This is the House...
by Kim Jackson
Summary: Sequal to Phantoms. Blair is obsessed with finding more hauntings. When he finally does, he gets more than he bargains for. Rated R for language and graphic scenes.
Author’s Notes: I got this idea from a song by Rob Zombie called House of 1000 Corpses.
Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters don’t belong to me, unfortunately. I’m just borrowing them.
“This is the house. Come on in.” -Rob Zombie
Blair Sandburg closed the door to his office with a flourish. He had just finished with the last student of the day, and his office hours were finally over. Normally, he didn’t mind his office hours. He enjoyed helping out his students in any way possible, and he was glad they came to him. It showed they were actually interested and were trying. But there were those select few who would rather make up excuses for why they didn’t turn in a paper or why they’re failing the class rather than try to make up for it. Blair hated excuses, especially really bad ones like some of the ones he had heard today: “I didn’t have time,” “I didn’t understand the material,” “My roommate was partying all night.” “I was tired,” “I forgot,” and of course, the classic, “My dog ate it.” Blair shook his head. He’d heard them all.
But now he was free. He moved over to his desk and started stuffing books and papers into his backpack. Checking his watch, he smiled. He had over an hour before he had to meet Jim at the station for lunch. He could go home; change his clothes, one of his students having dumped coffee all over the front of his shirt; and maybe have time to do a little research. Blair smiled as he tossed his backpack over one shoulder. Yeah, maybe he would finally find someplace to check out.
Of course, if Jim ever found out, he’d kill him. Ever since their close encounter with a couple of ghosts a few weeks ago, Blair had been obsessed with finding more to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. Unfortunately, haunted places in Cascade seem to be few and far between. He had been searching on the Internet for weeks and couldn’t find any besides the burnt-out house belonging to John and Jackie O’Henry and the abandoned apartment building where they had met Molly.
And Jim was getting annoyed with it all. As far as he was concerned, the spiritual world could keep to themselves. Blair spent every free moment doing research, and he hardly ever came to the station anyway. Jim had been fed up with it and had blatantly told him to cut it out, but Blair couldn’t. He didn’t know why. He just had to find more ghosts.
Blair checked his backpack to make sure he had everything, and then, with backpack over a shoulder and coffee in hand, he went out to his car. When he got home, he dripped his backpack next to the door and immediately went to his room. After changing into a blue flannel shirt, he went to the kitchen table where he had left his laptop and turned it on.
The hour flew without Blair ever noticing. He was close, so close. After clicking on a few links, searching a few websites, and scrolling through a few pages, he finally found what he was looking for. There was a haunted house in Cascade, and it wasn’t too far from the loft. It wasn’t a very well known one except to the people of the neighborhood, but it was one nonetheless.
His excitement rising, he quickly wrote down the address on a slip of paper. He then got up, gathered his jacket and his keys, and headed out the door, leaving the computer on. He completely forgot that he was supposed to meet Jim for lunch.
Jim tapped his fingers on his desk as he glanced at the clock on his wall for the hundredth time. Now he was getting annoyed. Blair was supposed to meet him for lunch at noon. It was now going on 12:45 p.m. and still no sign of the anthropologist.
He was going to kill that kid. He hoped the kid hadn’t gotten caught up researching more ghosts and hauntings. He had specifically told Blair not to do any more research on that stuff, but then again, when has the kid ever listened to him. He couldn’t even listen to as simple an instruction as stay in the truck. Jim sighed. Blair probably did get caught up in research. He picked up the phone to call the loft when he heard his captain’s bellow.
“Ellison, my office!”
Sighing, Jim replaced the receiver in its cradle and got up to enter the lion’s den otherwise known as Simon Bank’s office.
“You wanted to see me, sir?” Jim asked.
“Yeah, Jim. Take a seat,” Simon said, indicating one of the chairs in front of his desk. He frowned when he noticed someone missing. “Where’s your shadow?”
“I don’t know. He was supposed to meet me for lunch, but he never showed.” Jim saw the concern on his captain’s face. “He probably just got caught up in his research and lost track of time. He’s been doing that a lot lately. I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“All right, Jim. If you’re sure. Listen, I hate to send you out without him, but we’ve got a body down by the docks, and you’re the only one available right now.”
“I’m on it,” Jim said, getting up from the chair and heading toward the door.
“Hey Jim. Be careful,” Simon warned.
“I’ll be fine. I don’t need him every waking moment,” Jim grumbled.
Simon raised his eyebrows. “Really? Is that why you’ve been zoning more and more?”
Jim lowered his head, looking down at his feet. It was true. He had been zoning out more often since Blair’s obsession started. He hadn’t told Blair though, figuring he could handle it.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Sandburg hasn’t been around lately, and you’ve been zoning more often than not. What’s he working on anyway that’s taking up so much of his time?”
Jim sighed. “It’s just…something he has to get done. I’m sure he’ll be finished soon.”
“Well good. Now get out of here. I’ve got work to do,” Simeon said, shooing Jim out the door with a wave of his hand.
“This is the house. Built of sin.” --Rob Zombie
Blair pulled up outside an old dilapidated house. He got out and checked the address to make sure he was in the right place. 1234 Justamere Road, yep, it was the place. Blair stared up at the decrepit house. It didn’t look very inviting. Every window that Blair could see was broken and boarded up. The front door was crooked and the wooden porch didn’t look sturdy enough to hold the weight of a child let alone a full grown man. The yard was unkempt with dead leaves scattered about the dead grass and the wooden fence surrounding the property was falling apart.
Blair felt a shiver travel up his spine and it wasn’t from the cool breeze. Suddenly, he wasn’t so sure about this whole thing.
“You’re not going in there, are you?” a voice asked from behind.
Blair nearly jumped out of his skin as he whirled around to confront the owner of the voice. A middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair stood on the curb next to Blair’s Volvo.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. Shawn Mallory.” He held out his hand toward Blair.
“Blair Sandburg,” Blair answered, shaking the man’s hand. “And it’s ok. I was just enthralled.”
“Yeah, this house has a way of capturing your attention,” Shawn said, stepping up to stand next to Blair. “So, you’re not going in there, are you?”
“I had planned on it.”
“It’s rumored to be haunted.”
Blair smiled. That’s why I’m here, he thought. Out loud, he asked, “What can you tell me about the house?”
“Well, from what I hear, about twenty years ago, a murderer used to live in that house. He lived there for years, and no one suspected a thing. In fact, folks around the neighborhood thought he was pretty nice, but then again, that’s what they usually say about all the psychos.
“Anyway, he became a suspect in a series of disappearances around the neighborhood, so the police searched the house and found more than they bargained for. There were blood stains all over the house, stains that had been there for quite some time. They found blood-stained clothes in the washing machine and bedrooms. But the kitchen, the kitchen was the worst. There were body parts floating in jars: in the fridge, on shelves, and in cabinets. And they found a pot simmering on the stove. It was filled with blood, entrails, eyeballs, and bones, among other things. I shudder to think what he was going to do with that.”
Blair looked disgusted. He looked away from the man and tried hard not to puke right there from all the images popping into his head. When he composed himself, he turned back to Shawn, who had stopped talking seeming to sense that Blair needed a moment.
When he saw that Blair was ready, Shawn continued, “Yeah, so it was pretty bad. They must have found at least twenty bodies buried in the basement. They’d been dismembered. It took the police days to piece together all the victims, and even then they could only get twenty whole bodies. There were still pieces left over, which suggested that there had been more. The guy was sick and twisted.”
“What happened to him?” Blair asked, swallowing several times.
“He was arrested, of course, but he was let go because of a technicality. The people around here didn’t like that very much, so they paid him a little visit and they cut him up just like he cut up his victims.”
“Oh my God,” Blair whispered.
“Yeah. They managed to cut off both legs and his left arm before the police showed up and stopped them. Didn’t matter though. The guy bled to death right in that house. Now it is said that he’s still in there, looking for more victims. Some people have said that they’ve seen him in the attic window. Others have said they’ve heard sounds coming from the old house, the sound of him dragging himself across the floor. Thump…slide…thump…slide…thump…slide. And others have gone in and never come back out.”
“Do you really believe that?” Blair asked.
“I don’t know about the whole ghost thing, but I believe the story. And I believe that people have gone in that house and were never seen again. A friend of mine was one of them. I watched him go into that house and never come back out. So do I believe that it’s haunted? No. But do I believe that it’s dangerous? You better believe it. So just a little friendly advice, don’t go in.” Shawn patted Blair on the shoulder before walking away.
Blair stared up at the house and an involuntary shiver coursed through him. Perhaps he should have taken the time to read through the history of the house before coming all the way out there. He wanted to meet a ghost, yes, but he didn’t want to meet a violent one. Maybe I should go home, he thought, but even as his mind formed this thought, his feet were carrying him toward the house seemingly of their own volition. Before he knew it he was on the front porch.
He took a deep breath. “Ok, I can do this. After all, the guy only has one arm. What could he do to me? Plus, he’s a ghost. Ghosts can’t hurt you, right? Maybe I should have done more research before coming out here,” he mumbled to himself.
“This is the house. Nobody lives.” --Rob Zombie
The inside of the house was dingy and dirty. It was incredibly dark even though it was daytime. The boarded up windows only let in a minimal amount of sunlight, giving the interior a spooky feeling. The floor was covered with a thin layer of dust that was kicked up into the air as Blair walked making him cough.
Blair stood facing the side of a staircase leading to the second floor. To his left was an archway leading into what once had been a living area of some sort with a fireplace on the far wall. Blair surveyed this room and, seeing nothing of interest, turned back around. On the other side of the stairs was a hallway leading into the rest of the house.
After careful consideration, Blair chose to head upstairs. He slowly made his way up the stairs, the steps creaking ominously as he walked on them. There wasn’t much of interest on the second floor, just a bunch of empty bedrooms, so Blair headed up to the attic.
The attic was very large with dusty wooden floors. The ceiling arched upward to meet at a point like that of the roof. There was a single window overlooking the street out front. There was only one piece of furniture, an old rickety rocking chair.
Blair looked around the attic, but there wasn’t much to find. Disappointed, he started to leave the attic. He stopped when he heard a soft creaking behind him. His whole body tensed as he slowly turned around. The rocking chair was rocking back and forth on its own. Heart pounding against his ribcage, he slowly walked toward the rocking chair. As he approached, he could hear singing. It was a soft female voice singing a song Blair found vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t remember what song it was.
The chair continued to rock as he got closer, but as he reached out his hand to touch it, it stopped as did the singing. He felt a chill travel down his spine, and suddenly, the chair was thrown back against the wall. Blair jumped back, breath coming in quick gasps. Something wasn’t happy that he was here.
“Ok, I’ve had just about enough. I’m out of here,” Blair muttered, moving quickly toward the door.
He practically ran back through the house, reaching the stairs to the first floor in half the time. The stairs creaked again as he hurried down them, but this time it was louder. When he reached the middle of the stairs, he heard loud cracking, and he had a sinking feeling he knew what it was.
“Oh shit,” he whispered.
The floor suddenly collapsed beneath him, and he found himself falling into darkness.
The darkness slowly receded as Blair regained consciousness. His whole body was aching. His head felt like it was going to explode and his ankle hurt pretty bad too. When he was finally able to focus, he saw that he was lying in a basement of some sort, and his body was half covered in wood planks and boards. He tried to pull himself out from under all the debris, but he was thoroughly stuck and it just aggravated his ankle. He tried sitting up to shift some of the wood off him, but he felt a sharp, stabbing pain in his side and immediately laid back down. Upon closer inspection, he found a sharp piece of wood sticking down from the hole in the ceiling that was jabbing painfully into his abdomen, not enough to penetrate skin but enough to remind him it’s there. There was no way he would be able to move without stabbing himself. He was stuck.
He lay down flat and sighed. “Oh great. Now what am I going to do?”
Then he remembered his cell phone in his jacket pocket. If he could reach it, he could call Jim. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he smiled as he pulled out the device. The smile faded, however, as he looked at the screen and saw the tiny cracks. It must have broken when he fell. Groaning, he threw the broken cell phone across the room. Now what? As he pondered his options, he heard a sound up above him.
Blair’s breath quickened and his heart started to race as the sound came closer and closer. It seemed like it was right above his head, and Blair closed his eyes tightly, not wanting to see the ghost of a murderer. He began to regret ever coming here. Why did he come here? Why couldn’t he keep his curiosity in check?
Blair’s head started to pound, and he felt like he couldn’t get enough air. But he was too scared to find his center and calm himself down. There was a whisper of sound in his ear, and it took him a few minutes to realize it was a voice.
“Blair. Teddy Blair, open your eyes.”
Blair’s brow furrowed. Teddy Blair? Only one person ever called him Teddy Blair. Slowly, he opened his eyes. A gasp escaped his lips as his eyes took in the apparition standing before him. It was a young red-headed woman. She flashed him a smile that seemed to glow in the darkness. Blair knew this woman.
But that was impossible. His aunt was dead or at least presumed dead. She had gone missing about twenty years ago. There had been no trace of her, and nobody knew where she had gone, not even Naomi. The police presumed her dead after finding her car abandoned on the side of the road just outside of Cascade, blood all over the front seat. Naomi had refused to believe her sister was dead and looked for her for years, but even she had to give up after so many years without a clue.
His aunt smiled down at him again and reached down to touch his cheek. Her hand paused just inches from his face. “You need to calm down, Blair. Don’t worry. We won’t let him get to you.”
Blair took deep breaths to calm his racing heart. After a few minutes, he finally calmed down enough to speak. “We?”
She nodded and arched her hand through the air to encompass the entire room. Blair looked around and was in awe to see over twenty apparitions standing around him.
“All of his victims,” Rachael said.
Blair looked back at his aunt. “Then you were…”
“Yes, sweetie. I was his first.”
Blair closed his eyes as he choked down a sob. He had loved his aunt. He could remember sitting in her lap in a rocking chair when he was three or four. She used to sing to him. His eyes snapped open as he remembered what had happened in the attic.
“The rocking chair?”
She nodded. “That was me.” She knelt down in front of him. “We try to stop him as best we can, but sometimes there’s nothing we can do. This time, I promise you, he will not get to you.”
There was a loud buzzing in Blair’s ears, and darkness started to cloud his vision.
“Rest now, Teddy. Help will be here soon.”
Blair could feel unconsciousness creeping over him, and he surrendered to it willingly.
“This is the house. You get what you give.” --Rob Zombie
Jim entered the elevator at the precinct and pushed the button for the seventh floor. The DB down at the docks had been pretty straightforward. It was a young girl who had been reported missing three days ago. Apparently, she and her parents had had a fight, and she had just up and left. She had gone down to seek refuge in her parent’s boat and had fallen into the water and drowned. There was no evidence of foul play so it was declared an accident.
Jim was grateful for that. He didn’t want to start another murder investigation just yet. He was too damned tired for that. They had had three murders in the past two weeks, and all three had required Jim to use his senses extensively, which gave him a monster headache. He had just finished the last one the day before. All he needed to do was get the paperwork finished. He really needed a vacation.
The elevator reached the seventh floor. Jim exited the elevator and entered the busy Major Crimes bullpen, expecting to see his partner sitting at his desk waiting for him, but the desk was empty. Brow furrowed, Jim grabbed Brown as he was walking by on his way back to his desk.
“Hey H. Has Sandburg been in?”
“No. I haven’t seen him all day.” Seeing the worry on the senior detective’s face, he asked, “Is something wrong?”
“I don’t know. He was supposed to be here over an hour ago. We were going to have lunch.”
“Well, he probably got side-traced. You know Hairboy. He’s probably charming some woman he just met.”
Jim gave him a small smile and said, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Brown patted him on the back and went back to his desk. Jim, however, didn’t believe that. Sure, the kid got distracted easily, but he would have called by now. Jim went to his desk, picked up the phone, and dialed the loft. He let it ring a few times, tapping his foot impatiently. He hung up when there was no answer and then dialed Blair’s office at the University. When there was still no answer, he dialed Blair’s cell phone. He slammed the phone down when the line wasn’t picked up.
Simon, having noticed his best detective’s distress, exited his office. “Jim, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. Blair was supposed to meet me for lunch, but he never showed. He’s not answering at the loft, his office, or his cell phone.”
Simon could see the worry on Jim’s face. He sighed. “Go,” he said.
“You’re not going to be any good to us if you’re worrying about the kid. Go find him.”
Jim smiled gratefully as he got up to grab his coat. “Thanks, Simon.”
“Yeah, yeah. Just keep me posted.”
Jim broke every traffic law there was to reach the loft. When he got there, he saw that Blair’s car wasn’t in the parking lot, and after scanning the loft with his senses, determined that the student wasn’t in the loft. Still, Jim headed up to the loft, hoping to find some clue as to where Blair may have gone.
When he got to the loft, he was relieved to see that the door hadn’t been forced open and there were no signs of a struggle, which meant that Blair had left on his own and he hadn’t been kidnapped. Walking through the front door, Jim’s gaze was immediately drawn to Blair’s laptop sitting open on the kitchen table, a website displayed on the screen. He looked at the screen and saw that it was a website of haunted houses all around the United States, and there was one address displayed of a house in the Cascade suburban area.
Jim groaned. He recognized that house. It had a nasty history, and he wasn’t surprised it was considered haunted. He should have known Blair would go there. He quickly jotted down the address and then left.
Arriving at the house, Jim saw Blair’s Volvo parked in front of the old house and sighed. He parked the truck behind the Volvo and got out. He stared up at the house for a moment before hurrying inside. The minute he stepped inside, he was hit with a blast of unnaturally cold air. He shivered involuntarily. As he got further into the house, he started to hear whispers inside his head. There had to be at least twenty voices all whispering at once, giving him a headache. One voice seemed to scream above the rest.
*Sentinel, you must get your Guide out of this house. He fell through the stairs. You should be able to reach him through the basement.*
Jim ignored the fact that ghosts seemed to be whispering to him and hurried toward the stairs where he could see a large hole in the middle. Careful near the edge, he peered into the hole. His sharp eyes immediately pierced the darkness within enough for him to see his guide lying unmoving amidst wooden boards.
“Oh my God. Blair! Chief, can you hear me?”
There was a low groan only sentinel ears could hear as Blair slowly opened his eyes. He blinked a few times before focusing on Jim.
“Yeah, buddy. Just sit tight. I’ll get you out of there.” Jim jumped as a loud thump resounded above his head followed by something being dragged across the floor. Thump…slide…thump…slide.
*Hurry, Sentinel. He craves blood, and he wants your Guide’s.*
Jim didn’t waste time asking who he was. The thumping was getting closer, and Jim had a feeling it wasn’t anything good.
“Hang on, Chief. I’m going to try to find a way down to you,” Jim called.
He walked back down the stairs and searched frantically for a door that would lead him to the basement. He found it fairly quickly and within minutes he was walking down the stairs to the basement, following the beloved heartbeat. When he reached the basement floor, he rushed to Blair’s side.
“Blair, are you ok?”
“I don’t know. My ankle hurts pretty bad and my head is killing me and there’s a board sticking into my side.”
“All right. Let me have a look.”
Jim examined Blair’s head first, looking into his eyes and running gentle hands over Blair’s scalp. He found a large lump on the back of the young man’s head and determined that he probably had a concussion. Next Jim took a look at the area where a sharp piece of wood was digging into Blair’s side. It hadn’t impaled the kid, but the blood seeping through Blair’s shirt led Jim to believe that it had punctured his side at one point. Judging from the small amount of blood, though, it didn’t look too serious.
Jim traced the board to the ceiling, and after making sure that moving it wouldn’t cause another collapse, he gripped it and moved it away from Blair’s body. Blair tried to sit up then, but Jim pushed him gently back down.
“No, don’t try to get up just yet. We don’t know the extent of your injuries.”
“Jim, I’m ok. It’s just my ankle that hurts really bad.”
“Blair, you’re bleeding. We have no idea how deep that puncture wound is. I don’t want you to move until I tell you.”
Blair glanced at his side, and his eyes widened. “Aw man. I didn’t even know it had penetrated. I mean I felt a sharp pain when I tried to sit up before, but I didn’t think it had pierced the skin.”
“Just lay still while I try to get this stuff off you.”
Blair nodded, and Jim patted his shoulder. He then got to work getting the boards off Blair’s legs. The thumping sound continued to get closer as Jim worked diligently to free his partner. It just spurred Jim to move faster. It seemed to take an eternity, but finally Jim cleared the last of the boards away except for a large piece of wood covering half of Blair’s legs.
“Ok, I’m going to lift this up, and when I tell you, you’re going to pull yourself free,” Jim said.
Blair nodded and sat up a little to get ready to move. Jim counted to three and then lifted the heavy piece of wood a few inches into the air. Blair scooted back out of harm’s way, and Jim gently put the wood back down. Jim then examined Blair’s ankle. It was already swelling pretty good, and Jim could feel the broken bone.
“Yeah. It’s definitely a break.”
Both Blair and Jim jumped as the sound seemed to reverberate throughout the entire house.
“It’s getting closer,” Jim said.
“Let’s get out here,” Blair said.
“I’m with you on that one.”
Jim got Blair’s arm around his shoulders and lifted the young man to his feet. Blair hissed as the movement jarred his injured ankle but indicated to Jim to continue when the sentinel looked at him in concern. The trek up the stairs was slow-going, and it seemed to take forever to reach the font door. The thumping continued.
And as Jim opened the front door, he heard the sound as it reached the top of the second floor stairway. Jim didn’t turn around to see the thing. He just hustled Blair out the door and shut it behind him, hurrying off the porch and to their cars. Blair leaned against the Volvo as he strove to calm his breathing.
“You ok?” Jim asked.
Blair took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Yeah, I’m ok. Oh man, what was I thinking going into that house?” He put his face in his hands.
Jim leaned against the car next to Blair. “I don’t know. What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know. I just wanted to see a ghost so bad. I…I don’t know,” Blair said with a sigh, letting his hands fall to his side.
“Are you disappointed that you didn’t see anything?”
“But I did see something. There isn’t just one ghost in there, Jim. There are over twenty. All his victims are trapped in that house too. I saw them all.”
Jim pondered this new piece of information. “So that’s who they were,” he whispered.
“Who who were?”
“The minute I entered that house, I heard whispers,” Jim explained. “It was like they were in my head, all talking at once. There was only one that I could understand. It was a woman. She told me where you were and that I had to get you out because he wanted your blood.”
Blair stared down at the ground. When he spoke, his voice was barely a whisper. “Jim, my aunt is in that house.”
“My Aunt Rachael, Naomi’s older sister. She disappeared about twenty years ago. No one ever knew what happened to her.” He looked up at the old house. “Until now that is. She was one of his victims, Jim, his first. And now she’s trapped in that house too.”
Jim could sense the despair the young man felt. He moved closer and put his arm around his partner’s shoulders, comforting him.
“She protected me,” Blair went on. “She and the others protected me until you could get there. She knew you’d come.”
“She called me sentinel,” Jim said.
Blair looked at him sharply. “What?”
“She called me sentinel and you my guide. She knew what we were.”
Blair looked back at the house, thinking about what Jim just told him. How could she know?
“We have to free her. We have to free them all. They don’t deserve to be stuck in that house forever,” Blair said.
Jim sighed. He knew that was coming. “I’m not sure there’s anything we can do.” Blair hung his head, and Jim squeezed his shoulders in sympathy. “C’mon. Let’s get you to the hospital and get that ankle looked at.”
Blair didn’t move as he continued to stare up at the house. Jim turned Blair towards him so they were face to face.
“Blair, there’s nothing we can do right now. Later, I promise, we’ll try to figure something out. Ok?”
Blair looked up at Jim and nodded, total trust in his sentinel. He let Jim steer him toward the truck. Since he couldn’t drive with a broken ankle, he’d have to come back for the Volvo. He kept his eyes on the house as they were driving away until he couldn’t see it anymore. Then he leaned his aching head against the window and fell asleep.
A couple of weeks later found Blair standing in front of the house on Justamere Road. He had been released from the hospital a few days after he was admitted after getting his ankle fitted with a cast and being doped to the gills with painkillers. After he got home, Jim had hovered for a few days until Blair finally got fed up and told the older man to go back to work.
As soon as he got rid of the crutches and got his cast off, Blair caught a cab to the house, not just to retrieve his car but also to contemplate what to do about the house and its spiritual residents. Jim and Blair had spent the last two weeks trying to come up with a possible solution with no luck. It was starting to look like there was no way to help the people trapped.
Blair heard a car pull up behind his Volvo. He didn’t have to look to know it was Jim. He didn’t move as he heard his partner get out of the truck and walk toward him.
“Thought I’d find you here,” Jim said.
“I had to pick up the Volvo, and I’ve just been standing here thinking.” Blair paused as he stared up at the house. “We have to find a way to help them.”
“Listen, Blair,” Jim said as he leaned against the car, “I know you want to save them, but I just don’t know how we can.”
Blair hung his head as he realized the truth of Jim’s words. He looked back at the detective. “I know you’re right, but…” He stopped when he noticed Jim’s head tilted to the side, indicating he was using his sentinel hearing. He instinctively placed a hand on the older man’s shoulder. “Jim? What do you hear?”
“Does your aunt have a pet name for you?” Jim asked.
Puzzled by the odd question, Blair replied slowly, “Yes.”
“Is it Teddy Blair?”
Blair nodded, and then his eyes widened. “You can hear her!”
“What is she saying?”
Jim didn’t answer at first as he stood there listening. “She says that there’s nothing we can to help her as long as the house is still standing.”
Blair looked at the house again. “But what if the house wasn’t still standing?”
Jim and Blair looked at each other, both thinking the same thing.
“We’ve got work to do,” Jim said, heading to his truck while Blair got in his own car.
Jim and Blair quickly gained the support of all of Major Crimes in their quest to have the house at 1245 Justamere Road demolished. It didn’t take too much convincing considering that’s the house where Blair had been injured and trapped for hours. So during their free time, each of the detectives in Major Crimes went out to the neighboring houses in that neighborhood and collected signatures for a petition to have the house demolished. It was easy to gain the amount of signatures they needed. The people of neighborhood agreed wholeheartedly that the house should have been destroyed a long time ago.
Jim and Blair then presented the petition to the Mayor, arguing that the house was unsafe especially to neighboring kids who often ventured into the house because of the rumor that it was haunted. Blair explained how he had fallen through the floor and was injured and trapped, leaving out the reason why he was there. It took a few convincing arguments, but finally the Mayor agreed to have the house demolished.
On demolition day, Blair and Jim stood outside watching the destruction of the house that had been witness to so much pain and suffering.
“Think it’ll work?” Blair asked.
“It has to. If it doesn’t, I don’t know what else to try.”
They stood and watched as the house was being demolished. They stayed until it started to get dark and the house was mostly in ruin. As they got into the truck, Blair looked at Jim.
“Well, did it work?” he asked.
Jim looked back at what used to be a house. He didn’t know what he expected to find. Fireworks? Bright lights? Spirits flying into the sky as they were set free? He didn’t see anything but a demolished house.
Jim shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“Well, do you still hear them?”
Jim tilted his head, casting his hearing toward the ruined house. He waited for a few seconds but heard nothing, no voices, no whispers. He shook his head.
“Good,” Blair said with a sigh, leaning back in his seat. “Then we did it.”
Jim smiled and ruffled Blair’s curls. “Yeah, we did it. C’mon, kid. Let’s go home.”
That night, Blair and Jim slept peacefully for the first time in days. Towards 3:00 in the morning. Blair sat up in bed when he heard a whisper. He looked around his small room, trying to squint through the darkness. He didn’t see anything, however, and lay down to go back to sleep. Then he heard it again.
Blair sat up again, sure he had heard it this time. Then the form of his aunt appeared in front of him. She seemed to glow with a transcendent light.
“Aunt Rachael?” She nodded. “Am I dreaming?”
She smiled. “What do you think?” She moved closer to the bed. She seemed to float as if she were walking on air. “I wanted to thank you for what you did. Thanks to you, we are free to move on.”
“So then you are free,” Blair said. He still hadn’t been completely sure.
“Yes, we are, and it’s because of you. I knew you’d be special, Teddy Blair. From the moment you were born, I knew, and you are. You’re a Guide to a very strong, very healthy Sentinel, and I know that’s because of you.”
“Of course I know. You take after me.” Her smile brightened.
Blair was dumbstruck. “Then you’re…I mean…you were…”
She let out an amused chuckle. “Yes, I was once a Guide as well. Do you remember Nathan?”
“Uncle Nathan, yes.” He hadn’t really been Blair’s uncle, just a close friend of his aunt’s, but he always insisted Blair call him uncle.
“He was my Sentinel.”
Blair’s eyes widened as he stared at his aunt in shock. “He was?” And then he remembered what had happened to him. “But wait, didn’t he…?”
“Yes,” Rachael interrupted, her face saddened. “He died a few months before I did. I was lost and alone. I guess that’s why I was such an easy target.” She looked at Blair, despair clear in her eyes. “You don’t know how hard it is to be separate from your soulmate, and that’s what Sentinels and Guides are. They’re soulmates.” She moved closer to Blair. “Take care of him, Teddy, because you do not want to bear the pain of losing him.”
Blair nodded. He was struck speechless by the raw anguish he saw in his aunt’s eyes. He felt sorry that she had to endure such pain and loss, and he hoped that he would never have to experience that. She smiled and reached out to lay a hand on his cheek. Blair was surprised by the warmth of her touch.
“I must go now. Take care, Blair, and tell Naomi I’m sorry.”
Blair watched as she seemed to fade away into the darkness. The next thing he knew he was sitting up bed. He rubbed his face, wondering if all that had been a dream. He reached up to touch his cheek. He could still feel the residual warmth from her touch and knew it hadn’t been a dream. He sat back against the wall thinking. He didn’t know how long he had been sitting there before he heard Jim’s voice.
He looked up at the boxer-clad man standing in his doorway. He hadn’t even heard Jim come down the stairs let alone walk across the loft and open his door. Either he had been really deep in thought or Jim was just about the best cat burglar in the world. Maybe the panther was the perfect spirit animal for him, Blair mused.
“You ok?” Jim asked.
“What are you doing up at this hour?”
“I just got a visit from Aunt Rachael.”
“You did?” Jim asked, moving into the room.
Blair nodded, knowing Jim could see him in the dark. “She wanted to say thank you.” He paused for a moment. “She was a Guide, Jim.”
Jim didn’t say anything as he sat down on the edge of the bed. He could tell Blair had more to say and decided to let him talk it out.
“She lost her Sentinel. I saw the despair she felt. I just hope nothing like that ever happens to us.”
Jim moved back into the bed and gathered the trembling man in his arms. “It won’t. I won’t let it.”
Blair sighed and snuggled further into the Sentinel’s warmth. Feeling safe in Jim’s embrace, he fell into a peaceful sleep.