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Secret Soul
by Amanda Berendt
Copyright July 2003

    This had been the strangest few months of her entire life. Medical Examiner Natalie Lambert sat at her desk in the coroner's office fully engrossed in a black notebook. She looked up from her notes to take a sip of coffee from the mug that was perched on the edge of the desk.
Six months ago, she was a purely analytical doctor who rarely got emotionally involved in her work. Then, on her birthday, one of her 'patients' got up off the table and began drinking the emergency blood supply kept in the lab refrigerator. It was the day Nick Knight entered her life. At first he had told her he was a monster filled with evil, but his eyes told her otherwise. There was something there that drew her to him.

What can I do now, my precious lord?
His dark love could be my best reward
I know I should not dare to go
Deeper in his madness

    When she saw him a few nights later, he ignored her at first, apparently believing she had 'forgotten' their previous encounter. However, she turned to confront him. After a moment, he confided in her that he was trying to reverse his condition. That he was trying to become mortal again. *That was one aspect of him that she still had trouble believing sometimes.* Although he insisted it was a metaphysical condition, she offered to use her knowledge of science and medicine to help him. She refused to back down when he told her it would be dangerous.

How much can I stand I dare not guess
The secret voice that speaks to me
Tells me he's in danger
Looking to the dust for tenderness

    As the days passed, Natalie began to run test after test. She searched the blood samples for the source of Nick's condition. Perhaps because he required blood to survive, the basis of this malady was in the blood. They began to spend the majority of each night together working on the search.
    After several weeks, Natalie began to realize that Nick was becoming more than just a puzzle to solve. As they talked about everything from what he was to what had been on television that day. They began to form the loose strands of a friendship. It grew from the secret they shared - she could not tell anyone what Nick was and what they were trying to accomplish and the rest of the vampire community was not amenable to his decision to try to attain mortality.
    One evening, Natalie gazed at him across the steel autopsy table. How could this beautiful man believe he was so evil. Yes, there was the beast he kept caged inside, but there must be goodness inside of him as well.

And I can't help but sense
The darkness in his mind
But I keep looking for the goodness
Afraid of what I'll find

    As she watched him, she realized how much he kept bottled inside of himself. She could see it on his face. There was so much worry and guilt written on the youthful countenance. Although he came to see her every night, there was a sadness, a loneliness in his eyes. Even as the days and weeks passed, he was keeping her at a distance. If only she could break through. If only he would let her inside that fortress he had built, so she could see who he truly was.

My heart moves through his unquiet sea
I pray a wave will come and carry me
Closer to his troubled tide
Waters of his fury
But how can I swim this great divide?

    Here in this room of death, something drew these two lonely people together. All of the pain he had been carrying within him for all these years was being eased by this mortal woman. She had so much warmth and love. She was becoming his guide, his partner... his friend. Instead of running from this evil he carried inside of him, she wanted to understand it. She wanted to help him.

Deep in my secret soul                                              (Her spring of life)
I cry his tears                                                             (Draws me near)
I weather his angry voice                                        (Her gentle voice)
I feel his fears                                                             (I hold dear)
His life has infected every wound                         (Her life has infected every wound)
And every pore                                                         (And every pore)
I feel his mystery posses me                                     (I feel her mystery posses me)
And I pray that mercy's hand
Will bless me

    Natalie sat at her desk, looking back down at her notebook. She thought back to the previous night. Everything had been progressing so wonderfully. She had discovered an abnormality in Nick's blood. What this virus-like cell what made him what he was? It seemed to be feeding off the blood that he ingested. She had asked him to cut down on his blood intake to perhaps weaken these cells. But after what happened last night, it appeared that starving the cells did not weaken them. It seemed to make them more desperate, which carried over to Nick himself.
    Nick had come into the lab, as usually. But he was very tired and irritable because he had not fed properly in several days. She drew his blood to check on his progress and they waiting for the centrifuge to separate the blood. As they waited, one of the orderlies brought in a gurney with a body bag on it. Natalie excused herself, telling Nick she just wanted to do a quick preliminary check of the body. Unzipping the bag, she saw the victim was covered in blood. After making a few mental notes on the status of the body, she turned to Nick to tell him they would have to call it a night, and gasped.
    Nick stood close behind her, his eyes were completely gold. His snarl showed his fully extended canine teeth. He moved closer, speaking to her in a deep unnatural voice. His eyes moved to her throat as he caressed her neck. When he grasped her arm, she cried out in pain.
    Then all at once, he shook his head and turned away "This was a mistake." he growled. He moved quickly towards the door and when she tried to stop him, he pushed her away and ran from the lab.

Deep in his secret soul                                      (Deep in my soul)
His heart is cursed                                              (I stand alone)
I summon my deepest will                                 (I will not atone)
To still his thirst
God give me the strength to go                        (And I will never let her)
Closer to where my heart is whole
Deep within his secret soul                             (Deep within my secret soul)

    Now she sat at her desk, trying to think of how to proceed. Should she rethink her whole plan. Nick would not return her phone calls, he was pulling away again. Just as she was beginning to break through the wall he had so carefully built for so many years, this one incident had fortified it once more. This was not going to be a quick fix, but she was in it for the duration. They were going to find a solution. She closed the notebook and locked it securely in her desk drawer. She smiled to herself, I am definitely going to have to get more notebooks.

--Fin--