Dark Impulse Ch. 08byAurora Black©
He left the French Quarter behind as he fired up his bike and sped off into the night, his mind on Liam's message.
"She needs you." There's no way that it could mean anyone else, with everything that's been going on; my visions and dreams. I guess this confirms my earlier suspicion that Grace knows Anami somehow, but I wish that I knew exactly what the hell's going on. Maybe she'll tell me when I find her.
Gabriel stepped on the gas, and didn't stop until he found himself at his grandmother's house just outside the city. He went up the stairs two at a time before opening the door.
"Gran? I'm back."
There was no answer, and only then did he check his watch. It was 9pm; only an hour had passed since he left St. George's to talk with Liam.
Why does it feel so much later? It feels like a lifetime has passed since then.
Gabriel went further into the house, heading straight for the phone. The answering machine was flashing; there was a message waiting to be heard. He pressed the "Play" button, and Mosely's voice filled the air.
"Gabriel, it's Mosely. Sorry that I haven't been able to call this week, but I've been up to my eyeballs in paperwork and this is the first chance I've had to break away. Call me at home as soon as you hear this, okay? I have some info for you."
He picked up the phone and called Mosely's apartment in D.C.
Gabriel's voice was both eager and anxious. "Tell me."
"Nice to hear from you too, Bud."
Gabriel clenched his teeth in frustration.
"Mose, I'm not in the mood. I need to know what you've found."
Mosely cleared his throat. "All right, then. So far, all I've been able to find on Grace involves her studies at Yale and beyond. There wasn't anything on file to let us know what she was up to after RLC, but I checked the records at Yale and found out that she went back to school in '97 to finish her education. She graduated with honors two years ago with a double doctorate; History and Art. In the fall of that year, she began work as an Art History professor at Columbia and she works there to this day, specializing in the Italian Renaissance."
Gabriel was silent for a long moment, unable to speak from the feeling of overwhelming pride that he felt for her. His vision blurred, and he blinked hard.
She finally did what she had always wanted to do. Good for her.
He snapped out of his thoughts and returned his attention to Mosely.
"Did you find out anything about a husband?"
The words came out as a choked whisper, and he held his breath as he waited for an answer.
Mosely cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable with the subject.
"I haven't found any record of a marriage, but I've only been able to check the marriages that have happened on US soil. I'm trying to get into the International records, but I don't know if I'll be able to wade through the red tape anytime soon."
Gabriel exhaled hard into the phone, his mind echoing from Mosely's first words; that there was no record of a marriage. He chose to ignore the rest.
No record, no marriage. She's not married. Thank God.
He was greatly relieved, and it was obvious in his voice as he spoke again.
"Do you have an address for me, Mose? A phone number?"
Mosely sighed, realizing that Gabriel was getting his hopes up too high, too soon, and that he was setting himself up for a hard fall. He himself doubted very much that Grace was still single. He believed that any woman that beautiful and intelligent would have been snatched up long before now. He tried to speak around the lump that had formed in his throat. He loved her, too.
"I searched the faculty records of Columbia, and I have an address for you to try. The San Remo apartment building, 145 Central Park West, between 74th and 75th Streets."
Gabriel fumbled around beside the telephone to find a pen and paper, and quickly scribbled down the address. He wanted to scream from the rooftops, he was so happy. An idea came to mind; he remembered the book that he'd brought from Rittersberg for Grace, and he grinned like a Cheshire cat into the phone.
"You are amazing, Mose! Thank you so much! Keep digging around for information on Anami, all right? Someone who works for him approached me at the shop tonight, and he asked me to come to New York and take their case."
On the other end of the line, Mosely sat upright in his chair.
"What? What the hell do they want with you?"
"I'm not entirely sure. The guy, Liam Kilpatrick, told me only so much information. Apparently I have to accept their proposal before I can find out more."
Mosely tried to remember where he'd heard the name before, and then it came to him. "Kilpatrick. He's Anami's right-hand man, I think. What's the case supposed to be about, anyway?"
Gabriel felt a chill go through him again as he said the word. Mosely felt it too.
"Holy shit! Who's possessed and by what, Knight?"
"Now that, my good friend, is what I don't know yet. But I'm going to find out."
Mosely ran a shaky hand through his thinning hair.
"Don't tell me that you're actually considering accepting the assignment, Gabriel. Listen, as of now all of the departments are running scared where this guy Anami is concerned, Langley included. He's very rich, powerful and well-connected, and this makes him virtually untouchable by the law. If you go through with this, you'll be going directly into the lion's den. I may not be able to help you there. You understand me, Bud? Anami may not be a suspect according to the Agency or the FBI, but I'm sure as hell worried about him bringing you into his organization. I feel weird about this whole thing, like there's some serious shit going down and I..."
Gabriel listened as Mosely trailed off, and he took a deep breath.
"I know, Mose. I'll be careful, okay? There's one more thing that I forgot to mention. Kilpatrick gave me his business card before he left, and it had a written message on the back. When I read the message, I knew that I must join them and see where this goes."
"What did it say?"
"It said, 'She needs you.' It's got to be about Grace. I've got to accept, Mose."
"Whoa, whoa. Hold on. What makes you think that he meant Grace?"
"Because when I had that episode last week at the airport, I saw a connection between Grace and Anami. If this is true, then it makes sense that Liam would send me word of her in order to pull me in. It's definitely working."
Mosely grew uneasy. "What kind of connection?"
Gabriel lightly bit his lower lip. "I wish I knew."
Gabriel grimaced. "God, Mose! He's old enough to be her father!"
"He's a billionaire who looks very good for his age."
Gabriel felt his stomach drop at Mosely's words. He didn't like the picture that Mosely was painting for him of Grace's character.
She's not like that. She'd never do anything like that.
"What the hell are you trying to say, damn it? We know her. She'd never hook up with a guy because he has money. What's wrong with you tonight?"
Mosely hated himself for what he was saying, but he couldn't help the thoughts that were racing through his mind. He felt like the bully on the beach who kicks down other kids' sandcastles, but he couldn't stand to watch his friend chasing after what may be a lost cause. But that wasn't the only reason why he felt compelled to turn his pal away from his plans. He knew that it was unfair, but something within him didn't want Gabriel to find Grace and be with her while he himself could not.
"Correction, Bud. We KNEW her. We haven't seen her for over five years. Things change, people change. Think about it."
Gabriel squeezed his eyes shut, silently counting to ten before speaking.
"Thanks for your help, Mose. Call me again when you've found something on Anami, okay? We'll keep in touch."
He hung up the phone, cutting Mosely off in mid-protest. The house was silent, and he released a grunt of pent up anger as his friend's so-called warnings.
I don't give a damn what he says. I need to see how she is with my own eyes, and I obviously need to be in the same city with her to do that.
Gabriel walked up the stairs towards his old room, where he'd been staying the past week. He reached for his duffel bag and pulled out the book that he'd brought to give to Grace. He looked it over, stroking it lovingly with his hands. It was a first-edition volume of Wuthering Heights, from when it was published in 1847.
He reached for a piece of stationery paper and a pen, and with a smile he wrote a brief note before folding it up and placing it beside the book. After he finished, he returned downstairs with the book in hand and left the house.
He rode back into the city, hoping to find a courier service that was still open at 9:30 on a Friday night. When he found one, he couldn't believe his luck. Within minutes, the book was carefully packed and was set to be delivered by late the next morning. Once he was outside again, he looked into the night sky.
I hope that the book finds you well. I hope that I will find you well.
* * *
The light had blinded him. As hard as he tried, he couldn't see her face.
"Gabriel, I need you."
He raised his arm to shield his eyes, and at last he could detect shapes in the distance. He was away from the claustrophobic atmosphere of the cave, but outside he felt the freezing wind against his bare skin and ice beneath his feet.
Where am I? Where is Grace?
Gabriel lowered his arm, and he waited for his vision to adjust to the new surroundings. He shivered from head to toe, and he was shocked to feel the wintry caress of snowflakes on his naked form.
He could barely hear her whisper over the howling wind, and his eyes darted around in search of the sound's source. He forced himself to place one foot before the other, to move despite the overwhelming urge to sleep.
"Please, help us."
Gabriel couldn't see more than a foot in front of him; he stumbled along, not knowing where he was or how to get where he needed to go. The cold was severely sapping away his strength, and he could feel his body shutting down.
Gracie, where are you?
"I don't know how much longer I can hold on, Gabriel. I don't know how much more I can take before..."
Gabriel's labored breath wheezed in and out of his chest, and he could go no further. He swayed on his feet, falling to his knees on the frozen water on which he had walked. He looked up into the sky and saw everything around him begin to spin; the gray sky, the dead trees and the towering buildings above became a jumbled kaleidoscope that caused his mind to collapse.
He was dimly aware of the impact that his head made on the solid ice beneath him. He was lying face down on the frozen lake, but he felt no pain as he finally began to succumb to the hypothermia that ravaged his system. He could no longer move his legs as he stared straight ahead, his gaze fixed on the ice before his eyes.
The treacherous wind blew harder, stirring the loose snow beneath Gabriel's head. His eyes fell to the spot where the snowflakes had been, and his heart jumped when he saw a pair of almond-shaped eyes beneath the surface.
It took all his remaining strength to lift a trembling hand to brush away more of the concealing snow, and Gabriel let out a moan of anguish when he saw Grace's frozen, lifeless form revealed.
The cold had taken its toll on him, and the end was at hand. The last thing that Gabriel saw before he lost consciousness forever was the image of her eyes, staring sightlessly at him from the icy abyss.
* * *
"NO!" Gabriel screamed as he woke up from his nightmare, twisting against the bedsheets and shuddering with mingled fear and cold from the dream.
Gran burst into his room, turning on the light.
"Gabriel, it's okay! You were just having a dream, darling. You're safe."
He shook his head continuously from side to side, like a scared child.
"No, no, no..."
Rebecca grabbed his shoulders and vigorously shook him.
"Snap out of it, son!"
Gabriel squeezed his eyes shut, feeling dizzy.
"Stop it, Gran. I'm okay now, thanks."
For a few minutes, the only sounds were of Gabriel's ragged breathing and of crickets outside. He took several deep breaths before opening his eyes again. Gran watched him from beneath lowered lids, her mind racing like a pack of wild horses.
"How bad was it this time?"
Gabriel was surprised at her insight; he hadn't told her about the previous dreams. He exhaled hard and lowered himself against the sheets.
"Horrible." There was no other word to describe it.
Rebecca looked into his eyes. "So are you going to tell me what's going on, now? We never did get the chance to talk about it, since I had to stay at the shop until the festivities were over and you were already asleep when I got home."
He told her everything, omitting nothing. He told her about the New York killing, Anami's suspected involvement and the possibility that Grace may be caught in the middle.
"Are you going to accept the case?"
Gabriel's face was grim. "I have no choice. If I involve myself with the inner workings of this thing, I'll be able to get in touch with her and offer to help."
Gran's eyes were fierce with support as she rose from where she sat at the edge of the bed. She held out her hand for Gabriel to take.
"There's something that you should see, my boy. Come with me."
She led him to the attic, the fateful place where he'd first learned about his family's long hidden secrets. They stopped in front of a large length of cloth.
"What is it, Gran?"
"I have a confession to make, Gabriel. I saw Grace a year ago, when she came to New Orleans to deliver a lecture at Tulane. We spent the day together, and before she left she gave me this."
Rebecca grabbed the edge of the cloth and pulled it away, revealing a framed portrait of Gabriel. He was shocked and touched to the core. He stepped closer, amazed at the level of detail that was put into the painting. It was as if he was standing before a mirror, and he struggled to compose himself.
She watched his reaction, her mood somber. "You're on her mind as well, my dear. Now you go over there and get her out of this mess, and then hopefully you'll both be in a place where you can finally resolve things from there."
When he was finally able to speak, Gabriel's voice was low and determined.
Soon afterwards, Gran left the attic to return to bed. Gabriel continued to observe his portrait, his chest tight with emotion. He peered at the corner of the canvas and saw the initials that were unmistakably hers, "G.N."
I see the love behind each stroke of the brush. What were you thinking when you did this, Gracie? You had to have known that I would see this eventually.
When he finally grew tired of staring into his own artistic reflection, he went downstairs and went straight for the phone. He picked up Kilpatrick's business card and dialed the number.
It was the middle of the night, but Liam's voice sounded crisp and alert when he answered on the second ring. "This is Kilpatrick."
Gabriel's hand tightened on the receiver as he spoke.
"This is Gabriel Knight. Count me in."
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