"Ellison, I'd like to see you in my office." said Simon.
sir," replied Jim. He knew what was coming. Now he just needed to dance his
way out of this. After what had happened that morning, he knew damn well that
Simon was going to suggest that Jim spend the weekend at his place.
entered, closing the door behind him and stood at parade rest, back ramrod straight
with his hands clasped behind his back.
"Jim," Simon started,
watching his friend closely and waved him to take a seat. Jim declined with a
shake of his head.
"Simon," Jim interrupted. "I know what
you're going to say. I'm fine. I'll be fine this weekend, and I don't need to
be babysat." Jim didn't know who to be more annoyed at, himself for not being
able to understand why he felt the way he did about this situation, or Simon for
not trusting his judgment.
"Jim, just consider me a concerned friend,
not your Captain. I've never seen you zone like that before. Mind you, Sandburg
was always there to get you out of it. With him away for the weekend, I feel I
have a right to be concerned. I don't think you should be alone this weekend."
a matter of fact, I just found out I have a friend who's just arrived from out
of town. We're getting together tonight, and possibly we'll be making other plans
for the weekend as well. I was just about to ask Joel if I could catch a lift."
looked at Jim, trying to decide if his friend's evasiveness was just because he
was trying to squirm his way out of this. Simon shook his head and sighed.
I'll tell you what. If things fall through, you'll be the first person I call,
okay?" Jim offered. "Maybe we can watch a ballgame tomorrow or Sunday."
nodded and with that Jim left his office. The captain watched Jim amble out into
the bullpen and watched the detective's progress as he made his way to Joel Taggart's
"Hey Joel, when are you leaving tonight?" Jim asked. Taggart
stopped pecking at the computer keyboard and looked up at Ellison with a smile.
Would you care to join us for dinner tonight? I know Mable would love to have
you over for dinner. You know her, she always makes more than enough for two people!"
Joel, no can do," replied Ellison with a shake of his head. "I've just
found out I've got an out of town friend coming in and we're getting together
tonight. Any chance I can get a lift?"
"You know I've been appointed
the DD, so sure. Where to?"
"The Sheraton Suites in about a half
hour, if that's not rushing you."
"That should be fine. Give me
10 minutes to finish what I'm doing here," replied Joel, pointing to the
computer screen, "and we can leave."
Joel was as good as his word.
Ten minutes later they left the bullpen behind them.
Joel was quiet on the
trip to the hotel. But, he kept stealing glances at Jim, trying to gauge the younger
man who seemed to be on edge.
"So is this an old friend? Someone from
school or the military?"
Jim's jaw twitched before he answered. "Neither."
stony silence settled between them. "What did I say?" thought Joel,
wondering why Jim was acting like he used to before Sandburg came along. "Geez,
if Sandburg goes away in the future, I think I'll make sure I take some vacation
time and avoid scenes like this!"
Joel took a deep breath and decided
to try to diffuse the tensions that were coming from Ellison. He figured the best
way was to pull over and "force" the issue. Ellison gave Joel a sharp
look at the sudden change in their forward movement.
"Joel? Why are
"Jim - if I didn't know better, you're either playing
secret agent going on a mission for the weekend, in which case we're in big trouble,
or it's a lady."
"All the above and none of the above, Joel, so
quit trolling for information," responded Jim curtly.
on man, you're not usually like this. If there's a problem between you and Blair,
let me help.
You know you can trust me, Jim."
a problem between Blair and I. I'm fine. Can we just drop this subject?"
turned in the seat to look Jim squarely in the eye. "Come on, Jim. I know
you don't think so, but after this morning and being in a zone for so long....
I'm in complete agreement with Simon on this one. *Someone* has got to watch your
back for you this weekend. With no Blair around to watch it for you...."
won't happen again. Not this weekend. There's no reason to believe it will. It
only happens every once and a while."
Joel shrugged his shoulders,
giving up on this line of discussion.
"Okay, Jim. Have it your way,
then. * But, * if you need either one of us, you know how to get a hold of us,
right?" Jim just gave Joel a suffering look in return. "Okay, okay.
I know. Quit the babysitting. I just had to offer and make it clear, Jim. Isn't
that what friends are for?"
"Joel, don't get me wrong." Ellison
gestured with his hands, reminiscent of Sandburg. "I appreciate that both
you and Simon are concerned and want to help. I just don't need it. I'm okay."
shrugged, turned back, signaled his intent to re-enter traffic and pulled out.
"Jim, whatever it is, all of Major Crimes is here for you *and* Blair, got
As Joel pulled up to the entryway
of the hotel, he stopped Jim from getting out by putting his hand on the younger
man's left arm. "Jim..." Ellison stopped from getting out and looked
over at Taggart. "Jim...I just hope you have a nice time with your mysterious
lady friend. I hope I get to meet her. Just don't take your worry out on her,
okay? Push it to the back of your mind and just concentrate on the moment at hand...otherwise,
you may find yourself taking a cab home tonight!"
Jim raised his eyebrows
in acknowledgement and sent Joel a little self-deprecating smile. "Gotcha
Joel, and thanks again for the concern."
Joel craned his neck trying
to watch Jim until he got out of eyesight before pulling away from the entrance.
Joel muttered to himself, "Well, little lady, whoever you are, good luck.
I hope you can tame the bear that Ellison is today!" He chuckled at the image
this brought to mind as he pulled out into the evening rush hour traffic. "And
heaven forbid if he zones on his lady tonight! Maybe he should wear an emergency
medical bracelet saying: If unresponsive call Blair Sandburg or Simon Banks!"
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 belongings.
"Back again." She sighed.
She 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 further afield.
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.
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.
pulled her cell phone out of her purse, and quickly dialed Joyces number
"Joyce Whelan, speaking."
just blew into town?" Cat said with a grin.
"Cat! We werent
expecting you until Monday. Whats up?"
"I 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."
Ive been expecting
a call about some plans for the weekend. Can I call you back later to discuss
"Sure, youve got my cell number right?" Cat inquired.
"Ill leave it on so you can get back to me."
good to me, Cat. Ill talk to you later," promised Joyce.
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.
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 traffic light.
"Youre here?" he said incredulously.
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 if possible?"
"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.
Cat 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.
Detective 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.
Blair 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.
Cat 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.
Jim 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.
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
"Hi, Jim. Good to see you again!" as she rose from
her seat. "Wheres Blair? Isnt he joining us?"
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.
Her 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.
"Blairs missing. I need your help
to find him."
Detective James 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."
"No. I dont need you to see or tell
me whats happened to him or where he is."
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."
She gave him a sidelong glance, asking, "When was the last time you
"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 offer
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.
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?"
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.
"Burglary case?" asked Jim, vaguely remembering his conversation
with Detective Mike Young of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department before.
"Yeah, 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...."
"Ill 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?"
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.
she hissed playfully, "I may have to maim...."
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.
With a defiant gleam in her eyes, she playfully threatened
to bite his fingertip.
"By the way Jim, dinner and drinks are on me.
I'm going to expense it."
"And 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.
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 then to Seattle Friday evening for a Mariner's game
- a team celebration for a successful product launch."
remember correctly, you have a tendency to work some pretty strange hours, how
do you expect to accomplish all of this?"
"This trip shouldn't
be as bad as the last one. Especially since as of a week today, I'm on holidays
for a week."
"What plans do you have for your vacation? Besides
shopping and Mariners games?"
"Im going to play it by ear.
Maybe drive to Seattle and sightsee. 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?"
"Possibly yes to both questions," he
replied with a grin. "You remind me of Sandburg.... You never let me answer
a question, before asking another one!" Jim sobered as he mentioned his partner's
Cat put her hand over his, meeting his eyes. This role reversal from
their first meeting felt weird.
"Cat...." 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. Anyone who
would have some understanding of whats happening. Thank you."
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 demeanor.
"Why? What's happened?
Is that what all the staring is about?" she asked hesitantly.
a slow nod and looked up, watching her face for reactions All he saw in her face
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 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 the same?"
"More of the same thing, unfortunately," he said with a sigh.
were quiet while they studied their menus. Then they both asked at the same time:
"What looks good to you?" and laughed.
"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.
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
"Would you like some wine to accompany the meal?" asked
Jim with another smile that reached his eyes.
"I'll pass. The last
thing you need is me with a bad case of the giggles or falling asleep on you."
giggles might be interesting, but youre right, a clear head might be better
for when we talk, later," added Jim.
The waiter came over and Jim ordered
for them both. She watched him as he comfortably responded the waiters questions.
After 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."
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."
Her face 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
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."
"Now your turn. What have you two
been up to since I was here last?"
Jim 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...."
"How bad was the fallout?"
Jim shook his head, "Bad, definitely bad, especially for
Blair. He was ousted from the University over it."
"Oh, 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. He's supposed to start the weapons training
Jim 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.
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.
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 will help."
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.
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. That and the overwhelming feeling that something isn't right
and that Blair's scared, in trouble."
Cat 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?
"What are you doing?" Jim asked.
"This is the second time you've done something like this."
Cat looked back at him blushing and feeling a little guilty.
time, and when we were in the lobby?"
"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."
Cat was shocked that he could tell the difference in her touch when she
was using energy.
"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?"
"A shaman with the
Chopec. I was in Peru when the helicopter I was in crashed.... everyone died except
"You were in Peru? How long were you there for?"
when 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
"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!"
"Now I can see why you avoid
Blairs tests when you can, too."
"How 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.
Seeing 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."
Jim grinned and commented,
"A fan of Peanuts?" as he recognized it as the piece Shroeder
played on his toy piano.
Cat returned the grin, rolling her eyes, nodding
as she answered the phone.
"Hey Cat, want to do sushi tonight?"
"Joyce, Im sorry. Somethings come up, and
Im going to be busy for the better part of the weekend."
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
Cat 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.
with him right now. You do realize that Steve's going to be heartbroken."
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."
me you haven't told Steve I'm in town already
. " Cat pleaded, this
wasn't something she had expected.
"Oh, he already knows you're in
town and wasn't saying anything. He spoke to Mike a few of hours ago." Joyce
explained, feeling slightly miffed that she was being left out of the loop.
got to go now Joyce," replied Cat, feeling slightly uncomfortable at the
turn the conversation had taken. "Ill touch base with you on Sunday,
we can make plans for the remainder of my visit."
talk to you later. Night, Cat."
Cat concluded the call, tuning off
the cell phone and putting it in her purse. She returned to her attention to her
meal. They continued eating in an awkward silence until Cat met Jims gaze.
"I'm sorry for interrupting your weekend plans. Maybe I should try
to work this out
" Jim started.
"No. Please don't feel that
way. I can appreciate just how much this must be bothering you. Enough you'd turn
to me for help. I want to help you. I like Blair, and if I can help you, I'm helping
him too." Cat paused before going on.
"I 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?" 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.
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.
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 level."
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.
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!'
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, finally 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.
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."
in agreement, releasing the breath she hadnt realized shed been holding.
do I need to do to "connect" with these visions Cat? You're the expert
here...." Jim pleaded.
"I'm 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."
"Oh, 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 information.
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."
exercise I call the puzzle. The other I call 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."
"With 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 the puzzle."
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.
gave him a 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."
"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?"
"Right," she agreed with
"So, when do we begin?" asked Jim, after he finished
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."
When 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 intervened.
"I told you before
- I'm looking after this...."
"Cat!" he warned.
signed the bill and left a tip. "Shall we?"
Jim 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
"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."
since we're here, and the sooner we get going..." started Jim. "Besides,
I got a ride over here."
"Blair got the keys to the truck or is
it in the shop?" she questioned with a smirk.
Jim laughed. "Not
"Boys and their toys," Cat laughed along
"You got that right in one!"
They headed off to
the bank of elevators, and waited for a car to arrive.
They 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.
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."
John spoke louder so
everyone could hear him. "Hey! Guys! Sandburg's not here. Anybody seen him
in the last couple of hours?"
The rest 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
"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."
scrunched up her face in worry. "But what if he's hurt? We don't want to
leave him out there!"
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 the
Andrea's face brightened at the suggestion.
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."
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."
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.
They 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.
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 the operator.
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.
Cat 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.
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
"Have 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.
left 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
replied with a chuckle.
"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
"Have you decided which exercise youre going to try,
the Puzzle or the Scroll?"
"Ill 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.
A 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.
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
"Oh great. A Sentinel? Now, what the hell is that
supposed to mean?"
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 how do I get him out of this?" she demanded of her guides. Her demand
was met with stony 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.
Returning 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.
"Please," she pleaded, "help
me to help him. Will he come out of this by himself?"
was her guides answer. was her guides answer.
"What do I need to do
to help him?"
"What is similar?"
mean, 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.
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?"
She sat for a moment and offered silent thanks for their help.
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.
"Jim. 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
Two." She watched.
got to remember to breathe! She chided herself when she realized she was holding
"Seven." A flicker of something across his face.
It was working!
Jim 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.
"What the hell happened?" Cat demanded.
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 before."
Blair never twigged to the fact your zoning is like a trance state? Ay,
yi, yi . Not good. she thought, shaking her head.
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
Jim paled when he heard this. This could be even more dangerous
than just zoning.
"Jim. 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 say."
The silence in the
room was deafening, as he struggled to take in what had just happened.
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."
"That 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
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.
wrong?" Jim asked anxiously. He was almost afraid Cat had picked up something
he hadnt been able to from the vision.
"Yes 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."
End of Part 2
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