Part Three of The Madness Series
"Jim, the E.M.T.'s are here to check out Blair, let him go."
I watch as Jim's arms tighten about his prize.
"NO! Simon I can't I just found him."
"Ellison, he's sick, he's hurt, he's in pain. Do you want him to be in pain? He's bleeding Jim, do you want him to die?"
I watch as Jim's face blanches. He gently lays Sandburg on the cold damp ground. But keeps hold of one chapped bony hand.
Sandburg is quiet, but his eyes move everywhere at once as if trying to take it all in, and figure it all out. But he is not scared as his eyes fix on Jim.
I tell Connor to bring the Paramedics over.
My body is cold, but my heart, and my soul, feels warm. For the first time since I woke up, I don't even notice the pain in my body. The wolf lays down next to me and the cat sits down next to him. The one who has become the center of my everything.
There is a black man trying to pull my anchor away. I can't hear what he is telling the Sentinel. The only person I can hear is the Sentinel.
The Sentinel moves away, but keeps hold of my hand. And the cat lays down between our distant bodies.
Suddenly there are others within our space. Their lips move and I know they are asking me questions. But I can't answer what I don't understand. I refocus all my attention where it belongs. On the Sentinel.
Even though we are all but separated, I feel a shifting in the bond between us. It is being strengthened, solidified, and rebound. I feel my blood pressure drop, and the lump that has taken up residence where my heart used to be, dissolves. It becomes a beating heart again.
As one part of me focuses on the medics working on my Guide, all others focus in on him. I now truly start to take notice of his condition.
He is too thin. Almost to the point of looking like a concentration camp survivor. Dirty, smelly, hairy, sick.
And quiet. Too quiet.
Jim rides with Blair to the hospital. Separation was not even an issue.
Even the EMT's could tell not to mess with them.
I stay at the scene to help with cleanup of the bust.
By the time we are in the ER treatment room, My Guide has lost consciousness. I stand guard. Ever afraid that he will be spirited away.
But I know when the Doctors come to treat him, I will be forced to leave.
A nurse enters. She takes his vitals. She notes them on the chart. She is wearing too much perfume and smokes way too much. But she is gentle to My Guide and so can be tolerated.
The doctor enters and consults the chart she hands her. The doctor asks for a type and cross match as she starts to examine My Guide. She takes a pair of scissors and starts to cut off the ragged clothes covering his small body.
As the emaciated body was laid open for my inspection, I noticed it had gone through worse then it did today.
There are older layers of bruises all about the torso.
Someone has been abusing My Guide. I inhale sharply which brings me to the attention of the doctor.
Pointing in my direction she orders me out. I leave peaceably and retreat to the waiting room.
Unconsciously I zone out trying to follow the proceedings taking place around Blair.
"Enquiri, your guide has returned. But things have changed. I am here to alert you to those changes."
"Yes, Incacha. My Guide has returned to my side. But he needs my care and protection now, he is too weak from his exile.
"That is true, Sentinel. But with your care he will be healed, however he will be changed. He will need to pursue his Shamanistic studies if he is to ever be as old. Until he does, his journey will be difficult with out his voice. For that is the forfeit he will pay. Until he takes up his training with your support, this is how he will stay. Mute. But remember he must have your total support. This is something you have failed to give in the past. You must not fail now with your second chance.
Suddenly time resumed as I heard Simon calling my name and patting my face.
He has left. I no longer feel him at my side. I know he was there when I lost consciousness, but now he is gone. What did I do wrong?
With Simon's grounding presence I tune back into the exam room.
And shoot out of my chair and down the corridor into it in a flash.
My Guide is panicking and only I can stop it. Pushing the others out of the way, I resume holding his hand and stoop to eye and ear level as I begin speaking softly and reassuringly in his ear.
He is back. He has not forsaken me.
I follow Jim's charge through the ER and pause on the threshold of Sandburg's exam cubicle. The doctor is upset at being thrust away from her patient.
I get her attention and explain the universe "Ellison/Sandburg version" to her. She lets Jim remain now, working around him.
Sandburg has a upper arm wound that is not to serious. Just in need of cleaning and bandaging. Her most significant concern is for his general ill health.
Where ever the Kid has been for the past six months it has not done him any favors.
In fact I am horrified at the condition he is in after just six short months.
Well, surprise, surprise. They admitted him. Into the med-surge department and not the mental.
I don't leave his side until the tranqs take effect.
I asked Simon to get him some clothes, you know from the skin up. I told him to stay with safe stuff. Sweats, and the like. Then I called Naomi. To let her know that he was among the living.
Of course I had to leave a message, the woman is never directly reachable.
Then I talk with the nurses about getting a barber to come in and clean up his hair and get rid of the beard. I don't think that either are salvageable. So he might as well start fresh. New life, new look.
I keep flashing back to my vision. Blair mute.
I remember how I used to tell him to shut up, made fun of his mini lectures, and tuned him out. I think this lesson is as much for me as it is for him.
Well this journey will be taken together. I swear!
I don't know where I am, but I think I like it. I don't ever remember feeling this good, and I know I haven't since I woke up.
I realize that one of my hands is being held by someone. But it feels nice, very nice. And safe too.
I'm not sure I want to open my eyes, reality sucks. So instead I enjoy the little fantasyland I am building in my head to go with the sensations I am feeling.
Suddenly I hear voices. Quite a few if I am any judge. A couple sound familiar. Then there are hands on me. Unfamiliar hands, clinical hands.
They squeeze my arm (oww, that's to tight), they stick something cold in my ear (hey that tickles), they lift my eyelid (whoa, bright lights, that sucked). They start demanding that I open my eyes. And that somebody named Mr. Sandburg to wake up.
Then they stop and the voice of My Sentinel, the one thing I can not ignore. He tells me to open my eyes.
I do so, immediately.
And my eyes focus on him first. Is there danger? Is the tribe safe?
He smiles at me. All is fine.
So I proceed to examine my surroundings. Hospital! Shit! I can't afford that.
NO, NO, NO. I start to struggle, I try to get up. My Sentinel holds me in bed. Doesn't he understand. I have nothing. I can't pay.
My Guide opens his eyes. They immediately meet mine for a few moments. They are clear and bright. I listen to his beloved heartbeat and it is calm even as it calms me.
Then his eyes slide from mine to take in his surroundings. And his heart rate multiplies exponentially. He starts to struggle.
Kid always did hate hospitals.
But I realize this goes beyond normal fear.
I feel a brief image glance through my brain of... money?
Damn, I realize he doesn't think he can afford to be here.
I catch his face between both of my hands and make him focus on my eyes only. And proceed to tell him it's is paid for. It is important for me that he be well.
Jim and I spent the next few days learning to communicate.
I may have forgotten most of my life, but I thank god I remembered how to write. There was now a pen and pad of paper kept on the bed with me.
I found out my name the first day.
It's Blair... Blair Jacob Sandburg.
I thought it was Guide.
It still makes more sense to me. It is what I am.
I also found out my Sentinel is James Joseph Ellison. Jim.
And I was also introduced to his tribe. There is Simon Banks, Tribal Chieftain, Joel Taggart, Co-Chieftain, and the warriors. Rafe, Connor, and Brown, and the Chieftain's son, Daryl.
I used to be so alone. Now I have Jim's Tribe.
Today I got a haircut and shave. My face feels naked.
Jim was happy at that, but my hair which is now a brush cut, that made him cry as he ran his sensitive fingers over it. He told me that I would have to let it grow.
Jim told me that I could go home in a couple of days. I was very sad. Home for me is the streets. I hope I can find a nice alley to flop in near my Sentinel. I need to be close to him. I want to be close to him. I must protect him. I must be close to him!
I am sad though because I don't even have the coat I had when they brought me here. And I don't know where I am going to get another. It will be cold but I have something to live for now. My Sentinel.
I notice Blair's face close up as I tell him he can come home in a couple of day's. I know there aren't any reasons for him to remember any of the distant good times there. But hopefully we can make some new ones.
He is like a wise child now. He knows so much, and remembers everything about my senses, but couldn't remember his own name. Calls himself Guide. Like that is his only identity. All he is.
But he is so much more. I will just have to reteach him all he is to me.
It's funny though, he didn't even question his mutism. When he woke up that first day, he just motioned for something to write with. And set about writing with the same vigor he used to speak with.
Blair also doesn't bounce now. He is low key and quiet in his all mannerisms. It is unsettling.
But I deal, because the alternative is too empty.
Regarding the whole speech thing. I was hoping that the vision was no more than a strange figment of a tired mind. I distinctly remember him speaking to me after the bust. Simon remembers it too. But when he woke up in the hospital room... Nothing.
I kept getting these weird images of Blair back on the streets. Only this time in his new sweats and buzzed hair. Was he going to leave?
I decided to ask him again if he was ready to go home. When I did his heart rate spiked, and I could smell the stench of fear. Simultaneously I got that same image.
He thinks I mean the streets.
"NO! You're not going back there! Never again! I mean our home. The Loft."
He gasped, and his heart rate dropped considerably.
He wants me. He doesn't want me on the streets. He wants me with him. Blessed Sentinel.
I receive an image of Blair worshiping at my feet.
Whoa! Not what I was thinking.
"NO Chief, we are partners. Neither of us can exist without the other anymore. But neither is more important than the other and can control or worship the other. Friendship. Respect. Love. That's it."
This little bit of excitement has made me tired. I fall asleep with a light heart.
The antibiotics have healed the lower respiratory infection, the nutritional supplements have jump started his battle over malnutrition.
Now I can take him home.
I leave him a note telling him that I must go prepare home for him. I will be back later.
While I can't make his room the same as it used to be, I can make it more comfortable, and like him. I had rescued a lot of his things from trash dumpsters in the immediate area. And I had found his laptop and a few other things at a local pawnshop and paid for them. I would get him a new cellphone, but right now that wouldn't be very PC.
By the time I am done running around and fixing the place up I lay down to take a nap. Half hour then it's back to Blair.
"Enquiri, do you understand now?"
"Incacha? I am not sure."
"You will learn, your Guide will learn. You are opening up to the new ways. Then your Guide can become your Shaman too."
The Sentinel is not here, but before I panic I see the note. While I do not understand the letters, I feel the emotion behind the note. I realize he shall return.
I reflect on the changes that have come over my life in the past few days. And only a few of them are physical.
It is a wonderful feeling to have someone. I have been alone for too long.
There is a knock at the door just before it opens. An attractive woman peers in and when she realizes that I am awake, walks in with her hand to her mouth. "Blair?"
I pick up the pad and pen and write, "yes, can I help you?"
"Blair, don't you remember me honey? It's me Naomi. Your mother."
The woman wreaks havoc, leaves, then comes back only to wreak more havoc. On her son. Her baby boy.
I hoped she would call me first, and I could fill her in on what was going on, but no, as she did with his diss, she did what she wanted too.
I was awakened from my nap by the most disturbing images.
Blair fighting off hands that wanted to drag him away from my side.
When hell freezes over!
I made haste to get back to My Guide's side immediately.
I walked into Sandburg's room to find Naomi. She had hold of his right hand with a death grip as the Kid tried to pull it loose.
He wouldn't let go of his pad and pen with his left. I think he wanted to write something but she wouldn't let him.
"Captain Banks." She dropped the Kid's hand to shake mine.
Blair immediately started writing furiously in response to his new digital freedom.
I distracted her with small talk.
When Sandburg was done, he rapped the pen against the bedrail to get out attention. He held the pad out to me.
"tell her, I am staying with MY SENTINEL!!!! Tell her!!!
I looked at him.
He motioned at me then her.
So I told her.
"Naomi, Blair said that he is staying with Jim.
Blair grabbed the pad and pounded the top sheet hard.
"Naomi, Blair said he is staying with HIS SENTINEL!
"Simon, Blair is not in his right mind, he has been traumatized, he can't know what is best for him. I am his mother he should be with me."
Blair turned onto his side away from her.
I watched as tears slowly and silently made tracks down his face.
Why won't she listen to me?
Why does she think I am crazy?
Who the hell is she anyway?
She says she is my mother, but wouldn't a mother want what is best for me?
Where's my Sentinel?
I could hear Blair's racing heart as I got out of the elevator.
I broke into a speed walk in deference to being in a hospital.
I pushed open the door to Blair's room violently, needing to find out what was going on, on the other side.
I stopped incredulous on the other side.
Well, I'd deal with her in a minute. I moved to the side of the bed that Blair faced. Simon moving to give me room.
"Chief. It's okay, I won't let you go with her. Your staying with me..."
"Now just a minute, Jim, what right do you have to keep him with you?"
Without looking in her direction, and keeping my hand moving on his near bald head to comfort, I told her shortly and succinctly. The truth.
"I HAVE HIS POWER OF ATTORNEY, signed way before all this started. "
That shut her up!
I heard Blair's heartbeat slow, and released the bedrail so I could sit on the side of the bed. On his own, he crawled into my lap.
I wiped the tears from his eyes and cheeks. And bringing his head up, told him to look at me.
"No one, Chief, no one will get between us again. EVER!"
He searched for the pad and paper with one hand, I made sure he grabbed it.
Leaning against my Sentinel, I wrote the question uppermost in my mind.
"Is she really my mother?"
I showed the paper to Jim.
"Yes Blair she is."
Taking the paper back, I wrote one word. "Wow," and let Jim read it too. Then I wrote," can you get her to leave and maybe come see US when I am home." I put a smiley face in the empty space of the o and showed the notation to Jim again.
"Naomi, Blair would like you to leave and come see us when he gets home."
How dare he tell me that my Blair wants me to leave.
"Let me see that page, I don't believe that he really wrote that."
Given the page, I do read it and am stricken to find out that he doesn't want me here.
Well maybe he just doesn't forgive me for the diss thing.
"Okay, baby, but you call me later when you feel better."
I turn and leave the room.
Jim steps back to allow me into the door of my new home. I stop just inside the door and gaze about. It's very plain. But bright and sunny.
It feels right. It feels like home.
"Scuse me Chief, I need to come in too."
I step out of his way and smile apologetically. Bringing out my security pad and pen. I jot a quick note. Jim stops long enough to scan it and say thanks.
"It was way nicer when all your stuff was here. Definitely not boring like now. Hey, your room's over here.
"Hey, it has potential," I write before I follow him through a pair of french doors.
I hand him the notepad absentmindedly as I scan the small room that is to be mine.
Even absorbed in taking in my new abode, I here him chuckle as he hands me back the pad.
I scribble some more. "WOW, cool room."
He starts to laugh outright as he reads my note from over my shoulder. "Blair, it has potential."
"C'mon Chief, take your coat off and stay awhile."
I smile and slip off my brand new winter jacket. Stroking the strong dark blue outer shell as I start to let it fall to the bed.
Jim catches it before it hits the mattress.
"Okay Sandburg, house rule number one. Coats get hung up on the hooks by the door. Follow me and I'll show you."
Which I do, and he does.
"Number two, keys go in this basket when you come in the door." He picks up the keys that he already laid there. "See."
I give him a thumbs up.
And a smile. A big smile.
It all makes it feel so familiar. I hope that one day, I'll have keys too.
I get a swift image of keys.
And realize that he has none. So I get his old one, still on its keyring, and hand it to him.
"This is yours. In case you ever want to go out without me."
I am suddenly wrapped up in a skinny pair of arms and he hugs the stuffing out of me.
I return it just as passionately.
"It's good to have you home Buddy!
Jim and I settled into a bit of a routine. He had asked for a leave of absence from the station for the month following my return.
I still wasn't talking. But we got so it really wasn't necessary. I also could not remember anything from the dark time or before.
Jim though told me all he could about the events that led up to my disappearance. But since there was no physical evidence, I had a hard time believing he would ever turn on me like that.
He told me not to hold a grudge against Naomi. He said she meant well.
Jim returns to work tomorrow. I am going to miss him. When I was on the streets I couldn't trust or get close to anyone. Now there is Jim. My Sentinel.
TO PART FOUR
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