Nik held his breath, listening intently for any sound from his armed attacker. With his adrenaline pumping, his own heartbeat pounding in his ears, he forced himself to be still, as quiet as a hole in the darkness.

"Coward," came the hissed voice, but it was enough to allow him an idea of where the phantom fighter stood, enough for him to aim one foot towards the sound. Nik spun and kicked, feeling a satisfyingly solid bit of humanity, this time hearing the sound of something clattering to the floor. Hearing a muffled curse, Nik launched another attack, this time hearing his victim beating a hasty retreat.

"Now who's the coward?" he wondered softly, dropping to his knees, feeling around on the floor for whatever the other person had dropped. His hands came into contact with something hard, something very sharp. Tracing the shape with his fingertips, he quickly grasped it, then hefted its weight in his hands. A knife. Odd, how right it felt in his hands. Something primitive unfurled inside him, something that wanted satisfaction. Something that wanted to find his enemy and....

"It's done......Alexis and the children?"

Lucy barely made out the words above the storm, but it became clear to her that the knife-wielding person was taking orders from someone. Squishing herself even deeper into the quagmire of mud and bushes, she tried not to think of what had just slithered over her feet, far more frightened of the two-footed snake only a few feet away. She watched as he turned and hurried back up the path to the house.

Common sense suggested that she find some means of getting the hell off the island, choppy waters or not, but then, she thought of the people in the house, people that she considered friends, regardless of what they thought of her. "I'm gonna hate myself for this," she muttered, pulling herself out of the branches. With a grim determination, she headed for the house. Then, she remembered her own cellular phone, and digging it out of her purse, she prayed that the phone relays hadn't been disabled by the storm. She quickly dialed 911.

"Hello? This is Lucy Coe. I need to speak with the police. Yes, I know that this is the police department-why do you think I called? Look, I don't have time to fool around with you, but there's trouble-murder, I think, on Spoon Island. No, I haven't seen any bodies. I'm not in the house. Don't tell me to be calm! Would you be calm if you saw somebody lurking around here with a knife? And it's storming....hello? Hello?? Answer me! Okay, thanks. Look, there's a power failure and it's dark as he...Hades here. How'd I see the knife? During a lightning flash! Yes! Switch me to someone else? Look, lady, I don't have all night....Hello? Hello?"

"Garcia here."

"Oh, thank heavens! This is Lucy Coe and I'm on Spoon Island. There's somebody here with a knife. We need help."

"We just landed. We're on the way."

Taggert looked up at Garcia who was surprisingly calm considering that they had almost drowned when their boat capsized several feet from the shore.

"You done barfing your guts out?" Garcia asked Taggert who was being sick.

A retching sound was his only answer.

"Well, hurry up. That was Lucy Coe-apparently she's here and says that there's somebody with a knife around."

Seconds later, Taggert stood up, and spat, angry with himself for being ill. "Let's go," he muttered. In his current frame of mind, someone was going to pay for dragging his a$$ out across the water on a night like this, and if it happened to be some dude with a knife-so much the better.

Jerry flashed the narrow beam of light down at the floor, moving silently as he had since he'd entered the house via one of the many secret entrances. Odd that the door wasn't locked like it had been when he'd paid a visit a few days earlier. Then, all he'd wanted to do was make certain that the plans he'd purloined had been accurate. No self-respecting Jacks would let anybody get away with selling shoddy goods, but his map had been good.

He crept along, careful to make no sound, when he notice spots of something on the floor. Blood. He'd kill Helena for tonight, regardless of what happened, he promised himself. The woman had soiled the earth long enough with her evil presence, her greed and corruption. No matter what he found, Helena would die. He smiled grimly to himself. A man like himself had been around enough to have learned many particular hideous means of disposing of one's enemies.

Suddenly, he caught a woman's foot in the light, then legs, then he moved the light on up to a pair of dark eyes that, in spite of the pain reflected in them, glared at him in defiance.

"I won't make it easy," he heard her whisper.

"It's all right, Alexis," he said softly, he knelt beside her. "It's Jerry Jacks. You remember me from Jakarta?"

"I should have killed you when I had the chance," she muttered, closing her eyes. "You have no idea what you cost me."

"Actually, I have a pretty good idea, but tonight, we're on the same side. What's happened?"

"A knife wound, I think."


"I don't know."

"Let me check. I've had some experience with these things."

"I'll bet."

Holding the flashlight in his mouth, Jerry quickly and expertly opened her blouse and pulled the silk away from the wound. "Hmmmm. Probably not as bad as you think-from the looks of things, I'd say that a rib deflected the knife-which is good. Somebody was trying to kill you."

"I figured that," Alexis remarked, dryly. Odd, but she felt safe with him, safe with a business enemy who wouldn't mind destroying her financially, if she got in his way. "I take it that you weren't my attacker?"

"I'm offended that you should ask. Had I been your attacker, you would be dead."

"Thank God for small favors."

"Come on. We've got to get you to somewhere safe."

"In this house?"

"Good point. Who all is here?"

"Stefan, Bobbie.."

"Ah! Nurse Spencer. How convenient."

"How can you manage to sound lecherous even at a time like this?"

"Lexy, my life is one big 'time like this.'"

"You're disgusting."

"I strive to please. Hold the flashlight so we can find the staircase...aha, there it is."

"Alexis? Are you all right?"

"No, she's not," Jerry said, tersely, all pretense aside. Alexis had fainted as he carried her down the stairs. "Knife wound-and not my work. Where's Nikolas?"

"He was upstairs a few minutes ago," Lucky answered. "Who are you?"

"I'm one of the good guys," Jerry answered. "Jerry Jacks at your service. Who all is here tonight?"

"Aside from the staff, which seems to have disappeared," Lucky answered, "My..that is, Luke Spencer, Laura Spencer, Nikolas Cassadine, Stefan Cassadine and the four of us."

"Okay, that makes it easier for me. Wouldn't want to kill the wrong person." With that, he ordered, "Stay here." He handed Lucky a gun-one of the pair he was prone to carry when things looked messy. "Shoot anybody you don't know. Oh, and please remember-you know me." Turning, he headed back up the stairs, praying that he was in time.

Lucy waited impatiently as Garcia and Taggert climbed the storm tossed path where she was standing in the pouring rain. "Boy am I glad that you guys made it. See, there's this guy-that is, I don't know if it was a guy-I couldn't see that well, but he, or whoever, has a huge knife."

"A machete?" asked Taggert, feeling like doing somebody some serious bodily harm.

"No, not that big, but bigger than a pocket knife. Why are we standing here in the rain? Let's go up to the house and catch him."

"You're sure he went to the house?"

"Actually, no, but aside from the house, where else would he go? I mean, if you were going to kill someone on a night like this, wouldn't you go to the house? I mean, if you were going to kill a Cassadine, and why kill anybody else here?"

"Let's go, but Lucy, you stay close to the door so you can get out if things get out of hand."

"What do you mean, 'if'?"

Garcia sighed as the rain ran down his face. "Ms. Coe, what I mean is that we don't know if anything has really happened as of yet. It's entirely possible that Stefan Cassadine will greet us at the door and ask what we're doing out on a night like this."

Stefan Cassadine wouldn't be greeting anybody for a little while. He stood in front of the oil rendition of Laura that he'd kept stored in the wine cellar, his blood running cold with fear. With the light from the flashlight he'd just found, he could see that Laura's portrait had been slashed. What terrified him was that it was dripping blood.