Ying-Yang

San Francisco, Angel Island: In the brightly lit control room, Nick was teaching Derek how to use the new security cameras and monitors, which were installed…security was Nick’s specialty. As he was about to type something into the computer, the lights in the room and the images on the control panel began to flicker as well. “What the hell’s going on here? I thought that the electricians fixed the faulty wiring when this place was rebuilt.” He said to Derek in an angry tone. He looked at the young man sitting next to him and said, “Calm down, Nick. There’s no need to get so worked up. ” Everything went back to normal. “See, Nick, it was nothing.” The precept said to his colleague.

“Everything is so different.” Nick said, staring around the room. “I don’t know why, but I expected everything to be built exactly the same way as it was. Don’t get me wrong, having these new state of the art computers, security cameras, and field devices are cool.”

“I’m glad you like it. I requested it all because you used to complain about how prehistoric our old control room was.” Derek said. “It’s nice, but I don’t know it’s like being in someone else’s house.” Derek understood what Nick had said. He too was finding it hard to adjust to their new surroundings. The only person, who seemed to love it, was Kat. Suddenly a voice called out. “Dr. Rayne, you have a call from Moscow House.” The automated voice was another new gadget. It was a system that the Legacy planned to install in all of the houses; the San Francisco House was the first. They called the voice, Eve, since she was the first of her kind.

“And that’s another thing, the house talks now. We have a talking house.” Nick repeated as Derek smiled at him. “I nearly had a heart attack when it first spoke to me.”

“Shall I take a message, Dr. Rayne?” The voice interrupted.

“No, Eve, transfer the call to my office. I’ll take it from there.” Derek said, heading to his office, which adjoined the control room. “Thank you, Eve.”

“You’re welcome, Dr. Rayne. Hello, Nick.” Eve now spoke in a seductive tone. “Is there anything I can do for you?” “Yeah go away.” Nick retorted.

“Sure thing, Nick, but if you need anything, you just whistle.”

“You know Nick, I think she’s kind of sweet on you.” Derek said, smiling. “And I wonder who the wise guy who had her programmed that way.” Nick said, looking at Derek suspiciously. Derek arched his brow.

“I have no idea.” He lied and with a smile on his face left the room.

“Right.” Nick called after him.

Berkeley University: Eighteen year old, Kelly Mitchell greeted her ten friends at the door. They have been friends since fourth grade and decided to go to the same college. “Hi, guys. Lovely evening for conjuring up the Chinese Gods.” She said as her friends entered her femininely decorated room. The smell of jasmine greeted them when the entered the dimly lit room. New age music was playing softly in the background. Kelly thought that candle light and soft music would help them to concentrate on the task at hand. After every one was in her room, she asked her pals, “Are we ready to do the Chinese ritual, guys?” Her friends nodded their heads. Kelly then continued, “Good. We have to sit on the floor on pillows Indian style holding a crystal in our hands. We also have to wear a crystal necklace. Crystals are supposed to have some sort of power. If this goes according to what Professor Montgomery taught us in class, our lives will change forever. We’ll have a lot of power.” She handed her friends a large crystal and then she put on each of them a crystal necklace. Kelly and the others sat down on the Oriental pillows Indian style holding the crystals in their hands. Kelly closed her enormous blue eyes and started chanting Chinese phrases to conjure up the Gods of fire, destruction, earth, and water. A soft breeze entered the room soon after she began chanting. When her friends felt the soft breeze on their faces, they closed their eyes for they believed it was a sign. The chanting started out very quietly at first and then started to get louder and louder as Kelly and her chums got into the ritual. They were so loud that the music from the CD player could no longer be heard. With each word the group chanted, the breeze intensified to a howling wind, the flames from the candles began dancing around the room. The crystals shattered in their hands and a vibrating sensation entered their bodies of the gang after they broke. The glass mirror and windows shattered as well. Before the ceremony took place, it was a cold and clear late autumn night with a full moon, but all that changed very quickly, dark storm clouds rolled in from the east and the heavens opened up outside and inside Kelly’s room.

San Francisco: Alex was sitting at the table on the upper level of the library writing in her journal her feelings about Derek and the Legacy. He was the real reason why she joined the organization in the first place. She was starting to resent the fact that she was hardly ever out in the field. Alex stopped writing for a couple of minutes to think about what she was going to write next. She looked in the direction of the fireplace, and the amber flames were dancing around the fireplace and the room. This preoccupied her that she didn’t hear Nick and Derek enter the room. Nick waved his hand in front of Alex’s black eyes and said, “Earth to Alex!”

It took her a moment to focus then she said to her friend, “Hi, Nick. I didn’t hear you come in.”

Nick said with a smirk on his face, “Did ya have too much wine with dinner that you’re so spacey?”

“Very funny, Nick.” She said as she slapped him on the arm in a playful way. Alex then continued, “I thought I saw flames dancing around the fireplace and the room.”

Derek looked at her with his brow arched and said, “You what! Are you feeling okay, Alex?”

“I’m fine, Derek, no need for you to worry about me.” She said to him with little expression. Alex was still hurt by the fact that he didn’t think it was important to finish the conversation, which they had down in the caves the night of the explosion. When they were in London, there was no time to discuss the kiss...with Derek being on the verge of insanity.

“Rachel will be by the house later. I want you to speak to her, Alex.” He said to her still looking at her face, which he noticed was gaunt.

“I’m just tired, Derek. That’s all it is. I don’t need to speak to Rachel. You of all people should take me seeing something in the fire, seriously. It wasn't that long ago when you were, seeing and hearing things, remember?” She replied back to him in a nasty tone.

Derek was about to say something, when all of a sudden, books started to fly off of the book self and the room started to shake. Nick and the others ducked under the table for protection.

Berkeley University: Stacie Rhodes was the first one to open her eyes after the ceremony was completed. The cold howling wind and the water from the sprinkler system broke her concentration. She also felt the broken crystal digging into her flesh. “Oh my gosh! Look at this place! I think it worked, Kelly.” Stacie squealed in delight. The rest of the gang opened their eyes after they heard her speak. They were all amazed at the damage that had been done to Kelly’s room.

font color="#FFFFF">“I guess I won’t be getting my $100 deposit back at the end of the semester.” Kelly said in a joking manner. Her friends laughed at her comment since they knew that their friend didn’t have to worry about money. Kelly Mitchell came from a very wealthy and well-known family. Tall and slender, Remy Black was trembling from the cold and the water. She said to the others, “Let’s get out of here, you guys. It’s wet and freezing in here. Besides, everyone will be coming back from the movies and the frat parties.”

“Yeah, she’s right, you guys let’s get outta here before everyone gets back. We can go to my room.” Karen Carlson said as she rubbed her arms to warm herself up. They all left Kelly’s and headed for Karen’s dorm. Four shadows with crimson eyes followed them.

San Francisco-The next morning: Rachel was on her way to the control room when she spotted Alex picking up books off of the library’s floor. “What the hell happened here? Is Derek acting crazy again?” She asked Alex.

Alex turned around and said to the older woman, “There was an earthquake last night followed by a thunderstorm.” Rachel noticed that the spark, which was normally in Alex’s eyes, was gone. She also noticed that Alex had lost weight and looked worn out. Rachel walked over to where her friend was standing and touched her on the arm.

She then said, “Alex, honey, those books can wait. I want to talk to you. I didn’t push you into talking in London…Derek and the whole ghost business. Are you feeling okay, honey?”

“I’m fine, Rachel.” She said to her with little energy.

“You don’t seem fine to me. You’ve lost weight and seem upset. Alex, honey, you haven’t been yourself since the night the house burnt to the ground. When we were in London, you were pretty quiet and kept to yourself. I’m worried about you, Alex, sweetie. Do you want to talk about it?” She asked Alex using her shrink tone.

Alex took a deep breath before she said to the blond, “The night of the explosion, I kissed Derek when we were in the caves. He told me that if he had not been my mentor in graduate school, he would have asked me out on a date. I said to him that he was only saying that to make me feel better about myself, and he said that it was true about asking me out. I then kissed him. I wanted to finish our conversation that night alone looking for artifacts, but he didn’t want me around. He told me that the conversation would have to wait…more important things.”

Rachel kissed her friend on the hand. She then said, “I was there, and I didn’t understand why you wanted to be with him or why you wanted to finish a conversation when the house was in ruins. Now, I understand. I think you should talk to Derek, Alex. You need to resolve the matter before you make yourself sick. Alex, you have to find out how Derek feels about you.”

“It’s so hard to talk to him now, Rachel. I want to bring up the subject, but I’m afraid that he’ll yell at me, or worse, reject me.” She said looking down at the floor. “ "Alex, you have to force him to talk to you. Tell him that you won’t accept, ‘not now’ as an answer.” She advised the young woman. Alex left the library to go find Derek.

The Study: Derek was playing the piano, which relaxed him when he was nervous, when Alex entered the room. “Derek, can I speak to you?” She asked the Dutchman.

Not looking up, he said, “Yes, Alex, what do you want to talk about?” He was hoping that she wouldn’t want to talk about their conversation in the caves or the kiss that they shared the evening of the fire.

“I was hoping we could finish our talk.” Alex said. She could see Derek’s jaw clinch as if he was bracing himself for pain. He wanted her to come to him in London, but she didn't. The thought of hurting her pained him. It became obvious to Alex that Derek didn’t want to discuss the matter, but she went on. “Derek, how do you feel about me? About the kiss we shared? ” Alex asked him hoping that he would tell her that he loved her.

“Alex.” Derek stopped playing and turned his attention to her. “You are an attractive young lady, who belongs with someone your own age. I care about you but only as a friend.” He paused seeing the hurt in Alex’s black eyes. He didn’t want to cause her pain, but he had to continue. “We got caught up in the moment, and I think that’s why you kissed me."

“I kissed you? As I recall, your tongue was in my mouth also.” Alex jumped in angry that he was acting like she seduced him.

“Alex, that night our emotions were in high gear. We got caught up in the moment, and under normal circumstances, we never would have kissed. If you misunderstood it to be something more, I’m sorry.” He said noticing the hurt and disappointment in her eyes.

“I see. I guess your right, Derek. I got caught up in the moment. Well, I’m glad we had this talk and cleared things up. Sorry for bothering you.” She said and then walked out of the room. Alex ran up the stairs heading to her room nearly knocking Nick down, as he passed on his way down to find Derek.

“Whoa, where’s the fire?” Nick asked jokingly, but he then noticed the tears in Alex’s eyes, slowly rolling down her cheeks. “Hey, Alex, are you ok?” Alex didn’t answer. She ran into her room slamming the door behind her where she threw herself on the bed and cried for hours. Nick stared for a moment before he followed the music to the study. “Hey Derek, did you and Alex have some kind of fight? She just ran past me crying her eyes out.” Nick said. Derek never took his eyes off of the keys.

“We had a little misunderstanding, but I cleared it up.” Derek answered.

“What kind of misunderstanding?” Nick probed further. If there was one thing he couldn’t stand, it was seeing Alex cry. At that moment, Rachel entered the room. “Hey guys. What’s up?” Rachel asked smiling at her friends.

“Well, I was just asking Derek what he did to Alex that upset her so much?” They both stared at Derek now awaiting his answer.

“And I was about to tell Nick that it was none of his concern. It’s between Alex and me.” Derek said closing his eyes as he swayed to the music.

“So she confronted you about the kiss you two shared the night of the explosion?” Rachel asked him while she moved her hands.

“They kissed?” Nick asked surprised.

“Yes.” Derek answered now looking at them. “And, Rachel it doesn’t concern you either.”

“Alex is my friend, Derek, and I could see that she was in a lot of pain. I was the one who told her to confront you thinking you two could work it out. Now, I see I was wrong.” She said still moving her hands.

“Yes, you were, especially if you gave Alex false hopes that she and I could ever be more than friends. We kissed, and now it’s time to put it behind us…get back to the business at hand.” Derek said standing to leave the room. He didn’t like having to explain himself to Nick and Rachel.

Rachel glared at him for a moment. “You know, Derek, sometimes you can be a heartless bastard.” She said leaving the room to go comfort Alex. Nick and Derek stood alone.

“Just tell me one thing, you didn’t explain things to Alex the same way you just explained it to us, did you?” Nick asked the precept. Derek arched his brow.

“Yes, why?”

“Man, you’ve got a lot to learn about women.” Nick said shaking his head as he left the room.

Berkeley University: Eighteen year old, Melissa Wright was in the dorm the night of the ritual. Her room was next to Kelly’s. The noises and the events, which happened next, frightened her. She wrote a note and left it under the Resident Advisor’s door. Jessica Miller when she read what had gone on the night before…chanting, glass shattering, and etc., she decided to get in touch with the Dean of Students. Dean Wilson called up Derek Rayne, an old friend of hers.

Derek’s Office: Derek was sitting at his desk looking over the insurance papers. He had planned on asking Alex or Rachel to go over them, but there was no chance of that happening after the way he treated Alex. Maybe Nick and Rachel are right he thought to himself. The fact was that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship now…not after what happened to Megan. The phone on his desk rang snapping him out of his reverie. “Derek Rayne.” He said into the receiver.

“Hi, Derek. This is Victoria Wilson. There’s been an incident at the college, and I was hoping that the Luna Foundation would look into it.” She said to him.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from you.” He took out a piece of paper out of the draw to jot down the info. “What kind of incident occurred at the college?” He asked his old friend. She filled him in. “Victoria, I’ll be there with one of my colleagues.” Derek told her and then hung up the phone. He went to find Nick.

Rachel knocked on Alex’s door. “Go away.” Alex said.

Rachel knocked on the door again and said, “Alex, it’s me, Rachel. I just want to make sure you’re alright, sweetie.”

“Come in, Rachel.” She said. Rachel entered the room where she found her friend lying on the bed hugging her pillow. She sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked Alex’s black curly hair.

“I’m so sorry, Alex, that I told you to speak to Derek. I thought it best for you two to clear the air.” Rachel said.

Alex turned her face to look at Rachel and said, “It’s not your fault Rachel, that Derek’s an asshole. I can’t believe I’ve wasted all this time pining away for that creep.” She sat up and started to cry again. Rachel held Alex as she cried. “I feel like a jerk wasting my time on a man who isn’t capable of loving anyone.” Alex said between sobs.

“There, there. No, you aren’t a jerk Alex, for having feelings for Derek.” She said as she released her friend. “You’re young and beautiful, Alex, you are a kind, loving and giving person who deserves to be with someone that is capable of loving another person.” Rachel stated.

“Thanks, Rachel.” Alex said to the blond as she wiped away her tears. “I must look awful. I don’t feel pretty right now.” She said to her friend.

Rachel looked into her friend’s blood shot and swollen eyes and said, “I’m going to fix you a cup of chamomile tea and some toast. Why don’t you take a hot bath, honey?” She got off of Alex’s bed and left the room, went down the stairs and headed for the kitchen. After Rachel left the room, Alex went into the bathroom and put on the water. She then took down the bottle of lavender bubble bath from the white shelf and put a capful into the bath. Alex took off her clothes and got into the hot water. The heat and the smell of lavender relaxed her.

The drive up to Berkeley was for the most part a quiet one. Normally Derek and Nick would speak to one another about various topics. It was usually about Nick’s love life…lack there of. The silence was getting to Nick so he said, “Derek, why are we going to Berkeley?”

“Victoria Wilson, an old friend of mine, called me up and said that an occurrence happened at the school last night. I told her that I and a colleague of mine would look into it.” The precept replied to the young man.

Nick hated it when Derek was vague. “What kind of occurrence, Derek?” He asked his boss.

Derek replied, “Something to do with a ritual and chanting involving a group of students. Victoria didn’t go into detail. She said se didn't want to bring in the authorities. Bad publicity, but the president of the University, insisted on a full investigation. So, Vicky called me.” Nick wanted to know how well he knew this Victoria person…if he ever dated her, but after the incident with Alex in the study earlier that day, Nick thought it was best to keep his comments job related.

“What’s with today’s youth? So many are involved with the occult. Don’t get it.” Nick stated shaking his head.

“Know what you mean, Nick. Parents send their kids off to college to get a good education so they can be productive citizens so they can get a decent job, and so many of these kids get into gangs or cults. Must be the music they listen to.” Derek said to Nick.

With a grin on his face, Nick said to the older man, “I listened to metal, punk rock, and hard rock. I turned out okay.” He was quiet for a while then added, “Hey, Derek, wasn’t it your generation, which was into flower power, love, sex, and rock and roll. How ‘bout all those drugs your generation did.” For the first time that day, Derek actually smiled.

“You’re right, Nick, my generation was into all kinds of things. We were into peace and love not violence.” The smile soon turned into a frown. “These days you can’t turn on the news or read a paper without hearing about gun violence or a school shooting.”

Berkeley University: Finally, the two of them arrived at the campus. They got out of the black Range Rover and headed for Dean Wilson’s office, which was near the stadium. It was a long trek and Derek was a little out of shape so he was sweating a little. He took out his handkerchief from his pant’s pocket to wipe the sweat from his brow. Nick was in good shape with the running and Tai chi he did so he didn’t sweat at all. The sun was breaking through the gray clouds when Derek and Nick reached the building where the dean’s office was located. The two men climbed up three flights of stairs and turned left at the corner. Once they arrived at her office, Derek knocked on the door. “Come in.” A woman’s voice called from behind the door. Derek was the first to enter. “Derek!” She said beginning to stand up from her leather chair. “Vicky.” Derek said smiling. He took note of how good the strawberry blond looked. It was as if she hadn’t aged any in the years he had seen her. “You look wonderful.” He moved closer to her as she moved around from the desk. They embraced.

“I was thinking the same thing about you…still the same handsome devil.” She said looking him up and down. “It’s been too long, Derek.”

“Yes, it has. This is my colleague, Nick Boyle.” Derek said. Nick and Vicotria exchanged nods.

“I’m sorry our reunion is due to these strange circumstances.” Victoria said taking her seat again. She motioned for them to take a seat, which they did.

“I have to ask, how did you know to contact me?”

“Well, a few months back I came across an article about a group of people who investigated a strange occurrence in the caves in the outskirts of town. Your name was mentioned, and upon further digging, your name came up quite a bit in these stories about paranormal happenings. I took a chance that it was more than a coincidence.” Derek smiled at her, remembering that she had always been a bit of a snoop. He always thought she would be a reporter or a P.I.

“So what took place that you needed the help of the Luna Foundation?” He asked her, the smile not leaving his face.

She ran her manicured fingers through her hair and said, “The Resident Advisor from one of the dorms received a note which stated that chanting went on the night before…sounded like something was howling and glass shattering.” Dean Wilson paused for a second and then continued, “Last night it rained here and we had an earthquake, there was damage to only one building, Lewis Hall and it was the room of the student who allegedly held the ritual.”

“Vicky, can Nick, and I take a look at the room? Can we talk to the Resident Advisor and the student who wrote the note?” Derek asked his old friend.

“Yes, you two can go into the room since the young woman is staying in another dorm. The room number is 228. Melissa Wright’s room is next door to the room where the incident occurred, and Jessica Miller’s room is located on the first floor…room 101.” She said as she got up from the brown chair and walked to the door and opened it. “I have work to do. Derek, we should get together for drinks sometime.” Victoria said as he left her office. Nick had a smirk on his face after he left the office.

“Boy you are quite the ladies man.” Nick said with a broad smile.

“Victoria is married, Nick.” Derek said in an irritated tone. He picked up his pace once they were outside the building.

“Man, you are clueless when it comes to women, Derek. Victoria was looking you up and down…she’s interested in you.” Nick said when he caught up to his boss. “Victoria and I are very good friends besides I don’t want to end up having a fruitless affair.” Derek replied to the young man.

“Then why don’t you give Alex a chance? Ask her out on a date, Derek.” Nick advised his boss. He was sorry that he had said that after he saw the look on the older man’s face. “I’m sorry, Derek, for bringing up Alex.”

“No need to apologize, Nick.” Derek said as they were approaching Lewis Hall. “I’m not interested in asking Alex out.”

With a confused look on his face, Nick said to the Dutchman, “Don’t you find her attractive? I know I do.”

“Yes, I find Alex attractive, but I’m not interested in dating her. I like her as a friend…only as a friend. We work together, Nick, and I don’t want to date a coworker. Since you seem so interested, why don’t you ask her out, Nick?” Derek said to him as they entered the building.

“I just might ask Alex out on a date, Derek.” He replied.

“You talk to Jessica Miller, Nick. I’ll take a look at the room to see if pick up any vibes. Then, I’ll speak to Melissa Wright.” The precept said to the ex Navy SEAL. He then climbed up the stairs to the second floor and walked down the long corridor to room 228. Derek walked into the room and saw the damage. Candle wax on the floor, no windowpanes, glass on the floor a shattered mirror and water damage from the sprinkler system going off. Also books and other objects were thrown all over the place. He walked around the room to see if his psychic power would pick something up. Derek noticed a book lying on the water damaged Oriental rug, and he walked over to the rug, bent down to pick it up. The title of the book was “How to Conjure Up The Chinese Gods”. Holding the book in his hand, he had a flash of a vision of four dark shadows with blood red eyes.

Nick knocked on Jessica’s door. A tall and slender redhead opened the door. “Yes, can I help you with anything?” She asked the stranger at her door.

“Hi, I’m Nick Boyle. I’m with the Luna Foundation.” He said to the young woman and then handed her a card. She read it. “I’d like to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind.” Nick said to her.

“Come in, Nick. Oh by the way my name is Jessica.” She said to the cute young man. Nick walked into the room. Jessica sat down on a yellow beanbag and motioned for Nick to sit down on the blue one. “What is it you’d like to know, Nick?” She asked him.

“I’d like to know about the letter which you received from one of the freshman.” He said to the pretty young woman, as he was looking her up and down.

“The letter stated that about ten students were chanting. The girl also wrote that she heard a howling noise, and that she heard glass breaking.” Jessica replied.

“Can I ask you the name of the student who held the chanting session?” Nick said to her. He noticed a look of fear on her face.

Jessica Miller took a deep breath before she said, “It was Kelly Mitchell who was holding a ritual. I’ve heard stories about her…that she’s involved in sťances and other occult type activities. By looking at her, one couldn’t tell…dresses very nice…no black or anything else like that. Kelly comes from a prominent family.” She looked at her watch and noticed that it was getting late and said, “Is that all. I have some studying to do.”

Nick got up from the beanbag and said, “That’s all. Thank you for your time, Jessica.” He then left the room and headed up the stairs to look at Kelly Mitchell’s room. ‘This place is a mess.’ He thought to himself when he entered the dorm room. Nick walked over to Kelly’s desk and picked up the pictures, which she had on her desk. He then went through her draws and looked her papers to see if he could find anything else out about her. Nick saw the word Zodiac on a piece of paper, and it listed the names of the members…Kelly Mitchell (leader), Stacie Rhodes (assistant leader); Remy Black, Jack Stevens; Karen Carlson, Beverly Johnson; Melanie Davidson, Jordan Snyder; Billy Rapport, and Christina Stewart. He put the piece of paper in the pocket of his blue shirt.

San Francisco: Alex was in her room listening to R and B music to help cheer her up when she heard a knock on her door. “Go away. I want to be left alone.” She shouted through the closed door.

Nick knocked on her door again and said, “I come baring comfort food…your favorite, Alex.” She was hungry since it was hours since she had eaten something, so she opened the door. Nick had a carton of ice cream and two spoons in his hand. They sat down on Alex’s bed and dug into the ice cream.

“How did you know that this was what I needed, Nick?” Alex asked her friend after she took a big spoonful of the cookie dough ice cream.

“When Julia was upset over something, she liked to eat ice cream…figured it was a girl thing.” He said to her. He was silent for a moment thinking about whether or not he should ask her how she was feeling. “Alex, are you feeling any better?”

Alex played with one of her long black curls as she replied to him, “I’m fine, Nick, thanks for asking.” She gave him a big smile. “So where did you disappear to?” She asked Nick.

Nick hesitated for a minute then said, “I went to Berkeley with Derek…a case involving college students performing a ritual. They were trying to conjure up the Chinese Gods…from the look of the dorm room where it took place, looked like they succeeded.”

Alex swallowed her ice cream and asked, “How do you know they were trying to conjure up the Chinese Gods?” Nick took out the piece of paper from his shirt pocket and gave it to her. “Zodiac Club…mission of this club is to try and conjure up the Chinese Gods to gain power.” She read out loud. “No one got hurt?”

“No one we could find, but the room was pretty trashed.” He then handed her the book, which Derek had given him before he left for Angel Island.

“So what’s the next move?” Alex asked, eager to help, hoping it would distract her mind from her troubles.

“I don’t know. Derek is still at Berkeley. The dean is an old girlfriend of his, and they seemed interested in catching up on old times.” Nick said. He was sorry that he had said that when he saw the sad expression on Alex’s face as she was staring down at the bed. “I’m sorry, Alex.” Nick said in a kind tone.

Alex shook her head. Alex looked at her friend’s face and said, “It’s okay, Nick I can’t believe I ever had feelings for him in graduate school…he seemed so sophisticated and suave. In one crazy moment, I tell him my true feelings, expecting him to scoop me in his arms, and tell me he felt the same. Well needless to say, it didn’t exactly happen that way.” Alex smiled. Nick smiled back at her. He reached out and gently stroked her hair.

“You know what you need?” Nick asked, jumping off the bed.

“Yeah, but I don’t think I’m going to get it from Derek.” Alex grinned slyly. Nick smirked at her.

“Besides that. In fact better than that.” Nick said grabbing her by the arms pulling her to her feet.

“Better?” Alex looked at her friend suspiciously. “What could possibly be better than making love by the fireplace or out in the rain?”

“Going to get a couple of nasty looking chili dogs, and catching the evening horror flick with me.” Nick said leading her by the hand to the door.

Berkeley University: Kelly and the other members of Zodiac were in Lucinda Montgomery’s office after class was over. Lucinda said to her students, “Here are necklaces with the symbol Ying-Yang on it. This and the crystal necklace will make you even more powerful.” She handed the eleven college students the Ying-Yang necklace. “Tonight after midnight come to the cabin in the woods and bring with you the animal which coincides with the year of your birth.”

Christina Stewart looked at her professor for a second before she said, “The animal which rules my birth year is a monkey. How am I supposed to get one?”

Pushing back a stray reddish brown lock from her forehead, Professor Montgomery said, “Steal one, my dear from the zoo.” She handed the petite dark haired girl a tranquilizer gun. “Here, this will put the monkey to sleep. The boys will help you steal it and take it to my cabin in the woods, right boys?” The three young men nodded their heads. “Good then it’s settled. See you in the woods by my cabin at midnight. I have a lot of stuff to do to get ready for the ritual.” She said as she opened her door.

Jack Stevens said as they were leaving the building towards the cafeteria, “Boy, is she one strange lady! Are you sure you want to go ahead with this, Kelly?”

“Yes, she’s strange, but she knows what she’s talking about.” Kelly replied as she buttoned her brown velvet coat. “Besides, I want to be powerful…more powerful than my family.”

“I wonder what we’re going to do with the animals that coincide with the year of our birth.” Jordan Snyder stated to his friends.

Karen shrugged her shoulders as she said, “Beats me guys. I wish we didn’t have to do it so late at night…cold at that time of night.” She and her friends found a table and put their jackets on the chairs. They then went on line to get their lunch.

Remy said as she picked up a brown tray, “Will you guys stop complaining. Wear a warm enough jacket, Karen. I have a feeling that whatever we’re going to be doing with the animals, it’s gonna be cool.”

San Francisco: Nick and Alex were in the kitchen eating a late breakfast when Nick’s cell phone rang. “Yup.”

“Nick, it’s Derek. I’m going to be at the university a little longer…have a feeling that something is going to happen tonight. I want you and Alex to look over the book on How To Conjure Up The Chinese Gods.”

“Will do, Derek.” Nick said and then flipped the phone shut. He then said to Alex, “The chief wants us to look over the book.”

“I already did that.” She took a sip of orange juice.

“When did you do it?”

“After we came back from the movies. I couldn’t sleep so I came down to the control room to translate the book.” Alex replied to him.

Nick took a bite of his bagel before he asked, “What did it say?”

"Well, if my translation is correct, it said something about sacrificing animals and humans in order to reach the highest level of power.” Alex said as she was getting up from the table. She was heading for the control room. Nick was following her.

“Animal and human sacrifices? Why would anyone want to do that? How’s that going to make them powerful?” Alex sat down in the chair at the computer terminal. “Sacrificing animals and people is an offering to the Chinese Gods. The Gods in return will give those who offered them something, power.”

“How many Chinese Gods are there?” Nick asked her as he sat down next to her. Alex looked up Chinese Gods in the Legacy Database.

“There are 125 of them. Each God is responsible for different kinds of power…good power and evil power.” She looked into Nick’s hazel eyes.

Nick gazed into Alex’s dark eyes and said, “Well, from the way Kelly’s dorm room looked, I’d say they’re trying to conjure up the evil Gods.” He dialed Derek’s cell phone number and spoke into the speakerphone, “Derek, Alex and I found out some interesting info out. In order to gain power from the Chinese Gods, one has to sacrifice an animal or a person.”

“There’s supposed to be a full moon tonight…perfect night for a sacrificing ritual. Nick, do you have the names of the students who are involved?”

“Yes, Derek. Kelly Mitchell, Stacie Rhodes; Beverly Johnson, Jordan Snyder; Billy Rapport, Remy Black; Karen Carlson, Jack Stevens; Christina Stewart, and Melanie Davidson.” He said into the speakerphone. “I’ll see if Victoria will allow me to take a look at the student’s files to see if there were any other incidents involving these students. Melissa Wright was scared of Kelly. I’ll fax over any information I get on these students.” Derek said to Nick and Alex. He then hung up the phone.

“Is Victoria Derek’s old girlfriend?” Alex asked in a soft voice.

“Yes, Are you sure you're okay with everything?”

She patted Nick on the arm and said, “I’m fine with everything. I enjoyed going to the movies with you, Nick.” Alex then gave Nick a huge smile, and he returned it. Nick got up from the chair and went over to the table and picked up the book. He started thumbing through it and found a piece of paper.

“Hey, Al, check this out!”

She got up and walked over to where he was standing and asked, “What do you have there?”

“It looks like a list of people for the human sacrifice ritual…sorority sisters are listed on it.” He replied as he handed her the paper.

She read it and said, “You’re right…have to call Derek.” She walked over to the speakerphone and dialed Derek’s number. “Derek, Nick found a piece of paper in the book. It’s a list of people for the human sacrifice. The list contains sorority sisters on it… Phi-Beta.”

“I’ll talk to the Phi-Beta sisters. Alex, call Rachel for a psychological profile of Kelly and the others.” Derek said to her and then hung up the phone. She dialed Rachel’s number.

“Dr. Corrigan.” Rachel answered.

“Hi, Rachel. Do you think you could come to the house? An interesting case has come up, and Nick and I need your psychological expertise.” Alex replied.

“I can stop by after my last appointment, which is 2:30. Kat is sleeping over her friend, Alyssa’s house…have a science project to work on together. See you at 4:00.” She said and then hung up the phone.

Nick walked over to where Alex was and put his arm around her shoulder and said, “It’s 12:30, and Derek hasn’t faxed us the info yet; so why don’t you and I go for a run.”

“Ok, but Just don’t run so fast…can’t keep up with you.” She slapped him on the chest in a playful manner and then ran out of the control room. He ran after her. Berkeley University: Derek was in Victoria’s office looking over the files of the eleven students involved in the ritual. Dean Wilson walked in her office and asked, “Where you able to find what you were looking for, Derek?” He nodded. “Good. I don’t want another incident to occur…don’t want this university to have a bad name.”

He gazed into Victoria’s hazel eyes as he asked, “Why didn’t you expel these students, Vicky? They clearly disobeyed all the rules.”

“Derek, Kelly Mitchell comes from a prominent family…father is a senator. The others come from wealthy families who give money to this university; so I couldn’t expel them without having a good enough reason.”

“Senator Richard Mitchell is her father? He’s against violence and cults.” He stated to his friend. “Would it be alright if I made copy of these files and faxed them to my colleagues?” Victoria nodded her head. Derek copied and faxed them over to the Legacy House.

San Francisco 3:45: Nick and Alex were in the control room looking over the files that Derek had faxed over. “I wonder why these students weren’t expelled or any disciplinary actions taken…clearly aren’t model students.” Alex said, shaking her head.

“Maybe the dean and others are scared of these students. When I asked Jessica Miller who was holding the ritual, she was scared.” Nick replied as he got up to stretch. “Oh, Jessica also mentioned that she heard rumors that Kelly was into contacting the dead.”

“She’s really into this big time.” Alex said as she typed Kelly Mitchell’s name into the computer. “Nick, her father is Senator Richard Mitchell.”

“You gotta be joking. Isn’t he the one who wanted tougher laws against cult and gang related violence?”

“He’s the one.” She said looking at Nick. “I wonder if he knows what his daughter is up to.” Rachel entered the room.

“Hey guys. What’s up?” “Hi, Rachel. We need a psychological profile on a group of college students.” Alex said, turning around to face her friend. “So what are they in to that you need a psyche profile on them?”

“Apparently they’re trying to gain power from the Chinese Gods. In order to do, that one needs to sacrifice an animal and a human.” Nick replied with a disgusted look on his face.

“Only one of the girls will get the power and the others will be killed.” Rachel clarified. Nick nodded. “So you need me to determine which one of them is the one intending to receive the power.”

“Yeah, as far as we know, right now, it can be anyone of them.” Alex said, still sitting at the terminal. “And we have to know fast because tonight when the moon is high, they’ll perform the ceremony. Unless we find the one behind this and stop her, a lot of young women will die tonight.”

“Ok, are these the files?” Rachel asked, picking up a pile of paper.

“Yeah, Derek faxed them over from the university.” Nick replied.

“Ok, I’ll go in Derek’s office and read over them, then let you know what I find.” She said, carrying the papers towards the door besides the terminal.

“So what do you say Al, while Rachel is looking over the files, what say you and I raid the fridge.” Nick said patting his stomach. Alex had gotten up from where she was sitting and was now standing in front of him.

“I say the last one there has to fix the other whatever they want.” Alex said, before bolting out of the room.

“Hey you cheat!” Nick yelled after Alex, as he followed her out of the room.

Berkeley University: Victoria Wilson was at her home on the campus. She was in her den and picked up the phone and dialed Lucinda Montgomery’s number. “Lu, are we still on for tonight? Do you have everything that we’ll need?” She asked her friend.

“Oh, yes, Vic. We’re still on for tonight…no intention of backing out of this. Everything is in place…those girls won’t know what hit them.” Lucinda replied then gave an evil laugh. “The one who’s going to be the most surprised is Kelly Mitchell.”

Victoria ran her manicured fingers through her short strawberry blond hair and said, “I don’t like that girl nor her father. Richard cheated my family out of everything and now it’s time for him to pay for what he has done.”

“What about Derek Rayne?” Her friend asked her.

“I’ll take care of him. I’ll put the herbs, which you gave me into his drink…that’ll knock him out for a couple of hours.” Victoria replied, laughing mischievously. She then hung up the phone and went to the parlor where Derek was waiting for her. She went over to the table where the liquor was and asked, “Derek, would you like a drink?” He nodded as he looked at Victoria’s paintings. She took out the vial of herbs from her black blazer pocket and put a few drops of it in the wine and shook the glass. Victoria then walked over to where he was standing and handed him his drink.

“Thank you, Vicky. Aren’t you going to have one?” Derek asked his old friend. He took a sip. “This is delicious. What year is it?”

“1884.” She watched in delight as he finished the wine in his glass.

“I think I need to sit down.” He said as he walked over to the red velvet chair. Derek passed out as soon as he sat down. Victoria left the room and headed up to her room to get ready for the ritual.

San Francisco: The kitchen Alex was at the sink washing the glasses. She had a vision of four dark shadows with glaring, glowing beet red eyes dancing around a fire in the woods. The vision was so intense that Alex dropped the glasses into the sink. Nick was sitting at the table reading the sports section. He looked up when he heard the sound of the breaking glass.

“Good one, Al. Two less glasses to wash…hope Derek doesn’t blame it on me.” Nick said with a huge grin. Alex turned around and there was a strange look on her face. “What’s wrong, Alex?” He asked as he jumped from the table and headed to the sink. Nick put his hands on her shoulders.

“I saw four dark shadows with glowing red eyes dancing in the woods.” She said, squinting her eyes as she tried to remember more of her vision. “They were dancing around a fire. Something awful is going to happen tonight. Some great evil is going to be unleashed.” She said in a shaky voice. She then saw the amber flames dancing in front of her again. “I see the flames again. They’re bigger.” Alex stated.

“Maybe fire has something to do with the ritual…could be why you’re seeing flames.”

"Yeah, maybe.” Alex agreed.

“Here sit down for a second, and I’ll call Derek.” Nick said as he led her by the arm, to a nearby chair. “Maybe he can make some more sense of your vision.”

“No.” Alex said shaking her head. “We have to get to him. He’s in trouble, I can feel it, Nick.”

“OK let’s go.” Nick said, grabbing their coats on the way out.

7:45pm, Berkeley campus: Nick pulled his Mustang up in front of Victoria Wilson’s house. “Whew, you sure this is the right place?” Nick asked, staring up at the two story Victorian house. “That’s what the guard at the security station said.” Alex replied.

“Man this is some set up.” Nick said as he stepped out of the car. He and Alex made their way up the walkway, to the door. Alex knocked at the door, but there was no answer. Nick had walked to the side of the house, to look in the window. He instantly spotted Derek, slouched over in a chair. The uncomfortable manner, in which Derek’s body lay, quickly put Nick on his guard. Alex was still knocking at the door, and receiving no response. Nick rushed back around to her. “Well, Nick I don’t think anyone’s home.” Alex said, walking to the step just as Nick bolted up them.

“Derek’s in there and he’s unconscious.” Nick said, turning the doorknob.

“What?” Alex moved beside him, and started pounded the door. “Derek!” She yelled.

“Derek it’s Nick and Alex, open the door.” Derek didn’t answer. With patience never being his strong suit, Nick began ramming his shoulder against the door. After a couple of shoves the door gave way. They hurried inside to where Derek sat. Nick tried to rouse Derek, by shaking his shoulders. “Derek. Hey Derek.” Nick said to his unresponsive precept, and then he placed his fingers on his neck, feeling for a pulse. It was there and quite strong. Suddenly Derek began to come around. He slowly opened his eyes, and stared up at Nick then Alex.

“What’s going on?” Derek asked, looking around the room.

“You tell us.” Nick said as he helped Derek to his feet.

Derek thought for a moment, and then he remembered. “Victoria, I think she drugged me.” Derek said picking up the goblet he drank from. He put it to his nose. “Drugged you?” Alex looked confused. “But why?”

“I’m beginning to think that Victoria knows more than she let on.”

“You think she’s involved somehow?” Nick asked.

“Oh, I’m now sure of it.” Derek said as he picked up a copy of the book on the Chinese Gods, from the table. “How did you two know where to find me?”

“Well, we knew you were with Victoria, so we checked her office. The janitor said she had already left for the evening. So, we took a chance that you had come here.” Nick explained.

“We came because I had a vision of dark forms, with red eyes, and they were dancing around a fire.” Alex said. Derek quickly looked at his watch.

“It’s going to be night soon, and tonight is a full moon.” Derek said, heading to the door. “You can fill me in on what you found in the car. We have to find Victoria, and whoever else is helping her.”

“And where do you propose we start?” Alex asked as she and Nick, followed Derek out.

“In the nearby woods.” Derek answered.

“How did I know he was going to say that?” Nick mumbled as they all headed out.

Sometime Later: “So an animal and a human needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve power.” Derek said after Nick and Alex told him what they learned. Derek had a vision of Victoria sacrificing Kelly and the others. “I think it is Victoria who wants the power of the Chinese Gods.” They arrived at the woods, and when they got there, they saw that Victoria, Lucinda, Kelly and her friends were in a circle around the fire. All of them brought the animals, which coincided with the year of their birth. Victoria was the only one standing, chanting words in chinese as the others sat around the fire listening. “Victoria!” Derek called out to her as he approached the firesite. Nick followed, aiming his gun, with Alex close behind him. “Don’t do this.”

“Don’t do what Derek?” Victoria asked, pulling a dagger from her cloak. “Gain unbelievable powers. Becoming a God?”

“You would shed innocent blood to attain power?” Derek asked still hoping his friend had some humanity left in her.

“Yes.” She hissed, raising the dagger. Derek then pulled his gun out, and aimed at Victoria.

“I can’t let you kill these girls. Vicky please, it’s not too late.” Derek pleaded. Suddenly thick black smoke rose from the fire, and took the form of a skeleton.

“Oh but it is too late Derek, for you.” Victoria said a command in Chinese and the Skeleton flew at Derek. He ducked in time, and it flew over him. The skeleton threw itself on the person closest to it, which was Alex. She fell to the ground with the skeleton on top of her. Nick instantly came to her aid, but the skeleton smacked him away. Nick aimed his gun, making sure he would not hit Alex. He fired at the skeleton, but the bullets went through it.

“Victoria stop this, please!” Derek said. Victoria just chanted loud, commanding the Skeleton to squeeze the life out of Alex. Derek and Nick both watched in horror as Alex began gagging, and struggling for air. Derek then turned back to Victoria, aimed and shot his gun. Victoria fell to the ground dead. With no master to command it, the skeleton lifted off of Alex, and flew back into the fire. Nick rushed to Alex, helping her to her feet. Derek went to Victoria’s lifeless body. He took her hand, lifted it to his lips. Kissing her hand he said his farewells. Later, after making sure all the girls had returned safely to their room, and Lucinda Montgomery was turned over to the proper authorities, Derek, Nick, and Alex, headed back to the Island. Rachel met them in the parlor.

“Hey where did you two go? I finished the profile, but I went looking for you guys, you were no where to be found?” She asked. Derek walked past her without saying a word, and headed up the stairs. Rachel stared after him, then turned back to Nick and Alex. “What the hell happened?”

“Well, we firgured out that Victoria was the person behind everything, and Alex had a vision that Derek was in trouble.” Nick started.

“Which he was.” Alex said, cutting in. “But fortunately we got to him in time, but in the end he had to kill Victoria. He saved the girls and me.”

“But he killed an old friend.” Nick said, staring up the stairway in the dirrection Derek had took. “To save a friend.” Nick rubbed Alex’s back.

“Maybe I should go talk to him.” Rachel offered.

“No, for the past several months, Derek’s had every action and decision that he’s made, questioned and over analyzed. Lets just let him deal with this one on his own.” Nick said, as Rachel nodded her head in agreement.

The Journal of Derek Rayne: This week I hurt a friend, whom I cherish, and depend on. I rediscovered an old friend and long lost love. And today I had to sacrifice one to save the other. A victory and a loss. It just affirms my fears that evil has a plan in the works for me. That I am destain to destroy evil, or be consumed by it. I only hope that when the time comes I will be more prepared and stronger than the ones who came before me.

Fin