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Chapter Eleven: Lily's Help

Liam realized the only time he would be able to find Lily was when she was going to or from work. Since he was accustomed to sleeping during the day it seemed natural for him to plan on catching up with her when she went on shift. She had been working the NOC shift when he and his father had been at he hospital the night before, and so Liam set his alarm to wake him at his usual time. Assuming Lily worked the night shift, this would allow him to arrive at the hospital before she began work.

He needn't have worried about being awake; once again he was troubled by the nightmare. This time all the more terrible since it no longer concerned a nameless victim. It was 10:30 at night when Liam sat bolt upright in bed, bathed in sweat and shouting Lily's name. He sat on the edge of the bed and held his face in his hands.

"God, no, please no" he whispered.

After several minutes he pulled himself upright and walked to the bathroom. He glanced at himself in the mirror and saw he needed a shave. His eyes were puffy and tired. He wished he could go back to bed. Instead he cleaned up, dressed and quietly made his way to the kitchen. A glance in the living room as he passed told him his father was asleep on the couch. Apparently the pain in his shoulder had prevented him from resting comfortably in bed. Liam wondered if he had spent the entire day and evening sitting upright in the living room. He thought about waking his father to let him know he was leaving but decided to let him sleep.

After a quick breakfast of an apple and cheese slices, Liam stepped out into the night, locking the apartment door behind him. He was early so he decided to walk to the hospital, leaving the pickup out of sight in the garage. He arrived at the hospital and found a vantage point across the street in a gap between a pawn shop and a used furniture store. There was a hospital employe parking lot beside the furniture store and Liam assumed Lily would leave her car there allowing him to intercept her before she entered the hospital. To his surprise he saw Lily exit the hospital a few minutes after he had arrived at his stake out.

The dark haired beauty stepped through the door of the emergency room lobby and walked to the curb. Although the street was empty, she looked both ways before crossing. As she stepped up to the opposite curb, Liam emerged from the shadows.

"Lily, it's me, Liam - I need to talk to you."

She jumped and a startled "Oh!" escaped her lips. For a moment she stood stock still. Then she began to back away toward the hospital, stumbling slightly as her foot stepped off the curb. "What are you doing here?" She continued to move away from Liam. “You do know the police are looking for you, right?”

"Lily, please, I know this seems weird to you, but please, I need your help."

She stopped moving and stood in the middle of the street. "What do you mean you need my help? Is it your dad?"

"Not exactly. I mean, it's not just that." He glanced toward the hospital. "Look, can't we go somewhere and talk -"

"You've got to be kidding!" She shook her head. "You pretty much proved you're a criminal or something. I mean, as soon as I said something about calling the police you and your dad disappeared."

"I know it looks bad, but, well, that's what I want to talk to you about." Liam let out a long breath. "Look, there is an all night diner four or five blocks from here - would you please meet me there? It's a public place - there's nothing for you to worry about." He lifted his hands, palms up, "Just give me a few minutes. After that I promise I'll never bother you again." He paused a moment and then said in a voice just above a whisper, "Lily, please, I'm begging you."

Lily stood in the middle of the street looking at him for what seemed like hours to Liam. Finally she came to a decision.

"Alright - I can't believe I'm doing this - you walk to the diner and I'll drive by, and I'll circle around and keep driving by until I see you sitting in a booth by the window. Then I'll come in - and if you start to get out of the seat, or if you try to touch me in any way or anything - I'll scream bloody murder - I promise!"

Liam couldn't help but smile. "I'll do everything just the way you said it." He turned and began to walk toward the diner.

"Stop!" yelled Lily. "You don't move until I'm back across the street" she said as she quickly walked back to the hospital entrance. "I'll watch you from here."

Liam smiled again and waited until she had taken a position under the entry-way lights. Then, with a quick wave, he began to walk toward the diner, taking a route that led away from the employee parking lot. He glanced back a couple times and saw Lily watching from the well lit entry.

When he arrived at the diner, Liam quickly found a booth at the window. The top half of the of entire front wall was glass and made the diner a perfect public meeting place.

A waitress came to the table just as Lily pulled into the parking lot. "Two menus please" Liam said as Lily entered the restaurant. She walked toward the booth and Liam caught himself before he stood to greet her. She slid into the booth and sat stiffly, avoiding eye contact.

"Okay, get on with it, before I change my mind" she said quickly.

Liam hesitated a moment before speaking. He had already 'spilled the beans' to Connie, as his father put it, yet he decided his best approach with Lily would be much the same. "Alright." he reached for his water glass and took a swallow before continuing. "This is going to sound really weird, but I've decided it would be best if I hold nothing back." He paused, giving Lily a chance to respond. She remained silent so he continued.

"My dad and I are members of an international guild called the Guardians. We're called to - to -" he fiddled with his water glass, "Well, we're called to protect society from evil." He glanced up at her and was disappointed to see her frown. "Not like the police - not to protect people from criminals but from," he glanced at her again, "from supernatural evil. From what most people call monsters or demons or, well other - inhuman - beings." He stopped, feeling foolish and wondering why he had expected this to go well. He looked up at Lily and was surprised to see that a look of concern had replaced the frown.

"So... you really believe in - 'monsters and demons and other inhuman begins'?" she made air quotes around the list.

Liam nodded. "I think most people do, deep down" he said. "There are too many strange things that go on in this world to explain it all away by calling it natural phenomena. I could spend hours presenting evidence to you to try and convince you this is true, but the fact is, you either believe it or you don't."

Lily looked at him without speaking. To Liam it seemed as if she was carrying on an argument with herself in her head. When she finally spoke several minutes later, it was in a whisper.

"I believe in all that too." she suddenly clasped her hands under her chin in an attitude of prayer. "The truth is I've seen things recently that really scare me." She stole a glance out the window as if something there had startled her. "That's one reason what you said at the hospital last night upset me. I feel like someone - or maybe - something - is stalking me."

Forgetting the promise he had made in order to convince Lily to meet with him, Liam reached across the table and clasped her hands between his own. She made no move to resist.

"This is why I'm here." He looked steadily into her eyes. "I think you're right. There is something..."

She started and tried to pull her hands away but Liam held her tighter and after a moment she relaxed.

"It's okay." His voice was just above a whisper. "I'm the one who can help you. I'll take care of you; I'll make sure you're be safe." He gently squeezed her hands. "This is exactly what the Guardians do."

Lily looked at him without speaking for a few seconds. She drew in a deep breath and slowly exhaled and when she gently pulled her hands away from Liam's grasp, he let her go. She laced her fingers and put her hands in her lap.

"So, what do you think I should I do? I'm not saying I'm going to do it, I'm just curious."

"Just go about life as usual." He leaned back into the booth. "I'm already used to graveyard shift so it won't be any trouble to keep an eye on you coming and going to work. And any information you pick up around town you can let me know"

"I don't usually work NOC" she glanced out the window again. "I was only there the other night because I was covering for someone else. I normally work swing shift."

Liam nodded. "I guess I should have figured that out since tonight you were leaving work rather than arriving when I got there." He shrugged. "Doesn't mater, I can adjust. The main thing is I'll be looking for this creature and keeping an eye on you at the same time."

Lily shuddered as she unclasped her hands and rested them on the table. "Alright." She looked at him a long time before speaking again. "I'm probably crazy - but I'll trust you" she said. "She bit her lower lip and glanced away for a second. "Um, there's just one more thing." She paused. "Before I knew you weren't a creep, I gave your description to the police."

"After we left the hospital?"

"Yes." She gave a small shrug. "A sheriff's detective came, looking for you and your dad. He thought you might know something about the murder because there was a similarity in the wound your father received and the head wound on the poor woman who was killed."

Liam turned and looked out the window. He sat silent for a full minute. "Well, that can't be helped." He turned back to Lily with a smile. "I'm just trying to think how that might be turned to our advantage. It doesn't matter right now."

"I'm sorry, Liam. I'll keep quiet from here on out." Lily said. "I just hope that if there really is something out there, that you find it soon."

"Me too" Liam nodded. "Me too."

Chapter One: Slaughter In The Churchyard
Chapter Two: The Guardians
Chapter Three: The Detective
Chapter Four: Checking Out The Church
Chapter Five: Lunch With Connie
Chapter Six: Back To The Scene Of The Slaughter
Chapter Seven: Suspects In View
Chapter Eight: An Unbelievable Story
Chapter Nine: The Suspects Disappear
Chapter Ten: A Plan Of Action
Chapter Eleven: Lily's Help
Chapter Twelve: Another Victim
Chapter Thirteen: The Briefing
Chapter Fourteen: Attack On A Guardian
Chapter Fifteen: The Fury Of The Fiend


THE END WAS NEAR
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