspace. Her band will be called the Aediles (said E-dials). Read her lyrics, because they are perfect for this chapter, and she wrote them just for me. Thanks Rach. I adore you twice round the earth and a trip to Mars.
Angel of the Night
Luna decided to go out the next night. She was agitated by Marko’s visit. It had been so sweet for that short time, and she had fallen for him. In a big way. But she couldn’t ignore what had happened in the past. She wished she could, but she couldn’t.
She decided a night out might take her mind off her problems. She found a small smoky club with a live band on that night. Although she was underage she had no problems getting in. Her height helped, but she remembered that if she walked in confidently with her head high it would make her appear as if she was older. Act older and people think you are, a friend had once told her while trying to convince her to go to a bar with her. Luna had declined. Things had definitely changed.
She got herself a drink and found a seat. She lit a cigarette and took a sip of her drink, wincing at the bitter taste. She didn’t remember ordering alcohol.
I don’t know what to say
And I don’t know what to do
But I wander into the darkness
And my heart turns to you.
She watched the dark haired singer move to the beat. It wasn’t her kind of music, but she loved it. Maybe it just suited her mood. She noticed a flyer on her table and found out the band were called the Aediles. She grinned at the name, wondering if she was the only person in the club who understood why they were called that.
I know we can’t live tomorrow
In the shadow of yesterday
You stole my heart burnt my soul
But I love you anyway.
Her smiled faded a little as the lyrics progressed. It seemed the song had been written just for her. She took another gulp of her drink trying to drive away all thoughts of Marko.
She looked up and met the gaze of a brown haired guy. He was tall and well built without being bulky. On the whole, he was quite good looking, but she didn’t like his eyes. They reminded her of David’s. Slightly cruel.
She smiled slightly. “Hey.” Then turned back to her drink. She pulled another cigarette from her pack and before she could light it, he offered her his lighter.
She once more used her polite smiled—the one she used at school when she kept promising to concentrate harder. “Thanks.”
“I’m Gavin.” He offered her his hand.
She politely shook, but didn’t offer her name hoping he would get the hint. She didn’t like the feel of his skin, it was too dry, and rasped against her skin.
“And you are?” he asked, ignoring the hint.
“Lu—cy.” She didn’t want to give him her name. “I’m Lucy.” She turned to face the stage once more.
“So, Lucy…” He moved around so he stood next to her. A little too close for comfort. “What brings you to Santa Carla?”
“How do you know I’m not from here?” she replied in a bored tone, one she hoped conveyed just how much she didn’t want to talk. “I doubt you know everyone in this town.”
He tried once more. “So, you like the music?”
“Big fan,” she replied shortly.
“Weird name,” he commented.
“I love this band,” she replied, not only because she wanted to disagree with him, but because the music was soothing her ragged nerves, despite the accuracy of their lyrics. “And for your information, in ancient Athens there were people put in charge of running different things in the city. The Aediles were in charge of organising festivals, plays, and general party things. So basically Aediles were the people who brought all the fun and entertainment to the city. So I think the name fits perfectly. Excuse me.”
You are the angel of the night
And you are my guiding light
And though we’ll never make it through
I was born just to love you.
She pushed away from him into the crowd dancing in front of the stage, only to bump into Marko.
The storm is drawing closer
And I know that it is wrong
You are the source of all my pain
But you’re where my heart belongs.
She made to dodge him, but he caught her wrist.
“Marko, don’t…” she whispered sadly.
“Don’t what? Don’t touch you? Or don’t love you?” he replied.
She couldn’t answer. She didn’t want him to stop either of those things. “Just don’t…”
“I can’t help it,” he told her softly.
“Neither can I,” she admitted.
“I love you. I can’t change what’s in the past or I would. Can’t we just try to put it behind us?”
“It’s so difficult for me,” she told him. “I do love you, but it’s not that simple.”
“Well, forget about those things for a few minutes. Please, would you dance with me?” he asked, almost shyly.
He held out his arms to her, and she stepped into his embrace.
I know you cannot love me
I’ve heard it all before
But that doesn’t stop me needing you
When fear knocks at my door.
As they swayed gently to the music, Luna felt about how right it felt to be in his arms. Why did she have to fall in love with the one person she should never have even met? She couldn’t leave him.
His arms tightened around her, one hand moving to stroke her hair. She sighed, wishing she could stay like this forever.
You are the angel of the night
And you are my guiding light
And though we’ll never make it through
I was born just to love you.
“Is there a problem here?”
Both Luna and Marko looked around. Gavin was standing there with a glare on his face.
“No. Go away.” Luna snapped angry that her moment of peace from her conflicting emotions had been disturbed.
Instead of going away he yanked Luna out of Marko’s arms and took a step closer to him. “I think you were bothering Lucy.”
A hand clamped down on Gavin’s shoulder. “Her name is Luna.” David informed him.
Luna watched as the four Lost Boys surrounded Gavin. They did nothing threatening, but gave off an aura of menace. She was glad they were on her side.
David turned to Luna. “Was Marko bothering you? Did you need rescuing?”
“No,” she replied softly. “Marko was doing the right thing.”
I’ll follow my heart to where I’m going to
Because I was born just to love you.
David released Gavin, who glared at them.
“Hey, Gavin,” Luna called to his retreating back. “Don’t fuck with my family.”
The boys smiled, and Marko put his arm around her once more.
She didn’t know what would happen tomorrow, or the next day, or any time after that, but for now, she was happy.
I’ll follow my heart to where I’m going to
Because I was born just to love you.
End Notes: Ok, so this is the end… *tired sigh* Thank god! But I’ve got a sequel in mind, so watch out for another fic of mine of epic proportions!
Thanks to everyone who’s feedbacked this fic. I love you all!
The next part is called A Moonlight Interlude, it’s very short, and serves as a bridge between this story, and the sequel, which will be epic.