Like a Sunday in Salem

Outline

The story starts with Tom, Eddie and Ray about a mile from an isolated mansion (that new species sure likes isolated mansions). Dialogue reveals that Sloan has been snatched by members of the new species for some unknown purpose and they are discussing how to best get her back. It's also apparent they have not notified Attwood of what has happened or what they are doing. Tom and Ray are talking, sketching out a map on the ground when Eddie (behind them) tries to get their attention in a nervous voice. The second time he says "Guys" proves to be the charm and Tom, finally realizing something is wrong, turns with his gun already drawn but a bit too late. Lewis has Eddie in a choke hold, a knife in his free hand.

Tom wonders why he is even surprised that Lewis is involved and his former mentor gives him a "you moron" look, telling him that he has nothing to do with Sloan's kidnapping and he was here for his own reasons but no one believes him. After a few minutes of verbal sparring, Lewis suddenly flips the knife so his hand is wrapped around the blade and holds it out toward Tom, a gesture that cuts the younger man off in mid-word. He studies both man and knife then reaches out to wrap his own hand over Lewis' and the knife, squeezing until both their hands are bleeding then steps back, lowering his gun and telling Ray to do the same.

Lewis releases Eddie while Tom explains that they now have a truce, at least until the wounds heal. Even so, he tells them not to turn their backs on Lewis, a remark that makes Lewis comment that maybe Tom hasn't forgotten everything he's been taught, a remark that brings out an uneasy look on Eddie's face. Lewis tells them there's something he wants from the mansion and he'll help them if they'll help him. None of the three like the idea of working with Lewis and none of them trust him but he points out that he knows the mansion but can't take on the inhabitants by himself. He refuses to explain what he wants from the mansion or why

After much talking, it is agreed that Tom and Lewis would sneak into the mansion while Eddie and Ray keep watch. The two men make their way into down to the mansion and slip inside. They are discovered almost immediately and they are forced to defend themselves lethally, eventually becoming separated. Tom senses Sloan and goes after her but they are cut off from escape by a group of the new species.

Lewis manages to surprise the leader, holding a gun to his head. A woman is with him and he tells all three of them to get out. The woman obviously doesn't like the thought of leaving Lewis but she finally follows. On their way to the van, they try to question the woman but she refuses to speak. All Tom can tell Sloan is that the woman is not of the new species. He doesn't mention that she apparently isn't all human either. Meanwhile, gunfire and explosions erupt behind them.

They reach the van but the woman refuses to enter, waiting for something. Eddie urges that they leave and Tom is at the point of throwing the woman into the van when she suddenly runs forward, making it to the edge of the forest just as Lewis stumbles out and, in fact, catches him as he falls. He is a bloody mess with wounds up and down his right side and face and barely conscious. When no one comes near to help her (all would much rather leave him there), the woman speaks for the first time.

"We could have left you there, y'know. Gotten away clean while they dealt with you."

Reluctantly, Tom steps forward and takes Lewis in a fireman's carry to the van. The woman beats him there and helps ease the wounded man onto the floor of the van. As they sped away, the woman...who gives her name as Sable...commandeers the first aid kit and any spare clothing she can grab to try and control the bleeding. At the mention of a hospital, Sable asks which one of them is going to explain what happened and who exactly would believe them. She turns fierce at the mere mention of contacting Attwood or any other kind of authority, saying that she would not allow Lewis to end up in some secret laboratory as a lab rat again. When Sloan says that it wouldn't happen, Sable's reply is that it happened before and the only reason Tom is still free is because he serves a purpose. Sooner or later, he'll end up in his own cage but she would not let that happen to Lewis. Not again. She asks Sloan about her medical skills but Sloan is very reluctant to operate on Lewis.

"A deal. I know a place we can use in secret. You operate and you get a chance to see how the Quetzal heal without cutting your boyfriend open. And maybe, just maybe, I can convince Lewis to talk to you. There's a lot more going on here then any of you realize or aren't you the least bit curious about the truth?"

Sloan hesitates. Some of what Sable has said does ring true and, despite her feelings about Tom's former mentor, she didn't think she could just let him die without at least trying. "I can't guarantee anything. . ."

"I'm not asking you to. Just do your best."

With that, Sable gives Ray directions and the two women work at stabilizing Lewis for the trip. They try to ask questions of the woman but the only one she'll answer is what she meant by Quetzal.

"A joke. A play on words. A village of obvious Caucasians living in Mexico. Apparently originating there. A little lax on the legends department, aren't you? I'll lend you a book."

They reach their destination, a seaside mansion. (yes, another mansion) The mansion is closed up and Sable tells them it belongs to her cousin who is currently in Europe for an extended vacation. She directs them to take Lewis into a bedroom on the first floor and vanishes, only to reappear with a large case containing out-dated but still usable medical equipment.

"What can I tell you...an ancestor was a medical doctor. Actually, more then one. We can't do much about blood loss. . .good thing the Quetzal are very good at replenishing lost blood. . .but we need to get the bullets out and wounds sown up before he loses so much blood he can't replenish it. I'll play nurse. . .I know what's what and what goes where and I don't faint at the sight of blood."

Sable bullies Eddie into helping (she's good at that. . .especially when she remarks that maybe Lewis needs a transfusion and what type of blood does Eddie have anyway? while wielding a scalpel ) as well and then chases Tom and Ray out. They find a sitting room complete with liqueur cabinet and Ray settles in, contemplating the advantages of a good drunk.

"If half of what's been said about this guy is true, then he's a mass murderer a dozen times over. How can we condone helping him?"

"Because, supposedly, we're better then he is?" Tom didn't sound like he agreed with that. "And if we were to arrest him. . .bring him in. . .there would be no proof that he's done anything wrong. We'd look even crazier then people think we are."

"So we save his life. Let him go back out to kill even more people."

"Maybe. Maybe not."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning, I wonder what Lewis was doing breaking into that mansion. I know...knew the man running that operation. He and Lewis worked together, maybe not friends but associates. . ."

"He killed that Lisa girl and he worked with her..."

"The young are expendable. Drones. But the older, they don't fight with each other. Can't afford to. Something's happened. Something's changed. Lewis risked his own life to go into that house and bring that woman out. And she was right, you know. He could have left us there and gotten her out. I suspect they would have been happy just to have us. Or he could have sent some of his students. No, he went himself. Something totally against his grain."

"Something too important to entrust to someone else?"

"Maybe. But what?"

The two men run through the gambit of speculation until the operation is done. Lewis' wounds included several bullet wounds to his right side (from thigh to shoulder) and face (where the bullet struck his cheekbone and ricocheted back out, leaving a bloody mess). Sable points them toward bedrooms and the kitchen then retreats back to the bedroom where Lewis is.

Later, after the others are asleep, Sloan slips downstairs to where Sable is, watching over the unconscious Lewis. She wants to know why Sable is helping Lewis. Doesn't she know what he is? Sable tells her she knows exactly what Lewis is but, she adds fiercely, Lewis is hers and no one was going to hurt him again. She asks Sloan if she has any idea what happened to Lewis while in the custody of Attwood's people. When Sloan says no, Sable draws aside the sheet covering Lewis and points toward scars covering his chest and groin, telling her he didn't have those before he was captured.

"Lewis is mine, heart and soul. You have doubts? Would the man you think he is have risked his life to rescue me from the mansion? For they would have killed him, have no doubt of that. And it wouldn't have been pretty. He could have left you and your friend there and we could have escaped while they were busy with you. Instead, Lewis held them off. . .admittedly it was for my sake and not yours but still. . .not the actions of the man you think he is."

Sloan tells Sable what happened before Lewis was captured but Sable waves it off, telling her that she already knows about that. And about Lisa. And about things Sloan can't even guess at but Lewis was no more that man then Tom was the man he was two years ago. You can't judge one without judging the other. Sloan finally returns to her bedroom.

The next morning finds Ray grumbling about the lack of food and his need to phone his wife but the phones at the house have been turned off. Sable tells him he can just go into the nearby village.

"Go to Tates' Grocery. They have a pay phone and if they ask where you're staying, tell them the Roberts House. By now the entire village knows someone's here. If there's any problems, have them contact me on the radio. I'll have to put the batteries in."

She goes to do that and Ray leaves to follow her directions into the village. He's tempted to call Attwood but decides to hold off. No one seems surprised that he's at the Roberts House, apparently Sable has turned up unexpectedly before.

A few days pass and Sloan eventually contacts Attwood but doesn't tell him all that is going on or exactly where they are, just that they are following some leads concerning the new species. (He didn't know about her being kidnapped) Sloan spends some time trying to talk with Sable but the woman refuses to tell her what she had alluded to before, what she said Lewis could tell them if only she could get him to speak to them. She does say that she's known Lewis for six months, that they had meet at a bar and their relationship was intended, at least by Lewis, as a one-night stand.

Later, Tom tells Sloan that it's common for males of the new species to pick up women with the intention of siring more members of the new species. To his knowledge, Lewis had never had a steady woman. . .no Quetzal does. How could they when there was no emotional attachment? Somehow Sable has managed to maintain a relationship with Lewis. Sloan wonders if maybe Lewis is discovering emotions, if maybe, eventually, all the Quetzal will learn emotions but Tom thinks that Lewis was using Sable for his own purpose.

Lewis regains consciousness three days after he was shot, unfortunately while Sloan is the one changing his bandages. He grabs her wrist in a bone-crushing grip and she panics but before one of the guys can "rescue" her, Sable slaps her hard and tells her to grow. Only then does Sloan realize that Lewis is reacting to the pain; that he's had no pain-killers and they would, in fact, do little good. Sable draws his attention and manages to pry the fingers from Sloan's wrist. She whispers something to him and Lewis gradually goes limp, obviously responding to what she is saying. Later, Sable explains that Lewis is controlling his own pain as he had his bleeding three days ago, a technique she taught him since the Quetzal have a high tolerance for pain killers and while they may have an equally high tolerance for pain, that didn't mean they didn't feel it.

Tom wonders if she taught him the technique to hide himself from others of his kind and Sable says no but she must think on how that could be done as it sounds useful.

The Quetzal healing ability finally kicks in and Lewis' wounds start to heal quickly. His wounds are still horrible and the dressings must be changed regularly. At first he flinches away from anyone but Sable from helping him but he seems to realize it's too much for her to do alone. Tom refuses to allow Sloan to be alone with Lewis, despite his wounds, and insists on being in the room whenever she is. It's during one of these times that Lewis starts to talk with Sloan. (Tom is by the door and out of eyesight but Lewis does know he's there.)

"You think I'm a monster, don't you?" Lewis' voice was low and rasping.

Sloan stifled a jump and concentrated on changing the bandage. "How many people have you killed?"

Lewis laughed. "How many people has he killed?" He looked at Tom.

"That's different. . ."

"Oh? How so?"

"He was brainwashed. . ."

"Was he?"

"You should know."

"Should I? He was treated as all the Quetzal children are treated. As I was treated. We know of no other way to raise children. Was that brainwashing? If so, I could claim the same thing."

Sloan carefully tightened the bandage, hiding her intent interest in her work. "You're first generation Quetzal, aren't you?"

"More or less. And your point is?"

"Then you were raised by human parents."

"Was I? That's your opinion." He fell silent for a long moment, staring at the ceiling. "Do you know what it's like to be empathic? Like we are? To know everyone else's emotion but not your own? To. . .cauterize yourself, if you will, because if you didn't, you'd eventually go insane." There was an odd underlining tone to Lewis' words that Sloan realized was bitterness. "Which so many of us do anyway." He started to cough dryly, unable to catch his breath and suddenly Sable is there, so suddenly that Tom began to wonder if the room was bugged and she listening in. She poured a glass of water and eased Lewis up to drink from it.

"Can you possibly know what's it like. . ." Sable picked up Lewis' tale though, Sloan suspected, not his actual words or what he meant to say. ". . .to know. . .to feel your parents' fear and scorn and, yes, hatred of you for no other reason then you are different. And if you say that it doesn't excuse what he's done, I can only partially agree and scold you for holding a double standard."

"You are telling this wrong." Lewis sounded oddly amused.

"And you'll tell it better?"

"I. . ." Lewis looked at her. "You set me up."

"In part, yes."

Lewis coughed again but lightly this time. "Get the others then, so I won't have to explain it twice." His voice sounded tired and Sloan noticed how pale and drawn he looked. She started to stand.

"Maybe we should wait. . ."

"No." Lewis grabbed her wrist and she flinched away. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tom started forward. "Wait." Lewis rasped then added a word she suspected he'd never said before. At least not meaning it. "Please." She hesitated then sat back down slowly, Lewis releasing her wrist as she did so. "I might not tell this if we wait." He laid back down, his eyes closed, waiting until Sable was back with Ray and Ed.

Sable settled on the bed next to Lewis, touching his shoulder gently and he opened pale eyes to look at her. "It occurs to me that I'm not sure where to start." He said in bemusement.

"Do you know where the Quetzal come from?" Sloan asked hurriedly and Lewis turned his head toward her.

"Yes and no. The Quetzal are a natural mutation. We were meant to happen just as humans were meant to happen 40,000 years ago but. . ." He paused to swallow. "But I don't think we were meant to happen now."

"What do you mean?"

"The Quetzal are meant to eventually take over, to inherit the Earth, if you will, but. . ." He stopped again, closing his eyes. When he spoke again, his voice seemed stronger. "If you look at the world's history, at the timing of major disasters, you'll find that pockets of Quetzal appeared. Most notably, right after the Black Plague. That was a false start. . .those Quetzal were either killed off or assimilated back into the populace. It happened several times throughout history."

"Why didn't the Quetzal simply take over then?" Ray asked and Lewis rolled his head to look at him.

"It wasn't their time yet. Not enough born. Mother Nature realized her mistake and let the Quetzal fade until it was time. We were meant, I think, to take over when something happened to depopulate the world of humans. We were suppose to come into power then, assimilate the humans and then the Quetzal would take over."

"But nothing like that has happened."

"But it almost did." Sable cut in. "The World Wars. The trigger that creates Quetzal was activated. And is still being activated by plagues and disasters around the world. We think." She said the last bit softly.

"But you don't think the Quetzal were meant to appear now." Sloan said.

"No. I think they were meant to appear after, say, three-fourths of the human population was gone. Millennia in the future. I think someone. . .or something. . .has done something to change that. By all rights, the Quetzal should have faded into the background by now."

Lewis muttered something low, under his breath and Sable patted his chest almost absently. "I love you too, Lewis but hush now. I think she may be starting to understand."

Sloan blinked at her. "Guess again. And explain again. Using small words."

"I'll try." Sable smiled. "By all rights, only small pockets of Quetzal should be appearing, just to test the waters, and then, when it became apparent that humans hadn't managed to destroy themselves, the Quetzal would have faded again without ever figuring out that they were different."

"Just the occasional psychopath come visiting?" Ray asked.

"Or the occasional genus. Not all Quetzal are psychopaths. Actually, not many of them are.  Back in the very old days, it was easier for them. They packed up and left the cities, maintained their sanity by isolating themselves from the constant barrage of emotions not their own. Then again, the very smallness of the villages and towns helped. And some of them did achieve great things. Now there are too many people. They can't isolate themselves very easily and they can't deal with the emotions they feel from others. Their own emotions and the outside emotions are too much for them. Some, like Lewis, survive by turning off their own emotions. Others. . ."

". . .survive by turning off other peoples emotions." Ray said suddenly, sitting up straight. "By killing them."

"Very good. Yes. That's why most young Quetzal start off by killing their parents. Siblings. Classmates. The Quetzal are empaths and they can't turn that ability off. Humans surround them with their wild, strong emotions...a constant buzz that can slowly drive them mad. The only way to stop it. . ."

". . .is to kill the humans." Sloan finished.

"You're explaining it badly." Lewis muttered, proving he wasn't asleep as the others were beginning to think.

"I am, aren't I? Let me try it again. You said that the first generation Quetzal, like Lewis, should be different because they were raised by humans. They had a chance, supposedly, to know love, right? Doesn't work that way, trust me. From day one, a Quetzal is hit by emotions not their own. They can't understand it, they don't know what's what and the Deities help you if your parents hate them for some reason or another. Or hate each other. Or just don't plain care. For that reason, the majority of the first generation Quetzal shut themselves down emotionally. Those that didn't tended to kill themselves or ended up being killed or institutionalized. And then, when they started raising children of their own. . ."

"The children didn't develop emotionally because they had nothing to base those emotions on." Sloan again.

"Yes. The Quetzal are a race of emotionally stunted people, unable to interact with each other. Unable even to care about each other."

"That doesn't make any sense." Sloan interrupted. "For a species to survive, there has to be some kind of interaction. The primary function of a species is the continuation of the species. From everything I've seen so far, there is no parent/child bond."

"And there lies the rub. . ." Lewis muttered.

Sable leaned over him. "Are you even awake?"

Lewis doesn't answer and Sable shakes her head. "Mother Nature isn't perfect. From what I've been able to understand, there is no bond. At least, not at first. Let me rephrase that. Or try to explain it. The problem is, we don't have much in the way of generations to work with. Lewis is one of the oldest of Quetzal; he had no role model to work from. The first generation Quetzal had only each other to emulate. Emotions were bad, they hurt so shut them off and stay with each other because then you didn't get the constant buzz of other people's emotions and be sure and teach the children to turn off their emotions as well. They mate with humans and each other for no other reason then to produce children. . .without emotional attachments, sex was just that. . .procreation. . .and children were just drones to further their plans."

"To destroy humans." Ed said.

"To protect themselves in the only way they could think of. Let me explain by giving you a "what-if?". Let's say you are living in a very nice house in a decent neighborhood and one day you walk out to find a large nest of hornets have taken up residence under the eaves. Their buzzing is constant and stings painful but, for one reason or another, you can't get them to leave. So you leave, move away from the hornets but then you find they have followed you. And they continue to follow you from place to place with their buzzing and stinging. What eventually is going to happen?"

"Sooner or later," Sloan said slowly. "We'd kill the hornets."

"And that's what the Quetzal are doing. Trying to destroy the hornets. Trying to protect themselves as well because if humans knew they existed, the Quetzal would be hunted down."

"Do unto others before they do unto you?" Ray said.

"You don't believe me? Not fifty years ago, six million Jews were killed because Hitler didn't consider them human. All over this world, even as we speak, thousands are being killed because their skin is a different color or because they believe in a different God or because they have a different ethnic background then those killing them. There is a difference, of course. All those people are human. The same species as you are. The Quetzal aren't human and that alone will give most people a right to kill them."

"You seem certain of that." Sloan said.

"I am certain of that. Humans will kill the Quetzal for the same reason the Native American was slaughtered or Africans enslaved a little over a hundred years ago. The reason wolves and bison are slaughtered. They aren't human, they're dangerous, there isn't room on this planet for them. I don't agree with what the Quetzal are doing but I do understand why they're doing it. Unfortunately, it will eventually back-fire on them. A species where the children and the protection of mates aren't important is doomed. Or, as Lazarus Long once put it, attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal."

"Unless. . ." Lewis opened his eyes and looked at Sable, waiting.

"Unless there's a second-stage to Quetzal development. Unless, eventually, Quetzal do gain control of their empathy and learn about emotions. . ."

"Or. . .?" Lewis prompted, his eyes again closed.

Sable made a face at him. "Or, somehow, the Quetzal have been genegineered not to have emotions. That they are either a created race. . .which means a lot of what's just been said isn't true. . ..or someone. . .or something. . .messed with the Quetzal's genes, making them into a race that will wipe out humans and then commit specie suicide, turning on each other simply because they have no reason not to."

"That's bleak." Ray murmured.

"Yes, it is." Lewis answered. "Very."

Seeing that Lewis is seriously tired, Sable insists that everyone leaves. She remains behind and, once out of earshot, Ed remarks on something she said. Or didn't say. She had said "as human as you are". Not as human as I or as human as we. But Tom insists she isn't a Quetzal. Later, when they were alone, he tells Sloan he knew Sable wasn't a Quetzal but he couldn't tell what she was.

Lewis is healing swiftly now; within two days he's able to sit up and walk with some difficulty. Seeing that Lewis has no more to say to them, the foursome pack up to leave. On their way out, they stop in the nearby village to stay the night but they meet Attwood and a team heading for the house. (One of the foursome called him, I suspect Ed.) With great reluctance, they return to the house. Some of the team heads around the back, the others go through the front door.

Sable is in the kitchen, wearing nothing more then a man's shirt only partially buttoned, stirring something in a very large pot. Lewis is relaxing in a chair nearby, watching her. Neither seems aware of the intruders.

"You realize you're ruining my reputation."

"And that's a bad thing?"

"And making me go up with the blinds." Lewis added ruefully.

"Oh, that's definitely not a bad thing.." Sable turns, spotting the group. "What took you so long? I expected you last night. Of course, we did manage to amuse ourselves while we waited."

Attwood tells her they've come for Lewis, Sable asks for their identification and warrants. Attwood starts to say something when suddenly the room is swarming with the village law, very angry law. The members of the team, unable to produce official identification or warrants are arrested. Attwood makes a phone call to the President, handing it off to Sable.

"Hello? Yes. . .Sable Horne. Yes. Mooreland. Oh, yes. I know that. Not in this lifetime. He is mine and I'm not giving him up. I recommend you take a gander at that instillation they had him in. Last I heard, experimentation on human subjects is illegal and everyone knows that the Quetzal don't exist so what do you suppose would happen if the media finds out about that little laboratory. Oh, yes I would and you know it. Uh-huh. You bet. Now, do you want those men who broke in here taken to the jail in the village or the one under it? Right. I thought so. Certainly."

She hands the phone back to Attwood, who goes pale as he is told to leave Lewis where he is and to stay away from both him and Sable. He puts the phone away, watching as Sable takes a filled bowl over to Lewis, casually straddling him and waving a spoon at him.

"Come on, give it a try."

Lewis grimaces. "I have tried it."

"You tried a batch a couple weeks ago. This is a new batch. A new recipe."

"Oh. . ." He takes the spoon, prodding at the offered bowl warily before trying a small bite. Immediately his expression changed and he took the bowl, digging in enthusiastically.

"Told you you'd like it." Sable said smugly as she rose and walked back over to Attwood. "You can pick your men up at the jail on the way out of the village."

"Do you have any idea what you're doing?" Attwood demanded.

"Oh, yes. I know exactly what I'm doing. Now get out before I show you down to the lime pit under the house."

Lewis looked up. "You have a lime pit under the house?"

Sable looked at him with a smile. "What do you think?"

Lewis blinked. "I think I'm in love." He said in a voice that radiated both wonder and awe.

Sable laughs then proceeds to show everyone out to the door. Sloan hangs back, waving the others ahead. She asks Sable if she really thinks Lewis has changed. Sable suggests she have a long talk with Tom about the Quetzals child-rearing techniques and relationships within a Quetzal families then come back in six months and to skittle now. . .she had a man to attend to.


NOTES: Well, I know this tale doesn't jib with the show...of course, parts of the show doesn't jib with the show...but I kinda like it. People will wonder how Lewis changed so much. Who says he has? I like to think he's merely met his match in a woman quite capable of holding her own with him and is changing him with sheer will-power. Or maybe he's changing for her.

There's a lot I've left open in this tale....what happened to Lewis while in custody? Who or what is Sable? Why was Attwood told to leave Lewis and Sable alone?

From what I understand about the "new species", they seem to have no loyalty to each other and no familial feelings. (Please let me know if I'm wrong about this. I've only seen the episodes with Lewis in them and not even all of those.) Hence, the bit from Lazarus Long, "attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal." And the wondering if maybe the new species had been tampered with to heighten the aggression levels and lower emotional attachments.

The term "Quetzal" came from a discussion on the PREY message boards concerning the fact that all these seemingly Caucasian members of the new species come from somewhere in Mexico.

Due to the fact that I have several other stories going, I will not be able to write this story anytime soon. If anyone would like to write this story or any version of it, please just .

The village of Mooreland and the Roberts House plays a prominent part in my FAMILY TREE series. Sable Horne, and her partner Ben Phoenix, will be appearing in A GLASS HOUSE Revisited.


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