And The Cat Came Back
by & Stargazer
Spying her suitcase on the conveyor belt, she waited until the carousel
brought it to her before Cat lifted it up and deposited the case with her other
"Back again." She sighed.
worked her way through the terminal to the car rental kiosk. A short time later,
keys in hand, she made her way to parking lot to pick up her sea green Neon. This
was a treat, a sense of freedom in which she could revel. Cat normally used local
transportation at home, in Toronto, only renting a car when she needed to travel
Stowing the suitcase and carry on luggage in
the trunk. She checked her city map quickly to make sure she remembered her way
to the hotel. It had been about three months since she was in Cascade on her first
West Coast business trip. It had been a little more eventful that she or anyone
else had been expecting.
Sliding in behind the wheel of the
car, she remembered she was to call one of her co-workers in the Cascade office.
Joyce would be glad to hear she was in. Maybe theyd get together for some
fun before they had to start work on Monday.
Cat pulled her
cell phone out of her purse, and quickly dialed Joyces number at Imaginet.
"Joyce Whelan, speaking."
who just blew into town?" Cat said with a grin.
We werent expecting you until Monday. Whats up?"
thought Id come in a little early and relax before starting in on work Monday.
Got any plans this weekend? I thought we could get together."
been expecting a call about some plans for the weekend. Can I call you back later
to discuss it?"
"Sure, youve got my cell number
right?" Cat inquired. "Ill leave it on so you can get back to
"Sounds good to me, Cat. Ill talk to you
later," promised Joyce.
Cat plugged in the earpiece to
the cellphone, draping the other end around her neck, then hooked the phone onto
the waistband of her jeans. Then she pulled a tape from her purse, and popped
it into the tape deck.
Starting the car, then pulling out of
the parking lot, Cat headed into the business district of Cascade where the Sheraton
Suites were located. It wasnt a long drive, depending on traffic, at most
only a twenty minutes from the airport to the hotel.
along with music as she drove, Cat was startled when the cell phone rang.
was quick, Joyce." She said as she reached for the button to answer. Good
thing the light is red, she thought as she quickly adjusted the earphone
and microphone so she could talk with one hand and turning down the music with
"Hello." said Cat.
replied a familiar male voice.
"Jim? Is that you? Whats
up?" Cat kidded, "Do you have the airport watched in case I sneak back
into town without warning you?" She started forward, with the change of the
"Youre here?" he said
"Uh, yeah," Cat replied slowly, "I
just got in and Im on my way to the hotel right now. Whats up?"
"Is there a chance we can get together to talk, tonight
"Sure. I should be checked in and settled
in my room within the next, lets say hour? Is that soon enough? I can meet
you in the lobby."
"Ill see you then."
Curiouser and curiouser. The tone in his voice had been serious.
She was definitely getting concerned. Well, Alice, what rabbit hole are
you falling down this time? she wondered.
A short time
later, she had arrived at the hotel, checked in and was on her way up to the room.
Cat unpacked and then glanced at her watch. It had taken less time than shed
anticipated. Jim would be there in about forty minutes. Just enough time to quickly
shower and freshen up before meeting him in the lobby.
looked at her watch, noting that Jim should be joining her shortly. She had chosen
a comfortable chair in the lobby with a good view of the entrance, so she could
watch for his arrival.
She wondered whether Blair, his friend
and partner would join them. The first time shed met them, they were practically
joined at the hip, she mused. An unlikelier pair she had yet to meet. Dark hair
and blue eyes were about as close as these two men came to being similar.
James Ellison of Cascade Police Department, had been the detective in charge of
a murder investigation the last time she had visited Cascade. He was tall and
good looking, even with the receding hairline. His face had strong features. He
could be as cool as his icy blue eyes suggested, but hed also been the one
she found strength in when shed needed it. She suspected with the way he
carried himself, he had to have served in the military at some point in time.
Consequently, she suspected he could be as deadly as the black jaguar spirit guide
that accompanied him, but she had no intentions of putting that to the test.
Sandburg was as opposite Jim Ellison as you could get. He was the younger and
shorter of the two, full of energy and questions. The combination of long curly
hair and infectious grin could be devastating when he turned on the charm, of
that she was sure. He had civilian observer status with Cascade P. D. and had
been partnered with Ellison by some quirk of fate. He was a graduate student,
working on a dissertation about closed societies, or so he said.
had sensed something else between these two, enough to know there was something
more than just the roles of a police detective and a civilian observer. How far
it went, she wasnt sure. There was a definite friendship and respect for
each other as well. But there was something more about their relationship, something
that she couldnt quiet put her finger on.
It had only
been a couple of months since Cats visit to Cascade. As much as she may
have wanted to, it was not exactly a trip shed forget anytime soon. Shed
found herself caught up in the murder investigation Jim was working on, and eventually
became the last target of the murderer. She had come forward with information
on the murder. How she obtained that information was more than just a little unusual.
What she had discovered about Jim Ellison, was just as usual.
entered the hotel, oblivious to the people around him. The doorman did a double
take upon seeing Jim's face, then quickly sidled over to the bellman and whispered
in the other man's ear. Jim took a quick look around the lobby. This was where
she said she'd meet him. Jim did a double take as a pair of slate gray eyes met
his, followed by a warm smile.
The bellman casually walked over
to the front desk and spoke to the clerks there. More whispering ensued with some
pointing in Jim's direction. He was still oblivious to the commotion he was creating
as he approached her. Cat slowly stood as he got closer.
Jim. Good to see you again!" as she rose from her seat. "Wheres
Blair? Isnt he joining us?"
He then realized that
the reason he hadn't recognized her at first, was because he was expecting the
same young woman hed seen a few months ago. The serious look was replaced
with a relaxed and friendly smile. Instead of wearing more formal business attire,
she was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt, which made sense since she had
just spent over six hours in transit.
As the recognition set
in, he was able to relax his vigilance a little and became aware of many whispers
around him when it should have been normal sounding voices. He surreptitiously
keyed in on some of the whispers and heard, "Hey, that's the guy from the
news, The Sentinel!"
"Blair is why I called."
Jim hesitated, not quite sure how to proceed.
Jim chose to ignore
the whispers and did a quick scan of the hotel lobby. Old habits die hard, he
thought to himself. He saw people turn away from his gaze as he swept past them.
She noticed the way Jim was looking around, but didn't say anything.
smile faded to a look of concern. The tone of his voice, the worry in his face,
the way he scanned the lobby, even the set of his shoulders told her whatever
it was he had come to talk about, was not good news.
missing. I need your help to find him."
Ellison had to be one of the best officers of the Cascade PD , if not the best,
and a member of the Major Crimes unit to boot. And here he was asking her for
help to locate Blair. This was incomprehensible.
Im sorry." She stammered. Cat racked her brain, trying to find some
clue to help her distraught friend. "I dont have any information. If
Id gotten anything, I would have called you the moment I knew."
I dont need * you * to see or tell me whats happened to him or where
?" Cat said cautiously, not
quite following what Jim was having trouble saying.
Im not doing this very well." Jim sighed with frustration. "I
dont know deal with this. Ever since I suspected something had happened
to Blair, Ive been getting bits and pieces of images and this weird feeling
that something is wrong. Not enough to make any sense at all."
Cat whispered as her eyes widened with dismay. "Youre seeing it, arent
you? Thats why you called me." It was more of a statement than a question.
"I think wed better start at the beginning."
gave him a sidelong glance, asking, "When was the last time you ate?"
"This morning, before Blair left."
on then, I was going to suggest dinner anyway." Cat went over to him, taking
his right hand in hers, giving it a gentle squeeze of support, and placing her
other hand in the middle of his back to guide him out of the lobby to the restaurant.
"Darn flights have cut back food service to snack food.
If its alright with you, we can start talking about this over dinner, and
figure out where to go from there." She wanted no argument on the idea of
dinner. Cat had a feeling they were both going to need it. Thankfully, Jim didnt
Cat released Jim's hand as they joined the line
for the dining room. They stood in line quietly, slowly inching their way forward
to the maitre'd's stand. Cat could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand
up. When she took a quick glance around, she noticed several people quickly averting
their gaze. It appeared that they had become objects of curiosity.
you know of any reason we'd be drawing an unusual amount of attention? I've just
caught a number of people staring at us." Cat whispered. "I know it
can't be the Kalan case, I never testified. What have you two been up to?"
Seeing Jim grimace, Cat suggested, "Later, okay?"
Jim nodded his head and replies, "Thanks. I'll tell you
in private without so many ears around."
He looked around
the lobby and people averted their eyes as he gave them his ice blue steely stare.
"Yeesh. I haven't seen this many stares since I went to
court because of a burglary case in Toronto." muttered Cat.
case?" asked Jim, vaguely remembering his conversation with Detective Mike
Young of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department before.
well, my first experience with the police, trying to give information like I did
on the Kalan case. You think Id learn after the first time...."
bet they thought you were a kook." replied Jim.
was a crank first, suspect second. Things only got worst a few days later. I'll
tell you more once we're seated."
As Jim and Cat reached
the maitre'd's desk, Jim reached into his coat pocket, and pulled something out.
He asked for a nice quiet, secluded table, and handed the man something to ensure
their privacy. The maitre'd looked sharply at Jim for a second, recognition dawning
in his eyes, when Jim spoke. The maitre'd covertly took the proffered money and
set it under his desk. He nodded once to Jim. "Of course, sir. It will be
about 15 minutes. May I suggest a cocktail in the lounge during your wait?"
Jim gave the man a small, tight smile. "Our pleasure. Catharine?
This way...." said Jim as he took Cat's elbow and directed her towards the
lounge. He made sure to find them a quiet little corner away from prying eyes.
"Catharine?" she hissed playfully, "I may have
"Ah, ah, ah..." said Jim as he wagged
his finger at her. "Watch those claws, young lady...watch those claws, or
I may have to clip them for you!" admonished Jim with a grin.
a defiant gleam in her eyes, she playfully threatened to bite his fingertip.
the way Jim, dinner and drinks are on me. I'm going to expense it."
how do you plan to get away with that? Won't the bean counters be counting the
number of people on the ticket?" asked Jim, trying to figure out a way to
pay for the dinner himself. He was of the old school that said the man paid for
the dinner, not the woman.
"Ve haf our vays..." started
Cat. "Besides, I feel like I owe you something after my last visit here.
Thanking you for taking me seriously. If youd have been half as reticent
as the police in Toronto, I more than likely wouldnt be here right now."
"You realize that this isnt necessary."
shrugged at his comment and continued, "Anyway, on a lighter note, I had
planned on getting together with a friend from the Cascade office this weekend.
For shopping on Sunday, and down to Seattle next weekend for a Mariner's game."
"If I remember correctly, you have a tendency to work some
pretty strange hours, how do you expect to accomplish all of this?"
trip shouldn't be as bad as the last one. Especially since as of 5 p.m. next Friday
afternoon, I'm on holidays for a week."
do you have for your vacation? Besides shopping and Mariners games?"
going to play it by ear. Maybe drive down to Seattle. If I really decide to go
crazy, I may head up to Vancouver. Why? Are you offering to play tour guide? Or
just trying to keep me out of trouble?"
Jim raised his
eyebrow at the turn of events. This could bring some interesting possibilities
into play. "Yes to both questions. You remind me of Sandburg.... never letting
me answer a question, before asking another one!" Jim sobered as he mentioned
his partner's name.
Cat put her hand over his, meeting his eyes.
This role reversal from their first meeting felt weird.
started Jim, looking at her intensely, "I'm glad that I called you and that
you're actually here, in Cascade. I..., cant think of anyone else I could
talk with, who would have some understanding of whats happening. Thank you."
"Anytime," she offered quietly. She paused, appreciating
just how difficult this must be for Jim. It was hard enough for her to find someone
she could confide in. For someone like Jim, it must be even harder. "I can
understand how hard it is to know who to talk with. Most of the people I've met
fall into one of three categories: either they fear you, they want to use you,
or they write you off as a nutcase when they find out. At least you know I'm not
going to do any of those things."
"I do appreciate
it. Especially with what has happened here since you were last in Cascade."
Jim played with his water glass and averted his eyes, his jaw clenching in suppressed
anger. Cat noted this was the seconded time it had come up and noted this in his
"Why? What's happened? Is that what all the staring
is about?" she asked hesitantly.
Jim gave a slow nod and
looked up, watching her face for reactions All he saw in her face was concern.
They were interrupted as the maitre'd walked up to them. "Excuse
me, Mr. Ellison, your table is ready. Please follow me." Jim helped Cat out
of her seat, again taking her elbow to guide her. As they reached a well-secluded
booth that faced away from the rest of the restaurant, the Maitre'd inquired if
the table was satisfactory, and at Jim's nod, pulled out the table so they could
slide into their places.
She whispered to Jim, "You didn't
give your name at to the Maitre'd - do you come here often or is this more of
"More of the same thing, unfortunately,"
he said with a sigh.
They were quiet while they studied their
menus. Then they both asked at the same time: "What looks good to you?"
"Well, the last time I was here, their pasta
in a cream sauce was good, and so was the grilled chicken. My friend Joyce recommends
the hamburgers, if you're missing Wonder Burger..." her eyes dancing with
laughter as she teased.
"Actually," started Jim with
a smile, "The Chateaubriand for two looks good. I can be persuaded to eat
other things than Wonder Burger, contrary to what some of my friends think!"
"Okay. That sounds good to me," agreed Cat as she
closed her menu.
"Would you like some wine to accompany
the meal?" asked Jim with another smile that reached his eyes.
pass. The last thing you need is me with a bad case of the giggles or falling
asleep on you."
"Hmmm, giggles might be interesting,
but youre right, a clear head might be better for when we talk, later,"
The waiter came over and Jim ordered for them both.
She watched him as he comfortably responded the waiters questions.
the waiter was out of earshot, Jim turned to Cat, "Now what was that about
a burglary case and court?"
"And I thought it was said
cats were curious," quipped with a little smile. She sobered and continued,
"Long story short, similar to what happened here, except I saw a story on
the news about a burglary. I knew there'd be another, had the name of the jewelry
store, and warned the police that a security guard would be killed if they didn't
do something to stop it. I even had the name of the guard."
paused and played with her napkin in her lap. "Three nights later, the jewelry
store was hit, the guard killed. I went from crank to suspect. The one thing that
cleared me was the fact the guard who was killed was a last minute replacement
- not the regular guard and Id known his name." Her expression was
distant and sad. Because the authorities hadnt believed her, a
good man had died in the process. She looked up at Jim. "The good
news, I was working late, and had witnesses to the fact I was no where near the
crime scene. They couldnt find any evidence to connect me to the burglaries,
besides the information that I had - before the incidents happened. Eventually,
I was able to give them enough information, that, when added to what they already
knew, the Metro Police were able to catch them."
closed up, and she hesitated, trying to think of what to say so Jim would understand
her emotions at the time. She sighed and began speaking again. "Now the trial
was something altogether different. The defense attorney may have tried to destroy
my credibility. I understood that that was his job. But in the end, I found another
friend. You see, I scared him. I told him to check in his wallet for a reminder
he'd written to himself, about a doctor's appointment cancelled six months previously.
I told him to make the appointment, soon."
Cat gave a sad
smile. "He called a couple of weeks later to thank me. He'd just been released
from the hospital after emergency treatment."
your turn. What have you two been up to since I was here last?"
sighed heavily before answering, trying to figure out how best to answer Cat's
loaded question. "All the, uh, attention I've been getting tonight is due
to something that happened a couple of weeks ago. It brought a lot of attention
to the two of us.... It got dragged out for a couple of days, so we're infamous
in the city of Cascade, not that I was inconspicuous before that...."
bad was the fallout?" asked Cat.
Jim shook his head, "Bad,
definitely bad, especially for Blair. He was ousted from the University over it."
God. That's horrible," Cat gasped.
Jim raised his eyebrows
and nodded in acknowledgment of Cats genuine concern over the incident.
"Simon has offered Blair a job. A permanent, paid job with the department."
He gestured with his glass of water. "The only catch is he has to go through
the academy for weapons training before he can become official."
raised his hand and indicated that that the waiter was approaching with their
meal. They waited patiently until the waiter had served their dinners and left
before continuing their conversation.
"Is this connected
to why you believe Blair is missing?" she asked cautiously.
have no idea, Cat." Jim cut a piece of his steak and chewed thoughtfully.
"He was going camping this weekend with some fellow students before going
to the academy. He is scheduled to start his training at the academy on Monday.
Now..." Jim made fists out of his hands, as he tried to explain his visions
about Blair. "Hell, I don't even know if Blair is okay. I just have this
horrible feeling something's wrong and vague images of Blair being held somewhere.
It was supposed to be a back to nature weekend! I have no way of knowing if he
made it to the destination or not! It's so... so..." he hissed, angry that
he wasn't explaining himself very well.
filled in Cat as she commiserated with the worried detective. "What about
the images?" she asked, trying to gently draw more information out. "What
can you tell me about them? What kind of feelings are you getting from these visions?
Where there any themes that seem to keep coming up? Anything you can remember
Jim closed his eyes, trying to recall them.
He took a deep breath, trying to relax as Blair had taught him. Cat smiled, watching
him. He was doing exactly what he should be doing. Curious, she wondered who had
taught him relaxation techniques.
"I know it sounds strange,"
Jim started, " but it's like watching a black and white movie out of focus.
Everything is blurred. Bits and pieces, but nothing makes any sense. I get a sense
that Blairs in trouble.... locked in a room somewhere... he's scared...."
Jim shook his head, jaw clenching in his frustration. "That's all, just the
overwhelming feeling that something isn't right and that Blair's scared, in trouble."
took his hand, making sure to have contact with his palm. No images, but she could
feel a sense of anxiety. Whose? Jim's? Blair's? Or both?
are you doing?" Jim asked. "This is the second time you've done something
Startled, Cat looked back at him blushing and
feeling a little guilty.
"This time, and when we were in
"Yes, when your hand was on my back. I
couldn't get over the warmth I was feeling from your hand, then and now. How can
you generate so much heat...? You don't look feverish."
was shocked that he could tell the difference in her touch when she was using
"I'm sorry, Jim. Both times I was trying to help
you. The first time, you seemed a little out of sorts. The place I put my hand
on your back is one of several energy centers in the body. I was trying to balance
your energies a bit for you. This time, I was trying to get a sense of what you
were seeing or feeling from the visions. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."
sounds like something I've seen before..." started Jim. "Incacha used
to do something similar when I was in Peru with the Chopec Indians."
raised his hand again, as the waiter approached to inquire about their dinner.
After being assured everything was fine and nothing more was needed he left, disappointed
that hed been unable to carry any snippets of conversation back to his co-workers.
asked Cat, puzzled. "Who's Incacha?"
with the Chopec. I was on a mission in Peru when the helicopter I was in crashed....
everyone died except me."
"You were in Peru? How long
were you there for? What kind of mission?"
I was in the military.... 1988 and I was there for over 18 months. The local tribe,
the Chopec, took me in, healed me.... I was made a member of their tribe. I saw
Incacha put his hands on some of the tribesmen if they were hurt and take away
their pain, help them heal faster as well as using local medicinal plants for
"That's done in some circles here as well.
Spirit healing, laying on of hands, holistic medicines, naturopathy."
he replied, sighing. "Blair's always trying to get me to use some of his
ancient tribal herbal medicines...." He shook his head and his facial muscles
pulled tight in a grimace, as he remembered the two times Blair had offered him
tribal medicine for his cold and the results of the medicine.
like being a guinea pig, eh?"
Jim shook his head ruefully.
"No way." He sliced his hand in the air for emphasis. "Not for
ancient Chinese Secrets or for modern medicine!"
I can see why you avoid Blairs tests when you can, too."
much did Blair tell you about the tests?" he asked, a little alarmed that
Sandburg had been talking to a virtual stranger about his personal secrets.
the look of alarm in his eyes and the clenched jaw, she explained further, "He
offered to run some tests on me. I asked if he ran tests on you. He admitted that
he tried. I never asked what kind of tests. Remember, by then I'd already told
you I knew you had your own talents. I was pretty sure he works with you to help
you with them. Though I have to admit, I'm at a loss as to why he hasn't helped
you with the visions. I take it they've been around for a while?"
they have. But I've never spoken with Blair about them at any length. Actually,
I try to avoid the subject as much as possible...." replied Jim, feeling
awkward just discussing this with Cat.
Cats cell phone
chose that moment to start playing "Fur Elise."
grinned. "A fan of Peanuts?" he commented, recognizing it
as the piece Shroeder played on his toy piano.
Cat returned the
grin, rolling her eyes, nodding as she answered the phone.
Cat, want to do sushi tonight?" invited Joyce.
sorry. Somethings come up, and Im going to be busy for the better
part of the weekend."
That was quick work. At least tell
me Im being stood up for a tall handsome guy youre going to spend
the weekend with and Ill forgive you
" Joyce cajoled.
blushed. "Yeah, kinda, sorta." She mumbled into the phone, realizing
much to her consternation, that Jim was able to hear the whole conversation, not
just her side of it.
"Ohhhhhh. Youre with him right
now." Joyce replied, evidently enjoying the fact she was putting Cat on the
spot. "Just remember girl, details. I want details Monday morning. Ill
bring the coffee."
"Ill give you a call Sunday,
so we can hopefully, make plans for the remainder of my visit."
I'll talk to you later. Night, Cat."
Both continued eating
and, after a brief silence, Cat met Jims gaze.
guess what I need to know is - beyond this time - do you want to learn to work
with the visions? Learn to deal with them with less frustration?" Cat asked.
She watched his face as she spoke, not liking the feeling of putting him on the
spot with this kind of a question. But his answer would help her figure out the
best way to try to help him.
Jim pushed his food around on his
plate, thinking about her questions. He wasn't sure about any of this himself.
He tended to be more of a concrete, black and white world, person. He liked to
be able to use his five senses on whatever came at him. He didn't want to divulge
too much to Cat about his senses, although she had already mentioned that she
knew about his hearing. How, he didn't know.
Cat could read Jims
hesitation and decided to try a different approach. "I know it's easier to
deal with what you know. But don't most cops also work on gut instinct? That gut
instinct is basically the same thing that's happening to you now, just on a different
Jim's jaw tightened as he thought about what Cat
had just said. He ran her words over in his mind trying to see how gut instinct
and precognition, because thats what she was doing, implied that was what
his "visions" were.... he shook his head in denial. He opened his mouth
to speak but Cat beat him to the punch.
"How many times
have you found yourself changing direction - for no apparent reason? Just because
you knew you had to? It's the same thing. Its the unreasoned "knowing"
that makes the difference." Cat paused long enough to take a quick breath
before continuing, knowing if she stopped now, she'd never finish.
started Jim. He stopped, took a deep breath, hearing Blair's voice in his mind,
'Come on, man, you gotta trust other people sometime!'
know Blair is in trouble," she continued. "You're not going to help
him by trying to block what's happening. You're going to have to trust yourself
and trust me to help you. If you don't, there's no reason for this conversation."
nodded his head once, making the decision to trust Cat fully. He reasoned with
himself that he had trusted her to help solve the Kalan case. So, he listened
to the voice of Blair and decided to open up to Cat.
Jim paused and nodded. "This isnt easy for me." Jim said as he
met her unwavering gaze, "bear with me, okay? I do want to help Blair. I'm
just used to being the lone wolf in this type of situation."
nodded in agreement, releasing the breath she hadnt realized shed
"What do I need to do to "connect"
with these visions Cat? You're the expert here...." Jim pleaded.
no expert. I can take you through the steps I use, but there are no guarantees
that it will work. There are a couple of exercises I use that might help. At first,
it won't be easy - and will require a lot of patience."
god. Not you, too? Blair is *always* coming up with other kinds of tests,"
said Jim with a mock groan, trying to show that he was trying to accept this new
Grinning and shaking her head, "No, its
not the same thing. Im trying to help you achieve a goal, not measure a
response to prove a theory."
"One exercise I call the
puzzle. The other the scroll. With these exercises, I'm at the point where I can
single out an image or feeling and let it "run in the background" while
I do something else until the whole thing falls together. Eventually, if it works
for you, you should be able to do the same thing. Its not terribly dramatic,
both work the same way, just approaching the problem from different perspectives.
The puzzle is where you choose the clearest of the images, and put it in the "center"
of your thoughts. Then try to slide the other images around it until they start
falling into place. Eventually you'll end up with the whole picture."
the scroll, you have to picture yourself standing in front of a giant scroll.
It's curled up on both sides, and you're standing in the middle. You try to "push"
back the ends to reveal the picture. The center is the same image you'd use in
"Okay," agreed Jim, trying to understand
the different imaging techniques she was explaining to him. He frowned, trying
to rationalize them in his black and white mind.
She gave him
a slight smile, acknowledging the step he was taking. "If it's any help,
you could almost think of it the way the police use composites to find a suspect.
You still have to piece the information together to get the end result."
that way, it sounds a little easier, but not by much," he retorted with a
slight smile of his own.
"You'll do alright."
you say so, Cat."
"I know so," Cat replied quietly.
She couldn't believe he would do anything in half measure. He wanted to help his
friend, so there was no room for failure.
"The sooner we
get started, the sooner I, correction, *we* can help Blair, right?"
she agreed with a smile.
"So, when do we begin?" asked
Jim, after he finished his steak.
Looking at her plate, she realized
that hed already finished and she was definitely lagging behind. The food
was good, but the conversation had been more interesting. She replied sheepishly,
"Give me a few minutes to catch up with you."
Cat finished her meal, Jim signaled their waiter for the bill. When the waiter
brought the check to the table, he started to put it down before Jim, but Cat
"I told you before - I'm looking after this...."
Cat signed the bill and left a tip. "Shall we?"
slipped out of the booth, then helped Cat to her feet. He took her arm and led
her out of the restaurant, pointedly ignoring the stares and whispers they generated
as they passed through.
"For this type of work, the more
relaxed you are, the better results we'll get. We can go to your place if you'd
be more comfortable there. Otherwise, I'm on the 8th floor, if you want to go
up to my suite."
"Well, since we're here, and the sooner
we get going..." started Jim. "Besides, I got a ride over here."
got the keys to the truck or is it in the shop?" she questioned with a smirk.
laughed. "Not *my* truck!"
"Boys and their toys,"
Cat laughed along with him.
"You got that right in one!"
headed off to the bank of elevators, and waited for a car to arrive.
stood patiently waiting for all the passengers in the crowded elevator to spill
out into the lobby. Flashes of recognition on a few faces were evident followed
by questioning glances. It was almost becoming funny. Almost being the key word.
Finding themselves alone in the elevator, Cat turned to Jim, her eyes dancing
with laughter, "Im not sure whether Ive just helped your reputation
or hurt it further."
Back at the campground they had
a fire going and John Sax had just started to put on hamburgers to fry. He asked
Lisa where Blair was.
She looked at her watch and realized that
she hadn't seen him for almost two hours. "I don't know. You don't think...
I thought he had brought his last load in ahead of me and went back out to meditate."
spoke louder so everyone could hear him. "Hey! Guys! Sandburg's not here.
Anybody seen him in the last couple of hours?"
of the campers walked up to the campfire and started discussing when they had
last seen the wayward former TA. They concluded they had last seen him go off
with Lisa but he hadn't come back.
"I'll go with Lisa to
see if we can find him," offered Devon.
replied John S. "I'll save you two some lunch."
man, you're all heart!" teased Devon.
The two teaching
assistants headed out in the direction Lisa and Blair had taken earlier. They
searched for a half hour and finally went back.
Andrea saw the
two other campers returning. She knew by their expressions that they didn't have
any luck. "Any signs of him at all?"
Lisa shook her
head. "We saw some of his footprints but we lost them. We either need to
all go out or tell the authorities who know these woods better than we do. We
can't afford for anyone else to get lost."
up her face in worry. "But what if he's hurt? We don't want to leave him
Devon put a comforting hand on her arm. "I'll
go notify the authorities and call his partner, Jim. Maybe he can help set up
a search party."
"Shall we split up - half of us stay
here in case Blair comes back? While the other go to the Sheriff's office to make
Andrea's face brightened at the suggestion.
Mark spoke up. "I have a better idea. Why don't you go
by yourself Devon, then one of us will stay here and the others can go in pairs
for looking for Sandburg."
"Sounds like a plan to me,"
replied Devon. "I'll be back in about an hour then."
watched silently, as Devon left.
"I'll stay behind,"
offered Kurt. Lisa and Gord are the first team, Andrea and Saxy are the second
team, Lisa and John C. youre the third team. Good luck guys." They
started off in the direction Blair had taken and split up where they had lost
his tracks. The pairs took different directions and combed the area.
had agreed to search for an hour so they could meet back at the campground and
hear what Devon had to say.
Devon sped to the ranger station,
hoping that there weren't any radar traps set. He pulled up to the ranger station
and explained what had happened. Then he made the call to Cascade PD and asked
for Detective James Ellison.
He waited impatiently as he waited
to be connected. He was disappointed that he got Ellison's voice mail. He debated
whether he should follow the voice mail instructions and leave a message with
He left a message then called Jim's home number,
again only getting an answering machine. He left a message there, too. Devon left
the ranger station and headed back to the campground after checking with the ranger
one more time. The ranger said he would relay the information to all his men and
they would be on the lookout for Blair. The ranger would contact Devon back at
the campground if they found Blair.
Devon felt disheartened as
he arrived back just as the others came straggling in, hot, tired, thirsty, and
very disappointed. It seemed like nothing was working in their friend's favor.
again voiced her concern and Lisa tried to reassure her. "Andrea, he's been
camping before and knows the basic survival skills. He should be okay if he's
not back before dark. Let's just hope it doesn't get too cold tonight since Blair
didn't have a jacket on when he left."
Andrea shivered in
sympathy as a cold wind swept through the campground.
had Jim help her move a couple of the chairs to the middle of the room, facing
one another. She figured that this would be the best arrangement for the session.
"Jim, take a seat and try to relax a bit. I noticed you
doing some breathing exercises earlier, it might be best if you do a few more.
Im was thinking of putting on some music. Do you have a preference? Ive
got instrumental, sea sounds, a combination of both, or some other relaxation
and meditation tapes. Or would you prefer no music?"
you got candles with you as well?" Jim asked, thinking about Blair and his
meditations. "No earth music in your collection from the sounds of it?"
He asked the last question with a rueful smile.
them at home. I can only bring so much with me, and I wasnt exactly expecting
to try and help someone deal with their own visions
" she replied with
"What kind of instrumental music do you have?"
"Pachelbels Canon in D Major. Its
one of my favorite relaxation pieces. I normally listen to it while Im working
late at night on the computer and Im a little stressed out."
interesting. We can try that I guess."
Cat pulled out the
portable CD player from her briefcase and small speakers from the desk drawer,
hooking everything up quickly, and inserted the CD. Soft strains of music filled
the room as she lowered the volume a bit so it wouldnt be obtrusive to the
work ahead of them.
"Have you decided which exercise youre
going to try, the Puzzle or the Scroll?"
try the Puzzle. Youve said theyre similar enough either should work."
She paused, "now how about those deep cleansing breaths?"
watched as he closed his eyes and started the breathing exercise. Something still
wasnt quite right. She could tell by the way he was sitting, it wasnt
having the desired effect.
She moved behind him. "Jim, drop
your head forward a bit," Cat suggested.
When he complied
with the request, Jim felt her hands slip inside his shirt, a hand gently coming
to rest on either shoulder. She started to massage his shoulders, running her
thumbs in a semi-circle from the top of his shoulder blades up either side of
his neck and back. Slowly, rhythmically. He could feel the tension slipping away.
She definitely wasnt Blair, but she knew exactly what to do and when.
satisfied smile slowly spread across Cats lips. "Dont you dare
fall asleep on me now," she murmured. She didnt have to see his face
to know he was grinning.
"Okay," Cat said as she sat
in the chair across from Jim. "Close your eyes again, and focus on the one
image that you can see clearest. Now slowly, introduce the other images, no matter
how vague, and slide them around the central image. See if you can find any pieces
that look like they fit together. If you do, try to bring that new piece into
better focus. If it doesnt fit, try another. You can turn them around to
see if any sides fit together, youre not restricted to just the way it presents
itself to you."
Cat closed her own eyes and listened to
the music and his breathing pattern. Relaxed. She allowed herself the time to
check with her own guides for any hints, when suddenly, she felt that something
very wrong had happened. Her eyes opened and she found herself looking at Jim.
The breathing wasn't right, and there was a blankness to his face. Shit!
He wasnt supposed to go into this kind of state." She thought to
herself. She had purposely tried not to induce a trance state, and yet he appeared
to be in one. "Jim? Can you hear me?" There was no movement, no recognition.
the hell happened?" she muttered looking upward, directing the question to
her own guides.
'It is because he is a Sentinel,
was the response.
"Oh great. A Sentinel? Now, what
the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Yeah, right. Like hes in any
condition to answer that kind of a question. Youre a real big help."
Cat could feel her own frustration level rising. She hated it
when her guides decided to be difficult. She rose from her seat and started to
pace, trying to figure out how to deal with this situation.
now whow do I get him out of this?" she demanded of her guides. Her demand
was met with stoney silence. "Damn it! You know what he is and won't tell
me. You know how to help him and won't even let me buy a clue...." she started
The feeling of frustration and helplessness rose even
higher until Cat stopped dead in her tracks with the realization she was the problem.
She couldn't help Jim unless she calmed herself down.
to the chair that she had vacated a short time ago, Cat started the breathing
exercises. 'Breathe in to the count of five. Hold for the count of five. Release
to the count of five. Hold for the count of five," she repeated until she
could feel the frustration and helplessness falling away.
she pleaded, "help me to help him. Will he come out of this by himself?"
"No," was her guides answer.
was her guides answer.
"What do I need to do to help him?"
"What is similar?"
this is like something else I know of? Something I can handle?"
"Okay, is this similar to the state of a sleepwalker?"
she asked tentatively.
"Catatonia?" Cat asked, praying silently, this wasn't the answer.
She knew neither of them would like it if she had to get medical help to deal
with this situation.
"Is it like a trance?"
it's trance-like? Does that mean it is a suggestible state?"
Cat took a deep breath, and opened her eyes, looking
at Jim, she tried to remember how to get someone out of a trance. Shed try
to use those methods to bring him out of this state. If it was like a trance
she could also try one other thing before bringing him out of it.
I need you to listen to my voice. I need you to remember everything that has happened
since we came to my suite. You will find the images that you are trying to recall
clearer. You will be able to work with them without going into this kind of a
trance state again. You will be able to put the puzzle together and find Blair.
Now, Im going to count to ten. When I reach ten you will be fully aware
and out of this state."
She watched. No change.
"Four." Still no change.
Damn, got to remember to breathe! She chided herself when she realized
she was holding her breath.
A flicker of something across his face. It was working!
slowly opened his eyes. He ran both hands over his face to help clear the effects
of his zone out. He should have known better. Maybe he should have warned Cat.
He brought his gaze to rest on her. She wasnt happy about this.
the hell happened?" Cat demanded.
Jim realized then, he
remembered what had been said while he was zoned. That had never happened before.
What had she said? A sentinel. What the hell is that supposed to mean?
then shed said, Like hes in any condition to answer that
kind of a question. Youre a real big help. Who had she been talking
to - her guides?
"Blair calls it a zone. If I focus too
hard or long on something, I zone." He waited for her to ask the expected
next question, wondering if she sensed his evasiveness.
you couldnt have warned me? Youre lucky I had half an idea how to
get you out of it. If theres ever a next time, say something!" Her
anger and frustration over the experience was understandable. What wasnt,
was the fact Cat could have asked about his being a sentinel, and had apparently
chosen not to.
"Uh, Cat?" Jim hesitated before going
on. "I have to ask, why do I remember what happened? Thats never happened
Blair never twigged to the fact your
zoning is like a trance state? Ay, yi, yi . Not good. she
thought, shaking her head.
"You seemed to be in a trance-like
state. In a trance, the subject is in a highly suggestible state. Thats
why I made the suggestions I did. I had hoped that youd remember the exercise,
and working with it, as well as the images. I wanted to try to make it easier
for you. If I suggested that it would be, maybe, just maybe, the suggestion would
take. Hopefully, the pieces of the puzzle will fall together easier for you, and
become clearer. I figured it was worth a try. Especially if I could prevent you
from going into another similar state the next time you tried it."
paled when he heard this. This could be even more dangerous than just zoning.
This is just between you and me," Cat said trying to reassure him after seeing
his reaction. "It will go no further. I wont even say anything to Blair
about this. Its your call. Besides, suggestions are just that -- suggestions.
No one can make you do anything against your will. You will always have the final
The silence in the room was deafening, as he struggled
to take in what had just happened.
"Look," Cat began,
trying to find someway to help distract him from what had happened. "Its
still fairly early. Why dont we go for a bit of a walk? I was going to go
out to get a few things to stock the fridge with from a store not far from here.
Why dont you join me? Then we can figure out where to go from here."
sounds like a good idea. Before we go, would you mind if I used your phone? I
should have checked my messages before now."
busied herself in the next room, to give him some measure of privacy. When she
heard the receiver return to the cradle, Cat peeked out.
"There was a message from Blairs friends. He went
missing late this afternoon. Theyve reported his disappearance to the local
authorities and then called to leave a message for me. They figure hes gotten
lost in the woods."
Leaning against the doorframe, Cat sighed
and closed her eyes. She felt guilty at the uneasy mixture of happiness and sadness
at the news. Damn. I knew this was going to happen, but this is not the
type of confirmation of his visions he needs, she thought.
opened her eyes and looked at him. Seeing the tension return, she felt like all
the good she had tried to do for him had just slipped away.
something wrong?" Jim asked anxiously. He was almost afraid Cat had picked
up something he hadnt been able to from the vision.
and no. It could be considered a good sign that youve received such a definite
confirmation that youve been right. You now have confirmation that this
is more than just a bad dream or a figment of your imagination. I just wish it
could have been something a little more pleasant instead of this kind of news."
the room had become too confining for him and he needed to get out of there. "Lets
go for that walk, then. I think I could use some fresh air."
Cat grabbed a couple of six packs of bottled water and put them in the
shopping cart to join the box of granola bars and the cans of cola and root beer.
From behind her she heard, "You forgot these," as
Jim carefully placed two packs of Pepperidge Farms Chesapeake cookies in the cart.
He was rewarded with a chuckle, as Cat said, "You remembered."
His smile echoed hers, and she felt this had been just what they had both needed.
four of the food groups, right?" he joked. "Ive tried to get away
with that, but I keep getting reminded Im a cop, not a computer programmer."
loss, Cascades gain," Cat replied impishly, trying to keep the mood
light, knowing full well that it would have been Blair doing the reminding.
the way, thanks," said Jim softly.
ask Cat, not quite following.
"For trying to help,"
Jim paused and then continued almost under his breath, " and for not asking."
Making sure no one overheard that part of their conversation. They had been lucky
this time, with few, if any, prying eyes or ears around.
smiled, as she realized what he was thanking her for. "If my guides arent
going to tell me something, I feel I have no right to ask. They must have been
in the military at some time. Sometimes, information is only available on a need
to know basis..."
Blair slowly opened his eyes, trying
to figure out where he was. It was dark and silent. He looked around and finally
remembered he was in the cabin. A little moonlight filtered into the room through
the boards on the window. Blair worked the knot that secured the rope on his wrists.
again used his teeth to get the ropes off his hands. Then he finally managed to
get the ropes off his feet. Thankfully, Tony hadn't tied the ropes as tight as
Scott had, so he still had feeling in his hands and feet.
immediately went to the door and tried it. Locked. He knew the window was out
because it would make too much noise if he tried to break out the boards. He reached
down into his boot and pulled out his Swiss Army Knife. He was glad that he had
purchased a pair of hiking boots that had zipper pouches on them.
opened up the knife and found the tool he was looking for. He carefully and quietly
worked at picking the lock. As he heard the bolt slide back, a big grin suffused
"Yes!" he whispered, clenched one fist and
pulled it quickly to his body in a victory gesture. He carefully and slowly turned
the handle and opened the door just as carefully.
He waited a
few seconds, just in case someone was awake and had seen the door open. Safe.
He stepped outside the door and quietly closed it behind himself.
peeked out into the room and realized that there was no way he could make it to
the door without disturbing the bandits. He'd have to step over too many pairs
of legs and hope that no one would wake up as he progressed through. He decided
to risk making noise with the windows. He tiptoed back into the room, shut the
door and turned to the window.
Blair felt around the casing,
trying to find the board he'd started to pull out earlier. It gave way with little
protest. He tried his knife and found a tool that would help pry the nails out
and gave him extra leverage, and hopefully, keep the noise of the nails down,
too. Blair tried a couple more boards. Some gave way as easily as the first did.
Others would require a crowbar at least to move them. He cleared enough away from
inside that he'd be able to get through. The boards on the outside were not as
thoroughly placed across the window. But now the tough part. How to open the window
without breaking it?
Cat was fully awake at the sound of Jims anguished cry.
Shed dozed fitfully, only too aware of the man who slept in the next room.
Shed heard him toss and turn, and now he seemed trapped within a nightmare.
Cat quickly got up, and opening the sliding door between the bedroom and sitting
room, where Jim had been sleeping just as fitfully on the sofa bed.
worked late, trying to help him work with the vision again, with little success.
Both of them were tired and frustrated by the end of the session.
had offered him the sofa bed, because she was too tired to drive him home, and
figured he wasnt in much better shape.
I could have taken a cab home. Jim thought. A breakthrough
would come soon, she had argued when he had suggested taking a cab home. But Cat
had preferred to have him close, wanting to be there when the breakthrough occurred
to help him through it.
"Jim. Wake up. Youre having
a nightmare," she said as she perched on the edge of the couch.
opened his eyes at the sound of her voice. Trying to figure out where he was,
remembering finally that he was in Cats suite.
It wasnt a nightmare," Jim said quietly. "I remember. I remember
the whole thing now."
"Close your eyes again,"
Cat directed. "Visualize the whole thing, and describe it."
looked at Cat, perched on the side of the sofa bed in the dark. "Uh, Cat?
Can you do me a favor before we go any further?"
what do you need?"
"Could you put on a robe or a little
Cat blushed, mortified at the thought she
was only wearing a T-shirt which left nothing to the imagination. She quickly
got up, dashing back into the other room closing the door behind her again.
closed his eyes. This is * not * the type of distraction I need right
now. For all the times Ive kidded Blair about table legs, I owe him big
time for this one. Still, the images that he saw in his minds
eye at that particular moment were not unappealing. Jim tried to dismiss it as
In the other room, Cat was trying to settle
down. She turned on a lamp, and then glared at herself in the mirror, taking in
the t-shirt she admonished herself, Shit! Shit! Shit! Okay, so you werent
expecting a sleepover during this trip. You shoulda packed a proper
nightgown and robe. Youll know better next time.
a series of images played themselves out for her, making her blush even deeper
shade of pink
. Get your mind out of the gutter, kiddo. Youve
got work to do. Youll have time for daydreams once this is over and Blair
is back where he belongs.
A few minutes later, she
re-entered the room, this time in jeans and the T-shirt. Jim had taken the time
to put on his own clothes Cat noted, thankfully. He had turned on the lights in
the room, and was in the process of closing up the sofa bed.
she hesitated, "what do you remember?" Still feeling slightly embarrassed,
she sat in the chair at the desk, finding herself staring at his back, watching
"Everything," he replied as he finished
setting the cushions in place. Jim turned and sat down on the couch. "I think
I have an idea of where he may be."
"This *is* good
news. Tell me more, like how Blair happened into this predicament. Do you recognize
any of the places or people in the vision? Strike that, of course you do, if youve
got an idea where he is."
Jim grinned, thinking, She
really was like Blair with all the questions.
starts off with Blair going into the woods. For someone as directionally
challenged as he is, why he chose to go off into the woods by himself, Ill
Cat could feel the grin tugging at the corners
of her mouth. "Directionally challenged, eh?"
was trying to find his way back to the site where the others were, and he found
himself at a forked path, which he didnt remember. He chose the one on his
right, and headed off, expecting to find his friends. Blair got deeper and deeper
into the woods. Finally, he found a dirt road leading to a cabin, where he hoped
to get help. Instead, he found trouble. Im not sure he knows who is holding
him, but they know him. Im not sure if its because weve run
into some of them in the line of duty, or, if its because of the publicity
we received a couple of weeks ago."
As he spoke, with a
slight of a shiver a funny look passed over his face, though it wasnt cold
in the room.
"Jim? Did you feel a sort of tingle just then?"
she asked quietly.
Raising an eyebrow at her question, he answered,
"How did you know?"
"What part of the sentence
gave you the tingle, the line of duty or the publicity?"
he asked having a hard time trying to follow her reasoning.
me on this," she said patiently, "Which part of that last sentence did
you get the tingle on?"
"The publicity. Damn, it just
happened again!" his bewilderment showing on his face.
youve just had another form of confirmation," Cat said cautiously.
"It appears Blair is being held because they know of his connection to you
and the Major Crimes unit. Consequently, he has to be some sort of threat to them.
Now the question is why? Do you have any idea how many of them are there? Do you
recognize any of the faces of the people holding him?"
least four. Though, I have a funny feeling there are possibly be more than that.
One of them, possibly two, seemed familiar. Im just trying to place them,"
Jim replied, racking his memory for the reason they seemed familiar. He rose and
started to pace like a caged cat.
"Would it be worth it
to go to the station to view mug shots to try to pick this person out? Or is it
from something else you recognize him from, like the news?"
it!" He stopped where he was, turned to look at Cat and continued, "He
was on one of those Crime Stopper pieces one of the local stations played during
the news recently. He was part of a bank robbery caught on video. Another unit
in the P.D is handling the robbery. His face wasnt visible, but the movements,
the body language were familiar."
"Okay. Now weve
got the why and part of the who. How about working on the where? Start thinking
about the place, any landmarks you can see, to help us find them. Picture the
cabin, the things around it, see if you can follow the road out to where it meets
a larger, main road."
Jim closed his eyes, to visualize
the cabin and its surroundings. He could see the cabin, the trees around it, and
the dirt road. He pictured himself in the middle of the road, and started walking
away from the cabin, noting the different landmarks, finally tracing it to a junction
with a main road he knew hed be able to recognize later.
watched him carefully, for signs of a zone. He seemed to be doing it a lot easier
than he had earlier. It looked like the suggestions shed made had apparently
"I think I can find them. But were going to
need help. Ill call Simon, Captain Banks, and well need the help of
the local authorities, since it will be outside of our jurisdiction."
smiled. He had finally found a firm footing with this. She could see his confidence
had returned. He knew what to do. Who needed to be called. And best of all, she
could almost swear he knew everything would be all right.
are you going to explain to Captain Banks how you found out where Blair is?"
Cat asked. "I mean, how are you going to tell him you got the information?
Does he even know you have special talents, like visions?" she continued.
thought for a moment, and started to smile. "Well, I could always tell him
I got some help from you
." The things hed learned from Blair
a lie, not the whole truth. But would he buy it?"
what happened with the Kalan case, add to that the fact you showed up in Cascade
on the day Blair goes missing? He may not like it, but I think he may be able
to keep an open mind on the subject."
they stop by his place. It gave him a chance to change clothes and gather a few
things he felt they needed, like a first aid kit.
Jim had called
Simon to let him know Blair was missing, and that he had received some information
leading him to believe Blair wasnt just lost in the woods as his friends
believed, but was being held somewhere near the area he had been camping with
his friends. Jim had also advised Simon that he was going up to scout ahead, to
ensure that the information was right.
As expected, Simon insisted
that he not go in alone. Hed have people standing by ready to roll, once
Blair was located, and they knew what they would be facing.
sun hadnt even risen yet as they approached Cats rental car. They
had decided to take the Neon, since it wouldnt be as noticeable as his truck.
If these thugs were aware of the press conference, and the events leading up to
it, they might even know his vehicle. The rental was low key enough, that even
if they were stopped, who would think twice at a couple watching the sunrise in
"Heads up!" Cat called out as she tossed
the car keys to Jim. He gave her a questioning glance as he caught them. She replied
quietly, "You can find him, I cant. You already have some idea where
to go. You know the area. Follow that feeling, those images, whatever will lead
you to Blair."
"Like you did on the campus? When you
found Kalan?" Jim asked as he opened the car door for her.
waited to respond until he got in the car. "Pretty much. For me it was like
a knot in my stomach that just got larger as I got closer, add to that what felt
like someone screaming in the back of my mind as I got closer its
hard not to miss. Your own reactions and feelings may be completely different.
But if you start out in the right direction you should start to feel something,
and it will only get stronger as you get closer."
make it sound so easy," he replied as he started the car and pulled out of
the parking space. He drove to the main street that would head them in the right
"It is really, once you get used to it. All
you have to do is leave yourself open to it and listen. Ive always believed
that everyone can do this. Its a matter of giving yourself permission to
believe in it and accept it."
They started on their way,
carrying on a quiet banter between them. Occasionally Cat would ask what he was
feeling, was it getting stronger or weaker? After a couple of false starts, they
found themselves on the right road, and Jim noticed an indefinable feeling gaining
strength. It wasnt a feeling he could easily describe and its level was
rising the closer he got to their destination. He could understand why Cat described
it as a knot. The difference in the feeling when he was on the right or wrong
road amazed him. It was subtle, but it could be felt. Without Cat helping him,
he may never have realized what it was.
After about 45 minutes
Jim pulled over to the side of the road, at what appeared to be a scenic lookout
spot. It was wide enough to accommodate several cars without being a danger to
traffic on the mountain road.
"The smaller road leading
to the cabin is just up the way. Im going to call to Simon now, so he and
the others can meet us here. Hell also alert the local authorities, so we
dont have any jurisdictional problems. Well wait here until they arrive,"
Cat nodded her understanding. She wondered what
reaction the others would have to her presence when they arrived. The other members
of the Major Crimes unit wouldnt know her on sight, but she was willing
to bet that her reputation preceded her and that they would know of her and the
"I think Im going to stretch my legs a
bit, if you dont mind," Jim asked.
like a good idea. I think Ill join you. A breath of fresh mountain air might
be nice, too."
They didnt have long to wait. Twenty-five
minutes later, they were leaning against the car talking when they were joined
by three County Sheriffs vehicles and Captains Banks and Taggart.
of them did a double take when they saw Cat. She remained where she had been when
they arrived, as Jim went over to talk to the gentleman who appeared to be Captain
Banks and the Deputy Sheriff who was leading the local group. She could tell there
was a heated discussion going on, with pointed looks being sent in her direction.
Finally, Jim brought the Captain over.
"Captain Banks, Id
like to introduce you to Catharine Alexander. Cat, this is Captain Banks."
a pleasure to meet you Captain," Cat said as she extended her hand. "Im
only sorry it wasnt under better circumstances. When I spoke to Jim last
night, I offered my assistance in finding Blair."
took her proffered hand, the surprise evident in his eyes. "Ms Alexander."
not entirely correct, Sir. I asked for her help in locating Blair."
gave him a questioning look. Was he really going to tell Captain Banks that *he*
was the one who had been having the visions?
have something to do with the state we found you in yesterday morning?" Simon
Jim nodded and continued. "When I woke up yesterday
morning, I had a feeling something was wrong, or about to go wrong. Something
to do with Blair. I couldnt figure out what it was. I zoned listening to
Blairs heartbeat as he left."
Simon shot a look at
Cat wondering how much she knew.
"She knows, Simon. I zoned
again last night, while she was trying to help me pull the images together. Cat
was able to get me out of the zone and helped me pull everything together. It
took a while, but it worked. I know where Blair is."
you havent had any visions for what, almost six months? You had no problem
then. Why now?"
"It isnt always that easy, Captain
Banks." Cat explained. "Think of it like a dream. How often do you remember
them? How often do you even try? Sometimes its only fragments or fleeting
feelings that are remembered, then we have to work at remembering the rest, like
trying to fit a puzzle together. It isnt as straightforward as watching
a television show or a movie where everything is laid out neatly for you."
looked from Cat to Jim, not quite sure what to make of this development. Cat could
read the frustration in his face. Not much different from the frustration that
had registered on Jims face the night before while he tried to accept similar
"If I had any sense at all, Id send her
back to Cascade now," said Simon, "But youve said she has to come
with us, I dont like it, but Ill allow it on one condition, she stays
put once we get to the spot youve indicated, Jim. I just hope she listens
better than Sandburg."
"Youll get no argument
from me on that, Captain," said Cat. "Id prefer to be as far away
from the action as possible." She wondered though, what had made Jim insist
that she stay with them, instead of being sent back to the hotel to wait it out.
that everyone is here, lets go over the details," Simon told Jim as
Detectives Rafe and Brown arrived.
Cat was more than a little
surprised when Jim put a hand in the middle of her back to guide her over to meet
"Hey Ellison! When did you start bringing dates
to this kind of party?" called out Brown.
H?" kidded Jim.
This is not helping
thought Cat, feeling more anxious the closer she got to the others.
Rafe, Joel, this is Catharine Alexander," introduced Jim. "I think you
remember the Kalan case. Shes the one who gave us the information that nailed
him. Shes also the one whos helped me locate Sandburg."
watched their faces register dismay as a feeling of unease seemed to settle over
the group. The only ones not effected by the news were the deputies from the Sheriffs
office and they only seemed curious about the turn of events.
can see why you were reluctant to tell me who you were meeting last night,"
said Joel in a low voice to Jim. "Shes okay by me if she can help get
Sandburg back in one piece."
It was at that moment Cat realized
that Captain Banks was privy to information the others werent. "He
knows that Jim is different, and accepted it. Hes allowed Blair to be Jims
partner, when he would normally have been partnered off with another detective.
He also trusted Jims judgment enough that he willingly goes against his
own better judgment," Cat thought wistfully, "Its good
to know that there were some people in this world who could at least try to understand
or try to accept it even if they didnt understand. I just wish there were
more of them in my life."
End of Part 2
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