Runner Ch. 04byDaniellekitten©
Chance lay staring up at the ceiling in his bedroom. He should be up and going. He had all sorts of things he had to do before he could leave for his retreat in the early hours of pre-dawn. But the thought of getting up, of having to face Maggie again, well, it kept him in his room with the door locked.
"Oh, that's so sweet," he heard her say. Turning his head, he gazed at her with a kind of wary acceptance.
"I'm never going to be rid of you, am I?" he asked, sitting up and letting the covers pool at his waist.
Maggie's eyes ran over his chest and his firmly muscled stomach. "I told you what you needed to do to rid yourself of me, but you refuse to do it." She moved from the wall to the bed, sinking down upon it and reaching out one hand to touch him. Chance shuddered as the sensation of cold fingers moved down his wide chest and over his stomach.
"If you're only a figment of my imagination, how come I can feel you touch me?" he gasped.
"You have a good imagination," Maggie whispered, moving even closer. Her body was cold and naked, looking just like he left it with dirt and blood covering her skin and the huge raw wound in her throat gleaming grossly. "Do you want to see if you can fuck me or not?"
"No!" he gasped, horrified. Pushing back and away from her, he scooted out the other side of the bed, grabbing for his robe to cover his naked body. "The idea of fucking a dead woman is disgusting."
"It didn't bother you after you killed me the first time and made me into one of you," she pointed out, lying back on his bed, staining the pristine sheets with gore. "Why should anything change now?"
Chance glared at her and refused to give her an answer, instead, he went to his dresser and pulled out heavy clothes. Black jeans, a flannel shirt and a tee shirt were pulled from his drawers and tossed onto the chair next to his bed. He grabbed a pair of underwear and a pair of heavy socks before he took off his robe, trying his best to ignore Maggie.
"Oh, come on, doc, you're ruining all my fun." She sighed dramatically, running her hand through her hair and sending a drift of dirt and twigs to the floor.
"You are not here. You're dead, Maggie. Get over it, go on with your death. It's time you let go of life and moved on."
Maggie laughed, a high pitched whine coming through the hole in her throat and making Chance wince. "When do you get this? It's not me that's here, Chance. I'm here because you, for some reason, want me here. I'd love to have moved on. Do you know how upset my parents are? My mom can't stop crying and she is blaming herself. I keep trying to tell her who killed me but she doesn't hear me."
Chance shook his head, dropping his robe and quickly dressing. "I don't want you here, Maggie. I want you gone. I want you to go with the other girls..."
"Oh do you mean like Stacy Rollins?" She grinned, turning her head to look at his bed. Another teenage girl was sitting there, her short blond hair full of dirt, worms and other creatures that fed on decay pushing through her flesh. Her eyes were gone, the sockets full of maggots.
"We were good friends in high school, did you know that doc? Do you remember the day they found her body? I had a session with you that day and I know we discussed it."
Chance glanced at the girl, his mouth pressed into a thin line of annoyance. "Don't you be bringing anyone else into this, Maggie. Having you hang around is already too much."
Maggie waved a hand toward the window and the shade rolled up on its own, a faint ray of the evening sun coming through and touching his foot. He shouted, jumping back, grabbing his foot and blowing out the small fire that burned his bare skin. "Dammit bitch!" He knew he was shouting but he couldn't help himself. He couldn't figure out how a figment of his imagination was doing any of this. "Be more careful."
"Oh, definitely. We wouldn't want you to end up hurt now, would we?" She grinned unrepentedly, moving through the beam of the sun with a sigh. "Well, at least the sun can't hurt me."
"Yeah, but it can kill me." He sat on the bed, pulling on the socks over his injured foot, growling irritably at the pain. "Go away."
"Oh doc, you're becoming a broken record. If you want me gone, come and stand over here with me for a while." She held up her hand, watching the motes of dust float through her flesh. "Wow, that's kind of wild."
He didn't answer her, just reached into his closet and pulled out his hiking boots, sinking back down on the bed to pull them on. He refused to speak to her anymore and she began to hum that same obnoxious song, occasionally singing a snippet of a verse.
He got up, grabbing the bag he'd packed last night and slinging it over his arm. Doing a quick check of the room, he turned from the window and headed out to the main part of his condo. The living room was his favorite room beside his office and he sat down his roll bag on the sofa. He glanced back toward the bedroom door, breathing a sigh of relief that, once more, Maggie seemed to have disappeared.
By the time he finished everything he needed to do before he left; the stars were beginning to shine in the night sky. He grabbed his bag and went down to the garage that was in the basement. He locked up after himself, hitting the button on the garage door opener so that he could back out his heavy duty SUV. Within twenty minutes, he was outside of city limits and speeding his way to the lake where he had his "summer camp."
He was paying little attention, his mind on other things when he realized that he was humming. It was the same damn song that Maggie had been spewing for the past four days and he slammed his hand down on the steering wheel. "Damn bitch," he growled. "I should have hurt you more."
He glanced in his rear view mirror and felt the truck's tires leave the road. Maggie was sitting behind him, slowly running her bloody fingers through her dirty hair.
"Such language," she said softly, giving him a smile and a wink before she disappeared again.
* * * *
Trip carried up the last of the boxes they'd packed and put in his car. He closed the door with his knee and lifted the box to his shoulder. Walking up the cement sidewalk to the front door of his place he heaved a sigh, hearing Wendy's voice and the shouting of Cale and Katie's voices.
He winced when he heard the crash and then Wendy scolding one of her two kids. He followed the voice into the kitchen, setting down the box he'd carried in. "How we doing?" he asked cautiously.
Wendy was bending down to finish sweeping the broken glass into a dustpan, her gaze speaking volumes as she glanced up at him. "Okay, guys. How about we head down to Ling Wah's and pick up dinner?"
"Take out?" Wendy asked hopefully, staring at the boxes that were lined up on the floor, that needed putting away.
"Definitely," Trip said, smiling down at her. "I thought me and these two rugrats could head down and that way you can get some more of this done."
"You are my hero," she said.
The kids raced through the condo, searching for shoes and jackets so they could leave and Trip took those few minutes to pull Wendy into his arms, kissing her softly. "Half an hour, okay?"
"That would be heaven," she breathed, kissing him again. "I should have most of this gone before you get back."
"Don't push yourself. We have plenty of time to get it all done." He kissed her again before hearing the kids come back. They started circling him until he shook his head and they headed out of the house and out to his car.
Wendy breathed a sigh as the kid's noise faded from her hearing. She started back in with the unpacking; repacking anything she didn't want to keep here. She had a lot of it done, boxes broken down to be thrown out, more sturdy boxes being filled to put in the attic until they decided what to do with the stuff. Then her cell phone, sitting on its charger next to the house phone began to buzz and she picked it up irritably.
The number was a restricted one and she hit the button. "Dr. Wendy Merritt."
"Dr. Merritt, I hope I haven't caught you at a bad time."
Wendy stared at the phone for a moment, the voice unfamiliar. "Who is this?"
"Ahh, yes, that's right. We haven't really been introduced. I guess I've talked to Detective Grant enough that I feel I know you."
"That's nice, but who is this?"
The voice on the phone laughed, a very masculine sound. "I'm sorry. I'm Dr. Steeples." He paused, waiting to see if she recognized the name or not.
"Oh, yes, Dr. Steeples. What might I do for you?"
"Actually I was hoping I could do something for you?" He paused and waited for her answer.
"What can you possibly do for me, doctor?" Wendy felt a twinge of irritation and fought to hide it.
"I've recently learned that you and Detective Grant were getting married. I was hoping that as a wedding present to you two I might allow you, as another doctor, to take a look at my files."
Wendy sank down on one of the bar stools, staring out at the kitchen window which now showed little but a reflection of the room she was in. "It's a bit unorthodox, Dr. Steeples. Have you spoken to Detective Grant about this?"
"Uh, no. I was only recently apprised of your change in status. I know Detective Grant hasn't gotten the warrant for my files. I was just trying to help him out."
She was quiet for a moment then sighed. Her gaze moved over the boxes that were still left unpacked. "When did you want to do this?"
"The sooner the better. I have a whole new group of girls that I'm taking up to my camp grounds this weekend and I would be happy to have you meet us up there."
"You'll have to give me time to talk to Trip, to find out when he'll have the chance to come with me."
"Oh, Doctor Merritt, you've got that wrong. I'm willing to share my files with you, not with Detective Grant. He's not a doctor and wouldn't have to follow the same rules and regulations that you and I must. Patient privacy must be guaranteed or I could lose my job and have a malpractice suit on my hands. I hope you can understand that."
"Oh, of course I understand. I am not exactly sure what Trip will have to say about this. I can't not tell him of your offer."
"You can if you want to see those files."
Wendy didn't respond at first and she heard a disgruntled cough on the other end of the phone. "Doc?"
"Yeah, I'm still here," she answered. "I'm thinking. Trip isn't going to like this."
"I'm not doing this to piss off the detective, Doctor Merritt. I just have been feeling guilty about not being able to help him out more and I got this idea. I ask for consults all the time with family doctors and share the files on my patients with them. I thought maybe we could work out some way of explaining this to my patients that wouldn't upset them." He paused and I heard his breathy sigh. "But if you don't think he'd be okay with that, I'll just wait for him to bring back the warrant."
Wendy closed her eyes, trying to decide what she should do. If Trip had been there, she might have been able to figure out what was behind this strange request from Dr. Steeples. But he wasn't here. She made up her mind quickly. "No, Doctor. If you're sure this won't cause you any problems I'd love to get a look at your records and see if those girls had anything else in common."
"Great! Can you come over now?"
"Now?" Wendy felt a thrill of nerves shiver through her. Going their now would have her going on her own without talking to Trip. She wondered if he'd forgive her. "Yes. I'll be there. But I need an address." She reached out and pulled a sheet of paper off the pad near the phone, grabbing a pen out of the small jar of pens and pencils sitting by the phone. She wrote down the address, recognizing it for one of the nicer condos on the other side of town.
"Will you need directions?"
"No. I have a TomTom and shouldn't have any problems. Thank you, Dr. Steeples. Let's hope we can find something." She said goodbye, hanging up the phone and searching for her cell phone. She dumped out her purse, finally finding it under her extra make up bag. She dumped everything back into it and then grabbed her keys off the key board and headed out to her car.
Pushing the speed dial to get hold of Trip, she backed her car out of the garage and down the driveway. His phone rang and rang until his voice mail answered. She listened to his message, cursing softly under her breath. "Trip, honey, you'll never guess who just called me. It was your favorite suspect, Dr. Steeples. He wants to allow me into his files. Since I'm a doctor, he thinks he can use the excuse that I am consulting on his cases. I'm heading to his house now. Call me when you get this. I love you."
She hung up the phone, dropping it into her purse.
* * * *
Maggie sashayed through Dr. Steeples office, plopping herself down on his desk top. She swung her feet, glancing over at Chance, a smile on her face. "Have you figured it out yet?"
"Figured what out?" he snarled in a definitely unfriendly tone.
"What you're planning on doing with Dr. Merritt?" She reached out, touching Chance's hand and laughing when he gasped and pulled away.
"Don't touch me," he growled at her, snapping his teeth in his anger. "Why do you care what I plan to do with Dr. Merritt?"
"I don't, really." She was actually cooing at him. "I just want to make sure that you absolutely want to make her into one of you or one of me. What will Detective Grant do when he finds out that she's missing?"
"He'll go mad with grief. They'll take him off this case." He glared at her angrily. "I just wish I knew how to get rid of you as well."
"You don't want me gone. I've told you many times how to get rid of me and you just refuse to do it."
"I don't want to kill myself," he snarled at her. "I want you gone." He rose from his desk, his eyes narrowing and a slowly turning red. He reached for her, his hands going through her. "Why won't you stay dead?"
"Because you don't want me dead," she said softly. She didn't even duck when his arm slung out, his fist going through her body.
His howl of frustrated rage was loud. And he grabbed his desk chair, throwing it at her and groaning when it went through her as well. "Stay fucking dead and leave me alone!"
"Chance, settle down, you'll give yourself a stroke if you don't." Maggie chuckled as the Vampire growled even louder.
"I'm a Vampire, bitch. You can't kill me."
"No, I can't, so why does it bother you so much that I want to stay here for a while?" She shook her head and he watched as a shower of dirt and leaves cascaded down.
"I killed you. I ripped out your throat."
Maggie laughed, her fingers running over the ruined flesh of her throat. "Yeah, I was there, remember?"
Chance growled again, turning away from her. He left his office and checked his supplies. He had to be ready for Wendy Merritt when she arrived. He rubbed his hands together, the thought of having her at his mercy brightening his mood. He would be rid of the good Detective very soon, and better yet, he'd have him blamed for the murder of Doctor Merritt as well.
"You truly are evil," Maggie said, her derision easily heard. She rolled her eyes at him before she popped out, leaving him alone with his machinations.