Chapter Eleven

Emily continued screaming, her throat hurting as she cowered at the foot of the stairs, not knowing what to do. The hand above suddenly twitched, and Emily stopped, shocked, fearful.

"Help..." came a voice that was more then a whisper, but less than strong. "Please help...."

"Nikolas?" Emily squeaked, her voice frightened. "Nikolas?"

"Em?" She could hear the pain, the confusion. "Em? I'm hurt..."

Gritting her teeth, Emily headed up the staircase, carefully avoiding the blood. Shaking all over, terrified, Emily hurried, stopping when she saw the bare bodies tangled together, a bloodstained sheet nearby. "My God, Nikolas," Emily whispered brokenly. "What happened?"

"Help me." His voice was weak, distant.

"Is Katherine....?"

"I think so. She tried to kill me." There was more confusion, more vagueness in his tone. "Get help."

"But you? Shouldn't I help you first?"

"I'm not sure you can. Maybe Lucky.." Then, he stopped, as if he'd lost consciousness.

Emily bit back what she'd come to say, her horror renewed, but in that instant, she resolved that she wouldn't lose Nikolas, too. Lucky was beyond her help, but Nikolas was alive. At least she hoped he was. Taking a deep breath, she climbed the rest of the stairs, and knelt beside her friend, carefully not noticing his state of undress, or the woman who was draped over him. With shaking fingers, she felt for the pulse in his throat, and was rewarded with the knowledge that he was indeed, still among the living. "Don't worry, Nikolas. I'll get help, but first..." This time, she checked Kat, noting that the woman was quite dead.

With great care, and with more strength than she knew she had, Emily grabbed Kat's cold shoulder and, pulled.

Who'd have known that the woman would be so heavy, Emily wondered idly. It gave the term 'dead weight' new meaning. Restraining something that was between a nervous giggle and a sob, Emily rolled Kat off Nikolas, stumbling backward when she saw the dagger protruding from Kat's chest. Quickly, Emily dragged the sheet and covered Kat's dead body with it before checking out her friend. His chest was covered with blood, and she could see a wound on his shoulder that was still sullenly oozing blood.

Quickly, Emily rose to get a blanket for her friend who lay unconscious on the floor. Then, before she could get to the phone to call for help, she heard a voice downstairs.

"Nikolas? My God!!! Nikolas!!!"

Laura Spencer, her eyes streaming tears, looked at the blood on the staircase. "Nikolas!!!"

"He's up here, Mrs. Spencer," Emily called, grateful that she was no longer alone with the situation. Laura hurried up the stairs, stepping over a body to kneel beside Emily and Nikolas.

"He's hurt-stabbed by Kathryn," Emily told her. "I don't know how badly-but Kat," and she gestured at the sheet shrouded body," is dead."

"Never mind about her," Laura muttered. "We've got to get help."

"I'll call 911."

"Quickly. We don't know how badly he's hurt."

Seconds later, after the call was made, Emily returned to Laura. "He was conscious a couple of minutes ago. He said that Kathryn tried to kill him."

Laura said something under her breath that Emily was glad she didn't quite catch. "I'm sorry about Lucky," Emily whispered softly.

Laura met Emily's eyes and nodded, tears starting once again. "Thank you. He cared a great deal for you, Emily."

"He was my best friend," the teenager told her. "I heard this morning and came to see Nikolas about it."

"I'm glad you did. But let's not say anything to Nikolas if he wakes up until he's had treatment. He doesn't need to know right now."

Emily nodded in agreement.

"I won't lose both of my sons," Laura vowed. "I won't."

Bending over her son, she cried softly, as Emily watched. The teenager took her friend's hand and held it tightly, silently willing her strength to him.

"You want to tell me what you've found?" Luke asked, seeing the arson investigators huddled in one spot. "Is it Lucky?" His eyes were red, his voice strained, but Laura knew the worst and had gone to see Nikolas. Luke had returned, unable to keep away, yet hating to be near the scene of his son's death.

"You recognize this?" Garcia held up the token necklace, and Luke closed his eyes and turned his head away. "It was Lucky's. Was it on...?"

"We can't be certain, but we think so. Forensics has the remains-but Luke, there's very little left. Nothing that you could identify."

"Then you're certain?"

"As certain as we can be at this point. God, Luke. I hate to put it like this, but all we have to go on at this point is a few teeth and this necklace. We'll need Lucky's dental records."

As Luke walked out of sight, Garcia's cell phone rang. "Garcia here. What? You're kidding. You're not. Okay, on our way." Turning to Taggert, he said, "Man, what the hell is going on? First Lucky, now Nikolas Cassadine is hurt. Look, I'll go to the kid's house and take care of the stiff. You meet the ambulance and try to get a statement."

"What stiff?"

"Kathryn Bell. This time she's really dead."

Within a few minutes, Luke Spencer sat quietly in the diner, contemplating once again, the wreckage of his life. There had been a time when he'd considered himself a lucky man. His throat tightened at the use of that word, a word he'd never be able to use again without wanting to scream aloud. There was but one shining spot in his life at present, a little dark-haired daughter whose life, Lucky had told him, would be far richer with her father in it.

"Would it?" he asked the memory of his son. "Yours wasn't. Yours ended because of the people I associate with, the people who think of people as pawns to be moved and removed at will, people who use children against their parents. Your misfortune was to have been born my son."

"I'm really sorry," Tammy offered from the door. The diner was closed, had been closed all day, and wouldn't open any time soon, as far as she was concerned. "But it wasn't your fault, Luke."

"Wasn't it?" Luke looked at the woman he'd recently made manager of Kelly's. "My whole life has been one big fault," he told her. "From the get-go. You don't want to know the things I've done to survive-maybe you know a few of them."

"Been there, done that." Tammy flashed him a grin. "And I make no apologies for what I did. It wouldn't matter, anyhow. But, now that I'm away from that life, I have no desire to return to it."

"That's the trouble between you and me. I never really left it. It was always there in the background, coloring my world. I couldn't stay completely away, and that might have cost Lucky his life."

"Was it a mob-hit or an accident? They do happen, you know."

"Hell, Tammy. Even if it was an accident, it was my fault. If not for me, Lucky wouldn't have left home in the first place."

"If not for you, Lucky wouldn't have been there in the first place. Still, you made your peace. He could have returned home if he'd wanted."

"But what kind of a home is it where his mother is dating another man, the man who fathered her first born son?"

"Not the best, that's for sure. Your wife is a fool."

Luke smiled at the thought. "What have I got that Stefan hasn't got? In Laura's book, nothing. The guy is rich, average looking, powerful and well connected."

"And there I thought you were going to talk dirty to me."

"Why, Tammy?" Luke went on, ignoring her attempt to lighten an increasingly dark situation. "Why not me? If somebody wanted to hurt Sonny, why not come after me?"

"Are you sure that somebody wanted to come after Sonny? I thought that you had other enemies in town. That Cassadine woman, for instance."

"She wouldn't hurt Lucky," Luke told her. "Helena is evil, but she likes to play games with people, and she knows that I'd kill her, if she hurt Lucky. She's more the kind who kidnaps them and fakes their deaths. Makes everybody else want to die, and..."


"And I've got to see the autopsy report on my son," Luke said, quietly. There was one tiny spark of hope in his world, one hope that old dogs preferred the same old tricks. Especially old female dogs.

"Where's my son?" demanded Stefan Cassadine as he strode through the emergency room. Urgency radiated from his being, and as he asked, the doors opened and Nikolas was wheeled in, Laura and Emily at his side. Alejandro Garcia entered shortly thereafter.

"How is he?" Stefan asked. "Doctor! Nurse! Where is Dr. Quartermaine? Dr. Monica Quartermaine?"

"I'm right here," Monica answered crisply, relieved to have something other than the death of her own son to think about. She tried not to think about the funeral that was planned for this afternoon, about how her entire life was in a shambles. Work was her only solace at present, and while she longed to comfort Emily who was with Laura, it appeared that Nikolas needed her more. "Now, if you'll just move, I'll check him out. Laura. Emily, You want to tell me what happened? Nurse, I'll also need his records. We'll need blood on hand."

"What happened?" Stefan asked of Laura, unable to get a response from Nikolas who lay pale and silent.

"Kathryn Bell happened," Laura spat. "If she wasn't already dead, I'd kill her myself." She turned to Garcia who was taking notes. "Make sure you get that down. I don't want to be misquoted." Eyes blazing, Laura led Stefan aside, but Garcia wasn't to be left out. Ignoring him, Laura continued. "I told you that she was poison, that she was not to be trusted, but you didn't believe me. You'd shacked up with her and figured that she was no threat. Now, look! She stabbed Nikolas and tried to kill him."

"She what?"

"Your former shack-up honey just tried to kill my son, that's what."

"Kathryn? Are you serious?"

"Damned right, I'm serious. Do you think that I'd be anything else?" Suddenly, Laura broke down, her heart aching. "Do you think that I'd be joking at a time like this? My God, Stefan! Where have you been?"

"Laura, I am afraid that I am not following you. I just got here-and heard that Nikolas was being brought in."

"Then you don't know about Lucky?"

"Laura, you are not making any sense to me. I have been, shall we say, incommunicado, for the last several hours. I was.."

"I don't give a damn where you were! Lucky died last night, and now Nikolas is fighting for his life."

"What?" Stefan was stunned. "Lucky? What happened?"

"None of your $%^&* business," Luke Spencer answered as he walked towards them. "My son and my family is none of your business. Laura, what's going on?"

"Nikolas has been stabbed by Kathryn Bell. He's badly hurt."

"I'm sorry," Luke told her, his eyes registering his shock. "Kat?"

"Sign this," came instructions to Stefan who looked at the paper on the clipboard. "It's a permission slip," the nurse told him. "Nikolas is going to need surgery right away."