story and Illustrations by Vickey brickle--Macky 1992


The madness will not end! Will not let me be! Vincent' mind screamed over and over as images, scenes, fragments of his life, deeds done or imagined swirled and raced and raged at his remaining vestages of sanity like a movie out control making him him roar in anguished frustration and rage. His animal cries rang out loudly, deafening to echo eerily against the rock walls of the small cavern--magnifing all the sounds issuing from his slavering mouth and bared fangs. He tore at the walls, bloodyinghis hands, fiercely raking his long and deadly claws up and down the hard granite walls that maddeningly would not give way under his assault. He was too blind with rage to find the way out. 
 Since the walls would not give he began to tear at his now offending hot, tight, and suffocating, clothes, that in his unhinged mind impeded his movements and actions. They fell to shreds as he tore and ripped them off his body, heedless of the fact that he was raking, bloodying his own skin with those deadly claws and tearing great hunks of fur and flesh off in his haste to destroy whatever he dimly percieved as his madness, his surroundings, or himself to end his torment.
The blood red haze of his mindless madness was upon him full force. More than it had been earilier. He had thought it over finally when his fever broke Above at Catherine's and he had decided it was safe to return Below. It had not been over. It had just been the lull before this firestorm that was overpowering and eclipsing all that was kind, gentle, and human within him. He was fully the beast as he had never been before--and he was rapidly reaching the point of no return.


Catherine screamed from somewhere behind him. Her voice full of anguish and terror--for him--for herself. Then he turned.
She was silent, wide eyed, afraid of him as she had never been before because she sensed he was not there. The Vincent she knew and loved was not there before her only the beast---and it was swooping down upon her with jagged bloody claws and gaping deadly fangs. There was no recognition in those souless, dark blazing eyes--only hatred and the foreshadowing of her own destruction.
He charged. The hands reached forward--inches from her face--claws stained red with his blood and soon to be her blood as well. As he was about to strike a killing blow--he stopped, caught himself. A glimmer of recognition came into his eyes and he realized what he had almost done and he collasped in front of her in a tangled heavy heap upon the dirt floor of the cavern.
Stunned, Catherine rushed to his side and fell down beside him on her knees o feeling for a pulse, a heartbeat within the massive chest because he had stopped breathing and lay as if he were dead! She could feel his spirit slip away!


she cried, she screamed at him, shaking him, pounding on him, as the tears fell hot and heavy down her cheeks and on to him.Instinct, love, his madness, her madness, all life and love shared through the bond prompted her forward to act, react in desparation to his stillness, his slipping way. She threw her body on top of his and seized his face in her hands, kissing his lips, his face, calling him through the bond, blasting it open in ways it had never been opened before because of her desparation and fear of losing him forever. All her love, all her passion, concern, care, and more was caught up in the power of those kisses, begging him for a response, any response at all.
He was her life, the only life she ever wanted, the only love she had ever known that was true, complete, and absolute in all ways except one and now she would have him know what they had denied each other. There would be no more barriers between them . . . ever, from this day forever!
She increased the pressure of her lips upon those unique lips, and slowly he began to respond--the bond soared to life between them like electricity, only more intense, more beautiful, like a flower unfolding to seek the sunlight of the morning, and more. The closed eyes fluttered open, astounded, unbelieving, yet believing, full of wonder for her, for what he felt--alive, full of love, and the wanting of her.

"Catherine . . .,"

 he murmurred confused, his still dull mind beginning to react. His lips still pressed against her lips, feeling the warmth, the wonder of her still clothed body atop of his, her breasts pressing against his chest, her hips ground against his, the smell of her hair, her face, her very feminine essence assaulting, penetrating, slipping past what few defenses he had left.

"Shh, my love. Just hold me, Vincent--Love me,. . . now, . . . here, . . . for forever, . . . and for always," 

she told him breathlessly as she deepened her kisses and felt him respond back with increasing passion and fire for her, for both of them.His mind, body and soul were one with her, as his arms encircled her her waist and backandher held her tighter toher,afraid that this was a dream, that shewould fade like mist if he did not hold their hearts, their very beings to gether.
Carefully, she aroused his passions higher, feeling his quickening responses beneath her. She kissed his neck, his bared chest, touching him too with her small hands, delighting in his feel, the scent of him, his all so very over powering masculine essense.Clothes were shed as the fires stirred this time had only one way to be extinguished, and they had gone far past the point of turning back, this was their journey's end, their journey's beginning of their new life --together--with nothing but their love between them. It was a dream, it was reality, for all their being was centered, focused upon just the two and love they were finally sharing. Nothing existed anywhere except them, not the cave, not his former madness, not the people who waited, worried about them, waiting outside the chamber, and time, their time, lay suspended as they explored the ways of loving.
The bond hummed, sang, between them of their wonder in their union as passion, escasty, and love in its purest form led them higher and higher in tigher and more glorious spirals towards their shared climax, like a nova of rainbow and golden bright lights that was sweet beyond anything ever known, ever experienced. Their merging was so intense that the bond could not contain their joy, their love, their completeness within each other--for truly they were one soul, one mind, one body. They had claimed one another at last and never would the other let the other go. Their merging was for. . . always.
Catherine knew too, that she had saved him, pulled him back from his madness. He was free, she had him back, whole and complete. Her Vincent, the man,not the beast ruled his mind now and his soul as well as his heart. There was no turning back, no retreat possible for either of them.
He collasped upon her, his exhaustion, his illness having taken their toil of his great strength. She lay beneath him savoring the wonder, the magic of it, enjoying the feel of their bare skins finally touching at last and knowing this was only the start of many days and nights of such joy together.
Then there was the quiet as she became aware ofher surroundings, of the cave, of the dirt floor, of their nude bodies entanged so intimately. Faintly, she could hear noises outside the dark cave, voices talking low in worried, scared tones, and she remembered---Father, Pascal, Mouse and who knows else stood vigil waiting for them to emerge, or worse yet they would come look for themselves to see if thing were okay.
Somehow she woke Vincent, got him to move, to help him dress himself while she dressed herself. She hoped she didn't look too rumpled in strange ways.He finished dressing, and sat down by her still looking dazed, unsure of himself, as if he had forgotten what had just happened. He even looked like he didn't recognize her, didn't know whoshe was or what they had just shared, but she put that down to his tirenesss, and what he had been through. He looked as if he was going to pass out again so she had him lay his head in her lap and rest. He did sogratefully and was soon fast asleep. She just held his head and stroked his tangled hair from his face with a gentle touch. 
It was on this scene not the other that she had dreaded that Father walked in on. Nothing out of the ordinary, no different from what he had always seen. She sighed inwardly with relief.By his torch light, Father saw her calmly sitting in the middle of the chamber with Vincent's head on her lap and was relieved that she was alright, at least outwardly, that Vincent had done nothing to her.

"How is he?" 

Father asked hesitantly as he cautiously stood on the threshold.

"He's alive!"

 she said happily, bubbling inside with her secret joy and overwhelming love for the man she held so tenderly in her arms.
She now that no matter what might happen next that what they shared could never be lost, never be broken, and their love was for always, for eternity. Only hours before he had spoken out loud the words she knew had long gone unspoken and dwelt only his secret heart. . . 

"No matter what happens, know that I love you."

It had taken much for him to confess that to her, though it had always been an unspoken truth between them. She had always known how much he loved her, wanted her near, needed her as much as she needed him. But until now he could not say those simple words directly to her and lay his soul and heart bare to her. She knew she had even more work ahead had to reach the gentle being that loved her, make him feel their love, make their love the catalyst that restored his sanity completely.
His dazed eyes opened and her green-grey eyes locked on to his. With every fiber of her being she radiated her trust, her belief in him, in their love while at the same time talking to him in gentle, soothing tones.
"Vincent, we need to get you to your chamber. Can you walk? Let Father and I help you," 
she asked as Father came nearer.

"Vincent, I love you. Trust in our bond. Feel my love. . . I love you. I love you."
She whispered softly, looking at him, looking for some sign of recognition in his eyes that showed that her words were registering on him. Only vagueness and confusion were in those pools of liquid blue.
There were none, and she began to cry again. 

"Oh, Vincent, No! You can't be gone from me. Vincent I need you! I love you! Please come back to me, my love!"

She cried, grasping him more tightly as she began to shake from the emotions flooding her being.

"You have to come back, my love."she pleaded, drawing his head more downward towards her own.

Was it instinct or need, she did not know, but her lips sought his and found them. He tried to draw back, startled, growling softly, but he couldn't. She held him too firmly in her grasp, deepening the kiss, putting all her love as well as all her passion behind it.Slowly he began to respond, meeting her passion with his own, and as he did recognition began to take place in the dim recesses of his maddened mind. He began to remember, to feel, to recognize their bond as it existed that had been clouded over by the beast and anger in his mind.

"Catherine. . . ." 

He murmured. Her name slipping out unconsciously as their kiss deepened and intensified.
All else was forgotten as their bond leaped to life and as it did awareness of who Catherine was and who he was returned to Vincent. As that happened Vincent became happily aware of what he was doing. What they were sharing. At first he had wanted to break away from her--not allow this to happen, but he could not. He wanted--he needed this as much as she did. He grasped her more tightly, molding her body to his as he held her tenderly and carefully gently in his arms.
She knew she had finally reached him--that her love, her Vincent had returned to her. He was himself again, yet changed somehow subtly. The animal was still there. She could sense it, but it was now being held firmly at bay by the man, the fully aware man that was becoming unafraid to show the depths of his real love and his passion for her. Time and space were suspended for them as their hunger and need for one another grew and spiraled upward.
The sound of Father's embarrassed cough penetrated their consciousness finally. They broke their kiss, both feeling very self- conscious as they began to become aware of him watching, his embarassment apparent, but there was also delight because they had somehow broken their final barrier. 
 Catherine opened her eyes and shyly looked up with embarrassment from Vincent, who was now staring out at Father, and now Mouse and Pascal who had come in and had been watching the interplay between two incrediously. In an instant Vincent became fully conscious of where he was, what he had been doing in front of them and how he was still holding and being held by Catherine.

"Catherine? Father? "He asked confused and still puzzled by it all.

"It's alright, Vincent, it's over now. You're you again. I think you can put me down now," she suggested smiling at him.

He nodded dumbly, still somewhat stunned by his public behavior and display, and set her down gently upon her feet.

"Are you alright?"

 He asked her, looking her over worriedly.

"I did not hurt you, did I?" His concern rising.

"No. But how do you feel?"She asked cupping her hand under his chin so that he would face her and answer her question.

He tried to turn away from her questioning glance but found he could not. Her eyes held his and he bent to her will. Slowly, hesitantly, he answered her. 

"Like I've awaken from both a nightmare and a wonderful dream. You vanished the nightmare, Catherine, with your love and your touch. You turned it into the most beautiful of dreams. Surely what we just shared had to be a dream for such reality could never have been so sweet."

She shook her head smiling, her eyes bright with love and passion still inflamed from his touch.

 "No, my love. It was real--all of it! Your kissing me was not a dream."

"Catherine, what can I say?"

"You need not say a thing. Your heart reached out to mine, and the feelings you denied broke free. It was what we both wanted--have always wanted."

He nodded slowly, searching her face seeing no deceptions or falsity to her words. 

"Yes, your words are true. But this bears more discussion--later."

 He told her agreeing , and then he glanced up and over acknowledging the approaching men. 

"And WE will discuss this--Later."

 He added his blue eyes holding a look she had never seen before nor could not fully read.

Catherine looked surprised then pleased at his request, but quickly nodded agreement to it.

 "Yes, we must." 

Then she turned to meet the approaching group who looked happy and relieved to see Vincent restored to them all. The men helped Vincent walk back to the inhabited areas and back to his chamber. He was shaker than he thought. Miracleously the madness was gone, vanished, but there were gaps in his memory he realized as he tried to put names to things and to people. It was frustrating, and he hoped that it was only a temporary condition.

Catherine was still worried about him, physically because he was so wornout and drawn. He had been so close to dying and she knew it. With time and with healing he would recover, grow stronger, and this ordeal would be left far, far behind.
They arrived and got Vincent to bed. They did not bother toundress him except to take off his boots. Gratefully he sank down into its comforting softness and let himself be tucked in by Catherine. Father did a quick medical checkover and pronounced that he was back to normal.

"All he needs is rest and sleep,"
Father said putting away his stethoscope and looking at her critically.

 "Catherine, you need rest, too. If you like, the guest chambers are still available?" he suggested.

"I should go back, Father. I have people coming tomorrow to fix the damage that Vincent did to my apartment. And I have tons of paperwork to catch up on."

"I see,"
Father said shoking his chin.

 "I was hoping you and I could talk, now that we have Vincent safety back in his bed. WE have some matters to discuss."

"WE do?"

 she asked innocently, her eyes failing to meet his.

"Yes, WE do. I suppose I don't get an explaination of what happened in that cave, and what you did to restore Vincent to himself?" he asked.

She looked at him sharply, and shook her head no.

 "No, I can't. . . it's private."

"I see . . . ," 

Father replied slowly, his suspicions getting confirmed. He shuffed uneasily before her, at a loss at what to say next.

"Father, I'm sorry," Catherine said suddenly breaking the tension between them.

"For what, Catherine? Doing what needed to be done"

"That. It seemed the only way to reach him."

"It worked. The crisis is past. He is resting and will recover. Will you? He's not the only one that has been through incresible stresses these last weeks. It's time you thought about you and took care of yourself--for him--for both of you."

She looked at him surprised.

"Don't look so shocked, Catherine. I care about you, so does everyone down here. You have a home here,-- always. Remember that. Vincent hasn't been our only worry. We are all concerned about you. Concerned as to what your plans are for the future. You life can not continue as it has,"he said gently, laying a reasurring hand on her shoulder as she leaned on Vincent's writing table.

"I know that, Father. So much of my decisions rest on what Vincent may want or not want."

"They shouldn't, but I know they do. What do you really want, Catherine?"

"Me? What do I really want?" she smiled, and looked towards 

Vincent's sleeping form on the bed. 

"A home, a family, to be with him, safe and to keep him safe. Being Above, the work I do just hasn't seemed that important. And the risk, the danger of being discovered. With that reporter and police we came so close. Now there's Elliot, he hasn't got all the pieces but he's starting to figure it out. He'll keep out secrets for now, but sooner or later I'll slip and we'll all be exposed. I really don't know what to do," she told him worriedly.

"That has been my fear all along since the beginning of your relationship with my son. How long will it be until they do tie you with all the slasher killings? And through you discover Vincent. We have been lucky that no one has taken Steven seriously, but one day another reporter will come along and pick up where the last left off. The danger, the risk, grows with each passing day."

"Then what should I do?"

"Move Below. Live here with us, with your family, with Vincent. Stay here where you will be safe. Where he will be safe," he said seriously.

She looked at him incrediously.

 "You're serious aren't you?"

He nodded, with a smile, enjoying her surprise.

 "Yes, I am.I have thought long and hard on this problem for sometime. I see it as being the only solution to this. It can't go on like this. If it does either you or him will end up serious hurt or dead. You take too many risks and so does he. Risks that could hurt everyone here."

"I know, I know, Father. The children, you, Mary, Vincent, everyone. You all have worked so hard at building and maintaining this world. The only other choice would be for me to vanish completely from everyone's life, including his. And that I can't do. Now more than ever I just can't walk away." she said looking towards Vincent's sleeping form.

"I know, that is why I am making you this offer, Catherine."

"But what if Vincent won't allow it. What if he wants me to remain Above?" she questioned suddenly.

"Catherine, Catherine," he chided her, "do you think he would really let you stay Above after whatever happened in the cave happened?" he asked her with a twinkle inhis gray eyes.

"No, I suppose not," she laughed.

"My son is very territorial and possessive when it comes to you. And he needs you, Cathy. He really does. It has taken all this to show me how much he really does need you and how you need him."

"It shows?"

"It shows. "

"Alright, I'll move Below. But I have to get my affairs settled. Joe is not going to like my quitting," she said reflectively.

"Yes, your work was invaluable to him. However, your job has been becoming more and more dangerous to you. You could always open a law office and start your own private pratice if life Below becomes too --boring," he suggested.

"I might, though I will miss the challenges and rewards of helping people who really do need my help. Father, there's so much to think about," she said sadly.
"Yes, but you will be doing the right thing, for yourself, for him, for everyone. We love you, Catherine. We want you to be a real part of our lives, not just a helper, or a visitor, but one of us-- actively involved in all that goes on, more than you are now, Stay here tonight, in case he needs you, and get a good night's sleep. William will fix you something if you are hungry and Mary will find you some clean clothes. "

"I could probably use both," she laughed. "And a hot bath."

"I think we could arrange that," he grinned and motioned for her to follow him.

She glanced back over to Vincent resting peacefully, unaware of the major events that had just taken place that would radically change his life in many ways. She didn't think he would be too displeased with what was going to transpire, once he got used to the idea ofher being aound all the time. She knew she was not going to be too upset about giving up Above for Below if it meant more time with him and building a life together. She sighed happily and followed Father as he took her to the guest chamber.
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