the proverbial cobalt mist was gone Sam Beckett realized that he was in
the dark. There was a second of vertigo as he felt his position, which was
sitting upright on something soft. He
squeezed his eyes shut then opened them wide, and in another moment
figured out he was in a dark room.
eyes adjusted to the dimness, and he felt a cool breeze on his face. A
slapping sound drew his eyes to the drapes flapping over an open window.
The curtains glowed in what Sam realized was moonlight, and as his eyes
continued to grow accustomed to the night, he could see the vague outlines
of bedroom furniture. When he put two and two together, he was pleased to
find he was alone in a comfy bed. A thick comforter was askew on his lap,
as if it had been thrown off the slumbering occupant. As he looked around
the room, Sam felt his skin tingle not just from the cold, but also from
the residue of his host's mind. Unclear
flashes of fire and panic echoed in his mind, coupled with a lingering
feeling of fear. Sam had interrupted a nightmare.
his mind, Sam lay back on the inviting pillow and sank gratefully into its
luxurious softness. The sound of the wind and a distant owl made him smile
as he closed his eyes. It was so peacefully quiet, he felt himself
drifting off into slumber in no time at all.
that instant of surrendering completely to sleep, Sam began to hear
someone calling. He couldn't tell if he was dreaming or awake. The
intensity of the voice grew, calling out a name that didn't sound
familiar. Finally, the voice was almost screaming and Sam found himself
awake in an instant, sitting up again in the same bed and room. The
snapping of the drapes again caught his attention, but when he looked to
the window this time, there was a diaphanous figure of a man standing in
the moonlight, regarding him. Sam
could see the trees outside right through him.
rubbed his eyes, but the figure remained. "Oh, boy!" he
whispered out loud in an effort to see if he was, indeed, awake.
expected the figure to disappear as he stared at it. His logical mind told
him it was a trick of the light, or a shadow cast from something he
couldn't see in the dark. But the more he stared at the figure, the
clearer it became. The trees outside were still visible through the
presence, but not as distinct as before.
could actually make out the clothing the figure wore. They looked like
jeans with a white button down shirt, and his hair looked slicked back.
The colors weren't clear, and neither was the detail, but Sam assessed the
age of the form to be late teens, early twenties, and the era to be in the
50's. His heart was still pounding as he tried to figure out the details,
and he couldn't guess how long the figure stood there. Finally, it made a
gesture with one arm as if giving up and faded away.
frozen in the bed, Sam blinked several times to make sure it was gone. He
even pinched himself, and yelped at the pain. This wasn't a dream, but he
wasn't ready to say it was a ghost, either.
The scientist in him held out for another explanation as he studied
the room to determine the 'when' he had leaped into.
himself out of the comforting bed, Sam padded barefoot around the room.
There was a backpack on the back of a chair that seemed pretty modern to
him. There was also a small television set on a bookshelf. So much for the
idea of leaping into the 1950’s that would have helped the scientist
formulate the time period. As the adrenaline filtered out of his
bloodstream, he started to shiver from the cold and moved to close the
couldn't help but notice the beauty of the landscape in moonlight. As he
admired the skeleton trees trembling in the cold wind and the rushing
noise of wind in the low bushes, the memory of the figure lost its
frightfulness and Sam was able to persuade himself it was just a dream
after all. He slid the window shut with a soft bang and rubbed his hands
together to warm them up as he hopped back in the warm, soft bed.
down, he told himself once more it was a dream and fell asleep.
woke with a start to the alarm going off next to him, and involuntarily
slapped at the offending device, silencing it. It was barely light, and
the room was chilly. Sam sat up, his feet on the cold floor jarring him
even more awake. ‘I
wonder what I'm getting up for?’ he thought, then he spied the
backpack from the night before, and some clothes tossed over the desk
chair. Putting the items on, he was cheered to find a thin wallet in the
jeans pocket and pulled out a Wellsburg, West Virginia driver's license
and a 1984-85 student identification card from Bethany College. College
again. ‘Sheesh. How old am I?’
There was a paycheck made out to Brian Reed in the wallet dated
December 28, 1984. He checked the license again. Brian Reed's birthday was
September 19, 1960 making him twenty-four. Sam looked at the mirror next
to the closet. ‘Hello, Brian
Reed,’ he said to the reflection of the dark-haired boy who
seemingly nodded as Sam did.
then there was a tapping on the door. "Brian?" a woman's voice
called. "You up, honey? You don't want to be late!"
yeah, I'm up!" Sam replied. "I'll be right out!" The sound
of footsteps retreated down the hall, and Sam grabbed a jacket on the
chair. "Late for what is another question entirely," he grumbled
to himself, perturbed that his holographic Observer hadn't made his
appearance yet. Sam hated winging it.
smell of coffee lured him downstairs to the kitchen where he was greeted
with a warm smile from an older woman in sweatpants and sweatshirt. She
poured a mug of coffee and put it on the table next to an empty place
setting, then moved to the stove and flipped some cooking pancakes. Sam's
you know if you're going to get New Year's Eve off or not?" the woman
asked. "Are you going to be able to make the Benson's party?"
decided that feigning ignorance was safest. "Ah, I don't know
yet." He sat and wrapped his hands around the warm cup. As he raised
it to his lips, the jarring noise of the Imaging Chamber door made him
jump and slosh the coffee in his hands.
He hissed at the pain, but the woman at the stove didn't notice as
she loaded up a plate with the pancakes.
yummy, Sam! Pancakes! Wish I could smell them." Al stepped next to
the cooking woman and peeked over her shoulder. "She's warming the
syrup, too! Yum!"
wiped his hands on his jeans and glared at his friend as the woman turned
and brought the plate and syrup to the table. "Here you go." She
sat down across from him and picked up her own mug. "Vacation's
almost over! It's going to be quiet around here when you go." She
smiled at him across the top of the mug and sipped.
was standing right behind the seated woman. "Ah, Sam, this is your
mom. I mean Brian's mom. You're Brian, by the way, and you're here on
winter break from college." Al motioned with his hand as he spoke,
the handlink to Ziggy firmly in his grip. Sam could see the lights of the
handlink flashing, and noted that the red perfectly matched the red of
Al's shirt and fedora. The rest of him was in black and silver. Sam
blinked at the outfit, fought back a comment, and focused instead on the
yeah, I bet," Sam answered her. It was difficult trying to listen to
Al and talk to someone else at the same time, especially when he was
dressed in one of his more garish outfits.
two more semesters, though," the woman said. "Just think! A
opened his mouth to make a comment, but was distracted by a man who walked
in the kitchen. At first glance, he looked a lot older than the woman
because of his silver hair, but Al realized he wasn't really as old as he
first appeared. He tapped at the handlink as the man spoke.
knew I smelled pancakes! You're going to have to get that recipe from your
mother for when you're on your own. No one beats her pancakes." He
poured himself a cup of coffee.
this must be your dad. Brian is an only child."
yeah. You're right," Sam answered as he chewed. The pancakes were
many more days do you have to work?" the man asked as he added sugar
to his mug.
glanced at Al, eyes wide.
fingers scrambled across the handlink keys. "Ah, Brian has a job at
the local glass store for winter break. He goes back to school in four
couple of days," Sam replied. When the man sat down, Sam noticed that
he looked very tired. There were bags under his eyes, and he looked pale.
He saw Brian's mother put her hand sympathetically on his leg when he sat
down next to her. She obviously noticed his condition, too.
on Sam, finish up. We can talk on your way to work," Al said, rocking
on his toes.
wolfed down a few more bites. "I gotta go now. Thanks, mom." He
stood up and wiped his mouth, and grabbed the coffee mug. "I'll take
this with me. Bye!"
pecked the woman on the cheek, and left the kitchen as Al popped out of
sight. When the screen door from the kitchen slammed shut behind Sam, Al
popped back right in front of him. Sam jerked to a stop, forgetting he
couldn't run into his friend, and pulled his jacket tighter around his
neck. "Watch it!" he said. "I think you do that on purpose
to scare me."
Al asked innocently as Sam passed through him anyway.
noticed he could see his breath. "OK, where's my car?"
here, Mr. Sunshine," Al directed sarcastically. "Gee, you’d
think a home cooked meal would have you in better spirits."
Al said the word 'spirits', Sam had a flash of a vision in his mind of the
apparition he'd classified as a dream during the night. It distracted him
for a second, and he faltered in his step.
Al asked. He didn't miss much of his friend's expressions. Sam had a habit
of wearing his emotions on his sleeve, and Al had become proficient at
reading them. "What happened?"
shook his head and refocused on the Observer as he continued to stride to
the car. "Nothing. Just a dream. What's up? I know my name's Brian
Reed, and this must be West Virginia."
poked at the handlink as Sam got in his car. The hologram positioned
himself in the passenger's seat as Sam settled in and turned the car
ignition. The radio immediately came on, blasting "Jump". Sam
quickly turned the volume down.
Van Halen. Had the best front man in the 80's," Al quipped.
gave him a sideways look as he put the car in gear. "You like Van
looked insulted. "I like any band whose lead singer professes to be a
gigolo! That would be the job of my dreams!" His face broke into a
dreamy smile. "Imagine women paying for your services!"
disgusting," Sam snorted. "Now get out of dreamland and tell me
why I'm here!"
hesitation before Al answered was always a clue to Sam that Ziggy hadn't
come up with anything or it was something bad.
Sam prompted. "Does someone die?"
frowned, "No. Well, we don't know. Ziggy couldn't really find
anything. I just came here to tell you where you worked." Al ignored
Sam, who was shaking his head in frustration. "We couldn't find
anything relating to Brian Reed that stood out. He finishes college with a
biology degree and goes to work for a big oil company around here as an
environmental engineer or something like that. He monitors sludge. Fun,
Sam said, with a raised eyebrow. "He monitors sludge?
Where do you get this
I just read what I'm given. It's a good career, Sam, especially as
environmental concerns grow in the next decade. He does quite well."
Al looked smug as he pocketed the handlink. "Go straight for about
ten miles. There's a glass store on the left in awhile – Cambridge Glass
Company. That's where Brian works."
does he do? Is it sludge related?" Sam asked sarcastically.
it's not sludge related. Sheesh. It's a stocking job for the holidays, for
extra spending cash at school. Brian always seems to have some sort of
personal income during school from doing little jobs here and there. Quite
industrious." Al sounded approving.
noticed the tone. "So you like him?"
shrugged, "Yeah, I guess so. His parents are pretty well off, but he
insists on pulling his own weight. I like that."
you check out his parents? Maybe they're why I'm here."
Barbara and David Reed have been married for twenty-four years now. They
were childhood sweethearts, and grew up here. David's dad was some bigwig
in the area. David inherited the house and property you just left. It was
a nice place in its time."
nagged at Sam's mind from the information Al had just given him.
"They've been married twenty-four years you say? I, I mean
Brian, just turned twenty-four."
eyes met briefly as the implication hit.
Barbara was pregnant when they got married." Al deduced, after
pulling out the handlink and punching a few buttons. "I don't see
what that has to do with anything."
not, but it is kinda weird, don't you think? That kind of behavior really
wasn't acceptable back then, was it?"
snorted. "Yeah. But it doesn't mean it didn't happen! Trust me!"
rolled his eyes and decided to ignore the comment. "Well, check them
out anyway. Are they happily married?"
didn't ask, but I'll put it on my list.”
nodded absently as the radio station played a song from the 1970’s.
YMCA by The Village People filled the air around him and he growled
lowly and reached toward the knob.
not that bad, Sam. Those
songs remind me of all those Disco days and those really fun hot and heavy
Sam grinned. “Too much info
chuckled then sighed. “Those
were the days though.” Bringing
up the handlink, Al clicked his tongue then said, “Listen, I’ll go
find out as much info I can. I’ll
be back.” With a click from
the handlink, Al vanished from 1984.
Gate, New Mexico
Flames licked at the walls as
if they were ravenous for more fuel to keep it an existing, breathing
entity. The thick black smoke
that billowed around him stifled his breathing and he began coughing
instantly as he glanced over his shoulder toward the way that he had
entered. Several timber beams
had fallen over the doorway pulsating with flame.
Escape was impossible in that direction. The stomach turning,
iridescent, dancing atmosphere of the fire around him made him feel
instantly nauseous. The blaze
itself gave off the illumination needed to discern an alternate route for
escape but the billowing smoke that congested his lungs told his brain one
thing and his reflexes another. One
single thought emerged in the midst of the inferno around him as he
discovered another door leading from the room he was in.
‘God, please let me get back home.
I’ve got to get home. I
His thought was cut short when
the floor underneath him vanished and he felt himself falling -- not just
one floor, but several. His
mouth opened in an unvoiced scream and his navy blue eyes shot up toward
the ceiling as he realized that he wasn’t going to make it out alive.
His hand shot upward hoping that he could catch onto something as
I love you…’ It was the last thing that he thought before throbbing
pain and torment wracked his body as he landed on the crumbled remnants of
the glass company that his team had entered to put out the inferno that
was in progress.
felt his bones instantly crushed on the fallen beams below him and his
soundless scream turned into an excruciating wail of affliction as his
knees collapsed and he felt his upper body fall backward into the ruins
that were not yet burning. In unmitigated anguish, his eyes examined the
mutilation his body had endured. He
took in a shuddering wheezing breath to see a large thin spiral shaped
piece of glass that had been made by a lightning bolt had pierced his
chest. Tears welled up in his
eyes as he extended his arm once more and looked up toward the ceiling
that was several floors above him. He
panted in agonizingly small breaths before he glanced up at the large vat
that was turning onto its side a floor above him.
Even before the first drop of liquid glass met his body, his arm
dropped and his eyes closed. He
never felt the hot liquid beginning to encase him in a coffin of
semi-opaque frosted glass.
“Noooo!” The body clad in
a white fermi suit sat up swiftly on the metallic bed that was in the
focal point of the Waiting Room. His
shocked expression flickered around the room as his chest heaved from the
nightmare that had afflicted him.
eyes continued a brief examination of the room before it filtered through
where he was … or rather where he still wasn’t.
Brian Reed turned his body so that his legs dangled off the side of
the bed and shook his head trying to rid himself of the reminiscent
door of the Waiting Room zoomed upward and Brian glanced up to see the
same older man he’d met before – the one dressed in the odd multihued
clothes. He had required
answers to some unusual questions that seemed redundant, but he had
answered them to the best of his abilities.
you okay, kid? We were
monitoring your vitals and they just went sky high a minute ago,” Al
said casually trying to hide the slight anxiety in his query.
swallowed glancing back at the bed beneath him.
He brought his hand up to rub gingerly at the back of his neck.
“Uh… yeah, Al. Just
a… a dream,” he said as he glanced back at the oddly dressed man.
frowned as he recalled that Sam had said the same thing.
Al regarded the kid for a moment then pushed it off as a
Listen, kid, I’m about to call it a night.
You need anything?”
shook his head but the rumble his stomach made him look down humiliated.
“Maybe a snack would suffice,” he said flippantly trying to
make light of the fact that he was starving.
chuckled. “Breakfast it
is.” Without thinking of
the consequences of his actions, Al glanced up at the ceiling for a brief
moment then requested, “Ziggy, have Sammy Jo bring in some breakfast for
our young visitor, will you?”
Ziggy’s seductive tone floated around the two men.
Brian asked enthralled at the sound of her voice and at the odd way the
voice emanated around them.
Ziggy’s seductive tone questioned back.
are you?” Brian asked as he slowly looked around the room searching for
the person or at least a window where the person would be looking through.
it’s better that you don’t know everything, Brian.
It tends to cause trouble later,” Al said before he inwardly
castigated himself for talking to Ziggy in front of the young man.
right, Al,” he said solemnly. “Thanks for having someone prepare me some food.
I… I appreciate it.”
problem, Sammy Jo will be here in a little bit with some breakfast for
you.” Al gave Brian a pat
on the shoulder then exited the Waiting Room.
directly into the Control Room, he shook his head then pointed a finger up
at the infuriating contraption hanging from the ceiling.
“Ziggy,” he began in an irritated tone.
Admiral Calavicci,” she responded back in a very simplistic yet
talk back to anyone in the Waiting Room,” Al reprimanded her.
do not address me in the Waiting Room, Admiral.
It’s in my programming to respond.”
head dropped forward in frustration.
“Fine. Ok. Just…
don’t talk to Brian Reed again. Ok?”
Ziggy’s voice seemed almost bland at the request.
right. First things first
before I hit the sack. Sam
posed a very interesting question about this leap and it’s key players.
Since there isn’t anything involved with Brian, what about his
I have already told you that they have been married for twenty-four
Al said with a sigh. “But
are they happily married? Is
there a divorce in their future?”
was silent for a moment. “There is no data to indicate a divorce in their future,
Admiral. Not even an iota of
looked up at the orb quizzically at the tone of the computer and at her
term iota. He hadn’t heard
that word from her before and he tilted his head up to listen to her as
only thing that I see about Brian Reed’s parents is that his father,
David Reed is on medication for high blood pressure, which is a common
ailment with one in a high stressed job.”
does he do?”
a volunteer fire-fighter in Wellsburg, West Virginia.
He and his team can be called out to anywhere in Brooke County.
If he’s not on active duty for the fire department, he can be
found on the staff at the hospital in Wheeling, West Virginia called Ohio
Valley Medical Center.”
very impressive,” Al stated.
So you don’t think that Sam’s there to help out his father in
some fire or at the hospital?”
is less than a ten percent probability of either of that happening,
we’re at a loss.” Al
sighed. “There has to be a
reason.” He glanced up at
the cerulean glimmering ebbing orb above him and almost cringed at the
thought of what he was thinking. “Ziggy,
tell me about this store… this… uhm… Cambridge Glass Company.”
Admiral. It’s a very
interesting background. It
took me a moment to do the research, but I was able to pull it together
almost immediately. Riverside
Glass Works was the first glass factory built in Wellsburg, West Virginia.
After the Civil War, it was rightly named Riverside Glass House.
The factory was incorporated in September 17, 1879.
Brought together with a common goal of innovation and quality were
John Dornan, Charles N. Brady, Jabez E. Ratcliffe, James Flannagan and
does this have anything to do with Cambridge Glass Company?” Al asked
me finish, Admiral,” Ziggy stated irritatedly.
right, Ziggy. Go ahead.”
was one of the unsung heroes of the early pressed glass manufactures.
Riverside was also the first glass house in the area to utilize
natural gas. On September 8,
1886, the Riverside factory burned, but the following year it was rebuilt
with the new buildings made as fireproof as possible.
American glass industry was in a state of change during the period around
1890 to 1907. It was on
October 23, 1899 when Riverside joined the National Glass Company, a
syndicate established in 1899 to meet with the competition of the
increased flow of glass imports to reduce cost.
Quality and innovation suffered as a result. After the merger in 1907, Riverside closed and their molds
were sold to the Cambridge Glass Company at Cambridge, Ohio.”
Now we get into the meat of things, right?” Al asked a bit
impatiently. He didn’t like
Admiral. The building itself
was not in use for over thirty years until Cambridge Glass Company wanted
to have a smaller glass factory in Wellsburg.
They went back in, cleaned it up and began once more making
interesting Vaseline pieces that used to come from that factory in the
company known as Riverside Glass House made the following interesting
pieces which were sold world wide: cut
and pressed glass, brick and stone fireproof glass, crackle and colored
glass, tableware, lamps, paperweights, barber bottles, whimseys, beer and
ale glasses, colored hen dishes, compotes, fingerbowls, castor sets,
goblets, tumblers, molasses jars, celery vases and water sets,” Ziggy
stated rather impressed herself.
impressive Admiral. Pictures
that are on the Internet are rather impressive to say the least.
However, on December 30, 1959, the Cambridge Glass Company burned
once more – the fire was ignited by a huge thunderstorm.
Any other information about the 1959 fire at the Cambridge Glass
Company was destroyed in the flood of 1960.
The information that I received was from the Internet.
Most of the people had put in what they had heard passed down from
generation to generation. The
other information was filled in from the Cambridge Glass Company files
that weren’t destroyed.”
Anything else that you’d like to give me?”
Al wished that he hadn’t asked that question because he knew how
thorough the parallel-hybrid computer had become.
Admiral,” she sounded pleased. “The
building that now stands on the outskirts of Wellsburg was rebuilt for
just the purpose of displaying the glass ware.
The actual site of the original Riverside Glass House is in ruins
but can be found close to the Ohio River.
It’s sad; Admiral that such a site was destroyed.
The glassware that came out of the factory held a part of the
beauty and fascination of five very old glasses – Ranson, Derby,
National better known as Petticoat, National Star and Duchess – all
various patterns on Vaseline glass. It seems, Admiral, that Riverside deserves a prominent place
among the masters of early Vaseline glass.”
for the history session, Ziggy.”
rolled his eyes and shook his head. “All
right. Now, if everything is
settled for the moment, I’m going to catch a few minutes of sleep.
Ziggy, call me if Sam should need me.”
the moment that Sam walked into the Cambridge Glass House at 6:45, he knew
that he’d be walking blind. Being
a stocker wasn’t the problem. It
was actually knowing the pieces that needed to be stocked.
He found out quickly that there were five main styles and their
names as he made a brief survey of the stock:
Ranson, Derby, Petticoat, National Star and Duchess.
It took him a good thirty minutes to realize what was what.
Once that distinction was made, he felt a bit more confident in his
abilities to set up the lovely, delicate molds.
When the doors opened at 8:30, he had just put the final piece in
place and was glad that he had the time to get to all the pieces and dust
the ones that were already set out.
place looks just as awesome as it always does,” an older woman with gray
hair called out as she closed the door letting the wind chime indicate her
you,” Sam said with a smile as he wiped at one of the glass figures once
more to make sure that his fingerprints were wiped off.
are a life saver for this old woman, dear one,” she said as she passed
by him and gave him a more than hearty slap on his butt.
eyes opened wide in shock and he quickly turned around to see her
chuckling. He grinned back at
her lopsidedly. “You
aren’t that old,” he responded respectfully.
you better watch it, Brian. You
get this old woman revved up, then you’ll have to put out her fire.”
couldn’t help but chuckle at her tone as well as her eyebrows as they
bobbed up and down at him. She
winked at him then bent down and retrieved her nametag from the shelf
underneath the register and placed it on her dress.
It was upside down, but Sam could make out the name. It read: Zada
Hathcock. Sam grinned at her
before he placed the damp towel on the counter and walked over to her.
exactly what do you want to do to me?” she asked then licked her lips
and puckered them slightly as one eyebrow shot up.
pointed to the nametag that she had put on upside down.
“Mrs. Hathcock, you really know how to make a guy feel quite
Hathcock huffed slightly as he began to turn her nametag right side up.
Looking at him, she clicked her tongue with a shake of her head and
then replied as he stepped back from her, “Baby… if I showed you, you
wouldn’t go back to those young packages.”
blinked a bit shocked at her words before she reached up and tweaked his
cheek with her fingers. “Come
on, sweet cheeks, let’s make sure that everything is ready to open
up.” She sashayed past him
and Sam shook his head and chuckled silently before he pivoted and
followed behind her.
everything was counted and present, Zada Hathcock smiled broadly, gave Sam
another hearty clap on the back for a job well done then went to the door
and flipped over the sign indicating that The Cambridge Glass House was
indeed open for business.
the day progressed with a slow steady trickle of customers, Sam continued
to stock the store as pieces were sold.
Sam could see that the store wasn’t a hot spot but it did bring
in curious customers who usually bought something that piqued their
the time that eleven o’clock rolled around, Sam wondered where Al was.
It wasn’t like him not to stop by just to check up on him.
Since his holographic buddy wasn’t around, he leaned on the
person who was there to gather his own information – Mrs. Zada Hathcock.
he stood dusting one of the most recent pieces he had brought out from the
back room, he glanced over at her and began, “Mrs. Hathcock, how long
I tell you already to call me Zada?” she asked as she spied him over the
ma’am,” Sam replied respectfully.
ma’am’s either. I’m old
but not that old.”
ma’… Ok. Zada,” Sam
faltered then finished with a grin. “Zada,
how long have you worked with Cambridge Glass House?”
put on a thoughtful expression for a moment.
see. That would be in 1937.
I was twenty-two years old. I
couldn’t help but get into the business.
My daddy would have had a conniption fit if I had not worked for
the company he helped to build.”
daddy?” Sam asked before he placed the piece delicately back in place
then turned to look back at her.
you okay, Brian? You act as
if I’ve never told this story before.”
She peered at him quizzically a small frown making it’s way onto
fine, Mrs. … Zada.”
she placed her hands on her hips and came around the register and tilted
her head to the side as she gave him a once over.
“What’s wrong with you, boy?
Don’t you tell me nothing. You’ve
worked with me now for ten years. What’s wrong?”
blinked at her for a moment before one word spilled out of his mouth.
wasn’t sure why it had come out, but it had.
frown deepened. “More of
‘em, huh? The fires?”
head bobbed as he remembered the faint recollection of fear, fire and fate
all mixed together when he had leaped in.
I don’t know why you are having these dreams, but I just want you to
know that when Victor passed away ten years ago in that fire…” her voice caught for a moment and she paused then swallowed.
“I had nightmares about it for a long time.
Just remember this Brian,” she said as she reached out and patted
his arm. “Dreaming about
ghosts won’t help you. You
need to move on.”
words instantly brought back the vision of the brown haired man dressed in
a button up white shirt and blue jeans in Sam’s mind. He took in a deep breath then let it out slowly.
The intense dusky voice echoed again in his mind, and it was then
that he realized that the shade had been calling Brian’s name.
A quiver ran down Sam’s spine and he did his best to shake off
aren’t sick, are you?” Zada asked as she saw him shiver.
I just…” Sam shook his head negatively.
“I remember something that I saw last night.”
nodded her head understandingly. “I
also saw something unsettling last night.”
eyes widened at the possible implication that he wasn’t the only one
that had been “visited” last night.
He took two steps toward her and asked, “What did you see?”
also shivered slightly as she looked down at the floor.
She slowly brought her eyes back up to Sam’s.
With a slight twinkle in her eyes, she said, “I saw that my
seventieth birthday is next month. Do
you know what this means?” she asked as she saw Sam’s mouth curl up
into a smile. Not waiting for
an answer, she exclaimed, “It means that I’ll be celebrating my
birthday without you here. That’ll
couldn’t help but smile at the woman standing before him.
He could tell that this woman cared a great deal about the man he
had leaped into. He was about
to put her thoughts at ease when a gravely voice answered, “No, the
brain aneurysm kills her.”
news startled Sam and he blinked stumped for a moment by Al’s startling
data. Not knowing exactly
what to say to her, Sam took a few steps toward her and quickly wrapped
his arms around her giving her a tight hug.
grinned as the young man hugged her and she closed her eyes and slightly
relaxed in his strong arms. “You
know, Brian, you really know how to make an old woman’s day.”
Zada. Anytime,” Sam replied
with a bit of emotion in his voice. In
the two and a half hours he had come to know Zada Hathcock, she was more
than just a friendly soul. Sam
knew this woman had made someone a wonderful wife, and from the pictures
she had shown him, a wonderful mother and grandmother.
She reminded him of someone in his own family – the loud one that
doesn’t care what others think. Her
name – was escaping him but even as he leaned back from Zada, he turned
his head and pecked her on the cheek.
To her startled, pleased gasp, he said, “Happy Early Birthday.”
you!” She reached up and gently patted his cheek. “You’re such a good boy.”
She smiled at him sweetly.
a glance at Al who paced listlessly a few feet away, Sam stepped back from
her and said, “Listen, I’m going to replace the last piece that was
sold. I’ll be back.”
Brian. You do your job… and
I’ll do mine.”
grinned broadly before he caught Al’s attention and led the way back
toward the back of the building where the warehouse was located. Once he thought he was far enough away from Zada to not be
overheard, he turned his attention toward Al.
“I know why I’m here, now, Al.
None of it made sense until just now.”
blinked his eyes and stopped punching buttons on the handlink.
here to give Zada the time she needs for her family, aren’t I?”
pressed his lips together then screwed them up as he slightly bit at the
inside of his lips as he made an inquiry on the handlink.
I?” Sam pressed.
Sam, we don’t know anything. Not
a thing. Nothing is making sense here.
Nothing is corresponding. I
mean, yeah, if you could add anything more to that woman’s life, then
yes, you would be here to save her. But
I just ran those odds, Sam. It’s
at twenty percent.”
I mean, we could go into more than one inquiry after another about
the people in Brian Reed’s life, but I don’t think that there is
anything, Sam. I mean, I
don’t know what it could be. Ziggy
is coming up…”
as Al continued with his rattling about how they weren’t able to come up
with anything, Sam took a few steps closer to the wall that was closest to
him and focused his attention on it. He blinked, but the image that he was seeing seemed to
continue playing on before him.
A man was walking
through a fire, his hands before him, searching for an exit.
He half-walked, half-stumbled into another room then suddenly the
floor below him collapsed, sending him in a spiraling downward fall not
one flight but three. He
tried reaching out for something to grab onto but nothing was available.
A voice echoed around him.
nothing, nada, zip, zilch…”
His body landed on crumbled
remnants of glass. Sam was
sure that his bones were instantly crushed on the fallen beams that were
below him and the scream that emanated from him was totally bloodcurdling.
Sam flinched at the sound then watched as this man dressed in the
red pants, jacket and black boots looked down at himself; seeing a large
thin spiral shaped piece of glass had pierced through his chest.
The man raised his arm up toward the ceiling and tears welled up in
his eyes. He panted in small assuring agonizing small breaths before
his eyes caught sight of the large vat on an upper level turning on its
side. He took two last
breaths then his arm dropped, his eyes closed as he surrendered.
He was lucky that he never felt the hot liquid glass that encased
him in it’s own coffin.
“… I mean even St. John
tried to coax some information out of the old gal.”
“Not again!” Again
the voice echoed through the expanse.
“Oh my God,” Sam said
quietly and took another two steps toward the wall and pressed his hand on
the wall as he continued to see the picture playing out before him.
on… we have to find something. Daniel
didn’t come out the side door along with everyone else.
We have to find him,” one young man said adamantly as he started
toward the smoldering building, his body covered with sweat.
“Sam?” Al’s voice seemed
to cut through a small portion of the dreamscape that had formed around
“It’s too late.
He’s gone. If he
didn’t come out… he’s…” a blonde haired man said softly as he
grabbed a hold of the man’s arm.
Don’t go in there!” The
voice continued to echo around the expanse over and over again, giving a
warning that they obviously couldn’t hear.
I don’t… I won’t believe it until I see it for myself!” the young
man bellowed as he threw his arm back away from his fellow comrade.
He pushed his way through the few men who stood in his path.
He reached what used to be the main door of the once elegant
glass-manufacturing house, the sign, “Cambridge Glass House” was
darkened and the lettering burned to the point to where it read, “Cam
lass use.” He stepped
through the charred remains and panted heavily as he felt his adrenaline
begin to surge through his body.
Come on, talk to me. What
He kept moving through the
still simmering charred remains of the building and was surprised that
parts of it still stood strong. His
eyes searched through what he could until he reached a large hole that
gaped downward several floors. Placing
his feet proportionately, he gingerly leaned over the expanse and peered
downward. What he saw at the
bottom of the chaff took him completely by surprise. It looked similar to a scene that one would find in a fairy
tale. In the middle of the
gaping hole was a solid piece of semi-opaque frosted glass – and in the
center of the glass a form could be made out; the form of their fallen
friend and companion; the red of his suit making the dreadful comparison
in the frosted crystal around him. “Oh
Jesus,” the man whispered and quickly turned back the way that he came,
rushing out of the remains of the building and came to a brief stop.
He dropped to his knees.
“What? What is it, David?”
the blonde asked again as he came to his side and placed a hand on his
whispered echo that proliferated through the chasm apart from the rest of
the dreamscape crawled up Sam’s skin, “A glass coffin.”
told him not to go in. I… I
told him,” David pressed his fisted hands to his temple and bent down
into a ball just as the darkened sky rumbled and let loose its cargo.
voice seemed to catch in the lurid reverie, a soft almost beseeching tone,
Al’s voice snapped loudly right in Sam’s ear.
“Glass coffin,” Sam
mumbled softly then blinked as he tried to look around him for the scene
again, but it had completely vanished before him.
“SAM! SNAP OUT OF
Sam jerked his head toward
Al’s voice and blinked his eyes several more times then felt a cold that
he had felt last night. He
turned his head and saw a movement out of the corner of his eye – a
flash of white and blue but it was so swift that he wondered if he
actually saw it or not. Not
moving his eyes from where he saw the movement, he asked, “Al… did you
just see something?”
“Yeah,” Al said a bit
perturbed. “I saw my best friend go off into a trance like state and
just completely ignore what I was telling him.”
“Al… I’m not feeling so
well. I mean… I’m seeing
and hearing things that aren’t here.”
I resemble that remark!” Al exclaimed plainly taking offense to
what Sam had actually said. “I mean, I…” Al’s voice stopped as the handlink made
an explosive sound in his hand. He
quickly picked it up and looked down at the screen reading the information
that Ziggy had put there. Upon
reading the information, his eyes went to Sam.
He saw the way that Sam had his hand over his chest, breathing
hard, his eyes still a bit glassy from shock.
He then watched as Sam listlessly began to pace in a familiar
four-step pattern. Al
wasn’t sure what was going on except he knew that his friend was in
distress and there wasn’t anything that he could do to help him.
“Sam… we have a problem in this end.
Seems that Brian is having nightmares.
Ziggy just told me that he’s calling out because of them.
Verbena woke him up and is talking to him about what he was
Sam nodded his head
what I just saw, I…” Sam stopped in his tracks, brought his head up
quickly then looked at Al. “What’s
he dreaming about?”
Picking up the handlink, he
programmed the question into it then blinked back a little startled at the
information that came back at him. “He
was telling Verbena that he’s been having nightmares about a fire, a man
dying, and a…”
“Glass coffin,” Sam
Al brought his eyes up from
the handlink and eyed Sam for a brief moment. “Yeah… h-how’d you know?”
Sam’s hands flew out from
his side as he walked back toward the wall where he had first started to
see the images that had sprayed around him.
“I saw it! I swear,
Al… it was right here.” Sam
again paced in the small area afforded to him, his arms flailing back and
forth as he spoke. “I saw
the guy… he… he was a fireman… he went into a building… fell and
died and then hot glass formed around him.
Someone tried to go back in and find him … that’s when they
found him… and… and…” Sam stopped pacing and looked back up at Al.
“I heard him.”
“I heard him.
I heard Brian calling out. He
was yelling out stuff like, ‘No. Not
again and don’t go in there,’ wasn’t he?”
Al pulled up the handlink once
again, asked the question then looked back up at Sam more than a bit
bewildered. “Sam… I
don’t like hokey things happening around me.”
“Al, I don’t know why
but… I could hear him calling out in the… vision.”
Sam shook his head not quite sure how it had happened.
“I don’t know, Al. Something’s… not right.”
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t tell you…
“Tell me what?”
Sam bit at the inside of his
cheek for a split second. “When
I leaped in… I saw something that looked… uhm…
Al looked warily at Sam.
“Why don’t I like the sound of that?”
“Well… it…” Sam
stopped talking for a moment as he reached up and scratched his head at
even the implication of what he was saying.
“I could see through it.”
See through… it?” A shiver can through Al’s frame even as the inference hit
Sam bobbed his head then
turned to look down the hallway and his mouth opened in awe and
fascination as the ghostly apparition stood at the end of the corridor,
his head tilted to the side as if listening to the two of them talking. “Al…” Sam whispered as he slowly raised his hand up
pointing in the direction that he was staring at.
Al quizzically looked at Sam
then at his pointing finger. He
glanced down the hallway and froze.
The apparition that stood
there smiled at them showing pearly white teeth. He blinked his still sad brown eyes then pressed his lips
together thinly. He dropped
his gaze then his gaze locked with Al’s.
He brought his hand up and saluted before a cocky grin appeared on
his face then vanished into thin air.
Al swallowed in response as he
turned his attention back to Sam. When
their eyes met, Al blinked and shook his head slightly.
In reaction, they both limply
replied, “Ohhh boy.”
I don’t like things that just vanish into thin air… unless
Sigfried and Roy are behind it,” Al managed to say once his voice came
back to him. His eyes went
back to where the apparition had disappeared.
Sam questioned with a frown.
mind,” Al said quickly. “This leap just got too hokey on me. I’m outta here.” Al
brought up the handlink and readied himself to call up the Imaging Chamber
door as his eyes lifted to the end of the corridor once more to make sure
that it was still empty.
No. You can’t go.
I need information.”
you need is an exorcist!” Al spat back at him.
“It seems that Brian Reed is being haunted.”
what… or rather by whom?” Sam questioned. “Ask
Ziggy to pull up any and all information about Cambridge Glass House.”
stopped after he had punched in two commands on the handlink.
“What do you want to know? I
already had the history lesson on this place.”
the Cambridge Glass House ever burned?” Sam asked after some thought.
It burned before. A
storm caused it. It
happened…” Al cleared off the command and re-entered his inquiry
concerning the Cambridge fire. “Aha. December
twenty-five years ago tomorrow.”
why is Brian having these dreams? Tell
me more about the fire,” Sam said as his mind went in several different
ways to try to figure out why he was there in Wellsberg, West Virginia as
flood of 1960 took half of the information in the river with it.
Sam muttered frustrated. He slowly began his four step pace once more before he heard
the cash register ring up a sale for another happy customer.
you and have a Happy New Year!” Zada Hathcock’s voice called out
smile appeared on Sam’s face. “That’s okay, Al. I
think that we can get our answers another way.
Al asked confused then blinked before he followed after his friend.
Sam called out brightly to her as he made his way through the delicate
Oh Brian! You won’t
believe it! That last couple
bought four goblets, two fingerbowls and a water set!
Isn’t that wonderful?” Zada
was beaming brighter than the Christmas lights that were still hanging
it is,” Sam replied just as excited for her but quickly his expression
turned curious. “Zada, can
I ask you something that happened some time ago?”
anything wrong, Brian?”
shook his head. “Something…”
Sam almost cringed as he said the next words that flowed out of his mouth.
“… came to me while I was in the back.”
Al exclaimed more than flamboyantly.
“Try someone!” One of Al’s arms shot out and upward in great exasperation.
came to you, Brian?”
me, you don’t want to know!” Al exclaimed.
know how I’ve been having these dreams?”
Zada nodded a bit intrigued. “I
think it has something to do with Cambridge.”
nodded carefully. “Zada,
did Cambridge burn in a fire some years ago?”
eyes scanned Sam’s face then realization seemed to register in her eyes.
“Yes,” she said softly, a bit unsure.
“Yes,” this time more adamantly.
“It did. It happened
back in 19… 1959. Twas a
Her answer was curt and straight to the point.
Seeing his frown, she forged ahead in her answer.
“A thunderstorm came along during the afternoon and the
lightning…” she shivered slightly. “The lightning was more than spectacular.
It was full of life. I
remember. I saw it.
I was also up on the top level with all the windows being able to
see everything. Now, I wish
that I hadn’t.”
level?” Sam shot a glance
toward Al before he continued on. “This
is only a single story building.”
right. We weren’t here.
We had decided to move into the old Riverside Glass House and
continue on with their molds and manufacturing.
The gentlemen there knew exactly what they were doing with that
glass. It was a marvelous
thing to just sit and watch. Unfortunately,
though, the act of Nature in the making although beautiful can be deadly.
What’s left of Cambridge Glass House is just the charred remains
on Old Mill Road along the Ohio River.
I was up on the top level when it happened.
Before I knew it, flames were all around me.
I didn’t think that I’d make it out alive – until a hand was
plunked down on my shoulder. It was Mark Panayi dressed in his glorious red fireman’s
outfit who took me toward the stairs then told me to get out quickly as
possible.” Zada tsked
softly and shook her head. “Wish
he would’ve followed me out. He
didn’t make it out.”
found his body later?”
no!” Zada exclaimed. “That was the oddity about it.
glanced at Al who was also frowning and punching buttons on the handlink
as fast as he could.
didn’t?” Sam asked once more to clarify her words.
and it just about killed your mother.”
huh. Mark and Barbara were
quite the item. High school
sweethearts, but I wasn’t surprised when BJ married David though.
They got pretty close after it happened.
Then you came a year later. I
remember.” Zada tapped her
temple. “I was at your
took in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
He nodded then licked his lips and ran his teeth over his lips as
he thought. “Dad’s always
taken care of mom and me – hasn’t he?”
smiled as she slowly nodded her head.
“That’s what dads do.”
nodded once more then stepped up and gave Zada another hug.
“Thank you, Zada. You’ve
helped me a lot just now.”
babydoll. Anything for
you.” She hugged him back
then swatted him on his butt. “What
are you doing standing around here? Finish up here and be done for the rest of the day.
It’s almost noon. I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning.”
Sam smiled at her then walked back toward the back once more.
The hologram followed him around each Vaseline piece like a
how did that help?” Al asked.
told me where to go next to ask questions.”
Al questioned now more than a bit confused.
looked at Al with curious anticipation when the handlink squawked for
attention in Al’s hand. Al
responded with a grim expression then sighed heavily before he told Sam
that he was being called away for a phone call from a senator concerned
with PQL who wouldn’t hang up until he talked with the Admiral. Sam looked at him sympathetically then bid him a farewell
before he left the Imaging Chamber. By
the time that Sam actually made it home, his mind was inundated with
questions to ask his – Brian’s parents.
The first one being, ‘Who is Mark Panayi?’
For some reason, Sam was sure that this person had some
significance in the dreams Brian was having.
the front door, Sam stepped inside and smelled something marvelous and his
stomach rumbled. “Hello?”
he called out not wanting to scare anyone who was present in the house.
here in the kitchen, Brian…” the response came from Brian’s mother.
tossed Brian’s keys on the table beside the door then hurried to the
kitchen to see if he could help with anything.
By the time he got there, he was greeted with a bowl of potato
soup, crackers and tea on the table.
“All of this just for me?” he asked more than pleased that she
had gone to so much trouble for him.
course, sweetie,” Barbara answered sweetly.
“Just for you. I know how much you like potato soup and with me having the
week off, I plan on pampering you as much as I possibly can.
I mean, I won’t have much more time to do it.
You’ll be leaving for school soon.”
right,” Sam said as he sat down in the chair in front of the meal and
plucked the napkin from under the spoon and placed it in his lap.
Sam watched as she sat down at the table and did the same.
He looked at the wonderful smelling soup and picked up the spoon
then lifted a spoonful to his mouth.
The wonderful warm cheesy, potato and chive concoction tasted
better than anything he had tasted in a long time.
He closed his eyes and let the warm savory food slide down toward
his stomach then hummed appreciatively.
“That… is some excellent soup,” he managed finally.
was already shoveling his third spoonful toward his mouth when he glanced
down at the table for a brief moment, nodded approvingly then asked,
“Mom, who is Mark Panayi?”
silence at the end of the question should have been his first clue that
something was wrong. The
second clue was how the spoonful of potato soup that had been in
Barbara’s hand clattered on the floor just to the right of her.
Her face was paler than pale as she just stared at her son for a
P-panayi?” she asked more than a little unnerved.
told you about Mark Panayi?” she asked straightforwardly.
“Was it that… mouthy old woman at Cambridge?”
don’t talk about Zada Hathcock that way.
needs to keep her mouth from spouting off about people’s past.
That’s what that old bitty should do.”
Barbara leaned over and picked up her spoon before giving the floor
a wipe with her napkin and sitting back up again in a huff.
Even though her tone was annoyed, one tear slowly slipped down her
cheek and she wiped at it irritatedly.
“She… she has no… right.”
Sam whispered softly knowing that he had obviously hit on a nerve with
her. “I’m sorry that
I’ve upset you, and I don’t want you to be upset with Zada either.”
shouldn’t have said anything about him to you.”
She picked up her glass, lifted it toward her mouth then placed it
back on the table. It was
quite plain that she was frustrated with the conversation.
“Well, just what was your conversation about?” Barbara asked as
she pushed herself away from the table and began to pace listlessly.
frowned. He could understand
the reaction somewhat but acting like this seemed a bit much.
“What’s the deal, mom?” he asked as he felt the
psychosynergizing building up quickly.
“We started talking about dreams… then it went to talking about
the fires and how Cambridge Glass House burned in 1957. Zada told me how she was in the building when it happened and
how this Panayi guy – whoever the hell he is – saved her. She told me…”
was as far as Sam got before Barbara Reed turned promptly and came up to
him and slapped him across the face as hard as she could.
“You will be respectful!” she said irately.
hand immediately came up to his cheek and he looked up at her with sharp
eyes. He rubbed his cheek
gingerly and swallowed the words that he thought might come bubbling to
the surface as he heard the Imaging Chamber door open a few feet away from
all the human’s alone? No
poltergeists, right?” Al asked as he looked around the room carefully.
Nodding to himself, he glanced over at Sam.
“Sam? You okay?”
The look alone that Sam shot him told him the answer.
was a fine, honorable, decent human being and I won’t have you talk
about anyone that way in my house, Brian Michael Reed!
Do you understand that?” Barbara said feverishly before she
grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him slightly to catch his
attention. When his eyes met
hers, she asked again. “I
said, do you understand?”
nodded his head tentatively. “Y-yes ma’am.”
may not have known Mark Panayi, Brian, but I did.
He was a wonderful, loving, caring person.
He was a brave soul. But
I’ll be damned…” she paused for a moment as another tear rolled down
her cheek as she said, “… if anyone talks bad about that man.”
Sam called out softly but she shook her head.
don’t want to talk about it.”
if you don’t leave now, you’re not going to like the consequences.”
Sam licked at his lips, nodded
his head perceptively, stood then with a quick glance at Al left the
kitchen. Stopping in the
doorway, Sam looked back at Barbara Reed, took a deep breath and walked
toward the front door. Grabbing
the keys, he held them tentatively in his hand then grasped them tighter
as he opened the door. Finding
himself face to face with Brian’s dad, his arms loaded with groceries
was enough to startle him.
Brian… where’s the fire?” David asked jokingly as he moved into the
only answer that he got was a succinct, "Out," as Sam slipped
past him and hurried out to Brian's car then drove away.
He watched until the car disappeared around the corner at the end
of the block then nudged the door shut with his shoulder and went into the
up with Brian?" he began then stopped when he saw his wife's face.
emotions that she had held at bay bubbled up to the surface and she looked
up at her husband, tears running down her face.
“Oh David… he asked about Mark,” she whispered.
put down the groceries and quickly brought his wife into his arms,
comforting her in the only way that he knew how.
Yet even as he held Barbara close, the troubled look on his face
was as much a result of what she had said, and even more with the other
issue that he would soon have to face up to.
mind was full and his stomach relatively empty; not the best of situations
driving down the road on a cold day in the snow and slush.
Questions kept coming back to him again about Mark Panayi that were
only reinforced when he had talked with his mother.
She was most definitely upset by his tone about the man, but why?
Sam pulled out onto the main road to head back toward Cambridge Glass
House, he reached up and turned off the radio.
He didn’t feel like listening to seventies - eighties music even
if it did have a good beat. He wasn’t in the mood.
sighed heavily. He wondered
how he was going to approach this information with Zada Hathcock when a
flash of light beside him caused him to jump.
His car veered slightly into the right lane and he carefully
maneuvered it back into the left lane.
He glanced out the car window and his mouth dropped in awe as he
saw a young man dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans, his hair slicked
back. He was pointing ahead
then disappeared. At the next
light, the shade began adamantly pointing to the road that veered off to
passed the road that it had been pointing to then suddenly pulled over to
the side of the road. He
turned around in his seat and glanced back at the road.
The ethereal figure pointed back at the road, took a few steps
toward it then pointed for a third time.
Logic and common sense won out over the eerie, creepy crawly
feeling of following the directions of a spirit, but his gut instinct told
him that it was the right thing to do.
Turning his car around, he turned the car onto the road that veered
off and saw the look up toward the heavens and smile then vanish.
had been driving carefully down the road for a few minutes when Al popped
in a bit unexpectedly beside him in the car.
Al looked around him then said conversationally, “Where are we
don’t know,” Sam responded truthfully.
He wasn’t sure exactly where he was going but he knew that his
ghostly companion would let him know.
Al responded a bit confused. “Why
are we going this way?” Al
asked even more intrigued now to find out exactly what his partner and co-hort
were trying to accomplish.
told me too,” Sam responded automatically not thinking about the
implications of what he had said.
told you to?” Al asked slightly feeling a bit confused.
He had only left to go to the restroom and now he was in the car.
licked his lips slowly then ran his teeth over his lips meticulously,
before he took the opportunity to slide Al an obviously gloomy look.
“He told me too.”
face paled somewhat at not only the look but at the words that formed on
Sam’s mouth. Something was
most definitely up and he wasn’t ready for the implications of it.
“Sam, who told you to go this way?”
adamantly concentrated on the road before him.
His only thought was that if he didn’t look at Al in any way
shape or form that Al would have to use a crow bar to open it up with.
Sam cleared his throat then whispered, “He did.”
small hairs on the back of Al’s neck came to a definite attention and he
shivered at the implication of what Sam was saying.
“Wait… wait… you don’t mean… Him?”
Al shivered once again. “This…
this just isn’t right, Sam. I
mean… come on… this is not a good idea.”
not?” Sam asked inquisitively as he motioned to the road ahead of him.
“I mean… I’m not going to do anything horrid, Al.
I’m just… driving. What’s
out this direction any way?”
that they had somewhat gotten off the subject of following directions from
one not of this world, Al quickly typed in the question into the handlink
and waited for a moment until he had a recent copy of the Brook County map
in front of him. “Oh…
this road goes to Beech Bottom, but it… oh… huh… that’s
a couple of miles, we’ll be at the ruins of the Cambridge Glass House,
originally known as The Riverside Glass Works.”
shivered in anticipation. Speculation and logic had told him that he had to follow
where the spirit had led. “That’s
where he wants me to go,” Sam whispered softly, speaking carefully as
another thought came to him. “That’s
why I’m here. Something …
whatever it is… is out
here. I’m supposed to look out here and find something.”
I hope that it’s not someone!” Al said exasperatedly with another
quiver of the heebie-jeebies. “I
still don’t think that it’s a good idea, Sam.”
Al shook his head adamantly. “Not
a good idea at all.”
the time the snow shrouded ruins of what had once been the Cambridge Glass
Company came into view, Sam was more certain than ever that the reason for
his being in Brian Reed’s life was somewhere in the ruins.
left onto the side road nearest the ruins, he drove slowly along the
little used road for about a quarter of a mile. As he drove he divided his
attention between keeping the car out of the shallow snow banks on either
side of the road, and glancing repeatedly at the remains of a once
impressive building that was his destination.
When at last the car drew near a heavy, rusted chain stretched
across the driveway that lead up to what had been the Cambridge Glass
Company, Sam parked the car and got out.
Snow crunched underfoot as he made his way to the driveway.
Stepping over the chain, he continued determinedly toward the
ruins, leaving his footprints in the, until now, undisturbed snow.
Not even Al popping in suddenly beside him, slowed Sam down.
wait a minute,” Al insisted as he had Ziggy reposition him several yards
ahead of his friend. “Slow
down, will you?”
can’t, Al,” Sam replied, puffing slightly from the exertion of
trudging through the snow. He spared a glance at the hologram as he passed him.
“It’s in there, Al. I
only thing that’s in there,” Al said as he walked beside Sam as he
neared the front door of the burned out building shell. “Is snow, maybe
some animals that use it to get outta the weather and lots of unsafe…no,
make that dangerous places where a guy could possibly have something fall
on him and hurt or even kill him…”
like it happened to Mark Panayi?” Sam put the question to him as he
carefully climbed the few steps to the front door that was, surprisingly,
not boarded up. Pausing, he
turned to the hologram. “I’ve
got to go inside, Al, because whatever ‘it’ is, it’s tied to Brian
and to Mark.” Not waiting
for Al to respond, Sam took a firm hold on the doorknob, twisted it slowly
then pulled. He brushed aside
the shiver than ran down his back as the door creaked as it was opened.
Al called out as he watched his friend slip through the partially open
door. But it was too late;
Sam was already inside the building.
It was with more than a little reluctance that he had Ziggy
recenter him on Sam. Even
when he saw Sam, for a moment Al just surveyed the charred and crumbling
remains of the first floor of the Cambridge Glass Company.
Being a hologram kept him from feeling the winter wind that gusted
through broken windows and the huge hole in the roof some four floors
above them. It was the
knowledge of how cold winter could be in this part of the country that
made the hologram shiver when a gust of wind high up sent a dusting of
snow filtering down through the hole in the roof.
like nobody’s been inside here in years,” he muttered.
Not getting any sort of answer or comment from Sam he glanced
Sam where are you?” he called out, a thread of alarm plain in his
voice. Mentally he kicked himself for jumping at shadows.
“Sam?” he called out again.
sound of Sam’s voice calling, “In here,” set Al’s fingers flying
over the handlink as he recentered on his friend.
From one instant to the next, he found himself in a large room that
he would have guessed had been a display or showroom for the articles of
fine glassware that had once been produced here.
Only now, the only things to be seen were the charred walls and the
huge hole near the middle of the floor, and the snow that blew in through
any crevice or opening of any size. But
what gave him the worst case of the willies was seeing Sam standing so
close to the edge of the hole in the floor, peering down into whatever was
you came you saw…even though there’s nothing to see… so come on.
Get outta here.”
however, wasn’t convinced. Getting down on his hands and knees and then stretching
carefully on his stomach, he inched forward until his head was over the
rough edge of the ripped and worn wood of the floor.
“I can’t, Al,” he
said, squinting as his gaze roved over the snow and shadows and pieces of
rotting wood that lay in the basement below them.
“I’ve got to find what…he wants me to find.”
cryin’ out loud….Saam,” Al tried again.
“Get away from there, or the only thing you’re gonna find is
yourself down there with a broken leg or worse, and then what are you
gonna do?” It quickly
became clear that the hologram could have saved his breath as he watched
the quantum physicist turned leaper inched back from the hole and got to
his feet and returned the way he’d come.
you,” Al murmured, casting a glance upward.
His expression of gratitude to a higher power was short-lived when
he heard Sam’s steps slow in the other room and then heard creaking
again. For an instant he
toyed with the idea just staying put until Sam finished his ‘snipe
hunt’. But for as much as
the old building was creeping him out, his conscience and concern for Sam
sent him to his friend’s side again.
a small anteroom near the front door, Sam had found a door marked
‘Stairs’. It took a
moment for his eyes to adjust to the dimness in the stairwell, but there
was enough daylight admitted by the gaping hole in the roof that the
leaper managed to get to the bottom of the steps without falling.
He was picking his way around the perimeter of the remains of
broken and mangled wooden flooring, charred bits of wood, refuse and
leaves on the floor when Al reappeared.
do that,” he admonished Sam as he reoriented himself to the new
taking his eyes from the floor, Sam asked, “What?”
a Houdini like that. Especially in a place like this,” he told the
leaper for what seemed the fourth time in the last thirty minutes.
moved slowly, pausing from moment to moment to nudge at something in the
snow. Squatting down, he
picked up a small, rough bit of what looked like a white rock to Al.
“Sam, this is not the
time or place to start a rock collection,” he began.
not a rock,” Sam replied, standing up again.
“It’s glass”. Holding the bit of milky rough glass up to the light he
added, “It’s probably from when a vat of liquid glass fell through the
floor during the fire.”
you’ve got your souvenir…”
where’s the rest of it?” Sam asked, scanning the area again, a
thoughtful frown furrowing his brow.
frowned, too. “What do
mean? It’s probably under
all that snow and whatever else Mother Nature has blow down here over the
shook his head and stepped carefully onto the pile of refuse then leaned
down to brush at the snow with his hands.
“Something’s not right,” he murmured.
“Something’s missing, Al.”
what?” the hologram insisted, remaining at the edge of the refuse heap.
Even though he was some forty odd years in the future, he
couldn’t dismiss the way the hairs on the back of his neck had begun to
Al,” Sam said, once more standing slowly up and putting his hands on his
hips. “This was a
glassworks business. They made their all the glassware right here.
I remember Zada telling me that the work areas were up on the third
and fourth floors.”
enthralled now with following where he was being led by the spirit that
had been with him from the moment he’d leaped in, Sam didn’t hear the
slow footsteps moving carefully down the steps just a few feet behind him.
he said patiently. “If a vat of liquid glass fell over and poured
through a hole that big,” Sam waved his arm at the hole in the floor
above him. “Wouldn’t you expect to find it down here?”
while Sam was involved in explaining about molten glass falling through a
hole in the floor, Al’s mistrust of all things spooky had kept him more
alert to the surroundings. Thus,
it was he who caught sight of something moving in the deep shadows behind
Look out…behind you!” he called urgently.
had learned early in his leaping to trust Al’s instincts, and he did so
now. Whirling around, and
succeeding in stumbling and almost falling where he stood precariously on
the pile of rubble, he peered at the shadows.
His hackles rose perceptibly when he called out sharply, “I know
you’re there. Come out
where I can see you.” The
figure that emerged from the shadows a moment later was the last person he
had expected to see.
did you come out here, Brian?” David Reed asked, stepping slowly closer
to the edge of the rubble. “It’s dangerous in here.” He glanced up at the hole in
the ceiling above them then back to Sam.
“The floors and walls were weakened and dangerous when this place
burned down. And after almost
thirty years, they’re even more so.
You might have been killed…”
Mark Panayi was killed … in that fire?”
swallowed slowly then licked his lips. “Yeah.
But unlike Mark, if you’d fallen and broken your leg, nobody
would’ve been here to help you. You’d have died and it might have been months, even years
before you’d have been found.”
in the older man’s voice, a shadow of something…a flicker of sadness
across his face, snagged Sam’s attention.
It was that and a brief, errant shaft of winter sunlight stabbing
through the dimness and reflecting on another shard of glass near
Brian’s father’s feet that jogged his thoughts into line.
told me that Mark’s body was never found after the fire,” Sam said,
keeping his eyes on the other man. “But you just said ‘unlike Mark’… if I’d fallen.”
Seeing David’s gaze flick away from his, the leaper pressed his
body was found,” he said more firmly, picking his way toward the edge of
the rubble and David Reed. “You
and the other firemen found him after it was all over, didn’t you?
After nearly thirty years of carrying
the secret as well as the fear of it being discovered, David Reed was
weary. Weary of living a lie
meant to shield others from the horror of that night.
“Yes,” he said, not a little
relieved as he felt the burden begin to slip away. “We…found
him…right here. Where
you’re standing, in fact.”
“Ahhh geez Louise….” Al began
nervously, moving back from his proximity to the place a man had died.
“What did you do with him…his
body?” Sam pressed for more as he took a careful step off the broken
boards and other refuse. David’s
answer startled him visibly.
“It’s still here,” David said in
quiet but clear voice as he met his son’s eyes.
“Has been since the night…it happened.”
It took Sam a minute to get his
usually quick wits together enough to ask, “Where?”
David didn’t answer with words.
Instead, he moved around the large pile of rubble and went to a
door set in the wall opposite the stairs and pulled away the boards that
were nailed loosely across it. Pulling
the door open, he pointed into the dim room beyond, saying, “Mark’s in
Sam couldn’t help but recoil,
expecting some vague stench of long decay to assault him, but no such
smell was forthcoming.
“Go on in,” David told him, then stepped back when his son
hesitated to pass him. As if
to prove that it was safe, he entered the room and walked slowly across
the small room to what looked like a low, oblong, misshapen box covered
with a tarp. He stood
quietly, looking down at it until Brian stood beside him.
“It was the most God-awful thing any
of us had ever seen,” he remembered quietly. “Like something out of a horror movie. “ He lifted his gaze to his son as he went on.
“Your mother…she …she couldn’t have handled seeing Mark.
And I couldn’t let her be hurt worse than Mark’s death was
already hurting her.”
Sam frowned, puzzled.
“What do mean?”
Al, on the other hand, had put aside
his squeamishness long enough to put two and two together where Sam
wouldn’t have recognized the ‘numbers’.
“Sam, my guess is that Barbara was
pregnant with Brian without the benefit of marriage to make him
legitimate.” He just
shrugged at his friend’s expected reaction to the statement.
“That’s the way things were back then,” was all he said.
David speaking again drew both their attention back to the box
under the tarp at their feet.
“We brought him in here, before the
investigation began,” David said. “We
managed to keep him out of sight until it was over. After that, it just seemed better to let those who loved him,
let them believe that he…that his body was burned up in the fire.”
A shiver not born of the cold ran down
Sam’s back as he looked down at the covered object. Part of him didn’t want to see what was under it but
something more, something not of this world told him that he had to see
what had been hidden for so long.
Bending down, Sam took hold of the
edge of the tarp and started to lift it.
But David placing a hand on his arm stopped him for a moment.
He looked to the older man. He
was startled, but also in another way, not startled, when he heard what
the other man had to say.
“Your Dad was a good and brave man,
Brian,” David said softly. “Me
and the other guys just didn’t want Barbara… or his son to be
shamed.” He paused to clear
his throat. “I’ve loved
you like you were my own flesh and blood, Brian.
This…” he glanced down then back to Sam’s eyes.
“We only did it because we cared about Mark and those he
The shiver that had traced down
Sam’s spine repeated just then, only stronger.
Sam couldn’t help a sudden jerking movement at the sensation, and
as he did so, something, a flicker caught the corner of his eye.
Turning his head, his gaze fell on a now familiar figure that
wasn’t there. The calm,
almost serene smile on the spirit’s face told him as well as the
familiar tingling that was beginning to stir inside him, that he was
nearly finished with this assignment.
Taking a deep breath, Sam nodded to
David then with a steady movement drew the tarp off the ‘box’.
All he could do was stare, words escaping him as he looked down at
the figure encased totally in glass.
The sprawl in which he had died preserved in the semi opaque glass.
It was just as David spoke that the leaping effect began to grow
stronger, pulling at Sam to go.
“You know,” David said softly as
he gazed down at his long gone friend.
“I wish he’d had been here the summer of 1960.”
“Why?” Sam asked.
David’s answer was the final link to complete the pull to leap.
“He’d have gotten the best
birthday present of his life,” David answered.
“Really, two.” He
smiled at Sam. “Ted
Williams…Mark was nuts for baseball…hit his 500th career
homer on June 17th of that year.
Mark’s birthday was June 17th,:
“And the second present?”
David’s eyes filled with tears as he
whispered, “You. You were
born on your dad’s birthday. Where
do you think you got the middle name of Ted from?”
were the last words Sam heard as he leapt.
But in the final seconds, he smiled from within the blue haze at
the sight of an ethereal form dressed in jeans and a blue shirt, and a
GTFW likes to play tricks on me... and leaping me into some of the most
embarrassing situations – no matter what the cost – the male libido,
the red-faced moments or the sexual connotations that trick may be a part
cut!" a deep male voice filled the room. "That was great, you
two. Really got me going. Remember everyone. You get ME going, you're
going to get everyone else going too." Laughter filled in the room.
"Okay, let's all take a breather. I need some privacy, if you know
what I mean." Again another bout of laughter came and died away.
eyes popped open and looked up into the face of another man lying on top
of him – his eyes widened in surprise and distain.
His mouth dropped open in shock and he just blinked at him for a
moment before tossing him off and moving on the bedding he was on.
Glancing down at himself, he was surprised to see that he was
totally buck-naked. He raked
at the blanket beside him, and then saw the fake nails.
He inwardly moaned. ‘I’ve
leaped into a woman… again.’
The blonde haired man, who was
obviously naked except for the vampire fangs and a black cape, smiled back
down at Sam as he placed his hands on his hips.
"Hey, I'll be ready for the next scene tomorrow." He
leaned forward and placed a kiss on Sam's cheek. "Don't be late,
sugarplum." With that, he pivoted then walked away.
Sam shivered at the thought of where the man was a moment ago and
swallowed hard as he looked around to see that he was on a set and there
were men and a few women standing around everywhere
"Ronnie, aren't you going to get dressed?" a female voice
asked. "We're off duty. Let's go get something to eat."
Hearing someone call out, he looked over and saw a lovely brunette
coming over to his side. “Off
duty?” he asked her. He
glanced over at the man as he walked away.
“Off duty?” he asked again then looked over at her once again.
special thanks go to C. E. Krawiec and Sue Johnson for their editing help.
praying for all the people in CA!