Morgan woke up in her bed, just as the summer sun started trickling in through the shutters. Quinn had stayed the night before and after Braden had fallen asleep, they had shifted into wolves for a race on the cliffs.
She stretched her muscles, still sore from last night’s run. The spot beside her pillow was cold and she sat up in alarm. She tried to relax… Quinn would have woken her if it were something serious.
Padding down the hall, she peeked in on Braden, who was still sleeping soundly.
She had finally gotten comfortable enough to move his crib to his own room. She chuckled at her new puppy, snoring on the rug next to Braden. She’d named her Méabh, which meant, the cause of great joy, in old Irish. Having her there guarding her son helped alleviate her fears of not having him right next to her.
She frowned at where her thoughts were going. She was safe here in Ireland, with Quinn. She had to stop thinking that they might have to make an escape in the dead of night. She was done running. This was their home and she would not be afraid anymore.
Smiling again, she walked into the kitchen and stopped when she saw Quinn leaning against the counter. Her smile widened until he looked up. The look on his face had her heart dropping to her feet.
“Quinn, what is it?” She ran to him, checking him for injury. “Are you hurt?”
“No, no,” he mumbled, pushing her hands down. “I’m fine, Morgan.”
“All fine.” She sighed at his words but knew something horrible had to have happened.
“What is it, Quinn?” she asked quietly, fear knotting in her belly. He took a deep breath but glanced up when the door to the cottage opened. Max held the door open as Clare walked in, her belly beginning to show her pregnancy. Her eyes were puffy and red-rimmed.
Morgan ran to her, placing her hands on her Aunt’s waist, checking the lives growing inside. “They’re fine,” she mumbled, still searching. “You’re all fine.”
“It’s not us, dear,” Clare whispered, grabbing Morgan’s hands and holding them.
“Quinn?” Morgan’s breath hitched. Clare and Max had come as reinforcements. She could feel Brigid’s connection with her, waiting to come if she was needed. “What’s going on?” Quinn sighed, a deep sound that made him sound years older than he was.
“Morgan, love,” His shoulders slumped with an invisible weight. He let out a breath as he fumbled for the right thing to say. “Clare has been having some strange dreams lately… about Douglas.”
“My... my father?” Morgan whispered as Quinn nodded. It was the last thing she had expected him to say. “What kind of dreams?” Morgan asked, trying to keep the panic from rising.
“Bad ones,” Quinn answered, seeing that Clare would not be able to answer without weeping.
“So, I made some calls,” Max told her, not wanting Clare to have to answer anything. “For some local police to go and check on him…”
“What are you trying to tell me?” She was clenching her fists, her fingers beginning to tingle.
“He’s gone, Morgan,” Clare wailed, unable to contain her grief. She broke down, falling onto Max for support. Morgan stood still for a moment, trying to digest what she had just heard.
“What do you mean, he’s gone?” she shouted, her voice becoming hysterical. “Gone where?” Quinn gently took her arm and pulled her to him.
“He’s dead, Morgan,” he told her as he wrapped his arms around her. “They found him on the floor in his living room. He’d been strangled.”
“What?” Morgan managed before the breath she’d been holding rushed out of her. “Murdered?”
“It appeared so. He’d been dead for quite some time,” Quinn answered, sorrow filling him.
“Max?” Morgan’s voice was a whisper as she turned towards her new uncle. Quinn kept his arms around her, sensing that she hadn’t quite absorbed what she was hearing. Max sighed, hugging Clare close as she wept onto his shoulder.
“The evidence of foul play was undeniable. I made some more calls, updated the local detectives on your case. They ran some fingerprints. They got a match almost instantly.”
“It was Jonathan,” Morgan’s voice was flat. She didn’t need to ask and when Max nodded she slumped back against Quinn’s solid chest.
“He’s required to have fingerprints registered as a practicing lawyer in Texas. His prints were all over the house. Photo albums, address books… your father’s body.”
“He was trying to find me,” Morgan whispered, her blood going cold. “To find all of us.”
“That’s what it looked like,” Max answered. The room was silent, save Clare’s quiet weeping. Morgan looked up at Max and then Quinn, realizing they were still tense.
“That’s not all is it?”
“They put Jonathan’s fingerprints through Interpol since they know that he left the country,” Max explained. “They had more hits to recent crimes almost immediately.”
“No. This can’t be happening,” Morgan slid to the floor, Quinn following her, supporting her weight.
“Two women in the London area. One tended a pub. The other was a student at the university. Both strangled. Fingerprints matched. He took the student’s car,” he sighed again as he watched Morgan talking in gulps of air in Quinn’s arms. “Two in Liverpool. A woman and her husband. On the docks. They had a boat. That’s been stolen as well.” Morgan could feel the room spinning as Max told her the facts.
“What else?” she whispered. She needed to know, though her mind wanted her to black out.
“One in Dublin.” Morgan gasped as he said this. Jonathan was in Ireland now. “A young girl, only 16. She recognized him from the Interpol flyers Ian had put up. She was pulling out her phone to call the Garda. Jonathan saw what she was doing and stabbed her. There were witnesses but he disappeared before anyone could restrain him.”
“When?” Morgan barely found her voice for the question.
“The last was yesterday.”
“Oh my god,” Morgan swayed as she attempted to stand, while Quinn tried to make her sit back down. “Six people dead. My father,” she mumbled, her vision blurry but managed to find her feet. She pushed Quinn away, as she stumbled to the edge of the couch. Because of me.”
“No, Morgan,” they all said in unison. Morgan shook her head, anger filling her.
“They died because of me!” She slapped Quinn’s arm away when he reached for her, using some of her power to do it. She held him back with it as she ran to the door, wanting, needing to escape. She heard him shout for her but she kept running. Towards the sea and the cliffs. Towards nothing at all. Brigid appeared in the room, moments after Morgan fled and calmly checked Quinn’s arm for any injury.
"She didn’t hurt me,” he growled. “She just wanted me to stay.” He cursed and ran a hand through is hair. “Is she...”
“She’s angry,” Brigid told him, still linked with her cousin. “I can’t describe all of the emotions she’s feeling right now.” Her eyes were slightly glassy as she focused on Morgan. “She won’t hurt herself, if that’s what you’re worried about,” Quinn almost denied it but nodded instead. “She only needs a few minutes, Quinn,” Brigid told him, patting his arm. “She needs to let the anger go and then she’ll need you.” She held him back as he started for the door. “Not yet,” she cautioned. “You don’t want to be there when she lets it go. She’ll hurt after. More than she has ever hurt before. And she’ll need you then.”
Morgan ran, tripping over rocks and falling hard, only to scramble up and keep running. She skidded to a stop at the edge of the cliffs, her breath coming in short gasps. The water below crashed onto the rocks, the sound thundering. She looked out at the dark water, knowing what was out there was what had made Jonathan kill. Knowing that the evil that had come from the sea had taken six innocent lives.
She screamed at the water and lightning flashed across the sky, striking the rocks below. When she raised her hands, the ocean water followed them. It rose up the rock face, hovering near her as she cried out. The water boiled and spun, holding its place at her feet. The wind howled, sending her hair flying in a wild halo around her head as bolts of lightning struck the ground around her. She screamed again, ending on a sob. The water crashed down, back into the ocean as quickly as it had risen. The thunder died, leaving behind a cold, steady rain.
When writing a story, it helps to have a visual of what your characters look like. Having an actual picture of someone to base your character on helps you keep track of even the most minor details.
Hillary Duff was good inspiration when writing Morgan MacQuill. Able to look vulnerable with a hidden strength she hadn't yet discovered.