Twlight

Authors: Dallion

Hosted by VendrediAntiques.com


1: It can't be

"Pray for me..."

In a flash Micki shot up from the nightmare she was having, and found herself sitting straight up in bed. Taking a second to focus where she was, her heart pounded deep in her chest while sweat rolled down her face. Looking around she saw it was early morning, in fact she had over slept. Taking a deep breath she rubbed her hands over her face and sighed.

The nightmares still weren't going away. Jack told her it was just the stress of everything that happened, and within time they would just stop. But it had been nearly a month now and still the heartache and visions of what happened wouldn't leave her mind. Sighing she threw her covers to the side and slid out of bed, her bare feet touching the wooden floor. Taking her robe, she slipped it on before walking out into the kitchen.

There Johnny sat, reading the sports section of the newspaper and having a steaming cup of coffee. Micki shut her bedroom doors behind her and gave a simple tried wave before shuffling to pour herself a cup.

Morning...

Micki mumbled something in return before taking a mug from the sink.

Where's Jack?

Downtown...you look beat.

Micki rolled her eyes before taking a seat across from him, somehow Johnny had just fallen into place here. Time marched on, and so didn't the quest to get back the antiques. Taking a small sip from the coffee, Micki felt a sudden wave of nausea and slid the mug away from her. Lately in the morning she got sick from the smell of coffee, in fact she felt as if she was coming down with something.

Glancing over at the couch, which now sat a few feet away from the table she sighed. In fact whenever she looked at that area of the room she felt depressed. A few weeks ago to keep her mind off things she cleaned up and tried to give the store a makeover. Jack was worried watching her do this, but knew it was all part of the process. Everything that used to be there was now boxed up and stored away downstairs.

She called it a sitting area, even though the only time she did lay there was whenever she felt depressed at night and had nobody to talk to.

Feeling her stomach roll even more, she knew splashing some cold water on her face would make her feel better. Slowly getting up she began to walk when a sudden sharp pain hit her.

Jesus!

Micki held her stomach, it was the worst cramp she had ever gotten in her entire life. Her eyes snapping shut she nearly lost her balance as Johnny nearly fell over his chair to go over and help her.

Micki!

Holding her by the waist to steady her, Micki felt the room spin as another cramp hit her.

Johnny...bring me to the hospital...

Cold sweat began to pour from Micki's face as she gasped for air. This entire thing came out of nowhere.

Micki what's wrong?

Please just take me!

Helping her stand up even more, Johnny hurried the two of them down the stairs and to his car.
__________________________________________________________________________

It can't be.

Micki sat in a hospital gown on the table in the doctor's office. Johnny had taken her to the emerency room before they were taken upstairs. The cramps had settled down for the time being and Johnny stood on the other side of the room, biting his nails. The ride over had been awful. Micki curled up into a tight ball in the back seat and moaned whenever Johnny hit a bump in the road. He nearly had to carry her into the hospital when they parked.

It was now nearly an hour later and Micki sat there speechless.

The doctor, who was a middle aged man with graying jet black hair, simply crossed his arms and glanced over at Johnny.

Ms. Foster...these tests are 99% positive.

Then there's 1% that your wrong.

The doctor looked uneasy before he took his head.

This isn't like the take home tests...you are pregnant.

The words rang through Micki's head, Johnny meanwhile wouldn't even look her in the eye. It had to be some mistake.

Just then an older nurse with tanned skin and pined back hair entered the room.

Ms. Foster, this is Judy...she's going to give you a sonogram to see how far you are, after that I would like you to get dressed and see me in my office.

But I'm not pregnant, I know I'm not.

The doctor looked at Johnny for a second, then the nurse.

I'll see you in a few.

Shutting the door behind him, Micki was left alone with Johnny and the nurse. Feeling her insides shake she tried to remember the last time she had her period.

Right before France...

She thought to herself. That was...nearly two months ago.

Micki felt her hands shaking before it finally hit her.

No, it couldn't be true.

The nurse walked over with a friendly smile.

Hi I'm Judy...could you please lay back for me?

Micki stared at the woman for a moment, she felt as if she was in a dream she couldn't escape. Slowly nodding she laid back as the nurse opened her gown to reveal her stomach. Johnny looked a wreck.

Micki took deep breaths and stared up at the ceiling.

She hadn't slept with anyone else but...

Her thoughts were broken as Judy smeared some cold jelly on Micki's stomach, making her break out in goosebumps. Just softly laughed before wheeling over a large machine with a screen.

Sorry, that stuff is usualy cold.

Micki didn't smile back or say anything, she simply waited as the nurse turned everything on and then took out what looked like a control and placed it on Micki's stomach.

Johnny stared down at his feet before looking up and seeing how terrified Micki was. Slowly walking over he went to the right side of the table and took her hand, which was slightly shaking. Micki glanced at him for a second before Judy smiled at Johnny and moved the control back and forth againt Micki's skin.

There it is...

Micki sat up a little as Johnny squinted and looked at the screen.

It was too blury to even tell what it was, there was mostly blue and some white. Micki looked at it for what seemed like a lifetime before the nurse moved the control a little more.

Everything seems to be doing fine...your about seven weeks, and the fetus is growing pretty big, in fact bigger then usual.

Is something wrong?

Johnny asked, his voice broke a bit as Judy smiled back at him.

No, just that it's going to be a very big baby.

Judy then switched something and a loud thumping sound filled the room.

What's that?

The heartbeat.

Micki stared at the image before Judy smiled over at Johnny.

So, how does it feel to be a daddy?

Johnny gave a straight, yet dispointed look. At that exact moment Micki bust into tears. Judt gave a worried look before putting the control down beside Micki and getting up.

I'll be right back...

Getting up, Judy crossed the room and went over to a set of counters, her back facing them. Johnny stood up straight before turning around too.

Micki laid there watching them, not even facing her.

Did she do something wrong?

Looking at the screen, Micki took the control which was beside her and slowly put it up against her stomach.

It had to be a mistake.

Taking a second, the image returned...this time Micki screamed.

Judt spun around as Micki dropped the control and screamed, nearly falling over the table. Johnny rushed by her side as she cried up against him.
__________________________________________________________________________

Johnny waited outside as Micki spoke with the doctor. Walking out only a few minutes later she had a bunch of papers in her hand, along with a medium sized plastic bottle. Dark circled were around Micki's eyes as she walked past Johnny, nearlt in a daze.

On the ride back they were mostly silent. Johnny tried to find the right words, but every time he looked at Micki, her eyes were wide and filling with tears. Finally before they reached the street where the store was, he looked over with her and spoke in the most serious tone he could give.

Who's is it?

Johnny and Micki were only friends. Micki knew for the past few months that Johnny had been helping them out, there had been some attraction on his part...but never with her. Johnny was a nice guy, and had gone through alot since he started helping, but still it wasn't the same. In fact Johnny had asked her out at least twice since they first met, and every time it was the same answer.

Well?

Micki looked over at Johnny before seeing the store now in sight.

Ryan's...

Johnny griped the steering wheel tight before slowly nodding.

I never knew that you two were...

We weren't, well...at least I don't think we really were.

Pulling over across the street to park, Johnny looked out and saw that it was another crisp cold winter's day.

Why did you start freaking out in there?

Micki looked at Johnny for a second before shaking her head.

Nothing...let's go.

Opening the car door before he could say another word, Johnny watched as Micki quickly crossed the street and headed into the store.
__________________________________________________________________________

It was later that evening as Micki sat down upstairs and spoke with Jack. Johnny meanwhile was downtown at some bar. He hadn't really wanted to speak with Micki since they returned from the hospital.

Micki sat curled up on the couch where Ryan's bed used to be. Jack meanwhile sat across from her in one of the chairs from the table. His glasses on and a worried look spread across his face.

Micki had just finished telling him about what happened this morning and how at the doctors they found out she was pregnant.

It's Ryan's...isn't it?

How did you know?

I guess I just did...when was it?

Micki felt a lump in her throat, somehow upstairs felt cold and still.

Right...right before it happened, the first night we arrived there.

Jack took a second before Micki held back the throbbing tears that were about to wash down her face.

I knew something was wrong with him when we split up, I found him walking in the town square an hour later, he seemed daze and out of it. I kept asking if he was okay and he said fine, and kept saying that he needed to see the sister...

Micki's voice broke up a bit as she tried to control herself.

We were in my room at the inn, he kept saying that he needed to go see the sister, he went to leave and...I don't know I touched him and he seemed like himself, almost in pain. Then...well...

Jack simply nodded as Micki wiped her eyes, her voice shaking.

It happened so fast, then everything happened...I was depressed Jack, I tried to hide it and keep going after the objects, but it never goes away...even when I sleep.

I know Micki, I know.

I understand that it's better then him not being dead, but it was almost like a tease, this awful thing happened so such a good man and then...

Micki began to cry as Jack reached over and touched her leg.

It's okay Micki...

Micki shook her head.

I should of known, it's just...the depression and everything, I...I...

Micki, I know something else is wrong, what?

Micki looked up, her eyes bloodshot.

Today when they were looking at the baby, I saw something...something awful.

What?

It looked like a monster inside of me, not a baby.

Micki, you were upset.

She shook her head.

No, I know what I saw...what if?

Micki stared at her hands as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

What if the baby...what if something is wrong with it, what if because of the possession?

Micki began to break down again as Jack held onto her.

Shhh...it's all right.

No, it isn't...it isn't a baby inside of me, it's whatever awful thing took Ryan away, I know it.

Then...what do you want to do?

Micki looked down at her perfectly flat stomach before looking at Jack.

I want an abortion.


2: 1988

One year earlier.

Micki laid in bed looking at her closed curtains in which thin sunlight began to drift through. It was morning, and she was alive. Never before did something like light look so beautiful to her, in fact she somehow knew things were going to have a different outlook with her now. Feeling weak and sore all over she simply laid there trying to replay the events that lead to this.

Just then there was a knock.

Come in...

Ryan slowly opened her bedroom doors, looking uneasy and almost afraid to enter. He looked exausted and almost read to fall over. Micki smiled by the sight of him, just a few hours ago she thought she wouldn't ever be able to see him again.

Hi...

She said weakly as Ryan walked in, closing the door behind him.

You okay, you need anything?

Micki simply shook her head as Ryan walked over and sat on the edge of her bed.

I canā€™t believe we didn't get the coin back.

Ryan, you heard what Jack said, it's just as safe under all that rumble as it would be in the vault.

Ryan sighed before slowly taking her hand and looking at it.

Micki knew he was still upset, in fact she couldn't even reach the mind state of what really happened. What if it was the other way around...what if Ryan was the one to...

She couldn't even say it. The worst part of it was there wasn't any bright light or angels to greet her...just darkness.

Now looking at Ryan she not only saw a good friend and a partner through all of this, she saw somebody who truly cared for her. Lately these emotions had been getting the best of her.

This past year had been a rough one, and somehow both had gotten close and pushed aside their differences. Ryan was the only one no matter how much tragedy struck was still there. In fact Micki had tried to brush it off as just clinging to something that made her feel safe. But anytime she felt there wasn't any hope, nor was alone and depressed...Ryan was always there. He seemed different now in her eyes, not just the foolish cousin she met nearly a year ago that got under her skin. Now...

Things seemed different.

When they got The Quilt of Hathor last winter, Micki thought her jealousy would kill her. To think that Ryan risked so much over a girl he just met. A girl who wasn't like him at all...a girl who lived in a completely different world.

But wasn't that them?

She grew up in a wealthy family. Her father a lawyer, her mother a housekeeper who spent her nights either at bridge or at the county club. Both her and her sister were given everything they wanted. They rode prize winning horses, went to finishing school, and were taught to marry just as their mother did.

But all of that was shattered once the store came into her life.

She lost Lloyd and all respect from her parents.

It bothered her mostly before, but now since these feelings began to surface with Ryan, things didn't seem that bad. This couldn't go on forever...and somehow she could take it since they faced all this danger together.

Ryan on the other hand was raised in a broken home. Tragedy hit early when Ryan's little brother died, then his mother ran off leaving him with his father. Ryan grew up always walking on glass and trying his best not to displease his father who moved him from town to towm looking for work. Finally he broke free and tried to follow those dreams before yet again they were shattered. Micki felt guilty about acting the way she did about the store and how Ryan felt about it.

This was his escape even if it was such an odd and dangerous world. Maybe due to the fact he lost so much and wasn't able to help his brother from dying...maybe this was his chance to help people who were in danger.

They weren't alike at all, they had different tastes and outlooks. But somehow over the past year things began to fit together.

She had pushed him away, thinking it was just harmless flirting and that he was just being annoying. He dated other things but like always, lost anything he cared about. Micki felt guilty, she always felt jealous whenever somebody new entered his life.

Why was it okay for her to, but not him?

She began to notice how good of a friend he was towards her. Late at night whenever she had trouble sleeping or had stuff on her mind he was usualy up listeing to his stupid walkman. He would sit up and talk with her until she felt better. He always had a joke to make her laugh, and made her feel safe. Somehow she had gotten used to Ryan's ways and tried to understand them better.

She had also notcied there was an attraction. Before she didn't even look at him twice. More of a brother then anything else. They were living on top of each other and after a few months seeing each other with only a towel on after a shower wasn't that big of a deal.

But Micki began to notice how tanned Ryan was, his muscles, his grin...almost everything that made him so different it was exciting. Once or twice Micki caught herself daydreaming about stuff she shouldn't have.

It was after they got the foghorn that they first kissed.

Micki remembered how upset she was after what happened and how Ryan tried his best to cheer her up. Taking her upstairs to relax for a while...right before she went into her bedroom she turned around and for no reason at all kissed him.

They had kissed before, mosty friendly ones on the cheek.

But this was the first real one.

Ryan was a bit caught off guard but Micki couldn't help it.

Before they could finish, Jack came home.

They didn't talk about that kiss after it happened. They simply moved on as if nothing had happened. Soon afterwards Ryan lost his father in which Micki knew she too had to give comfort.

That's when actually Micki began to think of what would happen if they did go down that unknown path. Micki didn't want to hurt anybody, yet at the same time through all the death saw that Ryan was still the one by her side.

Now the Coin of Ziocles happened.

And all of that was gone.

She could tell Ryan was acting different, he looked so lost and empty in his eyes. She wished she knew what happened last night and how he took it when they found her lifeless body.

Most of that didn't matter anymore, other then the fact that she was alive now, and with him.

Ryan...

Micki tried to smile as she held his hand. Both stared at each other for awhile before Ryan slowly leaned down and softly began to kiss her lips.

Then...

He broke away and stood up shaking his head.

No...

Ryan?

Ryan turned around and left her bedroom. Micki laid alone in her bed not knowing what was wrong.

Ryan meanwhile leaned agaist the wall trying to catch his breath. He couldn't have that happen again. Looking at his hands he began to shake.

Everything he touched...dies.

3: The hurt

Micki wouldn't get out of bed.

Johnny was on his way to locate a cursed lamp that was found in The Amityville House. He planned on being away for nearly five days while he looked for it in upstate New York.

Still, he was worried about her.

Jack had sat him down the night they had all found out about the pregnancy. Jack asked most of the questions, mosty if Johnny saw anything strange on the sonogram screen. Having no idea what Jack was talking about Johnny simply shrugged.

Too fuzzy to even make out anything, Micki stared screaming and then the nurse ran over...why?

Jack sighed, he knew as scared as if felt Micki must be terrified. Looking at his worn hands. The same hands that brought his son into this world so many years ago and then held his lifeless body later seemed so old then. He then went on to explain about how Micki and Ryan had slept together while they were in France...and while Ryan was still until Astaroth's spell.

So he was possessed?

Jack slowly nodded.

The same thing that killed Sister Adele and that poor girl's father, Micki fears was really the one who was with her, not Ryan.

But it was still Ryan's body...

Jack shook his head.

I really don't know, you can read the bible all you want...but it's said over and over again that the devil will take some form of a pure soul and take his bride.

Didn't you say that almost happened before...

Yes with the snowglobe..maybe this was his way of getting even.

Johnny felt as if he was stuck in some sort of horror movie, hard to breath he just sat there.

But how does she know?

She doesn't...I think it's clear she's been distant ever since this whole thing happened.

What does she want to do?

Jack sighed, he didn't even want to say it out loud.

Just then Micki walked out, still dressed in her robe. Her hair was a mess and it looked as if she hadn't slept in days. She held onto her waist as if she was in pain.

I want an abortion.

Johnny rolled his eyes slowly getting up.

Micki...

Micki jumped back, she wouldn't let anyone touch her.

No! You didn't see what I saw...this past week all I've had are these awful nightmares and pains, this isn't a baby inside me!

Johnny looked towards Jack for help but didn't find any.

Micki I know your upset...

No! I want it out of my body, you have no idea what it feels like to have something like this inside you, I want it out of my body!

Calm down Micki!

Micki began to cry as she slowly backed away.

I want an abortion...I want one or I'll do it myself.

Jesus Micki, come here!

Johnny walked over putting his arms around her thin shoulders, she seemed thin and stiff.

Sit down, come on...we need to talk about this.

Slowly Micki sat down as Jack watched her.

Maybe you should wait a little while...see what happens, I mean what if your wrong?

What?

What if it's really Ryan's...you know how he always talked about one day wanting a big family, something he never had, he would of wanted you to have this baby.

He wouldn't want anything, he's twelve years old and doesn't care.

Micki...

No, I want an abortion now.

Johnny began to get upset.

Micki I need to hit the road in a few hours, it's the middle of the night it's not like...

Micki then stood up, nearly throwing her chair over.

I want an abortion now.

Jack and Johnny looked at each other in an uneasy manner before Johnny shook his head.

I'll make some calls...

Walking downstairs it was clear he was upset, leaving Jack and Micki alone he saw how scared she looked, standing up against the wall.

Are you sure about this Micki?

Just then another awful cramp washed over Micki as she slowly nodded.

I'm sure.

4: Dead Can Dance

What kind of name is Leslie anyways?

Micki mumbled to herself as she sat at the kitchen table. For the past fifteen minutes she had been slowly turning her teacup and making small water rings on the table.

Ryan meanwhile came out from the bathroom nicely dressed in a three piece suit and tie. Micki loved it whenever Ryan dressed up, which was usually on a rare occasion. Walking out clean shaven and smelling of cologne, Micki smiled.

Wow...you look amazing.

Ryan grinned before taking a seat beside her.

Help me with this stupid thing.

Micki leaned forward and made sure his tie was straight before sighing.

Your really going to try and see this girl again?

Ryan smiled before scratching the back of his neck.

Yeah, she's different.

But what about that murder?

Ryan only laughed before getting up and grabbing his wallet off his nightstand. Before heading down the stairs he barley waved before leaving.

Bye Micki, see you later.

Sitting there in silence as she heard Ryan walk downstairs she felt awful. It had only been three whole weeks since the coin had happened, three weeks since she had almost died. Since then she had been resting up and trying to take it easy. Ryan surprised her with tickets from the symphony, something he thought might cheer her up. At first things had been awkward between the two of them since the kiss. Micki barley slept thinking maybe she had gone too far. Then within a day or two Ryan acted as if it didn't even happen at all. Part of this hurt Micki while still holding onto the small hope that maybe this small crush or whatever you called it might turn into something different.

She felt closer with Ryan since everything had happened, and thought maybe this was an attemp on his part to maybe make the first move.

Then he met that girl.

Sitting alone in the kitchen she almost felt like crying.

Maybe all those times she pushed him away, he finally gave up and decided to move on? Jealousy was building up in her again and she remembered what had happened when Laura entered Ryan's life.

Here he was dating, having fun and going out...while she stayed home with Jack looking through the Manifest. This store really had become her life.

Slowly standing up she took her luke warm cup of tea and decided to go down stairs and see if Jack had dug up anything else on that murder.
__________________________________________________________________________

Leslie was dead and another cursed object was returned to the vault.

Ryan had mostly stayed downstairs. Micki and Jack attempted to cheer him up, but so far it was no use.

Slowly walking downstairs later that evening, Micki found Ryan just sitting on the couch and looking off into space. She knew he was depressed. These objects were really taking their toll on him.

Slowly clearing her throat she walked beside him.

Hey...

Ryan looked up, his circles under his eyes seemed even darker just then.

Hi...

Micki took a seat beside him before going to put her arm on his shoulder. That's when he jumped.

Don't....

Ryan?

No, everything I touch dies...

Getting up before she could say another word, she then knew Ryan didn't like the way she liked him. He was hurt and now distant.

She wished this aching feeling for him would just go away. So many months of this seemed like Hell. Sighing she put her legs out and laid back. They would just keep going after the objects...that's really all they could do.

She would have to move on to, she didn't care whoever it was with...just somebody to make her feel loved.

5: Dying inside

Johnny and Micki both stood in Dr. Laneā€™s office that evening. Micki was distant and her eyes were sore from crying. Standing near the window she looked out at the darkness of the city street below. Johnny meanwhile had made a couple of calls, Dr. Lane had been a good friend of his fathers and knew what if he ever needed help, he was the man to go to.

Dr. Lane was a straight to the point kind of guy, he had known Johnny for many years and knew something was wrong. Sitting behind his desk he simply shook his head.

Okay...what's up?

Johnny has both hands shoved in his jean pockets, he looked down at the carpet before glancing at Micki.

She's pregnant and wants an abortion.

Dr. Lane looked over at Micki before returning back to Johnny.

Is it yours?

Johnny shook his head, he really didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell him the truth, finally after taking a deep breath he looked up at him.

The father was a man who was...disformed, and we believe the baby will be to.

There are tests...

Micki then looked up and shook her head.

No...no tests, tests can't prove anything...I want an abortion.

Dr. Lane looked over at Johnny.

I gotta tell ya Johnny, this seems to weird...coming in the middle of the night, the way you guys are acting, you sure there isn't anything else going on?

Micki then walked over, her eyes sparking with tears.

Jesus! I told you my reasons why can't you just help me!

Johnny walked over putting his hands on Micki's shoulders, he knew how unstable she was and on the verge of breaking down. Dr. Lane started at the two before getting up and shaking his head.

All right fine, if that's what you really want.

Johnny looked up at his old friend and nodded.

Thank you...

I'll have to make some calls, it might take awhile...Micki why don't you get into a gown in one of the rooms down the hall, I would like to speak with Johnny for a moment.

Slowly nodding Micki broke away from Johnny's grip and left the room.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki walked into one of the exam rooms and found one of the plastic hospital gowns. Slowly changing out of her clothes she folded them with care and placed them on the chair. Slipping into the gown she felt cold and sick. Sitting on the table she stared off into space.

She knew what she saw on that screen.

A monster.

Looking down at her perfectly flat stomach she really wished Ryan was here right now.

Thinking back she remembered all their times together and how stupid she had acted. Anytime he became involved with somebody or seemed to move on she would try to get back and be with someone else. Someone who didn't mean anything to her. It was all a way to make him jealous. She thought if Ryan didn't like her in the way she wanted him to, she would just try and replace him.

But out of all the men she had been with, counting Lloyd, none of them matched up.

So much wasted time.

If only they had broken through whatever was holding them back.

But they did when it was to late.

She wished none of this had happened, that everything would be normal again. Softly laughing to herself the thought of normal was running the store with Ryan and Jack and still risking their lifes over these objects. Before she felt trapped and torn away from her past life. But looking back, those two years were the best ones of her life.

Ryan was somewhere with his mother, happy and carefree.

He didn't remember a thing, and had no idea Micki was in this place right now. But what if he did remember...would he somehow stop her?

Thinking back at how Ryan looked before the dagger was plunged into his back, it sent chills down her spine. It was the devil she saw. Crossing her arms she wished this baby was normal. Even though the thought of having a child at this time in her life alone scared her, she felt that maybe she could move on better.

Yes she still had the shop and Jack, but a child of her own...a child of the old Ryan, maybe the last real part of him. Wiping the tears again she prayed for the first time in her life that God was watching her.

Please let this be the right thing...

Just then Dr. Lane walked in along with an older woman in scrubs, they were dressed and ready. Right away Micki felt her heart begin to pound.

Johnny is going to wait outside if that's all right?

Micki nodded before Dr. Lane and the nurse walked over.

This is nurse Linda, she'll be helping us.

Micki could barley look the woman in the eye before the doctor gave her a clipboard of papers to sign.

You might need to look through these before we get started.

Slowly nodding, Micki remembered when she was seventeen her sister who was only a year younger then her had gotten pregnant. The guy was some loser friend she was seeing and she was scared to death of what her parents would think. Micki took her to the clinic and stayed by her side the entire time.

Taking a deep breath Micki began to fill out the forms.

This had to be the right thing, it just had to be.

6: Waves come crashing over me

William Pratt.

Micki folded the newspaper in half as she read on, the entire time her heart simply aching over what happened. She had only wanted to make him Jealous...

Now that poor man was locked away forever, a broken heart along with any trust he would of had with her. Sighing to herself she thew the newspaper in the waste basket and waited until Jack would come home. The past couple of weeks at Curious Goods had been busy ones. Just then it hit Micki on how much had really happened. Just a weekend ago she had gone to visit her mother a few towns over. The entire time she fussed about the lifestyle Micki was leading and how Lloyd had plans to all ready marry again. Somehow Micki's mother just couldn't understand why Micki had to stay. Why everything she had known was put on hold. And how she was really trying to safe lifes in her own little way.

Ryan hadn't been that much better either.

The tension between them had been awful. Micki feared that Ryan really did think that anyone, even her could die because he thought that somehow he was cursed. Sometimes she just wanted to shake him. He was such a good man, why would he ever think such an awful thing. It was these objects that were cursed, the same objects that gave them so much pain.

She had wanted to talk with him, but somehow things had gotten out of control. Ryan had gotten back a handkerchief while she was away. Since then she noticed a new pain in his eyes. After whatever had happened he treated Micki different, he didn't seem to wanna push her away anymore.

After the flower boutonniere with Edgar, both almost seemed like they used to be. Ryan was still as goofy and playful as he always had been. And didn't seem to strange whenever he was around her now. They were close again and Micki felt safe.

So many objects were coming in, even now as Micki watched the shop she felt as if time was really running past her.

Yesterday they had gotten the pocketwatch. As of right now Jack and Ryan were looking into an unlisted object sold the the hardware store's owner's son.

They had gotten the watch back, but still just like the radio had seemed like too much of a risk. Ryan had nearly gotten killed, and seemed pretty banged up after that. Last night as Micki filled the trusty icepack again for his bruised ribs from falling on the train tracks, he smiled at her.

You know...your amazing?

Micki laughed as he handed him the pack.

What do you want?

No, I just wanted to tell you that, your perfect...even when your angry with me.

Micki gazed down at Ryan before softly smiling and excusing herself to head downstairs. Right before bed they exchanged a look which she had only dreamed about seeing in his eyes.

Did he know?

Micki knew this really wasn't the time to think if he was flirting with her or not, but somehow through all this danger with Uncle Lewis' objects...it seemed like something normal she looked forward to.

Ryan...

Ryan was normal to her.

Smiling to herself the door rang and both Ryan and Jack stepped inside.

7: Heartbeat

Micki laid back on the table as the nurse slowly walked over and took her hand.

Don't worry honey, it's going to be real easy.

Micki tried to take deep breaths as she heard her pulse thump harder then a drum. Glancing at the monitor she saw her heartbeat dance across the screen. Trying to fix her eyes on the ceiling above, she saw the doctor now dressed in scrubs slowly wheel himself over to her propped up legs. Feeling a chill she took another deep breath and saw the nurse watching the doctor. This was finally it, before she knew it this would be all over. Laying there she knew how tense she was, in fact she never felt so scared before in her entire life. Laying there she tried to remember a time in which she was really truly happy.

Section please.

The doctor said as the nurse handed him something. Micki tried to control herself from not crying. This was the right thing to do.

Thinking of Ryan her entire heart ached. She would never have the real him back with her. It was all a matter of missed chances and bad timing. Now she was forced to go on alone.

Would he have wanted the baby?

She knew what she saw on that screen, she knew the risk and what would happen if she was right. But still as much as her mind said that, her heart went going back to the thought of what if this was really Ryan's baby. What if this was the last real part of him.

Laying there her heart began to race within moments she began to cry out in pain.
__________________________________________________________________________

Johnny could hear the cries in the next room. Trying to block them out he simply sat there. How was he going to face Micki after this?

Just then the nurse walked out, a worried look spread across her face. Johnny right away looked up.

What's wrong?
__________________________________________________________________________

An hour or so later Micki laid peaceful in one of the hospital beds down the hall. She was sedated and looked as if she needed a nice long rest. The nurse kept coming in to check her pulse and blood pressure.

She still had the baby.

The doctor explained that right before they began, the fetus almost began to attach itself to Micki's womb. He had tried several times to abort it but anytime he would enter the uterus Micki's heart began to flutter. The last time he nearlt put Micki into shock, which would of lead to a heart attack. Johnny couldn't believe it.

Micki seemed fine, but the doctor told Johnny they could try again in the morning, but as of right now the fetus was putting Micki's entire body in shock.

As if it knows that it's in danger...

Johnny thought.

Talking with the doctor a while longer, he told Johnny that prehaphs Micki could take the medication way which would expell the fetus. Johnny really couldn't think right now. Wanting to see Micki he made a quick call to Jack.

Jack's voice was dead sounding and full of worry. Johnny said in the morning he would drive Micki back to the store to rest.

You don't think...

Let's not talk about it over the phone Johnny, what really matters right now if if Micki is okay.

After the phone call he went into Micki's room and sat by her side, watching her sleep. After awhile he took her hand before her weak eyelids slowly fluttered open.

It won't die...

Micki said in a helpless voice.

It just won't die...

8: Come to me

Certian memories would stand out to Micki. Ones that only she remembered and kept safely inside her. Many people would agree that as hard as a man's heart was, a woman's was a vast endless place full of sorrow and emotion. Micki had grown up learning to keep her feelings inside. Living on the other side, slowly watching her life go up and still making the same mistakes her parents made before...nothing could stop it. Nothing stopped her from waking up to the fact she never loved Lloyd. Never telling the ones around her that this sort of lifestyle, full of dinner parties and county club meetings wasn't what she wanted. She just went on until that faithful day she heard news of Uncle Lewis, and the store.

Her life was changed forever.

Now in this time of terror and endless fear of being alone, she reached back into her mind and began to remember the better times when she was happy...and when she was with him.

One that stuck out was when the two of them were caught in the playhouse. Tied together with jump ropes. Micki had seen it all, the worst of the worst getting objects and trying to use them to cause more death and danger. These children were just lost...they were so young and hurt they didn't know how evil this thing was, and that this so called happiness was just a cruel joke ready to be taken away at any moment. They laughed as the awful looking things flashed before them.

"This isn't real..."

She tried to tell herself. The children laughed as the sounds of buzz saws and screams went around them. Micki was scared to death. They were trapped and nobody was going to save them.

Then...

Ryan's hand slowly slipped into hers, holding it tight as if he knew how scared she was. There he was, yelling for the kids to let them go all the while his hand still locked into hers.
__________________________________________________________________________

Months went by and since they recovered the playhouse, Micki had told herself to stop looking into any sign of Ryan seeing her in that way. For the longest time, after everything had settled down, she tossed and turned thinking of all her missed chances.

Why wouldn't he just let her in.

She loved him...yes it was true, she really loved him.

First it was simply attraction, now as time went by, she knew this tension just couldn't be her. She longed for Ryan, she thought of him every second he wasn't around her. She looked at him and wanted him.

He was the only thing that seemed right in her life.

One thing she did notice was how serious he was. syringe

Sure he still cracked jokes, fooled around, and still had that childish manner about him. But still...something had changed. After getting the syringe back, Micki took time to recover. So many of these antiques had put their lifes in danger. Had taken people they cared about away. Had brought...the two of them closer

She just wished that someday...he would know.
__________________________________________________________________________

In April of that year, only months before everything happened. Micki remembered a time when they got back the Shard of Medusa, and the child's Coffin. JB had been there when it happened, which made Micki's out look different towards the objects. How long would it be with just Jack, Ryan, and her hunting these things down?

She knew that JB with time would forget about it, like most young children did. But somehow being able to explain this different world, even to an eleven year old boy felt good.

Ryan had been pretty moodly lately. Micki began to notice he spent alot of his time either at the gym or drawing in his bed. In fact over the last couple of months Ryan began to really take off with starting his art up again.

It was after they sent JB home, after they explained everything, and the objects were back in the vault.

Micki felt good about how Ryan had acted. Closing up for the day she saw him sitting with his legs up on Jack's desk. His torn jeans showing off his tanned legs.

I don't know about you, but I'm beat.

Faintly smiling he leaned back.

Yeah...can't wait to tell Jack what happened.

Micki walked over and locked eyes with him for a second, for a second there was unease before Ryan rubbed the back of his neck and cleared his throat.

You think JB is going to keep his mouth shut?

I wouldn't worry...who would believe anyways?

Don't know...just glad nothing happened to him.

Micki smiled before walking behind Ryan, mostly after they got an object back they would often lay around relaxing, laying against each other with really no thought of how close they were.

That's what they were, close friends.

That thought made Micki smile again as she began to rub Ryan's stiff shoulders. Ryan softly smiled and sat back relaxing as she worked out his muscles. Sometimes at night if Ryan had trouble sleeping, the two of them would drink coffee and watch TV while Micki rubbed his back and shoulders. Ryan claimed Micki had hands that worked magic.

Well that bike you got him really helped too.

Ryan laughed to himself.

Yeah I guess it did.

Your good with kids, you know that?

Who me?

Yeah, your kind of a big one yourself.

Ryan laughed before playfully reaching back and hitting one of her hands.

Well it's true...you speak their code or whatever.

Yeah I guess so...can't wait to have some myself.

Micki raised an eyebrow.

Kids...you?

Yeah, I always wanted a bunch of kids...like my own little football team.

Micki laughed.

Good luck trying to find a woman for that.

Ryan laughed back before Micki's hand went further down, enough for Ryan to take it for a second and look at it. Micki stood there for a second holding her breath. She didn't understand why she felt so dizzy now whenever he touched her.

Ryan smiled looking at Micki's hand before kissing it. Micki smiled as she drew her hand back and kept rubbing his shoulders.
__________________________________________________________________________

The next time would be after they got Mesmer's Bauble. Micki felt chills run down her spine thinking of how much damage one tiny crystal pendant could do.

Ryan had been pretty down. In fact the mood lately had been pretty grim. The deaths were becoming something of habit. It seemed like no matter what they did...still somebody got hurt.

Micki was standing in her bedroom, holding her hair up in front of the mirror. Then...

That song came over the radio, the same lovely one that singer had sung. It had been on the radio alot since her sudden death. Pausing she heard her bedroom door open. Ryan stood in the doorway and sighed.

Hey...

Micki turned and saw he was down, in fact lately she had gotten a little worried about how badly depressed he was becoming after each object. That once lively flicker of Ryan was starting to fade away.

She knew he wanted to talk.

Most of the time that's all they did. They could stay up all night and just talk for hours upon hours of anything. They trusted each other. Ryan did admit that it seemed to be getting harder, that the death was too much, and that he had begun to think of his younger brother Jimmy alot.

She wished she could help him more.

Hey...

Micki began to walk forward before holding out her hand.

Let's dance.

Ryan laughed to himself as Micki brought him over, one hand around his waist, the other on his shoulder. She brought him in close and began to slowly dance across her wooden bedroom floor. Ryan laughed and seemed pretty stiff. He laughed and wouldn't look her in the eye.

They slowly danced before Micki brought him in even closer.

She could fell his breath against her face, her heart began to pound fast. All she wanted just then was to kiss him...

But she didn't. They broke apart and Ryan laughed it off before offering to take her out for some pizza. Micki felt so stupid, why was she doing this to herself?

9: Just like that

Dr. Lane had become very concerned with Micki and her condition. He had been a doctor for nearly thirty-five years, and never saw that rough of an aportion like that before. Going through his medical books he saw it wasn't unheard of, but worried about her mental state. He had talked with Johnny and wanted to know more about the father of the unborn baby.

Johnny kept things very vauge. He said the man was in his mid-twenties. Nice enough guy and co-owned the store that Micki runs. Johnny said that he died while they were traveling in France of a heart attack.

Dr. Lane wanted to see Ryan's records, but Johnny told him the simple truth that he didn't even had the slighest idea of getting them. Finally Dr. Lane talked straight with him.

The father wasn't disformed was he?

Johnny slowly shook his head.

No, he wasn't...

Then why does she want an abortion so bad, she seems scared to death.

I guess it was just loosing Ryan so sudden, the idea of the pregnancy scares her.

Well in the morning we'll explain what happened, she'll need to be on bedrest for awhile...there I'll prescribe safe medication for her to take that will expell that fetus, she'll suffer heavy bleeding and cramps.

That's it?

That's it...she'll need bedrest and to see me at the end of the week, there I'll like to speak with her.

Nodding Johnny glanced in at Micki sleeping and nodded. Micki was his friend, and wanted to look out for her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Johnny was alone with Micki when she woke the next morning, by then Jack had driven over with the car ready. Having all ready spoken with the doctor, he was comforting for Micki to see. At first she began to panic when they told her the abortion wasn't finished. Johnny tried to explain as well as he could the doctor's plan with the medication.

But I need this out of me!

Micki cried, before Jack held her.

Finally they took her home.

She was given something to sleep, and Jack stayed by her side. She had been though alot, and seemed exausted. Watching her sleep, Jack prayed softly to himself. He prayed that whatever was growing inside Micki was something God made, and something that would be born in light, not darkness.

Through the entire night, Micki called out in her sleep for Ryan.
__________________________________________________________________________

Johnny needed time to think, he had no idea how much this was getting to him. Going out to a couple of bars, Johnny decided to sleep at his old place for awhile before he got his head together.

He felt helpless.

Micki had been complete hysterical as she drifted in and out of sleep. Finally Jack spoke with her. He told her that the medication the doctor gave him was something she could take. Within the next twenty-four hours she would miscarry.

Micki cried even harder.

Why was this happening to her?

Jack handed her the pills before sighing.

Here my love, now don't cry...everything is going to be fine.

Micki sat up in bed as hot stickly tears rushed down her cheeks. Taking deep breaths she stared at the two tiny little pills and thought of the same things over and over again.

Ryan...

Would Ryan do the same? Would he have wanted her to keep it? What if the baby was fine, what if she was killing Ryan's baby?

Feeling her insides shake she looked at the pills before Jack slowly patted her hand.

I'll be downstairs, if you need me just yell out.

Letting her make this choice by herself, Micki sat there alone in her bedroom for awhile and shook. She kept trying to remember what Ryan looked like.

Finally she shuffled over to the upstairs bathroom and shut the door.

Looking at her reflection made her sick. Her hair stood up and she looked ten years older. Standing there trying to control herself she stared at the two pills.

Once she swallowed them, everything was going to be okay.

She would forget about this. She would forget about that awful thing she saw on the screen. Or the awful pains that hurt her inside, or the nightmares she kept having.

She would forget like this never happened, Ryan would be gone for good. She would move on and keep getting the objects back. She needed to live her life. Thinking over and over again about how awful her insides felt, she stared down at her flat stomach and cried.

Just like that...

She brought the pills up the her mouth...

Just like that...

Then, it will be all over.

10: Passing exchanged glance

So, how was your date with Johnny?

Ryan asked sitting up in bed with a sketchpad laying on lap. Micki noticed he had stayed up waiting for her. Slipping off her coat she shrugged before walking over to him.

It wasn't a date...we just had dinner, he's been pretty lonely since his father died.

Yeah I've noticed.

Micki sat on the edge of Ryan's bed before slowly taking each of her high heels off and tossing them across the floor. A habit she had started picking up from Ryan when it came to leaving things laying around. Rubbing her sore bottoms of her feet, Micki sighed before looking over at Ryan. Leaning over Ryan shut his walkman off and closed his sketchpad up.

You know...you really didn't have to wait for me.

Ryan relaxed against the three pillows he had build up behind him.

I was trying to work on some sketches anyways...so what did you guys talk about?

Micki laid back against Ryan's narrow bed and tried to think of the last couple of hours. It really hadn't been a date, more of Micki trying her hardest to cheer Johnny up. Since she first met him less then a month ago when he helped her get the cursed pool stick up. Somehow he seemed pretty open minded about the entire thing and was more then willing to help. The extra hand had been pretty nice, but still like always one of the objects took someone close and dear to him. It had been a tough few weeks, but Johnny was slowly starting to understand how these things works, and what he was about to face if he really did mean it about helping out.

Nothing really, I guess he's still working at that garage downtown...seems okay with everything that's happened.

That's good...

He said he wants to stop by soon and help us get some items back.

Ryan nodded, she knew he had been pretty uneasy towards the idea of a stranger helping out. Yet he didn't say a word, mostly because of what Johnny had gone through. Ryan was easy going and was slowly becoming friends with Johnny. One thing was for sure, Micki wanted to make it loud and clear she didn't look at Johnny in that way.

The first week he had began helping after the pool stick, all he did was flirt. Micki even began feeling uneasy as if this had been a mistake all along. Then he began to get more serious about the objects...most of all after the leather jacket was brought back.

She hoped Johnny knew that she wasn't interested. It wasn't anything against him. Johnny was typical handsome, he had a cocky way about him and seemed like a good helping hand. Still...he wasn't what she was looking for. She hoped this wasn't the only reason she started helping out in the first place.

What's that?

Huh?

Micki snapped out of her thoughts as Ryan's slim fingers brushed up against her arm, right away sending chills down her spine. Looking at the faded scratch on arm she shook her head.

Oh that was with the snowglobe...I cut myself when all that glass fell to the floor.

Thinking back about the snowglobe gave her more nightmares then the coin. She knew Ryan had been bothered by this too. Watching his fingers dance across her arm before drawing back she held her breath.

She didn't know how much longer she could take this.

In fact while she was resting after the whole snowglobe ordeal, Ryan had been the one sitting beside her the entire time.

He made her feel safe.

Looking at him, all she wanted to do was reach over and kiss him. This was getting to be too much for her to handle. In fact as awful as it sounded, the entire night she kept spacing out thinking of what Ryan was doing at that exact moment.

Both looked at each other for a moment before Micki slowly got up.

Well I'm beat, I guess I'll see you in the morning.

Yeah, night Micki.

Micki smiled before heading to her bedroom, the entire time kicking herself for not making another move.

Another move?

She felt like she was in highschool. Shaking her head she began to undress and get ready for bed. Faintly on the other side of the wall, she heard Ryan singing to himself as his walkman was turned on full bast again.

There Micki smiled to herself.

11: Last part of him

Micki stood in the bathroom, her hand slowly going towards her mouth as those two tiny pills were about to change everything. She had thought about this over and over, the same things playing over in her head. She was right, she knew she was.

There wasn't any other way no matter what. It had to be done, and it had to be done now. Tears rolling down her face she knew that once she took these, she wouldn't have to worry.

Then what?

Her heart felt as if it was going to break. Since everything had happened, it had been tough on her. She tried to tell herself she could move on if they boxed everything he owned away, and never talked about him again. She thought if Jack, and Johnny were with her she could forget and get these objects back.

She kept telling herself that. Ryan was happy, he was a child again and living life. She had to do the same. She would get the objects back and make sure nothing like this would happen again.

Thinking of Ryan her heart felt heavy.

She had loved him.

But not just that kind of love, this was different. She loved him as a best friend, someone she could talk too about anything. Someone that could cheer her up and make her laugh. She loved him like family, whenever he made her feel safe or faced things together with her. She loved him as a soulmate, and she loved him...for being a father.

Looking at her flat stomach she cried out to herself.

Why didn't she have more time? Why couldn't he be here with her? She couldn't move on, she couldn't do this alone? Was this thing inside her evil? The same evil that took him away in the first place. Had the thing she saw on the screen really be the baby inside her.

No, it couldn't be.

It was part of Ryan, the Ryan she missed with all her heart and loved. He had made this with her and before he was taken away he made sure it was safe inside her. This had to be a sign. But...still...what if?

There she screamed and threw the pills across the room. They rolled across the floor and finally went under the tub. Breaking down Micki fell to her knees and cried. She didn't know what else to do.

She couldn't do this...

Ryan was inside her, she couldn't kill him.

Holding herself she rocked back and forth and cried until it hurt.

Why was this happening?

She tried to remember all the good times with Ryan, all those times in which he made her feel safe and loved. She tried to remember all those times he was there for her, holding her hand and smiling.

He was still alive...he was.

Looking at her stomach she sighed.

If she couldn't kill it, maybe it was a sign.

She had to think of it that way.

Everything was so unclean right now, all she knew was that she was pregnant and was going to face this alone.
__________________________________________________________________________

Moments later Micki rushed out of the bedroom and found Jack. She threw her arms around him and cried.

I couldn't do it Jack...I just couldn't do it.

Slowly trying to clam her down, Jack simply patted her back and held her like a father would.

It's all right Micki...I'm here, it's all right.

Micki wanted this baby more then anything...she had to pray that this wasn't a child of darkness. It was a child that would be like Ryan.

A reason to live, a reason to move on.

12: Darkness into light

Thanks Micki...

Ryan said as he bent down, softly kissing her forehead with his waxy lips. In that moment Micki thought of the other times they had kissed while living at Curious Goods. Mostly they were harmless friendly kisses mostly on the cheek. There was that time when they recovered the foghorn when they went upstairs, then after they got back the cursed sheriffs badge. They didn't mean anything, in fact nowadays kisses didn't really mean anything at all. It was a simple way of showing love and connection. Never before on the lips, just as she kissed Jack, like a friend, a father, or a brother.

Micki just sat there clutching the glass of water Jack had brought her. Never before in her life did she feel so drained and sick. Her body felt like water, and her mind was clouded and not able to focus. Alot had happened to them, and they had nearly lost Ryan. Now there he was, kneeling beside her with a look she had only dreamed about. Both had nearly died last night, yet were able to break through whatever spell it was that was held over Ryan. Micki knew from the start something was wrong, and somehow was the only person to really reach him and shatter the spell. Feeling scared and tired, Micki couldn't even cry.

She never felt so scared before in her life. Seeing Ryan act that way, fearing that maybe he might die? She didn't really know what happened, only that she had saved him, and now he was with her.

He had saved her so many times, along with that faint memory of that coin falling to the ground and then pitch darkness. It seemed so clear now...the reason why they kept saving eachother was because...

They couldn't stand to be apart.

Last night proved it.

I don't know what would of happened if you didn't break through to me.

He now was so close, she could feel his warm breath, smell that lovely scent of cologne he always wore. Feeling whatever this way that was making them lean in closer, she felt a nervous giggle deep in her stomach.

You got the ladder back?

She smiled with him, just there they knew. It didn't have to be said out loud. But after nearly three years of being together it seemed to click. She was brought him out of the darkness and into the light. She had saved him through...

Through their love.

And one of Lewis' occult tools

At least Danny and Garrett didn't die in vain.

Jack shook his head before looking at the two of them, they seemed half dead.

You two go up to your beds, I'll make sure these get back to the vault.

Jack left them as Ryan looked down at Micki again.

You need some help?

Faintly shaking her head Micki muttered a no, somehow she felt as if her entire body was drained and empty. Ryan nodded before walking up the stairs.

Slowly getting up, Micki's entire body ached. Looking around the store she felt her heart begin to beat faster.

She loved him.

Looking up at the stairs she knew that once she went up there...something was going to be different. She didn't know how, or why...but last night proved it. They belonged together. Taking a second she looked at the store in which she now called home.

This was her home.

Smiling, she now knew if they were able to get through this, they could get through anything. Last night had been to close of a call...she couldn't lie to herself anymore. No holding back...

Not anymore.
___________________________________________________________________________
Walking upstairs, Micki saw Ryan standing beside his bed. He had his shirt now rolled up in his hands, as if he was ready to change but stopped in deep thought.

Micki took a second to just see how beautiful he really was. Slowly her eyes went down his tanned back and then his arms. He was perfect...in every way.

Ryan?

Ryan slowly turned, both locked eyes before Micki struggled to find the next word.

Ryan...

He stepped closer before softly touching her face. His fingers went against her smooth skin as they looked at each other, unable to stop it. Smiling he brushed back some of her wild red hair. Micki shook before holding back her tears.

I...I love you Ryan.

Ryan looked at her for a moment before slowly leaning in and parting her lips with his. Micki closed her eyes and knew that however old she got, she would always remember this moment. Both stood there, kissing and so close to each other they seemed like one person. Their hearts were hurt to bad now to worry about any risks.

They loved each other.

As they broke apart, Micki couldn't believe a kiss could feel like this. Looking at Ryan's big brown eyes she felt as if she was going to pass out at any moment.

Slowly his hands slipped into hers as they just stared at each other.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki laid back in Ryan's small bed, and began to think for the oddest reason how uncomfortable it really felt. They really should of gone to her bedroom, not only was it more private...but they could have more room.

Ryan...what if Jack walks up?

Ryan was underneath the covers of his bed with her, he was half sitting on her legs as he worked on his belt, his nervous hands slipping and messing up.

Shaking his head, Micki could see he was sweating.

He won't...trust me.

Maybe we should...

Ryan leaned down covering her mouth with his, both laugh through the kiss before Ryan began working on getting his pants down. Micki felt her heart racing and never felt so nervous before in her life. Helping him she laughed as he began to kiss her neck.

Do you have a comdom?

Yeah...in my nightstand...

Ryan was still working on kicking off his pants before moving on to his boxes. Micki still had her lace bra on and didn't even think about taking it off. Opening the tiny draw, Micki felt around for a second before finding out, right away Ryan took it as she began moving her hands across his smooth tanned body.

She smiled.

He was perfect, every single inch of him was perfect.

Within seconds, Ryan leaned down kissing her softly...finally his eyes became direct and serious.

You sure Micki?

Micki put her arms around Ryan's neck as she lowered him on her.

She was sure...
__________________________________________________________________________

Their lovemaking hadn't lasted that long. Both were beyond exausted, and Micki could feel Ryan's body shaking as he moved up against hers. Still, Micki had never felt anything like it before.

Both had finally broke down, unable to go on. It killed them that they couldn't, but their bodies were giving up. Covered in sweat, Micki licked her dry lips before Ryan laid beside her, curled up with his arms around her.

Micki looked over at Ryan and smiled.

He had tried to make it special for her.

Reaching over, Micki took one of Ryan's hands and held it within her own. Even though Ryan had slim fingers like hers, the size made her smile. She could fit her entire hand nearly in his palm. Holding it, she looked over and saw he was all ready fast asleep, both jammed in together in this tiny bed.

Turning over, she moved up against him until her back was resting on his chest. Slowly she felt him breath in and out. Holding his hand she slowly kissed his fingers.

I love you Ryan...

With that she fell sleep and never before felt so safe in her entire life.
__________________________________________________________________________

Jack did come upstairs later that evening, there he saw both Ryan and Micki holding each other in his small single bed. Both were exausted and most likely bound to sleep the rest of the night too.

He was happy for them.

Looking at them, he saw how beautiful they really were.

He hoped this would last...both looked like angels.

Smiling, Jack left them alone and walked back downstairs.

13: Unknown path

Johnny and Jack sat in the parked car across the street, wating for Micki to finish. Johnny began to get uneasy and glanced at the church. He hadn't been since a kid, and ever since his dad died his faith seemed to slowly drift away. He was mostly confused, but he needed to be strong.

Last night Micki told him that she decided to keep the baby, that she couldn't go through with it and how she truly believed this was really was Ryan's baby. Once she went off to bed Johnny took Jack aside to speak man to man. He respected Jack, and knew that he was always someone to go too whenever things got too hard to handle. Jack agreed that he too was worried about Micki's mental state. She had seemed perfectly fine until she became aware of the pregnancy. He knew that Ryan and Micki had a very strong connection, and shortly before everything happened they had gotten involved. Something that Jack had always seen coming. They really hadn't spoken out loud about it, but Jack knew how much Micki had loved him, and how hard it had been for her to let him go.

He told Johnny he should of known once they got back, how she wouldn't talk about him, and tried to get rid of anything that reminded her of him. Even though he hadn't died...she still had to mourn the unlived life Ryan could of had with her. Now she faced this in all ways alone. She had put too much energy into getting these objects back. Now here she was, in her mid twenties and pregnant. Ryan was twelve years old, living a different life with little to no memory of Micki at all. The baby itself was conceived during such awful events, things that Ryan had done in which Micki had to hear about. He had killed people, and worse let his soul get taken over.

She was scared and that was normal. The last three years she had seen enough to have good reason to worry about this pregnancy. There were so many risks involved. The what ifs were becoming too great. Yet still Micki knew that these objects were going to be her life until they were all recovered. And speaking in true terms, both Jack and her knew all of them very well might never be brought back. She could be searching for these things all her life.

This baby had hope if everything was going to be all right. It showed another reason for Micki to move on and live for Ryan. Still having a child in this world, dealing with the things she died scared her.

Still...if the baby inside her was evil, she needed to find hope of some kind.

She had asked to go to church. Jack offered to bring her inside but she told them she needed time alone. Lately she had been distant and seemed as if she was loosing sleep.

The path she was going down was dark and unknown.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki sat in the church all alone. It was a Tuesday morning and she hadn't seen anyone walking in. She was raised a catholic and remembered all of those Sunday school classes, and long hours singing about Jesus and Heaven above. Micki had seen Hell, and knew it's darkness. Now she only prayed there was a Heaven too.

Hearing the beautiful organ music around her, she sat there looking up at the sparking glass windows. All showed images of hope through pain. Candles danced as Micki slowly took heavy breaths and looked down at her shaking hands.

May I help you?

Micki looked up to see a young priest standing a few feet away from her. He was dressed in his black robe and had small thin glasses on. He seemed friendly and looked worried from seeing Micki sit here alone crying. Softly smiling she nodded.

Yes father, I'm fine.

Slowly he went over and took a seat next to her.

Are you a member of this church?

Micki shook her head and softly laughed to herself.

I haven't been to church in a very long time...

What is your name?

Micki.

Well Micki I'm father Lambert.

Micki shook his hand before sighing.

This is a very beautiful church father, I pass by it walking around here alot.

And why have you come today?

Micki knew she couldn't say everything. She wished she could show those who gave their entire life towards faith that they were doing good. That there was evil and they weren't the only ones fighting it. She knew that if her gut feeling was right about this baby...she needed hope.

I'm...I'm pregnant father.

The father nodded, just then Micki saw how young he really was. She looked up to him in a way. He was a true man of his word and believed in the war between good and evil. Micki knew there was a God...she just needed his help right now.

The father...the father was a man who I loved very much.

Does he know about the pregnancy?

Micki slowly shook her head.

He...he died for his faith father, an awful thing took him away from me...and he saved people's lifes breaking free of it.

She knew he didn't understand, but she still went on.

He was taken away from me just when we knew that our love was strong enough to break through anything...even evil. I thought at first the pain would just feel numb and then go away, if I was still doing what I was supposed to do, maybe it would make a difference.

And has it?

I really don't know...I was scared to death when I found out I was pregnant, it was shock to me since he wasn't around anymore...at first I thought I couldn't go through with it...

The father nodded and Micki struggled with her tears.

There was so many signs for me to have this baby, but I'm scared father...not of the whole idea of bringing a child into this world, but the idea of my child being evil.

Why would you think that?

When...when it was put inside me, it's father was taken over by such evil it cost people's lifes, but I know that really wasn't him...he was a good man father.

And now he's dead?

Micki nodded, in all ways in her mind the real Ryan was dead.

The father kept a serious look on his face before he touched her hand.

Do you know in your heart that you want this child?

Micki nodded.

Then your love for it will and your love of God will kept you through whatever darkness you face.

And the baby?

It's up to you to make sure this child is born in God's love.

Micki softly cried for a second before slowly nodding.

Father?

Yes?

Would you mind...well to bless me?

The father looked at Micki before nodding. Slowly his hand went over to her flat stomach as he made the sign of the cross.

In the name of the father, and the holy ghost...thy let this child be born through faith and God's light.

Taking his hand away Micki looked at him as tears still fell from her eyes. Thanking him she slowly got up and began to walk down the marble floor towards the front doors.

Micki?

The priest called out.

Turning for a moment, she saw he was standing now.

If you ever need to talk, please feel free to come.

Micki softly smiled before thanking him away and walking out into the bright light of the morning.

14: Now what?

Micki slowly woke a little after three in the morning. She had slept the entire day away and still felt exausted. Looking up at the ceiling she knew right away where she was. Drawing in a quick breath she could hardly control herself as she glanced over her shoulder.

Ryan laid beside her, somehow stuffed into his small bed and laying against the wall. His face peaceful in his deep sleep. Micki's heart raced as she tried to remember everything that happened. The only things that kept replaying in her mind over and over again was the way he had kissed her and stared right into her eyes thanking her. Everything before hand had been a complete blur. She knew that they had broken the spell and got Ryan back. But once it was all over...something was different. The way Ryan looked at her, the way his touch felt, and his breathing changed as he drew in close. She knew that very second that finally Ryan had broken down his fears and let in his true feelings. They loved each other...it was simple enough. Micki's love had saved him, and finally they knew there couldn't be any second chances.

They had to live and let their hearts do what felt right.

Micki's bare back laid up against Ryan's chest as she felt him breath in and out. It was freezing upstairs and from the look of Ryan's alarm clock it was late. Feeling her entire body feel numb and motionless she slightly turned and glanced at him again.

Had they really just done this?

It seemed like a little too much to take in. But after everything that happened, it seemed so right. Looking at him she smiled and pulled the covers more over her naked body. After all this time, now what?

The sex was also a blur. Micki only rememebred that both were exausted and hardly able to keep from shaking. Micki was on the verge of tears as all of her emotions crashed down on her. This was really happening. After they had finished they had simply fallen asleep in each other's arms. Looking at him Micki smiled at how perfect he looked. There was so much to think of now, and even towards the thought of this changed things.

Micki hoped it did, for the better at least. No more watching Ryan from a distance. No more of the want and the heartache. Finally it had happened.

Ryan...

She shook his arm.

Muttering in his sleep it took him a second before he opened his eyes.

Yeah?

You wanna come inside my room, might be warmer?

Ryan blinked the sleep away from his eyes before covering his mouth from yawning. Slowly shifting he leaned over and looked at his clock.

It's that late...how long did we sleep?

All day...I still feel beat.

Yeah me too.

Just then they looked at each other, smiling before Ryan kissed her and put one of his arm around her thin waist. Both waited a second before Ryan nodded.

Yeah, come on...

Once they moved into Micki's bedroom, it felt better with the extra space and cool sheets. Covering up and trying to nuzzle, both slept beside each other in complete peace.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki laughed while sitting on Ryan's bed a few days later. She had been going through some of his stuff and looking at old artwork he had finished back in school a few years ago. Micki liked spending time with Ryan, most of all now.

Jack meanwhile was planning a trip to France within the week.

The last few days had been pleasant and almost like a dream. They didn't really have to say anything out loud for Jack to understand what happened. He didn't act if anything had changed, but seemed very understanding and happy for them. Micki meanwhile was overwhelmed by how really happy she felt.

It wasn't only being with Ryan, but now having somewhat of extra hope towards the future. The morning after they had slept together, both woke up late and felt somewhat better after what had happened. Laughing and fooling around Micki asked a serious question.

What now?

There was alot to think about, but Ryan like always just laughed and kissed her. He told her not to read too much into things, they were happy and that's all that mattered. Micki knew Johnny would find out within time, and only hoped he was as understanding as Jack.

Micki had never felt this way before. Somehow she was excited whenever Ryan was around her. Happy to be alive and had a much better out look. They didn't act any different, only now the way they looked at each other meant something new...something better.

Micki held up Ryan's glasses.

When was the last time you wore these?

Ryan was at the kitchen table and laughed as Micki tossed them over.

Their for distance, don't make fun.

Ryan grinned as he put them on, Micki meanwhile waved her hand and made a face.

Oooo, look at the handsome teacher.

Ryan laughed before digging into some extra boxes he hadn't had a chance to unpack yet. Today was Sunday and both had decided to stay in and relax. Jack anyways was worried after what happened with the witches' ladder...both had nearly gotten killed.

Where do you wanna go tonight?

What out?

Micki smiled as she laid back on his bed.

Well I didn't plan on staying indoors the rest of my life.

How about pizza?

Micki smiled.

Sure...as long as we can take a nice hot shower once we get home.

Ryan smiled before taking out an old leather book.

Now your talking...

Micki laughed before Ryan looked down at the book and raised an eyebrow. Micki saw something had caught him and slid forward on the bed.

What is it?

An old family album...didn't know I even had this...

Oh let me see!

Ryan got up and took a seat next to Micki, both opened the book and began looking at the photographs.

There are my parents before they married...

Then they got to an old photo of a chubby baby laying in a crib.

And that handsome guy is me.

Micki laughed before pointing.

Aww, you were so cute!

Ryan laughed with her as he pointed out other photographs, finally he paused on one and sighed. Micki leaned forward.

What is it?

It's...it's a photo of my kid brother Jimmy, right before he died.

That him?

Yeah...

He looked alot like you.

Ryan slowly nodded before closing the book.

Hey why even look though this, just a bunch of depressing stuff...

Ryan tossed the book to the side, right away Micki knew something was wrong. Putting her arms on his shoulders she leaned in close.

You okay?

Ryan nodded before slightly smiling and looking at her.

Yeah you bet.

Micki then kissed his cheek before looking his face over.

So am I your girlfriend now?

Ryan laughed.

What?

Girlfriend, you know.

Well am I your boyfriend?

Micki laughed, it did sound funny.

As a matter of fact...yes.

I'm your type?

Oh yeah...and then some.

Both laughed as they began to kiss, slowly they fell back on the bed and began making out. Laughing they couldn't help but be happy.
__________________________________________________________________________

Later that night after the shower, Micki stole one of Ryan's T-shirts to change into and laid back in bed waiting for him. Laying there she smiled at what they said today.

Your my girlfriend...

And your my boyfriend...

Just then Ryan came in, just downstairs helping Jack pack for the trip. Smiling he walked over before undoing his belt. Laying back Micki smiled before he went to her.

15: What are you going to do?

Hey Micki?

Johnny walked in the store, shaking his leather jacket from any rain that had fallen on it. The past week or so had been overcast and rainy. Walking in and trying to wipe his boots on the rug he went up the wooden stairs to where Micki sat behind the counter.

She was looking through the manifest.

Glancing up she right away smiled as he strolled over holding a small silver hourglass.

You got it!

Cost me a pretty penny two...the owners of the house died a few months ago and all of their belongings were sold on auction.

Johnny placed the hourglass down on the counter as Micki closed the manifest and closely look at it.

Did anyone else seem interested in it?

Not when I bid two-hundred.

Two-hundred!

Hey, I wanted to make sure nobody got it.

Micki sighed before handing it back to Johnny.

Stick it in the vault.

Where's Jack?

He's downstairs resting, try not to wake him.

Anything wrong?

No, he just looked really worn out this morning.

Well he is getting up there in age.

Johnny...

All right, all right...

Micki then slid off the stool and took the mainifest with her before setting it down on Jack's desk. She began searching for her coat.

What are you looking for?

My coat, I'm going to mass.

Again? You've all ready been this morning!

Micki shot Johnny a look before pulling on her coat.

Care to join me?

Johnny shook his head before walking over to her.

Hey Micki, I didn't mean it...I'm just worried about you.

Why should you be worried?

The way you've been acting, ever since you decided to keep the baby...I hear you praying during the night.

So, what's wrong with that?

Are you still scared that something might be wrong with the baby...I mean your not even in your third month, we could go back to the doctors...

No, no doctors...I'm fine, and my baby is fine.

Then what are you doing?

I'm going someplace where I feel safe, where my baby feels safe.

Turning around Micki took the car keys and left Johnny all alone.
__________________________________________________________________________

That evening, after Micki had returned, Jack and Johnny fixed dinner. The three of them sat upstairs eating while Johnny kept looking across at Micki's pale and tired face.

Your mother called...

Jack said while taking a sip of tea. Micki right away looked up.

Oh?

She said she heard from your sister and wants to talk with you right away.

Jesus...

Micki rolled her eyes before sitting up straight.

I called my sister last week and told her I was pregnant.

You did what?

She kept asking about Ryan, I mean everyone thinks he died in France...she had too many questions so I just told her.

Told her what?

That I was pregnant Johnny, God do I look that stupid?

Micki...

No, she's my sister and I've been there for here whenever she needed me.

What did she say?

She was shocked, asked alot of questions and I told her I was keeping the baby and staying at the store.

Jack paused for a second before looking sighing.

Your mother sounded very upset...I would call her if I were you.

Why should I? We haven't really spoken in years...

I'm sure she's worried about you...

No, she's just like my father, always looking down on everything I did. Last thing she really told me was what a mistake I was making breaking up with Lloyd and staying at the store.

Well, tell her the truth...and if she doesn't like it you shouldn't worry.

And why is that?

Because we're your family now...and we love you no matter what.

Micki faintly smiled as Johnny glanced up at her before dropping his eyes again.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki sat in her bedroom and dialed the phone, her heart pounding she softly prayed to herself. Finally her mother's voice picked up.

Hello?

Mom?

Michele?

Yes, it's me...I heard you called me?

There was a pause on the other line before her mother began to slowly speak, anger and disappointment both there.

Your sister tells me your pregnant.

Micki took a deep breath before nodding.

Yes, yes I am.

And who is the father?

Ryan, you know that mother.

Your cousin?

Mother...we were cousins through marriage.

He was still your cousin.

Micki knew this wasn't going to be easy, sighing she held back the tears.

Yes.

He died didn't he?

Yes...in France.

How? I mean not that I talk to his side of the family anymore...but how?

It was an accident, we were there with our good friend Jack and stopped by a small village when he fell...

He fell?

Yes, we were going up the trails and he fell down a rock slide...nearly killed me too.

Jesus Micki...

I spoke with his mother and she told me that it would be better if he was buried over there, right after the funeral I came back.

Pregnant?

Yes...

Not even thirty and your pregnant, my God what people must think.

I don't care what people think mother...

Well it sure shows, you running that dirty little shop that Lewis ran, throwing your life away...breaking up with Lloyd who is all ready planning to marry again, a doctor...didn't you know?

Mother I don't care...I didn't love Lloyd.

Pregnant by that stupid dropout of a cousin...God I hate to even think of him as family.

Ryan was not stupid!

Micki...your not planning on keeping it are you?

Yes I am.

Oh God!

Mother I'm not like you, my life is fine here...

Your planning on raising a baby all alone in that store, what are you going to live on?

Since when did you care about what i did?

Your sister is a screw up, now you...why?

Maybe because you were an awful parent.

Micki!

Mother, I love you...but I can't take this anymore...please don't call me again.

Micki...

Micki slammed down the phone and softly cried to herself.

She really was all alone.
__________________________________________________________________________

That night Micki spent talking with Johnny. Both were depressed and really didn't know what to do with themselfs. This was it...this was life.

Micki knew if she had enough faith her baby would be fine, and even though the future scared her she would have to go forward...at least for Ryan.

As for the objects, Johnny told Micki he wouldn't leave until they were all back where they belonged.

Smiling at him she knew she couldn't stay this way forever. Taking his hand she thanked him.

He was going to be by her side this entire time.

So really...she wasn't alone.


16: A ring

Micki hurried down the stairs as she searched through her purse for the car keys. Each one of them owned a set, and Micki somehow always lost hers. Walking down with her boots clicking against the wood she nearly screamed when Ryan came out of nowhere and put his arms around her waist.

Ryan!

Ryan softly leaned forward and kissed her neck as he picked her up from the ground. It being only four days since they really decided to let each other know how they felt, Micki still felt as if she was in a dream. She still got butterflies and her heart raced whenever he was around her, but somehow knowing Ryan for all this time and going through everything beside him...things felt at ease. It seemed as if they had been waiting for this sort of thing to happen. Even though they really hadn't spoken out loud about the entire thing, they still knew...in a strange way they were now involved.

Thinking that made Micki burst into giggles as Ryan swung her lightly off the ground and began working his lips up to her jawline. Laughing she cupped her hand backwards and touched his face.

Hey, you nearly scared me...

Nearly...

Turning around, Micki kissed Ryan before looking him right in the eyes.

Where are you off too?

Tea with a couple of girlfriend...they wouldn't stop calling.

Wow sounds interesting...

Micki laughed before playfully shoving him.

Hey...

Ryan put his arms around Micki's neck and brought her in closer to him. One hand fell loose from her and went down to her hip, slowly bringing it in until both were pressed up against each other. Ryan smiled before Micki laughed and could tell he had other things on his mind.

You?

What about me?

Plans for the day?

Oh you know...hunt down cursed items from the devil.

Micki rolled her eyes before leaning in and covering his mouth with hers. Easing into the kiss she softly moaned and broke free, never feeling so alive before in her life.

You know the rules...no excitment without me.

Ryan laughed before shrugging.

I think I might go downtown with Jack, he said he needs to get a few things before heading to France.

Do you need the car?

Naw, we're gonna walk...

Micki then poked Ryan's flat stomach though his T-shirt and laughed.

Trying to get in shape huh?

Ryan laughed before slowly moving up against her, making well sure she knew what was on his mind. Both smiled before Micki kissed him again.

I'll see you later?

Yeah sure...have fun talking with your girlfriends.

I will...got a new boyfriend to talk about.

Ryan laughed as Micki pulled away and headed out.
__________________________________________________________________________

Later that afternoon, Ryan and Jack walked downtown side by side. Both wore their jackets as the fall weather began to slowly cool off. For a first time in awhile, the city wasn't packed and crazy. Instead everything seemed so peaceful. Thanksgiving was coming up and few people were walking on the sidewalks.

Jack had gotten a few things for the trip, he had began to read about a nun who had seen God when she was a child. Jack looked into things and heard about a book that wasn't listed under anything Lewis had, but seemed like something worth looking into. He seemed in a fine mood and enjoyed the free time alone with Ryan. Over time he had began thinking of Ryan as a son.

So I take it you and Micki are an item now?

Ryan laughed as they walked forward, his hands stuffed in his jacket's pockets.

Yeah...I guess you could call it that.

I was waiting to see if it would finally happen.

Huh?

You know just as well as I do that Micki and yourself care deeply for each other.

Yeah but...we've been though alot, right now...well I don't know.

I can tell it's serious...I can see it in your eyes.

Ryan blushed before letting out a deep breath.

I don't know what's happened to me...I mean lately things have really gotten me down.

How so?

The store, the objects, the risks...Micki somehow has always been there. You know, for the longest time I was scared of getting close to her...now since she saved me I know I shouldn't be stupid anymore.

Well you two deserve to be happy.

Thanks Jack...

You love her don't you?

Ryan smiled.

Yeah...I guess I do.

Just then Ryan stopped in front of a store window, walking closer he stared at the display case, and for no reason what so ever...waved Jack over.

Take a look at this.

Jack stood beside him and looked in the window.

That's very beautiful...

Ryan couldn't take his eyes away from the window. Slowly he patted Jack on the shoulder.

Hey Jack...can we stop by the store real quick?

What for?

I think I might need to crack open another piggy bank.

Jack looked at Ryan as he grinned.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan you can't be serious?

Ryan was on one knee upstairs, he held a small velvet ring box in his hands, offering it up to Jack. Rolling his eyes Jack shook his head.

Come on Jack, I need to feel the moment.

You can feel the moment with the real thing, come on get up.

I need this to be perfect...

Ryan looked down at the sparking ring and smiled. It had cost him a pretty penny, but somehow in the heat of the moment, thinking about how much he loved Micki...it seemed right.

Are you sure about this?

What? Do you think I'm rushing into this?

No, well...yeah it's pretty sudden.

Do you think I'll scare her off?

Not at all...you seem very true.

Ryan slowly got up, still looking at the ring.

Even though it's only been a couple of days...it seems like we've been together for years.

That's because you have...like I said, you two have always loved each other.

You know...that time with the coin...

Ryan's voice became lower, Jack knew this was a painful memory.

Seeing her body laying there...I began to think of what it would of been like if I wasn't such a jerk and just told her that I thought she was cute. I mean who would know we would end up like this...we're so different.

Not that different.

Ryan smiled still looking at the ring.

I thought about how beautiful she was...and how she never got the dream wedding she wanted so bad with Lloyd.

She didn't love Lloyd, that's the thing.

Ryan looked at the ring one last time before closing the case.

It might be awhile, I mean anything could happen...I just wanna see.

Sounds like wise words.

I mean, I really don't know what I'm doing...but I'm sure of it you know?

Jack smiled before pating Ryan's shoulder.

Yes, I'm sure...
__________________________________________________________________________

It was nearly nine at night. Jack had finished watching the six o'clock news and decided to retire early for the night since his flight was so early in the morning. Micki meanwhile had returned home and laid spread out on the couch downstairs.

Ryan was underneath her, both slowly making out, hands moving up and down, both breathless.

Breaking a kiss, Micki sat up with a smile on.

Ryan meanwhile laid back, looking at her with such serious eyes.

What's wrong?

Ryan slowly shook his head.

Nothing...

You seem worried about something.

Nothing, really.

Micki smiled again before leaning down, her hands slowly going up Ryan's T-shirt and trying to drag it up. Lips smacking Ryan laughed through another kiss before looking up at her.

You know that photo I showed of you of my kid brother?

Jimmy?

Yeah...

What about it?

In two days, it marks the date of his death...I blocked it out, I guess seeing the photo made me remember.

Oh Ryan...

Micki laid against his chest and softly kissed him.

Are you okay?

Ryan nodded.

Fine, just worn out you know?

Well I think we shouldn't even think about getting any more stuff back before Jack comes back.

Oh yeah?

Yeah...I mean we should relax, it's been an awful year.

Not anymore...

Smiling Micki leaned down kissing him again.

17: What are you doing?

Micki you need to go to the doctors, they called twice all ready.

Micki stood by the stove, dressed in slacks and a blouse. Her now five month stomach stood out in a perfect bump. Rolling her eyes, Micki checked what she was cooking before walking back and forth, her hands on the arch of her back.

My back just hurts...

Your pregnant and need to take care of yourself.

Hey I'm taking good care of myself...we're fine.

I know your fine but you still need to have checkups, see if the baby is doing all right.

Johnny, I'm fine okay?

Johnny sat at the table drinking a beer before giving up. The last few months had been somewhat tough. As for antiques they had gotten three more back. Johnny being the one to bring them back to the vault where they belonged. Jack had decided to look for more sales that were sold in the local area. He wanted to find things with less risk and danger.

Micki had tried helping but after having awful cramps, Jack was the one who out his foot down and told her she would mind the store until she had the baby. One thing that really got under Johnny's skin was that Micki was still going to church twice a day. Jack didn't seem to mind though. He explained to Johnny that Micki was going through alot right now, and if praying got her through it, then all the better.

A few of Micki's close friends, along with her sister knew about the pregnancy. Micki had really cut herself off from her old life and knew that after that phonecall with her mother, she wouldn't want to be seen around those parts anymore anyways. Outrage was what they were talking about. How she had goten knocked up, and the father was her cousin...now dead. That she was running this awful little store with two strange men.

Micki knew how it sounded, but this was her life.

If only they knew what she risked her life for. There was evil in this world, and it didn't care if you had money or not. Micki really didn't speak about the baby. In fact she acted as if she wasn't even pregnant. For awhile she helped Johnny out side by side, and seemed annoyed whenever pains or changes in her body slowed her down.

She knew there was a million things to think about. Such as getting things for the baby, clothes, food, a crib. She would have to learn how to get the objects back without risking her life. She was the only parent to this child.

How she would raise the baby in this sort of lifestyle, and what would happen if she did die? Those thoughts scared her...Ryan was only twelve, he didn't even know about the baby.

Micki had more then enough money in the bank, yet was scared out of her mind with what was too come. She had bought a few of the books and had no idea if she was going to be a good mother or not.

How was she going to do this without Ryan?

It hurt too much, and she was too worried about making sure her baby would be born in God's faith. Anything to get that awful image out of her mind with the sonogram.

Just then the oven clicked and Micki got the cooking mits on. Taking out a somewhat raw piece of meat she carried it over to her plate and dropped it down. Johnny looked and saw how uncooked the meat was...blood was still coming out of it.

Jesus Micki, that isn't even cooked?

Micki slid off the mits before taking a seat.

Huh?

That meat...it's still alive.

Hey I'm hungry, leave me alone.

Micki began to cut little pieces, blood pooling on the plate as she began to eat. Johnny felt as if he was going to be sick.

Micki your gonna get sick, come on I'll buy you a cheeseburger.

Micki shot him a look, still eating.

This is what I want, this is what my baby wants, leave me alone.

Johnny watched slowly shaking his head.
__________________________________________________________________________

An hour later Micki threw up.

Her morning sickness hadn't been too good for the third month. In fact most of her mornings were spent on the bathroom floor gaging. Johnny was cleaning the dishes as she walked out, pale and exuasted.

See I told you...

Micki rolled her eyes before slowly taking a seat.

God, I wish I could get some sleep.

Bad dreams?

Nightmares more like, and these pains...God their killing me?

Pains?

Johnny slowly turned before Micki bowed her head now.

Fine, I'll go to the doctors...

Johnny nodded.

Thank you...
__________________________________________________________________________

The doctor was happy to see Micki and talked with her in his office for awhile. After running some blood work everyhing seemed normal. Which was a huge weight lifted from Micki's heart.

Then came the sonogram.

Micki was scared, but Johnny came in with her. Slowly the nurse moved the control over her now bigger stomach before the image came up, this time much more clear.

There it is...

Micki leaned forward.

Is it...normal?

The nurse laughed.

Yes, looks fine to me...a little big but fine.

Micki watched the screen as Johnny smiled.

See Micki, it's fine.

Micki watched the image for the longest time, almost as if waiting for somthing awful to happen. Finally she sat back and took a deep breath.

Ryan and her had made that.

It was the most amazing thing she had ever seen. Looking at the screen she held back the tears as she smiled. She was really doing this. And that was really her baby.

Would you like to know the sex?

Micki glanced at Johnny before nodding.

Yeah sure...

Slowly the control was moved before the nurse nodded.

Well Micki, it looks as if your going to have a little girl.

Micki just laid there.

A girl?

Had she heard right?

Looking at the screen she smiled.

She was having a girl. A little baby girl.

18: Mutual surrender

On my way back from a wedding
I drove round some of the old streets
I got swept up by the memories
Of cold nights and warm sheets
I parked outside the house we'd lived in
I tried to think of all the pain
But all I remembered was the laughter
And the precious trust we can't reclaim
There are no second prizes
And there will be no consolation wreath
We may as well miss by a mile
As miss by the skin of our teeth
They all thought we were some sure thing
I had the bloody coat and wedding ring

__________________________________________________________________________

Micki and Ryan walked side by side as they headed over to the parked car in the airport. It was early morning, and all ready the cold weather was blowing hard winds. It might only have been November, but it felt like dead winter. Micki lowered her head as she walked on, trying to bury herself as deep as she could in her winter coat. Ryan meanwhile walked next to her, his face also lowerd from the cold. Smiling Micki reached over, her bare hand in the freezing air and slipped it into his. Glancing at her for a second he smiled back as they hurried over to the car.

On the ride back, Micki couldn't help but watch him.

They had dropped Jack off for his flight, and planned on not even thinking about looking in the manifest until he got back.

Still tired from getting up so early, Micki yawned before moving over and resting her head on Ryan's shoulder.

So?

So...

Ryan made a short nervous sounding laugh as he turned on the next street towards the highway. Micki smiled before sitting up straight.

So it's just you and me huh?

Yeah...and I plan on enjoying it.

Both smiling, Micki took a deep breath.

Hey, I don't want to be the serious one...but do you know what we are now?

Huh?

I know it's only been a few days, with everything that's happened...but were you just kidding?

About what?

Us...well seeing each other.

Ruan glanced over at Micki and grinned.

What, don't wanna be my girlfriend anymore.

Laughing, Micki sat closer to him and put her head back. As of this very moment, she knew she was in love.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan and Micki walked into the store, the bell on the door slightly making noise. Once they stepped in, Micki turned around and smiled at Ryan.

Why don't you flip over that closed sign?

Ryan grinned as Micki ran up and started going upstairs. Ryan laughed as he changed the sign and ran behind her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki laid on her bed with her blouse slighty open at the bottom, just enough to reveal her perfectly flat and cream colored stomach. Laying there her eyes slowly watched as Ryan slid up her body, his arms on each side of her.

His serious looking eyes locked with hers before he bent down his head. Micki stared up at the ceiling, as Ryan softly began kissing her stomach. Micki sighed with a slight smile on her face as he started moving up.

One moment later he looked down at her, slowly putting his lips to hers. Her free hand went up and touched the side of his face as they kissed...slowly lowering him on her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan shot up from bed drenched in sweat.

It was another nightmare about Johnny.

Taking heavy breaths he glanced down at Micki. She looked so beautiful just laying there in the afternoon light.

He loved this woman.

Slowly reaching over he touched her face, she still slept. Sighing he tried to get himself under control as he slid out of bed. Slowly getting up, he walked out and sat on his own bed in the other room. Rubbing his face he reached over and opened the draw to his nightstand.

Picking up the box, he opened it and stared at the ring.

Was this too fast?

Glancing in the other room he sighed.

19: All the pretty little horses.

Micki looked at herself in the full length mirror that stood in her bedroom. Facing her side she looked at her pregnant stomach and rolled her eyes at how huge she looked. Placing her hands on her stomach she smiled before walking over to the beautiful wooden crib Jack and Johnny had bought her. Smiling she looked at it as the baby softly kicked her from inside.
__________________________________________________________________________

When are you due?

Micki walked side by side with Father Lambert. Over the time of her pregnancy she had gotten very close with him. Going to mass twice a day and spending all the extra time she had inside praying for her unborn baby...both had struck a friendship.

She learned that the father's name was Collin, he was thirty-three and had become a priest a few years ago. He was an interesting man who had traveled a great deal before finding the church. He was a person you didn't have to give every single last detail to understand. Micki felt like he was really the other true person who she could talk with...dealing towards fears with the baby. She talked a little about Ryan, or the father who died...as she often referred to him as. Both like each other and seemed open minded whenever something was on their minds.

Micki smiled looking at her stomach.

Less then a month.

Have you spoken to your mother yet...or your family?

Micki slowly shook her head.

Not since that phone call...well I do talk with my sister, but that's it.

Do you feel alone?

No, well...ever since I lost Ryan I always feel kind of alone, but I have Johnny and Jack, I don't know how I would of gotten through this without them.

Anyone other then that?

Welll...

Micki smiled.

The church, and you.

The father smiled as they walked in the courtyard of the church.

Have you picked a name for your daughter yet?

Micki slowly shook her head.

I haven't yet...there's been so much to do and it happening so fast I haven't even thought about that.

I'm sure it will come to you.

Micki smiled rubbing her stomach.

I guess...

Are you scared of what happens after the baby is born?

Huh?

Of the future, of raising your child?

Well I've worried about it...I live a dangerous lifestyle and just want her to grow up in a normal well settled place.

They stopped for a moment as Micki froze, looking up in the air she smiled.

Do you hear that?

The father paused looking up. In the faint background, most likely from another building you could hear music. From the sound of it...a record player maybe?

Sounds like music...

Micki stood there for a moment before smiling.

What is it?

Nothing...I just like this song.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan stood next to Micki nearly two years ago. He tried to smile as she stared up at him.

We do what we have to...

Don't mouth-platitude at me! I deserve better!

Come on, Micki! Micki!

Ryan tried grabbing her, for a pure second all of those feelings he built up for her came out for a second. He loved every part of her, yet knew he wouldn't ever have a chance.

Micki pushed back and turned away. She couldn't look at him.

I could handle it before since we faced danger together! Micki felt her insides turn as she faced him, holding back to any strength she had left to not cry.

She wished they never went here.

Over just a few days Ryan had changed. He no longer flirted with her or joked around. Before Micki was the center of attention. Ryan drooled over her and always tried to make a pass. At first Micki found it annoying, then slowly cute and made her feel better.

Ryan was very handsome, and made her feel not so useless after the break up with Lloyd.

He was different.

Now it seemed as if he didn't care.

It was all about Laura.

That stupid farm girl he just met.

She saw last night when he fought for her, then walking away arms in arms. Micki left alone in the snow watching them.

What had she done?

I can't do it alone.

Ryan sighed.

Jack will be fine, and your strong now...you don't need me anymore.

Micki just stared at him.

Why was he doing this? After everything she gave up to be here. Why was he leaving her alone?

The sound of the horses came from down below.

Micki couldn't stand to be in that room another second. Grabbing her bag she struggled towards the doorway before stopping for a second.

I'll miss you.

Then Micki ran out.

Ryan felt awful. He knew he had acted like a jerk, he knew deep down in his heart this wasn't the place for him. But how could he go on like that anymore. All the death and pain, and Micki never taking him serious. He couldn't stand it anymore.

Laura respected him and didn't think he was a joke.

But the pain in Micki's eyes killed him.

What if?

What if she did like him...maybe that was the reason she looked so upset? But how could he know? Shaking his head he watched her from the upstairs window.
__________________________________________________________________________

Hush a by, don't you cry...go to sleep my little baby, when you wake, you will see...all the pretty little horses.

20: Tonight

Micki walked out in the kitchen the next morning to find Ryan pulling on his coat.

Going somewhere?

Ryan looked up at her before slightly smiling, shaking his head he went over to her.

Cemetery.

Ryan?

Ryan sighed before looking her straight in the eye.

Sorry how I've been acting...it's just...the day my brother died.

Oh Ryan...

Micki went to him, putting her arms around his waist before pulling herself in closer. Softly kissing him she looked at him with worry. Ryan smiled back at her.

I won't be long, just need some time alone.

You sure your all right?

I'm fine...

Brushing back her hair, Ryan leaned down a bit as they began to kiss. Softly at first before both began getting worked up. Pulling apart, half way out of breath Micki smiled at him.

I'm going shopping for a bit, Johnny said he needs to stop by and drop off a few things.

Will you be here?

Yeah...take your time Ryan, really.

Ryan nodded before kissing her forehead and turning around. Smiling he winked at her before heading down the stairs.
__________________________________________________________________________

An hour later Micki struggled to walk up the stairs with the groceries she had just finished buying. Trying to head up the stairs she bumped into Johnny.

You scared me.

Need a hand?

Micki handed over one of the bags as the two started walking up the stairs.

Where is everyone?

Jack is in France.

France?

You know, that trip he took...I guess he wanted to check out this nun who saw God as a child.

Sounds interesting....Ryan go with him?

Micki sighed.

No, but I wish he had...he's been depressed lately.

Well where is he? I'll cheer him up.

The cemetery.

Johnny froze.

Who died?

His kid brother Jimmy remember I told you?

Johnny slowly nodded before setting the bags down, taking a glance at Micki he didn't know where to even start.

So...you and Ryan?

Micki looked up as she began putting things away.

Huh?

You two, something going on?

Rolling her eyes she tossed Johnny the fruit to put away.
__________________________________________________________________________

An hour later Ryan returned home...with his mother.

Micki couldn't believe it. Ryan said that his mother took off right after Jimmy died and left Ryan all alone with his father. Even after his death there hadn't been any word from her.

It had been years.

Ryan's mother somehow remembered who Micki was. The tension hung high in the air as the three of them just stood around the store, waiting for the next person to talk. Micki tried to keep the mood up by talking with Ryan's mother about the store and how Ryan and her had been looking after it.

Just then the phone rang, making Micki leave Ryan and his mother alone.
__________________________________________________________________________

Did he say why?

Ryan and Micki were alone in her bedroom, his mother waiting in the kitchen drinking tea.

Micki lowered her voice as she broke open her suitcase. She had just finished calling the airline.

He didn't...but it sounded like he needed us so I booked a flight for the morning.

What about the store?

I'm sure Johnny will look after it.

Ryan stared off into space sighing, Micki looked at him before glancing at the door.

You should talk with her...

How can I?

Ryan leaned in closer to Micki before sighing, his eyes looked tired and worn out.

She doesn't even feel like my mother anymore.
__________________________________________________________________________

While Micki was busy calling Johnny and packing for the two of them, Ryan had driven his mother back home. When he returned he told Micki they really didn't talk about anything. But she did offer to drop them off at the airport in the morning.

Something wrong?

Ryan shook his head as he sat on Micki's last suitcase as she shut it.

Just feels weird you know...

Micki looked up at Ryan before placing her hands on his shoulders.

This happened for a reason, who knows...maybe you guys can start to patch things up.

Ryan looked down before slowly nodding.

Yeah...I hope so.
__________________________________________________________________________

The next morning, Micki checked her purse for what seemed like the eighth time before looking at the suitcases Ryan had dragged downstairs.

Everything seemed packed and ready...but still?

Micki had a very uneasy feeling, as if she was forgetting something. Ryan walked down dressed in his winter coat, looking distant.

Johnny said he would spent the weekend there, and make sure everything was locked up. Micki made sure the spare keys were under the mat.

Just then Ryan's mother drove up, Ryan glanced at Micki before they walked to the car.
__________________________________________________________________________

Don't go...

The young girl stared at Ryan and began to shake. Her voice terrified and helpless. Ryan looked down at her, his eyebrow raised as he looked down at his hand held with the small girl's.

The father wheeled the young girl away from the line before shaking his head.

I'm sorry, she does this sometimes.

Giving her medication, Micki looked over at Ryan and saw how worried he looked.

Come on Ryan, the line is moving.

She wanted to get away from the girl, she gave her the creeps.

Before Ryan turned away the little girl looked over at him, nearly crying.

Don't go....
The

21: Scared

Micki only had a few more weeks left in her pregnancy. Somehow time had flown by at Curious Goods, it didn't even feel like the baby was about to come. In Micki's mind she was still trying to really grasp on what was going on. In less then a month she would be a mother.

That thought scared her to death.

Was she really ready for this? Would she be a good mother to her baby? How could she raise her little girl in a place like this? How would she explain latter on what happened to Ryan? All of these worries and thoughts sent panic attacks through Micki's body. She had no family support, other then her sister and JB visiting every once in awhile. Then there were a few of her friends, mostly old girlfriends from back when she was in school. But she knew the truth. Everyone was too busy with their own lifes to worry about her.

Even though she did have Jack and Johnny, and had no idea how she would of gotten through the last couple of months without them...they still weren't Ryan.

She went to church every day and prayed, other then that she spent alot of time in the store. Since her sixth month she had decided to take it easy on searching for the objects and left that up to Jack and Johnny. In total eight objects were brought back, so far without any struggle.

Still...the list of objects went on forever.

Micki felt guilty she couldn't help. But she didn't want to put her baby's life in danger. Now the throught of trying to take care of a newborn, and doing this began to worry her. She still felt so young. She in a way was cheated out of whatever life she could of had. Day dreaming of one day finding all the objects, she saw herself moving far away and being with Ryan. They would travel together and finally settle down in their own age...once they were ready.

But no, that wouldn't happen.

She was having this baby alone, while Ryan lived his life as a twelve year old boy.

Ryan's mother had writen a few times since everything happened. In these letters she updated on how well Ryan was doing and enjoying his childhood. Both letters had photos of Ryan now on the baseball team and playing in his backyard.

He looked so happy.

Even though she saw a young boy, her heart ached since this was the man she had always loved. This was the father of her child.

Micki asked Jack if Ryan's mother knew about the baby. Jack simply shook his head and told her that it was totaly up to her. After thinking it over Micki wrote Ryan's mother herself. The letter seemed to have taken all night to write. She told her that she was pregnant with a little girl and planned on raising it alone. The letter she got back a few weeks later had a stunned way about it, as if she had completely shocked her. Yet the letter still had words of comfort. She told Micki what she was doing was an amazing thing. That ever since Ryan lost Jimmy, he had talked about wanting a big family some day. She told her that she would love to visit and see her grandaughter, and that in a strange way maybe this was Ryan's way of making sure she was happy.

Micki knew it wasn't enough, and that Ryan would never really know about his daughter.

Still, in a way it made her feel better.

When the coin of Ziocles came back into their lifes, Micki was eight months. Here was really the first time she broke down.

That coin scared her. It was the object that had taken her life. Most of her memory was faded from what happened. All she knew was the second the coin hit the floor she felt darkness.

Where was heaven? The place she prayed. The thought of her faith not really being true scared her. This was the only reason she was getting through all this...praying that her baby would be taken into God's light.

Johnny had bent their trust and fooled around with it, trying to deal with his own mourning. Micki at first hated him...then knew if Ryan had really died, she would of done the same thing.

Still, she wished Ryan was with her. She thought she was really going to die.

The night before they did get the coin back, Micki had broken down. She cried to Jack about how badly she needed Ryan with her to protect her. There Jack sighed before getting up and walking out of the room for a moment. A second later he returned with a dusty looking small box. Handing it to Micki without looking her in the eye, she opened it and gasped.

It was the most beautiful ring she had ever seen.

The baby began to kick her.

Sitting there in the area where Ryan's bed used to be. In the place where they had first made love, she simply looked at the ring and knew.

Jack sat down and slowly began to talk.

He bought that only a few days after we got the ladder back, I never saw him so happy before in his life.

Micki felt tears coming as she kept looking at the ring.

He felt a little nervous and was scared he was rushing into things, before I left for my trip he told me he wanted to give it to you in France.

There Micki began to cry. This wasn't fair.

He didn't get a chance...

Micki hurt too much then, everything that had happened seemed like a waste.

Micki, you know how much Ryan loved you...but he would of wanted you to be strong, for you and your baby.

I just miss him so much...

She took in a deep breath and tried to control herself.

It's okay to feel this way, Ryan did.

Huh?

Micki looked up as tears ran down her face.

The night the coin had gotten you, I never saw that side of Ryan before. The moment we saw your body he seemed to have died himself. He wouldn't let go of you or let the police near you...he just kept crying and asking you to wake up.

But this time he isn't here to save me, you guys were lucky...he got a second chance to live his life, what if I die? What if this baby dies or is left alone?

Micki...that night we were lucky, but he took a chance since he loved you so much, it got so bad he nearly attacked me for leaving you.

Jack...

It's true, now you need to be strong.

Nodding, Micki wiped her tears before feeling her stomach.

It seemed funny that less then a year ago Ryan was holding her lifeless body. Now here she was...pregnant with his baby and all alone.

How was she going to do this...how?

22: They died for their faith

The entire plane ride over, Ryan sat silently beside her. It really wasn't a packed flight and Micki felt grateful that the little girl they had met wasn't in the same area as them. Trying to pass the time, Micki stared out the window for awhile and saw the clouds. Finally after looking through her purse for a few more times and flipping through an old book she brought, she gave up and decided to talk with him.

You okay?

Ryan looked over before shrugging.

Yeah fine...

Creepy with that little girl, must be awful to be that sick.

Yeah, seemed pretty scared when she touched me.

Oh Ryan, I'm sure she was just having a spell or something.

Yeah...let's just hope her faith can cure her in the village.

Micki slowly nodded, she too was bothered by those haunting words.

Don't go...

After a few more moments of silence, the seatbelt sign clicked off as Micki reached over and took Ryan's arm. Smiling she stared at him.

France, sounds very romantic.

Your traveling with a high class artist I hope you know.

Micki giggled before locking her hand with his, the size difference was pretty funny along with the tone of skin. Ryan looked down at her hand for awhile, smiling to himself before he brought it up to his lips and kissed her fingers.

Micki smiled as Ryan cleared his throat.

You know...even with all this stuff going on, like my mother...I feel happy, for really the first time in awhile.

Micki smiled before resting her head on his shoulder.

Me too Ryan...me too.
__________________________________________________________________________

Jack was in the hospital.

It had been an accident they said. Slowly walking into the hospital, hand in hand, Micki softly cried as they looked at their poor old friend laying in that bed.

He seemed so helpless.

What had happened to him?

They knew it had to be something, it just had to be.

Going to the inn where Jack had checked into, they found his room and entered it. Dropping down their bags they decided to stay here until Jack came around. An objects had to have been involved.

Micki eyed Jack's notebook and saw that he had planned on meeting with Sister Adelle. The same nun who claimed to have seen Jesus when she was just a child near the river bank in this very village.

There were also notes about Book of Lucifer, the devil's bible which contains six prophecies that if fulfilled will cause Satan to descend on the Earth. Asteroth proclaims, A new age of darkness begins. and pronounces the first four prophecies. The most blessed among them will be the first to feel his power. One shall speak of his coming, another shall prepare his path, and the last shall make way for his return.

Reading these notes sent chills down Micki's spine.

She hadn't ever heard of a book before.

They tried visiting the sister, but she was under protection from the church. Many strange things had been happening in this tiny village.

There Ryan and Micki decided to visit the river bank.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki had lost Ryan.

They had gone to the river bank where people were getting healed from all over. Crowds made it nearly unable to see. For a second Micki thought she had seen that little girl named Kris.

Then the winds began to blow...and that man stepped out with the book.

It was Asteroth.

He had pointed at Ryan. There they tried to chase him through the small cobble stoned roads of the village. Micki and Ryan had gotten split up, and so far she hadn't seen him.

Panic filled her as she rushed around, calling his name. It was going to be dark soon and the sky was growing gray. She had no idea what to do. Maybe she should go back to the inn and wait for him, or maybe at the hospital where Jack was.

She didn't know what to do, she only felt that Ryan was in trouble.

Finally, he walked out in the town square. Micki had nearly given up and was about to visit the local police when she saw him. Her heart racing she ran over taking his arm.

Ryan where were you? I've been looking all over for nearly an hour!

Ryan seemed dazed, his worn eyes looked out as she held his arm.

Something was wrong.

Ummm...I'm sorry...

His words muttered out, Micki noticed he was slightly bleeding near his head. Touching it with her fingertips she gasped.

Ryan!

Micki, he just hit me harder then I thought...really I'm okay.

Come on, let's go see Jack and try to figure this thing out.

She held him tighter as if he was going to run away. At that exact moment he stared at the church.

I must see the sister...

His voice was flat and dead sounding. Right away Micki began getting a very uneasy feeling. Holding his arm she slowly nodded.

We will...after we see Jack okay?

She was scared he was going to take off at that exact second. Slowly nodding he went with her.

That will be fine...
__________________________________________________________________________

The rest of the day slipped past them. Jack was still the same, and had no signs of changing. Nearly crying...Micki feared he might never snapped out of this. How could they do it alone? Jack was like a father to them.

Going back to the inn, both weren't hungry nor tired. Ryan seemed distant ever since they joined up again. He stood back while they were in the hospital, the entire time looking out the window at the church. He really wasn't talking, and somehow looked different.

Micki knew she needed to find out something.

Flipping through Jack's paperwork, Micki had no idea where to start.

Nothing says anything about a book!

Your wasting your time with that stuff...

Ryan was looking out the window at the church. Micki looked up.

Ryan?

I need to see the sister...

Ryan turned around and headed for the door, Micki jumped up.

Hey, they won't let just anyone in!

Ryan shot her a serious look before leaving.

I'm not just anyone.

Shutting the door behind him, Micki was left alone having no idea what to do.
__________________________________________________________________________

You are not his...you were born in God's love!

Ryan turned, his eyes wild looking as he grinned.

And you shall die in Satan's hate!

Sister Adelle screamed as the possessed Ryan ran towards her. Screaming she tried to hold up her wooden cross, but was knocked out on her bed. Right away his hands were around her neck as he strangled her. The sister tried her best to break away from his grip. His shirt open a little bit to show the mark of the beast. It was all happening so fast now.

This man had been taken over by something dark, something evil.

Slowly the last sister's moments turned to darkness.

The door slammed open as the priest and other sisters screamed. Ryan laughed before jumping up and leaving.

Canonize her, she's died for her faith!

With that he was gone.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan was someplace where the pain wouldn't end. His insides ached and throbbed as his darkness began to wash over him. He couldn't think straight, he felt sick. This wasn't how he felt when the witches used the ladder. This was different. He felt as if he was slipping away.

Why was this happening to him?

Don't go...

Jack wouldn't wake up, the only man who had been there for him. He loved Jack like a father and wished he would only open his eyes and fix everything. It had all fallen apart.

What had he done?

This wasn't him...he couldn't control it.

I killed the sister Jack, it's all over.

He sobbed for Jack to wake up...but the pain was coming again.

NO!

The nurses came in and screamed as Ryan jumped out the window. He couldn't harm Jack.

With that he jumped into the darkness of the night.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki was just about to phone Johnny, when the door opened.

It was Ryan.

He was soaking wet from the rain that had just fallen. His hair hung down in his pale face, and he looked as if he was in pain.

Ryan!

Micki jumped over and held his stiff body in the dim light of the room. Slowly he shut the door behind him as she nuzzled her face in his shirt.

What happened?

Ryan remembered the peaceful feeling he felt back when he was under the ladder's spell. How Micki had touched him and somehow the pain went away. Was it her power? Was it her love? Whatever it was, these awful thoughts seemed to go away for a second as the darkness broke.

He looked down at her.

She was like an angel.

Ryan...what's going on?

She began to cry as Ryan slowly raised his hands and touched her face. Both locked eyes as Ryan shook.

Your so beautiful...

Micki saw that he was crying. Before she could say another word he kissed her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Working their clothes off, Micki couldn't control herself. Ryan kept his eyes locked on her as he slid her onto the bed. Micki began to breath heavy as Ryan leaned in closer.

Ryan...what's wrong?

Slowly he kissed her hand as he did in the plane. He kissed each fingertip before looking up at her.

He loved this woman.

Micki...please don't hate me.

Ryan?

He laid her back on the bed before softly kissing her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki snapped her eyes shut. Her heart was beating and she felt as if she couldn't breath. Ryan laid ontop of her, his muscular chest pressed up against her thin body. Every part of him seemed to be hanging on by just strings. He looked like he was in so much pain.

Slowly his body moved on hers, easy at first and slowly working in. Micki laid there, her arms around him, her free hand brushing through his hair. He was inside her, slowly moving in and out.

I love you Micki...

He softly said.

Micki closed her eyes as Ryan gasped, it felt as if he was making love for the first time. Easing into it, he tried to find a pace before looking down at her.

He then knew what he was doing.

The last part of his light was her.

Their heartbeats so loud he couldn't hear.

Shutting his eyes again he felt her and nearly cried.
__________________________________________________________________________

As soon as he finished he slowly slid off her, pulling up his pants and working his belt. Micki glanced for a second and thought she saw cuts on his chest.

Her entire body felt numb.

She never felt this way before. Somehow it had been different.

He threw on his shirt before looking at her, slowly she saw his eyes flicker.

Ryan?

She could feel something inside her. Sitting up naked, she looked at her smooth body and began to nod off.

What was happening.

He went to her for a second, kissing her before touching his hand against her flat stomach.

Sleep...

With that she shut her eyes and slept, she was awoken a few hours later with Ryan gone and the police at her door.

That was the night her daughter was conceived.



23: Child of darkness, child of light

Micki sat up in the hospital bed. Johnny sat beside her holding her hands and slowly telling her to breath in and out.

Micki's water had broke nearly two hours ago.

Jack was in the lobby making a few calls, he had just been in to see Micki and seemed to bring her a great deal of comfort. Micki meanwhile was in alot of pain. She was sweating and softly crying to herself as the machines around her beeped. Her stomach was perfectly round now, and she kept crying that it hurt too much.

Ryan had been with her through this pregnancy, and wanted to make sure both Micki and the baby were fine.

Micki bend her head back crying. Father Lambert had been in about an hour ago, he prayed with Micki while Johnny watched and wished her the best. Now all he could do was pray to himself that everything was going to be all right.

I don't think I'm ready for this...

Micki cried.

Johnny touched her arm.

You'll be fine...come on.

I wish Ryan was here...

She cried before lowering her head. Another contraction had come up and it was a big one. Johnny held her hand and knew he wouldn't ever live up to how Ryan was. But he loved this baby, and wanted to see it born right.

It's okay Micki...breath...
__________________________________________________________________________

From the pain, Micki's mind kept drifting in and out. Certian memories that would stay with her forever kept coming back.

All of those times, beside Ryan.

It was just the two of them.

So many moments in which they were so close...but didn't go through. The time she had with him was too short. All she had now was memories...

And his baby.

Crying, she tried to breath in and out before the doctor came in. Eyeing the charts he checked and saw Micki was bleeding. They would have to do a C-second for the baby's safety. Johnny tried to be a calm one, but he knew that meant bad news.

Micki nodded, but the doctor still seemed very worried from the heavy flow of bleeding. The nurses then came in and began getting to ready to wheel out. Johnny quicky ran to Jack and told him the news.

It's up to God then...

Jack said before patting Johnny on the shoulder, moments later he was in the OR with her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki laid on the table as the nurses and doctors worked. The baby's heart beat was dropping too much, so they quicky worked as Micki stared off into space. Her hair was bunched under a hairnet. Her eyes like crystals from the tears. Johnny stood up holding her hand, while watching the doctors work.

They opened up Micki and there had been alot of blood.

Finally they found a bloodclot, slowly they worked on and finally took out the baby.

It looked so small as they brought it out. Johnny couldn't believe this was it. Micki couldn't see but eyed Johnny.

The baby looked blue. Lifting it up they cut the cord and took it away to the other side of the room. Johnny watched along with Micki as three nurses began moving down on the baby's chest with their fingers.

Soon an airbag was placed on the baby's face and started to get pumped.

It wasn't breathing.

Take her upstairs stat, we need to conrtol the bleeding here!

The doctor and another nurse worked on closing up Micki. Johnny on the other hand just stood there in shock. Was the baby dead?

They baby began getting wheeled out, turning around he looked down at Micki.

She waved him on.

Go with the baby...

Micki...

Go!

Johnny nodded before leaving, there Micki laid crying to herself.

She knew her daughter was dead...she knew it.

24: All I have left

A few hours later, Johnny still in his scrubs walked into Micki's hospital room. She was laying down and resting. Jack sat beside her, his glasses on and softly reading to her.

Right away they looked up. Micki's eyes seemed serious.

She's dead isn't she?

Johnny slowly shook his head.

They got her breathing...they need to watch her vital signs, but they said she's going to be okay.

Micki just laid there for a second before glancing at Jack, there she began to cry. Jack reached over and took her hand as Johnny walked over.

I thought I could handle it if she died, but I knew the second they took her out of me that she's all I have left of Ryan...

Shhhh Micki, it's all right.

Yeah, she's fine...I saw her myself. They said once your rested you can go downstairs and see her.

Micki looked up at Johnny and wiped one of her tears away.

Is she really okay?

Johnny nodded.

She's fine Micki.

Micki glanced at the two men before laying her head back now.

I wanna see her right away.

We'll talk to the doctors, you need to rest.

Micki smiled to herself before shaking her head, still half crying she sighed.

I knew God would protect my baby...I knew it.

Johnny went over and took Micki's hand.

And we're here for you.

That's right.

Jack smiled.

Just then Micki glanced up at Johnny.

I thought of a name.

Yeah?

Ryanna.

With that all three of them smiled.

25: Pray for me

Micki raced through the cemetery as thunder sounded around her. Her boots going through the tall mill grass, she nearly tripped over a few crumbling tombstones before Johnny took her hand. Jack was ahead of them, never before had Micki seen him have so much energy.

Her heart racing she prayed they weren't too late.

Ryan couldn't of done those things, he just couldn't. Thinking back to this morning, Micki was woken up by the police at her door...informing her that Ryan had murdered the sister and nearly attacked Jack. No, not Ryan...it couldn't be. Knowing something was wrong, she called Johnny the secon she was taken to the police station.

She was scared. They asked so many questions and she didn't know. Ryan was somewhere out there, doing God knows what. Finally when Johnny arrived they decided to go look for him. By then the funeral for the sister was taking place. Thousands of people by candle light walked up and down the cobble stoned streets towards the river bank. That's where they ran into Jack.

He explained that Ryan was somehow possessed by Asteroth. Who was using this book to bring Lucifer back to earth through a child.

Kris...

The little girl, seconds later they found her father dying in the street.

Ryan had taken her.

Micki kept shaking her head. The Ryan she knew would never do this. It had to be some mistake. Last night something had happened. He was so tender, so loving...

Where was he?

Finally they reached the tomb.
__________________________________________________________________________

RYAN!

Micki nearly stumbled down the old stone stairs along side Jack and Johnny.

Asteroth had the book as lighting flashed around them. The dagger was being raised as Kris laid on the stone table, shaking with fear.

Ryan held her down.

Micki nearly screamed when she saw him.

It wasn't Ryan...it was something evil.

The dangger was about to come down when...

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ryan threw himself in the way, Micki screamed out loud as she fell against Johnny. The bone dagger plunged deep inside his back.

There was silence.

Ryan then slowly lifted his head, and for a split second Micki saw the real Ryan. Full of pain and dying. He glanced down at Kris before dropping to the ground.

Pray for me...

With that he fell.
__________________________________________________________________________

I have a cousin named Micki, she had red hair too.

Micki held the little boy softly crying as she glanced up at Johnny and Jack. It was really all over.
__________________________________________________________________________

Jack spoke with Ryan's mother at the airport. She was stunned and could hardly talk. Johnny meanwhile took Micki away to have some coffee.

She barley talked, just sat there looking off into space.

This had really happened.

Part of her was so thankful that Ryan was alive, and that somehow...God gave him a second chance. No memory of death or pain, or this awful store. Still...the man she loved was now a boy, and she was all alone. Her heart hurt too much to cry, she was still trying to get over the shock.

Jack came back a little while later, they walked to the car and drove home.

Somehow it wasn't the same.

The store felt empty, depressing. As if waiting for Ryan to come running down the stairs with his walkman on. Or fooling around near the counter. Micki hurt inside as she walked through...really not knowing what to do next.

Jack asked her if she wanted to stay.

Her answer was yes...she had to finish this.

Once she walked upstairs, she stared at Ryan's bed and softly began to cry.
__________________________________________________________________________

She didn't sleep for awhile, she stayed in bed crying. He was really gone.

The next day through, she got up and tried her hardest to shield her feelings. She played along with that Jack said about it really being for the best. She boxed up his things, his clothes, his comics, his old artwork and stuffed them up in the attic.

Everything up his Illinois State shirt. She needed at least one thing. Stuffing it in her dresser, she held it up against her for a moment before putting it away.

It still smelled like him. Softly crying she tried to be strong and decided what she needed to think about were the objects.

Jack knew she was hurting, but just didn't know how to help her.

So she went on like that for nearly a month. Chasing objects with Johnny...and feeling all alone.

26: You could be anything you wanted...

The Temptations, The Way You Do the Things You Do played on Micki's radio one warm summer morning at the store. Dressed in jeans and a white blouse she slowly danced smiling before turning towards the highchair where Ryanna sat up.

It was nearly a year later.

Ryanna giggled and somewhat waved her tiny little hands as Micki danced and brought over her bottle. Leaning over Micki laughed and tickled her daughter before making sure she was fine before going over to the stove and fixing up some tea.

The past year had been rough, but lately things seemed to be getting better.

The delivery was the worst part. Ryanna stayed in the hospital an extra few days as the doctors watched her. Micki for the most part was a complete wreck and kept waitng for them to come in and tell her that she died. Finally she was released and Micki felt terrified. The thought of having to take care of this helpless little thing was scary. She was still recovering from the C-section and jumped whenever the baby cried.

Jack and Johnny were there though.

It took awhile to get used to have little too no sleep. It seemed like every hour she was hungry or needed to be changed. Micki even cut her hair to a shorter length simply because she couldn't spend any extra time besides being with the baby.

She lost sleep, she cried, she often just walked back and forth trying to get her to calm down. She got thrown up on, worried about the late night fevers, always had panic attacks, and seemed to fuss over the baby whenever she was sleeping and didn't move.

Johnny told her she was making herself up to be a wreck. But Micki didn't care, she loved her baby and always needed to know she was okay. There was lots of support from the guys and Johnny took to Ryanna like an uncle. Soon Micki began to see that she had him wrapped around her little finger.

Micki helped in getting three objects in total back with the vault. Johnny and Jack on the other hand had a higher score of nine. The objects began getting harder to track down and began to worry them in if they would ever get them all back. Micki decided for the first year she wouldn't really be worried about that. She needed to be with the baby, and every moment she was.

It had been hard, she was pretty emotional at first and sent Ryan's mother a photograph of the baby. The update was that Ryan was doing well and just turned thirteen. This depressed Micki...Ryanna would really never know who her father was.

Now that she had turned one, Micki began to trust baby sitters and started to relax. She was sleeping through half of the night and didn't seem as fussy. Micki enjoyed dressing up Ryanna in different clothes and dresses. She thought of her as a live doll and loved it whenever someone commented on how cute and well dressed her baby always was.

Micki knew she was trying her hardest and being the best mother she could be. She took the baby to church a few times and knew that nothing was wrong with her. She was a perfect baby in every day. In fact she had Ryan's eyes.

Time was flying and she seemed to keep getting bigger. Micki loved being a mother and looked forward no matter what towards any future with her.

Even if she was alone.

Smiling she glanced over at Ryanna having her bottle before sitting down and watching her.

She was perfect...just like her father.

27: Just another day

Theres life underground

I feel it all around, I feel it in my bones
My life is on the line when Im away from home
When I step out the door the jungle is alive
I do not trust my ears I dont believe my eyes
I will not fall in love I cannot risk the bet
Cause hearts are fragile toys so easy to forget

Its just another day theres murder in the air
It drags me when I walk I smell it everywhere
Its just another day where people cling to light
To drive away the fear that comes with every night
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki was woken by the sound of Ryanna crying in her crib at the foot of her bed. Right away as if it was second nature she blinked away the sleep and right away went to her. Leaning down she picked the baby up and tried her best to sooth her.

Shhhh, it's all right honey.

Micki walked with her out to the dark kitchen to feed her to rest of her bottle. Just then she ran into Johnny.

Jesus!

Hey sorry.

Micki glanced over to the clock.

It's one in the morning...what are you doing?

I just got in...

Johnny walked over to the small sitting area that used to serve as Ryan's bed and pulled off his leather jacket. Micki meanwhile held the baby while getting the bottle off the stove.

Found out more about that ax that was used in the Amityville house, the guy from the dealer shop had a few drinks with me.

And?

And it's now located at some cabin, a friend of a friend now owns it.

That must explain all of those missing persons around that area.

Bingo.

Micki walked over to the table and sat down with Ryanna in her arms, sighing she began to feed her.

How's she doing?

Fine, had a little bit of a fever this morning...seemed to have gone away.

She's getting big.

Micki laughed looking at her, she looked as if she was all ready falling asleep again.

Yeah, she's cute chubby.

Johnny laughed before sighing.

I guess I'll go up there this weekend, see if I can get it back.

Count me in too, Jack is gonna watch Ryanna.

Johnny nodded before looking at Micki in a more serious matter.

Hey Micki...

Micki glanced up.

I know we've talked about this, and I know you said...

Micki smiled, she knew what was coming next. Looking down at Ryanna she sighed. All ready a year had past, and now here she was...a mother.

Johnny, you know I'll always care for you deeply, and never forget what you did for us...

But Micki, there could be a chance...

Micki shook her head.

We tried, it just didn't work...let's not ruin anything okay?

Johnny slowly nodded.

All right.

The first couple of months after Ryanna was born, Micki and Johnny had taken a few stabs at starting a relationship. Somehow the spark just wasn't there and they both knew the reasons why they tried in the first place. Somehow taking care of Ryanna and getting the objects back was all that was left to do. Micki wanted to raise her daughter in a good lifestyle, and never let her know about the dangers they all fought with.

Time was going by fast, and Micki really hadn't heard from Ryan's mother. Most likely after she heard about the baby she decided to break contact. She knew in time there would be a day that Micki would break down and wanna see him. Now raising her daughter with Johnny and Jack she felt depressed. Within time it would get better.

Maybe...

She just tried to get through the days. She had gone through the pregnancy, and then raising Ryanna this year...trying the best she could. There were times in which she felt hopeless. Times in which she would hold the crying baby and wish for another life.

But this was Ryan's daughter and she wanted to someday live a normal life. This pain and empty feeling that floated all around them had to end someday.

Time would tell, that was all.

28: Go away

Micki laid on the couch downstairs, sighing she felt depressed. Tim was dead. Thinking back to their few years together they seemed happy enough. She had loved him more then Lloyd, and seemed more real and down to earth. Yet another a person she scared for had gotten involved. When was it going to stop? It seemed like everywhere she went there was a cursed object.

Ryan came over, looking handsome in his one nice suit. Sitting down he touched her arm.

It's in the vault...can I get you anything, maybe some hot tea?

Micki smiled before shaking her head. Most of the time Ryan got on her nerves. But lately she had been there for her, and scared when she hurt deep inside.

I guess Tim really was one of the good guys huh?

Micki glanced up at him raising an eyebrow.

I thought you didn't like him?

Ryan shrugged.

No I liked him, it just was...

What?

Ryan sighed.

Okay, okay...I was jealous, he was too much competition...too slick.

Micki made herself stop from giggling before sighing. She knew Ryan had a crush on her, and somehow at this very moment it made her feel good.

Micki eyed Ryan, he was very handsome.

You look good to me.

Ryan smiled before Micki sat up a little, both laughed before Micki raised her hand and placed it on the back of Ryan's head. Slowly she brought him closer as their lips touched. Ryan smiled through the kiss before finally Micki broke free and looked straight into his eyes. Ryan smiled back and kissed her again.

Stopping for a moment Ryan grinned before patting her on the side.

Come on, I'll treat you to some air hockey downtown.

Micki rolled her eyes as he stood up.

Don't you think your a little overdressed?

Ryan looked down at his suit before eyeing her robe.

Aren't you underdressed?

Micki began cracking up as Ryan let out his hand and she took it.
__________________________________________________________________________

Curious Goods, how may I help you?

Johnny stood behind the counter with the phone leaning on his shoulder. Micki meanwhile grabbed her sunglasses and checked her bag to see if she had everything.

Ryanna slowly ran behind her, her tiny legs pumping.

She was two now.

Dressed in a little jumper, with her hair in pigtails she giggled as she chased after her mother's legs. Johnny finished his phone call before hanging up.

Jack was away trying to recover a set of keys used during a tragic stage fire in the city. Micki noticed this past year had been hard for him. He seemed older now, and even though he loved Ryanna like she was his own grandchild...he seemed depressed.

Everyone seemed that way ever since Ryan was gone, even Johnny.

But Ryanna helped.

Hey baby!

Johnny kneeled down and began to chase after Ryanna as she giggled and ran to Micki's legs, wrapping her arms around them. Micki smiled before leaning down and picking her up.

We'll be back, you okay?

Johnny nodded before walking over and kissing Ryanna's cheek.
__________________________________________________________________________

During the drive there, Ryanna sat in her car-seat and tried to make out a few words she was mushing together. Micki eyed her in the rearview mirror and sighed.

She had gone to this park a few times, mostly during the pregnancy.

She had never brought Ryanna.

Feeling half guilty her heart jumped a bit as she turned onto the highway.
__________________________________________________________________________

There he was.

A tall fourteen year old. Slim with the shame shade of hair that Ryanna had. He wore a soccer uniform and laughed with his other friends as they kicked the ball around.

Micki watched from a distance with Ryanna on her lap. It was a beautiful sunny day, and somehow watching him made Micki want to hold her daughter closer.

What are you doing here?

Micki froze before slowly looking up. Elizabeth...Ryan's mother stood there.

She looked older and not very happy. Micki stared up at her before holding onto Ryanna for dear life.

Elizabeth...

She eyed the baby before looking out at the field.

I thought Jack told you we would only write...

I haven't heard from you so...

So you what?

Micki looked up at her, she really didn't know what to say.

Whatever happened to my boy is over, he's with me now...I didn't think the baby was a good idea, but I gave you my blessing.

What's the big deal, I mean...

No, it is a big deal, your only going to confuse and scare him.

Please try to understand...

It was your choice to have the baby, not his...he's just a child, please just go.

But...

Just go!

She raised her voice enough for people to stare, slowly Micki gathered up her things while holding onto the baby.

Go to hell...

She snapped at her before walking away. She hated Ryan's mother at this very moment. She left him behind yet still got to have him. It wasn't fair.

Walking away with a heavy heart she held her daughter.

Ryan meanwhile paused for a second while playing, his mother was talking with a lady he had seen before.

Ryan come on!

One of his friends called.

With that Ryan turned around and kept playing.

29: Remember

Ryanna I want you to go upstairs, brush your teeth and go to bed!

Micki called from downstairs, she was just walking back from flipping the closed sign over the door. Picking up a box of old newspapers, she quickly went behind the counter to put them away and begin turning off the lights. Before heading up she glanced at herself in the small mirror that needed a good dusting.

She was nearly forty, in fact in just a few months she would be. That thought didn't scare her, but left a feeling of unease. Thinking for just a brief moment...Ryan would of just been thirty-seven. Sighing she felt her heart slightly jump before walking up the old creaking wood stairs.
__________________________________________________________________________

Once Micki reached upstairs, she found Jack in his easy chair reading one of his latest books and drinking some tea. Spread out on the floor was Ryanna. She was wearing jeans and her old faded painting shirt that Micki made her wear whenever she wanted to work on her "art projects" her brown hair was tied up in two pigtails as she moved her head up and down to the set of headphones Micki now regretted in buying her. Only nine years old and she all ready had her head in the clouds. Music and drawing, that were her two biggest passions. From the time she started school, art was her favorite subject. Micki couldn't even remember on how much money she spent on art supplies. Ryanna loved it all, painting, sketching, drawing. She even covered the back of her school notebooks with little drawings made by her pen.

She was a day dreaming, always laughing and joking. Running outside and flying down the street on her bike. She loved going everywhere, always with such life inside her. Micki had raised her daughter to be a sweet little girl, but still there was that childish playful manner she got from her father. At first Micki thought of sending her to prep school, she had the extra money around the time Ryanna was seven or so and even tought it over with Jack and Johnny.

But they said what she knew was right...let Ryanna be a kid, let her just have fun. And as much as Micki fought her to have manners, wear dresses, andprehaphs ride horses as she did as a girl...it didn't work. She rather run outside for hours, being her tomboy self. Laughing and joking, blasting her music, drawing anything that she could get her hands on. She was different, but still a joy to be around with.

Micki was proud of herself, the past nine years had been tough. It was hard raising a baby while doing this job. Even a few times Micki nearly backed out in fear of laying her little girl all alone. But with help from Johnny and Jack...she got through it. Time past and so didn't the pain a little bit. More objects were found, and more were placed in the darkness of the vault.

Finally from what the manifest said, they recovered nearly all the objects. Other ones they looked into, either sold from great distance, or no further leads. After years of searching...Jack decided to let it go. Fate was telling them to just let it go. It was really all over, even if all the objects weren't recovered. Uncle Lewis failed. Micki went on and lived.

The last object they recovered was nearly a year ago, Ryanna still unknown to the life that her mother lead. The vault was always sealed up and somehow Ryanna never asked out it. She was safe, and that's all Micki could want.

It really seemed like it was over.

Time at the store had never been the same, but still they were there. Living, and keeping guard.

Micki glanced down at all the papers spread about, Ryanna was finishing her latest sketch.

Ryanna?

Looking up, Ryanna pulled down her headphones and looked at her mother smiling.

Like them?

Shaking her head Micki pointed to the papers.

I want you to clean these up and do as I said, brush your teeth and go to bed.

Awwww mom!

Ryanna...

Rolling her eyes she began to pick up her papers, Jack smiled over his book and winked at Micki.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryanna was crawling into bed as Micki made sure the window was closed tight. It was nearly Christmas and they had been getting a good amount of snow.

Thought about what you want for Christmas yet?

Micki asked before turning around. Ryanna shrugged before slipping under her covers.

Naw, haven't really thought about it yet.

Micki glanced at her daughter's desk and saw her latest drawings, she faintly smiled.

You know...your getting pretty good at this stuff.

Ryanna smiled before Micki leaned over and kissed her forehead.

Night honey...

Did Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lisa call today while I was at school?

Micki shook her head.

No honey, their still on their honeymoon...they said they would call as soon as they came back so you could visit.

Yeah, I like their dog...it's cool.

Smiling Micki clicked off the light.

Night honey.

Night mom.
__________________________________________________________________________

Setting down finally, Micki glanced over at Jack and smiled.

How you feeling?

Jack placed his book down and lowered his glasses.

As good as anyone could be, I'm getting old my dear.

Tell me about it...

Jack glanced around at their warm little kitchen. The light was dim and peaceful. Outside it had started snowing.

Well Micki, we have been keeping guard for some time now, and from what I can tell...we won.

I hope so.

Micki often worried what would happen once Jack was gone. It would just be Ryanna and her. Would she ever tell her about the vault...or her father? No...she couldn't.

Life was moving on, but somehow she felt like she couldn't. Johnny was married now and happy, living a few towns away. Jack was trying to relax in his old age, and Micki...

Well Micki was raising her daughter.

She still knew that God had helped her. The child wasn't born in darkness, she grew up to be a beauitful young little girl. And that's all that mattered to her. Sitting back she sighed.
__________________________________________________________________________

Later that night, Micki went to bed. Jack stayed up finishing his book. Watching the snow drift from the window, he nearly jumped when the phone beside him rang. Picking it, trying not to wake the girls he heard an old voice he never thought he would hear again.

Elizabeth?

Jack shot up in his chair as he heard the voice.

Jack...is that you?

Elizabeth, my God...it's been years...

HOW DOES HE REMEMBER?

Jack sat up, holding the phone close to him.

What?

He's been having these dreams, these dreams of you all...and what happened. You told me he wouldn't...but he remembers!

Jack couldn't speak at all, he just simply sat there...not knowing what to do.

30: Found eachother

Jack didn't bother waking Micki. The second he hung up the phone he grabbed his coat and hurried down the stairs to the car. It was nearly midnight, but he rushed as fast as he could. His legs and bones aching, he cursed himself for getting so old.

Getting behind the wheel he began to drive.

How could this have happened? How could he have remembered?

Elizabeth said it slowly began to happen once Ryan was a teenager. She said everything was going fine before he began having dreams. Dreams of a woman with red hair, and an older man. Dreams of a store...named Curious Goods. Finally the dreams turned to nightmares. Dreams of Satan, dreams of objects that killed people, dreams of dying.

He asked so many questions, and finally it all came to him. Elizabeth tried to explain, but it seemed so blurred. Jack asked if he remembered everything, but she said no. But lately he began looking up on Curious Goods, and all the newspaper clipping that involved so many deaths. His last visit to his mother informed her that he wanted to visit this store and find out where these dreams were coming from.

Speeding down the dark highway he knew he had to put a stop to this.
__________________________________________________________________________

Elizabeth was waiting on the front porch of her little well kept home. She was about his age now and looked very old under her shall. Letting him in she offered some tea and started to talk before he could even get a word it.

Ryan was living in the city now, he gone to the University and finally got his commercial art degree. He was working now on getting his second art degree. He was happy and well adjusted, the same old Ryan...but with more life. Elizabeth explained to Jack that she enjoyed her son, and was so greatful to have gotten a second chance. She didn't full ever understand what had happened, but it was magic.

Now he was remembering and getting too close, it was dangerous.

Jack simply shook his head.

Maybe was remembering, what could they do?

Elizabeth was angry as she stood up, hands on her hips.

It will confuse him...do you understand how much that is for him to take in!

But it's the truth...

No, he shouldn't remember that awful life.

He has a daughter...

I don't have to hear it, your worse then everyone else...stay away from my son!

Shaking his head Jack got up and took his coat.

You didn't deserve having him...you really didn't.

With that he left her.
__________________________________________________________________________

MICKI NO, NO! SHE CAN'T BE DEAD, SHE CAN'T BE!

Ryan held her body sobbing.

Please wake up...please. Kissing her forehead he brushed her hair slowly and held her body on the wet pavement.

Son...maybe we should...

DON'T TOUCH HER! LEAVE HER ALONE!

He snapped holding her. Micki couldn't be dead, she couldn't be.

Jack leaned down, softly touching his shoulder as he kept crying to her to wake up.

I'M NOT LEAVING HER!

LOOK AT ME!

Ryan glanced up, his eyes big as tears spilled from them.

We can't do help her here.

Ryan kissed her forehead again and held her like a tiny doll.

Slowly letting her down he was barley able to get on his own two feet. Jack helped him as his legs nearly buckled out. The police and small crowd that had gathered watched.

Ryan was shaking badly.

No...no...

He struggled to turn around, maybe the paramedics were wrong. Maybe she was still alive. Trying to fight, Jack held Ryan's waist and shoulder.

Come on!

He fought to bring him to the car, the keys were under the dash as always. Shutting his door, Jack started the car up and drove away from the crime scene...and from Micki.

Ryan then broke down, his head lowered as he cried out. Jack watched him as they drove.

It was really all over...
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryan shot up from the dream.

Micki?

Just then Regan's hands were on him. Taking a second to focus on where he was, he looked some at his small apartment. It was late out and he could hardly see anything.

Regan was laying beside him, wearing one of his sport jerseys. Sitting up a little she brushed back her long black hair.

You okay babe?

She asked in a half awake voice.

Ryan sat there breathing in and out, slowly shaking his head he pulled away from her touch.

Yeah...fine...

He muttered before switching on a light near his desk. Squinting, Regan glanced at the clock before rolling her eyes.

It's one in the morning!

Ryan looked at all the clutter of his apartment. His art work was piled everywhere. Sketches and boxes upon boxes of stuff. Looking down at his desk he slid away files and papers before looking at the clippings he had saved.

Baby you have class in the morning...come back to bed.

Ryan stared at the clippings, somehow it all seemed to fit together. Breathing hard he slowly remembred.

Micki?

The woman he had dreamed of.

Micki?

His eyes grew wide.

Micki?

He softly said out loud.

What?

Regan asked.

Before she could say anything Ryan looked over at her.

Sorry...guess I'm under stress.

Well you do have your projects due, come on back...keep me warm.

She smiled at him before he looked at the clippings again. The address was right there. He knew he wouldn't be going to class in the morning.

Curious Goods...

Shaking his head he switched off the light.

Micki...

He thought to himself again.

31: It can't be...

Mom?

Micki turned around and looked at Ryanna chewing on her last pancake.

Yeah?

Where's Jack?

Micki looked at the clock. It was still early and she had to get Ryanna on the bus soon. She knew Jack took early morning drives, most of all when he had things to do. For a man his age, he got around just fine.

I bet he's just picking some stuff up from the store, hurry up now and get your coat there's snow outside.

Glancing at the phone Micki smiled to see that Preston had left another message. Preston was a guy she met a few months ago while having dinner with some girlfriends in the city. He was a film teacher and lived in a pretty nice loft. He was a few years older then her and somehow had a flare that reminded her of Ryan. He was charming, and got along with Ryanna just fine. Sighing and balling up the paper, she knew things wouldn't work out. Even though they were getting along just fine, most of the time she screwed it up. Dating hadn't been easy, one failed relationship after another after another. Nobody matched up to Ryan.

Ryanna only knew that her father's name was Ryan. He co-owned the store with his mother before she was born, and died in France from a heart attack. Ryanna didn't ask alot about him, but seemed happy whenever anyone told her she was just like him. She seemed interested in his old art work, and took interest in his comic books for awhile last year. Few photos were shown to her, and that was that.

Somehow Micki knew she wouldn't ever be involved with another man again.
__________________________________________________________________________

Waving to Ryanna as she got on the bus, Micki shut the door quickly to not let in a draft. Flipping the open sign she decided to catch up on some cleaning while messing around the store.

An hour later the bell of the door rang. Glancing up, Micki had been sitting behind the counter.

She froze.

Dropping the box she had been looking through, she just stared.

Was this a dream?

Ryan stood there, looking just as he did when she last saw him. He wore jeans and a heavy black coat. He looked just as she remembered. Every inch of him.

Ryan?

She softly said.

He walked slowly up the steps before locking eyes with Ryan.

Micki?

Micki then fell backwards and past out cold.
__________________________________________________________________________

Are you okay?

Micki muttered as she kept hearing Ryan's voice. Opening her eyes her vision cleared before seeing him.

Was she dead?

Ryan?

His hand went on and softly touched her face.

She was laying on the couch, as he sat beside her.

Are you okay? You hit the floor real hard.

His fingers touched her skin again. Micki just laid there speechless.

Am I dead?

Ryan grinned, the same grin that used to drive her crazy.

No...I think your very much alive.

Micki's eyes filled with tears as she shook, this wasn't happening. It couldn't be real.

You came back to me...

She softly said.

I know you...

Ryan?

Your Micki right...

Oh Ryan!

Micki shot up and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, pulling him down and putting his face into his shoulder.

Ryan held her back as she began to cry, her entire body shook as she kept crying.

She knew she was dreaming and would wake up at any second.

Please let this last...

She said to herself.

Just then Jack walked in, freezing he saw Ryan holding Micki.

Ryan, looking just as he did...all these years later.

Oh my God...
__________________________________________________________________________

The moment Ryan locked eyes with Jack from across the store, everything somehow fell into place.

Micki, Jack, the store, the objects, Uncle Lewis...

He remembered what happened, when he was taken away. The flashes of pain and darkness.

"Pray for me..."

Ryan fell backwards as if a force hit up, his nose gushed blood as Micki screamed. Jack ran over, nearly tripping over something as Ryan laid there almost in a dazed state.

RYAN!

He remembered.

He remembered all of it.

Micki and Jack went to him.

Ryan are you all right?

Ryan stared up at the faced of those who he hadn't seen in so long. The faces of those he saw before he dropped down dead. The ones he had been dreaming of all these years.

He remembered everything.

MICKI!

He grabbed her, holding her as tight as he could. She looked a little different, but she was still his Micki. Holding her as he did with her dead body so many years ago, he wouldn't let go.
__________________________________________________________________________

Nine years...

Ryan slowly walked into the darkness of the vault. Taking deep breaths he looked around at all of the objects. They sat there looking as if they were watching him.

Standing there he was overcome by so much emotional. The devil caused all of this to happen, and took him away from those he loved. He had killed people...

The thought sent chills down his spine.

But still he was given a second chance, but why?

He had been away for so long, so much wasted time. Why, why did this happen?

Slowly shaking he hated himself, why couldn't he have just forgot it all. The pain right now he was feeling hurt too much. Turning around he looked at Micki and Jack.

Nine years?

They slowly nodded.

The...the objects?

Most of all, it's pretty much over Ryan.

Ryan stared at them before having flashes of those he killed. the awful pain that went through him as he was taken away. Why? Falling to his knees he cried out as they went to him.

He sobbed against Micki.

I'm so sorry!

Holding him she cried.

It's all right...

Nine years...

Your back with me...
__________________________________________________________________________

Jack had finally finished the story of what had happened. Micki noticed he didn't say one word of the pregnancy nor their daughter they shared.

Ryanna.

Micki thought with sudden panic. What was she going to say, how would she explain?

Ryan sat on the couch, holding into Micki's hand for dear life. Jack sat across from them and finally fell silent. It was alot to take in...for nine whole years.

Ryan lowered his head.

I killed people...

Ryan that wasn't you, it was something else, the same thing that took you away from us and the same thing that made all of this happen, you have to understand.

Ryan looked up, his eyes old and scared looking.

Nine years...

How could he have let this happen.

Why did I remember?

Jack sighed.

Maybe because you felt a need to be here, maybe it was a sign.

Ryan glanced at Micki before she faintly smiled.

Shocked to see I'm an old lady now...

Oh Micki...

He held her hand tighter.

Micki touched his face, before slightly crying.

You stayed here and keep going...God...

He nuzzled into her before glancing at Jack.

Ryan, you do have your whole life ahead of you...I heard from your mother you have alot of good things going for you and...

Ryan shook his head.

No.

What?

My mother wouldn't tell me...

Ryan she was only looking out for you.

Ryan shook his head.

No, I need to be here...this is my home.

But Ryan...

Ryan shook his head.

No....

Just then the door opened.

Mom I'm home!

Micki and Jack turned around as Ryanna ran inside, her bookcase tugging by one hand. Ryan slowly turned around and watched the little girl run over.

Mom I got an A in my art project and...

She stopped short looking at Ryan.

Ryan just looked at her, right away Micki and Jack had no idea what to say.

Mom...

Go upstairs honey.

But Mom...

UPSTAIRS!

Ryanna jumped before heading up the stairs. Micki took a second to breath as Ryan looked at her.

Your a mother?

Micki couldn't find the words, she glanced at Jack before Ryan opened his mouth to speak. No words came out as he sat there.

No....

He looked over at Micki as she took his hand again.

She's nine...her name is Ryanna.

Ryanna?

Micki slowly nodded.

Ryan glanced at Jack, but there was no help there.

But...

Ryan...she's yours.

Ryan just sat there, his eyes on the verge of tears. Finaly he looked back at Micki.

But how?

It happened that night before it happened, Ryan she doesn't know...

She's...she's...

He couldn't find the words, struggling he fought tears. It finally hit him on how long he really had been away.

It's okay Ryan...you didn't do anything wrong you know that right?

NO! Ryan snapped away.

I left you alone!

Micki held him as he shook and cried, Jack slowly leaned over and patted his shoulder.

Ryan, your a good person...that's the reason your still alive, and maybe why you remembered.

Ryan gazed upstairs before looking at Micki.

She's...

She's perfect, she's just like you...go on up and talk to her, she's friendly.

Ryan looked scared.

It's okay, she doesn't know you.

But...

Died, she couldn't know the truth.

Ryan gazed up before looking over at Micki.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryanna was sitting on her bed sketching when Ryan lightly knocked on the doorway to her bedroom. Things had been moved around and changed upstairs, in fact he had no idea it was the same place.

Micki and Jack sat in the kitchen, Jack held her hand to keep her still.

Ryanna glanced up with a big smile, Ryan was taken back. She really did look just like him.

How couldn't he have known? How could he have lived these years as a carefree teenager There Micki was, having their baby, raising her, and still staying at the store. All the danger she faced alone. How could he have left her and let her see those awful things.

Was this little girl really his daughter?

He had alot to take in, but this made everything seem to stand still.

She smiled up at him.

Taking in a quick breath he let out a nervous laugh before walking forward.

Hey...

Hi....

What's your name?

Ryanna, what's yours?

Micki had told him she hadn't seen many photos of him, most of them old. Ryan hoped she wouldn't know.

Ummm...Ryan, I'm a friend of your mother.

Ryan, like my name...that was the name of my father.

Ryan thought she would know, standing there waiting for it Ryanna simply smiled before holding up her drawing.

You like to draw?

Ryan slowly walked over.

Yeah...in fact I go to school for art.

Really? That's so cool...I love drawing.

Ryan leaned down and looked at the paper spread across the bed.

Wow...your really good.

Ryanna smiled.

Thanks...

Ryan then sat on the edge of her bed and began to talk with her. Picking up her papers and holding it up. There Ryanna went on and on about her sketches and asked Ryan questions if he liked art school. Smiling, for a moment Ryan seemed to forget everything. He laughed with her as they looked over the artwork.

Micki and Jack watched from outside the door.

What am I going to tell her Jack?

Jack held her shoulder and smiled.

Ryan was back.


32: The new life

Ryanna was fast asleep before eight. Ryan stood in the doorway of her bedroom and just watched her, not saying a word. Micki had made up some big lie that Ryan was a distant memember of Ryanna's father. Micki had known him and he was staying in the city for awhile. Ryanna liked Ryan and spent nearly two hours straight talking about drawing and watching in amazement as Ryan showed her different tricks. Jack and Micki mostly stayed silent and watched them. Ryan never looked so happy before as he sat by her, looking her face over. Micki knew what he was thinking.

She's perfect. Half him, half her.

Their daughter.

Once she was in bed, Ryan didn't leave her. Before falling alseep she asked if he would visit again. He promised.

Micki walked over and touched Ryan's shoulder. Softy smiling she asked him to come downstairs.

Once the three of them were sitting together in the dim light of the store, they talked.

Ryan asked a million questions about Ryanna, and felt guilty and hurt that he had missed it all. Micki held his hand as Jack spoke and finally asked him what he wanted to do. Micki knew how much she had wanted him back with her, but she knew Jack was right. He was in his twenties, he had everything ahead of him.

Why stay?

Ryan glanced at Micki.

Because I love you...because I belong here.

But...

Ryan held her as Jack watched.

No, I don't care...I'm never leaving again. There Micki held herself close to him, nearly crying before looking at Jack. Her Ryan was finally back with her.
__________________________________________________________________________

Jack decided they would have to talk in the morning, and also talk to Ryan's mother.

Micki brought him up to her bedroom and locked the door.

She sat on the bed watching Ryan sort through a few boxes she got, full of all his old stuff. Tossing through old clothes and his comics he sighed. Time really had past by.

Laughing he held up his Illinois T-shirt, Micki grinned before he dug down deeper and found his old dusty leather jacket.

I can't believe you kept all this stuff...

He then looked over at her.

It was bad wasn't it?

Micki sighed before crawling over to him and taking his hand again.

It was bad...

Ryan stared off into space, slowly shaking his head.

I don't know how you did it...I would of killed myself.

I had our daughter, I knew you would of wanted me to keep her.

Ryan started at her before sighing.

How did you do it...alone?

I guess knowing once I went to heaven I would be with you.

Ryan leaned over kissing her.

How are we going to do this?

I don't know...and I don't care.

Ryan held her face as he softy kissed her.

What are we going to tell her?

Ryanna?

Yeah?

I don't know...we've been through worse.

As long as she's safe.

Ryan held Micki as he brought her in closer.

I'm sorry.

For what?

For getting old.

Softly smiling Ryan held her.

I'll never leave you...
__________________________________________________________________________

Elizabeth got a call from Regan that evening. Ryan hadn't shown up to class and talked about visiting that store he kept talking about. Elizabeth knew as soon as he went there he would remember.

Not her son...

That slut wasn't going to take her away.

Then a voice came...

You can stop them...

Elizabeth looked around.

What?

Use the object...kill her.

Elizabeth then turned around and nearly screamed as an older man walked towards her in her living room.

How did you get in here?

That doesn't matter, I know your troubles...I can fix them.

Who? Who are you?

Lewis...Lewis Vendredi.

33: Bad moon on a rise

Elizabeth had driven nearly all night before she found the farm house. It was set back a bit in the middle of nowhere, and looked as if nobody had been there in many years. Parking her car she slowly got out and felt the cold winter's air. Walking her old body up the path, she kept saying the same thing over and over again.

You won't take my son, you won't.

Walking inside she heard Lewis' voice guide her to one of the last objects. One that had been forgotten and left to be used as a final ditch effort. It had been planned that if there was any object to bring his return...this would be it.

The new year was coming, the millennium.

It was the only way to finally use his evil to come back, to destory Micki and Ryan once and for all.

Elizabeth walked towards the old mantle and saw the old fashion clock. Slowly reaching out she held it and gazed at it in a trance.
__________________________________________________________________________

Ryanna was off to school before Ryan woke up. Micki hurried her into her school clothes and watched her off from the bus. Walking back into the store she felt her heart begin to pound. Was this really happening?

Ryan was upstairs...

He had finally come back to her, after all these years.

He wanted to say, he didn't care about his new life. He couldn't leave Micki again.

But what would they tell Ryanna? The truth? Micki didn't know if her daughter could even believe it. Her entire life had been a lie. Her mother had kept so many things from her.

How could Ryan fit in.

He was so young still.

Could she understand?

She knew once Jack was up she would decide to call Johnny, she hoped he was back now. She just didn't understand.

Walking back up and closing her robe, she found Ryan sitting at the kitchen table. He looked just as she saw him so many years ago. He was still the same.

Hi...

Micki softly smiled before sitting beside him.

Are you going to call your mother?

Ryan sighed.

I don't know yet...I have to think.

I know it's alot to take in...

Ryan gazed up at her and slightly laughed.

After all the things I did I was given a second chance to forget all the grief and guilt. Now I've never felt so happy and guilty before in my life.

Micki reached over and touched his hand.

We'll figure out something...
__________________________________________________________________________

A few hours later once everyone was dressed. They sat downstairs. Ryan sat beside Micki as they listened to Jack speak. He told them that prehaphs telling Ryanna might be the best thing. There were still the objects downstairs and even though nothing has happened in so long...Lewis might want to pull something else since they were together again.

Ryan thought over the last nine years. They wee good ones, but he felt as if something was missing.

Now he knew what it was.

He was really thirty-seven, caught in a twenty-one year old's body. He had plans and a future ahead of him. But nothing of that mattered now. He found where he belonged, and had been away for so long.

His daughter too.

He had a daughter.

We'll just have to figure out how to tell her, that's all.

I just don't see why she didn't remember me, you guys showed her what I looked like.

Only a few times, I didn't want her left out since her father was no longer alive.

Ryan sighed.

I should of beem there, I should have!

Shhhh...it's all right.

Micki held him.

It's okay...

Freeze!

Right away Ryan, Micki, and Jack froze. Slowly looking towards the front door, they saw Elizabeth standing there with her overcoat. In one hand was a gun, in the other was an old looking glass clock.

Mom?

Ryan shot up and looked at her.

Ryan come over here right now!

Mom what are you doing?

What I should of done years ago...I knew it was too good to be true, I knew that bitch would want to take you away from me!

Elizabeth...

Jack rose and began to slowly step forward when the gun went off. Micki screamed as Ryan jumped in front of her.

But Jack fell.

JACK!

Jack fell to the ground hard, his chest bleeding badly. Micki began to scream as she fell to the floor and held onto her old friend.

Ryan's mother then lifted the clock, it's face plate began to glow.

Then Uncle Lewis appeared.

Micki looked up, frozen in shock as Uncle Lewis stepped forward, standing beside Elizabeth and grinning.

Hello my old friends....

YOUR NOT ALIVE!

Micki screamed as he held onto Jack. Just then wind began to scream through the store. Objects flew around and crashed. Ryan stood there looking in disbelief at his mother.

WHY MOM? WHY?

He screamed to her as Lewis took the clock from her smiling.

Because I loved you, because I couldn't loose you!

NO MOM! NO!

Ryan screamed, but it was too late. Uncle Lewis turned grinning and faced the clock towards her.

The hands of the clock began to speed forward, nearly catching fire. The wind blew faster around them.

There Elizabeth began to scream.

NOOOOO!

Slowly her old age began to age even more, her face began thin as her clothes became baggy. Her hair thinned, and slowly her flesh began to crumble like clay and fall apart. Ryan screamed as he watched his mother age within seconds.

Her skin and clothes fell off like dust from her bones and crashed to the floor.

Laughing Uncle Lewis faced the clock to Ryan as he charged towards him.

You son of a bitch!

But the clock was in front of him, freezing him in place. Micki watched in horror knowing an object had never been so powerful before.

NO RYAN NO!

Ryan screamed before leaning over and holding his stomach. Before Micki's eyes she watched as he slowly began to shrink down towards the ground.

Not again.

Micki thought to herself in panic.

Within seconds, Ryan went from a twenty year old to a young boy, then smaller and small.

His clothes were like bags on him as he fell down.

There a newborn baby laid in Ryan's clothes, screaming.

Micki looked up as Jack moaned in pain. Lewis laughed before walking past her.

He was heading to the vault.

No...

Micki jumped over and grabbed Lewis' leg. Screaming she struggled. He couldn't go down there, he couldn't.

Uncle Lewis fought her as she screamed, the wind still blowing around them. There Micki jumped up and began to fight him for the clock. With a few pulls she got it from his grip.

YOU BITCH!

Lewis slapped her as she fell backwards, her lip bleeding she held onto the clock for dear life.

There everything began to shake. Lewis was almost reaching the stairs to the vault.

I shall release my objects again, and evil will rule the world!

Laughing he began to reach the stairs, an awful glowing light coming from the basement.

Micki looked down at the clock and didn't know what to do. Then it hit her. For some stange reason she lifted the clock and screamed, making Lewis turn towards her.

JUST DIE!

Micki threw the clock as hard as she could and smashed it to the ground.

Lewis pointed and screamed...

NO!

There an awful sound came, and everything went black.


34: A second chance

Micki blinked and found herself standing in the tomb in Paris. Taking a second to gather her surroundings, she knew what had happened.

Destroying the clock had taken her back in time.

She knew this was her chance.

Looking she saw Ryan holding the little girl down as the dagger began to rise. Johnny and Jack were standing beside her, frozen in fear.

Asteroth laughed as thunder sounded around them.

Micki knew this was her chance.

NO!

She screamed and ran towards as the little girl slowly cried to Ryan. She saw he was coming out of it.

Just as the dannger was about to plunge down down into Ryan's back, Micki used all of her strength to throw him and Kris out of the way. The dagger barley stabbed her arm as Ryan as Kris fell to the ground. Micki grabbed the dagger and then screamed with more hate in the entire world. There she threw it into Asteroth's chest.

DIE!

The dagger went into his heart.

NOOOOO!

Asteroth screamed as a blinding light came, both Johnny and Jack fell as the ground shook. Within seconds Asteroth was gone.

Silence.

Micki looked around and saw only the book laying in the dirt. She had stopped it. Glancing at Jack and Johnny, she ran over to see where Ryan was.

Ryan?

He laid there, holding the little girl on the ground as she cried. Ryan looked badly hurt and was bleeding from the head. But she knew...it was him. He laid there holding the little girl as she grabbed onto him crying. Softly petting her head, Ryan kissed her and told her everything would be all right.

Looking up he saw Micki.

Micki held back the tears as she looked down at him.

Ryan...

Ryan faintly smiled.

It's over...
__________________________________________________________________________

Stepping out into the graveyard, Ryan helped Kris up ahead. She now walked.

Micki helped Jack and Johnny up the stairs as they looked at the clearing beautiful star lit sky. The wind softly blew as Micki took a deep breath.

Ryan looked down at Kris as she smiled and took his hand.

It's over Ryan...it's over.
__________________________________________________________________________

Two months later.

The crowd cheered as Ryan and Micki walked down the church stairs. Rice was thrown as everyone laughed watching the newlyweds help each other down the stone stairs. Micki threw her flowers to her friends as Jack and Johnny stood by, nicely dressed in tuxes. Ryan shook their hands and hugged them before getting into the limo with Micki. Laughing at how puffy her white dress was, they waved to the crowd one last time as the limo pulled away.

Things had gotten better since they got back. Ryan had a distant, yet healthy relationship with his mother, and seemed almost more greatful and alive then ever. He was thankuful now everyday that he was alive.

Micki never spoke of the future, all she knew was that this was her second chance.

Johnny, Jack, and them still went after the objects, and now together and as a team.

As the limo drove away, Micki leaned up against Ryan and deeply kissed him. Ryan smiled touching her face.

Ryan, I have something to tell you...

What?

Iā€™m pregnant...I'm pregnant with a little girl.

Ryan's eyed grew wide before laughing and grabbing her to kiss. Looking down at her flat stomach he smiled.

How do you know?

I just do...

Ryan laughed before pulling her closer.

That's great.

And there they kissed, never feeling so happy before in their lifes.
__________________________________________________________________________

Micki sat back in white bikini, showing off her cream colored skin. Resting back under the baking hot sun, she looked at the beach and the crystal clear water.

Everything was perfect.

Ryan sat beside her, in swiming shorts and sunglasses. He was trying to tan.

Micki's hand went out and took his.

She never felt so relaxed before in her life.

Then...

An older woman sat in the sand in front of them with a big hat. Laying her stuff down, Micki noticed she was eyeing a very handsome young man in the water ahead of her.

They then heard the woman say as she lifted up an old fashion paper weaved fan.

Let him see me as I am...let me think I'm beautiful.

Ryan slowly lowered his sunglasses as the young man stopped in the middle of whatever he was doing and gazed at the older woman. Within seconds he was up and smiling, talking to her.

Micki and Ryan looked at each other before he said...

You gotta be kidding me.


35: A normal life

Micki parked her car in the driveway before seeing Ryan on the front porch reading a book. Softly smiling to herself, she saw his hair had started going gray. Sitting there, looking peaceful, wearing his glasses and reading the paper she felt such a strong love. They had been together for so many years, and here they were.

Living a normal life.

Getting her purse, she went around back and took Jessica out of the car seat. Shifting her to other arm, Micki walked up the driveway and up the porch stairs.

Their dog Russ barked once before resting by Ryan's feet.

Hey...

Ryan lowered his book before smiling.

Hey, how did she do today?

Oh, cried when I came to pick her up...sometimes I feel she likes daycare better then here.

Laughing, Ryan reached out and took the baby as she chewed on something that looked like a rubber dog.

Hey honey.

Ryan said as the baby make a few attemps to something that sounded like daddy, and went back to chewing her toy. Micki took a deep breath before looking out.

After sealing the vault, and getting most of the objects back, along with the cursed clock. They decided to sell Curious Goods once and for all. Jack had told them the same exact thing. Some of the objects were just not meant to be found.

It was a bitter sweet thing saying goodbye to their home. Here was where they first met, shared time together, and had two of their children.

But they decided to do what Micki always dreamed of doing...living a normal life.

Johnny was married now and had a little boy.

Jack had past away three years ago peacefully at their home. Saying goodbye to her old friend was hard, but they knew they couldn't of done most of it without him.

Ryanna and Jackson, their older children had just started college in the city. Micki had been pretty down since then, and had tried to keep herself busy with Jessica.

Ryan over the last couple of years since hey sold the store had gone to night school and got his degree. He now taught art at a high school a few towns over. With the money they got from the store, they bought their home in the country. It was warm, and felt like someplace they wanted to get old together.

Sitting beside her husband of nearly nineteen years, she watched him as he played with their youngest daughter and smiled.

She loved Ryan Dallion...for all time.

The end.

- This story idea came from a friend of mine who loves the show, I want to thank her so all the great ideas!

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