tagNovels and NovellasHaunted by the Past Ch. 16

Haunted by the Past Ch. 16


Diana Richards was barely listening to Ed Hood's voice drone on about how they could save each other if only she'd walk away from her husband and come to him. She was fighting the waves of nausea that kept washing over her every time the bastard would intimate that he knew they'd be good together if only she'd give him a chance.

Suddenly, a feeling of calm settled in the pit of her stomach and there was a prickling sensation on the back of her head. She almost gasped aloud when she heard Charles' voice in her head.

I'm here, pretty lady. I'm right behind you. Look down if you can hear me...

Diana almost shook her head...wondering if she was just imagining his voice. Then she heard it again.

Charles concentrated harder and tried again.

Oh, God...please let this work... Diana, I'm right behind you...outside the window. If you can hear me...or just sense me, look down or do something...anything...

If he didn't get a response this time, he would just work his way back to the other side of the dining room window again and try to get Lynda or Barbara's attention.

Charles was about to give up when he saw Diana's head lower to look downward. She gave an almost imperceptible nod. Had she really heard him? He tested it again.

If you're really hearing me... lift your head again...

Her head came back up slowly.

Charles sent her the last of the message, telling her what to do.

She lowered her head again in assent, letting him know that she understood.

He moved to hide just inside the back door of the garage that led onto the patio and waited. He hoped it wouldn't take her long to convince the bastard holding her and her girlfriends hostage that he could try to escape down the hillside.

Ed Hood nearly jumped in surprise again when Diana stood up and turned to him.

"You've been very compassionate with your offer to give me another chance. I've decided you're right... I'm not worthy of Charles Richards. And you may very well be the man that God had chosen to save my soul. So, if your offer still stands, I'm ready to accept it.

"But how will we be able to redeem our souls by sharing our lives together if we can't get away from here? The police aren't just going to let us walk out the front door! I'm not your prisoner any more, but they won't see it that way. So what are we going to do?"

Hood's eyes narrowed at her.

Do you really mean what you're saying? Are you really going to just walk away from your husband and turn your life over to me? I don't know whether to trust you...

She was staring up at him with a very clear expression in her eyes. He saw no fear, no loathing, no recrimination... nor did he see any pretended love. If he had, he would've known the bitch was lying...

I can't possibly hope for that this quickly after what I've been putting you through. But I've only been doing what's best for both of us...

He took her at her word.

"We can still try to escape through the back yard. I know a trail that leads down to the road about a half-mile from here... wait. The police said they'd already found my car and they'd surely be waiting to see if I showed up there again."

Diana made a suggestion.

"We could try to escape down the hillside at the back edge of the yard. It's kind of dense with brush, but I'm sure we could work our way through it. I'm not sure where it leads, but it's away from here and I don't think they'd know where to look for us. It's probably our only chance... What other choice do we have?"

"Diana, what are you saying? Are you really buying into this lunatic's sickness? What is wrong with you?" Lynda Seldon exclaimed after watching the strange exchange between them.

Diana gently put her hand on Hood's gun hand when he swung it toward her best friend in anger.

She stared into his eyes as she said, "It's OK, Lynda. I know what I'm doing. Don't hurt her, Ed. She's just confused. She'll understand later why I have to do this. Come on, let's leave now, before the police get too curious and try to find out what's going on... OK?"

Hood gestured with his gun and said to them, "All of you get up. You're coming outside with us. I can't have any of you go running out the front door to tell the police what we're up to."

He motioned for all of them to move to the sliding door. He opened it and gestured for them to go out. He moved them as a group to the outer edge of the patio and told them to stay there.

Hood put his gun to Diana's right temple and wrapped his left arm around her waist. He started to move them slowly backward across the yard to the hillside.

"Ed, you don't need to keep the gun on me... I'm coming with you willingly," Diana said nervously.

"I know that, my dear. This is for their benefit... so they won't try anything foolish. If they make a move, I will have to shoot you—even though I don't really want to. So you better hope your friends really care about you."

Lynda, Barbara and Dawn didn't move a muscle.

Hood stopped moving about halfway across the yard. His gaze was drawn to his left when he saw Charles Richards emerge from the side garage door onto the patio and walk toward the yard.

"Where do you think you're going with my wife?"

Charles kept his right hand holding his cocked gun hidden behind his thigh.

Hood casually threw at him, "Hey, buddy, I'm doin' you a favor. She's no good for you. She was only going to drag your soul into the depths of hell with hers because of her sinfulness. I'm the one who was sent to redeem her... she's MY soul mate... not yours."

Charles brought his gun up and aimed it right at Diana.

"Well, if she's so sinful, then maybe we ought to just kill her right now! What do you say?"

John Wayne's nerves nearly went into panic mode. What the fuck are you doing, Richards? OK, OK... you're just trying to distract him... There's got to be some way I can help...

Diana's dream from a couple weeks before suddenly popped into her head. Charles with his gun aimed right at her and a man's arm wrapped around her body. The only thing that hadn't happened yet was...

"EDWARD HOOD!!!" The big man's voice boomed from somewhere to the right of them.

The strain of the last few hours, the eerie reality of being mentally connected to Charles and then seeing her dream play out in real life were too much for Diana. Her brain shut down. As she went limp and faded into blackness and silence, a loud gunshot rang out from all around her.

When Ed heard his name called from the edge of the woods, he jerked his head and his gun hand in that direction as Diana limply sagged out of his grasp.

All six men had their guns trained on Ed Hood. As soon as Diana hit the ground, six shots rang out almost simultaneously. Hood fell just behind Diana. He was dead before he hit the ground.

Charles raced to Diana and sunk onto his knees beside her. He lifted her up to him as he hugged her and patted her cheeks with his left hand, his gun still tightly clutched in his right hand.

"Diana...Diana...wake up, pretty lady. It's over now. Diana, can you hear me?"

"Are you speaking out loud or are you inside my head again?" She asked weakly.

She slowly opened her eyes and looked up to see Charles grinning at her. "How did you do that, my love? How did you speak directly to my brain?"

Charles replied, "You spoke to me first, pretty lady. I heard you scream my name twice and I could feel your fear. It was the big man who suggested I try to speak back to you."

Charles looked up to see Wayne, Ward Bond and all their friends standing around them.

Wayne looked at Charles and inclined his head solemnly.

Ward put his hand on his shoulder. "We'll be taking off now. We were never here... right?"

Charles looked at them and inclined his head toward them just as solemnly.

Ward Bond and John Wayne looked at each of the other men and received the same silent nod of respect and thanks.

Then they disappeared back through the trail in the woods that would take them closest to their vehicles.

They drove off into the night knowing that they'd aided in seeing that justice was done. The young woman they both cared about and admired... and loved... finally had a real chance at happiness with her true soul mate.

John Wayne sighed heavily. I'll always love you, little girl... But there is no doubt that you belong with him...

Witnessing the extraordinary connection they had shared through this potentially tragic event had proved that. They must share an extraordinary love...

He sighed again. I wish I could feel that much of a connection with Pilar...


The couples were all holding each other tightly on the patio.

They heard loud banging and the sounds of voices shouting toward the front of the house. Then they heard the sound of the front door being thrown open and a number of police officers moving throughout the house. The police finally found them out on the patio.

Detective Thompson came storming out the sliding door from the dining room.

"What the hell is going on here? What are you men doing out here and how the hell did you get by us? Do you realize how much trouble you're all in when Captain Nelson finds out what's happened?"

About that time, Captain Nelson of the L.A.P.D. and Assistant Director Peter Woods of the FBI came through the doors.

Woods looked at Charles and Tom. "Agents Richards and Seldon, give us a rundown on the incident."

Tom and Charles explained their plan and how it had played out, minus the involvement of the backup team and how Charles and Diana had communicated telepathically. Who would've believed it anyhow?

When they were done, they indicated toward Hood's dead body in the middle of the backyard.

Captain Nelson looked at Peter Woods. "My thanks to you and your agents for taking care of the situation. I don't think we'll need any further debriefing here. We'll get the coroner out here as soon as possible and take care of removing the perp's body. We hope you folks will still be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. I'll get my officers rounded up as quickly as possible and be out of your way as soon as we can!"

Captain Nelson dragged a sputtering Detective Thompson back through the house and out the front door.

In less than an hour, they had moved Hood's body from the back yard, through the garage and out to the coroner's vehicle to be transported to the morgue.

After everyone else had left, the men told Peter Woods the whole story. They said how grateful they were to Ward and Wayne for their assistance, but they had sworn to keep their involvement a secret.

Woods agreed and also told them that the agents he had brought with him that evening would be filing the incident report in their names. Woods and Captain Nelson had already agreed that all of their names would be kept out of the official reports.

Tom and Lynda suggested that they move Thanksgiving dinner to their house.

Diana immediately spoke up.

"But tomorrow will be a happy day with all of us gathering to give thanks for our blessings. I can't think of a better way to help chase away any lingering bad memories than to create even better ones. Please say you will all be here tomorrow and help us to rid our house of unhappy memories!"

Everyone assured her they would be there.


That night, Lynda held Tom and cried quietly with him.

"Oh, God, Lynda... I was so afraid I was about to lose another wife and child... I don't know what I would've done if I'd lost you!"

His arms tightened around her as a couple silent sobs wracked his body. The pain he'd experienced when Yakira and their unborn baby were killed over 11 years ago coursed through his memory.

She wrapped herself around him and held him as tightly as she could.

"It's OK, darling. I wasn't in that much danger. That bastard was only after Diana. I was more scared for her than I was for myself. I don't think he would've harmed me or Barbara or Dawn. But I'm pretty sure he would've killed Diana. Thank you, my darling, for helping to rescue us and save my best friend's life!"

She kissed his lips softly as he stopped crying. Then she wiped his tears away and kissed him more deeply. The fear and sadness in his eyes were being replaced by love and desire. She kissed him passionately, caressed his body and stroked him to full arousal.

He entered her body slowly and tenderly as she wrapped herself completely around him. She stared into his eyes. "Welcome home, Agent Seldon..."

She made love to him until his fear was completely gone—replaced by his addictive need to feed her addiction for his body... his heart... and his soul...


Detective Jonathan North apologized to his wife Barbara for not having really understood her fears. She already knew what it was like to lose a husband in the line of duty.

He held her tightly to him as they lay in bed. "I've never been in this position before... fearing for the life of someone I love more than life itself... I finally understand the pain you risked to your heart and soul in allowing yourself to love me... I'll never doubt your love for me again!"

Tears leaked from the corners of his dark green eyes. Barbara kissed them away.

"Oh, Jon... I wish it hadn't taken something like this to make you realize how much I love you! Now you understand why I'm as anxious as you are to have a baby together. If anything happens to either one of us, we'd have a precious reminder of our love to see us through. Love me, darling. I want us to be forever joined through our child."

Jon felt the complete joining of their hearts and souls as he held her and kissed her tenderly. He joined their bodies and made love to her as they both prayed silently for a child...

Their prayers were about to be answered...


Dawn's optimistic outlook on life had been shaken recently. Running into Bobby Joe Hutchins in Vegas the month before had scared her even worse than the last time she'd seen him because he had threatened Rick.

And this incident with Ed Hood... seeing firsthand what a sick, twisted and violent man he was beneath that shy façade he'd first presented the night he'd introduced himself to Diana. Dawn realized how easy it was to misjudge a man's character.

She'd almost misjudged Rick's character when he'd told her about his past the first night they were together. He'd admitted to being a Latin Lothario and Dawn had hesitated giving her heart to him... but that wasn't who he was any more.

He was her devoted husband... her best friend... her soul mate... her guardian angel... her fiery, Latin lover...

Rick had known his angel would be safe. His strong faith in their love had told him she wasn't in danger. But he had worried for Diana and Charles. Now that he knew his wife and all their friends were safe again, he was free to concentrate on his desire for his beautiful angel.

His shift for the past week had kept him from his wife most of the time. They hadn't made love in four days and he was about to go insane. Dawn had been startled when he'd pushed her onto their bed, raised her nightgown and ripped her panties away. But she'd seen the need in his eyes so she laid back and pulled him to her. He took her desperately that first time...

And they both knew she was supposedly fertile at the moment... Rick and Dawn Estevez didn't say a word. They spent hours reveling in the hellish flames of their passionate heaven. Rick tried to put out the fire several times. And neither one of them worried that she would likely get pregnant...


Charles and Diana didn't say a word, either. The only sounds heard in their house the rest of that night were their soft sighs of love and their loud moans of pleasure. But they saw, felt and heard everything each of them needed to communicate.

Even when their bodies weren't connected, their hearts, souls—and minds—were...

They made love as many times as they could until sheer exhaustion forced them to sleep. Both of them prayed silently the entire time for God to give them a child.

She was drifting off to sleep in his arms. I just know I won't get pregnant...

She tried to push her disappointment away. She felt his arms tighten around her. Just before she fell asleep, she thought she heard him whisper...

Charles frowned as he sighed deeply and closed his eyes. He felt her disappointment as he was drifting off... It's OK, pretty lady. We'll just keep trying until it happens...


Thanksgiving Day 1956 turned into a very happy occasion for Charles and Diana Richards. All of their friends showed up by early afternoon so everyone could help with the meal preparation. The previous evening's planned preparations had been somewhat interrupted.

Even though it had been a horrible incident, everyone concentrated on the miraculous outcome.

They all sat around the dining room table that had been the scene of a nightmare less than 24 hours before. The women could hardly recall the fear they had experienced as they looked into the faces of their best friends and their loving husbands.

They bowed their heads as they each gave thanks to God for their blessings over the past year...

For meeting new friends who we trust with our lives...

For the generosity, caring and compassion of a couple famous friends...

For surviving the worst situations anyone could face...

For the miracle of seeing that even out of the worst tragedies, good things can happen...

For our chances at happiness in finding the loves of our lives...our true soul mates...


The next day, Captain Henry Nelson received the coroner's report on Edward Hood's body, a copy of which had been forwarded to Assistant Director Peter Woods of the FBI. The report noted that the body had six bullet holes in various areas on the front and back of the torso and head, indicating that the shots had come from six different directions.

The bullets had been collected and sent to ballistics for testing and matching. A few days later, they received the report from ballistics indicating that each of the six bullets came from different guns.

Captain Nelson and Director Woods made sure those reports were lost, as well as the copies kept in the files at the coroner's office and the ballistics lab.

No one questioned it.

Edward Hood had been killed in the commission of a crime; it didn't matter how or by whom. He was dead...

Justice had been served...


Finally it seemed that Charles and Diana and all of their friends would be able to deal with their haunted pasts. But each of them also realized that the present was still unsettled in many ways.

Life could turn on a dime...

But at least now they knew that they had their friends and their love to get them through whatever chances and choices fate threw at them next...


Should I keep going? Or is everyone totally bored with these characters? I already have the next series almost completed with even more of a storyline involving Charles and Tom's arms smuggling investigation...

You guys let me know if I should continued with "Ghosts of the Past"...

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