Beauty and the Beast
A fanfiction based on the 1987 tv-series
Situated in an alternate third season, where Catherine and Vincent are still together
Sequels “Fallen Stars”
By Anita Meuris
Something smashed against Annie’s bedroom door. The pencil in her hand pulled a hectic, black line across the portrait she had drawn on a piece of cardboard. It was the face of a woman: delicate cheekbones, big eyes, wavy black hair. Her mother. On the other side of the door wood split open. A penetrating male voice yelled. Annie put the drawing on her bed and carefully moved towards the door. As she reached for the knob, she realized her entire body was trembling.
“Annie!” a woman’s voice shrieked from the adjoining room. “Don’t unlock the door!”
Something fell to the ground.
A sickening noise followed, much like breaking bones.
Still trembling Annie turned the key. Cautiously she peered through the slit of the door. Furniture was scattered about. A chair was broken in two and the pieces of a mirror covered the floor. Two large feet stood in a pool of blood. Instinctively she pulled back.
Footsteps approached. It felt as if her legs were made of plaster. She was afraid that if she moved, they would splatter across the floor, just like the mirror.
The footsteps halted. She heard the man breathe behind the door. Then he went away, his heals swiftly tapping towards the front door. It slammed. The key was turned. The man had imprisoned her, but he was gone.
Finally, she could feel a tingle in her legs. Her hand still trembled as she pulled open the door and stared at the wreckage. Vases, paintings, photographs … everything that was beautiful was destroyed. In the middle of the debris laid a woman. She had delicate cheekbones and wavy, black hair. Her large, grey eyes stared, but could no longer see.
Catherine’s heart leapt at the sight of him. She suspected it always would. He appeared from behind the iron gate, a tall, wide-shouldered figure. His fingers folded around the iron bars and she saw a glimpse of his long, sharp fingernails. The fence squeaked open. She threw herself in his embrace, taking in the smell of fireplaces, candles and old books.
“I thought the night would never come,” she sighed against his chest.
His fingernails ran through her hair and just for a second scraped the skin beneath her shoulder. He loosened his grip and she leaned back in his arms to look up at his face.
“You look beautiful,” he said.
She had bought a blue silk gown for the occasion and wore her long, oak wood colored hair loosely over her bare shoulders.
“Like the indigo evening sky.”
A smile played about her lips.
“I had Mouse bring my present up to your chamber,” she changed the subject.
“Hmm,” Vincent softly hummed, “I noticed he was acting even more peculiar than usual. Come …”
His warm fingers folded around her hand.
“I too have prepared a surprise.”
He led her through a maze of tunnels and caves. In the distance she could hear the tapping on the pipes.
To her surprise Vincent did not stop at his chamber, but entered an adjoining chamber instead, which was lit with a hundred candles. They were in every alcove, flickered in large chandeliers. In a nearby tunnel, she could hear children running and giggling. The candles lit a large collection of drawings, hanging from cords. They all portrayed Vincent and herself. In some of the drawings they were sitting in the park, enjoying a picknick. In others they were dancing in the great hall or walking through the mountains.
“Vincent,” she sighed. “These are beautiful. Did the children make them?”
“Yes,” Vincent’s low, slightly hoarse voice echoed. “They dreamt up an entire life for us.”
She let go of his hand to take a closer look at each of the drawings.
“In a way,” Vincent said, “it is also their anniversary. It is the day you came into their lives.”
She turned around to face him, a wide smile pressing dimples in her cheeks.
“It’s a wonderful surprise,” she concluded.
Her gaze slid to a small table behind Vincent, where an old gramophone was placed.
“I see that your surprise has arrived as well.”
She crouched down and went through a suitcase filled with old records.
“These belonged to my father,” she commented. “He would want you to have them.”
She pulled out a record and put it on. After some creaking a frail woman’s voice sang the introduction to the Flower Duet.
“Rise and shine, Radcliff.”
She looked up from her books and found Joe Maxwell hovering over her desk. He had his sleeves rolled up and looked somewhat agitated.
“I’ve been in since eight,” she replied.
“Yeah, but you quit early last night.”
Joe lifted his eyebrows.
“So, how was your date?”
She couldn’t help but laugh.
“Actually, it was an anniversary celebration, and it was nice.”
Joe’s eyes widened.
“Just how long have you been seeing this guy?”
She nonchalantly raised her shoulders.
“… three years.”
Joe tried to grasp the notion.
“So, when were you going to fill me in?”
“I’m filling you in now.”
She produced her most charming smile and Joe quickly softened up.
“He’s treating you okay then?”
His eyes studied her face.
“You look happy,” he had to admit.
Her smile rubbed off on him.
“Good for you, Radcliff. You’ll have some extra energy for your new case.”
A file landed on her desk.
“It’s a homicide.”
Catherine opened the file and immediately gasped. The crime scene photos were positively gruesome.
“Young woman stabbed with a chair leg,” Joe commented. “Suspect’s in custody, but the police have to let him go.”
She browsed through the file. There was just so much rampage.
A composite was included. It was drawn in remarkable detail. It pictured a handsome face with light eyes and squeezed, thin lips. The pencil strikes almost made it come to live.
“Looks like we have a witness?”
“We do,” Joe confirmed, “but she doesn’t speak, so she can’t testify.”
“Our witness is mute?” Catherine asked. “We can get an interpreter for the trial.”
Joe shook his head.
“She’s not mute. She just doesn’t speak. Trauma, I guess.”
He gestured at the drawing. “She’s his daughter.”
Father was standing by his desk, leaning on his walking stick.
“Thank God it’s you. I’m hiding from Skipper. He completely crushed me at chess today.”
“He’s no longer a child.”
Father lifted his eyebrows.
“He’s been beating me ever since he was a boy, much like you I must add.”
Vincent took a seat.
“So …” Father somewhat hesitantly continued. “How is Catherine?”
“And … how did your little arrangement go last night?”
Vincent’s smile widened, revealing glimpses of his sharp canine teeth.
“We’ve been good, Father. There is no need for you to worry.”
“Yes,” Father awkwardly mumbled. “Well … Good. That’s good.”
Before he had a chance to question Vincent any further two boys stormed in.
“Vincent! Vincent!” they exclaimed. “You must come quickly. Jimmy and Dylan are fighting.”
By the time Vincent had followed the boys to the chamber that Mary used to teach crafts, the youngsters were already rolling over the floor, pulling at each other’s hair and clothing. A group of children had formed a circle around them. Some were cheering. Mary was hopelessly attempting to break up the fight without getting hit.
“Dear God!” Father exclaimed over Vincent’s shoulder.
His voice hardly drowned out the hammock.
“Dylan!” Vincent roared. “Jimmy! Stop this!”
Instantly the chamber went quiet. The circle broke up and the boys slowly stood up, straightening their clothing.
“What on earth is going on?” Vincent insisted. “This is not how we solve our conflicts.”
The boys both stared at their feet.
“Dylan,” Vincent tried. “What happened?”
The boy looked up, still flushed from the excitement.
“Jimmy told me a four-year-old drew better than me and that you and Catherine were probably embarrassed to see my drawing.”
“Your drawing was a favorite,” Vincent disputed, “because it came from your heart.”
“Jimmy,” Father stepped in. “Why did you say these things?”
The other kid shrugged.
“Because it’s true. Dylan’s drawing is awful, and you taught me to always be truthful.”
“Truthful yes,” Father agreed, “but not hurtful.”
“So I can lie if someone doesn’t want to hear the truth?”
Father seemed at a loss for words, so Vincent stepped in:
“Jimmy, you know the difference between being truthful and being spiteful. Now apologize to Dylan.”
The kid sighed.
“Dylan,” Vincent continued, “come. I want to speak with you.”
“I think this is enough for today,” Father concluded as Vincent took the boy outside. “Mary will continue tomorrow. Now go wash up for diner.”
Dylan leaned against the rock wall and did his best to avoid eye contact. He was only 14, but his eyes reflected the horrors he had witnessed in the world above.
“Why did you reside to fist fighting?” Vincent asked. “You are so much smarter than that.”
“They don’t understand anything,” the kid quietly replied. “Just like up top.”
“You need to explain them.”
The kid glanced at Vincent, who continued:
“I’m sorry about your mother.”
“Yes … Talk to the other children. Many of them have lost a loved one. They too will understand.”
Dylan pressed his back even further against the wall.
“I’m tired of making people understand.”
Vincent squeezed his shoulder. In a soft and gentle voice, he urged:
“Still, you must try.”
When Catherine entered the conference room a young girl was sitting at the table, eyes cast down, hands folded in her lap. She was thin and pale, and her raven black hair covered most of her face.
The girl looked up as Catherine approached her.
“Hi. I’m Catherine Chandler. I’m handling your parent’s case.”
A notebook and pencil were placed in front of the girl, but she did not pick them up.
“I’m so sorry about your mom,” Catherine continued, wondering if she should put a comforting hand on her shoulder. She decided to wait.
“She was a kind person, wasn’t she?”
The girl tentatively nodded.
“Unlike your father?”
Annie’s eyes widened in fear.
Catherine picked the composite out of her bag and put it on the table.
“This is the man you identified as you mother’s murderer. It is your dad?”
Again, Annie nodded.
“Annie … I read your testimony. It was very brave, but if we want to convict your father you will need to testify in a courtroom.”
Annie stared at her with so much sadness it broke Catherine’s heart.
“You will need to speak aloud.”
A spark flickered in Annie’s eyes. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Instead, teardrops slid down her face. Instinctively Catherine wrapped her arms around the girl. Her entire body, frail and cold, was shivering.
The composite looked exactly like Julian Morris. He was a handsome man with sandy blonde hair, high cheekbones and penetrating blue eyes, but just like in the composite his soul did not reflect in his eyes. In fact, they were cold and shallow.
He picked up the phone to talk to the woman who was seated at the other end of the glass.
“Julian,” she sighed. “How are they treating you?”
Julian stared at her face, which was covered in make-up and shrugged.
“The cooking’s better than Tammy’s.”
“They can’t pin her death on you, right?”
“They got nothing,” Julian proclaimed.
“And the girl?”
Julian produced a mocking laugh.
“She won’t talk. She hasn’t talked since she was four or five. Even in school she would write down her answers for the teachers. She only ever talked to Tammy.”
He waited for a moment.
“You told the cops I was with you?” he then asked.
The woman nodded.
“I told them. Word for word. Exactly like we rehearsed.”
Her hand flew to the glass.
“We can be together soon, right?”
“Sure,” Julian confirmed, but his voice sounded shallow. “We’ll be together.”
Catherine locked her apartment door behind her and kicked off her shoes. It had been a long day. After her meeting with Annie, she had driven to the crime scene to speak with the neighbors. Everyone agreed that Julian Morris was a hard man, who regularly beat up his wife, but no one could provide any information that was useful in a murder case.
A soft tapping on the glass terrace doors drew her attention. Again, her heart leapt. Swiftly she threw her coat aside and rushed to open the doors.
“Vincent,” she sighed as she welcomed his embrace. “I’m so glad you came.”
His breath caressed her hair.
“I could feel your turmoil.”
She pressed a kiss on the side of his neck and leaned back in his arms.
“It’s a case I’m assigned to. A woman got stabbed with a chair leg. She had locked her thirteen-year-old daughter in the bedroom to protect her. The poor girl heard the whole thing. She’s traumatized.”
“All this useless violence,” Vincent mused, “when will it stop?”
“We have the perpetrator in custody,” Catherine said, “but without the girl’s testimony he most probably will walk.”
A gentle breeze played through her hair.
“After the murder he locked the girl in the apartment with her dead mother. He hoped that she would try to revive her and that the forensic traces would incriminate her.”
“This man is a shell,” Vincent concluded. “He has no soul.”
“The girl is terrified of him,” Catherine agreed. “He is the monster in her closet, and he is very real.”
“Perhaps if she was separated from him,” Vincent thought up, “separated from his world, his dominion.”
“You mean if she stayed below?”
“She could discover a different world,” Vincent explained, “a safe world.”
“I don’t think this girl has ever felt safe,” Catherine said. “Being surrounded by people who care may help her to overcome her fears.”
Quietly Annie followed Catherine Chandler down to her basement, through a strange hole in the wall and down a ladder to a deserted part of the building. She liked Catherine. She was kind and patient, and she did not get angry for her lack of speech. On top of that she was gorgeous. Annie stared at her as she walked towards some stone debris, followed by another hole in the wall. She wore a tasteful black pencil skirt and a white blouse, which accentuated her slim figure. Her thick, shiny hair fell loosely down her back.
“Vincent?” she called out in a soft, somewhat drawling voice.
A cloaked figure appeared from out of the hole. For a moment Annie was afraid. The unknown man was so big. He could snap her neck in a second. Then he stepped into the light and she could see his peculiar, catlike face.
“Don’t be afraid,” he spoke to her. “You are amongst friends.”
Strangely enough her fear had completely disappeared.
“This is the friend I told you about,” Catherine commented. “Vincent. He will take you some place safe.”
Vincent reached out a large, clawed hand. Her own hand slid gently over his palm. His grip felt warm, solid, safe.
“Go,” Catherine encouraged her with a gentle smile on her face. “You will be alright.”
Annie stepped into the dark. Deeper and deeper she followed Vincent under the ground. The deeper they went, the more she began to relax.
Suddenly she heard a flute playing in the distance. Someone was laughing. People talked. She tensed up.
“It’s quite safe,” Vincent assured her. “No one will hurt you down here.”
She wanted to ask him where they were, who these people were, who he was, but her throat was dry, and the words got stuck like bugs in honey.
“Mary has prepared a chamber for you,” Vincent continued.
He paused at the entrance of a cave. When she peeped in, she saw a bed, a cupboard, a writing table with paper and an antique lamp.
“Let us know if you need anything. Any of us. We are all here to help.”
He left her to explore the room. It was chilly, but someone had left warm clothes on the bed. They seemed hand-made, like the bedspread and the pillows. She put on the sweater and tried the chair by the writing table. It was old, but comfortable. Hesitantly she picked up a pen and a piece of paper. She stared at it for a moment, let the blankness fill her mind. Then she began to draw.
“What have you done with my daughter?”
Startled at the sudden noise, Catherine looked up from her files. There was a tall, robustly built man standing beside her desk. She recognized his face from Annie’s drawing. With an annoyed sigh she put down her pen.
“Mister Morris, I presume.”
“You know exactly who I am,” the man snapped. “Now tell me where my girl is!”
When Catherine refused to answer, his face became red with anger.
“I am her legal guardian,” he hissed, “and what you are doing is against the law!”
“Wow wow wow …”
Joe Maxwell appeared from behind Julian Morris.
“What’s going on here?”
“She’s kidnapped my daughter!” Julian lashed out.
Catherine got up from her desk, but Joe beat her to it:
“Those are some serious accusations you are directing towards a government official, sir. I do hope you have some solid evidence to back them up.”
Over Julian’s shoulder Joe glanced at Catherine, who subtilty shook her head.
“You have her,” Julian insisted, “and I will get her back!”
Without further notice he rushed out the office, leaving Joe alone with Catherine. The tips of his eyebrows almost touched in perplexity.
“She’s in a secure location,” Catherine reassured him. “I didn’t want him to get to her. She’s the only witness to his crime. You saw the level of brutality he’s capable of.”
“Okay, Radcliff,” Joe agreed. “I’m counting on you to build us a case before this guy finds anything worth suing us over.”
She sent him a thankful smile.
“I won’t let you down, Joe.”
There was a secluded place underground, an alcove where you could see the water flow. Vincent said it was a good place to think. The sound of the water calmed the mind. Annie focused on the rippling sound, but her mind was still in chaos. No matter how hard she tried to block it out, she could still hear her father yelling, her mother crying. The furniture kept falling and she saw every detail of her mother’s lifeless face.
A boy approached her. He looked about her age. Dark, messy hair. Big, bright eyes. He sat down beside her.
She stared into his eyes. Maybe she could try talking to him. He seemed kind. She opened her mouth, but the sound died in her larynx.
“It’s okay,” Dylan said. “I know you don’t talk. Talking’s overrated anyway.”
A tentative smile appeared on her face.
“I heard about your mom,” Dylan continued. “That sucks.”
She lowered her eyes.
“My mom died two years ago,” Dylan told her. “She was murdered too.”
Instantly Annie looked at his face. Her eyes were wide and lively.
“Yeah,” Dylan said. “I saw her body. Some guy had beaten her to death. Her face was all swollen and bloody.”
“She was a prostitute. The cops didn’t care much about finding the killer, so I tried to find him instead. Never did. Just got into all sorts of trouble. The street’s a tough place for a kid. I’m lucky Vincent found me when he did.”
He smiled at her and it felt like a light bulb started glowing between her rib case.
“Catherine’s a good woman,” he said. “She’ll find whoever did it.”
The word flew out of her mouth. It sounded feeble and shaky, but Dylan had heard it. Encouraged by his excitement she tried again:
“Dad did it.”
The apartment building Catherine had entered looked nothing like the one she lived in. The floors were dirty, and the staircase was covered in garbage. Once she had reached the hallway, she had to step over a sleeping man to get to the door. Her gloved hand knocked on the worn wood.
“Miss Jones?” she cautiously called out.
Behind her the man moved a leg, but he did not wake up.
“Miss Jones, are you in? I need to talk to you.”
She knocked a second time.
Finally, the door cracked open and a chubby blonde appeared. Her face was covered in cheap make-up.
“What do you want?”
“My name is Catherine Chandler. I would like to talk to you about Julian Morris.”
The woman granted her access to the flat. The wallpaper was peeling off. The couch looked old and cheap and there were cigarette buds all over the coffee table.
“His alibi stands,” Christy Jones proclaimed. “Julian was right here when Tammy was attacked.”
“Are you sure?” Catherine persisted.
Christy pushed aside an empty soda can and took a seat.
“He was fixing my sink. He’s a good man, you know. Always helps me out.”
She lit a cigarette.
“I’m telling you you’re chasing the wrong guy.”
Catherine remained silent for a moment. Then she took out a picture and placed it on the coffee table. Slowly she shoved it towards Christy Jones. She waited for the woman to take in the image. As she had hoped, it made her stomach turn.
“Go ahead,” she said. “Pick it up. Take a good look.”
Christy reached out her hand. Her sleeve pulled up and Catherine could see a bruise on her wrist.
“He is incapable of love,” she remarked. “Please, miss Jones. Don’t let yourself become his next victim.”
Gently Annie placed the small bag with her belongings on the couch. The living room was so big and tidy. The walls were painted in soothing pastel colors and she could clearly distinguish the subtill smell of wild roses. It was nothing like the crampy, moist flat her parents rented.
“I hope you will feel at home here,” Catherine said. She too smelled of roses. “I know it’s nothing like the tunnels, but it is safe.”
Annie, still a bit uneasy with conversation, nodded and cautiously took a seat in the soft cushion sofa.
“I’ll warm up some soup,” Catherine suggested.
She disappeared to the kitchen and Annie was left to take in her new surroundings. Everything looked very tasteful and expensive. She grabbed her bag and pulled out her map of drawings. There was a portrait of her mother, one of Father, of Mary, Vincent, and Dylan. She stared at Dylan’s face, taking in every detail. If she stared long enough his features would come to life and she could pretend he was here with her.
The phone rang.
“Catherine Chandler … Okay, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
Catherine hung up and called out to her:
“I need to go back to the office for a couple of minutes.”
She brought her a cup of tomato soup, put on a red woolen coat and said: “I just need to fetch a case file. I’ll make it quick. Lock the door behind me. Don’t let anyone in unless it’s Joe.”
Before she left, she put a warm hand on Annie’s cheek and sent her a reassuring smile.
The next moment she was gone, and Annie felt like a tiny insect in a ballroom. She returned to her drawings. Dylan’s face had almost come to live when the phone rang a second time. She tried to ignore it, but the ringing relentlessly continued. Perhaps it was Catherine.
Her hand trembled as she lifted the hook. She immediately recognized the voice:
“Hi there, baby girl.”
Panic raged through her veins.
“You didn’t think you could hide from me, did you?”
Quickly she put down the phone, frantically searching for a sign that her father was secretly watching her. The only windows she could find, were the glass doors which lead to the balcony. The thin, pink curtains were closed, but the light was on, so a peeping tom could easily peer through them.
In an impulse she rushed to the door, unlocked the various locks, and ran into the hallway. Thankfully, it was empty. She hurried to the elevator, ran out the luxurious entrance hall and rushed to the park, where she knew an entrance to the world below. She ran through the dark, her breath tearing at her throat and her heart thundering in her chest. In the distance she could see the tunnel. She took up the pace. Tears welled up in her eyes. Almost there! Almost …
Suddenly a pair of arms grabbed her, rendering her unable to move.
“Hello, baby girl …”
The thick voice seemed to pour down her ear, sticky and cold, like syrup.
“I knew I’d find you. You’re mine, you see, and now …”
His breath rattled.
“… I’ll burry you someplace I’ll always be able to find you.”
From deep within her a scream welded up. It swelled inside her longs until it rocketed out of her mouth. It was so loud her father startled for a moment, but not hard enough to loosen his grip.
“You’ll be alright in the end,” he growled. “Tammy will take care of you.”
The blade of a knife glimmered in the moonlight.
“Don’t fight it …”
Nearby an animal growled. Julian Morris was sufficiently unnerved by the sound to glance over his shoulder. He saw a dark shape moving across the trees. When the moonlight hit it, it revealed a flat nose, a split upper lip, and shiny, narrow eyes.
Instinctively he cast the girl aside and ran. Not fast enough, it seemed. Sharp claws pierced through the skin of his upper arms. The beast pulled him to the ground. The last thing he heard before he passed out was a chilling, lion-like roar.
“And you wait,” Vincent read aloud, “for the one thing that will change your life, make it more than it is. Something wonderful, exceptional.”
Catherine leaned against his chest, her hands wrapped around his arms as he turned the page.
“Stones awakening, depths opening to you. In the dusky bookstalls old books glimmer gold and brown. You think of lands you journeyed through, of paintings and a dress once worn by a woman you never found again. And suddenly you know that was enough. You rise and there appears before you in all its longings and hesitations the shape of what you lived.”
“I love Rilke,” Catherine sighed.
All around them candles were flickering. One of Annie’s drawings was hung up on the wall. It portrayed Vincent and herself in almost the exact embrace that they were in right now.
“How is Annie settling in?”
Vincent closed the poetry book.
“Quite well. It almost feels like she was always here.”
“It has become her home,” Catherine understood.
Vincent chuckled and lowered his voice:
“Dylan is especially pleased with her presence.”
“They are in love,” Catherine whispered. “Perhaps that love finally gave her the strength to face her father.”
“Love is the most powerful force in our hearts,” Vincent mused. “It enables us to do remarkable things.”
“Julian Morris was a man without love,” Catherine thought up. “That was his downfall.”
“Yes,” Vincent agreed. “We must never forget how blessed we are.”
Catherine pressed a kiss on the back of his hand.