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Just a little Halloween one-shot that's been playing in my head ...
The Return of Evil
"Whew! Spikey! I think it's time to go home. It's getting cold out here." Kendall bundled up her son, who was already buried in a sea of sweaters and blankets, totally covering the costume she and Zach had argued over. She had wanted Spike to be a pirate for Halloween, but Zach refused. "Real men don't wear eyeliner, Kendall," he'd said. She sighed dramatically, but relented.
"Okay, fine. What did you have in mind? A pumpkin? A kitty cat?" Zach looked at her like she was speaking a different language. "Nah, he's gonna be Dominik Hasek." After explaining that Hasek was the goalie for the Red Wings, Zach produced a uniform in Spike's size, complete with baby-proof ice skates. "I've even got one for Ian, but he's gonna have to be Osgood. Back up," he added when he saw Kendall's confusion. "How 'bout we go over later and put it on him?"
Kendall wanted to protest, trying to hold out as long as she could before losing her boys to hockey, but when she saw the two uniforms she gave in. They were so cute she couldn't even form a complaint. "Okay, but my boys will not have mullets," she said, laughing at the look on Zach's face.
"What about me?" she'd asked. "Anything for me in that bag?" Zach raised an eyebrow. "I thought you could wear that raincoat/jersey combo. That would be ... um ... really great!" he said as his eyes traveled over her body. "And you?" Kendall asked. "Me?" Zach said, swallowing as his eyes continued their journey. "I'll uh ... just be a fan. A very enthusiastic, very appreciative fan."
Kendall sighed when she remembered just how enthusiastic he'd been that night, and she hadn't even needed the jersey. With a promise to wear it tonight, she turned Spike's stroller around and headed for home. That was enough trick-or-treating for one day. She pulled her coat tighter around her and looked up. The early stars in the twilight sky were obscured by heavy clouds and the wind was picking up. Kendall was so concerned with keeping Spike warm, she didn't notice the man standing in the shadow of a large oak tree up ahead. He slipped silently behind the tree as she passed and watched her weave her way through the few remaining children on the street.
Zach dialed Kendall's cell phone, but it went immediately to voice mail. He was supposed to be home by now, but a last-minute meeting at Cambias held him up. He called their house, but the machine picked up. He grabbed his coat and headed for the elevator. Maybe he'd beat her home after all.
Kendall gasped when the wind blew the door out of her hands and it hit the wall with a loud crash. She hurried to get Spike in from the weather before using all of her strength to close it. The weather was really turning nasty. "Zach!" she called, fully expecting him to come running in from the kitchen with mugs of hot chocolate. But the house was silent ... and cold. She started a fire in the fireplace, grateful to be in for the night, and took Spike out of his stroller. While she was bouncing him up and down in an effort to keep both of them warm, she noticed the red light blinking on the phone.
"So I guess your father is still mad at me, Spikey," she said after listening to Ryan's whiny message. He'd wanted to take Spike trick-or-treating with Emma, but Kendall had adamantly refused. They had their family and she had hers. Spike and Ian and Zach. They were hers, and she didn't feel like sharing them today. Ryan had Annie and Emma to spend the holiday with. Ian was still in the hospital, so Spike was all she had. No way was she gonna miss out on his first time trick-or-treating. And no way was she gonna spend it with the Laverys. She'd been disappointed when Zach had to bow out, but she was still determined to have the time with her son. "Oh well, he'll get over it."
Kendall shrieked when a loud clap of thunder split the silence. Her reaction caused Spike to cry, which only added to the pandemonium. After soothing him, she called Zach. No answer. Not even a ring. "Must be the weather," she said aloud to the empty room. "I'm sure Daddy's on his way home, honey." She walked over to the picture window and watched the wind blow through the trees. She inhaled sharply when she thought she saw something moving in the yard. Was that a shadow? Or just the wind? Another violent clap of thunder, followed by a streak of lightning that lit up the sky, sent her back to the fireplace. The chill in the room, combined with the eerie shadows being cast upon the wall, made her feel a little spooked. She really wished Zach was home already. She hated thunderstorms, especially when she was alone.
A sudden noise made her heart stop. It sounded like it was coming from upstairs. She wanted to run out the front door, but she knew that wasn't an option. She was a mom, for goodness sake. It was time to grow up and stop being so silly. So she put Spike in his playpen and headed for the stairs, stopping long enough to pick up a fireplace poker, just in case. She slowly crept up the stairs, trying not to make a sound, even though the bumping and crashing going on outside would have obscured any noise she could have made. When she reached the landing, she let out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. There, directly in front of her, was the culprit. The window at the end of the hall was open and the wind had knocked over a vase of flowers on a nearby table.
Kendall laughed at herself as she closed the window and cleaned up the broken glass. She was halfway down the stairs when she thought she heard Spike crying. She hurried over to him, only to find him sitting quietly. In fact, he was completely preoccupied with something he was playing with. She reached for him, only to get slapped in the face with a sticky lollipop. His hands and face were sticky from the candy, and now so was she. She was on the verge of scolding him when she remembered that she hadn't given him any candy.
She felt the breath leave her body as a strong sense of foreboding washed over her. She had the eerie feeling she was being watched. She summoned her courage and turned toward the door, expecting to find it open. But it wasn't. It was closed and the chain was still latched. She breathed a quick sigh of relief, then turned to the window. Before she could look, the phone rang.
Zach cursed under his breath when the rain started. He knew from experience that the road to their house washed out in even moderate rainstorms. And if the sky was any indication, this one wasn't going to be moderate. He hurried down the dark, deserted streets, oblivious to everything except getting home to his family.
When he was no more than a couple of miles from home, his luck ran out. At first he didn't notice the loud pop, so great was the noise surrounding him. But when his Mercedes went into a skid, he was jarred back to reality. "Dammit!" he growled as he surveyed the blown tire. He was tempted to just ignore it until he got home, but he knew that would be foolish. So he tried to call Kendall one more time before he started the unenviable task of changing a tire in the middle of a thunderstorm.
"Kendall!" he shouted when she answered the phone. He hadn't realized how worried he was until he heard her voice. He closed his eyes as relief washed over him. "Zach?" she screamed, equally relieved. "Where are you, Zach? You're supposed to be home already." "What's wrong?" he asked, hearing the fear in her voice. "Nothing. Not really. I'm just a little creeped out by the weather, I guess. You know how I feel about storms." "I know. I'm sorry. I'm nearly home, but I have to fix a flat first. Will you be okay?"
As Zach spoke, Kendall stepped closer to the window. What she saw made her heart stop. The shadow was back, only this time she saw it more clearly. It was definitely a man, and he was watching her. She let out a bloodcurdling scream and dropped the phone.
"Kendall! Kendall!" Zach yelled. "What's going on? What's wrong, Kendall?" He continued to scream into the phone, but she never answered. Zach could hear breathing and the sound of Spike crying in the background. "Kendall!" he yelled again as he shoved the phone in his pocket and ran towards home.
Kendall bent to pick up the phone, feeling blindly for it as she stared out the window. She glanced down for a second to find it and when she looked back the man was gone. "Zach!" she screamed into the phone, but the line was dead. She could feel herself trembling. She was afraid to look outside, and afraid not to. As long as whoever was out there stayed out there, wasn't that better? "Police," she muttered to herself. "I need to call the police."
But she couldn't call the police. The phone line was dead and so was her cell. She stood in the middle of the living room, trying to decide what to do, when the lights flickered. Then the house went dark. She ran to Spike, whose playpen was illuminated by the light coming from the fireplace, and began stroking his head. He had stopped crying, but the darkness brought on a new set of tears. He reached for Kendall and clung to her when she picked him up.
"Please, Zach," she whispered. "Where are you?" Kendall sat on the edge of the couch, afraid to look anywhere except into the fire. She tried to remember if all of the doors were locked, and couldn't remember about the kitchen door. Reluctantly, she stood up and headed to the kitchen. The almost-constant lightning lit her path, but also made her uneasy. She peeked into the kitchen, wishing for the first time that there wasn't so much glass. She remembered telling Zach when they were planning the house that she wanted to bring the outdoors inside. Now she only hoped what was outdoors couldn't get inside.
She gingerly walked over to the door and found it locked. She breathed another sigh of relief as she turned her back to the door. That's when she noticed that the door to the broom closet was ajar. "Good Lord," she said as she rubbed Spike's back. "I feel like I'm trapped in one of those teenage slasher movies. This is about to get ridiculous." Even so, she picked up a knife from the drawer and held it out in front of her as she kicked open the closet.
She screamed with the mop fell at her feet, but her fear quickly gave way to laughter. "Real cool, Kendall." She looked at Spike, who was watching her. "Mommy needs to switch to decaf," she said as she kissed him on the cheek. She grabbed herself a soda and made her way back to the warmth of the fireplace.
As she crossed the foyer, she felt a cold chill go down her spine as the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She once again felt someone watching her. She hurried around the fireplace and picked up the poker. She knew she should be watching the door, but she couldn't bring herself to look. What if it was the man from before? What on earth was she going to do?
She held Spike close as she hid behind the fireplace. "Please, Zach," she repeated over and over again. She couldn't hold the tears back any longer. She heard the door open, heard the chain catch, heard the anger of the person on the other side. She kissed Spike, placed him on a pile of pillows and went to face the intruder. She wasn't going down without a fight.
Just as she turned to the door, a burst of lightning lit up the entryway and Kendall saw the silhouette of a man standing in the doorway. She screamed when she heard the chain break as he forced his way inside.
"Kendall!" Zach said from the doorway. He watched as recognition washed over her face and then caught her as she launched herself at him. "Oh God, Zach. I thought you were ..." her voice trailed off as it all came back to her. "Zach, I saw a man watching me through the window," she said, her voice weak and tight. She felt his body stiffen and his face went cold. "What man? Where?" he growled as he pulled away from her. "Who was it, Kendall?"
"I don't know who it was," she answered. "His face was hidden, but he was wearing a long black coat and he had a dark-colored hat pulled low on his head. He was standing in the back yard. Right there," she said, pointing to the spot where she'd last seen him. The next clap of thunder proved to be Kendall's undoing. "Zach," she said softly as she felt herself go limp. He caught her before she hit the floor.
The feel of warm breath on her face woke Kendall up. She opened her eyes to find Spike sleeping on her chest. She was laying on the couch, a blanket covering both of them. She sat up, careful not to wake Spike, and looked around the room. The fire was blazing, but there was no other light in the room. She walked across the room to switch on the lights and found that the electricity was working. Had she been dreaming?
"What are you doing up?" Zach said as he rushed in carrying a tray with two mugs on it. He put the tray on the ottoman and put Spike in his playpen. Then he carried Kendall back to the couch. "Please tell me that's hot cocoa?" she said. "This one is," he said, pressing a mug into her hand. She took a sip and felt the warmth spread over her. He sat with her for a minute, neither of them speaking, before going to get Spike.
She watched as Zach carried their son to bed, then smiled when he returned to her side minutes later. She always felt so safe with him. Zach wrapped his arms around her and brought her up against him. He knew she'd had a rough night and he wanted more than anything to take her fear away.
"Did you find him?" she said between sips, almost as if she didn't want to bring it up. Zach shook his head. "No. I looked everywhere, but I didn't see anything out of place." "Do you think I imagined it?" she asked. He searched her eyes before answering. "No. I believe you saw something. But whatever it is, it's gone now."
Kendall let out a long breath and put her cup back on the tray. Then she moved to sit on Zach's lap. He held her as she rested her head on his shoulder. After several moments of comfortable silence, with the only sound in the room that of a crackling fire, she pulled back to look at him. She stroked the side of his face before kissing him softly. "Thank you, Zach, for making me feel safe. I was so scared before, and now I just feel silly. Nobody else could do that for me."
He smiled at her. "There's no reason to feel silly. I was scared, too. I ruined a very expensive suit," he added as he indicated the jacket that was thrown over the back of the couch. Kendall picked it up, noticing for the first time that Zach's hair and clothes were damp. "You need to get out of those clothes, Zach. You'll be sick." "Is that an offer?" he asked. Kendall couldn't help but smile at the mischievous gleam in his eye. "It might be," she said coyly. "Well then," he began as he stood up, carrying Kendall with him. He walked over to the light switch and waited for Kendall to turn it off.
"The door, Zach. Is it locked?" He heard the fear creeping back into her voice and anger washed over him again. If only he'd been there sooner. If only Hannah hadn't insisted that their meeting couldn't wait until tomorrow. He clenched his jaw and tried to push the "ifs" aside. "It's locked. They're all locked. Doors and windows. I checked them all." Kendall nodded and rested her head on his shoulder as he carried her up the stairs.
Kendall woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of her cell phone ringing. Picture the sky, that is how high I reach. She instinctively reached for it, but her hand froze in midair. "Who's calling you?" Zach said from behind her. "You are," she replied, her voice heavy with dread.
Zach jumped from the bed to get his own phone from the pocket of his jacket that was now sitting in a heap on the floor. The phone was missing. As the thunder rumbled in the distance, he heard Kendall scream. He followed the sounds and found her standing over Spike's empty crib.
"How is everything there, Bruno?" Zach asked in a deceptively calm voice. He listened impatiently to the report, then issued new instructions. "Get Otto over there right now and you two don't let anybody get near my son. Stay inside the room with him until I get there." He snapped the phone shut and turned to face the nightmare that was unfolding at home.
There were cops everywhere, but they weren't finding anything. No muddy shoe prints. No fingerprints. Not even a sign of how the intruder got into their house. It was almost more frustration than Zach could stand. He returned to Kendall's side and she held on to him like a lifeline. "Ian ... is he?" she began, but her voice broke. "He's fine. Bruno and Otto won't let anything happen to him." Kendall curled herself into a ball and prayed for all of this to be a bad dream.
"Kendall, I can give you something to help you sleep," Joe Martin said as he put on his coat. He'd heard about the kidnapping and immediately came to offer his help to Kendall. She looked at Zach, who shook his head at Joe. The doctor then placed a hand on Zach's shoulder, his face saying all there was to say, and quietly left.
Unfortunately, Ryan chose that exact moment to bust through the front door, barking orders at everyone he saw. Kendall had called him immediately, hoping against reason that he had Spike. "What? Of course I don't have Spike. You wouldn't let me, remember?" he'd snapped. Zach could tell from Kendall's side of the conversation that Ryan was already blaming her, so he'd ended the call.
"You know it's Greenlee," Ryan said as soon as he reached the Slaters. "My God, how crazy can one woman be?" Kendall wasn't ready to blame Greenlee. She was too busy blaming herself. "It's all my fault, Ryan. If I hadn't begged you to call off your guard, we would know exactly where she is right now." She sat up and Zach immediately pulled her to him.
"I lied, Kendall," Ryan said. For once in his life, he wasn't trying to take everything out on Kendall. "I never stopped having Greenlee followed. My guys are on her 24-7." Kendall perked up. "Then where is she? Call them and find out where she took my baby!" She was becoming hysterical, but neither of them could blame her. Both men tried to stay calm, hoping it would keep Kendall calm.
"I already tried that. I couldn't reach them so I had Aidan track them. They were all found unconscious outside Greenlee's apartment. They're all gonna be okay, but they have no idea what happened. One minute they're having takeout from the deli down the block, and the next thing they know, Aidan is standing over them." Zach cursed and tightened his hold on Kendall. If only that bitch had never come back to Pine Valley, he thought. That thought was a very popular one that night.
"Look Greenlee, I said I'd help you get even with the Slaters and the Laverys for what they took from you, but I never said I'd help you raise Lavery's brat. We had a deal, remember? Black Market? Illegal adoption? Sound familiar?" Greenlee rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. This was supposed to be so simple. Why was he falling apart on her now?
"I know, David. But this is Spike. He was supposed to be my son. Remember? Mine and Ryan's. How can I just hand him over to strangers?" "How? I'll tell you how. Because that was the deal!" David yelled. "You think I like coming back to this cesspool? Better yet, you think I don't want to go over and make Joe Martin pay? I was a heart surgeon one minute and a janitor the next. You think I don't want these people to suffer? Hell yes, I do! But that's not what this is about for you, is it?" When she turned away from him, he grabbed her arm and forced her to turn back.
"This isn't about getting revenge. This is about getting Lavery's baby back. My God, Greenlee. What is this obsession you have with that moron? I mean, doing Aidan Devane is one thing. He's just a glorified mall cop with a bad accent. But what's with all the Lavery worship? What about Leo? I thought he was the love of your life. Isn't that the card you played to get me here?"
Greenlee glared at him, but remained silent. She turned her back on him. What could she say? David was right. She had played on his feelings for his brother to get him to help her. But he just didn't understand what she and Ryan had together. It was magical. No, he just didn't understand. She was on the verge of telling him that when she heard movement behind her.
"This is for Leo," David muttered as he jammed the needle into her neck. "Crazy bitch," he spat. He looked over at Spike who was sleeping soundly on the bed. Then he wiped down the room, scribbled something on a piece of paper, grabbed his coat and left. He kept himself hidden in the shadows as he did what he had to do. He watched from a distance as the young hooker with the heart of gold did what he paid her handsomely to do.
"Um ... is this Mrs. Slater? Mrs. Kendall Slater?" the girl said. "Look, I can't tell you who I am, but I do have a message for you. Some fella just wanted me to let you know that you can find your son at the Pine Cone Motel, Room 212. Yes, ma'am. That's all he said." She heard a man's voice screaming into the phone, but she hung up. She looked over at the stranger and he gave her a slight nod. Then he pressed fifty dollars into her hand and put his finger to his lips. She nodded, then watched as he climbed into the waiting cab and disappeared into the fog.
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