Mother Earth MysterybyTara_Neale©
He sat up in bed. The tight feeling in his chest warned him that he was not going to like this day. Throwing back the covers, he jumped from the bed. He raced to the bathroom, just to be certain. She could be drying off after all. But instead of a gorgeous naked lover, he was greeted with emptiness that matched that growing in his soul.
Crossing the room to the window, he drew back the curtains. He winced as light filled the room. Cold, harsh light of day. The light that he knew last night would come...would break the spell. But he wanted that spell to continue.
Turning back to the room, he saw it then. The book. The leather journal that he had found in the drawer last night was laying on the table now. His gut screamed at him. He did not want to know what was inside that book. But the profiler knew he had to open it. Had to learn the truth. No matter how painful it was.
He sat at the chair, staring at it for several minutes. Then he willed his fingers to pick it up. Even then for several long moments all he did was hold it. Caress it, just as he had caressed her soft skin last night. Finally, with a deep sigh and heavy heart, he forced himself to open it.
Her handwriting was as beautiful and curvy as she was. His experience in handwriting analysis immediately told him of the pain that those carefully formed letters hid. The first few pages were simple enough. They seemed to be prayers, incantations of sorts to some god...no, goddess. Mother Earth, he recognized. Having studied a plethora of religions, they were not any that he knew that much was certain. They were though ancient, elemental in their simplicity. Their words and use of pentameter were striking. For several minutes he got caught up in them. Studying them, what they revealed about this woman.
Most of the rest of the book was filled with the musings of a woman tormented by a childhood that had been full of both unprecedented freedom and joy and deep loneliness and fear. The words broke his heart for that little girl forced to move just when she began to make friends. Her only real solace had been in the hours she spent roaming the forests, beaches and mountains in whatever town that their caravan of gypsies had landed for that moment.
One thing that stood out to the profiler was the fact that there was no mention of men. Any man. Not her father, not a single word about any male member of their group. Not even a little boy.
Their group seemed to be made up exclusively of women and girls. Just a feminine as the goddess they served. But what happened to the men and boys? Where were they? Obviously there had to be men if there were children. But what became of them. And why only girl children? Did these women never birth sons? A thousand questions, unanswered by this book, raced through Eli's head.
But he forced himself to continue his journey...even though something deep inside of him knew that it was taking him to a place he did not wish to go.
Gaia started to collect the rocks and shells. But then she stopped. What did it matter now? Was it not better to leave them here? Back with the Mother that had given them birth. She had after all only borrowed them for a time. She always knew that they would live far longer than she did...that was the greatness of the goddess, her ever present force that had given and taken life for millions and billions of years.
Before man...men that is thought themselves mightier than all other of her beautiful creations. Without regard for the other life-forces that Mother Earth had brought forth, these powerful men sought to grab, to take for themselves more than their share, more than they could ever use in a thousand life-times...if the great goddess had ever granted such pitiful creatures such a thing. But she did not. She demanded their one measly life in payment for their sins. Sins against her creatures; sins against humanity; sins against Her.
And Gaia was her instrument for delivering that justice. Picking up the phone that lay next to her, she typed in a few letters. Words sufficient to bring her prey to her. Gaia had one final mission...and she would not let Mother down.
Eli forced himself to continue reading. The final pages of this tome twisted his gut in tight knots. The rape. Gaia had been raped by the son of the first man she murdered. This powerful politician had voted against every environmental bill that had come before Congress. His son had been as arrogant in his right to possess her body as his father was in the right of men to do with as they saw fit with the land upon which they lived.
But Gaia had taken her time. She had planned carefully a way to exact revenge. No, not revenge. To this woman, this was justice...and she was judge, jury and executioner.
She had waited and continued to plan. When the show appeared in Washington, a few months later she had perfected her plan. She knew that this man had a reputation with women. His son clearly learned the lesson from the man that sired him.
It had been easy enough for her to use her body to attract the man's attention. The chance to possess a beautiful young star that others coveted was simply too much for the entitled man to pass up. But it was a trap...a trap that cost him his life.
Eli tried to identify with the victim. Tried to remember the pain that this man's death brought to his family. But he failed. In the end, he could only feel that justice had been done...justice that Gaia had delivered.
He willed his eyes back to the words on those pages. Words that he realized now she meant for him. Her confession, a penance of sorts. But it was something else as well, something that Eli hated to admit. It was a suicide note. Death by cop was the outcome that Gaia sought. An outcome that he was determined not to give her.
He knew that he should take this journal straight to his colleagues at Scotland Yard. They would begin a manhunt for Gaia. Send officers to the theater to wait for her. But Eli was not going to play into Gaia's hand. There would be someone waiting at the theater to take her in alright. But not a SWAT team of sorts. He would go there...alone. And somehow he would convince her to turn herself in. He had to.
Gaia followed the instructions in the text. The hotel was nicer even than the one in which she was staying. She knew from her research it was another of Adamovich's holdings along with a soccer team and the Russian oil company that had made him a billionaire.
An oil company that had no regard for the fragile environments in which it operated. Precious species pushed to verge of extinction by the huge, loud machines that brought the oil from deep within its home within Pachamama. His company raped the earth, used people and discarded them like garbage.
But it was time for him to pay. And she was here to make sure that he did.
Eli rushed into the theater, running into the behemoth of a man that had turned him away from backstage
"Is Gaia around?" he asked.
"That is none of your concern. Like I told you last night that badge of yours isn't going to buy you a chance to ogle her, not when you are thousands of miles out of your jurisdiction. I have seen men like you before. Men that use their power to get close to famous people, beautiful women like Gaia."
Eli felt anger course through him. If he had any hope of saving her life, he did not have time for this. "Listen, Thomas. You see this book," he held up the journal and watched as a look of recognition crossed the man's face.
"Where did you get that?" the man growled protectively.
Eli could empathize with the need to protect Gaia. Given all that he had read that morning, she clearly needed protecting. But right now, he needed to protect her from herself.
"That does not matter. Let's just say that Gaia gave it to me herself. I spent the night in her hotel room," he knew that he was playing with fire. It was clear from her journal entries that Gaia used this man's feelings for her. He used that fact now, "There is enough in here to tie you as an accomplice to a dozen murders. So unless you start cooperating now, I will personally see you tried for every single one of them...right alongside her."
The man lunged for him, but Eli stepped to the side, grabbing the man's arm as he did. The man might have fifty pounds or more on Eli, but he knew something far more valuable...how to use a person's mind against him...or her. "Now where is she?" he asked as he twisted the man's arm up higher behind his back.
The man remained silent for a moment. Eli twisted a bit more, but still nothing. Eli's estimation of him rose. Clearly this man was loyal to her, a feeling he could empathize with. "I don't want to hurt her, but she has to turn herself in. You must have known something was up. How could you not put it together? You deliver a note to one that turns up dead it might be a coincidence, but a dozen? You should have come forward."
Eli felt the strength drain from his adversary at his words. "You don't understand. She has been through so much. If you knew what that kid did to her..."
"I do know. I read it all. But right now, I need your help to save her life. She believes that she has one final mission. It says so in here," he said waving the book. "But it doesn't say who. I think you know that. Who did you give that note to last night?"
"Adamovich," he whispered.
Eli released the man's arm. His body weight carried him forward, only his quick reflexes kept him from a nasty fall. As it was he put out his arms just in time to prevent his head from making contact with the floor.
"Where? Where is she to meet him?"
"I don't know. I only deliver the first message. She always includes her cell number and I guess the rest is handled through calls."
"Or texts," Eli said, thinking aloud. He turned and fled, leaving the man lying where he was. He pulled his own phone from his pocket and within moments there was a text from a colleague at the Bureau. It contained the information he sought...the location where Gaia would be meeting her prey. Eli hailed a taxi and headed towards the hotel, hoping he would be in time.
Gaia twisted and turned. It was a blatant seduction meant to entice her prey, lower their defenses. Enthrall them in her web until like the black widow one of Mother's most magnificent creatures, she pounced upon them, sucking their life force from the pitiful shell that was their bodies.
She inched closer to the man as he leaned back against the pillows. The smug, arrogant look on his face disgusted her. She longed to pounce then. To slap that look of entitlement from him.
But like the skilled killer she had become she bided her time. If she made her move too quickly, her prey might escape. Her strength waning as it was would be no match for him...not now. But afterwards...when all men were vulnerable.
Gaia's step faltered as her mind remember the sweet way that Eli had rolled to the side, drawing her protectively to his side. No man had ever done that before. If they rolled away it was because they were done with her. They had gotten what they wanted and now discarded her like trash...just as they did the people that worked for them, the pieces of Mother Earth that they could not use, the creatures that inhabited their oil fields or lived near their plants. These men cared for no one and nothing, not even themselves...or they would have seen the damage that their actions left in their wake.
"Hey, what's up gorgeous? I thought we were going to fuck...and now you're getting all cold and silent on me," the man said as he stared at her.
Gaia looked down at the man. Disgust filled her at his words. Fuck. That was all this beautiful act of creation ever was to men like this. Fucking. It was all about them. Their pleasure. Just as everything else in their lives were about them.
In that moment, Gaia lost it. The years of anger. The humiliation of the rape. The damaged lands that she had seen over and over again on her travels. The harsh chemicals that were pumped into the lands and waters of this world by men like this. Chemicals that were sapping her very life from her day by day, moment by moment.
It all came crashing down upon her. She lunged then, wrapping her hands about his throat just as she had done with the others. "You arrogant bastard. You don't deserve the precious air that Mother Earth gives you. The water she supplies. The food. None of it. You are pitiful, pathetic excuse of man," she spat each word at him. She watched as his eyes bugged out. She squeezed with all her might.
Then she was being pulled off of him. The strong arms that wrapped about her did not feel like bonds. They felt like freedom. True freedom. And in that moment she allowed her spirit to fly free, just as she had flown above the stage so many times before. And then she dropped from her birch above it all, the darkness coming up to greet her.
Eli felt her body go limp in his arms as he heard the man cough. Secure in the knowledge that the man was alive, he turned his attention to Gaia. Scooping her into his arms, he carried her to the couch against the far wall. He knew that she would not want to be anywhere near the man.
Arranging her on the pillows, he checked for a pulse. It was weak, so faint that he could not even count the beats. Her breathing was shallow and slow as well.
Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he dialed for emergency services as the hotel manager that had let him in rushed forward to the man that was his boss. He heard them talking.
"That crazy bitch, she tried to kill me," the man accused. But somehow instead of relief that he had stopped Gaia before she could finish the job, Eli wanted nothing more than to rush across the room and finish the job for her. The arrogance in the man's voice was so infuriating that for a moment he understood how righteous Gaia had felt her mission.
But somehow Eli managed to restrain himself. It seemed like hours even though he knew it was only minutes that he sat on the couch, holding her, caressing her, begging her not to leave him. He did not even care that the men were watching him. He barely noticed when the ambulance crew entered. He clung to her still.
It was the compassionate blue eyes of an older woman, one of the technicians, which finally bore through his pain. Eyes that reminded him of her, Gaia. "You have to let her go. We have to be able to get to her, if we are going to help her. You want us to help her, don't you?" she pleaded.
Her words brought sanity back to Eli. He released her and reluctantly stepped to the side so they could work. He noticed that other technicians were working on the man, examining his minor injuries.
Then Eli was being pulled aside by one of his colleagues with Scotland Yard. As they carried her from the room on the stretcher, Eli was left to explain everything...well, not everything. He crafted careful lies about how her diary had come into his possession. He would not have that one perfect night in his life marred by the prying eyes of anyone.
Eli spent hours, precious hours, answering questions at their headquarters. They had contacted his superiors at the Bureau of course. Another member of his team would be there within hours. The diplomacy had already begun. None of the other murders had taken place in England. The FBI clearly had a greater claim to the prisoner than any assault charge that even a man as powerful as Adamovich might levy.
It was all tedious. All Eli wanted was to rush to her side. Thankfully, his position as a profiler did allow him to make reasonable enquiries about how the 'suspect' was doing. He learned the name of the hospital where she had been taken. She was still unconscious; the doctors were performing a battery of tests to determine why a seemingly healthy woman would just collapse...after attempting to murder one of the most wealthy, powerful men in the world.
By the time that the interrogation, and having been on the other side of it many times Eli knew that was clearly what this was, was over it night. The sun was setting and a deep chill filled the London night. Just as a chill was settling over Eli's soul. Hailing a cab, he gave the driver the address of the hospital where they had taken Gaia.
When he got there it was a quick matter of flashing his badge to a few uninformed nurses. He was ushered into a waiting area and told that one of the doctors would be with him shortly. Looking around the room, he saw a familiar face. The man's shoulders were stooped as he sat with his head in his hands. Eli crossed the room and sat down on the chair next to him.
The man did not look up when he spoke. "It isn't what you think."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not some leech, like those others. In love with a younger woman," he explained.
Eli shrugged, "I never thought it was that simple. There is something about her. Something that makes a man just want to protect her."
He looked up then at Eli. Tears brimmed in eyes that Eli suddenly noticed were a clear blue of the oceans. "I felt the same way about her mother."
"She's your daughter?" Eli breathed the question reverently.
He simply nodded. "I met Crystal when I was nineteen. I was a spoiled rich boy, spending the summer on the Cape before another year of cheating not to fail out of the Ivy League college that my father had bought my way into. I was just like them...those men that she killed."
Eli waited, knowing that this was a story that the man had to tell. That in time it would all come out.
"Crystal was beautiful, but then again I was used to beautiful girls throwing themselves at me. But she was different. She was working as a waitress that summer in one of the fish shacks where me and my friends ate. She would not give me the time of day. My friends took quite a bite out of my hide for that. At first, the challenge was all I saw. But then...well, Gaia is like her mother so I supposed I don't have to tell you how captivating they are."
Eli smiled and nodded his head.
"When it was time for me to go back to college, I wanted to take her with me. But her mother...that bitch was cold...nothing like Crystal or Gaia..."
Eli remembered passages from the Gaia's journals. Disapproving, domineering and cruel were adjectives that he knew fit this woman. Some part of him hated her...blamed her as much as the men themselves for what Gaia had done...what she had become.
"Anyway she refused. Her daughter was too good for the likes of me. Too good for any man. That's how those women thought. It was a cult, pure and simple. And that woman was the high priestess. She brooked no arguments. What she said goes. Crystal packed up with the rest of them, taking to the roads in that damned caravan."
The man sighed and ran his hands throw his dark blond hair. "I went back to college. I tried to forget her. Honest, I did. But a woman like that...is not something a guy forgets. Ever. I left school at the end of the term...and never went back. I made it my mission to find Crystal. But wherever it went I seemed to be just weeks, sometimes even days behind them. I finally found her a couple of years later. One look at Gaia and I knew that little girl was mine. We snuck around for a couple of weeks. I thought I had convinced her to leave her mother and those other crazy bitches. She was supposed to bring Gaia and met me at the bus station one night. But I waited all night and she never showed. When I went to the campsite, they were gone. Just gone. Her mother must have found out...at least that is what I hope happened. The idea that it was all a lie and she was deceiving me, using me, is more than I can bear even now."
"You gave up?" Eli asked.
The man smiled, "Hell, no. You don't give up on a woman like that, boy. But I never got that close again. The old bat made sure of that. A year later though, a woman that I recognized as one of them came up to me. She had gotten too old to carry on with all that traveling. She had found a place she liked and decided to stay. She had something for me she said. It was my son. Crystal had left him behind. For once, she had gone against her mother...for him, for me."