knyte: Lol yeah Stupid Devon and Walter! Mac should have just gotten rid of all of them. Its so not fair that crazy ass Devon lived and Mac died!

coconutcarter: Hey that's right! You still did get a bathroom scene.

gurl3677: Lol maybe she should keep him!

greeneyesonly: He's exactly like a little boy that never got his fathers love or affection. I can see much Mac style foot stomping. "MINE MINE MINE!" And who are we kidding…Mac is sexy no matter what. They put rooting teeth on him, covered him in chemical burns and we were still like "yeah, break me off a piece of that!" ….I'm a bad person.

WaterWarrior6: Well you can kind of see his point! Walter is make helping Devon keep his sister of half sister locked up for his taking and Mac actually has a woman around that wants him and for the first time in his life understands him and who he understands to an extent and their telling him to get rid of her. And as for Reedus: Scars, tattoos…skin whatever! Give him to me where I can see them and I am a happy fan girl!

Leyshla Gisel: She can't break…all she knows how to do is be strong. He can't make her weak unless he kills her…

VeritasKym: Oh really? Can I ask why? I'm curious.

Forever Fanfiction Lover22: Well you can kind of see his point! Walter is make helping Devon keep his sister of half sister locked up for his taking and Mac actually has a woman around that wants him and for the first time in his life understands him and who he understands to an extent and their telling him to get rid of her. I don't know if he'll ever really understand that he loves her.

scoobydoo0811: Lol! Well can you see Mac 'respecting' a woman?

Hey all! If you are reading this story and you have gotten this far you have to have something you like! Please review!

Chapter Twenty Three:

The air was sticky and warm when she climbed off the plane and onto the make shift runway. Some of the others around her whined unconsciously at the change in temperature and humidity. Alex smiled and pulled her hair up into a messy bun on the back of her head. She looked around with a grin, camera already up and raised as she took pictures of the dissolute old air field and the surrounding area. The others moved over to pick up their bags and equipment before going to be briefed by their guide by his dusty black jeep.

A warm wind moved over the expanse, sending up dust particles from the open, beaten down air strip. The earthen smell of it, the warmth…something drew her in and turned her face in the direction it carried fly away curls.

She looked over, eyes falling to the shadow of the mountains to the west. Her boot clad feet moved with it, longing to be stretched after the intensely long plane ride. Beads of sweat were starting to form on her neck already, streaking down her flawless skin.

"Ms. Connors." She looked over at the rest of the group, turning her camera up to the little of reporters and the man that would be guiding them through the dangerous and war torn terrain. "No wandering now."

She smiled slightly. "You'll never find what you're looking for if you don't wander a little bit." She joked her life philosophy at them.

Alex pushed open the glass door to the police station in town, finding the front room empty. She cocked her head to the side as she looked around at the few pictures and plaques on the stucco walls as she waited for someone to come into the lobby.

She frowned as she looked at a picture in the center of the walls of two men. One the old sheriff and one new the deputy. The sheriff was a plump middle aged man while the deputy looked younger with a square cut jaw. The dates, scrawled out on little golden plates under each photo, indicated that they had died on the same day about a year ago.

"Miss Connors." The young deputy said coming into the room. He snapped the manila file closed in his hand as he looked at her in surprise. "I wasn't expecting to see you here." He wasn't expecting anyone associated with Mac to be here without hand cuffs on and a bench warrant issued.

Alex looked back at the pictures on the wall before turning fully to him. "I just came to make sure Toby, that man from the bar, made it out alright." She told him.

The deputy nodded and put the folder down on his desk. "Can I get you a water or something?" He asked her, walking over to an old miniature refrigerator. She could hear the vibration of its electronics just like she could practically feel the shake of the air conditioner in the flimsy structure. Clearly law enforcement wasn't a huge priority in this town.

"Sure." Alex said, taking a seat in a chair he gestured to.

"I escorted him out of town last night." The officer told her, coming back over and handing her a dripping water bottle. "He seems worried about you Miss Connors."

"Just call me Alex." She told him, taking it. "And Toby should have been more worried about me getting hurt when we were in a relationship and maybe he wouldn't have lost the right to be concerned."

The deputy sat down with a grunt in front of her and nodded slowly. "Can't really blame him too much with the company you're keeping down here."

Alex eyed him as she took a long drink. "If this is your way of fishing to see if I know anything deputy…it kind of sucks." She finally said.

The officer sighed. "I'm just warning you Alex…lots of people go missing down here."

"Canyon spirits." Alex muttered under her breath.


"Nothing." Alex responded quickly. "What about them?" She nodded back to the wall. "Did they go missing?"

The deputy shook his head. "No…no they were murdered; shot and stabbed. The killer was never found. Most of the time its hikers and campers in the desert."

"The desert's a dangerous place." Alex put in. "People get lost, they run out of water, they fall."

The deputy nodded slowly at her. "They get hurt. Toby just doesn't want to see that happen to you." He tried.

Alex pushed herself up from the chair. "What you know about pain, I could fit in palm of my hand." She told him slowly and forcefully, the coldness of her voice reflecting the truth of the statement. "Thanks for the help last night deputy."

Mac leaned over the work bench in the cave chewing on an unlit cigarette as he mixed the chemicals for the next batch he was putting out for Walter. His eyes darted up to the vacant cave entrance. He kept thinking that he was hearing something; the sounds of gravels crushing under petite boots or the sound of an old Bic lighter clicking, but every time he checked there was nothing there.

This place was driving him insane…more insane. When the first explosion that fateful night had happened he had all but begged Walter to let him set up shop somewhere else; somewhere besides a dark barely lit cave but his father had been adamant that it was the most secure, most secluded place for cooking. Never mind the physiological damage it constantly inflicted on him; the old man didn't care about that, telling Mac to 'man up'.

Pushing away from the bench, he pulled the mask off his face and stepped away from the lung burning chemicals, rubbing out his prickly facial hair with one hand.

Glancing over at the broken old lawn chair he smirked to himself. At least he had one good memory in here now. He looked over at the chains hanging from the wall. Every other time he had looked at them he had seen Rick, impaled on them, chocking and gagging on his own blood. Now he saw Alex, the thick metal encircling her wrists.

I wonder if you'll be original.

Taking a deep breath he reached out and gave the rungs a firm tug. What had she seen when she looked at these? He'd seen the barely there scarring on her wrists. For that to happen she would have had to be hanging for days…maybe even weeks. He could picture her hanging there, face all full of calm defiance. The only thing left to be done to her that hadn't been already would be to kill her…or rape her.

He frowned to himself as he remembered the rage in his gut when he had seen Toby holding her wrists and yanking at her soft body. It had boiled in his gut, bile rising and threatening to chock him or make him breathe fire. He hadn't wanted it to happen. But that's what he was…what he did. What he would probably do again after she was gone.

She'd never break down for him…never be weak the way he needed her to be for Walter to let him tie her up in his room or lock her in his house. She wasn't Reggie. All that trauma… all that torture. It hadn't made her weak or pliable. It had gotten into her head, raging a war in between reality and fiction…memories…whatever she saw in her head when those big eyes looked through him and into the face of something far more frightening.

The truth of the matter was he didn't even really know what that was. He couldn't think of anything more frightening then himself…the man she willingly crawled on top of and sheathed perfectly.

Throwing the chain hard against the wall he groped in his pocket and pulled out the small metal box, rubbing some of the contents into his mouth and hoping it would dull whatever was growing inside of him.

Alex sighed as she pulled up to the Luna Mesa and parked her car in the lot. She intended on getting some shots up from the ledge under the barbs, catching the figure of the rustic building that was the towns watering hole in the periphery.

She closed her face for a moment, pulling her sun glasses from her eyes and rubbing them. Leaning her head forward on the steering wheel she wondered just how many people had gone missing in this desert. She wondered if their souls were trapped in the rocks like so many stories said they would be if they died there. She hadn't been lying when she had talked about the reasons why most people went missing in the desert. People thought they were stronger than nature. They would run out into 115 degree heat with a gas station bought map and no previous experience and just expect it would be a nice easy walk.

Still she couldn't ignore that there was something more going on out there and in this town than Mac pumping out drugs.

Pulling her head up, she sighed and leaned back into the seat. She was meant to be leaving in two weeks…but she had already sent out an email to her editor that while they had enough shots for the spread she didn't think she had found THE shot yet. Alex was a perfectionist and she wanted her breath taken away before she went back by something other than…well someone.

She wasn't ready to leave yet.

Shaking her head, she looked out of her car window over the abandon parking lot towards the apartment. The girl…Reggie she had said her name was, held back an old, once white curtain and looked at her with wide brown eyes.

Alex cocked and eyebrow, remembering Mac's warning about Devon's sister. She licked her lips slowly hand looked around the stillness that surrounded them. It was early…the bar wouldn't be open for a while. Walter, Devon and Mac wouldn't be here, all of the cars gone.

Pushing the car door open she jogged quickly towards the apartments while Reggie's eyes widened even more and she dropped the curtain quickly.

Alex frowned and looked around her before knocking on the door. If Devon or Walter answered she'd just pull something out of her ass like that she needed permission to shot the bar. Twisting her neck she tried to banish the serious look of Macs face from her mind as he told her to leave it alone.

Slowly the old door opened a crack for the other young woman to peek out at her with her eyes wide and full of fear.

"Hi there." Alex tried softly. "Is Walter or Devon in there?"

Reggie looked down at the dirty rug, still only keeping the door open a crack as she shifted from foot to foot nervously. Her dilated eyes looked up from Alex from time to time in a quick erratic drat.

Alex let out a breath. "You and I…we met the other day. Do you remember?" She asked as she looked her over. She could see a few disappating track marks on her arms, the bruising she had seen on her wrists and mouth earlier.

Reggie nodded. "Yes…yeah." Reggie licked her lips. "Are you here to take me?"

Alex cocked her head to the side. "Take you where?"

Reggie opened the door just a fraction more. "Away." She said quietly.

"Take you away from your brother?" Reggie nodded quickly. "I...I dont think so but...Reggie tell me what they are doing to you?" She leaned closer into the door, still glancing around them to make sure they weren't being watched.

"I-I can't." Reggie said, fingers gripping the door. "They'll send…him." Alex raised an eyebrow. "He'll do things…bad things. He killed them all, everyone who came with us."

"Who?" Alex asked. "Reggie I can help okay? But I need you to tell me whats going on."

"I can't. He'll come after you too." Her head whipped around as the phone in the small apartment rang. Her slender, starved body visibly started to shake and tremor with fear. "You have to go. That's them…don't come back here again. They'll send him and he'll kill you." She went to shut the door.

"Wait hold on!" Alex said quickly. She didn't know what it was about Reggie…but she couldn't leave another person behind to die…she wouldn't. If there was something going on she needed to know. Her conscious couldn't take another forgotten person disappearing without a trace. "Look um," She pulled an old receipt of her bag and a pen, quickly jotting a set of numbers on it. "Please…if something happens…if you need someone just call me okay?" She said.

Reggie looked at her in a shocked sense of surprise before reaching out slowly, taking it and shoving it into her back pants pocket. "Please…you have to go before he sees you."

Alex frowned and stepped back as the door closed, looking around at the still empty parking lot. Who the hell was He?