The Phone Call

(A what if story - after the TV episode Deep Dark ended the BloodTies series)

Henry's lips were pressed against the inside of her wrist, just one more quick lick of his tongue and the numbing properties of his saliva would take effect, allowing him to bite down without causing pain but the annoying vibration of his cell phone broke his concentration. He pushed a compulsion to sleep toward the woman and looked at his phone. Seeing the in coming call number he walked away from the bed and snarled, "What?"

The voice on the other end said, "Never mind." And the connection was broken.

Henry pulled the covers up to the woman's chin, deepened the command to sleep and silently left the apartment while checking to make sure the candles were blown out and all the locks were secure. This was one of his special people and even if he didn't love her, he did care enough to think of her safety.

After feeding he had hoped to get in several hours of work before sunlight drove him to sleep and that wasn't going to happen thanks to this call. He sighed and punched the phone. He heard her pick up and said, "Now you have my attention, don't hang up."

"You were about to feed, I could tell from your voice."

"Well I'm not feeding now, so talk."

"Do you know what tonight is?"

Henry gave her the date and time and said, "So what about it?"

"It's been two years since you left and I was feeling lonely."

Henry brought the phone away from his ear and stared at it before he said, "Where's Mike?"

"He's in one of his snits. I didn't take kindly to his so called help so he went out with the after work crowd."

"Sometimes Vicki, you're not very nice to him. He's only trying to help you."

"I'm not blind - yet. And I'm most certainly not helpless. He keeps signing me up for adjusted living classes and counseling."

"Yes, Miss Independent. I'm well aware of your need to prove yourself. So why the call tonight?"

"I told you. It's been two years and God help me, I miss you, and I need to see you."

"Now I know something is really wrong." Putting a compulsion in his voice he commanded, "Spit it out!"

Vicki closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath then said, "I went to the Ophthalmologist, and the vision loss is speeding up, if I'm ever going to see your face again it had better be soon."

Henry stood in the parking lot as his mind absorbed what she said. He tilted his head back and saw a million stars and whispered, "Vicki."

"I'm not so much afraid of the dark as I am afraid I won't have another chance to see what matters to me the most." She started talking as fast as she could before she lost the never to say what she needed to say to him, "Come back here. We didn't finish what we started."

"It's not that easy for me to come back."

"Fine! Forget it! I didn't call. I don't need you and I don't need Mike. The pity party for poor blind Vicki is not happening."

She pushed disconnect and threw the phone against the wall. She grabbed her over stuffed bag, marched out of the apartment and straight into the open arms of Astaroth.

He hissed over the top of her head as he held her tight against his chest, "I told you I'd be back for you, but I never thought it would be this easy!"

***

Henry felt the pull of dawn as he looked at his pocket watch. He frowned and shoved it back where it belonged. He hadn't thought much about Vicki's aborted call, because knowing her as well as he did after two years of phone fights, and e-mail make ups, he was sure he would've heard from her within the hour. Six hours had gone with no word or e-mail and he was worried. Mumbling under his breath he picked up his phone and scrolled through the list of contacts, selected one and hit send.

The voice at the other end said, "Celluci."

"Constable, there's a problem."

"And you're calling me, why?"

"Vicki's in trouble and I'm too far away to help her, so that leaves you."

"Vicki's not interested in my help."

Henry gave an exasperated huff and said, "Quit being a child Celluci. She needs you and you know it. There's something wrong. You know she keeps in touch with me and you know she can't let a fight drop without poking at it a few more times. "

"That's true enough. So I take it she's fighting with you too."

"Yeah, she called earlier and I didn't say what she wanted to hear, so she hung up. That was six hours ago."

"Okay, she hasn't called me either. I'll go over to her place. How long are you going to be awake?"

"It's close to dawn here. Whatever you find, you're on your own."

"As much as I hate having you around, how soon can you get back here if there's real trouble?"

"Leave me a message at this number. I can arrange a flight to Toronto, but you'll have to pick me up at a private landing field."

"Swell, a vampire's chauffeur."

"If it's Vicki having a snit, we'll both be off the hook. If she's in the kind of trouble she can't get herself out of, it'll take both of us."

"You know I hate when you're right."

"I know. It's the price we pay for caring about a stubborn woman." Henry walked around his apartment securing doors and windows before shutting the blinds. "We may as well come to terms with the fact, she'll never let either one of us go."

Mike said, "The worst part is neither one of us wants to force her to choose. I guess it's another armed truce."

***

Vicki opened her eyes to total blackness. 'Crap' was all she could think before the pounding in her head drowned out all other sound. She lay on the floor curled up in a tight ball smelling the foul dampness of an unused room. Flexing her fingers, she felt dirt caking under her nails. She started to move her legs as waves of nausea roiled up from her middle, and stopped all movement. All of her nightmares came flooding back into her mind. Alone in the dark, blind, helpless and in pain. She gave up for all of two seconds before her determination to fight back forced her to action.

One by one she willed herself to obey her commands. Blinking at the darkness didn't help her see. Sniffing the air told her that she was in an old building, in a room that hadn't been used in a very long time. Listening for sound, she heard a slow drip coming from, well, somewhere near. Feeling the dampness in the air, the dirt under her hands and the steady drip confirmed she was below ground level. She slowly straightened her legs and extended her arms from side to side told her she wasn't tided down and the area was bigger than a grave. She turned onto her back and waited for the nausea to settle down before holding her arms up into the air. Good. She couldn't touch anything. She moved to a sitting position and held up her hands again. Nothing. She tried to stand and couldn't get her legs under her, so she decided to crawl. The process of rolling onto her knees brought back waves of nausea. Finally, she was up on elbows and knees and slowly inched her way forward until she felt a wall. She worked her way, hand over hand until she pulled herself to a standing position.

"Very good, Vicki. I thought you'd be out longer than this."

The cold unfeeling voice sent shivers down her spine, but was familiar even as she asked, "Who are you, where am I and why?"

"You know very well who I am and you know why. Where doesn't matter." He made a movement with his hand and Vicki crumbled to her knees as her fingers wrapped around the marks on her forearms.

She cursed through clenched teeth, "You son of a bitch."

"Half wrong, Raymond, who's body I'm using, may have been a son of a bitch, but I'm the son of a high demon."

***

Mike stood in Vicki's empty apartment holding her phone. From the dent in the wall he surmised that she threw it with a vengeance. He hit redial and heard Henry's voice message. He left one of his own, "Using Vicki's phone, she's not here. Call later with update."

Mike took a second quick look around before leaving. As he closed the door he noticed a small clump of dirt in front of her door. Years of experience told him that this was evidence of something. He took a zip-lock baggie from a pocket and used his pen to push the clump into the bag and sealed it shut. Out of habit date, time, location were noted on the evidence card.

As he walked back to the elevators the door across from Vicki's opened and Helen, a noisy neighbor called out, "Detective, is she all right?"

Mike walked toward her with a half smile, "Helen, I haven't seen you for awhile."

"That's because you haven't come by to see Vicki. Shame on you. Here she was so sick that a priest came and had to take her away."

Mike's mind flashed back to the last few hours at Henry's condo. "Tell me what did the priest say and what was he doing."

"Well, Vicki was leaning into him when I opened the door to say hi. The priest was mumbling in something that sounded churchy then said Vicki was sick and he was taking her to get help. I tried to ask Vicki if I could help, but she kind of shook her head."

"What was she trying to do?"

"It looked like she was trying to clear her head, or shake her head no."

"Why didn't you call me."

"You weren't very nice the last time I called when I thought Vicki needed help. Really Mike, letting her carry stuff in when she blind. She needs you to help her."

Mike thanked Helen for her concern and took the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator.

Outside he placed another call to Henry.

***

Relieved, seeing the call number for the first recording, Henry listened the voice message, then tensed up when Mike's voice sounded. The second message was worse. Raymond had Vicki. Two years before, the demon Astaroth took possession of his priest friend Raymond's body and left the area. Henry knew, when the time was right, there would be a final battle between him and the demon. And thanks to the stupidity of Norman, Vicki was permanently marked and tied into the battle as well.

Henry made two phone calls. One to his friend Augustus for a plane ride back to Toronto and the second to Mike.

"Celluci."

"I'm coming tonight. Be at the airport and please bring a big thick tarp. I'm trusting you to keep me safe until sunset."

"You're trusting me with your life?" Mike went cold, then hot inside. He hated vampires in general, and was jealous of Vicki's feelings for this particular vampire.

Henry looked disgusted as he said, "If you want to get Vicki back, you're going to need my help."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got that. Fighting a priest and caring for a vampire. How many 'Hail Marys' is this going to cost me?"

"If it makes you feel any better, I've been saying a hundred a night for the last four centuries."

"And look where that's gotten you."

***

Mike broke the connection and decided the best place for Henry to stay would be Vicki's apartment. He still had a key, an extra, made during one of their 'on again' times. She'd ask for it back and he'd ask for his, but they both knew they each had back-ups. Theirs was a complicated relationship that skirted around commitment. They trusted each other with their lives but not with their hearts.

He went to her apartment and fixed the smaller bedroom so that Henry could block out daylight and secure it from the inside.

As he worked, he thought about the things that led up to this moment. Everything Mike had ever thought about vampires and the work of evil had been challenged by knowing Henry. Henry was a vampire that had saved Mike's life at least once and Vicki's several times. He was funny, caring, worked hard, and fought for what he believed in and Henry believed in Vicki, and through her, him. Mike hated to admit to himself that he believed in the vampire's better nature and shut down that line of thought before he made the next connection.

At the prescient, he tackled the pending cases piled on his desk while squeezing in a few minutes to follow up on leads related to Vicki's disappearance. The phone call placed to her mother, confirmed that Vicki was long overdue for a mother daughter chat. Mike did a verbal dance that left Marjory satisfied that Vicki was well, busy, and if not happy, at least content.

***

Henry shuddered at the thought of flying. He hated being trapped anywhere that he didn't have total control and since there were so many variables to flying commercially, he discarded the idea even as it formed. Instead, he placed a call to a wealthy friend knowing an hour of personal attention would give him full use of a private jet for a few days. After agreements were reached and arrangements made, he placed a call to Mike and gave him the details about the when and were of his return to Toronto.

Henry sat, stared out the window of the plane and thought about his relationship with Vicki. He'd heard from her in one form or another twice if not three times a day since he left, but now days had passed without a word and he missed her. He kept his mind from thinking about what could be happening to her and forced himself to remember all the details of his friendship with Raymond, the priest that had run him through with a sword after been possessed by Astaroth. The Raymond he remembered would not give in easily to the demon and he hoped that his friend would find a way to let him know where Vicki was being kept.

***

Vicki was aware of a buzzing in her ear. She turned her head and tried to listen as words became clear.

"Don't talk. I have only seconds."

Never able to take commands that didn't make sense, she whispered, "Who?"

"I used to be Henry's friend, Raymond. I have a few moments to myself after Astaroth uses power."

Vicki started to sit up and asked, "Where?"

"You're in the root cellar of an abandoned farmhouse. I can't get you out, but I dropped down some food and water."

Vicki pulled her knees up to her chest and rolled onto her butt, "What's happening?"

"Astaroth can't fully enter this world without more power, if I die before he gets it he'll lose all he's gained. After my moment of weakness, I've been fighting him as best I can and now I'm dying." He further explained that Astaroth had Raymond's body, but not his soul and thanks to Norman's incompetence in drawing symbols, Astaroth was tied to Vicki and her will was even stronger than Raymond's so Astaroth had to wait.

"Why is he after me now?"

" Astaroth felt your resolve weaken. You were giving in to the darkness."

Vicki shook her head no, "I'm trying to accept blindness."

"No, you were giving up hope. Without it, he can tempt and torture you and in order for him to win, you have to agree to accept Astaroth of your own free will."

"Don't go clergy on me."

"I've got to go."

"Wait!"

The tone of voice changed and her arms began to throb, "Talking to yourself Vicki? Going mad I hope."

She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin in defiance, "I'm the only one here worth talking to."

"I'm the only one that needs you. You know that I can give all that you ever wanted."

In her mind she saw her father at all the important events in her life, with him laughing and cheering her on. She saw herself climbing rapidly up the ladder in the police force becoming the youngest female chief in history. She saw rich vibrant colors, beautiful vistas and handsome men waiting to do her bidding. Power, money prestige were all hers for the taking. And the price was so small not worth mentioning.

"Pretty pictures. Funny, but those dreams don't mean much to me."

The burning increased in her arms as he said, "I'll give you pain and take it away when you accept me."

"Pain reminds me I'm alive."

Snarling Astaroth waved a hand and Vicki heard the skittering sound of things moving in the dark.

Pushing her back against the wall and she slowly stood to face the direction of the most concentrated sounds coming at her. "Bring it on. That which doesn't kill me, will die."

The noises stopped and Vicki felt Astaroth fade. She placed a hand on the closest wall and moved forward getting a feel for her prison. When she got the image fixed in her head she let go of the wall and started pacing back and forth making a grid like pattern until she found the bottled water and what felt like three wrapped bars. Hunger and thirst overrode caution and she opened the bottle, sniffed and took a sip. She then opened one of the bars again sniffed then took a nibble. After waiting as long as she could, she took another few sips and ate half the first bar. She then stuffed everything in her pockets, used a corner for waste and moved to the opposite corner to sit and sort out her options.