when I leap Iím filled with confusion and hesitance; nothing compares to being
dropped unexpectedly into the middle of someone elseís life. This time,
though, it was thrilling. I felt great. It was like the rush you get when
driving really fast on a curvy road.
was on top of the world.
sound exploded in Samís ears at about the same time he felt the weight in his
hands. He heard a female voice shout, "Wow, guys, you sounded great!"
and the clink of glass. Blinking, his first vision was of a cluttered garage and
a pair of denim dressed girls handing out beer bottles. Curious about the weight
in his hands Sam looked down and saw a bright blue and gray electric guitar
hanging on his hip, still quivering from the last chords played. He smiled.
Iím in a band!í he thought happily, giving the strings a plunk. He about
fell over from surprise at the volume of the sound that hit him in response.
Laughter caught his attention, and he looked up again.
one, Russ! Youíve got my dad down to a T!" There were more chuckles as
the group downed the beers and Sam slowly put the guitar down. The four guys
appeared to be in their early 20ís, grungily dressed in saggy pants and droopy
shirts. Their hair was shoulder length and stringy, and Sam wondered what the
two girls saw in any of these grubby looking males. But then again, the girlsí
hair wasnít much better. At least their clothes fit. Sam frowned and looked
closer at the blonde girl. Was that an earring in her belly button?
other girl, whose belly Sam couldnít see, swayed over to him and pressed the
icy beer bottle in his hand. She was slight in build, with brown hair and blue
eyes, and about a million earrings lined up on the curve of each ear. Her smile
was tentative, tinged with sadness as she looked through her lashes up at Sam.
"We sounded good together, donít you think?" There was more
conviction in her tone than in her body language. She took a swig on the bottle,
expectantly waiting for an answer.
yeah!" Sam replied, taking a taste of the brew. It felt warm and fuzzy
going down his throat, and he happily swallowed more. It soothed him, and he
savored the flavor on his tongue for the moment.
sure do sex and singing well together, donít we Russ?" she said between
gagged at her comment, beer fizzing up his nose causing his eyes to water.
"Oh, boy!" he choked out as his band mates again laughed at him.
his initial center-stage entrance to the world of his latest leap, Sam tried to
keep low key until he could figure out who fit where in this group. In the first
several minutes of his arrival, he concluded that there was a myriad of reasons
why he could be here. A quote he clearly remembered hearing from the Resident
Emergency Room doctor he interned under came to mind: "If it wasnít for
20 year old males and alcohol, we wouldnít have any business at all."
group was on the edge. They had downed an alarming amount of beer is just this
short time, and the scattered bottles in the garage indicated this was a common
occurrence. Cigarette smoke hung against the ceiling, even with the garage door
standing open, and Sam could smell the strong odor of pot clinging to his dirty
clothes. Even though the garage was a nightmare, the area around the instruments
was fairly well ordered, and the instruments themselves were in good shape. He
saw the words "Gimmie Pie" painted on the drums, amused at the mixed
meaning; maybe the group wasnít as brain dead as he thought since they came up
with a name that symbolized several aspects of what a life could be like. Or
maybe it didnít mean anything. Sam shook his head, trying to focus his
baby, I gotta fly," the brunette growled. Sam found himself studying her.
She was an odd mix of vulnerability and inner strength; he couldnít tell which
part was an act, or if any of it was an act. She tweaked Samís nose and walked
out of the garage with a wave, to Samís relief. The other boys threw her
kisses and rude comments as she passed by, and Sam heard the other girl call her
Carlie. Then Sam noticed the other girl was wrapped around the drummer and just
sort of hanging there. They shared a single beer, passing it between them by
mouth. Sam was sickened and mesmerized at the same time, his thoughts mixed as
to what that might feel like.
he stood, trying to stay in the background, Sam felt his thoughts were becoming
difficult to clarify and wondered if there was some sort of drug residual in
action here. Then again, he felt really good and had a hard time keeping a goofy
grin off his face. He felt energized, and laughed to himself at the irony of
that, being a leper and all. He prowled around the garage, studying everything
around him and trying to pick up other names, realizing he could hear their
voices but didnít really care what they were saying.
stepped into the driveway, suddenly bored by the contents of the garage. There
had to be more out here to see! It was a big world out there!
ya goiní, Russ?" Someone called, laughing. "We done practiciní?"
merely waved back at them as he walked happily down the sidewalk. It was a
middle to low-class neighborhood, with a mix of trim lawns and peeling-paint
houses. He couldnít really tell where he was, and headed for a wooded area at
the end of the street. ' Hearing the wind in the trees would be nice right
now,' he thought. ' Relaxing. Then maybe I can form a coherent thought.'
had just entered the group of trees when the Imaging Chamber door snapped open
right in front of him, and a purple-clad figure, complete with matching fedora
and shirt, stepped in front of him. "Sam? Where are we?" The hologram
looked up at the trees as he tapped the hand link and the door closed.
it great, Al? Look at these trees. I like being around trees. They inspire
me." Sam looked up at the treetops and turned a small circle. "They
even smell good."
cocked his head and gave Sam a quick visual evaluation, and tapped something
into the hand link. "Yeah, I guess so. I canít smell Ďem, though. Hey,
I thought you leaped into a house."
itís over there," Sam waved in a general direction and Al peered between
yeah. I see Ďem now." He turned his attention back to his friend.
"You seem happy," the hologram commented.
feel pretty good, Al," Sam said, taking a deep breath. "What do you
have for me? Anything?"
you leaped into a musician named Russell Nash."
right. Somebody called me Russ."
Russ. Anyway, heís in a band calledÖ"
Pie!" Sam happily offered. "Funny, huh? The name can be taken a couple
of ways. I think itís kinda clever!"
regarded his friend with a furrowed brow. Did Sam think the sexual innuendo was
humorous? "Yeah. Right. Well, Nash is a gifted lyricist. He writes a lot of
the bandís songs. Very intelligent, even with his problems."
caught Samís attention momentarily. "Problems? OK, he needs to bathe a
little more often," Sam touched his hair with both hands. "And he
needs to wash his clothes." His nose wrinkled. "And they donít fit
too well, do they?" He stuck his arms straight out to the sides and looked
at the bagginess of the sleeves and droopiness of the jeans.
spoke slowly, studying his friend. "Thatís the style of the time, Sam.
Itís called the grunge look. There are other reasons he looks like this,
waved his hand in front of Samís face, tearing his attention from his
clothing. "Sam, there could be more problems here that we think."
Iím not sure thereís a problem. Well, OK, thereís the Carlie, who I think
sleeps with me, and I think they drink way too much beer," Sam would have
rattled on if Al hadnít yelled at him.
Look at me and pay attention! What is going on with you, anyway?"
smiled at his Observer. "I just feel great! Like I could fly away, or
something! I donít normally act like this, do I?" A cloud of fear
momentarily came over him, then he was paying serious attention to Al. He
blinked, then looked around. "I, ah. What was that all about? I felt soÖ
different..." Now he looked simply confused, and frowned at Al. "What
eyes were wide as he watched the transformation fall over his friend. What was
going on? "Uh, I donít know, Sam. But the guy you leaped into was a
manic-depressive, you know, Ďbi-polarí I think they call it. You donít
remember Russell Nash, do you?"
Samís stomach was sinking into his toes. This didnít sound very good.
"No. Should I?"
I guess not. But five days from now Russell Nash kills himself. Made minor news,
sort of a comment on the grunge band trend. Ziggy thinks youíre here to stop
looked horrified. "How did he do it?" he asked.
Did it right in his room. The house is right over there," Al pointed in the
direction from which Sam had come. "Nash and his pals rent the place. They
get the money from gigs, and Nash sells some of his lyrics. Theyíre a very
popular local band, Sam. Should have made it big. In fact, a recording company
signs them in just a few days, but the contract was void when Nash died. Too
bad. Theyíre all good musicians. But..."
ĎButí?" Sam echoed, half wishing not to hear the rest.
you have to be careful on this one. Theyíre all doiní some kinda drugs. Pot,
most of the time, but Nash and McGuire are into heroin. And Nash is supposed to
be on meds for his manic-depressive thing, but he is notorious for not taking
it. Thinks it destroys the creative part of him, which is when heís in the
manic states. Sort of a double-edged sword."
Sam questioned. "Because heís productive during the manic states, and
depressed in the other state?"
Al pulled out a cigar and lit it, ignoring Samís wrinkled nose.
"Thereís an interview the day before he does himself in where he says
just that. The manic times are what he lives for; when heís the most creative.
A high. Probably tries to duplicate the feeling with heroin. So, you donít
have to take the prescribed meds, Sam, and you shouldnít. Because itís you
here, not Nash, and he hasnít taken them for weeks now, anyway."
I canít cure a manic-depressive in five days!!"
true, Sam, but Ziggy says youíre here to prevent the suicide and make sure
that Nash has mandatory drug rehab put into the record contract. That, you can
when does he get this contract?"
night, thereís a festival at the amphitheater near here. It showcases a whole
bunch of local talent. Nashís band gets signed after performing one song
called ĎIllusion of Love.í Nash wrote it. All you have to do is make sure
the show goes on!"
canít be a lead singer!"
you can! Youíve done it before, trust me! They have all the instruments
covered. You just gotta sing." Al smiled a big smile. "Just think of
all the groupies thatíll be there! Scantily clad young things, too." He
sucked air through his teeth. "Too bad Iím a happily married man. I told
you the bandís VERY popular around here, didnít I?" He raised one
eyebrow in a lecherous fashion.
rolled his eyes and looked skyward. "Why me?" he asked the heavens.
stood just outside the Imaging Chamber door, arms folded across his chest,
puffing of the cigar. It was nice to see Sam in a good mood for once, but he had
also seemed distracted. Al couldnít quite put his finger on it, but he felt
compelled to discuss his observations with Beeks. It was never a bad thing to
have too much information.
down the ramp he nodded to Gooshie and plunked down the hand link on the
console. "Hey Ziggy." He directed his voice to the orb hanging above
his head. "Is Dr. Beeks in her office?"
the parallel hybrid computer purred. "But not for long."
Beeks usually eats her dinner at this hour. I surmise she will be parting for
the break room any minute."
shook his head and glanced at Gooshie, who shrugged in return. "Are you so
bored you keep track of everyoneís break schedule?" Al asked.
computer took on a haughty tone. "I am perfectly capable of tracking
millions of details at one time. Itís a hobby. I am not bored."
nosy," Al mumbled under his breath. Then, louder, "Fine. Let Beeks
know Iíll meet her in the break room to brief her on the leap."
was definitely miffed. "Fine. And I heard that."
Observer rolled his eyes as he left the room while Gooshie stifled a laugh.
Verbena Beeks met Al at the break room door, a smile on her face.
told me to expect you, Admiral," she said pleasantly. Dr. Beeks was a trim,
ebony-skinned woman that always carried on with a professional air. It was
exasperating to Al how calm she could be sometimes; it just added to the
Ďshrinkí persona, as Al called it. As Psychiatrists go, she was the only one
Al could tolerate. He had to admit, he admired her even though she never missed
an opportunity to practice her craft.
Itís about this leap, ĎBena." He fell into step next to her as
approached the food counter and selected lunch items. "Whatís up with the
he definitely has a bi-polar disorder. I donít want to force the medications
on him unless we have to. Hopefully, that will strengthen the trust bond."
She eyed the salad, and picked out a plain one. "He was pretty euphoric at
first, but seems to be settling down. Heís very interested in whatís going
signs of suicide?"
not yet. I read up on Nashís history in the original timeline. Sad, but pretty
typical of this disorder, especially in this case. I suspect heís probably a
pretty severe case, but I wonít know until Ziggy hacks intoÖ oops, I mean,
establishes contact, with Nashís doctorís database." She smiled
crookedly at her intentional slip.
appreciated her keeping the visit friendly, and chuckled at the comment.
"Tell me, can this possibly affect Sam in any way?" He tried to deep
the question light, but saw Beeks stiffen and give him a serious look.
do you mean?" she asked carefully.
know, like it has in some other leaps. The sharing of minds thing. Not like the
nuthouse leap, but like the Oswald one, or the twins one." Verbena didnít
answer right away. "I mean, like a transfer of feelings."
he displayed that tendency?" she asked, again carefully and slowly, her
mind whirling as she sat at a table with her salad.
not sure. He was reallyÖ upÖ when I saw him at first. Wasnít really
focusing. Then he suddenly settled down."
chewed her salad a minute. "Sudden mood change is one of the signs of a
manic/depressive. And a high energy level, nonstop speech, several things."
She eyed Al, reading the signs that her words worried him. Sam obviously had
been displaying some of those attributes. She sighed and picked at her salad.
This was going to be an Ďall-nighterí, at term she used when it was
necessary to be with visitor 24 hours a day. Anything observed in the Waiting
Room could directly effect Dr. Beckett due to the obvious high degree of mind
mixing that was going on. And mind mixing with a manic/depressive will be like
playing with dynamite.
juggled around her schedule for the next day in her head as she finished her
lunch, the pushed the bowl aside and began the rundown on the disorder for Al.
Alís exit, Sam returned to the house and found his band mates still partying
in the garage. He observed them silently for a few minutes, feeling a bit
useless. He was only here to fix a contract? His gut told him that wasnít all,
and set his mind to find out more about this crowd. He went into the house,
leaving the sound of tipsy laughter and breaking bottles in the garage.
house was more depressing than the garage. There were a couple of broken-down
lamps in the corners on the floor, threadbare throw pillows, natty chairs and
thin sheets for curtains and boxes for tables in the main living area.
Surprisingly, the floor and kitchen were picked up and almost clean. Each of the
three bedrooms had mattresses on the floor and dark window coverings. Sam had a
tough few minutes of figuring out which room was Nashís, and settled on the
one with an acoustic guitar carefully placed in the corner. When he entered the
room he saw stacks of papers with hand written lyrics and music piled against
one wall at the end of the mattress. At the other end of the mattress were a
couple of pillows with an Indian-patterned blanket pulled over them.
sat cross-legged on the bed next to the pillows and noticed a cardboard shoebox
on the floor next to the pillows. He picked it up, peeking inside, disgusted and
curious at the same time about the contents. There was a pipe, smelling strongly
of burnt pot, a small amount of the green, leafy substance in a baggie, dirty
cotton balls, matches, a burnt spoon, one syringe and a couple of used needles.
A fix kit, Sam concluded. He picked up the burnt spoon and studied it
thoughtfully. He knew that the Ďcooking spooní was where heroin was reduced
to an injectable liquid, and the cotton balls filtered out some impurities.
he thought about why someone would do something so destructive to his or her own
body, he became alarmed at the sense of excitement he got from handling the
spoon. Shocked, he dropped it back in the box and put the lid back on, then set
in back on the floor. His hands began to sweat and the sense of craving for the
artificial high wouldnít go away. He jumped up, wiping his hands nervously on
his pants, and made him self pick up the guitar in an effort to change this
train of thought.
sat down on the other end of the mattress, near the music, and spread some to
the topmost sheets out in front of him. It took awhile of forced concentration,
but the unwanted thoughts of before were eventually with admiration of Nashís
song writing ability. He strummed through several tunes before coming across the
music and lyrics for ĎIllusion of Love.í
was a poignant, stirring and powerful. It was brilliant.
ran through it several times, clearly feeling the emotion of the song; it was a
direct interpretation of how Nashís illness affected his life. The ĎIllusion
of Loveí was an observation of the falseness of the euphoria he felt during
his manic periods, but could also be interpreted as a tragic lost-love story.
Something for everybody, so to speak.
admired the work a little longer, then put the guitar aside. He found the words
running through his head as he inspected the rest of the house, unable to figure
out who belonged in the other rooms. The evening promised to be an interesting
time. All the while the memory of his being drawn to the Ďfix kití next to
the bed lurked in his head. ' What was going on with his mind?' he
Sam entered the living area, the telltale odor of marijuana drifted in from the
garage. ĎGreat,í he thought. ĎJust great. I canít believe any
of these people get anything accomplished.í
into the garage was like entering the single frat party Sam recalled going to in
college; he was the only sober one there, too. He frowned. ' Where had that
been?' he wondered. Or had that been another leap? He shook his head
slightly to clear his thoughts.
band had closed the garage door and cranked up the stereo. Smoke hung in the
air, strangely yellow due to the dim lighting. Sam sat on a stool on the
Ďstageí area and picked up the guitar, picking out the tune currently
playing on the radio. The joking conversation soon faded away as he mastered the
tune, an unconscious smile creeping on his face. Before he realized what was
happening, the others had moved into their places and followed Samís lead.
They copied the song on the radio perfectly, even adding bits here and there.
When the song ended, they went right into the next one. Sam realized Al was
right; this was a talented group.
jam went on into the evening, and the smoke became very thick in the garage. Sam
felt lightheaded and giddy, but the thrill and satisfaction of the music carried
him on. He didnít want to stop. After what seemed like just a short while,
Carlie walked in and picked up the microphone. Her vocals egged everyone on even
more. She had a great voice, and handled it well. At one lull between songs, she
snapped the stereo off and growled, "Shall we practice, boys?" And ran
her hand down Samís back. He shivered; it felt wonderful.
Sam played the first chords to ĎIllusion of Love.í The band fell right into
it, and Sam picked up the vocals with Carlie singing a haunting backup. The
whole scene moved Sam more than he expected, and blamed the blanket of pot smoke
in the room for the tears he felt forming in his eyes. It was all so surreal; he
felt like he was watching himself from across the room, and it scared him, but
at the same time the words to the song had him hooked. It was a weird
experience, and as soon as the song was over, he carefully replaced the guitar
and practically ran from the room. Carlie followed close behind, but the others
continued to jam.
caught up to him as he paced back and forth in the small kitchen. It had grown
dark outside, and for some reason he couldnít fathom, that disturbed him, too.
There was a growing feeling of anxiety that was soothed only when Carlie took
his hand. A wave of warmth radiated from her touch, and he stopped his pacing at
the feeling to look into her eyes.
sound of the Imaging Chamber door barely registered in his mind as he looked at
her. She smiled a sad little smile, looking right back at him.
Al said, taking in the scene immediately. "What are you doing? Whoís she?
No, wait a minute, donít tell me. Youíre not falling for a groupie, are you?
Sam? Do you hear me?" The Observer quickly tapped in the hand link to find
out who the girl was, and had to step close to lean over and look at Samís
face. "Hey! Whatís with your eyes, huh? Theyíre all bloodshot.
Sam?" He glanced at the squealing hand link, and looked at the girl again.
"Oh, this must be Carlie. Sam, remember sheís barely 20 years old!"
had raised his hand to stroke Carlieís cheek. "So am I," he replied
calmly even though he could feel a darkness growing in his mind. Touching Carlie
held it off.
the hologram yelped. "No youíre not! Sam, itís you, not Nash! Hey! Snap
out of it, will ya? I got some stuff from Beeks, here. Come on, get rid of the
girl, and letís talk."
just smiled up at him, and wrapped her arms around his waist. "The voices
are there, arenít they?" she whispered.
gave her a haughty look, and slapped the hand link. "Iím more than
voices, honey. Iím his best friend and Iím looking after him, here!
Sam!" He kept an eye on his friend as his fingers flew over the keys.
Sam replied, pulling Carlie close.
rid of her so we can talk," Al spoke slowly and firmly, keeping his eyes on
his friend. "Now, Sam!"
didnít reply to Al, but held Carlie off at armís distance. "Iím
OK," he said softly, although he didnít feel OK. He felt. .. weird, like
he was fighting to keep a sense of himself. Darkness and anxiety were still
there, hanging off to the side, and Sam felt like he could stand there and study
them clinically in his mind. It was very disturbing. "I need to get
come with you!" the girl said cheerfully.
you wonít!" Al barked.
be OK, you stay here. I just need to clear my head. Practice for tomorrow,
OK?" Sam said, making for the front door. She had a perplexed look as Sam
shut the front door behind him. He let out a nervous breath, and rubbed his
hands together as the Observer followed him through the front door. "Ooooh,
Al. This is weird. I donít like this." He took off up the sidewalk in a
long-strided walk with the hologram right next to him.
the club! I feel like Iím talkiní to a brick wall. Slow down, all ready!
Someone chasing ya?" Al managed to keep up all the way to the woods up the
street, where Sam suddenly slowed.
trees feel better," Sam said softly, frowning as he stepped among the
huh? Why do trees feel better?"
donít know. Safer, I guess." Sam slowed way down, looking up at the leafy
darkness above him. It was peacefully quiet out here, "and cleaner."
snorted. "No argument there. I think you inhaled too much of that smoke
back there, Sam. It was like walkiní into a fog bank!"
read a lot of Nashís lyrics. They sure are dark. Now I see why. I guess the
bandís aim is to depress teenagers."
now thereís a stretch," Al laughed shortly. "Depressing teenagers is
like shootiní fish in a barrel." He studied the hand link for a second.
"Ziggy says the depressing lyrics are the trend now. Lots of bands are that
way. I heard enough of them in my daughter's room."
Sam felt a chill, and wrapped his arms around himself. "Al, I donít know
whatís going on. I feel like someone else is trapped in my head."
calmly regarded his friend. "Well, you arenít alone. Beeks says Nash
keeps asking her all sorts of questions about his treatment in the Waiting Room.
He thinks heís in a mental hospital."
raised an eyebrow and looked at his friend. "Really?"
In fact, he keeps thanking Beeks for clearing his mind for him. Says he hasnít
felt this good in a long time. He says the voices are gone, Sam." He
hesitated a second, and looked right at his friend. "Do you hear
voices?" He closely watched Samís eyes for any hint of a lie. He was a
lousy liar. Al could always tell.
shock of gray in Samís hair had fallen foreword over his forehead, making him
look like a skittish colt. He held Alís eyes, the uncertainty clear.
"I... ah... Iím not sure. Thereís something odd. Itís hard to
describe, but thereís no voices."
Beeks thinks thereís an unusually large amount of mind mixing goiní on
between you. She says you may feel anxious or excitable, but you have to
remember itís Nash, not you. OK?"
He pushed the lock of hair back.
else you need from me?" Al asked. "Iíve got to get some sleep. You
gonna be OK?"
Can you find out what happens with McGuire? The guy you mentioned does heroin
Hang on," he tapped the hand link while Sam waited.
kept turning around slowly in a tight circle, looking at the trees. He felt like
they werenít alone, but couldnít see anyone out there. The feeling was
creepy, and he felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck.
it seems that McGuire enters a drug rehab facility shortly after Nashís death.
I guess thatís one good thing, huh? Heís still around, playing back up for
various bands, and is a studio musician for Def Records right now. Has a good
reputation." Al opened the Imaging Chamber door with a couple more pokes to
the hand link, and frowned at his friend. "You OK?"
Sam waved his friend off. "Yeah."
Sam, itís Nashís illness, not yours. OK?"
right. See ya later." Al didnít look completely convinced as the door
closed, leaving his friend alone in the woods.
Al left Sam had every intention of going back to the house and going to bed. The
idea of sleeping through this leap was appealing. Instead he found himself
walking out of the woods, then suddenly being surrounded by darkness. It
wasnít just the night, it was a blanket of darkness in his head, and he felt
his anxiety level skyrocket. He knew he was running, but didnít know where he
was. The Nash part of his brain simply took over, and the Sam part was fighting
for control. He kept repeating, "Iím Sam Beckett!" Over and over in
his mind for what seemed like an eternity, when he suddenly blinked his eyes and
found himself curled up in the back seat of a car.
was breathing hard, and when he brushed his hair from his eyes he noted it was
wet with sweat. His hands were filthy and scratched, as were his clothes. Mud
was on his knees and shoes. What had happened? He didnít remember any of it!
He looked out the front of the car and saw the orange hood of a beat up Volvo.
There were dirty blankets and bits of paper on the back seat with him, and on
the floor was a bunched up blanket. He was trying to stop his hands from shaking
when he heard the car door click open.
heard the car door slam and figured it was you returning to your own personal
space." Carlie slid in next to him and quietly shut the door. "Oooh,
Russ, where have you been? Itís been hours." She took his hands in hers
and they stopped shaking. She brushed off some of the dried mud. "I knew I
should have come with you. Are you OK?" She eased over next to him and
gathered him up in her arms. "Do you want to go inside?"
Sam said quickly. He didnít want to go anywhere, especially back in that
house, until he calmed down and figured out what happened. Carlie was a great
comfort, and he felt his heart slowing to a normal beat as she held him.
"Letís just stay here a little bit," he whispered. ' Hours?
Heíd been gone for hours?'
she said quietly, and kissed his forehead.
mind was suddenly clear, and he felt his eyelids growing heavy. "I canít
deal with this." He thought to himself as he dropped off to sleep,
Gate, New Mexico
knew he needed some rest himself. It had been at least twenty hours since he
last slept, and his burning eyes were a constant reminder of that. Heíd check
the Visitor one last time, then get a quick catnap. ' Too bad Beth was
visiting their daughter in California,' he thought, a smile touching his
rubbed his eyes one last time and entered the Waiting Room. The aura of Sam was
sitting up in the bed, eyes bright.
Al," he greeted calmly. "Youíre the only one who confuses me here.
Did you know that?"
raised his eyebrows, surprised. "No, Russell, I didnít. Whyís
Visitor put his hands behind his head and settled down. "I canít figure
out if youíre a Doctor or a patient in this establishment. I mean, what
hospital has a Navy man on its payroll? Iíd say youíre a patient, but you
get to wander in and out of here like you own the place. Whyís that?"
laughed softly. Hard to believe this guy was barely in his twenties. He was well
spoken, controlled, and if inquisitiveness was and indication of intellect, very
smart. The laughter died in his throat when he realized what this young man
would be returning to. "Well, youíre very perceptive, but I canít
really tell you all the details of this place. How are ya doiní?"
Nash smiled, and it dawned on Al that in all the pictures heíd seen of the
doomed young man, none of them showed him smiling. "I donít know what
youíre giving me, but Iím impressed. I havenít thought this clearly in a
long time." His face softened, and the smile disappeared. "It seems
too calm, though. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak."
He tapped his temple with one hand. "I got it!" He snapped his finger
and pointed at Al. "You were a Navy Doctor! Now youíre retired and in the
private sector. That it, right? My dad was in the Navy," he hesitated and
frowned. "Or was it the Marines? Why canít I remember?" His voice
was edged in panic, he sat up straighter.
Dr. Beeks appeared from her office behind a one way glass, all smiles.
"Itís OK, Russell. Part of the treatment affects memory, but it will go
away. Itís all temporary, but frustrating, huh?" She adjusted the pillow
behind his head, looking for any signs of fear.
calmed down immediately. "Oh. OK. I think you said that before, didnít
See? Youíre remembering already!"
smiled calmly. "Russ, I need to speak to Dr. Beeks a minute. Excuse
walked to the exit door and Beeks fell in beside him. "Yes, Admiral?"
she asked quietly, their backs to the Visitor.
is there no sign of his illness? Did you give him something?"
I havenít," she replied. "Iíve been giving him vitamins and
telling him it was medicine."
jaw dropped. "You lied to him? I didnít think you had it in you!" He
grinned at her.
Really." She looked indignant. "Is that all you wanted to know?"
got serious again. "Hypothetically, if thereís no sign of his illness
here, in him, could Sam, you know," he did a flipping motion with his
hands, "have gotten it?"
looked thoughtful. "Weíve seen it happen before, as you said, but this
would be to a severe degree. Iíd say yes, itís possible. Heís acting out,
isnít he? Sam I mean."
the good thing is that Mr. Nash here is still having some mood swings, so the
brunt of the whole thing isnít on Samís shoulders yet."
Nash has been steadily improving since he got here. If this influence has to
Ďgoí somewhere, it may be going to Sam. This is all such unexplored
territory, Al, I canít predict anything. But based on our past experiences
here, Iíd say thatís a given."
if Sam stays there long enough, heíll experience the disorder to the fullest
and Nash here will be completely unaffected."
my guess." She crossed her arms over her chest, obviously not comfortable
with that idea, either.
need to tell me immediately when thereís not trace of the disorder here in
Nash. Can you do that?"
what I figured, and why Iím here for the duration, Admiral." She
indicated the one-way glass with her hand, once again all business.
waved good bye to the Visitor, nodded at Beeks and left for his quarters. He
needed to get some rest now. He had a feeling everything was going to hit the
fan soon, and he needed to be on his toes.
sleep was neither restful nor refreshing. He woke up thrashing, his dreams
filled with nightmarish scenes of horrible things. Carlie woke with a squeak,
accidentally struck with Samís flailing arms. She had pulled the heavy blanket
from the floor over them, as it was now pretty cold in the car, and Sam fought
the covering like it was smothering him.
pushed his way out of the car, and stood in the cold night air, his breath puffy
clouds of mist pumping out as if he were a steam engine. He stood, holding
himself and stomping his feet, trying to get control of the thoughts racing
through his head.
he heard them. Little whispering voices that made him spin around and check
behind him. He couldnít make out what they were saying, but it sounded like a
lot of them. Part of him was saying they werenít really there, but the other
part was unconvinced. "Where are they?" he whispered out loud.
come on honey, letís get inside. Iím freezing." Carlie came out of the
car, hugged his arm, and maneuvered him into the house.
went willingly because her touch helped him focus. The voices faded away when
she held him, and he hung on to her like a life preserver. They went into the
house, which was quiet and dark. He saw the dark form of someone draped over a
broken down couch in the living room, unmoving.
time is it?" he softly asked out loud.
donít know. Itís a ways until dawn, though. Come on. If you canít sleep,
we can write for awhile." She yawned.
the got to his room, she closed the door softly. The fleeting thought that he
shouldnít be in here alone with her went through his mind, but the fear of her
leaving quickly quashed it. She plopped on the mattress, and pulled the blanket
over her. "Come on, sit here with me."
was unbelievably mature for her age, Sam thought, admiring her from the foot of
the mattress. It this was even a little bit how Nashís mind usually was, he
was lucky to have her. Sam wondered if Nash knew that, and suspected he must.
couldnít sit, and paced the room feeling like his body was electrified. He
wrung his hands, and started talking quickly and quietly to himself. "Why
am I here? Who needs me? Iíve got to figure this out."
watched him with half closed eyes, not interfering. After listening to his
rambling, unable to sleep, she finally gave up with a sigh. "Come on,
letís write it down." She sat up and dug out a pad of paper from nearby.
"Find a pencil, Russ. Writing it down always helps."
pushed all the music sheets on the floor aside, found a pencil, and took the
pad. She leaned against his back as he sat, scribbling, which must have been
uncomfortable because he couldnít sit still. As he wrote, he rocked back and
forth and whispered nonstop. He felt exhilarated, like he was on a runaway
horse, high as a kite, and scared to death all at the same time.
was insane. And he wondered how he could possibly help anyone in this condition.
He was still trying to figure out how to help himself.
Al finally showed up again, Sam was physically exhausted. Carlie was asleep on
the mattress, and when the Imaging Room door finally swooshed open Sam glanced
at Al and shot out the bedroom door motioning the Observer to follow. Dawn was
just coloring the overcast sky a weak gray.
one stirred in the house as Sam sailed through to the sidewalk, where he stopped
to wait for his friend.
the big hurry, Sam? And you look terrible! You have bags under your eyes the
size of Texas! Havenít you slept?"
was pacing back and forth in a tight pattern. "Al, Iím a mess. Iíve
been up all night. I heard voices, just like you said, and I think I just
rewrote either War and Peace or my proposal for the Project on every scrap of
loose paper I could find!" He held his palms against his temples. "And
my brain wonít turn off! It just keeps running and runningÖ"
like your mouth! Thatís Nashís mind, Sam. Youíve got to remember that and
use your head to calm down, here. Hear me?"
saw a man come out of the house next door to pick up the newspaper lying in the
driveway. He looked oddly at the grungy young man talking to himself, and slowly
returned to his home, but continued to watch Sam through one of the front
windows. Sam smiled weakly at him and mumbled, "Let's get in the car,"
then slipped inside the battered orange Volvo.
popped in next to him and looked around. "What a wreck. Must be what they
haul their instruments around in. Hey, by the way, you sing this evening,
remember? You know the song?"
a brief wave at the hologram Sam said, "Yeah, yeah, I have it, but I can't
do this if I have another one of theseÖ theseÖ"
'Episodes'?" Al offered.
Episodes." Sam rubbed his eyes. "What do I do if that happens, Al? I
don't think I can really control them. How can I help anyone when I'm like that?
And what does Ziggy predict happens when Nash lives?"
hand link squealed as Al thumped it on it on its side. "I had that hereÖ
hang on..." and he whacked it again, causing Sam to cringe. "Piece of
junk...wait, here it is.." Al read the information out loud as it scrolled
across the tiny screen. "Well, when Nash died, the band broke up, and they
all went their own ways. They joined other bands, or became solo artists like
McGuire. Carlie starts her own all-girl band, and does well, too, but Ziggy
gives it a 92.67% chance that you're here to keep them together. They become a
lot more successful as a group with Nash's creative drive behind them."
leaned his head on the steering wheel. He was obviously tired. "So, Ziggy
says they do all right no matter what happens to Russell Nash."
hesitated. "Well, yeah, I guess that's true. Although Ziggy says that
McGuire will probably die of a heroin overdose. She won't project a probability,
looked annoyed. "Why? Why won't she predict the chances for that?"
says there's too much human nature involved with that kind of prediction, and
she doesn't want to quote anything without more hard facts, which would have to
be obtained after events change here. She's saying it's too soon to tell. So,
you must be here to keep the band together and save Nash. Just like Ziggy says,
then she can predict what happens to McGuire." He slipped the link in his
frowned. Inside he knew how impossible that would be to save Nash in the long
run, but he was too tired to argue. "I need some sleep before
tonight," he mumbled, part of him craving the idea and part of him afraid
of more nightmares.
friend and Observer studied him for a moment. "You OK now, Sam? Nash in
there at all?" He tapped his forehead with a finger.
ah, think I'm OK right now." The car did feel comforting, and not wanting
to wake Carlie, he just leaned back and shut his eyes. "I'll just rest here
Al was about to protest further, and bring up the idea of cuddling with the
sweet, young thing in Nash's room, but the soft, regular breathing of his friend
told him he was too late. Sam was already asleep. "OK, then, I'll just
check back in awhile."
Gate, New Mexico
Al spent the time after leaving Sam signing reports and budgets, and
eventually got down to Beeks' office. She was busy typing at her computer, pages
of handwritten notes spread out on the table next to her. White uniformed
medical personnel moved in and out of the office with quiet efficiency, smiling
an nodding at the Admiral as he watched the figure of Sam through the one-way
Nash was quietly reading, but Al noticed that his foot kept bouncing under the
sheets. Eventually the Visitor got up from the bed and moved to the chair after
pacing a bit.
Beeks noticed the motion and stopped her typing, then moved to stand next to Al.
"He's getting restless," she noted. Al nodded. "He's been saying
that he feels like something's going to happen. Sort of a growing feeling of
Is that part of his syndrome?"
shook her head. "No, I don't think so. First of all, I think he's bored. He
has told me that he sort of misses the manic states when he's creating and
writing, and thinks he's lost the artist part of himself. But, he doesn't miss
the depression part, which has always scared him. He knows they go hand in hand.
I thinks he's trying to figure out how he can function in this state of boring
snorted. "If he thinks this is normal, he's really confused."
stood next to Al, crossing her arms. "He's approaching his fifth hour
without symptoms, Admiral. That's the longest period so far. I afraid that if he
gets used to this calm state of mind, he won't adjust well to his return."
She turned to face Al, and waited until he met her eyes. "And I'm afraid of
what's happening to Sam. If Nash has been without symptoms here for that long,
I'm assuming Sam has now had them nonstop for that same period. I'm fear for
both of them, Admiral."
Beeks last statement was all Al needed to launch himself to the Imaging Chamber.
had no idea how long he'd slept in the car. The drummer, McGuire, banging on the
window and making rude noises, awakened him. Apparently it wasn't unusual for
Nash to sleep in the car. McGuire just carried on like it was a normal event.
sleep hadn't been restful. It was again full of odd and disturbing dreams as if
his brain was still running wildly, even in sleep. He shook his head to clear
it, but felt a slight fog hanging in the back of his mind. Making his way into
the house he saw that it was nearing noon, and the rest of the band was just
getting up. There were open beers already in the kitchen, adjacent to the cereal
boxes. He shook his head, amazed, and dug around for some bread to make toast.
felt Carlie's arms around his waist as he looked in the refrigerator, and it
made him smile. She was as tired as he was, but smiled at him anyway. She had a
cigarette between her fingers, and sat on the counter to watch him.
suppose we're gonna practice again before we pack up?" she asked, tiredly.
wad of rolled up paper arched over her shoulder and bounced off Sam's back.
"Yeah, we'd better." Came the comment from the living room, where the
bass player, Tony, was still draped on the couch. "There's gonna be a big
crowd there tonight." He yawned.
give and take of conversation grew as McGuire and the other guitar player, Del,
came in. Beer bottles clinked and more paper wads flew, but they seriously
planned for the evening at the same time. Sam listened, waiting for his toast,
following the planning and feeling a growing sense of something vague and
threatening in his mind. He couldn't put his finger on it; it was like a
constant hum in the back of his mind. It was easy to ignore at first, but as
time went by the distraction grew.
he felt someone poking his side. "Your toast. It popped up a while
ago." Carlie pointed at the aged toaster.
pulled out the toast and found a butter knife. The only spreadable thing in the
kitchen was a bit of peanut butter, so he started to slather it on the bread
when the white-fog-and-hum turned into distinct whispers. He dropped the knife
and looked around, but everyone else was still talking in the living room. The
whispers were coming from inside his head again.
managed to distract himself for awhile by following the group through the
planning session and practice. He sang the song, with Carlie as backup, in a
shaky manner. Carlie studied him, concerned. The others teased him for saving
himself for the performance.
always stink just before we hit the stage," Del quipped. It didn't make Sam
feel any better.
practiced again, then loaded up the Volvo, in a smoky haze of cigarettes and
pot. The whispers in Sam's head faded in and out, but were always there, as was
Carlie, who obviously knew something was going on and stayed by his side. She
was a source of strength for him, and he was grateful.
car was packed and ready to go by early afternoon. The others went off is search
of food, leaving Sam alone with his private demons. The voices had stayed in the
background, and now that it was quiet he nervously moved around in the garage,
trying to keep distracted. The sound of the Imaging Room door was very welcome.
Sam, how's it going?"
have you been?" Sam sounded more panicked than angry, but was thankful for
Project maintenance and research. The same old stuff." He kept his voice
level even when he saw how awful his friend looked.
leave again, Al. Something's going on, and I don't want to be alone, OK?"
going on?" He hoped he'd kept the alarm he felt from his voice.
paced back and forth, his hands pressed against his head. "I don't know. I
can't explain. It's this feeling that something bad is going to happen. These
voices are trying to warn me and they won't stop."
knew what was going on; Sam had the full brunt of Nash's affliction. He didn't
know how much to tell him, because there was nothing Sam could do except hang on
until he leaped. That's what he told him, and Sam sank down on the garage floor,
looking as close to being utterly defeated as Al had ever seen him. "You
can hang on, Sam. Just keep yourself separate from Nash. Don't ask me how it
works, but Beeks says to try and visualize yourself in your mind. Separate your
mind from Nash's."
didn't get time to apply the practice. The others came back with fast food,
which Sam discovered he couldn't eat. McGuire blamed it on pre performance
jitters. Everyone else was in very high spirits, Carlie included, which made Sam
feel even more like an outsider.
it came to leave for the amphitheater, enthusiasm was high and girlfriends
appeared from nowhere much to Al's delight. The Observer tried to keep up the
appearance of having a good time, but was actually deeply worried. Sam seemed
disjointed and unconnected. It was disturbing.
was only room for Carlie and Sam in the Volvo, since they had all the
instruments. The others and their girlfriends piled in an old Toyota. Carlie
offered to drive, and they fell in behind the other car. A beer bottle sailed
out of the window of the Toyota, crashing to the sidewalk in a million pieces.
Sam felt like his brain was about to do the same. Al hovered between them,
trying to keep the conversation light. Sam's growing unresponsiveness made it
took about a half-hour to get to the amphitheater. When they arrived, there were
loud and raucous tailgate parties going on in the public parking lot. Sam saw
McGuire and the others hanging out of the windows, yelling at the crowd as they
drove by to the performers' entrance. They had to wait several minutes before
they could get to the back stage entrance. Spirits were very high as the group
unloaded the instruments and dragged them inside, the girls bouncing happily
held back, unable to get himself to enter.
the matter, Sam? It's almost over!" Al urged. "Go in!"
.. I... can't," he whispered, barely hearing himself over the voices.
hearing his words, took his hand and pulled him back to the car. "Come on,
Russ, let's park the car. It'll give you time to get yourself together."
allowed himself to be pulled back and loaded back in the car.
Al protested. "Where're ya goin'? Get back here!"
drove out of the crowded lot, back around an access road behind the amphitheater
to a small stand of trees. She slowly drove off the pavement into the trees, and
stopped the car. They could look across a small parking lot to the back of the
amphitheater, which was slightly below them, visible between the trees. With the
windows cracked, they could hear loud music from the numerous cars, and
occasional party noise. Carlie turned off the car and took Sam's hand. The sun
was low on the horizon, sunset imminent.
oh, Sam. This looks a little romantic, if you get my drift. Don't ya want to get
set up, or something??" Al was concerned Sam wouldn't leave the quiet of
the car at all, and as a result not accomplish the job Ziggy said he was here to
just looked tired and zoned out, and stared out of the windshield, gripping
Carlie's hand. She pulled his head over onto her shoulder, and he closed his
eyes. It was amazing how her touch held the voices back. He was trying to hang
stroked his hair and hummed quietly. Only Al saw her check her watch repeatedly,
and the worried look on her face. The responsibility of getting Sam to the stage
was on her young shoulders, and she knew it. When the sun had finally dropped
down, and the performances were about to begin, she began gently pushing him in
that direction. He willingly followed her from the car as they walked to the
back entrance doors. Al stayed right next to Sam, urging him on, but he knew
Carlie was really the driving force here and was glad she was there for his
they got backstage, Sam seemed to perk up. The energy of the waiting bands was
catching, and Al actually saw a ghost of a smile on Sam's pale face. So did
Carlie, and she smiled a huge smile and hugged him. She was catching the
excitement, and her eyes glowed.
a natural for this,' Al thought, an idea coming to him. He tapped on the
hand link as Sam and Carlie joined the throng in the wings. There was tremendous
applause for the band that just finished up, and the next group crowded by to
hit the stage. The audience was wildly cheering, and just warming up.
Russ! Carlie!" McGuire pushed his way up to them. "We're after these
guys. We have about 15 minutes, I'd guess." He guzzled a beer, and tossed
the bottle behind him with out a thought. "We're gonna kick ass!"
beamed and could hardly contain herself. She stood on her toes to see onto the
stage, and chatted happily with the other band members.
felt more and more disconnected, like he was watching through a growing fog. The
closeness of the crowd heightened his anxiety, and he found himself backing up
out of it until he was against a wall. He couldn't tell if the buzzing he heard
was in his head or his ears, but the anxiety was quickly turning to panic and he
stumbled along the wall until he came to a door and pushed his way in.
was a small closet with some buckets and brooms, and piles of ropes hastily
stacked. Sam shut the door, welcoming the darkness, and squatted down.
Hey, you in here?" Al's voice was tinged with worry.
could hear the cheering and stomping feet from the crowd in the amphitheater
from inside the tiny room. It was all he could hear outside the murmuring voices
growing in his head. He slumped against the wall with his hands pressed against
his ears in an effort to get some peace. He had to think! He squeezed his eyes
shut and slid to the floor, resting his forehead on his knees. The voices were
getting stronger, and he could feel the butterflies of panic rising in his
Breathe slowly! Calm down, Sam! Do you hear me? Sam? SAM!"
voice was persistent and loud, rising over the others in his mind. From
somewhere deep inside, a spark of recognition held back the descending darkness
for just a moment. "Al?" he choked, forcing his head up and peeking
though one eye. "Help me!"
got to hang in there just a bit longer, Sam! Ziggy thinks you may not be here to
perform at all! Carlie has to sing, Sam, not Nash! Carlie has to sing! Do you
hear me?" The Observer was horrified at what he saw, but there was nothing
he could do to physically help his friend. Sam was going down fast.
"Control your breathing, Sam! Look at me! Listen!"
was still cowered on the floor, attempting to hide from unseen assailants.
Through the painfully squinted eyes, Al could see the inner turmoil Beeks had
warned him about. He had to keep Sam Beckett in control for just a bit longer.
"Ziggy says that Nash was on a manic high when he performed this song
originally. He was phenomenal! Your leaping in has changed that, Sam. Heís
going into a depressive state now! You canít perform, Sam, but Carlie can!
Thatís why youíre here! Do you hear me?"
was a knock on the door that Sam didnít even seem to notice, being so focused
on fighting his inner demons. Al could hear him trying to control his breathing
and hang on.
Carlieís voice was filled with concern. "Come on Russ, itís our turn,
honey! Russell? You OK?"
her, Sam! Tell her you canít go on!"
Samís voice was barely a whisper.
Sam!" ordered the hologram.
The shout made Sam cringe, and a tear slipped from his clenched eyes. Alís
voice was his only lifeline to sanity, and he desperately grasped for it.
door burst open, and sweet, lovely Carlie fell to her knees next to Sam,
gathering him in her arms. "Hold on, Russ, my love. Shh, shh. Iíll quiet
the voices." She took him in a tight embrace, rocking him slightly as she
had done for Russell in so many of those dark times. Al had to admire her heart.
her, Sam. Tell her to go on without you," Al was firm and calm, even though
the sight of his friend is so much pain tore him up inside.
Carlie," Sam muttered clearly, the voices dimming at her touch. He didnít
want her to go; she made him feel safe. He knew, though, that her future had to
go on without Nash; Russell Nash had to follow another path, alone. Sam Beckett,
supported by the loving arms of Carlie, had the strength to take control and
make the decision for their future. "Sing my song. For me. Go."
you sure?" She was petting his temple calmly, and Al could see the creases
on his friendís forehead relax. ' She really has to love Nash to put up
with all this,' Al mused.
Sam whispered. Al could see the struggle inside both of them. Carlie, torn
between the stage and her lover, and Sam, desperately fighting to keep his
her go, Sam. You have to." Al felt like a heel, but knew what had to be
finally pushed her away. "I donít need you. Go."
eyes were wide with surprise and hurt. She slowly stood, and hesitated, watching
her mentor curl up into a ball of inner pain.
Sam barked, his hands clenched tightly over his ears. The voices were rising
again like an ocean swell.
Carlie turned and fled from the room.
room became too close for Sam. He felt as if the rising voices would drown him
here, so he stumbled from the room, using the wall for support. The chanting in
the amphitheater added to the cacophony of voices egging him on. He found a back
door, and burst through into the night air. The chill of the night shocked him
into awareness for just a few moments, and he discovered he was running clumsily
through a parking lot. There was a gravelly voice close on his heels.
Stop! Where are you going? Slow down, will ya?" Al tried to keep the fear
out of his voice as he followed his friend through the parked cars. ' He's
gonna have a few owie-lumps tomorrow,' the Admiral thought, the way he was
tripping and banging into things. "Come on, Sam! Donít you wanna hear
slowed, not completely aware of the hologram next to him. He only had one goal,
and focusing on that goal was the only thing he felt he could control at this
point; find the car. The familiar closeness of the car would comfort him and
perhaps stave off the darkness he felt surrounding him. He stumbled out of the
lot into the small stand of trees that stood between him and his goal.
realized where he was heading. "Yeah, OK, the car. Itís right over
here." He led the way, and Sam seemed to follow on automatic pilot. There
still was some sort of inner battle going on in his friendís eyes. Maybe the
familiarity of the car would help.
could hear the emcee announcing the band. "And now a local favorite!
Hailing from right here in Seattle, Gimme Pie!" There was a wave of
cheering, whistling and stomping feet as the familiar chords screamed into the
night. Al had to admit, the excitement was catching, and the song was perfectly
in tune with the feeling of the crowd.
familiar guitar riffs hummed through the air just as Sam found the car, and he
desperately pulled the door open, seeking refuge from the onslaught. He fell
inside, slammed the doors, locked them, and huddled down deeply in the seat
after cracking the window open to hear the band. He barely noticed or
acknowledged Al, who was sitting right next to him.
was concerned, and tried to keep the mood light. "Wow, quite the view!
Canít see the crowd, but the lights are pretty. Can hear Ďem too. Listen to
Carlie! Sheís great!"
deceptively sweet voice as strong and edgy. The song took on a more haunting
feel when she sang it, and Al had to admit it was a better fit than Nashís
style. Carlie had more edgy depth and emotion. He knew it would be a hit, and
pulled out the hand link to verify his feeling. Sam had to leap soon, or he
would lose his mind.
Ziggy says youíve done it! Nash was never meant to sing here. Carlie gets the
group signed! In fact, eleven years from now ĎIllusions of Loveí is named
one of the top twenty rock and roll songs of all time, credited with starting
the grunge/garage band phase! Letís see Ö what happens to Nash..." Al
poked a few buttons, concentrating on the read out as he threw Sam an occasional
Sam felt himself falling into a pit of swirling darkness. The voices were
chanting, chanting, endlessly chanting, drawing him into the pit. Once in awhile
he could hear a clear voice calling, "Sam! Sam!" but couldnít grasp
the meaning. Carlieís beautiful voice and his comforting music were floating
above it all, and Sam felt himself reaching for it, knowing he could never save
himself from this grave-like darkness. He started to cry, and at that moment,
gave up. He couldnít live like this. No one could live like this.
Sam then saw himself standing aside, a mere shadow in the darkness as Nash took
over. He reached for something cold and metallic as Sam watched, helpless. Nash
caressed the steely thing, and looked up where the sweet sound of Carlie seemed
to be floating above.
the only thing of true beauty I ever had," Nash whispered to her. "I
canít fight the darkness anymore. Iím sorry."
watched Nash raise the muzzle of gun, and felt the coldness of the metal on his
was screaming at the top of his lungs, unseen and unheard, as he watched his
friend pull the handgun from under the seat. Sam regarded it, caressed it for a
moment as he whispered something, then slowly put the muzzle in his mouth.
DO IT, SAM! Nash is supposed to die, not you!" His vision was blurred from
unshed tears, his hands fruitlessly grabbing at Samís hands. "SAM! NOOO!"
The Observer helplessly watched as his best friend closed his lips on the gun, a
shiny tear running down his cheek onto the muzzle.
Carlieís voice reached the crescendo of the chorus, her plaintive sweetness
surrounding them like a shield, there was a flash of blue lightning
instantaneously followed by an thunderous gunshot.
Beckett had escaped.
the electric blue-white light flickered, then faded, Dr. Sam Beckett shook his
head to clear his vision. As soon as he did that, he started to sway violently
from side to side. He pin wheeled his arms frantically to keep his balance but
it only made the situation worse and his feet started to slip from the narrow
quickly looked down, only to see that the actual ground was several feet below
him and that his feet were clenched on a cable suspended between two large metal
posts. He was extremely relieved to find that there was a net placed directly
beneath him. Just as he sighed he started to tumble downward. He quickly placed
his left leg in front of him but his foot slipped and he swayed faster until he
completely lost his balance. He leaned backwards as his arms flew upward along
with his right leg. With his arms flailing, Sam howled as he fell rapidly
towards the ground.
felt the net catch him, bouncing him up and down. He sighed loudly and closed
his eyes. Moments later, he slowly opened them to see a man stare at him with
contempt, then the man shook his head and pushed his glasses up to his nose.
When Sam was able to regain his footing, he stood up and quickly grabbed one of
the support posts then hauled himself to the ground. On the ground he got a
better view of the surroundings as well as the person in front of him.
saw that they were in a large green and blue striped tent. Above him, running
the length of the tent, was the cable that he had fallen from moments before,
suspended from two strong metal poles. The space inside the tent was rather
large with wooden crates placed in the far corners of the tent. Other than that,
the tent was empty. The smell of sawdust filled his nostrils and Sam looked down
at the ground to see that the floor was covered with a thin sheet of blue
plastic covered with sawdust. Somewhere outside Sam heard the pronounced
trumpeting of an elephant and the busy hum of people as they moved about. He
glanced down and noticed that he was wearing white tights and a dark gray tank
top that had wet spots forming on his chest, and he tugged at the material where
it clung to him. Now, only if he could find a mirror. Then, Sam noticed that the
other man was still staring at him with a contemptuous look.
looked like he was in his fifties with thinning gray hair and thick glasses. His
eyes were magnified through the lenses to accentuate his poor vision. He was a
bit stocky, to put it nicely. But the look that he was giving him at the moment
showed that he was not pleased. He licked his lips then spoke to Sam in a
scornful tone. "How do you expect to perform in the show next week if you
keep pulling stupid stunts like that?" Sam had no idea what to say. He
quickly glanced up at the cable and back to the older man prompting him with a
hard stare. When Sam stuttered a response, the other man interrupted him.
"Címon, Dave, I know you could do a hell of a lot better than that.
Youíre a very talented performer and you canít afford to screw up now, not
when youíre so close. You are one of the best tight rope walkers I have seen
eyes widened at that last remark. He looked at the man with pure shock.
"Tight rope walker?" he stuttered.
man looked at him with a quizzical look and bobbed his head. "Yes, Dave,
tight rope walker."
breathed an, "Oh, boy."