Lovestruck

By Toni Walker

[Poltergeist: The Legacy/So Weird Crossover

PROLOGUE

The brimstone and heat was still raging in the lower floors beneath the Luna Foundation mansion. Derek Rayne had already tricked his team into leaving the manor. This was the way it had to be. He understood that now. This was his legacy, saving mankind for the next one-thousand years. Sealing the gateway to hell was all he could do for his friends, because they must live. They must continue their work protecting the innocent from the forces of darkness.

As he triggered the blast he thought of Alex. It was unfair that he didn't know until today that she did indeed love him, but he had been too ignorant to notice it. If only love could have found him earlier, maybe this would have all played out differently. Maybe he wouldn't have had to sacrifice his life.

The Muses, daughters of Zeus, watched as the mortal named Derek Rayne forfeited his life for those of his friends. Their gowns flowed in otherworldly folds of gossamer fabric visible to only other gods of their stature.

"What is to become of him, sisters?" asked Mneme, the muse of memory. "Such a rich life should not be lost to the world. Can we do nothing?"

Clio, a sister muse, said, "Take his memory from him, Mneme, and we will lead him to another life. A life where he can still do good works."

"But will our father not be cross for taking the mortal's life in our hands?" Mneme asked.

"I will go and distract our father with poetry while Clio sings to him. That should give you enough time to accomplish your task," said Calliope, the muse of poetry.

As her sisters dissolved in magical sparkles, Mneme stood over the dead body of Derek Rayne. She stroked a transparent hand down his cheek. It would be such a disservice to the world to let this mortal slip away.

"Awaken," she whispered, hoping her father was not listening too closely to her magical voice. "Awaken and live."

An otherworldly glow emitted from her hands and Derek's body lifted off the crumbling floor. Stones as big as boulders fell away from his body until he was free from his deathtrap. The glow grew and encased his body as Mneme magically transported him to the surface.

The manor that had once stood as a testament to the power of good was now gone. Mneme lowered Rayne's body to the lush grass to the north of the ruins. The glow surrounding him seeped into his body and brought new life to a man once dead.

Derek Rayne breathed in a shaky breath and coughed. He leaned sideways and glanced up at the one who had rescued him. His eyes were still dry from the fire and smoke. All he could see was a cloudy image of a woman in flowing white robes.

Was this heaven? And if so, why did his entire body ache so much?

"You are not dead, Derek Rayne," Mneme said. She lightly touched his forehead with a glowing finger and wiped the memory of his previous existence from him. "Now go, and live anew."

She directed him toward the other side of Angel Island where another castle lay in disrepair. A castle where he could once again find love. But this time, the love would last forever.

CHAPTER ONE: THE MYSTERY OF MONTESSE CASTLE

"I can't wait to check out that cool castle in the next town," Fiona Phillips said to her brother, Jack.

Clu Bell jumped on the bed between the two causing his father, Ned to shout from the tour bus' driver's seat. "What have I said about jumping on the beds? You're not four years old any more."

"Yeah, tell him that," Jack joked.

"Just try and control yourselves. We're almost there," Ned insisted.

"Yeah, that's what he always says," Clu said. He turned to Fi and Jack. "That castle should be AWESOME! Spooky-licious." Clu agreed with Fi. He was all about finding weird stuff too unlike Jack who loved to be the bucket of cold water dousing their good time.

"Count me out," Jack said waving at Clu to pass him the orange Nerf basketball. Sometimes the only way to pass the time was for the boys to play Nerf ball inside the bus or for Fi to upload another new, strange discovery to her "So Weird" website. "I'm not up for another one of your weird adventures, Clu. I get enough of it with my sister."

"You're such a party pooper, dude. The castle should be EXCELLENT!" Clu strummed on an invisible air guitar. "You should really consider supporting your sister's interests."

"Well, maybe I would if she had normal interests, but sometimes this paranormal crap is for the birds. Sometimes a guy just wants to do guy things." Jack, it was clear, was not on the same page as Fi and Clu for the castle tour.

"Dude, that is so uncool," Clu said.

"Don't worry about him, Clu," Fi said. "He's just in a mood. He should be back to his normal self again in no time. Oh, wait, that is him being his normal self."

The trio could feel the bus slowing down. When it came to a sudden stop, the three of them attempted to stay standing upright.

"We're here," they heard Clu's father say.

A girl, a little older than Fi, popped her head into the tour bus. She had a Hawaiian look about her, dark hair, tanned skin not to mention drop dead gorgeous. Both Jack and Clu's mouth's dropped open in mock shock. Fi found their reaction pretty predictable. Hormones must rule boy's brains.

"Fi?" she called out. "Are you on the bus."

Since Fi was farther back in the cabin than the boys Kai Kincaid couldn't see her.

"Back here, Kai."

Kai smiled at both Jack and Clu as she passed them to join Fi. They both stared at her with blank faces.

"Are they going to be all right?" she asked.

"I guess it depends on your definition of all right," Fi said with a chuckle. That's my brother, Jack and this is his best friend, Clu."

"Nice to meet you," Kai said.

"Kai's parents run the castle. They're the caretakers. Mom's doing a charity concert for the revitalization of the castles of Angel Island."

"There was some kind of freaky gas leak in the castle on the other side of the island. The thing literally blew sky high. Some of the stones were projected as far as our back door," Kai said.

"Was everyone okay?" Fi asked.

"I heard that a man died. He was the president of the Luna Foundation. They owned the other castle," Kai said.

"That's awful," Fi said.

Kai shook off the memory of the castle explosion. And turned back to her own new home. "This castle has been in our family for generations. One of my great, great grandfather's had it brought over here piece by piece. They just installed the last brick a month ago."

Kia was obviously proud of her family's heritage. Fi almost wished she had a normal house and friends she could see every day. But for now, touring and the road were her home.

"Do you think we'll see a ghost," Clu asked. Fi wondered the same thing. She eagerly hoped for some sort of weird phenomena to occur.

"You never know," Kai said mysteriously. "I've seen a lot of weird things happen in Montesse Castle." She smiled. "So, are you guys up for a tour?"

Jack and Clu stumbled over each other trying to be first in line next to Kai.

"Wouldn't miss it," Jack said first, completely contradicting his earlier comments. He stared at Kai as if she was one of the prettiest girl's in the world.

"Mom!" Clu screamed. "We're going on a tour."

Jack and Clu eagerly followed Kai out of the bus. But before they could leave, Irene, Clu's mom popped her head into the main compartment.

"Be careful," she shouted back at her son who was already outside. Then she turned to Fi. "Make sure they don't get into any trouble. You know how your mom and I worry. We'll be at the sound check and setting up equipment. Be back in a few hours, okay?"

"Sure thing. Thanks Irene!" Fi followed the trio outside. They were already halfway down the rocky driveway that lead to the castle by the time she spied them.

"Hey, wait for me," she called out. "This was my idea, ya know!"

Nick Boyle eyed Derek's desk. It wasn't his real desk, the one he had used every day. That was gone along with the rest of the Angel Island manor. All that was left were the servants quarters on the far edge of the property. It was still quite a vast set up even if it hadn't been used very often. That had changed since the explosion.

He had been standing in the same exact spot for five minutes but couldn't bring himself to sit down.

Alexandra Moreau came up behind him and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "Derek would want this, Nick. You passed the test. The position is yours."

"I know," he said, his face contorting into a mask of disgust. "It just feels wrong. I keep expecting to walk in here and see him sitting there."

"It may take awhile to get used to the fact that he's gone," Alex said, her own sadness mirrored in her dark eyes. She too had a hard time accepting Derek's death. Maybe neither of them ever completely would accept it.

The room was dim, much in the same way Derek would keep his office. The bookshelves were piled high with tome after tome of every imaginable subject. Nick parted the heavy velour curtains bringing in some much needed light but even that infusion of brightness did nothing to lessen the huge lump in his throat.

Would he ever be able to live up to Derek Rayne's standard of excellence? He was used to being responsible for his own fate. Now he had the fate of everyone he loved in the palm of his hands. That sense of responsibility was a heavy burden on his shoulders.

He'd lost so many people he'd loved: Julia, his brother, Jimmy, Kristen and now Derek. He wasn't sure he could take much more.

Maybe he really wasn't cut out for this job.

A knock came at the door and both Alex and Nick turned to greet their guest.

"Finding everything okay?" Alex asked.

Molly Phillips and Ned Bell smiled at them yet shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot. They weren't people who easily accepted the charity of others.

"Yeah, it's great. Fabulous, actually," Molly said. "You have no idea how much of a kick my daughter, Fiona is going to get out of this."

"And I'm going to love having a real bed to sleep in for a change," Ned quipped. "We really appreciate your hospitality. Usually, we sleep on the tour bus."

"We're the ones who should be thanking you. The Luna Foundation is always looking for ways to give back to the community and refurbishing the castles of Angel Island back to their former glory will bring a lot of needed jobs to the residents of Angel Island. Your benefit concert along with Luna's matching contribution should go a long way." Nick easily stepped into the shoes of reluctant leader, although, his attire hadn't made such a transition. He was and always would be jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket kind of guy.

"We're happy to help. It's even going to give me a chance to visit a few of my old haunts in San Francisco. It should be fun," Molly said.

"I'm going to move the bus," Ned said, turning and walking out of the room. Ned has been visibly nervous all morning.

"Is he all right?" Alex inquired.

"Yeah, he's fine. The notion of a warm, solid, real king size bed will trump any spooky thoughts he has about playing in Montesse castle." Molly shoved her hands into the pockets of her skinny jeans. The jeans were probably older than her daughter.

"So, I guess he's heard about the rumors of the missing men?" Nick asked.

"Yeah, it's kind of got him freaked out. He keeps imagining himself as Lady Montesse's next victim."

"I'll talk to him." Rachel Corrigan was standing in the doorway behind Molly. She had been quietly listening ever since Ned's quick exit. "I don't think anyone's vanished in fifty years or more, but old castles do tend to encourage the exaggerations of the locals."

"Thanks Rachel," Nick said.

"No problem."

Alex approached Molly and rubbed her hands together. "I've been looking forward to this all week." Her face brightened. "I'm a closet Molly Phillips fan."

"We're about to start out sound check. Would you want to come and listen?"

"Of course," Alex said.

Even Nick's faced perked up at the thought of a private concert by the Molly Phillips Band. "We'd love to," he said following the others out of Derek's office and closing the door.

Doing Derek's job would be the easy part. Following in his friends enormous footsteps would probably be the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life.

"Whoa!" Clu said in awe. "This place is AWESOME!"

Fi aimed her new digital camera at the castle and took a sweeping shot of the entire grounds. This would look great on her webpage. Now, if the place had a few real ghosts, that would really be awesome, she thought.

Off to the side of the castle, Fi spotted a tall man clipping the shrubs.

"Still whipping the place into shape?" Fi asked.

"Yeah, mom hopes to get a lot of support from the community due to your mom's concert. Even the Luna Foundation offered to match whatever funds your mom's concert raises."

"That's quite generous," said a man who had approached the group. He was the same man who had been clipping the shrubs. "Hi, Kai. Have you seen your mother?"

The man's voice was distinguished, refined. He may have looked a bit haggard but Fi had a feeling he would clean up pretty nicely.

"Yeah, I think she's in the kitchen," Kai said.

"Thanks," the man said tipping his baseball cap. "Are you all getting a tour of the castle?" he asked.

Fiona eyed the man. He did not look right in a ball cap. She got more of a museum curator vibe from him than maintenance man vibe.

"This is Fi, Jack and Clu. Their parents are here for the benefit concert," Kai said.

"Ah, the Molly Phillips Band, correct? Can't say I've ever heard of them. But that's not surprising."

"This is Ryan," Kai said gathering the give of them closer together. "But we don't know if that's his real name, though."

"Why is that?" Fi asked, her interest in the mysterious stranger growing in leaps and bounds.

"I don't remember my name," he admitted with a shrug. "The doctor says I have amnesia."

"Cool!" Clu shouted, then thought better of his comment. "Well, not exactly cool, but pretty interesting. Right Fi?"

"Don't get her started," Jack chimed in. "We don't need her trying to solve the mystery of the maintenance man's memory. Mom promised Clu and I could go see a baseball game in San Francisco. I don't want to miss it because you've gotten yourself into another fine mess."

Ryan raised a curious eyebrow. Fi shrugged. "What can I say. I like weird things."

"She's on a personal crusade to find every weird thing in America," Clu offered. "She even has this amazing website she's filled with oddball things she's uncovered."

"Sounds quite challenging and intriguing," Ryan said.

"I like it," Fi said with a smile.

"Enjoy the tour, you guys." Ryan the maintenance man smiled and waved. Fi took a quick digital photo as he left. His story was definitely worth investigating.

As the group walked into the castle, Jack couldn't help but inquire about the maintenance man mystery.

"So, do you think he really has amnesia or is he faking it because he's hiding from the law?" Jack asked.

"Ah, come on, man. Give the dude a break," Clu said.

"I'm actually the one who found him. There are quite a few ruins between this castle and the one on the other side of the island. When we first moved here, I went exploring the ruins and found him. He looked awful, like he'd been through some sort of war and lost. His face was covered in blood. Every bit of clothing he had on was ripped and bloody. Mom said it looked like he'd clawed his way out of hell."

"He looks okay now," Jack observed.

"Oh, he is. His wounds are healing nicely," Kai said.

"You know, he doesn't really look like a normal maintenance man," Fi imparted. Jack gave her the eye. "Well, he doesn't. Even that outfit looks odd on him.

"She's right, dude. Awkward city." Clu was always eager to jump to Fi's defense.

Fi turned on her camera and browsed through the photos she'd taken. She stopped on Ryan's photo. Who was he? She pulled a small notebook out of her pocket and jotted down a few notes. She especially wanted to check out the ruins where Kai found Ryan. She'd have to remember to ask Kai about them later. Jack would not approve of her trying to solve the case of the maintenance man's memory.