Cresting the Wave

Part Four of The Madness Series

By: poyznelf

EMAIL: poisonelf@enter.net

 

How come you notice change if it is sudden? Yet, if change takes place over a period of a few months, the reaction is dulled by time.

But, when your silent and a clean slate you notice change. Because each change makes an indelible mark on the chalkboard that is your memory.

So it is with me.

I have learned to observe all that goes on around me. Take it in and process it for worth.

And even though I have memories I can't access right now, I have made new ones. Better ones I think.

Today I figured out that Jim can read my mind, my emotions.

And he has no clue that he is doing it. Cool huh!

I don't have to write anymore on those cumbersome tablets.

Jim and I converse on two different levels now. I have learned to send him conscious thoughts to add to the unconscious impressions I have been sending from the day I woke up.

The old ones are harder to control, since I don't even realize that I am doing it. Strong emotions such as fear, happiness, uncertainty, and anger, all seem to trigger immediate reactions in my Sentinel.

Especially fear.

@@@@@@@

There is this saying I've heard.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That's Sandburg.

No voice, short hair, no past.

Thirst for knowledge.

Since his return, Blair has had an insatiable appetite for any topic he can possibly read about.

During the day, if he is not at the loft on the internet (yes, he still remembers how to surf), or secretly riding along with me (I don't know how we have managed to keep it from Simon), he can be found at the Cascade Free Library.

He says that since he can't remember what he knows, he has to relearn it. So he has started at the beginning of the Dewey and is working his way through.

Typical Sandburg.

Me, I'm learning that Sandburg was meant to be My Guide. Maybe if I had stopped fighting this connection and our friendship a long time ago, maybe things would have gone much differently for him. And me too!

@@@@@@@

Ellison thinks I don't know about Sandburg riding with him on the sly.

How does he think I got to be captain?

I let it go, although god forbid the Kid should get hurt. Oh, I'm not worried about lawsuits. But Jim has professional size guilt trips when anything happens to Sandburg. And that's under normal circumstances.

With the stuff that has happened in the past year and a half. Forget mother-hen, forget Blessed Protector, think overprotective security blanket wet-nurse.

I also allow Ellison to bring Blair into the bullpen a couple of days per week. Yes, he helps with paperwork, but he doesn't help with cases, not even insights or advice.

Even silent, there is an innate joy about him that alleviates the buildup of anger, frustration, and general bad morale. So he is like a Prozac made for groups of ten.

I have noticed a change in the dynamic between Jim and Blair. I can't put my finger on it and Jim has no clue, but Sandburg, ever observant and eager to learn, is on to something.

So for now I guess I just look the other way.

@@@@@@@

I love going into the station with Jim, it gives me a chance to practice this "telepathy" thing in an uncontrolled atmosphere.

I wonder what may happen today?

@@@@@@@

You know it's a perfect excuse to bring Sandburg with me to the bullpen when he has one of his therapy sessions. Twice a week I take him. So twice a week he comes with me.

Since the shrink is right around the corner from the station, it justifies that I can't run home just to pick him up and drop him off twice.

So he comes to the office and helps me with my paperwork.

But all the others are always happy to see him. And it is a fully reciprocated feeling, believe me.

He is such a good listener that even though he no longer spouts advice just the act of caring alone draws people to him.

I am beginning to believe that even before, Blair had an overwhelming need to be needed. Naomi didn't need him. Not like he needed her. As a son. That's why she could detach so easily.

We have all called Blair a whirlwind and he is. A tornado in reverse. Constructing bridges and foundations wherever he goes. Major Crimes is a perfect example. No one in this department had ever really been close. So close that we knew beyond a reasonable doubt that no matter what, we would be supported, trusted, comforted, and believed.

We were co-workers.

We are now family.

And that makes Simon, Dad!

But now it is our turn to rebuild Sandburg.

I have felt our relationship evolve over the past few months into something rich and deep. I have learned to tell him that I love him, how good it is to know that he is by my side, and how much I want him to stay there. And while I miss his voice, the voice, what we have now is much more.

I am fixing the foundation that he laid for me.

@@@@@@@

Okay, we've been at the station for four hours and I have helped Jim get through a solid portion of his backlog of paperwork.

But now I'm starting to get hungry. So it's time to send Jim a message.

Right now he's in Simon's office.

So I start thinking food, hunger, and feasting.

Jim is out of Simon's office like a shot, and at my side saying, "lunchtime Chief, grab your coat."

So to test the waters again, I think about the bathroom.

Sure enough Jim asks, "do you need to wash up first?"

I nod my head and turn to leave the office while Jim grabs my coat and follows me out the door.

As I enter the bathroom, Jim waits outside. As a new test I think about three different places to eat. The Korean Gardens, Marta's Hungarian Caf , and Wonderburger and three different dishes, Kim Chi, Chicken Paprikash, and value meal #4, super-sized. I can't wait to see what happens.

@@@@@@@

I don't know why, but I am suddenly hungry for a couple of things. And none of them make any sense.

I hate Kim Chi. Especially since my senses have awakened. Am I pregnant? Cause I also want it with Chicken Paprikash.

Now the chicken is okay, but with fermented cabbage. I don't think so.

The last thing is my least favorite thing on the Wonder Burger menu. The Veggie Lover's Deluxe and super-sized at that.

Lately, I would almost believe I was pregnant. I have wanted to eat things that I normally wouldn't give my eyeteeth for. Mint Tofutti and marshmallow fluff. Blech!

I just don't get it. But I am saved when Sandburg exits the men's room.

@@@@@@@

Either I'm getting better at this image sending or Jim is getting more sensitive. Maybe both.

Hey, that's funny, a more sensitive Sentinel.

I have continued to test the telepathic bond we have been developing over the past half dozen months. Jim can now receive complicated "messages" and feelings. I can send even more clearly than I did initially. We are conversing almost one hundred percent without the support of paper and pen.

To add a new twist to the bond, I have started trying to read Jim.

And as it was in the beginning, I read feelings the best with him. He thinks he is so stoic, but by using a combination of body language and empathy, Jim is becoming an emotional open book.

I have also started meditating.

When Jim came home during one of my sessions, he told me afterward that I used to do it frequently in the past. He was pleased to see me resume a familiar pattern of behavior.

What I haven't told Jim is that I have been having brief flashes of another existence. What may be the memories of my previous life as Blair Sandburg.

Visions of a fountain, a yellow scarf, orchids, skydiving, and a myriad of flashbulbs exploding in Jim's face. I have no idea what any of these visions mean. Most I find at the least unsettling. Some I find unexpectedly frightening.

Are these images from events in Blair Sandburg's life?

@@@@@@@

Sandburg asked me about a fountain today.

How do I tell him he died there a year ago.

Then he asked me about a yellow scarf.

How do I tell him about almost dying there at the hands of David Lash.

Do these questions mean that he is starting to remember?

Part of me hopes that this is only the prequel to My Blair's return.

Part of me is afraid that this means I will finally have to deal with the aftermath of the fraud issue.

Traitorous thoughts from a Sentinel about his guide, blood brother about blood brother, friend about friend, and saved about his savior.

Simon and I discussed this at lunch today. He agrees that he is filled with warring emotions about the imminent return of Blair's memory.

Would he remember, could he forgive, could he still trust.

@@@@@@@

Jim thinks that Blair is on the cusp of regaining his memory. Part of me truly wants to see the Kid return to his old self.

But I remember what condition his life was like before he disappeared. It had fallen apart. The only things left from his previous existence were Jim and Major Crimes.

Because of his acceptance in the department, I had begun to take steps to assure him of some sort of future here in Cascade.

Plans that had fallen by the wayside when he returned wounded of mind and spirit.

@@@@@@@

I was at the Library today and discovered a whole section devoted to Shamanism. So I spent the whole day reading about it. Some of the books seemed so familiar.

In the late afternoon I made the decision to meet Jim at the station since it was only a couple of blocks away. As I walk I let the new facts I learned bounce around my brain.

I set foot in the bullpen and Jim calls me over to his desk. "Hey Chief, I need you to run the bank for me. I have to go into a briefing on this latest case we're working on. Can you do that?

I nod. And he hands me the stuff. And I turn and leave.

It really is a nice day, and the walk is only a few blocks, so I take my time.

I make it to the bank and am currently standing in line waiting for a free teller.

As I become the person in the batter up position, the doors suddenly burst open and these two men start yelling for everyone to hit the floor, which I do all the while sending urgent thoughts winging to my Sentinel.

@@@@@@@

God I hate these damn briefings sometimes. Just let me go out there and solve the damn case instead of just sitting here talking about it.

Just as we wrap this party up I get an image of Blair at the bank with armed robbers. Shit!

@@@@@@@

Okay I am beginning to believe that I should have my Blessed Protector status revoked.

After all the mess with the bank robbers was resolved and we were back at the station joking about Sandburg's ability to find trouble, drinking coffee, and generally resting on our laurels, when it hit me that Blair was still missing. Shit!

"I left Sandburg behind. Oh no, it's been hours."

I raced to my truck and peeled out to find My Guide.

I never noticed that the rest of the crew were right behind me.

@@@@@@@

As we follow a racing truck through greater Cascade and it's surrounding rural communities. We are all silent.

I can't believe he forgot. I can't believe I forgot.

I think we all feel that way.

How can we forget our bond. How can we forget the glue that holds us together.

@@@@@@@

I turned onto to the logging road and hadn't even gone a mile when I saw him stumbling towards me weaving slightly, head down, and arms pinned behind him somehow. Probably cuffed.

I stop just short of him and get out to go to him leaving the headlights shining upon him.

He just kept shuffling forward.

He never even stopped.

So I spoke to him. No response.

I followed after him, apologizing about forgetting him, and watch as my fellow officers try to intercept him as well. It is not until Joel just stands directly in front of him that he pauses.

And we watch as he collapses into the dust.

I gently straighten his akimbo limbs and turn him over to check him out.

We all gasp at the damage. But worst for me is the tear tracks through the dirt on his pale cheeks.

We had come so far.

How far have I set us back.

"Simon, we'll ride with you to the Hospital. Rafe, Brown, can you meet us there with my truck.

"Is he going to be okay," Simon asks.

"Physically he's a little beat up, has a dislocated shoulder. But who knows how he is gonna be emotionally.

I pick up my fragile guide and with the help of everybody manage to get us situated in the back seat of Simon's car, with his feet in Joel's lap and his head and chest in my arms.

I hold on tight. As much for my own comfort as his should he regain consciousness.

@@@@@@@

Once again I sit in the Hospital waiting room anxious and filled with uncertainties.

Sandburg is still in the ER examining room where he has been for the past two hours.

I have tried to listen in, but all the noises in the building are a pure assault on my senses and I know with my emotions out of control it is only a short step to zone out city if I exert them.

I have been trying to figure out just how I could have done this.

Almost five years and so much water under the bridge, yet I could still forget. That's right Ellison, you ass. YOU LEFT YOUR GUIDE!

@@@@@@@

When he isn't sitting there like a statue, Jim is up pacing the waiting room and wearing a quick hole in the carpeting. All I can think of is the one sentence Jim whispered when we first took our places here. "I forgot him Simon, I forgot him."

I can't help but wonder if this little incident will set back the healing of their relationship and bond.

Suddenly Jim's head come up and he is bounding to his feet, it is second nature for me to follow him. As we near the doors into the examining rooms they open to allow a doctor to egress.

"Is the Sandburg party here," he calls out.

"Here, I am Detective Ellison, and this is Captain Simon Banks, how's Sandburg?"

"Please follow me to a private area Gentlemen."

So I fall in behind Jim as he sets off behind the doc.

@@@@@@@

Simon and I take a seat in the small staff lounge that the doctor brings us to. I don't even hesitate. "Okay Doctor, is he going to be all right?"

"First of all Gentlemen my name is Dr. Kowatz, and Mr. Sandburg will be fine. He had a dislocated shoulder that has been replaced and immobilized for the time being. A concussion, and a bruised larynx, but the things we are worried most about are hypothermia and dehydration from exposure. Your friend is still unconscious. However we have started him on Glucose Drip to combat the dehydration. We are not however going to give any kind of pain medication because of the concussion. He will be admitted for observation for the next twenty-four hours."

"Fine, I want to see him."

"As soon as he is settled in his room, you..."

"No doctor, now. I want to see Sandburg now."

"But..."

"Doctor, I would suggest you let him. Sandburg will get better faster if he knows his friend and partner is there. Also Mr. Sandburg is mute, and Ellison here is the only one he feels most comfortable with."

"Fine! Follow me." The doctor marched out of the room, back and shoulders stiff like he had a rod shoved up his...,

"thanks Simon."

"No problem Jim, just get that kid back on his feet"

"That's the plan sir."

"Fine I'll see you later, I've got to get back to the office and make sure that bust is wrapped up. Give me a call if you need anything."

He leaves and I slink into Sandburg's ER cubicle.

@@@@@@@

After they moved Blair to a room I sat myself in a chair beside his bed and took up my customary position. Guarding My Guide. It didn't take long before I nodded off.

"Enquiri, you failed the test."

"What test, Incacha?"

"The test started well," the Shaman stated cryptically.

"What test?"

"The events today were a test. You sensed your Guide's danger and distress. But then you cut the contact. You failed to keep him in your heart and soul in order to care for him during the events later in the day."

"This day, the whole day, was a test?"

"Yes, and because you have failed, your Guide will not regain his voice till a future test is passed. Go to you Guide Enquiri, he will need you..."

The vision faded and I heard the sound of a panicked but beloved heart beating. It woke me.

"Chief," I turned to him and grabbed the closest hand. "It's okay. It will all be okay.

@@@@@@@

Once I was wide-awake and completely aware of my surroundings, I stopped clinging to Jim.

I noticed the wolf and the big cat prowling the confines of my hospital room. Wow, they're back. I noticed that the wolf looked better, healthier than before. But the cat was just as protective as before.

I returned my attention to my Sentinel. He was talking to me so I listened.

"Chief, I am sorry about forgetting you."

I tried to stop him or get his attention, but he just kept on apologizing.

I don't blame him, I know I did something wrong, I did not work hard enough to make him understand me, to "hear" my messages.

I will have to work harder. I will get this right.

@@@@@@@

So Incacha was my Shaman and now he is one of my spirit guides, but for the record I have to say this just once okay. Damn fickle, meddlesome, cryptic, and impossible to get rid of, not to mention unjust witchdoctor.

Okay I have that out of my system I think. But I still don't get it. I fail
the test, and it's open season of Sandburg. In fact the whole test was like open season on him. Hell now that I think about it the past year was open season.

But he is coming home today

And I am gonna get this right if it is last damn thing I do!

@@@@@@@

I have been working the angles, trying to find ways to get him back. I must get him back.

I am his mother. I should be taking care of him now.

He is a child mentally and I took care of him when he was a child in fact, so I should be taking care of him now while he is a child in mind.

I have hired a PI to watch them and discover his patterns. I know he sees a therapist on Tuesdays and Fridays. I know he spends most of his free time at the Library.

I think the Library is the place for it to happen. Now to just hire the right help to accomplish the deed.

@@@@@@@

My guide has managed to impress upon me the fact that I am not to blame for the whole fiasco earlier this week. And in fact everything seem okay on all fronts.

I am becoming aware more and more that I am reacting to completely unspoken and unwritten input from Blair. Could this be what Incacha tried to tell me I needed to learn.

I must talk, or something, to My Guide.

@@@@@@@

Jim talked to me tonight before we went to bed. He told me of Incacha, his dreams, his beliefs about my possible psychic abilities.

I told him his beliefs were pretty close to correct. I told him telepathically.

He told me he had to think about these things.

I understand. It is a lot to take in all at once. The idea that he can read my mind and I may be able to read his.

@@@@@@@

This may work. In fact I think it will work very well. But will we each know all of the other's thoughts and feelings or can we filter them if necessary. I don't need Sandburg "listening" in when I'm making love to some beautiful woman or something personal like that.

So I tell Blair of my concerns and after he is done laughing at me and the whole idea of telepathic voyeurism, he is honest with me and says that we will just have to wait and see what happens.

It's hard to believe that his side of the conversation is just in my head.

But it is.

@@@@@@@

Jim is worried about me tapping in to his carnal adventures. So I am going to play with this telepathy thing and see if I can access it and close it down at will. Maybe see if I can close part of it down and keep other parts open. Maybe my end open and his end down.

I think I should research this thing next time I go to the Library. Oh well that's two days from now. Tomorrow I go to the station with Jim and Dr. Pittman's for my therapy.

Dr. Pittman works on getting me to remember the dark times and to speak. One session devoted to each per week. Two sessions total. He has me keeping a journal. Writing down everything that I feel or that happens to me. Then I bring it with me every time I see him and he analyzes it.

What he doesn't know is that I am keeping two journals. One for myself and one for professional and public consumption.

The private one deals mostly with Sentinel/Guide issues and this telepathy thing. I know if Pittman catches wind of that, I'll be spending time in a backwards jacket.

I keep it hidden underneath a stack of National Geographic magazines in the storage area. I know that no one must ever see it.

Except maybe Jim.

The regular journal is where I write down anything that I remember or discover. D j vu's too. I have a lot of those. More and more every day.

@@@@@@@

I have noticed that Ellison has been acting in a very jumpy manner lately. Especially around the Kid. Every person that comes in the door at Major Crimes runs the full gauntlet of Jim's super senses.

Even when Blair isn't here.

Something is up, his tension is affecting us all in the unit. When Jim's not here all the rest of my detectives take over the gauntlet process.

Hell, I even saw Taggart more or less interrogate an unknown visitor the other day. Yeah that's right Taggart, the teddy bear. Protecting Jim's territory. Not mine, not his, Jim's.

Sandburg called it Territorial Imperative.

And if it is bad when Jim is here without Blair, oooff! You should see what happens when the Kid is in residence. All I can say is it is not pretty. And if Jim should leave the bullpen for any reason. Can we say gathering of the guardians around the guarded. The rest of my detectives all circle around the Kid and no one but one of us, or Jim get through.

EVER!

@@@@@@@

There is a common phrase, I don't know if it is a title to a book or something but it goes like this...

"Something evil this way comes."

Or maybe it's wicked, I am not sure. But I feel it. I don't know what it is, but I feel it through to my bones.

And I think it is after My Guide.

But it won't get him. Not this time.

I am not sure if it is one of those tests that Incacha warned me about, but if it is, I will pass.

@@@@@@@

Yesterday, Jim brought Sandburg to the office with him.

And I spent the whole day with Sandburg in my office.

Every time the Kid tried to leave my office, Ellison would get in his face.

Like I said before, something is up. I don't like it.

So first thing this morning I pulled Jim into my office. I wanted explanations.

"So Jim, tell me what is going on. You have everybody in this department on edge.

"What do you mean Simon?"

"You're acting jumpy, territorial, and antagonistic to strangers. Yesterday, you barely let Sandburg leave my office. You have my other detectives acting in almost the same manner. How are those for starters?" I sat and watched Jim process the list I gave him and at first I thought he was going deny it. But then he surprised me.

"Some one or something is after My Guide.

@@@@@@@

I paid them to remove all of his things after he and the other one left for the day. I paid someone else to meet him in the Library and bring him to me. I had the drug I would administer to him when I got him. Then we would get on a plane and be gone.

Deprogramming! That was the answer.

@@@@@@@

Okay so I was walking through the stacks at the library, when this guy comes up to me and tells me that there is a guy outside in a truck waiting for me to come out.

Jim!

So I go. Only no Jim.

But this guy shoves a gun in my back and tells me to cooperate.

I may be vocally and memory challenged, but I am no fool. I do. And he directs me into this van.

I am no sooner inside than I feel a prick on my upper arm.

Then nothing.

@@@@@@@

Okay so one minute I am in the men's room taking a leak, when all of a sudden I can sense Blair's distress. I shake, zip, and am on my way out of the building.

With my sixth sense tuned to My Guide, I sense fear, confusion, and then...

Nothing.

Two things go through my mind almost simultaneously: (1) Test!!! And (2) he is unconscious and how the hell am I supposed to tune him in.

Using exercises that Blair taught me in the beginning of our partnership, I use my memory of those few moments before I lost contact with him.

What did I sense, feel, KNOW?

Strangers, a gun, needle, a minivan.

All behind a building that looks like the library.

I pick up my cellphone and call Simon. With a little effort I convince him to get the others and meet me there.

@@@@@@@

Okay my first thoughts when I got Ellison's call were that the man had finally lost it. Totally and irretrievably. And with Sandburg in the condition he is in, I can't exactly say 'fix him.'

And what can a Police Captain do to make sure that both the Sentinel and his Guide are placed in the same mental facility, possibly the same room.

But as usual, I decide to play along.

So I gather the usual group of suspects and we head over to the Library to meet Jim.

When we pull up to the rear of the building there stands the monument.

The monument to Sandburg's success and failure. His Sentinel zoned on a book discarded on the macadam of the staff parking lot. Bronze or marble couldn't be more statuesque, stiff, or still.

I approach Jim, trying to talk like the Kid. Soft, controlled, unemotional, and soothing.

I grasp his shoulder gently and ask Connor to pick up the book that has fixated this man. She hands it to me and I notice it's plain cover. I open it and notice the gentle scrawl of my friend Sandburg filling it's pages. Blair's journal.

Suddenly the body beneath my hand shudders as it pulls in a deep breath. Knees buckle, then hold. Fists clench and relax repeatedly. My name is gasped followed quickly with a broken noun, "chief," as a right palm is held out looking for it's guiding mate.

@@@@@@@

There are moments of faint fuzzy reality. A feeling of being incomplete. An attempt of reaching out for the necessary support of another familiar soul. But they are very short and fade quickly upon a prick.

@@@@@@@

There he lies oblivious to the plans being plotted for him, his Future, and his memories.

I turn from the one way glass and address my concerns to the "doctor" I have paid to oversee my son's transformation

"Well doctor, how long can I expect this to take?"

"Three to four weeks at the most, madam."

"What is your treatment plan?"

@@@@@@@

"He's gone Simon, someone took him from me. They have ripped us apart. What have we done? I know I failed the last test, but why do they always pick on him? Why, why, why..."

I am speechless, unable to console Jim with this current loss. I am almost as bereft for myself.

I do like Sandburg, but even more so, I am left with this burnt-out shell of a man.

God now I am quoting "The Road Warrior."

@@@@@@@

Where there once was a warm, welcoming presence in my head, heart, and soul, there is now emptiness... NOTHING.

How am I going to find him, when I can't "hear him."

I wander into his small room and curl up on his bed hoping his scent will help me to center myself and facilitate the reformation of our connection.

As I breathe in his essence, I am eased into slumber.

@@@@@@@

I have brief moments of lucidity. The milliseconds leading to them are full of flashes of My Sentinel. I can feel him reaching out for me, his love an emotional bulwark.

But then it is all gone on a prick.

The moments of awareness also bring other images, and sounds.

I can hear the same passages being repeated, over and over. To the point where I hear them in my subconscious now.

"No one loves you like your mother. Naomi is the only one who can care for you. Naomi is the only one who loves you. Naomi is the only one who trusts you. No one trusts you like Naomi." Over and over ad nauseum.

Trust... I don't deserve anybody's trust.

@@@@@@@

What once was ash, slowly became an ember, which has started once again to burn hot and true.

This is what the feelings and images I get from Blair are like.

He's awake and conscious, where ever he is.

But he is confused, scared, and feels...

Unwanted?

It is time for me to check out my side of this telepathic bond we have developed.

I immediately respond with thoughts and feelings of love, (that's right me Jim Ellison, old ironheart, loves his partner, roommate, and HIS GUIDE. But hey, get your minds out of the gutter...) reassurance, need, more love, respect, and definite want.

My mind almost recoils with the feelings of disbelief and then absolute joy.

He starts to coach me.

I see the image of a compass, it's needle swinging wildly. I start to turn in a circle in the direction of the needle and suddenly it comes to a halt. But as I continue to turn it starts swinging again. So I turn back, and voila... it steadfastly points to the same position.

My Guide is being held somewhere to the Southeast of Cascade.

I head up to the loft and pack up a dufflebag, sleeping bag, and first aid kit. Now it is downstairs to Blair's room where I mimic my previous actions. I grab our coats and my keys, then open the door to...

Simon, also packed.

We both nod, then turn and after I lock the door, we head for the truck.

"How did you know?" I ask.

"Wasn't sure, but I remember Peru!" He answers. "How are we going to do this?"

"Just watch, all I can tell you is it is a Sentinel thing."

@@@@@@@

I felt the thread holding me to Jim become stronger. I could almost see the individual strands reattach and wind together. Our link was working.

Suddenly my attention was pulled away as the door to the room I was in was unlocked and swung open to admit three people. A tall gaunt man in a lab coat. A burly man.

And a red haired woman.

She looks familiar.

In a bad way.

"Blair, these men are here to help you and take care of you. Jim can't hurt you anymore. You'll be with me now. Okay, Sweetie?" Came the saccharine voice of the red haired woman.

I make motions of writing and pleading. Hoping they will understand and bring me what I need in order to communicate with them.

They ignore me.

She rattles on... "This is Doctor B. A. D'Eyre and his assistant Marty. They are here to make you better. And when you can accept your problems and make significant headway towards healing Momma will bring you home to live with her."

At the word home I get the picture in my head, of a beat-up VW microbus. Sleeping curled up on the seat under a too small coat cause it has no heat. While she is curled up against a stranger with long greasy hair. Then I flash on my real home. Jim and the loft. Warm with a blazing fire, a bed covered in a variety of colorful pillows, and Jim.

I know exactly where home is!

"Son, we're here to help you, now your wonderful mother has given us permission to make you better and it will be a much easier task if you cooperate. She will come back to visit you in a week. And you will treat her with the respect and admiration she is due. Do you understand?"

I feel my skin crawl as the Doctor's implied message struck home. I start to shake.

Internally I begin chanting the name, Jim, Jim, Jim...

@@@@@@@

"You have my permission to do what ever is necessary Doctor D'Eyre to bring my son around.

I watch her turn, grab her velvet coat, and leave. Walking out to her Volvo station wagon.

I turn and grab the vial sitting on my desk next to the needle I will use to inject it. If someone were to look at the label they would see the word Halioperidol on it. This should definitely make our little patient much more tractable.

@@@@@@@

I made Simon drive. I just told him where to go.

He didn't argue.

We drove for six hours, heading more or less in a Southeasterly direction. Following my connection to sanity.

Suddenly the door slammed shut.

@@@@@@@

I tried to fight it, but the burly man held me down as the doctor injected something into my arm.

Then they put me in restraints.

Once again I fell asleep, my mind grasping for it's dear threads of sanity and belonging. Jim.

@@@@@@@

The lights are always on... there is the same two pieces of music ("Rain Drops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and "You Light Up My Life") playing over and over. I feel like I am stuck in an elevator, and the thermostat is set at a way too cold temperature.

I hold tight to my connection to Jim.

If I don't, I think I am going to start screaming. And let me tell you, I may be cold, I may be tired, and I may be hungry, but it's the music that will drive me over the edge.

I hate those songs. I mean come on, who wants to hear Debby Boone whine that chorus over and over.

Next thing you know they're gonna start playing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and "Afternoon Delight."

I can feel Jim getting closer. Our threads get thicker and stronger the closer he gets in proximity.

@@@@@@@

It has only been a couple of days since our journey began. We only travel when Sandburg is connected to Ellison. Neither Jim nor I have had more than a few hours sleep since this all began, but I notice that the sleep periods are shorter and more sporadic, each varying in length from the ones before. Once it was literally only thirty-seven minutes. It has become my job to keep track of all these little facts.

Jim told me that when he was in Covert Ops, they had a course on brainwashing and breaking the enemy. All the feelings and images that he is receiving from Sandburg are techniques he was taught.

So I drive, keep track of patterns, and I worry. About how Jim is really handling this, how Sandburg will deal with this added trauma, and how I will be left to pick up the pieces if we fail.

Suddenly a slight cackle comes from the passenger seat.

Oh no, it's starting. He's losing it. What do I do?

"Ellison, you okay over there? Do you need a break?"

I pull the truck off to the side of the road. I turn and face my friend in time to see him wave at me then start to give into the developing belly laugh.

He gets himself under control quickly and responds to my inquiries.

"I'm okay Simon. I just got an image from Sandburg about the crappy music they are making him listen to. I mean picture Sandburg and Debby Boone."

I wince at the image, then I start to snicker. And before you know it both Jim and I are laughing uncontrollably.

God we needed that.

@@@@@@@

I feel Jim's laughter. And an echo of Simon's.

Yes, I know he's along to help Jim. Bless him for being where I can't be right now.

My attention is pulled from my dear friends to my actual physical surroundings as the door once again opens.

@@@@@@@

My laughter is suddenly stilled.

They have come back to torment My Guide. Damn them.

"Simon, we have to get going. I have to find him soon."

I mentally check the compass in my head.

So close, so close, so close, so...

"Simon, go left at the next intersection."

@@@@@@@

"Dr. D'Eyre, I would like to see my son. I know it hasn't been a week, however I need to see what kind of progress is being made. Please take me to him."

"Madam, you agreed..."

"Yes, I did, but what I want I get. So I demand you take me to my son. I want to make sure I am getting my monies worth."

I looked at the woman sitting across from me. In her leather coat with it's fur trim, her Coach handbag, and her Rolex watch. I can remember her from one of the retreats wearing Birkenstocks and bra free, playing earth child. Naomi Sandburg Harrison, black sheep of a very rich family, spoiled, demanding, controlling, and mother to the man in my "loving" care.

Not many people know that she is a Harrison. They threw her out when she came home pregnant in the late sixties. But she received access to a very lavish trust fund when she turned forty. I was there when she received word from the accountant. Weed, LSD, and 'Ludes all flowed like a waterfall across the commune. It was a non-stop party from dawn to dusk for two weeks. And orgy city. I think I remember her getting it on with just about every man, woman, and child, in attendance. Yes, that includes yours truly.

That is how she knew about me. What I did. What I do now.

I gave her the drugs she used to get the boy, I helped her find the men to pick him up. All for a price. Reputation and money, both very important things, especially in my business. If I hadn't helped her, she would have ripped my rep to shreds and not paid me the worthy fee she is supplying on top of that.

This fee is not going to my legit family, but my Mistress and our child. He is getting ready to enter middle school, and she wants him to go to a prestigious private academy. This money will pay those fees.

But what the customer wants, the customer gets.

I let her see the boy.

@@@@@@@

"Sweetie, it's Ma. Baby, open those pretty blue eyes and smile for your mother."

Eyes open wide, as does the mouth below.

And out came the first noise.

A piercing shriek.

I react.

Quite violently.

@@@@@@@

Stopitstopitstopitstopitdon'thithimnostophittinghim, on and on go through my head. I just didn't realize I was actually speaking out loud as I pounded on the window until I felt the vehicle lurch to a stop as Simon grabbed onto my hand.

"Jim what are they doing to him, tell me what are they doing to your Guide."

He grabs my face between his hands and repeats those words over and over till they break through.

I gasp like I have been running a marathon and grab onto his hands, letting them ground me to the here and now. Then I tell him.

"Simon, I felt him make a sound, a cry of fear, but still a sound. She didn't like it. She started to hit him and claw at him, then she picked up his head and started to bang it into the metal bed rails."

"He is scared shitless of her to begin with, but now she does this. God! We need to find him, before she kills him."

"Who is she Jim, who is hurting Sandburg?" Simon asked as he pulled back onto the road.

I whisper one word back, "naomi."

@@@@@@@

I watched as the woman went 'ape shit' on her own son.

And as the fragile young man in the hospital bed managed to free himself from his restraints with much loss of skin.

I thought for sure that he would start to hit back or attack.

But no he ran from her, and tried to hide in a corner, then as she once again grabbed his head and started to pound it into the wall he broke free leaving clumps of hair clutched in her clawed hands.

Now he is pounding at the door and pulling at the knob, trying to get away.

How interesting.

@@@@@@@

"Turn here Simon," as I indicate a stone driveway.

I sit in restless anticipation as three buildings come into view.

I turn towards each one as I watch the compass in my head.

"That one!" And I start towards the one containing My Guide.

Now that I am out of the truck, I can hear the chaos going on inside. I pull my weapon and without a moments hesitation I am through the door with Simon hot on my heels as backup.

What I see before me chills me to the core. And even though I knew most of what they were putting My Guide through, the magnitude of the torment and torture leaves me in a state well beyond anger.

The two men at the observation window are the first two to be taken out. And even though I don't shoot them, the temptation is strong. However I restrain myself and just put them out of commission. Then using those handy-tie cuffs, Simon and I hog-tie them.

@@@@@@@

I had him caught in a corner as I pounded his head into the wall over and over. My subconscious registered the appearance of a growing bloodstain on the wall.

Suddenly I am wrenched away from my prey and turned around to face the Usurper.

I try to go back to my fun, but he won't let me.

But then he throws me away. To be caught by another pair of arms.

I see dark hands and smell expensive tobacco. Simon Banks.

But I watch as the Usurper goes and gathers my prey. Easily. Without a fight.

Did I wear him down for the keeper of my son's affection.

But then I hear the vocalization I had so desperately sought, yet still not as I hoped.

So quiet, so solemn, and so certain.

"sentinel."

Only the one word, but even I could see the power just that one word held. Then came the answer.

"My Guide. My Shaman. Your Sentinel."

"your guide. Your shaman. My sentinel."

The dark hands that held me, loosened at the power behind the words uttered by the pair in the corner.

I broke loose. I fled. Without stopping I ran straight for my car, jumped behind the wheel, turned the key, and rode off into the sunset.

@@@@@@@

I stood there in awe. Sandburg spoke, out loud for god's sake. And the first words reaffirmed the bond between he and Jim. I felt a brief moment of envy.

My mind elsewhere, my grip on Naomi loosened enough that she was able to break free.

I was torn.

To chase or not to chase? That is the question.

"She's gone Simon. Let's get this over with, so I can take him home."

"home..., JIM!"

"Jim I think he's saying he just wants to go home."

I watch as Sandburg gently shakes his head and whispers, "no. HOME!" as he pats the area over Jim's heart.

TO PART FOUR A (Missing Scene For Cresting the Wave)

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