Dial Tone
by Kira


"Jim."

"Sandburg, where the hell are you?  You were supposed to meet me at Rainer  two hours ago.  And what the hell is with all that static?"

"Jim, don't hang up, man.  Oh God, don't hang up."

"What's wrong?"

"I am relaxed.  I am relaxed.  You have to help me Jim.  I'm losing it."

"Whoa, Chief slow down.  Where are you?"

"I...I...I don't know.  It's dark, Jim.  I can't even see my hand!"

"Chief, deep breaths, I can hear you hyperventilating.  Tell me what happened."

"It was Johnson, man.  He and his goons, they... they jumped me at the loft.  One of them knocked me out.  Oh man, my head feels like it's going to explode."

"Stay with me, Sandburg.  Where are you?"

"Jim, weren't you listening?  I can't fucking see, man!"

"Use your hands.  Can you feel anything?  What about that key chain you have?  Doesn't that have a light on it?"

"Oh yeah, hold on -- God, I can barely move.  OK, I got it.  Oh man, oh man, oh man."

"Sandburg?  Sandburg, are you still there?  Talk to me!"

"Jim -- oh God, Jim, I'm in a coffin!"

"What?"

"You're the sentinel, man.  Turn up your hearing.  I said, I'm in a fucking coffin!"

"All right, calm down."

"Calm down?  You tell me to calm down?  How the hell do I calm down when I'm in a coffin?"

"Chief, you're having a panic attack."

"Jim, you've got to get me the hell out of here.  There's no air.  I can't breathe!"

"You can breathe, buddy.  There is air, you just have to calm down."

"Jim, I... I'm afraid."

"I know.  But I'm going to get you out of there, so hold on.  Can you hear anything?"

"What?"

"Can you hear anything?  Are you in a funeral home, can you hear voices?  Traffic sounds?"

"No...I can't hear a damn thing."

"Hold the phone away from your ear."

"Oh, I get it.  Hold on, and remember, tune out the noises where you are, or else you'll overload.  Here you go."

"Shit."

"I heard that, Jim.  What's wrong?"

"Blair.  Remain calm."

"You called me Blair.  Tell me what you heard!"

"I heard..."

"Yeah, what did you hear?  Tell me, man!"

"I heard worms, Chief.  I think you're in a cemetery."

"Are you telling me I've been buried alive?  Oh God, oh God, oh God."

"What did I tell you about remaining calm?"

"Oh man, oh man, oh man.  I'm going to die.  I'm fucking going to die."

"You're not going to die, Sandburg.  There are only so many cemeteries in Cascade.  I'm going to call Simon and we'll start searching.  We'll have you out in no time."

"Uh... Jim?"

"Yeah?  Something wrong?"

"Other than being buried alive in a coffin?"

"Well, yeah, I guess other than that."

"I've got a little problem."

"The bathroom can wait, Sandburg.  Think happy thoughts."

"I'm not the one doing the leaking, Jim."

"Are you saying --?"

"Is it raining outside?"

"This is Cascade, in spring."

"You better hurry than Jim.  Please.  Hurry."

"Blair?  You're breaking up.  Talk to me!  Shit, I told you to replace those batteries.  Chief, you there?"
 



Finis