Epiphany

By Kerry Ferguson

Prologue

It was a sweltering summer's night in Trinity, particularly stuffy in doors Gail thought, even with the air conditioning on and all the windows open she couldn't get enough air on her body. Gail Emory was perched comfortably with her legs by her side on her armchair in the living room wearing nothing but a loose, thin strapped, maroon tank top and a tight, pair of denim shorts, and reading a Stephen King novel, when she heard a noise come from the hallway.

"Hello...who's there?" Gail asked curiously, but no answer came.

"Hello" she asked again, reaching for the metal baseball bat she kept under her chair and quietly walked to the phone to call the Sheriff's Station, when suddenly a smooth, calm, southern voice came from behind her...

"You're not gonna hit me with that thing are you Miss Emory? ... assaulting an officer is a crime here in Trinity ma'am, maybe I should take you into my own personal custody"

Gail lowered the bat and sighed "Will that include handcuffs sheriff?" she said in a sweet voice.

"Only if you want them Gail" he replied with a smirk on his face. He put his hands tenderly on her hips and pulled her towards him. Gail could feel how excited he was.

"I think I'll pass" Gail said as she pulled away from his grip and went back to her comfy spot on the chair.

Lucas Buck wore a deep, dark blue, long sleeved shirt with a black vest and pants. Although the humidity was rising Lucas remained untouched by it, while Gail's long, brown, hair was soaked in sweat and clung to her face, neck, and back. How does he do that she? thought, reaching for the clamp to clamp her hair up out of her face.

"So what do you want?" Gail asked curiously as she went back to the position she was in and picked up her book.

"I thought I'd come and see how you are," Lucas said as his eyes wandered upand down her body, paying a considerable amount of attention on her long, lean, sweat soaked legs. He smiled to himself, "I thought you might be a bit restless with the lack of work you've had lately."

"Oh, and you thought you'd come and see if I needed any help keeping myself entertained?" Gail asked seductively as she got back up and moved closer to him, until the front of her shorts were pressed snugly against him, and her lips were an inch from his mouth.

Gail looked deep into Lucas' eyes and put her hands around his waist. Lucas gently caressed Gail's cheek with his hand and, staring into her eyes, let his fingers travel slowly down her neck, past her bra-less chest, down toward the zip of her shorts. As his fingers reached their desired location Gail gave out a low moan.

Lucas began to slowly unzip Gail's shorts and let them drop to the floor. Following her eyes as much as he could Lucas slowly walked round behind her, placed his hands on the side of her hips and brought his mouth to her ear and whispered.

"What do you want Gail?"

Moving his hands lower he repeated softly.

"What do you want?"

Gail could feel his passion, and excitement as he lowered his hands and started to move his fingers softly.

"No!" Gail moaned softly, she could feel her body begin tremor.

"Yes." Lucas whispered with a smile, pulling her closer to him so he could get a better grip. Gail tried to resist, but couldn't. How can something that feels so good be bad?

She leaned back into Lucas who held her tightly to him, with one hand across her stomach and leaving the other free to pleasure her. He began sucking on her neck, making patterns with his tongue on her soft, delicate flesh, then began to kiss it softly.

"More" Gail moaned "Please, just don't stop" she begged in a low, aroused voice.

Lucas' fingers moved faster, harder. He leaned back on an armchair and pulled her tenderly to him, still rubbing and kissing her.

Gail began to breathe louder, and harder.

"Yes!" she shouted, "Yes...yes!"

Lucas' fingers moved even faster.

"Yes!" she screamed.

And with that he sunk his teeth into her neck, blood came gushing out of her as she screamed in agony.

"Lucas!" Gail yelled as she awoke in a sweat, looking around the dark bedroom. Just another dream Gail thought, and sighed

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Gail!" Caleb shouted in a worried voice.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Gail! Are you ok?"

Knock! Knock! Knock!

Gail grabbed her silk night gown and rushed over to the bedroom door and unlocked it.

"I'm fine, Caleb" Gail said. Stroking his face she told him to go back to bed.

"I heard you yelling. I got worried!" Caleb said in a concerned tone.

"It was just a bad dream, that's all. I promise, I'm fine." Gail said with a reassurin smile.

Caleb yawned and hugged his cousin, "Ok cuz, I'll see you in the morning," then headed back to bed.

Gail kissed his cheek and watched as he departed to his room.

"Sweet dreams" Caleb called back to her with a smile and disappeared into his room.

Gail smiled to herself and went back into her room. Why can't I get him out of my head? She thought to herself as she lay back down in her bed. She lay awake for an hour or so thinking about her dream until she drifted off to sleep, unaware of the dark figure standing in the street staring up at her window.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Macy Brown was walking her dog at 6am in the morning. This damn dog, she thought, why do I have to look after it. Stupid dog!

The Cresent park was always completely deserted until about 8am when the children started to walk to school, Macy hated bringing the dog out this early.

"Ok, Timmy. Go do your business" she said as she let the dog off his lead. Macy turned her head to see where the dog was headed when she saw a tall, dark figure standing in front of her.

Macy went to scream but was struck on the head before she had a chance. As she fell to the floor, the last thing she ever saw was the dark figure unbuckling his belt.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was 9am when Gail arose from her room. Caleb was sitting at the dining table in the kitchen, drumming his fingers to a tune on the radio when he saw Gail still in her PJ's.

"You're late" Caleb said with a little grin. It wasn't often Gail did anything for him to tease her about, so he took pleasure in pointing out her mistake today.

"Late?" Gail asked with a yawn.

"I should've been in school 5 minutes ago." Caleb said still grinning.

"Oh my god, what time is it?" Gail said frantically when she noticed the time "I'm so sorry, I must've overslept. Come on, I'll shoot you to school quickly"

Gail picked up her keys and slipping some sandals on. Gail was half way down the path before Caleb had even got out of his chair.

"Ok, Gail, I'll just get my bag" Caleb shouted after her.

When Caleb came outside Gail already had the mustang out of the driveway and parked up waiting for him. Caleb quickly hopped in the car and Gail drove him to school.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lucas Buck stood staring at the 16 year old girl. What a pretty thing he thought to himself, pity she had to go like that...hit over the head with a blunt object and raped.

"Well Sheriff" started Billy Peele "It looks as though the girl had a brain haemorrhage, which was the primary cause of death. The blood trail on the inside of her thigh leads up to her vagina, indicating she was raped. We'll know for sure when the coroner has done an official autopsy."

"Ok boys" Lucas commanded "Let's get her to the hospit..." Lucas eyes slid away from his men to the blood red mustang parking up by the curb.

"Damn!" Lucas cursed, "Ben, handle this will you. I've got some business to attend to."

Ben nodded and turned to the men, "Come on boys, lets get her covered and outta here."

Lucas strolled out of the park towards the figure approaching, he noticed she was wearing a pair of satin blue pj pants and a red, thin strapped top with no bra underneath, her hair was loosely draped over her shoulders and down her back. Lucas smiled, "Good morning Miss Emory, how are you this fine morning?"

Lucas couldn't help but stare at Gail body, she was so beautiful, innocent, not like Selena. Selena was nothing more than pure sex, but Gail was a different story. Gail had alot of potential. He let his smile widen as the flashbacks of Gail and him consumating their deal flowed through his head.

Gail flashed her reporters badge at Lucas. Thank god Caleb had picked up her bag for her, she thought.

"Cut the sweet talk, Lucas, what's going on?" Gail said in a serious, professional voice. She hated it when he mixed business with pleasure, that had never been her way. Gail had made the mistake of getting involved with someone she worked with in the past, but she wouldn't let that bad experience happen to her again!

"Pardon ma'am?" Lucas said in an innocent sarcastic tone, "I don't know what you're talking about...my men and I were just taking a stroll on this beautiful morning"

Gail glanced behind him just in time to see the ambulance leave. She looked back at Lucas and with a smile, "Oh, really? Well if you'll excuse me, sheriff, I'm gonna take a nice "stroll" over to that park." and began to walk past him. As she did Lucas put a hand across her stomach to bring her to a halt and a sudden flash back of her dream came to her.

"Ok, enough games." Lucas said seriously, "This is a crime scene and you're not allowed here."

"Well what crime...murder?" Gail asked intrigued.

"Well, Miss Emory, you're just gonna have to find out with the rest of the little reporters aren't you." Lucas said in a mocking tone, and with that Gail angrily walked away. She was not going to stand there and be mocked by that bastard.

Lucas couldn't help but stare at Gail's thighs and bum as she walked away, he loved getting her riled up. Lucas let his grin widen, he couldn't wait until she came by the station later.

"Ok, boys, we've done what we can here." Lucas turned to them smiling, "Let's get back to the station.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was lunch time and Lucas was on the phone with Curtis Webb, the coroner.

"Yes, Curtis, so the girl had a brain haemorrhage after being hit over the head. Yes..."

Gail quietly walked into Lucas' open office, unnoticed.

"...and blood from her vagina indicates rape." Lucas turned in his chair and noticed Gail listening, "Ok, Curtis, I got it" Lucas said in an exasperated tone. "Well, Miss Emory, so this is how you get the inside scoop, by sneaking up on people?...how much did you hear?"

"Nothing important, so is it true?" Gail asked.

"What?"

Gail sighed and got her note book, "Macy Brown, 16 years old, found murdered in Cresent Park at 8.30am this morning. That's why you wouldn't let me into the park"

"Is that supposed to be a question?" Lucas replied with a smirk, "Or is this just an excuse to discuss other business?"

"I don't know what you're talking about" Gail said getting annoyed with his silly games, "Enough with the games Lucas. How did she die? Was it the same as the other girls? The public has a right to know!"

Lucas' eyes travelled from Gail's eyes slowly down to her legs then back again, "Like I told you earlier Miss Emory, you're gonna have to find out at the press conference like everyone else, now in the meantime, how 'bout you and I have a little slap and tickle" Lucas said as he walked over to Gail and started to unbutton her blouse.

"I've got better things to do with my time" Gail replied pulling away from his grasp and walking out the door, just in time to miss Ben with Lucas' coffee.

"Damn! That girl is a feisty one" Lucas said with a smile.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Gail arrived at the hospital Billy Peele was busying himself with some paperwork. When he looked up and saw Gail standing at his door he walked over and kissed her on the forehead.

"I missed you this morning" Billy said

"I slept in a little"

Gail liked Billy, she had become very close to him in the last few months. Billy had asked Gail to accompany him on a date, thinking Gail was oblivious of how much he cared for Selena.

"I can't stay long" Gail said.

"Oh, so this isn't a social visit" Billy said with a smile.

"Well, no. I wanted to know what happened to Macy Brown, she was murdered this morning"

"Gail, you know better than to come asking these questions, it's confidential"

"Oh, come on Billy" Gail said impatiently, "I'm gonna find out in an hour anyway, at least this means I don't have to see Lucas about it."

Billy really felt for Gail, they were both in the same boat; both had to deal with loss. Gail was just starting to get over Lucas.

"Ok, the girl was hit over the head and raped, that's all I'm telling you, and you didn't hear it from me, ok?" Billy said with a sigh, he was a sucker for a pretty face.

"Thanks, Billy, I owe you one" Gail said with a smile and gave him a huge kiss on the lips and was gone.

"Woman." Billy smiled to himself.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two nights passed and for Gail it was all the same, a dream about Lucas, waking up in a cold sweat, and calling his name. The last night Gail had thought she saw Lucas sitting in the chair in the corner of her bedroom watching her, but she quickly dismissed the thought and forced herself back to sleep.

That morning Gail had a shadow of threat growing in her mind, for the life of her she couldn't figure out what was causing it. She took Caleb to school as usual, making sure she saw him enter his classroom just in case, then headed for the sheriff's station.

"Is he in?" Gail asked Floyd sweetly.

"Erm, I'm not sure, I'll check." Floyd replied nervously.

"To what do we owe the pleasure?" a dark figure asked leaning against the wall to the inner office.

Gail didn't look amused.

"Why Miss Emory, how are you this morning? Looking well I can see" Lucas said eyeing her up and down.

"There have been 3 murders and each victim was raped, and all you can do is hit on me."

"Well Gail, were working on the case. What do you want me to tell you? I've put Ben in charge of this one, ok?" Lucas said.

"Oh, I see. So you can't figure out who's killing these girls so you put Ben on the case. So if Ben can't solve it then his name gets dragged through the mud, not yours." Gail accused.

Lucas, taking offence to this, replied, "What's the matter Gail? Run out of good stories for your newspaper, so you need to start making them up..." walking around the counter Lucas continued "...just because you don't think about anyone but yourself doesn't mean everyone else is the same. For you information Benji has been having problems with his son, so I gave him this case so Ben jr can see his father doing something productive for a change. Have you got a problem with that Miss Emory?"

"No!" Gail said feeling pretty bad about what she said, "But what's in it for you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Come on Lucas, we both know you don't help anyone unless they have something to offer." Gail said with a quick flashback of their deal.

Lucas stood looking at Gail. Gail looked back.

"What?" she said.

"You are so beautiful." Lucas said.

"Oh, for Christ's sake!" Gail spat out, and stormed out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That night the temperature rose to an unbearable height. Gail was in her house with Caleb, trying to help him with his homework.

"Ok, cuz." Caleb said collecting his things. "I better go, Miss Holt won't be happy if I'm late again."

"Ok, do you want a lift?" Gail's asked.

"No, its ok, I can walk. Its only 5 minutes away" and with that Caleb got up, gave Gail a hug and a kiss, and was gone.

Gail saw Caleb out and watched until he was out of sight, completely unaware of the stranger lurking behind the bushes, across the road.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Gail was inside she locked her doors and opened her windows, she was so hot, even the air conditioning didn't give out enough cool air.

By now Gail had stripped down to a tight pair of denim shorts and a maroon, thin strapped tank top. Gail decided it too hot to work so she got comfy on her big armchair and picked up her Stephen King novel, suddenly it hit her, this was her dream!

Gail dropped the book and stood up so fast it made her vision hazy.

Thud!

Shit...the window! Gail thought as she reached for her metal baseball bat, which she always keeps close to her under a loose floorboard, under her chair, and picked up the phone receiver. As she started to dial for Ben in the sheriffs station she realised no dial tone could be heard from the phone, "Damn!" she whispered to herself, "The line must have been cut." she spoke aloud.

"Shit!" she whispered in an agitated tone, the only thing I can do is face whoever this is, Gail thought, thinking back to all the horror movies she had seen, remembering how the bimbo would always go and investigate the noise in the basement...

Thud! from upstairs.

..."and how wonderful the outcomes had been in the movies." Gail said sarcastically to herself as she left the living room stalkingly with her bat held high and headed for the front door. Turning the handle confirmed what she had known, that the door was locked, and to top everything off, she couldn't remember where she had left her keys.

Gail let out a seemingly forced chuckle, "Terrific" she murmured, "Besides," she continued, "if I let this person go, and it is in fact the guy whose been raping these girls, how many more will die before the high and mighty Lucas Buck decides to get off his ass and do something about it?"

Quietly Gail moved up the stairs, "He shows up everywhere when I don't want him too, but when I actually need him where is he?...probably fucking Selena, that's where." she whispered angrily.

Reaching the top of the stairs she stared down the dark corridor and realised what a stupid idea this had been, "Forget this" she muttered and turned to head back down the stairs when she saw a shadow coming out of one of her rooms.

Gail quickly took refuge behind a door. Maybe it was Caleb, she thought as she looked through the crack in the door and raised her bat.

The shadow started to move toward the room she was in. Stopped. Then opened the door Gail was behind, took a look around and began to walk out again. Gail let out a low sigh. Suddenly Gail realised the figure was staring at her through a mirror on the bedroom wall, before Gail could move the figure kicked the door so hard into Gail that she went flying to the floor and dropped her bat.

Lying on the floor Gail looked up and saw an object in the figures hand coming down on her.

Without thought Gail's reflexes took over her, she rolled over, kicked the figure in the leg, watched it stagger, reached for her bat, got to her feet, and began sprinting for the stairs. Before she had a chance to reach them a hang clutched her ankle and she went stumbling down the stairs and lay still, unconscious.

When Gail came to she looked up and saw a blurred man with what looked like a knife in his hand standing over her.

As the knife came down on Gail she swung out of the way, reached for her bat and dashed into the living room.

The man came charging after her with his knife raised, "Bitch" he screamed in a husky voice.

As he came to the door, Gail closed it as hard as she could on his wrist and watched the knife fall out of his hand. Before he had a chance to reach for it Gail brought her bat down in one swoop fell on the man head.

Gail fell weakly to the floor on her knees and dropped the bat. She raised her head to see she was being offered a hand.

Gail looked up. Her hair draped over her face, to see Lucas Buck standing with her bat in one hand, her hand in his other. Turning her head she saw Ben with his gun pointed at the man unconscious on the floor.

"You ok darlin'?" Lucas asked concerned.

"...erm..." Gail replied shaking and confused.

"You had all of us worried darlin', you've been sitting like that with your head dropped for about half an hour" Lucas said.

"...erm...well...I." Gail whispered.

"Come on, lets get you outta here" he said helping her up and pulling her to his chest, "Can you handle this Ben?" he asked.

"Sure Lucas. Is Gail gonna be alright?" Ben asked concerned.

"She'll be fine. We've got a strong one here" Lucas said looking at Gail with a smile and headed out the door with her in his arms.

When Gail woke up the next morning Caleb was asleep on her chest. Gail didn't want to wake him so she waited for him to wake up before going to the sheriff's station.

Gail arrived as Ben was in the middle of finishing the paperwork.

"Ben" she called.

Looking up, "oh, hi Gail. How are you feeling?" Ben asked worried.

"I'm fine" she said with a smile

I knew you would be, just like Lucas said" Ben said returning her smile.

Gail thought on this for a moment, and then dismissed it.

"I just came by to say thank you. Speaking of the devil is he in?" she asked.

"No he's still at home. You're welcome by the way."

Gail smiled "Ok, I better go, bye Ben, and thanks again, you always seem to be around when I'm in trouble." Gail said thinking of the unpleasant incident with the Boston Strangler copycat and left.

Upon reaching Lucas' house Gail knocked 3 times before letting herself in through an unlocked door.

"Lucas?" Gail called, but no answer came.

She saw a light on in one of the rooms and went to investigate. Gail couldn't believe her eyes. She was staring directly into a painting on the wall with rose petals underneath on the floor and mantle piece. It looked like it was early 1800's.

Gail gasped in horror.

It was her in the picture in an old fashioned, net like, floral dress sitting on Lucas Buck's lap!

"Well, well, well" a voice came from behind her "What do we have here?"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gail tried to turn and face Lucas but she couldn't take her eyes off the painting. Lucas walked over to Gail and gently put his hands around her waist and pulled her to him.

"You look like you've seen a ghost darlin'" Lucas whispered in her ear and began sucking and biting it.

Gail stood motionless staring at the painting of herself.

Lucas' hands moved to between Gail's legs and began to rub in an up and down motion. Gail gave out a faint moan. Lucas smiled, "How long did you think you could deny your destiny, Gail?".

"Gail?" Lucas repeated in her ear and turned her around to look at him.

"I don't understand" Gail whispered softly, her eyes were so wide, confused, and innocent now.

Lucas stroked her face with his hand gently and kissed her tenderly.

"I told you, Gail, we are meant to be together" Lucas explained.

Gail's legs felt weak and collapsed under her. Lucas caught her and gently lifted her up.

"Ok, come on lets get you seated comfortably, Miss Emory"

Lucas passed many rooms and headed upstairs towards the bedroom. Gail lay her head softly on Lucas' chest, unable to resist anything he had planned for her. She didn't understand how could she be in that painting with Lucas!

"Well darlin'" Lucas began to answer, "It all started...wait! Do you want the long version or the short?"

Gail stared at him.

"Ok, I'll tell you what, you have a little nap." he said placing her between the covers of his bed gently and I'll explain later"

With that Gail fell quickly asleep.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gail opened her eyes.

"What can I do for you Master Buck?" an old man said.

"Well a cup of your wife's fine vegetable soup would do wonders, Cecil" the other man said.

Gail looked at both men and to her surprise Lucas Buck was standing the old man.

"Where am I?" Gail said out loud, but no answer came. Then suddenly it hit her. "The painting" Gail said softly.

"Rose!" the old man shouted, "Bring some of your momma's soup out for this young gentlemen"

Gail watched as Rose, her mirror image, came out of the kitchen in an old, worn out, brown dress, with her hair in braids.

Lucas Buck looked over as the young Rose brought his soup. When their eyes met Rose stopped in her tracks.

"Rose!" the old man shrieked.

Rose looked down and realised she had dropped the plate, "Oh, I'm so sorry" Rose said in a scared tone trying to clean up the mess with her dress.

Lucas got up, bent down, and wiped a tear away a tear coming down her cheek.

"It's ok, Rose is it?" he said with a smile.

"Yes, it's Rose, but its not ok, sir."

"Lucas...call me Lucas"

Rose smiled.

"I'm sorry si...Lucas" she said and put her head down.

Lucas' smile grew wider.

"Get up" he said

"What?" she said confused.

"Get up...Cecil! come clean up this mess. I'm taking your daughter out for a walk."

Cecil looked on dumbly, "Er...yes sir"

"That's if you'd wish to join me Rose" he said helping her up.

Rose smiled, "Er...if you wish sir"

"Lucas!"

"Oh sorry Lucas" Rose said looking into his eyes.

Gail couldn't believe what she was seeing. Lucas was courting Her! What the hell is going on?

When Gail looked up again the three of them were in a secluded area at the bank of the Trinity River.

Lucas and Rose were hand in hand together. Rose was on Lucas' knee and his free hand was around her waist.

"You are so beautiful, Rose." He whispered softly in her ear. "The most beautiful red rose would come nowhere near your beauty."

"I love you, Lucas" Rose said shyly.

Lucas tightened his grip and pulled his hand out of Rose's and reached into his pocket.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to anger you."

Lucas pulled out a blue velvet box and gave it to Rose, then started sucking her neck.

"What's this?" Rose asked opening the box to reveal a heart shaped ruby with diamonds surrounding it.

"Will you marry me, Rose?" Lucas asked.

Gail couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Oh, yes Lucas!" she shouted excitedly. "I love you"

Lucas turned her around and kissed her fiercely and made love to her.

With a flash Gail was standing next to the riverbank looking at Lucas kneeling over her dead body.

"Rose my love, we'll be together again, on my life I swear." Lucas whispered.

Gail couldn't believe her eyes Rose was lying dead with her throat cut on the riverbank. Gail knew what the last image to go through Roses mind was it was Lucas and their unborn child.

Gail couldn't stop a tear rolling down her cheek.

"You'll get another chance" Lucas whispered as he got up and walked past Gail. Gail could swear he was looking directly into her eyes.

Gail woke up to Lucas holding her hand by her side.

"Do you understand now, Gail?" he whispered.

"Yes" Gail said looking into her eyes.

Lucas bent down and kissed her neck, sucked on it, the suddenly bit into it!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Lucas!" Gail screamed.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Gail?" Caleb shouted.

"Caleb?" asked confused, "It was just a dream?"

Suddenly the door opened.

"Gail, are you ok? I got the keys to your room off Miss Holt" Caleb said worried.

"I'm fine now that you're here" she said with a smile as Caleb jumped into bed with her.

"I love you, Caleb" Gail said kissing his head.

"I love you too, Gail" Caleb replied and they both fell asleep holding each other.

"Soon, Gail" Lucas said to himself as he stood outside her window on the street. "Soon" he repeated, as he faded into the mist.

THE END