Demon of the Past


Natalie watched out the window as a light blue Grand Am pulled into the drive. A tall woman, a few years older then herself, got out. The woman opened the back door and out hopped a little boy, no more than four. The woman got into the trunk of the car and pulled out a duffel bag. She picked the boy up and started for the door.
"Mommy, why do we hafta come here?"
Jewel looked at her son with a smile. "Because Axel, Aunt Natalie needs us to spend the night with her." She knocked on the door.
"But why?"
"I'll tell you when you're a little older." Jewel promised.
"Okay. But Mommy?"
"Why are there bars on her windows?"
Jewel laughed. "I'll tell you that later too."
They waited and heard a total of three deadbolts unlocking. When the door finally opened, Axel was laughing.
"Lots of locks?" he asked.
Natalie looked at him with a wan smile. "Lots."
Jewel forced herself to look cheerful. "Sis, you look great."
Natalie laughed dryly and reached for Axel. He allowed her to hold him. She went back into the house.
Shaking her head, Jewel followed. Natalie was only twenty-two and yet she could pass for twenty-eight. She had grown pale and thin over the past two years. She appeared tired and ill. Jewel locked the door back up then carried her overnight bag into the guest room. She set out her and Axel's things. While she unpacked, Jewel reflected on two years ago.
In 1999 Natalie had been brutally raped. she had been to terrified to identify her attacker but she could still picture him vividly in her mind. Natalie's battered and bruised body had been found the next day by a worried neighbor. She was released from the Detroit hospital one week later and returned to her upper suburb home.
Sighing, Jewel went to look for Natalie and Axel. Last year on the day of the rape she had come to spend the night. Now for the second year she was doing it again.

"Aunt Nat! Fly me higher!" Axel squealed.
Natalie laughed and swung him a little higher. Out of the corner of her eye she seen Jewel step out onto the patio. She was observing the high wooden fence.
"Be careful with him!" she called out.
Axel giggled. "I'm an airplane Mommy!"
"Yes, you are Baby."
Natalie set Axel down. "Why don't you go play in the sandbox?" she suggested.
With a happy little nod he ran off to the small tire sandbox.
Natalie sat down on the bench with Jewel. "He's a darling."
Jewel smiled as she watched him. "Yeah, he is."
Axel stood up and waved at them. "Mommy, I made you a castle!" he shouted, pointing down. He had a large grin on his face.
"It's gorgeous Honey!"
Axel giggled. "I'll make Aunt Nat one too!" He sat down and set to work on his next present.
"He is so adorable." Natalie gushed.
"He looks like his father." Jewel remarked absent-mindedly.
Natalie studied Axel. He had pale white skin with large gray-green eyes. His hair was a dark thick auburn and he had a small nose with a slight lift at the end. "Hmmm... I guess I don't see it. I think he looks like you." she replied.
"Take my word for it. He looks like his father."
"You ever going to tell anyone who his father is?"
Jewel shifted uncomfortably. "He doesn't even know."
"Do you know how to get a hold of him?"
Natalie frowned. "Why don't you then? Tell him about Axel."
"It was a week long relationship that led to a meaningless one night stand. He probably wouldn't care."
"Do I know him?"
"I doubt it." Jewel stood up. "Instead of prying into my personal life, why don't you go out and get one of your own?"
Natalie snorted. "I like being a hermit thank you very much."
"If you say so."
They both jumped as a loud crack of thunder sounded. Natalie was instantly up on her feet, running to the house. Jewel shook her head and called for Axel.
"Axel, time to come in. It's going to storm!"
Axel slowly made his way to her. Jewel took his hand and they went inside. Natalie was going throughout the house locking all the doors and windows. Jewel didn't really see the point since all the windows had bars on them.

Around nine p.m. or so, Jewel put Axel to bed. He was out instantly. She changed into some silk boxers and a tank top. When she got back out to the living room, she found Natalie curled up on the couch in sweats. She was shaking.
"Natalie, it's going to be okay." Don't worry." Jewel assured her.
Just then the lights went out. Natalie shrieked loudly. Jewel giggled.
"Calm down. I'm going to the kitchen to get some candles."
"Okay." Natalie whispered.
Jewel went into the kitchen and rifled threw the drawers. "Damn it!" she cursed when she stubbed her toe.
"Meow! Meow!"
Jewel looked over to the glass door and seen Natalie's cat frantically clawing at the door. She went over and fumbled with the lock.
"Lord Romeo, cry like a baby." she scolded, letting him in.
"Do you cry?"
Jewel looked up into the face of a man who she instantly knew to be her sister's rapist. She went to shut the door but he was quick to stop her. Jewel backed up some.
"You're not Natalie." he stated, looking her over. "Where is she?"
"She's not here." Jewel lied.
The man grinned. He reached out to stroke her bare arm. "I think you're lying to me... Jewel."
"H-how do you know my name?"
"I know about little Axel too. So if you don't want me to hurt your precious little baby then I suggest you to me to Natalie." he hissed.
Jewel's skin went even paler at his threat. "Please, don't hurt him!" she begged.
He smiled. "Now are you going to be a good mommy and take me to her?"
"I can't! Don't hurt her anymore."
"Do you know who I am?"
Jewel took another step back. "N-no."
"I'm Hunter Hearst Helmsley." He looked her over. "Since you're her sister..."
Before Jewel could say or do anything, Hunter reached out and grabbed her. He clamped a hand over her mouth, pinning her to the wall.
"Sisters share absolutely everything." he whispered.
Jewel's eyes widened in horror as he moved her so she was level with him. One quick swipe and her boxers were gone. Jewel began to struggle vainly.

Natalie frowned. She had been waiting for Jewel to come back for about fifteen minutes. With a small sigh, she got up and felt her way to the kitchen. Through the moonlight she managed to see a shape. Natalie peered closer then gasped. It was HIM!
"Hello Natalie." he said, not turning. "Miss me?"
Natalie pressed against the wall. "Not again."
"Yes, again."
"Where's my sister?"
Hunter turned to face her. Natalie let out a shriek. He had impaled Jewel on his manhood. With one hand he was holding her out infront of him. With the other he was keeping her quiet.
Tears were streaming down both Jewel and Natalie's faces. Natalie from fear. Jewel from fear and pain.
"Seem familiar?" he asked with a leer.
"You're hurting her." Natalie whispered.
Hunter just grinned. He bent down to Jewel's ear. "Now I'm going to uncover your mouth. If you scream, I'll snap your boy's neck. Got it?"
Jewel nodded slowly.
He removed his hand and held her by the waist. "Feel good baby?"
"Maybe this will."
Jewel bit her lips with a grunt of pain as he plunged into her even harder. Natalie clamped both hands over her mouth when she seen some blood stain his light blue jeans.
Hunter made a low animal cry as he released.

Natalie watched terrified as he moved a few more times in Jewel, shooting the rest of his cum into her most likely punctured womb.

Hunter pulled out and let her fall to the floor. He smiled down at her lifeless body. "No more children for her." he said while buttoning his pants.
Natalie's vision was now blurred with her tears. "Oh God, you monster."
He chuckled softly. "That I am. Now come here."
"No!" Natalie darted from the kitchen. Fear overcoming her concern.
Growling, he took off after her. "Come here bitch. I'm going to give it to you all over again!"
Crying, Natalie stumbled over furniture. She made it to the front door and quickly undid the locks.
"Natalie..." Hunter called out in a singsong voice. "I'm coming to get you."
Natalie tossed open the door and screamed. Another man, not quite as tall as Hunter, stood there. He looked at her calmly then at Hunter.
Hunter halted. "You!" he spat.
The man stepped in past the frightened and bewildered Natalie. "You aren't going to touch her." he said in a cold voice.
"You are going to stop me?"
An amused grin flickered across Hunter's face. "Just like you helped that girl in L.A.?"
The man clenched his fists together tightly. "I won't let that happen again."
Hunter stepped forward menacingly. "Back off Irvine."
"No." The man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small hand gun. "Don't make me use this."
"You wouldn't"
"Try me."
Hunter reached for Natalie. There was a small noise as the gun shot off. The bullet nicked Hunter's arm, causing him to recoil.
"You'll pay for that!" he snarled, backing off towards the kitchen.
Natalie slumped to the floor and curled up into a ball. The man glanced down at her before following Hunter.
Jewel had pulled herself up into a kneeling position. She looked up as Hunter came in. Then she seen another man coming with a gun. She went to scoot back but Hunter grabbed her about the neck.
"Put the gun down Irvine!" he ordered. "I'll snap her neck."
Jewel started to struggle but he pressed down on her lower stomach. She let out a soft cry of pain.
"You're shallow." The man didn't move.
Hunter frowned. "I mean it."
They all paused when they heard the door open again. Hunter took the opportunity to slip out the way he came in.
The man looked down at Jewel. "Are you okay?"
She nodded and managed to stand up. "Yeah."
"There's someone else in the house so sit tight." He cautiously went back out to the living room.
Jewel closed her eyes for a second then opened them as the lights came back on. She looked down at the dried blood that stained her legs then hurried to the bathroom.

Natalie whimpered when she seen two legs infront of her.
"Lady, you hurt?" came a concerned man's voice.
"Mark!" the first guy exclaimed.
"What are you doing here?" Chris asked, putting the gun away.
"I followed you. Did he hurt anyone?"
"I don't know." He crouched down next to Natalie. "Did he hurt you?"
Natalie looked up. "No. My sister... Is she okay?"
"She appeared fine."
Mark frowned. "Sister?"
"She's in the kitchen." Chris walked over to the wall and flicked on the light.
Jewel slowly made her way to the living room. She hadn't stopped the bleeding but did manage to slow it. She wore a pair of black jeans in case blood seeped from the tampon.
Natalie looked up as Jewel walked in. "You okay?"
Jewel nodded. "Yeah." She was about to say more but stopped. "Mark..."
Mark stood there a moment speechless. "Jewel..." He took a step towards her but was stopped by:
Everyone turned to the bedroom door. There stood Axel clad in 'Hot Wheels' pajamas.
Jewel hurried over to him. "What is it Baby?"
Axel rubbed his eyes with his knuckles. "Who are these people?"
Natalie stood there silently. She looked at the blonde haired man, then at the auburn haired one. She did a double take.
Jewel looked down. "Yes, Mark?"
Mark hesitated but kept looking at Axel. "Is he your... son?"
"Yes." she whispered.
"How old is he?"
Axel looked at Mark. "Mommy, who is that man?"
"He's um..."
That's when it hit home for Natalie. She covered her mouth and whispered, "Oh my God."
"I'm sorry Mark. I wanted to tell you... I just couldn't bring myself to do it." Jewel apologized softly.
Mark made his way over to her. He carefully took Axel. "What's his name?"
"I'm Axel Jay Meed. Who are you?" Axel demanded.
"I'm Mark Callaway..." Mark looked at Jewel questioningly. "Your..."
"He's your Daddy, Axel." Jewel told him.
Axel glanced at her with wide eyes. He looked Mark over suspiciously. "Put me down!"
Mark put him down.
Axel stood infront of Mark with his feet apart and hands on hips. Mark dropped down to one knee.
"If you're my Daddy, then where have you been?"
"I didn't know I was a Daddy until today." Mark said with a frown.
"How come?"
"Because... Mommy and I have been away from each other for a long time."
Axel wasn't through with giving the third degree. "How come?"
Mark paused. How was he going to explain this one? He didn't get the chance.

At that moment a flaming ball of tar came flying threw the open patio door. Mark and Jewel instantly went for Axel. Chris covered Natalie protectively. The ball caught everything it touched on fire. Soon smoke was everywhere.
"Outside everyone!" Chris yelled.
"My house!" Natalie screamed, tears streaming down her face.
With a sigh, Chris scooped her up in his arms and ran out of the house. Mark placed Axel on his hip, took Jewel's hand, and followed.
Once outside they all turned to see the fire. Everyone shrieked as the frontroom windows shattered.
"That son of a bitch Hunter did this!" Mark fumed.
Axel covered his ears as a bunch of people swarmed around. His eyes grew wide. "Mommy, look!" he pointed.
Jewel turned to see Hunter. He was sitting on a black Harley eyeing Natalie lustfully. He caught Jewel's eye and grinned broadly.
"Let's go!" Jewel ran to her car. Chris helped Natalie into the backseat, he got in after her. Mark sat, somewhat hunched, in the passenger seat with Axel on his lap. Jewel backed out of the driveway as fast as she could. "Hand Axel to Natalie. I don't want him up here." she instructed.
Mark passed Axel back. Chris sat Axel in the middle. He clung to his Aunt, crying softly to himself.
"It's all right Honey." Natalie soothed. She wasa trying her hardest not to panic as well. She looked out the back window and paled. "Jewel, he's right behind us!"
Mark and Chris both turned.
Jewel looked in the rearview mirror. "He's crazy!" she sped up. "Hold on."
Natalie fastened Axel in and then did herself. "God, why?" she was asking silently.
Noticing the way Natalie looked, Chris reached over and gently squeezed her arm. "We won't let him touch you." he assured her softly.
Natalie managed a small smile. "Thanks..."
"Chris. Chris Irvine."
"I suppose it's a little to late for introductions but... My name is Natalie Meed."
"Nice to meet you. To bad it couldn't have been under more pleasanter circumstances." he said.
Mark kept glancing back nervously. "He 's doing something Jewel."
Jewel looked back. "He's... Oh shit! He has a knife!" She turned off down a road that led out of the city. She knew out in the country she could put the pedal to the metal.
Hunter grinned and followed the speeding Grand Am closely. He was going to slit Chris and Mark's throats, strangle the kid, and make Natalie watch as he screwed Jewel raw. Then he was just going to screw Natalie.
Making sure he was in the clear, Hunter pulled his Harley up alongside the car. He flashed the people inside a smile.
Natalie buried her face in Axel's hair. She didn't want to see what Hunter was going to do.

Chris sat there feeling totally defenseless, much like Mark was.
Jewel watched panicking. She cursed as he leaned down some. "He's going to..." She didn't have to finish, they all had heard the knife go into the tire. "Chris, hand me your gun." Jewel started rolling down her window.
"What for?" he asked, handing it to her.
She didn't answer. "Mark, this is going to be crazy but take the wheel."
Mark reached over and steered the car. Jewel kept one foot on the gas and was still able to lean out the window.
Hunter leered at her. "Come on bitch! You can ride BOTH my Harleys!"
"Fuck you!" she snarled. Jewel took careful aim then pulled the trigger. The bullet lodged itself in the front tire. She got back inside and took over driving again.
Natalie and Chris looked out the back window hopefully. Axel had somehow been able to fall asleep. They watched as Hunter lost control of his cycle. It went down on it's side, trapping his leg, and skidded along the road.
Jewel stopped the car. All four adults got out. None of them knew what to do. Suddenly the engine combusted and the Harley went up in flames.
"Oh man... You killed him." Natalie moaned. She let Chris hold her close.
"He deserved it." Jewel spat.
Mark kneeled down by the tire. "We can go about another hour before the tire runs out." he said finally.
"Yea. That'll get us to Jackson." Jewel replied sarcastically.
Natalie looked up at Chris with a smile. "You wanna know something kind of strange?"
"What?" he asked, returning the smile.
"I feel really safe when I'm with you." she admitted.
"You do? That's great."
"What the hell?" gasped Mark.
They turned back to the wreck. Walking calmly out of the fire was Hunter. He smoothed out his leather coat then looked at them.
"Holy hell!" Jewel exclaimed.
Everyone scrambled for the car. Jewel revved the engine and took off like a bat out of hell.
Hunter smiled evilly and started walking in the direction they had taken off in.

"How the hell could anyone survive that?" Natalie demanded. "It isn't possible! It just isn't possible!"
Jewel reached back to take Natalie's hand. "It'll be okay. We're long gone from him. He won't find us."
Mark looked at Jewel and could see that she was very doubtful of what she was saying. He patted her knee sympathetically.
Jewel flashed him a quick smile.
About an hour later the tire ran out of air. Natalie, Chris, Jewel, and Mark got out.
"Well, it's about a two mile walk into Jackson." Natalie stated. She looked down at her glo-in-the-dark watch. "And it's only fifteen after midnight."

Authors Note: For you people in Michigan who know better, my apologies on the Detroit-Jackson thing, no way itd be that short of a drive, eh?

"We could check into a motel for the night. I've got all my credit cards on me." offered Jewel.
"I could help." Mark put in.
"Me too." added Chris.
Natalie's face crumpled. "I wish I could but... But all my stuff was burned. He destroyed everything of mine!" She covered her face, trying to repress sobs.
Chris gently took Natalie in his arms. "It's going to be okay." he soothed, stroking her back.
She buried her face in his chest and cried uncontrollably. Chris just stood there, holding her patiently.
While that was going on, Mark and Jewel were discussing what they should do next.
"Knowing Hunter like I do, he's going to be looking to get his hands on Natalie again." Mark was saying. "And... maybe you."
Jewel grimaced. "Doesn't that sound nice?"
"Not really."
"Well," Jewel looked around. "Let's dump the car and walk to the city. We should be safe in Jackson."
Mark opened the car door and gently shook the sleeping Axel. "Come on Axel. We're going for a walk." he said.
Axel sat up with a yawn. "Where to?"
"A city."
Axel wrapped his arms around Mark's neck and snuggled up against him. Mark smiled at Jewel as he backed away from the car.
Mark's heart stopped beating. "Yes?" he whispered.
"You smell funny." Axel told him sleepily. "But in a nice way." He laid his head on Mark's shoulder and fell back asleep.
Jewel watched with a small smile. "I'd say he accepts you."
"I sure hope so." Mark turned to Natalie. "Could you take him so I can help push the car?"
Natalie started to reach for him but was stopped by Jewel. "No, Mark. You hold him. Chris and I can get the car."
"Yeah." Chris agreed. He walked to the passenger door and took his place. "Where are we dumping it at?"
Jewel pointed to the woods. "There. It won't be found for awhile."
The two pushed the car bit by bit into the woods, right into a group of bushes. Chris snatched the license plate off the back and flung it away. "So we can't be tracked anytime soon." he explained.
"Oh, I see."
They went back out to the road, rejoining Natalie, Mark, and the worn out Axel. They started walking the two miles to Jackson, each taking a turn carrying Axel.

Bill Watson peered out the window of his old Dodge pick-up. Laying alongside the road was something black. he pulled the truck off the pavement and parked. He left the engine running, just in case.
Bill walked up to the black mass and discovered it was a giant of a man. He gingerly touched the man with the tip of his work boot.
"Mister, you alive?" he asked with a frown. By the looks of the man's black leather coat he was probably a 'gang-banger' that got rolled and then 'disposed' of out in the country.
"Ooohh..." the man moaned in pain.
Bill took an involuntary step back. "Mister?"
"Who... Who's there?"
Bill dropped down. "I'm Bill. Are you hurt?"
"I... I don't think so." the man mumbled.
Bill went to help the man sit up. it wasn't an easy task. Finally the guy was in a sitting position. he looked at Bill out of brown dis-oriented eyes. "You need any medical attention?" Bill demanded, his eyes searching for a wound.
"No." the man's voice seemed stronger, deeper.... darker.
Bill scrambled to his feet. "all right then."
The stranger rose. Bill flinched at the height and build. He swallowed hard.
The man looked Bill over, still appearing somewhat out of it. "That your truck?"
"Yes. What's your name son?"
"Hunter Hearst Helmsley."
Bill took another step back. Only this time it was completely on purpose. "H-Hunter Hearst Helmsley?"
Hunter's eyes suddenly became clear and cunning. An evil smile spread across his face. "Yes, Bill."
"Well um... Now t-that I know y-you're okay... I'm uh... gonna go." Bill stammered.
Hunter's hand shot out and wrapped around Bill's neck. "You're not going anywhere." he hissed.
Bill let out a shriek. It was cut short as Hunter snapped his neck. CRACK!
With a small grin, Hunter tossed the body into a ditch and went over to the truck. Soon he was speeding down the road.

"Thank God." Jewel breathed when she saw the bridge. "There's a motel up ahead."
Chris grinned. "Good. My arms are tired."
Natalie had practically fell asleep on her feet. So Chris had scooped her up and carried her for the last mile.
Jewel hoisted Axel onto her hip with a sigh. "Let's get going."
Mark walked next to her. "You want me to take him?" he offered.
Jewel immediately handed Axel over. "I'm going to run on ahead and check us in." She took off.
Chris watched her go. "Damn. After two miles of walking and partly carrying the kid, how can she run?"
Mark just shrugged his shoulders.

Jewel walked into the small lobby. She went right up to the desk and tapped the bell. "Hello?"
"Hello." A middle aged woman stepped out. "How may I help you?"
"I need a room."
"How many beds?"
"How many are in a room?"
"Two twin sized plus a fold out couch." the woman replied.
"Okay." Jewel got out her wallet.
As soon as the woman gave her the keys, Jewel left to the room. First though, she left a message for Mark, telling the room number.
Jewel went into the bathroom and stripped out of her jeans, boxers, and underwear. She sat on the toilet with a wet washcloth. She cleaned the blood off her thighs then pulled out the tampon.
"Damn." she cursed silently. She was still bleeding. Jewel put in another one and redressed. She flushed the used tampon before going out to the main room.
she pulled out the couch and quickly made it up. Jewel then called out for some food and coffee. she knew that they were all going to need something to eat and a good night's sleep.

Mark and Chris wearily stumbled into the motel. After the matron gave them Jewel's message, they made their way to the room. they were greeted to the sight of boxes of pizza and inviting beds.
"Hey." Jewel came over and took Axel. "Dig in. Chris, lay Natalie down." She put Axel down on the fold out couch then covered him up.
Chris laid Natalie down on one of the beds. He was gentle about it so she didn't wake up. He joined Mark at the table.
"Aren't you going to eat?" Mark asked, eyeing Jewel.
She smiled tiredly. "No. I'm not hungry. I think I'll just lay down with Axel." She laid down and Axel immediately cuddled up to her.
Chris and Mark ate in silence. They finished two pizzas by themselves and saved the last one for the others.
"He's coming." Chris stated after awhile.
Mark nodded gravely. "I know it. Think he'll find us?"
The cold sure tone of voice Chris used made Mark want to shiver. He wasn't afraid for himself as much as he was for everyone else. He could probably take on Hunter and win, but then again, Hunter was a psycopath. He was more dangerous than anyone else Mark knew. "Maybe we should go to the police."
Chris frowned. "There wouldn't be much point. I've gone to dozens of police stations in the past six months. They never do anything."
"He's been doing this for six months? You've known for all this time? Why didn't you tell someone?" Mark demanded.
"Hey, don't bitch at me." Chris said defensively. "I only found out because I walked in on him raping Stacy Carter. She didn't quit because of contract problems Mark. She quit because of what he did to her. The reason I didn't tell anyone is because no one would have believed me. I'm just some cocky kid who got lucky. He's been in the business for awhile and rather respected in the back. Who would have taken my word over his?" (Authors Note: This isnt the real reason she quit, just something I made up.)
"Not many." Mark had to admit. "But their are some others who had their suspicions."
"Like who?"
"Vince and Shane. Earl, Tom, and Jim."
Chris rolled his eyes. "Notice that none of them are wrestlers?"
Mark smiled wanly. "Yes. They're able to see us clearly. We're sometimes to immersed in our characters to see what's reality and what's not."
"Not all of us."
"Evidently. The question is: how do we stop him?"
Chris sighed. "That I do not know."

"Mommy... wake up." Axel whispered. He got onto his knees and began shaking Jewel's shoulder. "Mommy!"
Mark rushed over, pulling Axel into his arms. "What's wrong?"
"Mommy won't wake up!"
Mark looked down at Jewel with a slight frown. She looked paler than usual and was covered in a light sweat.
"Mark, give me Axel." Natalie instructed, sitting up in her bed. "Jewel's just tired. She'll sleep threw anything."
Mark handed Axel over. "Aunt Nat, why won't she wake up?" he whimpered.
Natalie smiled and kissed his head. "Mommy is tired Honey. She'll be up in a little bit. In the meanwhile, we should be quiet so she can sleep."
Axel quieted down after that. He curled up to Natalie. "Where are we?" he asked.
"In Jackson. Do you know where that's at?"
"No." he yawned. "That's okay..." Axel's eyes closed as he drifted back off to sleep.
Natalie carefully got out of the bed and stood up. She made her way over to the table and helped herself to some pizza. She sat down across from Chris.
"Sleep well?" he asked.
Natalie half smiled. "Sort of. I was dreaming that he was coming for me."
Chris sighed. "Natalie, I'm sorry about this. I don't know why he targeted you."
"He did this to me two years ago." she told him.
His eyes widened. "He did?"
Natalie nodded. Tears filling her eyes at the memory. "Yes."
Chris kneeled down infront of her. He pulled her into his arms. "I'm sorry." he soothed, while stroking her back.
Natalie clung to him and allowed tears to fall. "I'm scared Chris." she whispered. "So very scared."

Mark sat on the edge of the bed and caressed the side of Jewel's face. Her eyes slowly opened at his touch. She looked up at him and smiled.
"Hello." he said softly. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, why?" she looked confused.
Mark took her hand in his. "Because you're rather pale and covered in sweat."
Jewel sat up. "Oh... I must of had a nightmare." She stood quickly. "I'm going to go grab a hot shower."
Mark watched her go with a frown. He knew something was up. But what? Sighing, he joined Chris and Natalie at the table. Natalie was sitting on Chris' lap sniffling.

Jewel let out a low moan of pain as she stood in the shower spray. Her inner thighs were lightly stained in blood. She was hemorrhaging. When she was done, she gingerly pulled on her clothes. Jewel knew she needed to go to a hospital but she also knew that Hunter might look for her, the others, and Natalie there.
Natalie looked up as Jewel came back out. "You okay?"
Jewel smiled. "Yep." She took a slice of pizza and sat down next to Mark.
"Jewel, are you all right?" he asked in a whisper.
She looked up at him, her smile faltering a bit. "Yeah, Mark. I'm fine."
They all sat there in silence, no one saying a word. Chris started to get up but then froze.
"What's wrong Chris?" Natalie demanded anxiously.
He held up a hand to quiet her. He frowned. "Jewel, get Axel."
Turning white, she did as she was told. she carefully picked up the sleeping boy.
"Mark, we need to leave." Chris instructed,
With a curt nod, Mark got up. Chris took Natalie's hand, tugging her towards the door. Mark and Jewel followed. Chris opened the door only to come face to face with Hunter.
"That's quick service." Hunter said with a grin he pushed them all back in.
Axel's eyes flew open. "Mommy!" he screamed. "It's him!"
Hunter glared at Axel. "Shut him up Jewel."
Mark stood infront of Jewel protectively. Chris did the same to Natalie.
"Yes, protect them. Fight to save them." Hunter leered. "That just makes the chase more fun for me."
With a yell, Chris lashed out kicking. Mark joined in.
Jewel handed Natalie the screaming Axel. "Take him and go!" she ordered.
"You have to come with me!" Natalie protested frantically.
"Take my word that it doesn't matter. Now go!"
With tears streaming down her face, Natalie ran over to the window. She opened it, then glanced down at Axel. "Hold on tight to me." she told him.
Axel buried his face in her chest. "I'm scared." he whimpered.
"So am I." Natalie climbed out the window carefully. Once on the ground properly, she took off running.

"Jewel go!" Mark yelled as he evaded Hunter's flying fists.
"No, I'm staying to help you!" She picked up a chair and smashed it against Hunter's back.
"Son of a..." Hunter exclaimed. He turned to see the culprit. "Bitch!"
Chris looked up woozy from the floor. He seen Hunter going after Jewel with Mark trying to save her. Shaking off the pain, he stumbled to his feet.
"Let me go!" Jewel shrieked as Hunter grabbed her about the neck.
Chris shot forward with a chop to the back of Hunter's knee. Hunter dropped down with a grunt of pain. He nearly took Jewel with him but Mark came around and held her up.
"We have to run!" Chris gasped.
"Let's go!" Mark grabbed their arms, heading for the door.
Before Jewel could make it, Hunter reached out and caught her leg. Jewel tripped, landing flat on her face. "God!" she cried as pain coursed threw her lower stomach.
Hunter pulled her up against him, her back to his chest. He wrapped a hand around her throat. "Stay there or I crush her cords."
Mark and Chris stood immobile.
"Hunter, for God's sake, let her go." Mark pleaded.
"For God's sake?" an amused smile flickered across Hunter's face. "I'd rather not. I do things for my sake and no one else's."
Jewel clawed at his hand. "Please! Let me go!" Mark went to step forward but was held back by Chris. "Hunter, I'm warning you. Let her go." Mark ordered. His tone was threatening but his eyes were desperate.
"Warning me? Don't you ever warn me about nothing old man!" Hunter barked. "You play by my rules or else this slut gets hurt. He trailed his other hand down over her chest, her belly to the waistband of her jeans. With an evil chuckle he pressed in.
"Oh God!" Jewel screamed. "You fucker!"
He bent down so he was near her head. "Did you tell Mark about us?" he asked in a soft whisper.
"Us?" Jewel echoed sarcastically.
"What do you mean?" Chris demanded, feeling Mark tense.
Hunter's smile grew even wider. "Jewel is a real good screw Mark. But you probably already knew that." He kissed the side of her face. "She really moves her hips."
Mark looked down at Jewel. "Jewel?" he trailed off.
"Mark, you know I wouldn't have sex with this sick psycho." Jewel whispered as Hunter covered her neck in kisses. She now had tears in her eyes

"Aunt Nat, what's taking them so long?" Axel asked softly.
She looked down at him. "I don't know honey." Natalie made up her mind on something. "You stay right here Axel. Don't move until I come back. Got it?"
He nodded solemnly.
Natalie made her way back into the motel threw the window. She gasped at what she saw.
Hearing a noise, Hunter turned his head to see. "Ah Natalie... I've been waiting for you."
Jewel took advantage and elbowed him in the stomach. She scrambled to her feet. Then kicked him in the face. She regretted that instantly. Blood seeped from the tampon and began to stain threw her blue jeans.
Natalie screamed as Hunter landed at her feet. He shook his head then leered up at her.
Mark and Chris grabbed him by the arms and legs, then dragged him from the room.
"You punks are going to die." Hunter said calmly. "I'm tired of your interference." With the skill of a cat, he got them off him. He grabbed Chris about the neck and picked him up.
Mark went to help his friend only to receive a boot to the face for the effort. He fell back onto the concrete, landing hard.
Hunter proceeded to chokeslam Chris threw the windshield of a dark green ' 88 Corvette. Chris moaned, tried to get up, but failed. His blond hair was streaking red from the cuts on his red.
Mark couldn't help but swallow hard when he seen Hunter towering over him with a tire iron in hand. "God damn you!" he cursed.
"Along with everyone else." was all Hunter said. "Goodbye Mark."
Mark kept his eyes closed as he waited for the death blow. It never came. Instead he heard the tire iron fall harmlessly to the ground. Mark looked up.
Hunter was looking down at his stomach. A metal pole, covered in blood, was sticking out. Behind him stood Natalie. Jewel was slowly coming out. Hunter turned to her wide eyed.
"You... you..." he choked, blood beginning to come from his mouth.
Jewel joined her sister. "She gave you what you deserved."
The sisters grabbed the pole and jerked it around, causing him to howl in pain.
"Die!" Natalie yelled. "Just die!" tears flowed freely down her cheeks. "Die damn you die!"
He fell weakly. Hunter laid back, his hands still on the pole. His eyes never left Natalie's face. his breathing shallowed until finally he took his last breath.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley was dead.

"It's over." Natalie murmured.
Jewel wrapped her arms around Natalie. "Thank God."
Mark came over.. "Are you all right?" he asked Jewel. "Are you still bleeding?"
"Mark, tend to Chris." she instructed. "He went threw a windshield."
Nodding, Mark ran over to help. Chris was stirring around, trying to get up. "Here man." Mark gently helped him out of the car.
"Thanks." Chris gingerly felt the back of his head. "That is going to hurt come morning." Leaning on each other, they followed Natalie and Jewel back to the motel.
"Axel! You can come out now!" Natalie called out.
Axel came running from his hiding place. He flew into Jewel's arms. "Mommy!"
Jewel hugged him tightly. "Hey Baby. You okay?"
Axel smiled. "Aunt Nat made me hide and I didn't move." he declared.
"I'm proud of you Hon." she carried him inside and set him out the bed. "Sit tight for a sec."
"What should we do now?" Chris questioned as he sat down on the fold-out couch. Natalie sat down besides him with a washcloth. She carefully cleaned his cuts.
"I say we all sleep a few hours then go to the cops." Mark voiced.
"I'm with you." agreed Jewel.
"Okay." Natalie mumbled. She was hoping she wouldn't be sent to prison for what she did.
Mark and Chris each took a quick shower. Jewel laid down with Axel. Mark slept with them. Chris and Natalie shared a bed.

Natalie woke up before the sun had risen. She stood up yawning. A frown came over her face when she heard Jewel's breathing coming in little pants. "Sis?" she went over to the other bed.
Jewel was now whiter than a sheet and covered in sweat. her chest was rising and falling rapidly as she struggled to breathe. Natalie looked down to find Jewel's jeans stained red with blood.
"Oh my God, Jewel!" Natalie grabbed her hand. "Please, don't do this!"
Jewel opened her eyes. "Hey." she whispered with a weak smile.
Natalie felt her eyes brimming with tears. "Please Jewel, stay with me. Don't go."
"Don't worry Natalie. I'm not scared."
"Mark! Chris! Wake up!" Natalie cried. "Jewel, you hang on. Don't give up!"
"I don't think I can."
Mark shot up. One look at Jewel told the story. he reached for the phone but Jewel feebly grabbed his arm.
"There's no use Mark. I know I'm dying." she told him calmly.
Chris joined Natalie. "Jewel, they can save you."
"I'd like to go with some dignity. Being hooked to a machine struggling for life isn't what I want."
"Mommy?" Axel got onto his knees. "What's wrong?"
Jewel smiled at him. "Axel, you have to listen to me. Okay Baby?"
He nodded with wide eyes.
"I need you to promise me something. Can you do that?"
"Yes, Mommy."
"I need you to take care of your Daddy while I'm gone. I need you to take care of yourself."
Axel sniffled as tears slowly fell from his eyes. "Where are you going? When will you come back?"
"I'm not coming back Honey."
"But why?"
"Axel, we all have a short time to live. Remember what I told you about roses?"
He wiped his face. "You said that they live for a little while but make the most of it. Then they die."
"Yes. Do you understand?"
"Kind of." He held her hand. "I don't want you to go."
"I'm sorry Axel. My time is up. I love you Axel. Don't ever forget that i love you." she held his eyes urgently. "Promise me now."
"I p-promise." He hugged her tightly. "I love you Mommy."
His heart breaking, Chris took Axel into his arms. He carried him outside. Chris knew this was no place for Axel.
Natalie and Mark each took one of Jewel's hands. Both were crying silently.
"Jewel, please try." Mark begged. "Please."
"Oh Mark..." she paused, her breathing coming harder now. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." he assured, his voice cracking. "I just got you back. I can't loose you now. Not when we have our wholes lives to live together."
Jewel smiled once again. "You'll take care fo axel for me won't you? You'll do your best to raise him right?"
"I will." Mark whispered. He bent down and kissed her lips gently. "I love you so much Jewel."
"I love you too Mark." Jewel got out. She looked at Natalie, her eyes getting wide. "I love you Natalie. I..." Her eyes drooped suddenly.
Mark and Natalie both cried even harder as they felt Jewel's hands go limp. Her chest ceased to move as her heartbeat stilled.
Natalie laid her head on Jewel's chest. "I love you Jewel." she whispered. "I'm going to miss you so much."


"I miss you so much. There are so many things I want to tell you." Mark said sadly. "So many things I wanted to do with you. Remember how we said that we were going to go to Egypt and visit the pyramids? It was that week we first met." His voice started to crack. "Well Jewel, I went. I took Axel with me. Baby, they were beautiful. You would have loved it so much. The entire time I could only think about you."
Mark stopped to brush away the tears. "Jewel, I don't know what to do anymore. It's been a year now and I still can't get over the fact that you're gone. I need you here with me. I need to hear your voice, feel your body. I just need you."
He stood up. "I'm keeping my promise Baby. Axel is turning out to be a fine boy. He's so much like you.... You'd be proud of him. He's so smart and all.
Natalie and Chris married two months ago. They held a moment of silence in your honor. Natalie's moved on but everyone knows she misses you something fierce. We all miss you.
Ive got to go Jewel. I just needed to come here, to talk to you. Cause I know you're listening. One more thing though. Axel was playing the radio the other day and he heard a song. He asked me to write the chorus down."
Mark set a plaque with a sheet of paper in it down. "I had it set so I could leave it here. I'm going now. Axel needs picked up from his kindergarten class." Mark looked down at the gravestone one last time before slowly walking away. He smiled as a light warm rain started.
The grave was a black heart with:

Jewel Marie Meed
August 12, 1977 to May 10, 2001
"You'll Always Be Here With Us
In Our Memories and Hearts."

There was a small oval picture of her placed in the stone. On a small shelf rested a single red rose and the plaque with the song chorus inside.

And there's holes in the floor of Heaven
And her tears are pouring down
That's how you know she's watching
Wishing she could be here now
And sometimes when I'm lonely
I just remember that she can see
Cause there's holes in the floor of Heaven
And she's watching over you and me