Home > Graywulf > Spiritwalk (RNT) Part 1, Part 2
Disclaimers, Warnings, Acknowledgements, Author’s Notes in Part One.
“I’m begging you, Marion. Please, can you spare a couple of people to help
us out? I’ve got a few dozen lunches to prepare and I’ve got no one to serve them,”
pleaded the pretty young brunette.
can’t, Vivian. We’re running into the same problem you are and the cafeteria doesn’t
run on it’s own,” the older woman replied in frustration. “Half our staff is out
with the flu. Hell, I’ve been in since six this morning and, because I’ve got
only two people showing up for the afternoon shift, I’ll be here until eight tonight.”
“Excuse me? I couldn’t help but overhear
your discussion. Is there something I could do to help?” Blair offered.
Both women stopped and stared at the young man. “Help
us?” they chorused with a mixture of surprise and disbelief.
a shortage of staff is the problem, why not help each other?” Blair suggested.
“Combine your kitchens and your staff. And if you’re still short, I’d be willing
to pitch in. I’d gladly be willing to help out for a few hours. I’m between jobs,
and although it’s been a while, I’ve been a waiter before.”
women looked at each other and then back at the young man.
on.” Marion looked at Blair with an eyebrow raised.
Blair Sandburg. And you are?” he said, by way of introduction.
Marion White, I run the cafeteria. This is Vivian St. Claire, she runs catering
for the building.”
“Where do you want
me to start?” Blair grinned. There
was more than one way to finagle a way in to see Jim.
do you say Vivian? We can start him out by bringing your things down here, and
then we can figure out between us how to get this juggernaut running.”
“What about the paperwork?”
willing to put that off until tomorrow. At worst, if we forget, you’ll get a free
day out of me and I’ll be busy,” Blair suggested. “You’ll need to start getting
ready for the breaks which will be starting soon and then we have to get the lunches
Both women grinned, liking
this young man’s willingness to pitch in.
Blair. I’ll take you upstairs to our kitchen and we can start bringing down what
we need for the day. By the end of this day, you may regret volunteering to help
us,” warned Vivian, leading the way to the service elevator. “If you survive it,
you may have a job.”
been kidding. He ran back and forth constantly between the two kitchens until
all the supplies needed for the day’s catering were in the cafeteria’s kitchen.
Marion and Vivian had worked out a schedule, which had Blair on the run until
just before noon. He was traveling all over the building delivering coffee for
breaks to different board rooms in addition to taking a quick tour around the
cafeteria to collect trays to be returned to the kitchen for cleaning.
Between them, Vivian and Blair split the deliveries of
the lunches to the different boardrooms. Blair offered to take the lunches scheduled
to be delivered later, thanking Cat silently for getting the information on Jim’s
lunch meeting. It would be very interesting to see what his reaction would be
to the arrival of lunch.
* * * *
Blair closed his eyes and
took a deep breath to steel himself for his next meeting with Jim. The frosty
glare he’d received when Jim recognized him earlier had been pretty much what
he’d expected. He didn’t appear to be the easiest person to rattle, but the fact
remained, he had gotten a reaction and he was being noticed.
made sure the lunches for the other boardrooms were delivered first, leaving Jim’s
until last. At least, if things went wrong, he would only have disappointed himself,
not Vivian and Marion.
him in the hall just before he went in. “Good to see a friendly face,” she said
“Bored?” he asked.
“Let’s just say that I want to see this
over with as soon as possible. I don’t like this Jim. I want ours back.”
Blair hesitated at her words. “I guess
it’s time to get on with this part of the plan. Hopefully, I won’t be on the receiving
end of anything more than one of his frosty glares. Wish me luck!”
“Good luck. Just remember I’m in there with you,” she
* * * *
A light tap on the door and
the room fell silent. The door opened and a young man entered pushing a cart before
Everyone in the room noticed
that J. J. Ellison’s gaze had not left the young man since he had entered the
room, everyone, that is, except the young man who seemed to be totally oblivious
to him as he took his time setting lunches and the dessert tray’s out. He exchanged
the old urn of coffee for a fresh one and ensured there was enough cream, milk,
and sugar for the people in the room. Turning to take his leave, his eyes locked
For the first time
since she had met him, his assistant saw something akin to surprise on J. J.’s
face. The young man didn’t flinch from his steely gaze, nor did he lower his eyes
in submission, like most of the staff did when Ellison was in one of these moods.
He met him as an equal. There seemed to be a flicker of something more, but Karla
couldn’t put her finger on what it was. The young man broke the gaze and left
the room as quietly as he’d entered it.
the catering has arrived, why don’t we get our lunches and then we can return
to our discussion?” J.J. suggested as he held Karla back, wrote her a quick note
and then joined his guests at the sideboard. Karla read the brief note and then
shook her head as stared after him. //I wonder why this young man upset him so
* * * *
Blair sagged against the wall
opposite the boardroom door. He let out the breath he’d been holding since he
broke Jim’s gaze and waited for security to escort him out of the building. But
it never happened. //I wonder why?//
did fantastic in there!” Cat crowed, joining him a moment later. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. It was just a little harder
than I thought it would be,” he admitted.
held your own,” she coaxed.
downstairs with me so we can talk,” Blair suggested as he started to move the
cart in the direction of the freight elevator. “You’re right though, I don’t like
this Jim either.”
”You’ll like it even less with what I’ve got to tell you,” she cautioned as she followed him to the elevator.
happened?” he asked warily as they got on the elevator.
you left, he wrote a note to his assistant. I was standing behind her as she read
it. He instructed her to find out who you were and to make sure you never came
up to these floors again.”
at least he didn’t call security and have me escorted from the building. That’s
something, I guess,” he answered with a tired shrug.
Did you notice the look on his face when you looked him straight in the eye?”
she asked thoughtfully.
“No, I was
trying too hard not to blow it. I knew I had to keep myself calm until I left.
I just kept waiting for the explosion that never came. Why?”
other people in the room noticed his reaction to you and I know his assistant
was wondering what was up. You’re getting through to him,” she encouraged. “I’m
pretty sure I saw a flicker of recognition before he caught himself.”
“Well, at least I’ve gotten this far, but if he’s banned
me from this area I won’t be able to get to see him again, at least not here.
We need to find other opportunities to get to him without me coming across like
a deranged stalker or corporate spy.”
grinned at his statement, knowing it wouldn’t take much to cross that line with
this particular version of Jim. “How about I follow Jim for the rest of the day.
I’ll hitch a ride with him tonight and I can meet you back at the hotel when I
have some more information we might need,” she offered.
good. I’ll stay here and help Marion close up the cafeteria tonight then go back
to the hotel and get some dinner. When you come back, check the hotel restaurant
first, then look for me in the room.”
she agreed as the elevator doors opened. “I’ll see you later then,” she said,
before changing back into the cougar and making her way to the stairwell. Blair
grinned, glad that he was the only one able to see her.
He’d hate to see Animal Control trying to catch her.
* * * *
“Karla, go on home,” Jim told
his assistant. “I’ll see you tomorrow at nine for the meeting with the marketing
“What about you? Are you staying?”
Karla asked, knowing he was notorious during this time of year for staying almost
around the clock working on reports.
Jim replied with a weary smile, the first one Karla had seen all day. “Carolyn
has struck a deal with me. I can work on the reports all night as far as she’s
concerned, as long as I do it at home.”
lady,” Karla shot back.
“If I didn’t
know better Karla, I’d say you two have been talking,” J.J. accused, eyeing his
know what you’re talking about, J. J.” Karla declared. “Now, pack up and get out
of here before Carolyn figures out you’re trying to renege on your deal. And do
me a favor? Try to get a good night’s sleep. You were definitely off your game
“It was that damn waiter with
the caterer,” Jim told Karla with a hint of anger and frustration. “Make sure
you take care of that first thing tomorrow morning, before the meeting. I don’t
need any more surprises.”
it about him that set you off? I’ve never seen you react that way to anyone before,”
she asked with concern. Something wasn’t right. J. J. did not lose his cool like
that. Ever. But somehow this young man had gotten under his skin on sight.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s
following me. I saw him at the hotel this morning at breakfast. I saw him again
as I came into the building, and then he showed up as the waiter delivering lunch.
It was just too coincidental.”
talk to the caterer in the morning, before the meeting to make sure he doesn’t
show up again,” she promised. It still didn’t sound right. But then, J. J. wouldn’t
have gotten to where he was if he didn’t know what he was doing. So who was she
to second-guess him?
* * * *
Cat silently padded after
Jim as he headed down to the parking garage. She slowed in surprise as she saw
him approach his car. //Who woulda thunk it? Jim driving a sleek black Lexus?//
Cat quickly hopped into the vehicle just
as Jim started the ignition. The trip to Jim’s home was a pleasant drive to the
outskirts of the city. He lived in an older neighborhood and the houses screamed
Jim pulled into the driveway
of a large home, modest in comparison with his neighbors. The grounds were immaculate
and the façade was simple, yet elegant. When she followed him inside, she noticed
the interior was beautiful. It was like something out of a magazine. Definitely
the type of place an executive would have to have to entertain. She wondered if
that was Carolyn’s doing, or if she’d hired an interior designer.
* * * *
“Jim?” Carolyn called from
the dining room.
“You were expecting
someone else?” he kidded, setting his briefcase down.
heard that might be a possibility,” she paused for a beat, waiting for his reaction.
She saw a flicker of surprise, but that was it. “So, how was your day?” she prompted.
“Like any other,” he replied as he loosened
his tie. “You know the routine, meetings all day, trying to get a handle on the
information I need for the reports due at the end of the month for the CEO’s meeting.”
“Now try telling me the truth. What happened
today?” she prodded.
“I don’t know
what you mean,” he denied obstinately.
did you honestly believe I wouldn’t hear what happened at lunch today? When the
guys from R & D left your meeting today, it took less than half an hour for
the floor to be buzzing with speculation. You know I normally hear what’s going
on there. The fact that your wife works in R & D doesn’t stop all the talk.
Now, I’d like to hear your version,” she stated firmly.
wish I could explain what happened,” he said in frustration. “All I know is this…
young man seemed to be dogging my every footstep today. He was there this morning
at breakfast. He showed up again at lunch as catering staff. I half expected him
to follow me home tonight.”
come on, Jim,” she admonished. “You’ve been edgy ever since your dream the other
night. What is it about him that set you off? Did he really do anything threatening?
Anything else that would make you think he was dangerous?”
It’s just…” he stopped before he said it. There was something familiar about him.
He had recognized the young man from the nightmare, but he wasn’t about to admit
that to anyone. He wasn’t sure why, but he knew something terrible would happen
if he did.
“Just what?” she asked,
sensing his hesitation to answer.
he answered with a sigh. He didn’t have the answers. He wasn’t sure he ever would.
And right now, it seemed the only one who might was the stranger who kept popping
up when he least expected it. “Never mind. Let’s have dinner,” he suggested. “I’ll
work in the office for a bit later.”
she’d lost this round, she backed off. “Mrs. Hagen prepared a wonderful dinner
for us. Have a seat and I’ll bring it in.”
* * * *
While Carolyn and Jim had
dinner, Cat explored their home, looking for more information she could use. She
guessed the Mrs. Hagen who had been mentioned was their housekeeper. The house
On the main floor
there was a living room, dining room, office, library, and kitchen. Of the rooms
on this floor, only the office looked like it saw much use. She noted their unlisted
number and the second number in Jim’s office, which she suspected was also unlisted.
The books in the library were a mix of fiction and non-fiction. The mysteries
made her smile, knowing that some things never changed. The historical biographies
intrigued her. She suspected the bestsellers were Carolyn’s.
beside the storage area and the laundry room, she found what most would refer
to as a family room. A home entertainment center sat prominently along one wall.
The stereo system was to die for. The music ran the gamut from the classics to
Upstairs were four bedrooms.
The master bedroom spanned most of the back of the house. It looked like it would
be a bright room in the daylight with the windows. The room matched the rest of
the house – elegant and understated, but not overly feminine in appearance. The
guestrooms were a little less so. It appeared that Carolyn had had a little more
leeway with those rooms.
Cat settled into the office watching Jim, who was now hard at work. Occasionally,
she would look over his shoulder, hoping for some more information Blair could
use. Finally, Carolyn strolled into the room. Resting her hands gently on Jim’s
shoulders, and asked, “Going to be much longer? I was thinking of heading off
“I should be there shortly,”
he replied absently.
“Uh, uh. You’re
not getting away with that tonight. The last time you said that, you ended coming
to bed at three in the morning,” she scolded, slipping her arms around his neck
and leaning forward to whisper in his ear.
my,” gasped Cat. “Two’s company, three’s a crowd. I’m outta here,” she said, turning
on her heels and hurried out of the room. Finding her way to the backyard, she
quickly changed to an owl and flew off in the direction of the city’s center.
* * * *
“Blair?” Cat called from the
hallway before entering the room.
in Cat,” he answered, turning the television off so they could talk. “How did
“Okay. I’ve got a couple of
numbers for you. I suspect they are both unlisted. The first is their home number.
The second is a line for Jim’s home office.”
else?” he asked.
“Jim and Carolyn
live in a beautiful home on the outskirts of town in an old but definitely moneyed
area. Looks like when he’s not in the office downtown, he lives in his office
at home, and believe it or not, Carolyn also works at Cyclops in the R & D
group.” She watched the surprise register on his face before continuing. “And
I think you should know… Carolyn knows you made an impact on him today. Word spread
like wildfire this afternoon. Apparently, she believes his reaction to you had
something to do with a nightmare he’s had recently.”
you believe the nightmare is what I think it is?” Blair asked, looking for confirmation.
Cat nodded in agreement. “Blair,
if our reality is a nightmare to him, we may have a problem.”
kind of problem?” Blair asked in concern.
longer he stays in this reality, the more real it will become. Right now, most
of his life is just a bare sketch to him.
The fact his home and office are so stark might indicate he is just beginning
to fil in the blanks. If this world
becomes his reality, our reality will cease to exist for him.”
means what? Our Jim will end up in a coma?”
she admitted. “Or… he could die,” she finished in a whisper.
got up from the bed where he’d been sitting and started to pace. She perched on
the corner of the desk and watched as he moved back and forth in the small room.
She watched the emotions flit across his face as he tried to figure out the next
“Cat, where are those phone
numbers?” he asked.
She pulled out
a piece of paper from her purse and laid it on the desk beside the phone.
“You said the second one was his home office
number?” he asked thoughtfully.
When I left, I think they were on their way to bed. So I’m not sure you’ll get
an answer tonight…”
if I call their home line, they should answer,” he speculated pensively.
“More than likely,” she agreed. “Are you
sure you want to call tonight?”
I have a feeling I have to do this now. Tonight. You just said time is a factor.
I need to keep him off balance. Calling him tonight, this late, and on his unlisted
number, should do it. I just hope it will work out the way I think it might.”
* * * *
Jim rolled over in the bed
at the sound of the ringing phone.
it, Jim,” Carolyn protested sleepily “It has to be a wrong number. Who in their
right mind would be calling at this time of the night?”
thought about ignoring the ringing phone, but then sighed as he sat up and reached
for the light before answering the phone.
“Mr. Ellison, this is
“Sandburg? I don’t
know any Sandburg. How the hell did you get this number?” Jim demanded, as his
level of irritation rose.
not important right now. We need to talk,” the voice stated firmly on the other
end of the line. “I’m the person you saw this morning.”
have nothing to say to you!” Jim declared.
stared at him from the other side of the bed. “Jim? What is it? What’s going on?”
“No, but I have answers
to the questions you may be having about your nightmares. Meet me across the street
from Cyclops as soon as possible,” he instructed, hanging up before Jim could
Jim stared at the phone,
unsure of what he wanted. “I’ve got to go out for a bit. I’ll be back,” Jim told
his wife, quickly gathering the clothes he’d worn earlier and dressing.
“Jim, please, don’t…” Carolyn started, but he stormed
out before she could finish the thought. Minutes later, she heard the car start
and back out of the driveway.
* * * *
Across the street from the
Cyclops Oil building, Blair paced impatiently. He’d placed the call to Jim only
15 minutes ago. //He should be here in
a few minutes, if he’s going to show up at all. If *this* Jim is anything like
the one I know, he’ll be here. Pissed, but he’ll be here.//
As if to confirm his expectations, Jim’s car sped around
the corner and screeched to a halt in front of Blair. He stormed out of the car
and slammed the door, which made the whole vehicle shake with his fury.
“I have had enough of you!” spat Jim, grabbing the younger
man by the shoulders, pinning him against the wall. “Everywhere I turned today,
you were there. Hell, you’re even turning up in my dreams, but before today I’d
never met you. I want to know why you’re in my face.”
you do know me and a part of you is trying to remember who you are. You are Jim
Ellison. You’re a detective…”
you out of your mind? I’m James Ellison, the Vice President in charge of Operations
at Cyclops Oil, *not*
a detective. And I *don’t*
know you,” he shook Blair to punctuate his objection.
joined the Cascade PD after you left the army. Before that, you were a ranger
in Special Ops. You were sent on a mission to Peru. You lost your team in a helicopter
crash. You lived there for 18 months with the Chopec until you were found,” he
“You spin a mean story,
kid,” Jim scoffed.
“It’s not just
a story, it’s who you are,” replied Blair with determination.
fought to clear his thoughts as images from the nightmare, which had plagued him
the last couple of nights resurfaced. He felt a sharp pain behind his eyes. Releasing
Blair, he started to back away. He shook his head slowly, trying to dispel the
voices and noises he suddenly began to hear.
“But Daddy,...” a little
girl wheedled in a passing vehicle.
“...yeah. I can’t wait to see you
tonight, either. I should be there
in about twenty minutes,” a young man promised his date from a phone booth
down the street.
A car horn
blared as two cars collided three blocks away. The shriek of sirens could be heard
even further in the distance. It all seemed like it was right there surrounding
him as the sounds of the night threatened to drown him like a rising tide. He
clamped his hands over his ears trying to block the onslaught.
streetlights suddenly flared like the noonday sun, even though it was almost midnight.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a brief shimmer in the shadows. He closed
his eyes tightly against the offending light. His clothing suddenly felt coarse,
burning and chaffing his skin. The odors of the street assailed him. Gulping for
air, Jim fell to his knees. His agonized cry echoed through the night as his senses
However, through the barrage,
he felt the gentle touch of a hand resting on his shoulder. How it got there,
he had no idea. Who it was, he wasn’t sure. Jim heard a voice from very far away,
soft, insistent and steady.
Man. Listen to me. Dial it down. You know how to do this…”
the pain and noise assaulting him began to burn away like a fog as the sun starts
“It’s okay, Jim. C’mon, you
can do it,” Blair repeated resolutely.
Jim finally opened his eyes to look at the young kneeling man before him, one
hand still on his shoulder as his soft, steady voice continued the reassuring
you?” Jim whispered, bewildered by what was happening.
friend,” the young man reassured.
“You’re starting to remember that you’re a sentinel.”
“You are,” Blair stated
quietly. “A sentinel is a person with a genetic advantage. They have a sensory
awareness that can be developed beyond normal humans. You have always been a sentinel
and you always will be a sentinel.”
“It’s not a dream. It’s where
we belong. You’re a detective with the Cascade PD. I’m your partner. We work for
Captain Simon Banks in Major Crime. This,” Blair indicated with a sweep of his
other hand, “is the dream.”
saw the image of an imposing black man sitting behind a desk, saying to him “Yeah.
Says in big letters, ‘You are divorced.’ Now what? Hell, man. I kept expecting
this to be a great moment, and... I don't know. All I feel is empty. It gets better,
The image changed to the young
man before him, standing on a familiar balcony saying, “This sentinel thing...
You know, it's more than just a research project. Uh... it's about friendship.
I just didn't get it before.”
Jim asked, his eyes narrowing in recognition.
Though I’ve also been known to answer to Sandburg, Chief, Darwin, or Professor,”
he returned with a smile.
Jim started to ask.
“Sorry. I don’t
have any of the details,” he apologized. “Maybe we can figure that out… later.
Right now, we have to figure out
how to get you home.”
Jim muttered softly as he remembered *home*. As the memories grew stronger, the
city around them began to dissolve and run together. Jim found himself standing
beside Blair. Behind his friend stood a woman, hovering anxiously.
"Cat?” asked Jim, trying to confirm he was really
remembering things correctly.
beamed when she realized he could see her. “It’s over? We can head back?”
“Yeah. It’s finally over. Now, can we get
the heck out of here?” urged Blair.
that, the three friends turned their backs on the last vestiges of the fading
Cascade and walked into the gray nothingness to begin their journey home.
* * * *
Jim had never been the superstitious
type. Had it been a normal black cat that crossed his path, he wouldn’t have thought
twice, but when the big black jaguar passed between him and his friends, he stopped,
knowing there was a reason for it to be there.
watched his friends walk into the grayness as the jaguar regarded him. Jim turned
to the cat and asked, “Now what?”
jaguar changed before his eyes into an image of himself, which he hadn’t seen
in several years. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen the spirit image
of himself. He was sure it had been more than three years.
are you?” the man challenged.
name is Jim Ellison,” he responded.
are you?” he demanded.
The figure before him
changed again, assuming the form of his friend, Incacha.
you know why you are here?” the image asked.
not sure,” Jim spoke slowly, trying to figure out exactly why he had been here.
“What lesson have you learned?”
“Lesson? This was a lesson?” he responded in confusion.
The figure changed again. This time, Jim
did not recognize this person.
“Your teacher,” the shadowed
figure answered cryptically.
lesson was I to learn?”
you have not wanted to learn before.”
lesson was that?” Jim demanded.
upon the life you have chosen to return to and the one you now leave behind. What
were the differences? What was the cost of choosing one life over the other? What
made this life worth returning to over the one which was offered to you?”
Jim stared at the stranger in the shadows,
realizing what was being asked; understanding that he had made a conscious choice
to return to his life. He had turned his back on what might have been if things
had been different in his life. He had never realized that giving up the worst
parts of his life also meant giving up the best.
is your name?” Jim asked quietly.
have many names: Loki, Hermes, Baubo, Monkey, Raven, and Coyote, are but a few.
In your world, some call me simply, Trickster,” he replied with a smile.
“Will I remember any of this?” Jim asked.
“If you choose to,” answered Trickster.
“What about my friends? What will they
“They will remember what
they choose to,” Trickster assured him. “They too, had lessons to learn. It is
time for you to return.”
“You already know the way.”
And with that, the figure disappeared, leaving Jim alone in the gray nothingness.
Jim turned and began the rest of his journey home.
* * * *
Blair’s eyes fluttered open.
He looked across to Cat, who was rubbing her eyes with the heels of her hands.
After stretching briefly to ease the stiffness in his muscles he looked down at
Jim, who was still laying motionless on the floor.
he’s not back yet. Is there something else we have to do? Something we forgot?
He was right behind us,” Blair said, slightly panicked.
don’t know. Has anything changed at all? Pulse? Temperature? He still appears
to be breathing,” she offered.
was checking Jim’s pulse when the older man’s eyes slowly opened. “Oh, man! Don’t
scare me like that ever again! How are you feeling?”
okay,” Jim assured him. “What happened?”
you did a really good impression of a redwood falling,” offered Cat cryptically.
Blair grinned as Jim groaned and cupped
his hands over his eyes.
really know how to show a gal a great time, but I have a feeling I should be getting
home,” she announced, rising to gather her things. “Jim, you take care of yourself.
Blair – we’ll talk….”
I’ll call you tomorrow we can… reschedule our discussion,” promised Blair.
Just before she ducked out the door, Cat
looked back to her two friends. “By the way, Blair. You wanted to know about that
walk I took. You had a great time in Borneo.
You finished the work on your dissertation there. It seems you found a
sentinel in Borneo. You’ve been back a couple of times to visit him and his people.
Just thought you’d wanna know,” she finished with a warm smile.
the door closed, Jim turned to Blair and asked, “What was that all about?”
“I’ll tell you later,” he stalled. “I think
we’ve got a lot to talk about. Why don’t I put on some coffee?”
was putting on coffee for Cat just after we came in. I’ll check and see if it’s
still warm,” he offered. “You can turn off that noise you call music. How you
can meditate to that, I’ll never know.”
it’s Cat’s drumming tape for journeying,” Blair countered.
“Well, it helped bring
you back from your little trip,” Blair quipped.
coffee had long gone cold. Jim emptied it and started a fresh pot. Blair started
a fire in the fireplace to take the chill off and turn the lights on in the darkened
“I wonder how long we were gone,”
murmured Blair as he looked at the remains of the candle on the floor. He turned
on the TV to check, not only the time, but also the date. He knew they had spent
almost two days in the other reality and was curious as to how much time had passed
in this one.
“I figure Cat called
me at about ten after three this afternoon. According to the weather channel,
we’ve been ‘gone’ for about eight hours. Are you hungry?”
I was just thinking about dinner. Chinese?” Jim suggested.
usual?” Blair asked, reaching for the phone, making a mental note to get the forgotten
groceries from the car after ordering dinner.
* * * *
“So, what happened?” asked
Blair as he dug into his chow mein. “I mean, why did you end up in that other
“I’m not entirely sure,”
Jim replied, dishing out some more rice. “I think I’m going to need some time
to go over what happened to figure it out.”
it seem like a dream, like this life did there?” prompted Blair.
does have an unreal feeling about it,” admitted Jim. “What about you? How did
you know what to do? Where to find me?”
had the idea of how to find you. As
for actually tracking you, we went back through the events in your life and tried
to trace you from there. It was a bit of a shock to find you’d actually ended
up as an executive at Cyclops Oil. How did you manage that?”
guess I followed in my father’s footsteps. He’d always pushed us academically
and encouraged us to be competitive. In that life, instead of going into the Army,
I became a business major. I ended up at Cyclops and worked my way up the ladder.”
Jim yawned. “Enough of this for now.”
right. It’s after midnight and we’ve got work in the morning,” reminded Blair.
“Not a word of this to Simon, understood?”
"Gotcha,” said Blair
with a smile.
Chief, we’re going to be late if you don’t get moving,” Jim cajoled. “Coffee’s
ready, you’re breakfast is on the table.”
right. All right. I’m coming,” Blair said in exasperation. “It’s not my fault
the power went off last night.”
but batteries in your alarm clock would have helped keep the time,” Jim countered
Blair hung his head and
chuckled. “Man, you’re really something, you know.” Looking up, he ran his hands
through his hair to get it out of his face.
prefer my evil twin?” asked Jim with a twinkle in his eyes.
I didn’t say that,” Blair protested as he grabbed a mug and poured himself some
coffee. This had quickly become a familiar joke between them about Jim and his
evil twin. Beyond that, Jim seemed
reluctant to talk about what had happened on Sunday.
Blair doubted he would ever know more than what they had briefly discussed
after their spiritwalk.
Jim got up
from the table to clean his breakfast dishes and refresh his coffee while he waited
for his partner to finish his breakfast.
with his coffee in hand, Jim leaned against the counter and finally worked up
the courage to ask the question he’d wanted to ask the last couple of days. “Hey,
Sandburg?” he began, trying to act as nonchalantly as possible. “Do you by any
chance have any books dealing with,” he paused before continuing, feeling uneasy,
Blair spewed a mouthful
of coffee over the table in shock. “Geez, Jim! Don’t do that to me again. Now
I’m going to make us even more late because I have to change!” Looking up at his
friend, he realized Jim was dead serious and waiting patiently for an answer.
“The Trickster? Really?”
“I’ll see what I’ve got,” answered Blair
dumbfounded. “If I don’t have it, I’m pretty sure I know where I can get some
information on it.”
“Okay,” Jim sighed
in relief. “Now go get changed, so we can get out of here before Simon has our
hides,” he chided.
Blair started down
the hall to his room to change, but stopped.
Turning back, he looked at Jim and smiled. “Thanks, Man.”
I can wait until later for it,” Jim told him.
do realize, I want to know more about where the Trickster fits into this,” Blair
was afraid of that,” Jim responded with a grin.
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