Chapter 3: THE LIGHT OF THE UPPER
"Do we still have the surveillance up at Montesse Castle?" Nick Boyle asked Alex Moreau.
She had been staring on and off at Derek for nearly an hour. Nick's shout alerted her to her dalliance.
"The Luna Foundation set up the system. It's self-contained," Alex said. "You know how thorough they can be. There's no way to hack the system from off site. We'll have to run any surveillance directly from the security guard's outpost at the gate."
"I was afraid of that. It would have been easier to hack in," Nick said. "But maybe we can sweet talk our way in." He thought for a moment. "Weren't the guards at Molly Philips' sound check?"
"Yeah, they had to leave early to do round. Why?" Alex asked.
"Maybe we can ask Molly to help us out. You know, distract them."
"And tell her what? That we think some sort of ancient succubus is attacking men and turning them into dust?" Alex added sarcastically. "Do you really think she'll believe that?"
"What other choice do we have? Plus, we have to interview her daughter. She probably knows more than she wrote in that email," Nick said.
"Let's just put it on record. I don't like getting civilians involved," Alex said.
Derek Rayne had been quietly listening, sitting on the couch and wondering if this is the type of 'investigating' they had been referring to earlier.
"Is there anything I can do?" Derek asked. He wasn't the type of person who like to sit around and watch others work. He preferred to be in the middle of the action.
"There's not a lot you can do for us without your memory," Nick said, not noticing Derek flinch at the jibe. "Just relax. Consider this a much needed vacation. I don't think you've ever taken a real one, so it will be a change of pace for you."
"I'm going to take a walk, look around the house," Derek said. "If you don't mind."
"Knock yourself out," Nick said, surveying the blueprints of the area around Montesse Castle. He didn't notice when Derek walked out of the room.
"Nick!" Alex said harshly. "You're treating him like he's not Derek. He still demands your respect. Show some compassion for the man."
"Until he gets his memory back, he's no good to me! That's just the way it is."
Alex didn't share Nick's opinion of Derek. Derek was their leader. He was the man who knew more about the Legacy than anyone. Eventually, he would get his memory back. And when that day came, she hoped Derek would have compassion on Nick's actions.
Derek couldn't blame Nick. In most ways, he still felt like Ryan, the maintenance man. Clumsy, inept and only finding true joy in books and research. During his time at the castle, he'd poured over the tomes relating to the history of Montesse Castle. It was the only thing that seemed to appease his curious mind.
As he walked out the front door, Jack and Clu ran past him, one on each side, barreling down the hallway like two bowling balls searching for a strike.
"Sorry, Ryan," Clu shouted. "Was that not the greatest game you've ever seen? A-maze-ing!"
"And we got to meet the players too," Jack added. "Our own tour of the locker room, an autographed ball. Everyone back home is going to be so jealous!"
"Sounds like you both had an good time," Derek said.
"Good is not an adequate word, dude. Freakin' awesome!" Clu said.
Molly Philips stuck her head out into the hallway, a frown on her face. "Boys, there are more people in this house than just you. Show some respect to the people who gave you the tickets you are so excited about."
"Sorry, mom. It was just so cool!" Jack said, toning down his voice a bit.
"You and Clu are at the end of the hall," Molly said. "Don't forget to say goodnight to Irene." Molly turned to Derek. "I really apologize for my son and Clu."
"No need to apologize," he said. "It gave me something to do while Nick and Alex work.
"I thought Fi told me you had lost your memory," Molly inquired.
"Yes, you're quite right. But apparently before I lost my memory, I worked here"
Derek pointed out a photo of the members of the Luna Foundation. He was in the center of the picture. "I assume I was somehow affected by the explosion that happened to the mansion."
"I'm feeling somewhat better now that I've discovered who I am. They tell me my name is Derek Rayne."
"Does that mean everything you once owned was destroyed?"
Derek shrugged. "I'm starting anew in all ways, it seems. By the way, I think Nick wanted to talk to you about a project he's working on. He may come by later to ask you about it."
"Thanks. It's Derek, right?"
"If you happen to see my daughter on your walk, could you tell her to high tail it back here?"
"Not a problem."
Molly closed the door behind her leaving Derek alone in the hallway. He wondered if the opposite wing was where the members of the Luna Foundation slept. If they worked this late into the night on a regular basis, there must be rooms for them all.
The large door at the end of the hallway of the other wing was the only door that seemed in any way familiar. As he entered, he noticed a must odor. The staff probably didn't use the guest cottage as often as they had the main house.
"What 'cha doing," Fi Philips asked from the doorway.
Derek jumped at her voice.
"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. I gave Ned the slip. He thinks I'm asleep in the room with mom."
"Not a problem," Derek said.
"Did Nick tell you that I figured out who you are?"
"I heard him mention you sent him an email."
"Yeah. Your picture is on the mantle above the fireplace in the main living room.
"They call it a great hall," he said.
"Yeah. Great hall," Fi said, correcting herself. "I couldn't believe Tia and Kai would lie to you about your identity. They're in one of the photos with you."
"Not everyone can be as noble as you are."
"I guess. What are you doing in here anyway?" Fi asked.
"Trying to find out more about who Derek Rayne is."
Fi peeked in the closet. "I can tell you one thing about Derek Rayne, he dresses really well." The closet was filled with sport coats, slacks, tailored shirts and even a couple of tuxes. "I knew the first time I saw you that you were not the maintenance man type."
"How could you tell?"
"I don't know," Fi said. "It just seemed wrong somehow. And that ball cap? You should burn it. Nick is the only one who seems like the ball cap type around here."
"You're a very good judge of character. I'm glad you're on my side," Derek said.
"Me too. This is the coolest gig my mom has ever done and she's missed all the fun stuff," Fi said. "Although, when Kai's mom came after me in the tour bus, that was pretty scary."
"Why did she come after you?"
"I think she knows I saw her transform. She was in one of the rooms making this glow-y, smoky light. When she came out, she was a blond woman. Then as she passed the mirror, she changed, morphed into Kai's mother. When she was in the tour bus and that light scared her, she turned into a gust of wind and blew away," Fi said. "I'd tell my brother and Clu, but even they wouldn't believe such a bizarre fish story."
"So, do you see a lot of strange phenomena?"
"Yeah, and you know, most of the time other people see It too, but they just ignore it. So, I started posting it on my website. It's called 'So Weird.'
"That's very enterprising of you. I'm sure Nick and Alex would use a perceptive young mind like yours."
"My mom would never go for it. It's too woo-hoo for her," Fi said.
"Actually, I believe Nick said he wanted to ask you a few questions. He's with Alex in the lab."
"Aren't you going to come with me?" Fi asked. "I feel safe with you around."
"I'll meet you in the lab. I think you're right about the clothes." He plucked his fingers at the dull gray workman's jumpsuit. "They're definitely not me."
Molly Philips was tired. She'd gotten up way too early this morning and tomorrow she had a big concert that might actually push her name back into the mainstream.
Nick and Alex were pouring over blueprints and talking about security cameras when she walked into the room.
"Molly," Nick said, tearing his eyes away from his work. "What are you doing up?"
"Ryan. I mean, Derek said you might want to talk to me about something."
Nick and Alex exchanged troubled looks.
"There is something we haven't told you about. Someone's been killed at Montesse Castle. This morning we found Tia's husband, Merrick, dead. We don't know who to suspect, so we want to use the castle's own surveillance cameras to capture the image of the killer in action."
"And this somehow involves me?"
Alex put a calming hand on Molly's shoulder. "We need you to be a distraction."
"What? No, I can't."
"We would never ask you to put yourself in danger," Alex promised. "We'll be there the entire time."
"I have my daughter, son and band to think about. They're my family. What would they do if something happened to me? Our lively hood is my singing career."
"You have to do it, mom." Fiona Philips stood in the doorway and begged her mother to help.
"This is dangerous, Fi. You don't understand."
Derek came up behind Fi and held a hand to her shoulder.
"I believe she more than understands, Molly. Tia already tried to kill her," Derek said.
"What? Why?" Confusion mirrored Molly's expression. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I must have saw her after she killed that man. She knows I saw her," Fi said directly to her mother.
"We have to stop her, Molly," Nick said. "And we need your help."
Molly rubbed her hands together. It was cold outside on the island at night. But that had nothing on the icy fear running through her veins. The microphone receiver was disguised as a hearing aid, which completely disappeared into her ear canal. The wire was snapped to her collar. Both items were invisible. But that didn't make her any less paranoid.
"Have I mentioned how much I hate this idea?" Molly said through the mic to the people huddled in a van positioned around the corner.
"Once or twice," Nick said. "Derek's on standby in case anything goes wrong.
"That's comforting." The closer she came to the security gate the harder her heart beat in her chest.
"Relax," Alex said. "You have to appear natural."
"Easy for you to say."
"Showtime," Nick whispered. "Get them away from the booth like we discussed."
Molly approached the Montesse Castle guard station looking as cold as she felt.
"Hi, guys," she said, her teeth chattering. "It gets really cold here at night, doesn't it?"
"Hey, Mrs. Philips," said guard one. "It sure does."
Guard two's interest had yet to be peaked.
"My car broke down a ways back and it's too far a walk back to the other side of the island. That's where the band is staying. Do you think you guys could take a look at it for me? It should only take a second," Molly said. "I don't want to interrupt your job."
"No problem. My pal, Art here is a mechanical wiz. He should have it started in no time. Can't you Art?"
Molly couldn't believe this ploy was working.
"Yeah, if it's only an easy fix," said guard two. "We may have to take it to my brother's garage if it's too complicated."
"Wow. Am I lucky or what? Who knew I could find a mechanic in the middle of no where," Molly said, laying it on thick.
"Yeah, we're real hospitable like that," said guard one. "Let's go."
Guard two looked concerned. "Shouldn't one of us stay here?"
"It will be five minutes. And come on, this is Molly Philips. She's famous."
"As long as it's five minutes. All these deaths around here have us on edge," said guard two. "How many has it been now? Five or six? The bodies are really racking up."
"Deaths?" Molly said with a gasp. She didn't have to feign surprise. They hadn't told her about the multiple dead bodies.
"Relax, Molly," Nick whispered into her earpiece.
"My personal theory is that it's a ghost. You should have seen Mr. Kincaid's body. I've seen better corpses at the natural history museum. Nothing of this would does that kind of damage to the human body."
Alex and Nick watched Molly and the guards walk off down the main road.
"She did it. Let's go," Nick said, gathering his tools.
"You should have told her about the other deaths," Alex said. "Sometimes she questioned Nick's choices. They weren't the choices Derek would have made.
"I wanted her to help. Telling her about the deaths wouldn't have served our purpose. When you're dealing with life and death, a white lie is the least of our worries."
Derek and Fi stayed in the van while Nick and Alex stormed the guard station. They only had a few minutes to establish a wireless link from the castle's surveillance cameras to the equipment humming inside the van.
"Do they do this kind of stuff all the time?" Fi asked.
"I don't know," Derek admitted. "But they seem like they know what they're doing."
"Are they like Ghostbusters or something? They immediately believed me when I told them about Mrs. Kincaid. Most grown ups would have thought I was looking for attention.
"But you didn't lie, did you?"
"No, but I didn't see her kill anyone either," Fi said.
"I took the liberty and had one of the other maintenance men check out the room you said you saw her coming out of. He found another skeleton lying on the bed. If we don't stop her, it will just get worse. The deaths are increasing in frequency.
"I understand that Tia is bad, but what about Kai? She also knew you before you lost your memory. Does that mean she's also somehow involved?" Fi asked.
A bright light came into the van displaying its intensity in a vast array of colors. Derek and Fi held their hands up against the brightness. When the light left the van, Kai was there.
"Woah," Fi said when she saw her friend sitting next to her.
"There is a reason why I did not tell the others of Derek's whereabouts," she said. "My name is not Kai. She has been living out of state with her grandparents."
"Who are you then?" Derek asked.
"My name is Mneme."
"The muse of memory?" Derek asked.
"I see I did not strip everything away when I stole your memory," she said.
"You're the one that made him forget?" Fi asked. "Why?"
"It's complicated. Derek and his team had a grave mission. There was a portal to hell opening up beneath their mansion. If they had not succeeded in closing the fissure, a thousand year reign of darkness would have befallen the land. Your friend made a great sacrifice. He died so the world might live."
"The explosion?" Fi asked. "Derek set it off?"
"Yes. He lured the other team members away from the house and did the only thing he could to save them," Mneme said.
"It wasn't the explosion that sealed the porthole, was it?"
Mneme smiled and the van brightened a bit. "No it wasn't' the C4 that sealed the fissure. Your sacrifice pushed them back into hell. The love was too much for them to bear. The sacrifice and the blast together sealed the hole.
"Was it completely sealed? For all time?" Derek asked.
"No. There will come a time, a thousand years from now when such events might reoccur. But your friends have taken steps to ensure the way to seal the porthole is not lost a second time," Mneme said.
"Why did you steal Derek's memory?" Fi couldn't help but ask.
"Such a deed does not go unnoticed in the heavens. Even my father heard of your sacrifice and was pleased. Not many in the world below would offer such a gift to ones he doesn't even know. My sisters and I were also moved by your courage and determination. We decided one such as you deserved a gift in return," Mneme said.
"You brought him back to life?" Fi asked.
"Yes, but we had to take steps so others in the heavens would not know of our deeds. We placed a veil of protection around him so the entities in Heaven and the Otherworld would not be able to find him. This is why so many have died here. A goddess my father punished is looking for the power Derek now possesses. Since the veil shields him, he is hidden from her.
"So, she's just playing eenie, meanie, miney, moe?" Fi said.
"How can we send her back? Keep her from killing again?"
"I know of no way. My father is the most powerful being in the upper world. Only he would be able to stop her. But because of my and my sister's interference, we fear he will not help us."
"Something did scare her," Fi said, thinking out loud. "When I was on the tour bus, there was this bright light and it scared her off. She changed into wind and blew away."
A djinni?" Derek asked. "If your father punished her, is it possible he made her a genie."
"Yes, such punishments have been heard of, but not in many years," Mneme said.
"If that is the case, then someone must be controlling her. Djinni serve the master in possession of their bottle, or whatever vessel they've been trapped inside of."
Fiona gasped. "One month ago the very last brick was placed in the walls of the castle. Could the entire castle be the genie's bottle that Tia is trapped inside of?"
Derek raised an eyebrow. This was proving to be more difficult than they thought. How did you trap the spirit of a genie inside a huge medieval castle?