Thunder - Young & The Restless Fan Fiction From The TV MegaSite
 

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Adults are Afraid of Thunder, Too
Part 2

By KitKat

Why had the man stopped trying to come in the house?  A rustling noise.  A crack from the right.  Something was still trying to get in.  Someone not worthy of being called a human being.  And what would they do?  Call the police?  Fuck that.  The police wouldn’t do anything.  Genoa City had as many police as leaves on a tomato plant.  Then, he heard a scream.  A holler.

            “Get away!  Agggg!”

            Billy rejoined the group of women and carefully listened to the noises. 

            “What is going on?”  Nikki screamed, as alarmed as Mac.  The pounding of feet resonated from outside and pounding soon resumed on the door.

            “Nikki!  Nikki!  Let us in!”

            “Nikki!”  Nikki ran to the door and Cassie, Noah, Nick, Sharon, Victoria, and the head of the pack, Miguel all came in. 

            “Quickly.”  Nikki herded them all in like sheep and did a quick count.  “Where is Victor?”

            “Oh God, Nikki.”  Sharon, in emotional distress, limped over to Nikki and placed her trembling hands on the woman’s shoulders.  “Victor got us all out and we don’t know what he is doing with the man.. . he had a knife. . . he had a gun. . . . he was asking us where Billy and Mackenzie were. . . we said we didn’t know, he didn’t believe us.  And Victor. . . oh God, Nikki.”  And Sharon collapsed into a crying heap in Nikki’s welcoming arms. 

            “Dad, what is going to happen to us?”  Cassie asked seriously. 

            “Cass, honey, all we can do is stay here until someone says it is safe.”  Nick told her.  “Has anyone informed the guards yet?”  Suddenly, there was the turning of a door. . . the back door. . . with a key.  They all heard it.  The sound seemed to symbolize a signal to run.  Billy placed his hands firmly on Mac’s shoulders.  Nick, being the only man of the house at the moment, carefully started forward to greet either friend of foe.

            “Nicholas, don’t do anything foolish!”  Victoria warned.  He did not look back.  This was for his family.  The door opened.  Like a uniformed group of school children, the group all leaned forward and up to see who had used the key. 

            “Victor!”  Nikki ran to her husband, who closed the door and secured it.  For extra precaution, he put a dining room chair by the door. 

            “Dad, what happened?”  Victoria inquired, joining in the thankful embrace. Victor stepped out from his women, and with his hands behind his back, he walked in the middle of the room, and sat down on the sofa, and rubbed his cheeks.

            “The only thing I could do was run.  I couldn’t fight.  I couldn’t risk it.” 

            “Victor, you did the best you could,” Miguel said.  “Better than anyone could ask for.”

            “The guards are dead.” 

            “What?”  Mac came forward.  “Dead?  How?”

            “I believe they were shot.  I saw them on my way to the rear of the house.” 

            “How many men were there?”  Asked Billy, massaging Mac’s shoulders.

            “One man.  One man.  But enough to almost outrun me, and strong enough to kill me.  I suggest we call the police.”

            “Yes.  I think we should,” Nikki agreed.  “The sooner the better.”  Nikki picked up the phone.  AGGGHHH!”

            “AGGGGHH!”   Everyone screamed, thinking the madman was committing his deeds through the phone.

            “The phone is dead!”  Nikki shrieked in a shrill voice, holding up a silent phone for all to hear.  Silence enveloped the group as they realized their precarious situation.  Then, as if an answer to their silent prayer for the phone to work again, it rang with vigor. 

            “I thought the phone was dead,” Victor questioned, narrowing his eyes. 

            “If the phone is dead,” Sharon said slowly.  “Then why is it ringing?”  Everyone looked at each other, praying for an answer to the question. 

            “Answer it!” Noah interjected.  Nervous laughter appeased his innocent observation and Nikki answered the phone. 

            “H-hello?”

            “You can hide them, but you can’t protect them.  I will get Mackenzie, and her boyfriend too.  Don’t you worry about that.  Just stay tight in your cozy little home.  You will get your meds soon.”  The phone clicked off, silent as before.  Suddenly, Mac was aware of a new factor:  It had started to rain.  Victoria noticed it too.  Because of the ominous rain, everyone forgot about the phone call. 

            “Why does this always happen?”  She complained, throwing her hands up and walking over to the water table.  Billy watched the water pour into the glass.  It reminded him of alcohol, which he sure as hell wanted a sip of right now.  He had never craved alcohol until now.  He was as desperate as hell.  Mac was almost due, and her stepfather was putting the whole Newman family at stake.  And the phone was selectively out.  He looked over at Victor.  He was resting on the couch, his head in his hands. 

            “Try the phone again,” Sharon said.”  Nikki did so.  “Nothing.  Nothing.”  She resigned and sat next to Victor, who exchanged a grim look with her.  For a few seconds, everyone listened to the rain, unsure of what to do. 

            “Would anyone like anything to eat, some drinks?”  Miguel offered.  Most of everyone muttered a negative response. 

            “Alright.”  He replied, sounding hurt at their rejection. 

            “Mommy?”  Cassie tugged at her mother’s lace shirt. 

            “Honey,” Sharon said, gently taking Cassie’s hand away from the thin fabric.  “You will break off the fringes.  What is it, sweetie?”

            “What is going on?”  Sharon got down in front of Cassie, while everyone watched.  Nick, realizing that his fatherly duties were being called for, stood slightly to Sharon’s left and watched the expression on his little girl’s face.

            “Honey, remember when we all had to get out of the ranch because there was a very bad man who broke into our house?”

            “Yes.”

            “Well, we have to hide here.  I am not sure why he is after us, but we better not go outside, because he may be out there.  I promise, though, honey, you are safe in here.  You have all of us to watch out for you, okay.”  And she tweaked her nose.  Cassie grinned. 

            “Okay.” 

            “Atta girl.”  Nick tousled her hair.  Mac and Billy watched the scene, both wondering if they would do the same with their little girl.  Would she brought up to run away from terror at every moment?  Billy worried about that.  The situation seemed quite grim. 

            “Hey, Mackenzie.  Hey Billy.”  Victor said.  “Why are you two here?”

            “There is quite a story, Nikki replied to his puzzlement, sitting up at the edge of the couch. 

            “Well, Mackenzie.”  Victoria piped up.  “The floor is yours.  What, did you bring this man here?” 

            “No.  No.  Not at all,” Mac insisted. 

            “Miguel,” Sharon requested.  “Could you take Cassie and Noah upstairs?  I know that there are some old toys of Nicholas’s in his old room.  You know where that is.” 

            “Certainly, Sharon.”  Miguel came over to Noah and then took Cassie’s hand.  “Come on kids.  I know where your father has his old tricycle.”  The children ran upstairs as if they had heard Santa Clause was coming over early.

            “Okay, Mackenzie.  Back to you,”   Victoria said, brushing her hair back. 

            “Billy and I don’t even know who the man is.   See, the man in charge of all of this is probably my stepfather, Ralph Hunnicutt. He isn’t really my stepfather anymore, but he might as well be.  He revealed himself to me when I was outside and then he started chasing after Billy and me and we ran all the way here.” 

            “Man, that is like, 2 miles away.”  Nick said, obviously proud at their accomplishments.  “You ran all the way here in, what, 20 minutes, and without stopping?”

            “It was difficult.  Especially with my, uh, condition.”  Mac said. 

            “I know you are all wondering.”  Billy remarked, running a hand through his blond hair.  “Mac is seven months pregnant.  And yes, we are together and we love each other.  As much as any couple in here.  But right now, we are all in danger.”

            “We are really sorry for involving all of you, but we had no where else to run.”

            “Mackenzie.”  Victor mumbled, not making eye contact.  “It isn’t your fault.  It is his fault.  Why does that bastard hate you so much?”

            “He doesn’t hate me.”  Mac said.  She paused and continued, obviously having trouble getting the words out.  “He wants me.” 

            “Oh my God.”  Mumbled Victor.  Sharon and Nick portrayed people just hit by a speeding vehicle. 

            “And he hates me,” Billy said.

            “Forgive me, but why do you have a ladies’ shirt tied to your waist?”  Victoria inquired.  Mac pictured her in a fluffy dress with frills and a low cut neck. 

            “When we first knew there was an intruder on the lawn--the intruder was on the lawn--I thought he had a knife so I thought I could use the shirt to fool him in case he got close to us.  I didn’t have to.”

            “But he kept the shirt,” Mac said.  Nervous laughter.  And the raindrops died on the pavement, ending their course of life to serve as a safety net for the rest. 

______________________________________________________________________________

            John Silva slid into his seat and gave his date, Renee, a serene smile.  “Sorry.” 

            “Nice place you have here.”  She replied.  “Nice and cozy.  It would be perfect for Craig.”

            “Yes.  Well, go on.  I worked extra hard to make the potato soup.”

            “You really shouldn’t have,” she smiled.  “You could have just gone to Gina’s.”

            “Well, I dress to impress, and I impress to please.”

            “Well, counselor,” Renee said, slowly drawing the spoon to her lips.  “You have quite a life.”  They shared a lofty smile and continued eating.  Next to them lay 2 year old Craig, the product of a rape, which was a case that John had represented for Renee. 

            “I’m done.”  John said.  The compact disc player shut off and the set of romantic songs that John had picked out shut off, in turn.  The mood seemed to turn more sulky, even though things had been heating up on this second date.  They had started to talk about the future and how they would live if they were ‘united’.  He went over to Craig, and picked him up. 

            “Hey little buddy.”  The two-year-old smiled at him and John grinned back.  It was like having his own child. 

            Then the lights went out. 

            “Don’t worry.”  John gallantly found his way to Renee, comforting the young boy in his arms as he did so.  “A fuse just broke.” 

            “Not a fuse.”  A voice suddenly etched into his brain.  John knew he would remember the voice forever.  “Tell us where Mackenzie Browning is.  We know she is friends with you.” 

            “If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you,” John replied, trying to keep his voice under control.  Craig began to whimper.  He knew by experience that it would be best not to tell this man anything.

            “Tell us where she is!”

            “I--I don’t--.”  A vase crashed to the floor.  Renee wasn’t sure what happened after that except for fast, pattering footsteps, a scream, and Craig’s dying cries. 


            “So the intruder--”

            “Ralph,” said Mac for Sharon’s benefit.

            “Ralph was on your lawn.”

            “Yeah.  I was picking flowers for the house.  And he was watching me.  Oh God, this is a nightmare.”  Billy kissed the top of her head and patted her shoulder. 

            Victor, being the man of the house, stood up.  “I am going to see if it is safe to come out.  You all wait here, alright?”  Mac buried her face in Billy’s shoulder and he patted her back, feeling as angry and as sorrowful as heck.  He felt powerless now.  He had gotten her to safety, but he still knew he wasn’t doing enough.  At that moment, Miguel came back down again, silent as a cat.

            The group waited silently. 

            “You managed to run all the way here?”  Nick asked again. 

            “Yes, we did.  He chased up until we reached your house.”  Mac still had her head buried in Billy’s shirt.

            “Where is Victor?”  Nikki was pacing the house, going back and forth and crunching her hair in her hands.  “He should have been back.” 

            “I am sure he is alright, Mrs. Newman,” Miguel put in for good measure.  Abruptly, Mac pulled her head away from Billy, right after Miguel had suddenly ran up the stairs. 

            “Did you all hear that?”

            “Yeah, I did.”  Billy answered, taking her hand and moving closer to the window. 

            “Hear what?”  Victoria shook her head in wonderment. 

            “Did you hear the gunshots?”  Mac asked the group. 

            “Gunshots?”  Victoria shrieked. 

            “Gunshots?”  Nikki echoed. 

            “He had a gun.  Ralph and his goonies have guns,” Billy breathed. 

            “I can hear a gun from a mile away,” said Mac, staring off at an imaginary point.  “All I could hear while we ran was gunshots, even if they were not firing.” 

            “Yeah, that’s great.  Where is Victor?”  Nikki cried.  “Where is he?”

            “Mother, calm down,” Victoria soothed her.  “He knows what he is doing.” 

            “Nicholas,” Sharon confided to Nick.  “I am really scared.”

            “Baby, we’ll get through this.  I don’t know how, but we will.  I promise.”  And the banging on the door started again.  Nick came to the door. 

            “Mr. Silva!”

             Sharon couldn’t believe it.  “John Silva?”  She asked the armchair.  It didn’t respond. 

            “Quick, let me in, Nick.”  Nick opened the door wide, and took the chance to look for his father.         

            “Close the door,” the lawyer prodded him.  When Nick shut the door, everyone took the chance to take a good long look at John.  He had gained a lot of weight. 

            Then, he took a baby out from his jacket. 

            “Wh--who is that?”  Victoria asked, coming over to Nicholas’s side. 

            “You are all waiting for an explanation.  Well, this is Craig--”

            “Wait, before we get explanations,” Mac said.  “Mr. Silva--”

            “John,” he corrected her.

            “John,” she said, trying it on for size, “um, why are you here?”

            “Well, since we are all together, I guess I’ll say it.  I was on a date--this is my date’s child, and the lights went out and someone asked where you and--Billy-- were.  I refused and he began chasing me in the dark.  I was holding Craig and I ran from there.  He chased me and I managed to find my way here since this is in the center of town.  I lost him.  He doesn’t know I am here.”

            “He knows we are here,” Mac said.  “More importantly, he knows I am here.” 

            “What?”  He looked at her, puzzled.  Mac gave a humorous glance to Billy, who had a small smile at the corner of his lips.  “Alright, John, sit down.  Do I have a really bad story for you.”  Being that everyone was standing now, Billy took advantage of the armchair’s freedom and patted the cushion next to him for John.  Nikki put her arm around Mac’s frail shoulders and looked around.  The family waited as Billy patiently told John the whole story again.  Victoria took the child from John’s arms and held it in her arms.  She could still remember the baby that she had lost.  The many babies she could have had. 

            “Hey, sis.”  Nick had come over to her, his hand now supportably on her shoulder.  “It’s okay.”  Victoria affirmably put her head on his shoulder and looked at the 2-year old.   

            Like a broken record, Mac thought, listening to her boyfriend tell the sordid story of her life, which was all coming to a head.  She wiped tears from her eyes.  What would come next?  Who else would Ralph terrorize to get a taste of her?  That was what he was after.  He would kill her baby to have sexual intercourse with her.  She got some relief by thinking about her health classes, which had emphasized the fact that rape was not about sex, but about power.  Somehow, right now, she wasn’t so sure.  Maybe he needed power foreclosure. 

            “He isn’t going to stop,” Mac told Nikki, staring at Billy’s mouth move in rapid, wide spurts as he told the story.  “He won’t until he has me.” 

            “Oh honey.”  Mac’s pretty face dissolved into tears again.  And the woman hugged her again.  Mac retracted from the squeeze and looked at Nikki, face to face.  “I know that you are really worried about Mr. Newman.”

            “Yes.”  She admitted.  “Very much.  He has been gone about 20 minutes or so.  Or maybe it just seems that way.”

            “Well, as everyone says, he is Victor Newman.”  Nikki tittered as Mac went on.  “He’ll pull through whatever he is doing out there.” 

            “Alright.”  Billy stood up.  “John is going to tell us who Craig is.” 

            “This is the son of my girlfriend, Renee.  She was raped by a man, with Craig as the product of the rape, in an alley, and she had me prosecute him.  She identified him in a lineup.  One and a half years later, we met up again.”

            “Are you guys serious?”  Sharon asked.

            “Yes.”  Silva said, looking over at Sharon.  “Yes, we are.  Very much.”

            “What happened?”  Mac asked.      

            “Excuse me?”

            “What happened with the case?”

            “Well, the guy got 10 years in jail, which is barely enough, but at least he got time.  Sometimes, the legal system does not work out the way that I want it to.”

            “If the legal system worked for me,” Mac said, coming back over to Billy and sitting on his lap, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.  I so sorry for this you guys.”

            “Mackenzie, it isn’t your fault,” John said.  “We don’t blame you.” 

            “That’s right honey.”  Sharon came over and tousled her hair.  “You are a good kid. Everyone in Genoa City knows that you did nothing to bring this on.”  Mac nodded.  And they all listened to the pattering of rain again.  Nikki went over to the window and pondered the direction of raindrops as they hit the patterned windowpane, making it a blurry picture of damp nature and soured, old benches.      

            “So, wait.”  Billy was puzzled.  “Why did he go to you?  You barely know Mac.”

            “Well, my guess is that he did some checking up on your family and saw that I, John Silva, was one of your lawyers.” 

            “Does anyone have a cell phone?”  Victoria asked. 

            “Why?”  Nick was clueless.  “I don’t have one.”

            “Oh come on.”  Victoria put her hands on her hips.  “This is the twenty first century.  Every goddamned person has a cell phone.”

            “I know we don’t.”  Nikki said. 

            “Well you are cursed as well,” Victoria muttered.  “Try the gosh darned phone again.” 

            “Okay,” Nikki gave in.  “But I doubt it is working.”  She picked it up and the dead tone sounded in her ears again.  “Nothing.”

            “Nothing.”  Billy ran his fingers through his wavy hair and looked at the participants of his nightmare.  “Nothing.”

            “Well, here is my assumption.”  Vikki came to the center of the room, so that it was like a half moon of people with a star in the middle.  “We were involuntary victims.  I am not blaming you guys, but that is the truth.  John Silva is only related.  Look, Mom, you might have been next because you are friends with Katherine Chancellor, right?”

            “Oh God, Grandma.”  Mac put her hand to her mouth, worry washing over her body.  She put the other hand on her stomach.

            “Mac--” Billy started.

            “Billy, I don’t want anything to happen to her.”

            “Mac, if he is doing something, there is nothing we can do,” Victoria said, making her seem like she was the only one in charge.  “So, who else knows your family, or who else is in your family?  Because he could be looking into the whole goddamned town.”

            “Well, there is my dad, grandma, Esther, Jill.”  Mac pursed her lips.  “Um. . . my dad is always out of the country so he is not really friends with anyone here. . . Esther has her group of ladies.”

            “Mac, that is too far-fetched, even for Ralph.”

            “Is it Billy?”  The two faced off.

            “I don’t know.  Maybe not.”

            “Okay, I am with Billy on this one.”  Nick jumped in.  “I know Esther.  I know she is Mrs. Chancellor’s maid and Ralph would not get in touch with her friends.”

            “I agree,” Sharon nodded. 

            From upstairs, the gang could overhear Cassie explaining a few complicated concepts to Noah. 

            “Okay.”  Mac said.  “Next, my grandma.  She knows a lot of people. . . practically everyone in Genoa City.”

            “We are all tied together.  I just realized that.”

            “Huh?”  Sharon asked.

            “Everyone can be connected to somebody.  This is a small town.  Those things happen.”  Nikki said, looking as if she had discovered the cure for AIDS.  “And--well, I don’t know.  Where is Victor?” 

            “Mom, I know Dad.  He doesn’t have a bad head on his shoulders.”  Nick said, now holding Sharon in front of him.

            “Yeah,” Victoria chimed in.  They stood around silently, each knowing that Vikki’s and Nick’s reassurances were not accurate.  Victor could be dead somewhere, Mac thought.  He could be lying in the woods, blood seeping from a wound to his side, his breaths ragged.  Saying his last prayers to his wife, family.  Possibly, he was pleading for one last chance at life. 

            “He’s alright Mac.”  Billy said, reading her thoughts.  She gave him a wry smile and put both hands on her stomach. 

            Then, sound exploded, scaring Billy out of his mind.  Mac jumped and Vikki screamed, and the men all held tighter to their loved ones. 

            “It--it’s music,” Sharon said, shocked by the recent events. 

            “Music.”  John asked.  He still could not believe it.  Heads turned nervously all around, searching for a record player.  Ominous, low music hummed.

This is one of the good times when

When his brains lies on the pavement

With a broken bone in his hand

And another in his back

 

Do you feel alright

Oi oi oi

Someone's gonna die tonight

Oi oi oi

Do you feel alright

Oi oi oi

The boys are out tonight

 

Was it something that he said

??

With a broken bone in his hand

He will never understand

 

            “Mom,” Nick said.  “The only place we have a record player is that small thing, in the corner, by the potted plant.”  No one dared to look.  The lyrics buzzed in their heads like a bad migraine that refused to dilute itself by medicinal remedies.  And the rain began coming down in more intense marble sheets. 

            “Did someone turn on the record player?”  Nikki asked, her eyes darting like a nervous fly. 

            “Of course not, Mom,” Nick replied.  He looked over at the record player, and shifted his position to get a better look.  “Oh my God.” 

            “What is it, Nicholas?”  Sharon asked, her voice as shrill as a siren. 

            “The fucking player isn’t even plugged in!”  Nick said in a slow, connected, sinister tone.  He swallowed the lump in his throat, along with others.  Victoria slowly gave the baby over to John and stared over at her brother, hoping that he was going mad.  That would be a better explanation than the fact that a psychopathic molester had gotten into their house.   

            BLAM.  Mac jumped and her breath caught in her throat.  “Oh God.”  And she whimpered, and Billy, sick with worry, grabbed her around her back and pulled her to him like a rag doll, and kissed the top of her head.  Her muscles slightly relaxed from his desperate touch. 

            Even Victoria was losing her calm exterior.  Her hands trembled against her chino clad thighs and her berry-lined mouth trembled in short and separated bursts. 

            “I hope Cassie didn’t hear that,” Sharon muttered.  Nikki came over to her and put a hand on her shoulder and Sharon took it, grateful for the support. 

            “I am sure she didn’t,” Nikki muttered to Sharon.  Billy began murmuring soft nothings to Mac and John and the others began participating in nervous discussion.

            Nick was still looking at the player.  Miguel, who had been rather dormant for the past few minutes, inconspicuously running up and down the stairs with Cassie and Noah playing upstairs, decided to help out the adults.  He began acting like a sloth and strode over to Nick’s side.  By that time, Nick was bent over the player, but his eyes were focused away from the player.  Miguel understood as his eyes fell on a small, modern tape player.  “Do you see it?”  He asked, almost shoulder to shoulder with Nick.  In a rare bonding moment, the two men exchanged quick fearful glances.  The ‘play’ button on the tape player was pressed and blank tape rolled.  Nick moved his head so that he was ear to ear with the man. 

            “The bastard got inside,” Nick said.  “He couldn’t have done this without getting inside.” 

            “I am afraid to ask, but when did he get inside?”

            “We have all been in here the whole time.  We would have noticed something,” Nick told the butler.  Both men both had the same chilling thought: was someone in this very room involved?  As if the situation had dredged up a buried psychic connection between the two old friends, both looked at each other again and shook their heads.  “No,” they both muttered at the same time, dismissing the idea.  Nick once again replayed the dark song in his head.  He would never forget the words.  He could hear the rain harder now, beating in his ear.  Then, he had a sudden idea, and it excited him, in a way that scared him.  His feelings were almost. . . heroic. 

            “Miguel, do you have any gloves on handy?”

            “Yeah.”  He replied dully.  “I always keep a white pair in my pocket.  You know that, Mr. Newman.”

            “Yeah.  I need them.  Because the police might need this for evidence.”

            “I never would have thought of that.”

            “I do think that we will catch this creep.  So I might as well get prepared.”  And Miguel handed him the thin gloves.”  Nick slipped them on and grabbed the tape player.  “It is just a simple Sony®.  Nothing big.”  But with the gloves on, Miguel immediately realized, Nick had overlooked a very crucial detail--and a sickening one.

            “Mr. Newman, turn the tape player over.  There is something stuck to the back.”  Nick carefully maneuvered the tape in the silky gloves, taking care not to let it slip in the fabric.  Securely taped to the back of it was a female condom.  And pinned to the layers of tape was a torn piece of paper with man’s handwriting. 

(Put in sloppy font)

            ----Use this for our long-awaited time together, Mackenzie.  I am anticipating it--

                                                            --Ralph-- (put in signature font)

            “Oh God.”  Miguel breathed, transfixed on the condom.  Nick’s eyes involuntarily blinked and he stood up along with Miguel, stiff with fear. 

            “He is serious.”  Nick analyzed.  His voice was low, both hands struggling to hold the tape player with the incriminating wish taped on it.  “Bastard.”  Now the words slipped through his mouth like water through a spring.  He felt fear not only for Mackenzie, but for Cassie.  Many thoughts ran though his head, not focusing on either one.  If this man was mad enough to rape or kill a 17-year old, then he wasn’t far off from raping or killing a 12 year old.  “What if Cassie is in danger?”  He confided in Miguel.  “He knows her, he has seen her.”  His voice hardly carried to the butler’s ears. 

            “Mr. Newman, we should be worrying about Mackenzie right now.  I am not an expert, but I do believe that Señorita Mackenzie is his only target.  Cassie is safe.”  Both men stared at the condom again.  “Do you think that we should tell Mackenzie?”

            “She is pregnant,” Nick rationalized.  “I don’t think so.  It would make her more upset, as will it everyone else.  Let’s keep quiet for now.  I don’t want to upset everyone.” 

            “Nicholas, Miguel, what are you two doing back there?”  Sharon had come over by the center cherry wooden table and was peering over, trying to see through their clever disguise of the condom and player.  Nick wittily removed the condom without her seeing.  He also removed the note along with it. 

            “Honey, I found it.”

            “It took you long enough.”

            “You found what?”  Mac came next to Sharon, her hand on her stomach. 

            “Where the music was coming from.”  Nick slipped the condom in a hole in the shelf where the record player lay, along with the note. 

            “And that would be. . .”  Mac asked. 

            “Here.”  Nick came over to her and held up the tape player.  Mac pushed back her hair and took a shuddering breath.  Ralph had put his hands on this, and---

            “How did this get in the house?” 

            “Mac--” Billy began from his place near the stairs, clenching his hands, which both had slight traces of dried blood, stinging from the saliva he had spread on the wounds to masquerade them.  “If he was in the house, it wasn’t for very long.  We would have noticed.”

            “But he did get in,” Victoria reasoned, trying to understand the situation.  The atmosphere had switched from edgy to fearsome in less than a minute.  Nikki was now isolated on the couch, preoccupied about her husband.  Her fears lay only in Victor’s safety.  She recollected the fact that the guards were dead, possibly only wounded. She feared the worst.  Not just for her husband, but for Mackenzie, Billy, and all of them. 

            “Yeah.”  Nick admitted.  “He did.  But how?”

            “Sometime when we were all engaged in discussion, possibly when Victoria was talking,” Billy suggested. 

            “Thanks for blaming me,” Victoria rolled her eyes. 

            “If he got in the house, he could be in the house right now.”  John sat next to Nikki, the baby sleeping in his arms.

            “Too risky, right?”  Mac asked. 

            “Well, he got in, but did he get a chance to get out.”

            “Are you saying inspect the house?”  Billy interrogated him.  “And run the risk of getting slaughtered to death?”

            “Actually, we don’t have to.  If Victor comes back, there is a high chance that the man came back out.  And it may not be Ralph.”  Meanwhile,  Nick pocketed the tape player, his eyes roaming suspiciously. 

Do you feel alright

Oi oi oi

Someone's gonna die tonight

Oi oi oi

Do you feel alright

Oi oi oi

The boys are out tonight

            Billy clung to Mac, who had started crying again.  Sharon could now feel Mackenzie’s pain.  Nick had resisted Sharon’s touch, now in a world of his own, his circle of terror complete.  The player was in his hands.  “I didn’t press it,” he assured them. 

            “Push stop.”  Sharon cried.  She suddenly looked 5 years older.  Nick caught a sideways glimpse at her, worried how this would affect her.  Then, a thump sounded. . . at the door.  Sharon and Victoria screamed and Billy held Mac back as her body flailed forward with fear. 

            “It might be Victor!”  Nikki yelled.  And she rushed to the door, her arms waving like machine levers in front of her, itching to grab her target. 

            “Mom, don’t!”  Nick yelled. 

            It was too late.  Nikki opened the door.  The baby began crying, and Victoria shot a glare at John.  Billy, Nick, and Miguel all got ready to fight if necessary.  All of the Genoa City residents heard Nikki gasp.  In walked Victor.  His hair was laden with dirt, rotten leaves, and green leaves.  His clothing, which consisted of a button down shirt and khaki pants, each had a large spot of dirt on them.  He had a cut on his face. 

            “Victor!” Nikki held out her arms and barely touched him when Nick and Billy ran to shut the door.  Safely in the house, Victor and Nikki adhered to each other, Nikki crying in his shoulder and Victor softly holding her.  Victoria, Nick and Sharon all stood there, looking at him.  Miguel, like a pouncing cat, jogged back up the stairs to watch Cassie and Noah.  Mac was the only one who noticed.  At times she could hear them bouncing on the floorboards, their light weight hardly making any sound.  But Mac would focus on any sound and she would forget the gunshots.  She could still hear them from far away. 

            “Dad, what happened?”  Victoria asked. 

            “Where were you?”  Nick asked, stepping up to his father.  At that close proximity that he was at now, he was able to see why his nickname was ‘The Black Knight’. 

            “My boy.”  Victor walked by the table that was in front of the couch.  Then, he changed his mind and poured himself some water from the table nearby.  “Our guards are dead.  All dead from a gunshot to the chest.  Whoever is doing this either has a state of the art weapon or he is a sharp shooter.”

            “God.”  John whispered.  The baby had ceased crying. 

            “I am certain that there is one man out there.”

            “What did he look like?”  Mac asked.  Victor looked into her eyes.  They were as red as blood, weary from crying, stress and worry.  Her cheeks were still red and her only source of solace, Victor evaluated to himself, was her hands on Billy’s shoulders and her head against his arm.  “Did he have brown hair and a mustache, not overweight?”

            “No.”  Victor spoke gently, purposely missing her eyes, which were focused straight on him.  Victor drank his water slowly, savoring the cool liquid seep down his burnt throat and salty mouth.  The fear spoke to him, he knew.  They both shared the same fear now.  Victor did not know why he had gone out there. Maybe it had been to protect his family, maybe it had been for something else.  He had grown to love Mackenzie, though he had only seen her once, or maybe he had only heard of her, drawing a picture of her in his mind.  And he had liked her.  She seemed seriously dedicated to her work at Jabot.  That was where he had heard of her.  Jabot. 

            Now he knew how she felt.  That man had wanted him dead.  Perhaps now, besides Billy, he was the next best comfort.  He finished the water glass and placed it down.  He turned to face the crowd, never staying in the same place.  “He had dark brown hair, was very tall and thin.”  He stopped, a contorted look on his face. 

            “Victor,” John came to his side, feeling the fear smoking from the man’s body.  “What happened?”

            “I went out.  It is getting dark out, and I had left my glasses here at the ranch.  But I could still see outside and I searched.  For a while it seemed safe.  Then I saw Mike and Roy.”

            “Mike and Roy?”  John asked.

            “Those are the guards,” Nikki said in a soft voice. 

            “They were dead.  And then I heard a shot from behind me.  I began running toward the house.  Then, I ran into that man.  I was told to stay where I was, but instead I ran into the woods.  He tried shooting once, but I was gone already.  I saw your tracks, Billy and Mackenzie.”

            “A lot of them?”  Billy was scared that they had made it easy.  Maybe they should have stayed on the street.

            “No, just the fresh ones.”  Victor mumbled.  “I ran in there and out to fool him.  I succeeded.  But then he found me again.  I began running around the house to evade him.”  Now, he refused to look at anyone, even his wife, realizing that he had become less of a man today.  Less of the man he had been a few years ago, the captain of both Jabot and Newman Enterprises.  No one could know of his pain.  Ever.  Not even Nikki.  He could imagine what his children were starting to think.  Our father is not as brave as we thought.  He was running around the house!  And Nicholas would say, he knew, ‘what a wuss’ to Vikki when this was all over.  No words could describe how scared he had been out there, so close to getting shot all the time.  He wouldn’t be able to convince anyone that someone had overpowered him by a great extent. 

            BLAM

            He could still hear the shots in his head. 

            “Oh my God!”  Victor looked at Sharon, and the whole group was wide eyed, looking at each other, away from each other, through each other.  It hadn’t been a reverie of his horror.  It had been real. 

            Is someone else out there? (Ital)

            “So where were you all this time?”  His wife wondered, massaging his tensed shoulders. 

            “I finally found a good place in the woods to evade the bastard,” he revealed.  “I was there for maybe twenty minutes waiting for him to stop looking for me.”  (Ital) Now I sound like a little boy (/Ital) No one could know.  No one could know how he was thinking now, how he was feeling.  The black knight had been replaced by someone else.  Someone else he had never known.  He guessed there was a little bit of that personality in all of them, but they never tried to show it. 

            “Why hasn’t he started banging at the windows?”  Mac asked.  “Isnt’ that what most psychos do?”  John caught her eyes. 

            “Some are smarter than others.”  He replied.  “I have had cases like this.”

            “In Genoa City?”  Nikki was horrified.

            “No.  I also practice elsewhere in Wisconsin.” 

            “Yeah, yeah, um, what are the cases?”  Billy scratched the back of his neck, something he did when he was nervous. 

            “Well, most criminals of this nature are usual.  They do anything to get in the house, just focus on getting the victim.  But criminals like this. . . these are the dangerous type.”

Not finished...

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |
Part 10 | Part 11

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