Thank you to Xfreak for the idea for this story. I was stumped. Didn't know
where to go, and she guided me. I have a guide; hot damn... Thank you to
Diana and Mary for helping me through this as always.
Lisa, this is for you.
James Ellison had been in the mountains for a long time, trying to get things
ready for the fall and winter. He'd been alone for a long time. He knew that he
had to have enough food to last him for about five or six months. Once the snow
hit, he'd be up there for the long haul.
Looking out into the distance, Jim saw nothing but blackness. It seemed like it
was dark all the time these days. His eyesight was so good that he didn't need
light anymore. He only needed the moon to guide him home. The cabin he lived
in was bare of anything except the essentials. He had a bed, a table with two
chairs, and that was it. He didn't want to be comfortable. He'd lost his friend six
years back and couldn't deal with sharing his cabin with anyone else. He had
cleaned it out except for those things he needed and was willing to live like that
for the rest of his life.
Jim owned twenty acres on the mountainside. He was glad to have it, because
he didn't want to have to deal with anyone living close by. People made him
uncomfortable. Not to mention they might find out about his peculiarity. The
lonely man did fairly well in his self-imposed isolation. Only occasionally did he
think about the love he missed, gone now so many years, and the loneliness ate
at his soul. Even though he talked to him nightly, it wasn't the same.
// God, I miss Jesse. Why did he have to leave? Couldn't he have stayed
longer? And why can't I just give up and join him? Why can't I go into my mind
and just stay there? //
But James Ellison knew that his body wouldn't let him for some strange reason.
Not to mention the fact that Jesse kept telling him it would be wrong. He talked to
his dear friend whenever he could.
He was almost ready for the fall and winter. Everything was stocked up. He had
his freezers on special back-up generators so that he'd never lose his food.
Once the snow came, he'd be stuck for a long time. He walked outside thinking
he heard something, and said aloud, "I can see the lights in the distance. Is it
you, Jesse?" Having said this, he walked towards the woods determined to find
the source of the lights.
Sometimes Jim heard things in the middle of the night and saw things that
couldn't be explained rationally. He worried the lights were just another example.
// Jesus, I'm going to be fucking insane if this keeps up. It wasn't enough that I'm
able to talk to my dead friend? Now I'm hearing someone else's voice. //
He stood very still and could hear a voice in his mind. He knew it had to be in his
mind, because there couldn't be anyone else around for miles. The lonely man
was indeed all alone. Yet... as he listened, he heard a soft voice talking to
"Where am I? Why am I in the dark? Someone help me please? Mom, are you
Jim could hear the heartbreak in the voice and was forced to listen to more of the
one-sided conversation. In the past, Jim had talked to people he knew to be
dead. Could that be happening again? If his Father had known, he would have
him put away. // Who are you kidding? Your father doesn't care about you, one
way or the other. He doesn't even ask about you. //
"Mom, please tell me where I am. Why can't I open my eyes? Why can't I hear
anyone or anything? God, I'm so scared!"
Jim couldn't stand it anymore. Without really thinking about it, he talked with is
mind just as he did when he spoke to Jesse. "Don't be afraid."
"Who are you, and where are you?" The scared voice asked.
"I'm very far away, but I'm here to help you find your way. What can you hear
around you? Listen carefully, and tell me exactly what you hear." Jim
There was complete silence for a few moments, and then the soft voice spoke
again, "It sounds like a beeping, like on a machine in a hospital. Am I in a
"You might be. What's the last thing you remember?"
"I was really excited about the Halloween party coming up. I'm a TA at Rainier.
They asked me to be a chaperone at the school dance. I love Halloween. So, I
was there helping get things set up, and the last thing I remember is plugging in
something for one of the other TA's. Then I woke up to this darkness and quiet."
"Okay, I would think you're probably in the hospital and are in some type of
coma. You'll probably be fine."
"Why are you able to talk to me, and who are you?"
"My name is James Ellison. I'm no one special, but I can speak to people that
are sleeping for some unknown reason. I live very far away from where you are.
To tell you the truth, it's nice to talk to someone that's not dead." Jim stopped
when he realized what he had said.
"James, you speak to dead people? Are you able to see them too?"
"No, I'm not able to see them, just hear them and sometimes talk to them. But
now I'm given someone that's not crossed over. I need to think on that one."
"James, you're a very special person. You know this, right?"
"Yeah, I know that. I could do with being less special. What should I call you?"
"Blair. My name is Blair Sandburg, I'm 29 years old, and I wonder if you could call
my mom and tell her that I'm fine. That you've spoken to me."
"I don't think so. They'd lock me up so fast my head would spin."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Sorry. James, will you continue to talk to me until I
"Sure, Chief, I could do that. But don't call me James. That's what my
grandfather used to call me, and I hated it. Jim will do me just fine."
"Okay, Jim. Thanks."
"You're very welcome, Blair. Now why don't you try and rest so you can wake up
"Okay. Where are you anyhow?"
"I live in the mountains. I've lived up here for about eight years. Alone."
"Cool man. I love the mountains. I bet it's beautiful this time of year."
"I just finished stocking up the freezer with food for the winter. I do a lot of
hunting, and I rarely go into town. I have problems with people."
"Is it live people that you have trouble with?"
"You could say that. I have problems with my senses. I see, hear, taste, feel and
smell things I should never be able to.
"Jim, I'm familiar with this, if you'd like to hear about it. It seems like I'm not going
"Sure, what do you know about my senses?" Jim asked, honestly interested.
So Blair talked to Jim for about an hour, telling him all about Sir Richard Burton,
the explorer not the actor. The time went by so fast that Jim was shocked when
he realized what time it was. Blair told Jim how he'd help him learn to control his
senses, and they'd work on him entering the real world again and being able to
face other people and not be afraid of what might happen.
As Jim walked back to the cabin, he said, "Chief, I think you should sleep now.
I'll talk to you tomorrow. Rest well and have good dreams."
"Thank you, Jim. I'm glad you're with me. I was very frightened. I feel much
better about being alone now."
"You're very welcome. Sleep well." Jim said as he sat down at his table in the
cabin and hoped to speak with Jesse. Jim fell asleep at the table waiting, but
sometime later he was woken by a sound and sat up straight and heard Jesse's
"Hi Jim. I wanted to say goodbye."
"No, Jesse! Please don't leave me."
"Jim, there is someone you can talk to now. I can leave you and not feel guilty."
"What are you talking about? Who?" Jim asked pleadingly.
"It's time for me to move on, Jim. I can't stay with you any longer. I need to go.
Please forgive me, and promise me you won't follow me." Even in the spirit
world, Jesse's bright green eyes were filled with tears.
"I'm not promising anything to someone who doesn't even stick around."
"Good-bye Jimmy. Be well and know that I always loved you. But someone new
is destined to meet you and make your life better. Please let him."
"I don't want anyone else." Jim sobbed.
"Good-bye Jimmy." The sad voice called out. Then the cabin was filled with
silence. Jim could feel that Jesse was gone. He went outside and screamed his
name until he was hoarse.
All Jim could think of was Jesse's beautiful green eyes. He could imagine them
flashing now, in anger, desperation or love.
Just when he felt like he could no longer go on, there was a soft voice calling to
"Jim, are you there? I heard something strange, and I can't sleep now. Please
talk to me."
"Yeah, I'm here, Chief." Jim said sadly and with a huskiness to his voice that Blair
had not heard before.
"Something is wrong. What is it?" Blair pleaded.
"Nothing to worry about, Chief. Go back to sleep. I'm going to bed myself. All
"Jim, you won't be here tomorrow, will you?"
"Blair, I'm tired. I need to go to bed."
"Jim, please don't leave me! Don't leave me alone!"
"I'm just going to sleep for awhile. I'm tired.... That's all.... Rest..."
"Okay, I'll sleep for a while. I'll talk to you tomorrow then. Be well, Jim."
"Night, Blair." Jim said as he walked into his empty cabin. Jim felt the sadness
almost overwhelm him. He didn't know if he could do it anymore. He knew that
he wasn't the loner that he pretended to be. He needed someone to love him.
Someone to need him. Why had Jesse said that there was someone new in his
life? Jim didn't have anyone in his life. He lay down on his cold bed and didn't
care if he ever woke up again.
Jim slept, but tossed and turned until Blair's voice woke him. "Jim... can you
"Yeah, I can hear you. I was sleeping. What do you want?"
"I can hear the doctors talking to my mother. They're telling her to turn the
machines off, because I'm brain dead. Help me! I don't want to die yet!"
"Blair, what do you want me to do?"
"Could you come here? This is Halloween Eve, and I believe that you might be
able to do something. You could give my mom a message and tell her I'm in
here. God, you can't just stay up on your mountain and let me die can you?"
Blair proceeded to tell Jim what to tell Naomi, if and when he saw her. He didn't
really ask if Jim wanted to do it, he just figured that Jim sounded like someone
that would help him.
"Blair, maybe it's time. Did you ever think about that?"
Jim heard Blair crying softly, making him wish that he was the one that was on
the machine instead of the younger man.
"I'm sorry for bothering you, Jim. Nice meeting you."
The silence that surrounded Jim was even worse than when Jesse left. He knew
that Blair would be dead tomorrow, and he somehow had his fate in his hands.
Now he just had to figure out what to do. Shit...
As Jim got into his truck, he prayed that it would start. He hadn't used it in a few
weeks. It started right up, and Jim headed down the mountain, praying the whole
time that he'd make it in time to save Blair Sandburg. He wasn't sure who to
pray to, but he did know that someone had to be listening. They just had to be.
During the drive, he wondered what Naomi Sandburg would think after he gave
her Blair's odd message. But until he could get to Cascade, he concentrated on
the drive and getting there in one piece.
It took quite a while, because the snow had started and it was slick, but once he
was down from the mountainside, he was able to make good time as he headed
to Cascade General Hospital. // How do you know he's there? What if he's
somewhere else? // Dismissing those thoughts, he continued on. As he got
closer to Cascade, the lights were beginning to hurt his eyes, so he did what Blair
had told him to do with the dials. He hoped that the young man had known what
he was talking about. Sure enough, it worked. For the first time in years, Jim
was able to drive at night without the pain from the lights of oncoming traffic.
When he pulled up to the hospital, he saw an old friend. Simon Banks was a
detective at CPD and had wanted Jim to work with him years ago, before
everything else had happened. Once his senses went online though, Jim had
thought he was useless for that type of work. Now, maybe there was hope. It
was the first feeling of hope he'd had in a long time.
"Simon, what are you doing here?" Jim asked, shaking the man's hand.
"Where in the hell have you been, Ellison? We looked everywhere for you."
Simon answered, as he pulled Jim into a bear hug.
"It's good to see you too, Simon. I had some troubles, and I had to move up to
the mountains for some time. I might be able to think about life in the city
"Well we could use your help this time. Someone tried to kill a young Teaching
Assistant at Rainier, and we can't catch a break."
"Is his name Blair Sandburg?"
"How did you know his name? We've not released that information to anyone."
"It's a long story, but if you have a few moments, I could fill you in, and then
maybe you could help me talk to his mom. It's important that I speak to her
"Okay, let's go and have some coffee."
As they sat downstairs in the cafeteria drinking coffee, Jim told Simon what had
been happening. Simon just sat there with his mouth open and didn't know what
to say, but he also knew that there was no other way that Jim could know about
the Sandburg kid.
"Jim, did I mention that I'm the captain of the Major Crime unit now? I think we
could use someone like you, with or without you being able to talk to people in
"So you believe me?"
"Yes, I don't want to, but there is no other way you could know these things."
"Thanks, Simon. Now, who is the other TA that was involved?"
"There was no one else involved. He was alone when his class found him."
"He said that he was plugging something in for his friend, another TA, when he
was shocked, and that's the last thing he remembers."
"Well shit, we need his name. Could you speak to him, do you suppose?"
"I could try."
Both men walked up to the ICU unit and found a pacing Naomi Sandburg. Simon
approached her and said, "Ms. Sandburg, this is a friend of mine. He would like
to speak with you about your son."
"What? What could be worse than what's going on now?" the angry mother cried
They took her into an empty waiting room and filled her in. She just stared at
both men, as if they were insane and said, "Is that the end of this? I have to get
back to my son."
Standing up, Jim said, "Naomi, Blair sent a message for you. Do you want to
"You're a very cruel man, Mr. Ellison."
Jim hurried after the retreating form and said, "Blair wanted me to tell you that he
wants you to save him a waltz on All Souls Night."
Naomi started crying and said, "This is his favorite time of year. He always loved
All Souls Night. He believed in so many different customs."
"Stop talking about him like he's dead. He's very much alive, and we need to find
out who tried to kill him. If you'll allow me to talk with him, I might be able to do
"I'm not sure I believe this, but if whatever you believe will help my son, then by
all means do it." Naomi said leading the way back to the room.
Simon and Naomi left Jim alone in the room with Blair. He held the young man's
hand and spoke to him without moving his mouth. He knew that he didn't need
to talk aloud now. "Blair, I'm here. I've come to help you. I need some help from
"Jim, are you really here? I never thought I would hear your wonderful voice
"Yeah, I'm here. I gave the message to your mom, and she bought it. She
believes me, I think. Well, as much as she can."
"You said you need my help. What could I possibly help you with?"
"You could tell me the name of the TA that was with you the night you were
"Well, that's easy. It was Martin Simmons. You can find him at our place."
"You share a place with him?"
"Yeah, he let me move some things into his place until I found a better place by
myself. He wanted to do more than just be friends, but I told him that I didn't
want to. He said he understood, and we moved on. That was about two weeks
"Well, first of all, no one seems to know where you live, and he wasn't anywhere
to be found. Why would that be do you think?"
"I don't know ,Jim. Why would he do that? Would he hurt me just because I
didn't want to sleep with him?"
"Maybe. I don't know yet. We'll see when we talk to him. Blair, did you tell him
that you were against gay men or something?"
Jim heard a soft chuckle, and then the sweet voice saying, "Well, Jim, I'd be in
big trouble if I had, because I'm gay."
Jim found himself smiling. // Hot damn. He's single, he's gay, and I might have a
chance. Oh geeze, get your mind off sex for once, Ellison. //
"I'm glad to hear that, Chief." Jim said just as softly.
"Yeah, I figured that's why you asked. When I wake up, can we see each other?"
"Just wake up, Chief, okay? Then we'll discuss how you feel about dating
someone losing his hair who's ten years older than you."
"Man, I know I'm going to love you. Your voice is beautiful. That makes you
beautiful. So I think it's a given that I'm going to be fine with you."
"I have to go and tell the police now. I'd really like it if you woke up, Chief. Try,
"Yeah, I'll try. Will you stay with me until I do?"
"I'll be right back, Blair." Jim walked out to the hallway and told Simon the man's
name and told him what Blair had said. Naomi took Jim into her arms and just
held on for dear life. If it wasn't for this wonderful and special man, Blair would
have been taken off the respirator tomorrow. Naomi could never thank Jim
Jim walked back into the room and held on to Blair's hand. He looked at his
watch at midnight and said, "Happy Halloween, Chief," and lay his head down to
rest until the young man woke.
Jim woke up to someone petting his head, and it felt so nice. He smiled and
wanted it to be more than a dream. He opened his eyes and saw that Blair was
doing the petting. The machines around Blair were setting off alarms right and
left. Jim jumped up because he wondered what was going on, but he could hear
Blair's heartbeat. It was good and strong. So that wasn't it.
The doctor pushed Jim aside and said, "He can't breathe correctly when the
respirator is still in. He's starting to try to breathe on his own. Now let us do our
Jim moved aside gladly. He pulled Naomi into his arms, and she said, "Jim, this
is so perfect! It's Halloween day. What a perfect day for rebirth and new life!"
About ten minutes later, the doctor said, "Ms. Sandburg, he should be waking
shortly. All of his vitals are good. No, let me restate that. His vitals are great!"
"Thank you, Doctor. We'll stay here with him."
Naomi watched Jim and saw the love shine from his eyes. She had a feeling that
Jim Ellison was in love with her son, and he hadn't yet met him face to face. But
Naomi knew that Blair's spirit was enough to make anyone fall in love with him. It
would not be surprising. Jim looked up and saw the smile on her face and
realized that Naomi would be all right with them, if they did decide to have a
"Hey..." came a soft voice from the bed.
Naomi and Jim both ran to the bedside and said, "Blair!"
"Yes, that's my name. Now where is this Jim Ellison I've heard so much about?"
Smiling, Naomi said, "I'll be outside when you've finished talking to Mr. Ellison."
Leaning over, she kissed her son's cheek and whispered, "He's a keeper,
"Hey Blair." Jim said almost shyly.
"Hey yourself, where is that kiss you promised me?"
"I never promised you a kiss. That was never mentioned." Jim said laughing.
"Well I want a friggin' kiss, damn it! But not until I get to brush my teeth. I can't
imagine what your poor senses are doing right now."
Jim smiled at him and leaned over and kissed his lips ever so softly. Blair
moaned into Jim's mouth. Jim didn't mind the antiseptic smell or taste. He didn't
mind, because in the end, he got Blair. How could a man be in love with
someone he had just met? Maybe it was fate. For once, Jim Ellison was not
going to mess with fate. He wanted this man; he needed this man; and he could
love this man as no one else could. He knew this to be true. He would have to
remember to thank the gods for this gift. He was indeed blessed. Jesse had
been right. He had met someone new. Yet at the same time, he felt he'd known
Blair forever. Their spirits had been destined from the beginning.
Loreena McKennitt - All Souls Night
Bonfire dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound.
Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes
Of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise.
I can see the lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All Souls Night.
Figures of cornstalks bend in the shadows
Held up tall as the flames leap high
The green knight holds the holly bush
To mark where the old year passes by.
Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides -- photo
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound.
Standing on the bridge that crosses
The river that goes out to the sea
The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me.