October 28, 1998
A nightmare. Really more of a frustrating dream. He couldn't find Sandburg. Anywhere. One minute they were in the bullpen, seated at his desk, Jim reading a report, deeply involved in looking for something that would trip the killer's hand, Sandburg at the computer. And then he wasn't. Not at the computer, not in the building, not anywhere. His jacket was still on the back of the chair, his backpack on the ground, but no Blair. No heartbeat.
Then Jim was in the truck, driving toward the loft, checking every corner, every favorite spot, every hang-out with no success. The loft, empty. His office at the University, empty.
Jim couldn't rest, couldn't stop looking. He needed his guide. Needed Sandburg. But he * couldn't * find * him.
Then he woke. Breathing hard, sheet and blanket bunched around his legs. He immediately focused on the heartbeat. Blair's heartbeat. And found it. Below him, right where it should be.
October 29, 1998
Not a frustrating dream this time, a real nightmare. Sandburg was still missing. But this time Jim felt a pervading evil. And Simon must have felt it too because in this nightmare, Simon came out of his office, looking worried, unlit cigar clenched between his teeth. He looked around, looked at each desk, at each face and then demanded, "Where's Sandburg?"
Jim answered, "I don't know...I don't know, Simon, but I can't find him...anywhere. He was here, then not."
"I don't like this Ellison, something isn't right. I can feel it in my gut."
And Jim was able to move, to stand, "I know, sir, but I don't know what to do....where to look, and I need him...But he's gone."
And two men, united in their terror, knowing there was a force at work, a force trying to take Sandburg away....hit the streets, searching. Driving endlessly, walking endlessly and knowing they were almost out of time.
A woman. In his nightmare. Tall, in a bloodied grey dress. Standing on a corner, waving them over to the curb. Jim pulled over, both men jumped out and confronted the woman.
"Where is he? You do know....Where's my partner? Tell us."
The pale woman, no heat emanating from her body, "You're not too late. He can't find him yet, but he will soon."
And Jim woke up, sweating, thrashing, whispering, "no, no, no...". And searching the loft for the heartbeat, and finding it again.
He got up and went quickly downstairs, the need to see his guide almost overwhelming. And he was there, eating toast, so normal, looking up and smiling a good morning, offering his toast and some orange juice.
"Morning Jim, hey, you look dreadful," and he got up and moved toward the bigger man, hand reaching up to touch his face, "Jim, you really look bad. You okay? Coming down with something? You didn't get a flu shot, did you?" Blair's hand rested against Jim's cheek, checking for a temperature, "You are a little warm, maybe you'd better stay home today?"
"No Chief, I'm fine, just didn't sleep so well, I need to go in, we've got to catch this whacko before the whole city panics."
Blair understood. Three bodies, drained of blood and Halloween just days away. So far they had managed to keep the press at bay, but their luck wouldn't last forever.
"Well, if you're going in, I'm going with you, I'll call the University, change some things, call in a few markers...".
Normally Jim would have argued, but not today, he wanted his partner nearby. An hour later they headed out.
October 30, 1998
The nightmare again. Worse yet. The man was out there, and he was looking for Sandburg. If Jim and Simon didn't find him first.....and now Ryf and Brown were looking too. Worry, fear, etched on all their faces.
Jim should have felt better with all the manpower looking for Sandburg, but he didn't. It wasn't enough. Not nearly enough. And the fear was gnawing at him, enveloping him, controlling him.
In this nightmare, he was running. Up streets, down alleys, in and out of buildings, calling Sandburg's name, reaching out with his senses, searching for the heartbeat....and then the woman again, standing at an alley entrance, motioning him over, but there was even more blood and the scent, the copper scent of it almost sent him into a zone...but her voice, telling him something, kept him focused.
"He's close now!"
"Who? Blair? Tell me! Please!"
"He's the last one. He has to have him. He's the last one. But there's still time."
She was gone and Jim was alone. And afraid. And cold. "I'm going to lose him. I can't lose him. I need him....I love...him." And he began to run again, screaming Blair's name....
Footsteps, up the stairs...hands shaking him awake, "JIM! Wake up! You're dreaming."
And Jim woke, looked up at beautiful blue eyes, reading concern. He sat up, ran his hand absently over his face, laughed nervously, "God, I'm sorry Sandburg, did I wake you?"
"Wake me? Man, it's six thirty...I got out of the shower and heard you yelling my name, I ran up here and found you in the throes of a nightmare", he smiled, "What did I do? Use all the hot water again?"
"You guessed it, Chief. And that water was cold."
He pulled himself up and threw his legs over the edge of the bed. Blair stood up, "Jim, do you want to talk about it?"
"No, Sandburg, I don't. It was just a dream , okay?"
"Right. Big. Brave. Silent. Fine." Blair headed back down the stairs.
Jim was reading through the reports for the third time. Looking at pictures of the first victim, trying to get a handle on their "Vampire Killer". The first victim, male, thirty-five, drained of blood and left in an alley just south of the University.
"Jim, I think I've got something here....".
Jim looked over at Blair who was staring intently at the computer screen, "Look."
Jim focused on the screen, Blair had created a map and there were three blinking dots, "Okay, what am I looking at, exactly?"
Blair put his finger over the first dot, "This is victim #1", his finger then moved to the right, "This is victim #2", his finger now moved to the left, "And this is victim #3." Sandburg hit a key and a line appeared and connected the dots. Jim saw then.
"One more victim", Blair's finger touched the top of the screen, "And the triangle is complete."
"Why does the killer neet to "complete" the triangle?"
"I don't know, Jim. Maybe he thinks he's containing something, something inside the triangle? Or it's some ritual?"
Both men looked at the triangle again, and it was evident that the majority of space in the triangle was taken up by Rainier University. They headed to Simon's office.
October 31, 1998
He was standing in a cemetary. At a gravesite. A mound of fresh earth on his right, an open grave in front of him. Open, but not empty. A casket. He looked at the headstone.
BLAIR JACOB SANDBURG
He'd failed. He hadn't found him in time, hadn't saved him, "God, no. Please let this be a dream, I can't fail him."
"But you did."
Jim whirled around. The woman. Completely covered in blood. Blair's blood.
"He found him. He needed his blood. Powerful blood, Shaman blood, innocent blood. A sacrifice so powerful, that it could open the portal. You should have saved him."
No thrashing, no screaming. One minute asleep, the next, awake.
<I will save him.>
With a case like the "Vampire Killer", Saturday's didn't exist. Ryf and Brown were pounding the pavement and checking the area they now believed the next victim would appear. Jim had gone down to the morgue at Blair's suggestion, to look once again at the last victim. Sandburg was researching cults via the net. But he wasn't finding what he needed. Then he remembered a book he had at his office. He could get to the University and back before Jim even missed him. Checking his pockets for his keys and finding them, he started out.
In the morgue, Jim was impatiently waiting while Carl opened the body drawer. Jim had felt uneasy all day, the dreams vivid in his mind. Carl unzipped the body bag and Jim found himself looking down at the woman from his dreams.
Jim turned and bolted out the door. As he ran to the elevator he searched the building for the heartbeat....and didn't find it. He got upstairs, back to the bullpen just as Simon was coming out of his office, unlit cigar clenched between his teeth, "Where's Sandburg?"
Everything came together. Blair was the next victim....the final victim.
"Simon, we have to find him now. I believe he's the next victim."
Surprisingly Simon didn't argue. He seemed to accept this information, "Where do we go?"
Minutes later they were on their way to the University. Simon pulled out his cellphone, "What's Sandburg's office number?'
Simon dialed and connected.
"Blair. Jim and I are on our way to you. Lock the door and don't let anyone in...Got that?"
"What's wrong?" and then, his voice away from the phone, directed at someone else, "Give me a minute, I'll be right with you." and then back to Simon, "Simon, what's up?" Before Simon could answer, there was a thump, a groan and the phone was disconnected.
"Jim, step on it. I just lost him."
Simon expected Jim to break the sound barrier, he didn't expect him to pull over to a curb.
"Jim? JIM? We need speed here."
"I know what I'm doing."
Jim closed his eyes and concentrated on the dream, the woman, the alley. A street sign. A name. "Everest."
Jim put the truck back into gear and pulled away from the curb, "Simon, call Ryf and tell him and Brown to get over to Everest Street, start checking the alleys."
Simon made the call.
Eight minutes later they turned onto Everest. Jim drove half way down the block and parked. Both men got out, "Jim, why don't you head south and I'll head north."
Jim opened his hearing all the way. There. His heartbeat. Weak, but there. Jim started running up the street, Simon followed.
Ahead, an alley. Jim slowed, pulled his gun. A voice. Not Sandburg's.
"It won't be long now. Your blood will be the catalyst. Your powerful blood will open the portal."
Jim nodded to Simon and they moved in.
"FREEZE! CASCADE P.D.!"
Ellison could see the man on his knees, bending over Sandburg's body. And he could see the tube in Blair's arm, slowly draining his blood.
"STAND UP AND AWAY FROM SANDBURG'S BODY, NOW!"
The man straightened, stood and turned to face the two men, "You can't stop me. My job is almost complete." His hand raised, holding a gun, "You can't hurt me, I'm too powerful now."
He fired. Jim and Simon fired.
He missed. They didn't.
Jim holstered his gun and ran towards his partner. Bending down he could hear Simon call for an ambulance, footsteps running and Ryf and Brown coming around the corner into the alley. He pulled out the needle that was allowing the precious blood to drain, lifted Blair into his arms. Blair was so pale, so cold.
"You were in time, Detective. You saved him. The portal remains closed."
He tore his eyes from Blair's face and looked into the face of the third victim, the woman in his dreams.
"Thank you. I couldn't lose.....him."
"I know. Sleep well, Detective." And she was gone.
They were waiting in the hospital for word. They weren't really worried, the EMT's had assured them they had got to Blair in time.
"Jim, how did you know?"
"You wouldn't believe me, Simon."
Jim looked at his friend in surprise, "How did you know?"
"I've been having dreams too."
Further discussion was halted by the appearance of the doctor. "Detective Ellison?" Jim stood.
"Mr.Sandburg will be fine. We are going to keep him overnight, but you can see him now."
"Jim, I'll head back to the station, let everyone know Sandburg is fine and clean up this mess....Tell the kid....".
"I know Simon, I'll tell him." Simon nodded and left. He was used to life with Ellison and Sandburg now.
Jim entered the hospital room. Blair was still too pale but the heartbeat was steady. He pulled a chair up to the bed and made himself comfortable, knowing full well he would be spending the night here.
"Hey, Chief, how're you feeling?"
"Great. fine. can't I go home?"
"Chief, I need to tell you something."
"Wow, just like my dream."
Jim frowned, " Your dream?"
"Yeah, I've been having this dream lately, just like this, I'm in the hospital, you're here and you're saying you have something to tell me...."
"Uh, what did I tell you in the dream?"
Blair blushed, "Oh, um...that you loved me...hey man, it was just a dream."
"Pretty psychic dream, Chief."
"You mean....that's what?"
"Yep. I love you Blair." And Jim leaned over and gently kissed the younger man, who thankfully kissed him back.
They finally seperated.
"Blair, when I get you home, remind me to tell you about my dreams."
"Oh yeah, that will be first on my list."
"Go to sleep."
"Jim? Happy Halloween."