Nowhere To Run

Part 8 by Bradygirl

Taylor Walker sat on a tall wobbly seat at the Java Cafe and sipped on her second latte. She really shouldn't have inhaled the first but there was something on her mind and it wouldn't go away. The events of the past few hours were swirling around in her head like circling vultures. In her mind's eye she could still see that woman accusing Craig of raping her. It was a proposterious notion. A blatant lie and she knew it.

Taylor had been in the park walking home when a woman rushed past her in an awful hurry. She remembered thinking, 'Where's the fire?' but never verbalized the words. When the blond lady with hair the color of corn silk stopped, Taylor could hear her talking. There wasn't anyone around. She must have been talking to herself. Taylor found that particularly odd. Then Craig appeared from the adjoining pathway catching the blond lady by the arm.

He acted like he knew her at first, but when she turned around he had a look of surprise on his face. The same kind of look you get when you yell out to someone from your car and realize they weren't who you thought they were. That was the look Craig had. And he hadn't raped the woman. The only time he even touched her was when he grabbed her arm, and that was only briefly.

Moments later the Salem Parks worker happened upon them. She remembered him better than the woman, mainly because he had that cute almost boyish face. And at her age she couldn't help but notice, her life was about boys.

"Whatcha doing?" asked David Jonathan Styles plopping down into the seat across from her. David was in both her ancient civilations and U.S. History classes so they frequently studied together.

"Nothing. Just thinking."

"Thinking about what?"

The waitress came up suddenly and took David's order. It gave her another brief moment to think and a slight feeling of deja vu. She remembered when Nicole worked at the Java Cafe, before she had ever met Eric, Lucas or Kate Roberts.

Taylor glanced off into the mall contemplating whether she should tell David the truth. She knew of his desire to be a Hardy Boy but she was willing to risk it to get the night's activities off her chest. Cautiously, with some misgivings, she told David the whole story.

"You're kidding?!" David practically yelled the exclamation. Taylor hushed him making snake like noises and looking around like she'd done something wrong.

"No, it really happened. I was there."

David watched his friend and gave her the eye of knowing.

"There's more to this than meets the eye, isn't there? What aren't you telling me?"

"No, Sherlock, there's nothing more. That's it." Taylor sat back and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Ah, ha! I knew it! You are holding out on me. You never call me Sherlock unless you're lying." David smiled in victory and Taylor could just see the wheels in his brain cranking.

Her face twisted up in a little girl pout. She wasn't use to people catching her in a lie. Maybe it was because she rarely lied. Tonight she found to be an exception. It was all just a little too dangerous for her taste.

"The man, you remember, the one who came up after Craig did? Well, he had this sort of hick accent. He was wearing a green hat and..." Taylor couldn't adequately describe him. "Well," her voice squealed an octave higher like Samanatha from Bewitched. "Well, after Craig left... He took off his hat and overalls."

"Oooh," David whispered. "A peep show? Is that what this is all about?"

"NO!"Taylor protested. "He had clothes on underneath, you dork! And not just regular jeans and stuff. Classy clothes. That suit looked like it was worth bookoo."

"Bookoo?" David taunted. "Taylor Walker said bookoo."

"Shut up and listen. This is important. And you have to know, if I tell you the rest, I'm not doing this alone. You have to help me."

"Stop being all mysterious. Spill it already."

"All right. All right." Taylor paused to take another sip of coffee.

"I followed them."

"All right Miss Detective! I must be rubbing off on you."

Taylor glared at him and he clammed up again but she couldn't wipe the smirk off his face.

"Wait," he said before she could start again. "You said you followed *them*. As in, the guy with the hick voice *and* the gal who cried rape?"

"Yeah. I think they were together."

"Okay, I'm confused. Why would two people pretend not to know one another and give Craig Wesley a hard time? For kicks?"

"I'm getting to it!" Taylor stressed beginning to lose her patience.

"Chill, I hear ya."

"Anyway, I followed them back to their car-a limousine."

"Oh, baby!"

"David, can you refrain from commenting for two seconds so I can tell this story?"

David gently placed his hands in his lap and tilted an ear towards her. It was a mock gesture but at this point any sort of compliance would do.

"Oh, I can't take this any more. What did you see? Taylor?"

"I saw Eric's sister, Carrie. She was in the backseat and she was bleeding. There was blood everywhere." Her breath came faster as she remembered the incident.

"Have you gone to the police?"

"No!" Taylor began to pace. "What if he saw me? He could do to me what he did to her. I want no part of that."

David grabbed Taylor by the arms and sat her down. He was completely serious now.

"Taylor. You have to go to the police. Carrie is in trouble. She's bleeding possibly dying. Now, I don't know this Carrie, but if I was her brother, I think I'd want to know where she was. Don't you? You have to call the police, if only to save her life."

"But I don't know anything important," she said in fright.

"You know a hell of a lot more than anyone else. You could be the difference between Carrie living and dying."

Taylor could hear David ranting but her eyes focused on something in the distance. At first it seemed insignificant, then as it drew closer she realized what she was looking at.

David was still in the middle of his speech when she murmured, "Oh, my God. It's her."

He stopped in mid-rant and turned to where she was fixated.

The lady walking down the street was in her mid thirties with straight blonde hair, exactly the type of woman Taylor had described. David grabbed Taylor's hand and pulled.

"Come on!" he whispered so the blond wouldn't hear him.

"What? No... NO!" Taylor was using the same soft voice and protesting. "I don't want to get involved."

"Too late sister, you already are."

David pulled even harder and yanked her off of the bar stool. She snatched her purse on the fly and the two of them took off after the mysterious lady.


Part 9

The one unique aspect of David's new residence, Salem, was the unusual, often bizarre occurrences. This city was definitely high on the strange scale. Sort of like Eerie, Indiana the TV show, but a hundred times worse. Even though he'd only been living there a few months, David noticed slight changes to support his 'weird town' theory. For instance, sometimes the last names of his classmates changed overnight. For the most part, no one seemed to recognize this was happening.

A similar thing had happened to his friend Taylor. One day she was Taylor Raines and the next without missing a beat, she was Taylor Walker. She didn't even tell him about it. No, 'hey my last name has changed.' It almost transpired if by magic. The results of his query when he questioned her was a dumbfounded stare. Why did he expect anything else. She had been swept up by the weirdness of living in Salem. The next day she even produced a birth certificate to authenticate her story.

The longer he stayed here, the stranger it became. David was beginning to wonder if there was something in the water.

All this ran through his mind as he dragged Taylor in pursuit of the blond woman.

"You know, your mom is right about this town. The people in Salem *are* weird." One day he was going to prove there was something wrong with this place. Something definitely was not quite real about it.

"Hello?" Taylor said knocking him on the head. "Have you been talking to me without opening your mouth again? You know your thoughts don't just go flying through the air and land in my brain."

"It works with my sister," David mumbled. Then louder he said, "You missed Mind Reading 101 again, didn't you? I've got to tell you. To live in this town, I think it's a prerequisite."

"Oh, you are so funny," Taylor said sarcastically.

"It's true. This town is weird! People don't just go crying rape to amuse themselves."

"I'll bet some do."

"Let's hope we never meet any of them."

"With that thought in mind," said Taylor trying once again to escape pursuing this woman. "Let's turn around now."

David stopped and glanced ahead at the woman. She was still in clear view so he wasn't afraid they'd lose sight of her.

"Taylor, you have to do this," David stressed. I can't do it without you." Slowly she began to stop fighting him and what he was saying finally sunk in. Together they walked down the sidewalk. Taylor under her own power.

"Where's your sense of adventure?"

"David, I'm not Indiana freaking Jones or some Nancy Drew wannabe. Finding trouble isn't what I'd call fun or an adventure. What does your dad do anyway? Is he a police officer or something? Is that why you're so bent on finding Carrie... someone I might add, you don't even know."

"No my father isn't a police officer, but my mother is a medical examiner. She taught me to appreciate the fine, minute details. As for my wanting to find Carrie... anyone would be doing this. It's the right thing to do. It's what you do when you believe in God and care for every human life. How can I *not* want to help her? What kind of person would I be if I knew she was in danger and looked the other way?"

"Not everyone would do this, David. Most people didn't have the values you did growing up. Two parents who loved you. Your parents taught you not only to be a good person... they taught you to be a hero."

"Then be a hero with me and let's find Carrie!" David was doing anything he could think of to convince Taylor she had to continue with the search.

The more she thought about it, finding Carrie had more benefits than the obvious. What would Eric think, she wondered, if she came into the Brady Pub with Carrie along side her? Would he realize what a great person she was and give up on her sister, Nicole, the perfect model girlfriend? Probably not, but it was nice to think about. Plus, it gave her an ounce of motivation, or was it courage, to help Carrie. David was so confident. How could they fail?

"All right, I'll do it. Under one condition... don't you dare leave me!"

"Deal!"

Nancy awoke to find Craig standing over her along with a fleet of nurses.

"What... what happened?"

"That's what we'd like to know. Nancy, what were you doing in the morgue?"

"The morgue?" Her breath came quicker as she glanced around her seeing all the tools of the medical examiner trade shiny and glinting at her.

"Get me out of here, Craig!" she screamed. "Get me out of here!" Craig with the help of the nurses wheeled her out into the hallway.

"Calm down Nancy. Why don't you tell me what happened... from the beginning."

Nancy tried to sit up but Craig pushed her back down on the cart. "You need to rest. You've been through an ordeal. You can lie down and tell us what happened."

"You and Mike went after Ali and I tried to get to the phone but there was a man ... I didn't recognize him, but he gave me this eerie feeling. I almost felt like he was keeping me from getting to the phone. Right when I was about to call Roman, I heard you, Craig... calling me."

"That's impossible, Nancy. I was out in the woods looking for Ali."

"I know what I heard. It was you Craig. Or ... at least... it sounded like you." Nancy didn't know what was going on. How could it have not been Craig? She flashed back to years ago... when her mother died. She had heard voices then too. Could it be happening again? Nancy searched for her husband's eyes. In them she saw comfort. In hers she knew was only fear.

"Go on," Craig wiped his wife's brow and brushed a red strand from her face. "It's all right."

"I followed your voice down here. Then the door shut behind me and I was locked in. You know how I am with enclosed spaces. I couldn't breathe. The walls felt like they were caving in on me. I think I must have passed out."

Craig watched his wife tell the story but he knew there was something else... something underlying this fear in her eyes. With the hand of a professional authoritarian, Dr. Wesley ushered out the nurses. They all retired to their perspective floors.

"Okay, Nancy. We're alone. What's really going on?"

It was getting really late and Taylor could sense sleep calling her. Her muscles ached from walking up and down the bumpy Salem landscape, and she was experiencing the start of a headache.

"Can we slow down, please," Taylor pleaded.

"No, I think we're almost there."

Together they watched as the lady slipped into a little known entrance into Salem Park. The walls surrounding this area were crumbling and ivy covered. From the road you couldn't see what lay beyond the mass of overgrowth. One thing wa for certain. It was the perfect place to hide.

David crept toward the gate trying to peer through it's massive green ivy. The vines intertwined like a prison cell. Which, if he was correct, was exactly what this place was. He could see large white columns in front of a rust colored two story house. It didn't exactly look old. Everything about it was shiny and new. It almost seemed as if someone had taken a house from the past and transported it, columns and all, into the present. Taylor joined him at the gate.

"Chalk up another point for Salem weirdness."

Taylor reached out for the brass circle on the gate but before she could grasp it, David sensed something and pulled her into the underbrush. She tried to protest but David put his hand over her mouth and pointed to the gate. Slowly it opened. It was the blond lady again, sans packages. With a confident aire and no idea she'd been followed, the lady casually strolled down the sidewalk toward another moss covered building and disappeared inside it.

To keep themselves from view, David and Taylor hid just inside the gate. They peered out through the ivy and watched as a black Jaguar backed out of the building and sped off into the night.

"We're never going to be able to follow her now," Taylor whispered.

"Maybe we won't have to. Let's check out this place." He thumbed his finger to the building behind them.

The closer they got, the more massive the structure became. Bushes dotted the property and many of the thorny variety were placed strategically under the windows.

"We're never going to be able to see in."

"Oh, ye of little faith. You stay here. I'm going to go to that shed over there and see what I can find. Maybe we can get a ladder or something to stand on."

"I really think the police should be doing this, David. This is not a place for amateurs."

"Right now, we have no choice and anyway, we have the element of surprise on our side." He trotted off in the direction of the shed which to Taylor looked like a scary shadow back lit by the stillness of the night.

"I hope you're right," she whispered to herself.

David was lugging a heavy wooden ladder out of the shed when he heard a very familiar scream. He dropped the ladder and ran toward the sound. It had to be Taylor. Still masked in shadow, David watched helplessly as a tall blond man dressed all in black held a squirming Taylor under his arm like a sack of potatoes. She was no match for his size and strength. He couldn't do anything for her and getting captured himself would be even worse.

To save Taylor and Carrie, David needed help. So he had to turn to the only person he knew could help... Eric Brady. The bad thing was, he didn't know what Eric looked like or where to find him. He knew time was of the essence and it was slowly slipping away. He had to find Eric, and fast, or he didn't know what would become of Taylor and Carrie.

Part 10

Moonlight spilled on the pavement casting its silvery reflection into the night. The moon was full and darkness not quite as noticeable in its presence.

Mike could still hear Ali's soft lilt from their last encounter. "I want love, Mike. Your love. I'm the one who can make you happy. Not Carrie. You'll see. We'll be Dr. and Mrs. Fabulously Happy." She had giggled like a school girl and hugged him with an abandon only an obsessed woman could conjure.

He remembered how stiff he felt at that moment when her arms were around him. At one time, he had truly cared for her, but as a friend, not a lover. Trying to forget Carrie by sleeping with Ali had been the biggest mistake of his life. A mistake he'd never make a second time.

There would never be more between them than the boss/employee relationship. There couldn't be. He knew that now more than ever. Ali was verging on psychotic in her delusions and the idea of loving him had thrown her over the edge. In her mind they were more than boss and employee. They were lovers, friends and everything she'd ever wanted all rolled up together.

Over the past few weeks, Mike began collecting a file on Ali. There were probably things in the manila folder even Claire McIntyre didn't know.

Last week he'd met with Ralph Peterson, a lawyer friend of his Uncle Mickey's. What he'd discovered from Ralph's investigator was very enlightening. Ali had actually done this sort of thing before. She had fixated on another man in New York. The man was just as unattainable as he, with a girlfriend he loved. Unfortunately, this man's career was in shambles due to Ali's fatal attraction. Claire had made sure the man paid for upsetting her daughter. It was Ali's mother's interference which also caused the man's girlfriend to leave him.

As time wore on the file on Ali grew, and surprisingly its contents now contained more about Claire. It was this which had Mike raising his eyebrows. Why was Claire interfering in the life of her daughter so relentlessly? It took only a question to Ralph's investigator before he figured out the answer.

Before she had married, Claire McIntyre had been plain ole Claire Brown from Cincinnati, Ohio, a nurse with large ambitions. She too had set her sights on the Chief of Staff - like mother, like daughter, apparently. The only difference was that when Claire was rebuffed by the well known surgeon, she killed him. It had been in all the Ohio newspapers and the story even landed on a few of the news wire services.

Claire was remanded to a psychiatric facility to serve her time. While in transit to the loony bin, Claire escaped, changed her name to Claire Sutton and forged a certificate authenticating her doctorate degree. If Claire was anything, she was smooth. The doctor wannabe already had some medical training and taken the boards but failed to reach the specified percentile.

Claire Sutton had apparently decided not to accept defeat. She became the doctor she dreamed of being, but not only that. She wanted a just as powerful husband. Her first conquest, although a brilliant surgeon, wasn't familiar with the social graces. Socializing wasn't his forte and Claire offered to take him under her wing, so to speak, and show him the way. Six months later they were married and soon after that came Ali. Claire had never wanted children, according to the investigator's report, but her husband had. Ali was the apple of her father's eye and remained that way until his death four years later.

The death certificate said natural causes but the ME's findings were completely inconsistent with those findings. The jury wasn't so sure Claire was an innocent bystander in her husband's death as she claimed. They couldn't buy her story. The twelve members of the jury convicted her. The evidence which made them all skeptical of her innocence was the signature on the death certificate. Claire McIntyre had signed it herself!

A lot of interesting things came out in the transcript he'd read.

During an unusual blackout, the oddest one in New York history, the morgue had been used as an emergency room. It not only had its own separate entrance, it had a second backup generator to keep the bodies in storage cool. The first generator mysteriously broke down just after half of Manhattan lost power blacking out the entire hospital not to mention the city. Mike remembered his grandfather talking about the incident once.

Claire McIntyre signed her own husband's death certificate. It made him wonder, had Claire killed her husband in front of her own daughter and covered it up by declaring him dead? If it was true, it might explain many of Ali's delusions about wanting the perfect husband. She'd learned to hunt for one just like her mother. And if he wasn't careful, Ali might kill him like Claire had killed her own husband. It wasn't a theory he was hoping to prove.

He knew Ali probably needed help because she'd witnessed her father's death as a child, but he couldn't prove it. Somehow he knew it to be true.

Mike wandered around half the night worrying about Carrie, reflecting on Ali's past and how closely it resembled her mother's when he saw Ali's car in the parking lot of the Salem Inn. He wondered who she could be meeting there at this time of night, and why?

Miss Castle pulled up to the Salem Inn in her midnight black Jaguar. It was a flashy car but not one that would garner her second looks. Many people in Salem had sports cars.

As sure as a cat, Angelique crossed the parking lot and carefully checked out the reception area. She watched the lone security guard get up and wander down the long hallway on the first floor. It was a turn of good luck. She wasn't anxious for anyone to see her entering the hotel. It was imperative she deal with Ali herself. She didn't want Johann bothered by this ninny any longer than possible. To her, Ali was expendable. To Johann, it was a different story. Ali was connected to them all, in a way. And he was so bend on restoring his legacy, it blinded him to anything else, like her love for him.

Only darkness welcomed her when she opened the door to room 3110 on the third floor.

"What are *you* doing here?" Miss Castle gasped in shock.

Dr. Rolf came out of the darkness from the corner of the room.

"I wasn't expecting you," she said.

"I can see that," Rolf said in his thick, hard to distinguish accent.

On the floor was not one, but two bodies. Austin Reed and Ali McIntyre.

"What have you done?" she said hurtfully. "I wanted to be the one to kill her."

"It couldn't be helped Angelique. Ali was getting too close to the truth."

"Okay, that I already knew, but what is *he* doing here?" Miss Castle indicated the body of Austin Reed.

"I think Ali was planning on using Austin here to get her precious Mike back. I'm so sick of hearing about Mike Horton this and Mike Horton that. She deserved to die for that annoyance alone. I don't know what she's been thinking. Her thought processes haven't been very clear lately. I suspect she was going to tell Austin about Johann. I couldn't let her do that. Johann has been perfectly programmed, and I don't want Ali messing up all my work. It's taken years to complete this process behind Stephano's back."

"Ah," Angelique whispered. "I think I get it. She was going to use Austin to get Carrie back so they could walk off into the sunset together leaving the poor CoS alone and vulnerable? You were right. That girl was a wacky. I can't believe she thought it would work. Austin wasn't nearly ready to forgive Carrie. I personally didn't think he ever would."

"That wasn't my only problem with Ali," Rolf confessed. "She wasn't forgetting the assignment I'd given her. It was too risky to keep her alive much longer. If her psychosis had gotten any worse she would remember everything and blab to John Black. We don't want her jogging John's memory. Not right now."

Angelique nodded. She didn't know John Black or what Rolf had going with Stephano DiMera. He'd kept his involvement with the Phoenix pretty much a secret. Although, he liked to complain about it now and then.

She hadn't known John Black knew about Rolf's secret life or that it was Rolf who controlled John Black and not Stephano. And she certainly didn't know it was Rolf who sabotaged the machine to bring back Johns real memories.

Rolf paced around the two bodies. One was dead and the other out cold, shocked by Ali's stun gun. The high voltage she'd given him was the only reason he hadn't regained consciousness.

But tonight it was Gina, not John Black which consumed Rolf's mind. He kept telling Gina he was afraid of the mercenary John Black use to be and would become again, but that wasn't entirely true. He was more afraid John would remember their fight and tell Stephano of the partnership the three of them, he Gina and John, had started up. Their mutual goal was to bring down Stephano for good. The funniest thing about John Black's memories was that Rolf had erased them weeks before Stephano requested it be done. Rolf had been forced to jump the gun in order to save his own skin and keep Stephano from finding out the truth.

But Gina did know the truth and it was hard trying to keep the lovely vixen's mouth shut. He didn't know if he could give in to her demands entirely, especially since the real Princess Gina was still alive, living in Monaco and unaware John was still alive.

By now he was sure Gina had caught onto Stephano's little game. He wouldn't be surprised if Gina showed up on his doorstep wanting her old life back. Not her life as Stephano's pawn but her life as John Black's wife!

It took Mike only a split second to decide to pursue Ali inside the Salem Inn. She knew where Carrie was and Mike wasn't going to leave without that information. Little did he know what was waiting for him in Room 3110.

Luckily, Mike's description of Ali was enough for the guard to direct him to the correct room.

"But I don't know if she's still up there or not," said the guard. "I went on rounds about twenty minutes ago and she only rented the room for a couple of hours. So, she could be gone now."

"A couple of hours?" The guard nodded and opened up the Popular Mechanics magazine in front of him.

The guard's remark only made him more curious. "Thanks."

Mike was troubled. Ali wasn't acting like Ali. Bloody scissors, rented hotel rooms? How did it all connect to Carrie being missing? If she really was. He still wasn't sure. But once he talked to Ali, he'd feel better.

Rolf and Angelique didn't have time to hide the bodies. They barely made it into the bathroom of the small suite before Mike stepped into the room.

"Ali?" Mike called out.

No answer.

"Ali?" Mike opened the door to find Ali and Austin lying on the floor. Quickly he checked for a pulse on both of them. Two fingers to Austin's throat found him still alive. Mike noticed a strange burn near his corroded artery. He was familiar with such a burn. It was from a stun gun.

The gun in question was lying not an arms length from where Ali lay motionless. Mike noted its position but left it there. Ali wasn't as lucky as Austin. She was dead.

"Oh, my God." said Mike as he knelt by the body. He put one hand to his head and slowly raked it through his hair while dialing 911 with the other.

From Rolf and Angelique's position they couldn't see Mike dialing 911.

The phone rang three times but by the third ring Angelique ran from the bathroom, grabbed the stun gun and thrust it at Mike's neck. He convulsed in multiple spasms of pain. The jolt rocketed him to his feet. He came down just as quickly in a heap on the floor next to Austin. Angelique couldn't have positioned him more perfectly. Quietly she wiped the fingerprints from the stun gun and placed it near Ali's hand again.

Rolf knelt near Austin's body.

"What are you going to do?"

"Fix this situation. I'm going to subliminally implant Austin with the memory of Mike attacking Ali. Austin's statement should be enough to keep Mike away from Carrie for now."

"As I have always said, you are the brilliant one."

As Rolf performed the implantation, he didn't realize the cell phone connection had never been broken and the operator on the other end heard every word the two co-conspirators said.

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