In Dreams

by Kim Maddox

Chapter 35
Jake Connelly drove the small rented car to the nearest highway and turned onto it heading south. He glanced to his right and shook his head. ‘Damn, how had this happened? What had he gotten involved in, and how far down was Rachel going to take him?´ Jake glanced at the speedometer and slowed the car down to less than 60 miles per hour. He didn´t want to draw any more attention to himself, or his passenger. The young naval officer looked sadly at his bleeding, disheveled sister and said to himself, “I let you do this to me again Rachel. I just couldn´t let them lock you away again. We´ll work something out. I´ll take you far away, somewhere where Chris Larabee doesn´t exist. I´ll see that you get help Rachel. I promise.” That said Jake Connelly looked back to the highway and wondered how long it would be before he was reported AWOL. And how long it would be before Larabee´s team discovered that Rachel´s body was no longer at the bottom of the ravine.

Rachel was sleeping fitfully. Her thoughts were muddled. Sarah was distraught at seeing Chris injured. Rachel was upset that she hadn´t managed to get Chris to go with her, and the others were tormenting her with their taunting voices, bombarding her with evidence of her failure. She shook her head and tried to clear the voices; the voices wouldn´t go away. Carly was telling her that she was giving up too easy. “Go after him. Dump this idiot here, and go after the man you want. He´s yours; you´ve earned him. You love him more than anyone else ever has; he needs you,” the strongest of the voices told Rachel. Carly´s voice was the hardest for her to resist. Rachel could usually control the others, but Carly was the strong one. Carly was in control when bad things happened. Carly was responsible for Sarah´s death and Adam´s kidnapping. “Stop!” Rachel screamed aloud.

Jake slammed on the brakes and the car came to a screeching halt. “Rachel, what is it?” he asked in alarm. When his sister didn´t respond Jake reached out to his sister and grabbed her arm.

Rachel jerked in response to his touch and Carly once again took control. “Nothing Jake, just get me out of here.” Carly conceded and thought it best to live to fight another day.

Chapter 36

Nathan sat at Chris Larabee´s bedside and waited with trepidation the awakening of his leader and friend. Larabee had been given a sedative the night before to help keep him still. ‘The damn fool wanted to get up and walk out of here. Leg just about cut off and he wants to walk out of here. What´s it gonna take to convince that man that he´s not indestructible?´

Chris stirred and green eyes opened narrowly. “Nathan? That you?” the groggy man asked hoarsely.

“Yeah Boss. How you feeling?” Nathan asked, concern evident in the tone of his voice.

“Better than yesterday. I´m still not clear on just exactly what happened. I want to know, now,” Chris demanded.

“Chris, we´re gonna have to wait until the doctor clears you before we can discuss the case with you. He don´t want you to get too worked up.”

“Worked up? About what? Nathan I want to know what happened out there. I remember Rachel being there. I remember seeing Vin there. What am I not remembering?” Chris asked beginning to get agitated.

“Chris, settle down now. They won´t let you have any more visitors if you get too upset. Calm down and I´ll talk to your doctor about everything, ok?”

“All right but I want all the details, and I want them in about two seconds,” Chris said with a finality that Nathan knew would be impossible to ignore.

Dr. Murdock finally arrived and examined Chris and pronounced him on the road to recovery. It would take a while for his leg to heal and for him to have proper use of the limb. The doctor diligently warned Chris of the dangers associated with over exertion and strain on the healing leg. Chris promised vaguely to be a good boy and stay off his leg and rest. The others knew he was lying.

“Doc, I need you to tell them,” Chris said pointing a finger at the group of men standing at the end of the bed, “that I am well enough to discuss the case we have been working on. If someone doesn´t tell me the facts, and soon, I am going to find out for myself.”

“I suppose you could do a little work, as long as you don´t get out of bed and you only work for about an hour at a time and rest in between times, but if you tire yourself out or try to get up without help from someone on the staff, I will post a no visitors order on your chart. I will do it Mr. Larabee, don´t push me.”

“Wouldn´t dream of it. All I want to know are just the details of the case, I´ll leave the paperwork to them,” Chris replied grinning victoriously at the six men looking uneasily at him. Seeing the looks on their faces, suddenly Chris wasn´t sure he wanted to know anymore.

Buck stepped forward and quietly cleared his throat. “Chris, I… ah… well, it´s like this… damn I can´t. I just don´t know what to say. Vin,” Buck looked desperately at the sharpshooter.

“Well, Chris, it´s not that we´re trying to keep anything from you, it´s just… Nathan, you can explain it better,” Vin wormed his way out of the task.

Nathan gave Vin a dirty look and then looked to Josiah for the best way, psychologically, to tell Chris the news. Meanwhile Chris was beginning to get antsy, and a little annoyed. “What could possibly be so bad that they were beating around every bush in the state of Colorado to avoid having to tell him?´ Josiah was just about to turn the duty over to JD when Chris suddenly roared, “ENOUGH!” The six men all jumped, startled at the volume of the injured man´s voice. It didn´t do much for Chris either. He held his head in his hands until the unmerciful throbbing eased a bit, then told them, “Don´t make me do that again.”

Ezra, finally having had enough of the games they were playing said, “Come on, I think we are all a little old for this cat and mouse stuff. Chris is a grown man and I can´t blame him for being angry that we are treating him like a child. Besides, he already knows what has happened and if he will just allow himself to remember, it will all come back to him. I think the best course of action is for us to do just that, let him remember in his own time when he is ready to do so.”

The other five men looked nervously at Ezra as if to say, “Enjoyed knowing you, rest in peace.” Chris scowled at Ezra but stayed surprisingly calm. “You will tell me now. I don´t care which one of you talks, but you´ve got one minute.”

“Alright Mr. Larabee, don´t blow a fuse. We shall endeavor to fill you in on the particulars of the matter if you will agree to hear us out and not, I repeat not attempt to get out of that bed.”

“Fine,” Chris said through tightly clenched teeth.

“The suspects struck you with a baseball bat and abducted you from the park outside of Denver. They kept you at the Eagle Rock campgrounds for an unknown period of time, during which you received the injury to your person. Mr. Tanner attempted to liberate you but was seemingly unsuccessful, as the miscreants also used his rather thick skull for batting practice. You were eventually delivered from your captors and returned here to Denver Memorial where you were immediately taken in for vascular surgery and a long recovery period,” Ezra recounted.

Chris looked perplexed and shaking his head, laid back on the bed, “You did that on purpose,” he accused the verbose undercover agent.

“No Chris, I didn´t. Those are the facts pertaining to your kidnapping. The other information you seek is in your head. It´s up to you to remember it; I promise you it will be easier that way.”

Buck sat down in the chair beside Chris´ bed. “I´ll tell you what you want to know Pard, but God help me, I think Ezra is right. You need to remember this for yourself. Josiah thinks he might be able to help you. He´s got a friend that is a psych professor,” Buck was cut off by a derisive snort from Chris.

“You think I´m crazy Buck? Why don´t you just lock me away? God knows that´s probably where I need to be,” Chris interrupted hotly.

“No Chris I don´t think you´re crazy. I think you´re just a little confused right now. That head wound was pretty nasty and everything has just been a mess lately…” Buck attempted to smooth over the suggestion that Chris see a psychologist.

“No Mr. Larabee, I don´t think you´re crazy either. Just afraid. Afraid to remember. You knew everything that was happening when we found you. You knew where you were, what was going on around you, and made certain demands as to how things were to be carried out. Now you say you don´t remember anything? How can that be?”

Buck wanted to slug Ezra. ‘Ezra just this once shut up!´ thought Buck angrily. ‘You don´t know what this is going to do to him, or how he is gonna react. This is good news but you don´t just go blindsiding somebody with stuff like this.´

“Let it go Mr. Larabee. Just let it go.”

Chris was about to respond with another threat or a few choice words which couldn´t be shared in mixed company when a flash of light inside his head erupted, causing pain severe enough to bring his hands to his face, attempting to force the light away from his already sensitive eyes.

Buck grabbed for his friends hands, pulling them away from his face, demanding to know what was wrong. “Chris, you ok Pard?”

Chris writhed in agony on the bed. Josiah used the call button to summon a nurse. Vin tried to calm the injured man, fearing that he was doing himself further harm in his struggles. Chris was far beyond hearing anything that was being said to him. He was caught firmly in a nightmare that he had hoped to never have to deal with again. When the nurse arrived Josiah stopped her with a hand asking for a moment.

The battle that was raging in Chris Larabee´s mind was of epic proportions. The flashing lights were illuminating faces and places from his past. The cabin, oh God that cabin, would he ever be able to put what happened out of his mind or would it haunt him till he died? Rachel, how did she fit in to the whole thing? What was she doing there? She stabbed him. She stabbed him, and her boyfriend had knocked Vin out. He had knocked him out too. Why? What had he ever done to Rachel? She loved him. She wanted him. Oh God, it was coming back to him, he was remembering. Rachel was crazy. No, she was sick. Mentally sick. She thought he was in love with her. What had she done? He knew that she had done something bad, he could remember accusing her of something, but what was it?

“Stop!” Chris called out.

“No Chris, you need to remember. You need to remember what happened, what you found out in the cabin. It´s very important that you remember,” Ezra pleaded.

“No Ezra, leave him be! He can´t handle it right now,” Buck snarled at the undercover agent.

“He can and he will Mr. Wilmington.”

The images were coming unbidden. They came more rapidly and more viciously; Rachel running at Vin with the knife and then burying it to the hilt in his own thigh. He remembered the confession she had made to him of her love for him. Then he remembered the accusatory question he posed to her, “What did you do?”

The memories flooded through him then. Sarah, Adam, Rachel, the mistakes he made, the garage, the investigation, everything, came rushing up to meet him. He uncovered his face and looked with haunted eyes at his friends standing around him. “I remember.”

Chapter 37

Chris drew in a ragged breath, “Oh God, Rachel killed Sarah and Adam. She killed them.” The haunted look on the blonds face told his friends that he did indeed remember the conversation in the cabin. “Where is she?” Larabee asked, his dispassionate manner belying the anger boiling inside the cool exterior.

“She had an accident Chris, she took a bad fall,” Josiah replied calmly attempting to quell the turmoil raging inside the injured man. “It was a really bad fall Chris.”

Chris realized what Josiah was trying to tell him and sank back into the pillow. “She´s dead?” The question was really more a statement.

“There´s a search team in place at the cabin. It´s going to take a little while to recover the body; she fell a long way,” Josiah answered.

“I want to know when they find her,” the blond man said through clenched teeth. Buck looked worriedly to the profiler. They were still trying to figure out the best way to tell their friend that his son was alive. Wilmington knew that nothing would keep the intense man in front of him still once he knew the boy was alive. The doctors had stressed that Chris needed to take care of his leg. He had come very close to losing the limb and it needed time to heal. Josiah shook his head letting Buck know that now was not the time to spring the news on their friend. One bombshell at a time was all Chris could handle.

“You´ll be the first to know Chris,” Buck assured Larabee.

The blond man tried to fight off the sleep that beckoned to him but was unable to stay awake. He fell into a troubled slumber and the nightmare began anew. Rachel killed Sarah and Adam. Images coursed through his brain adding to the insanity that plagued his psyche. Images of Rachel committing all manner of atrocities on the bodies of his wife and son played out in macabre fashion. Rachel covered in blood, seducing him all the while plotting the deaths of his family. The garage, the cabin, and the burned out frame of his truck, all combined to make a living hell for the already physically and emotionally fragile man.

Chris was ready to wake up but the drugs helping him to heal wouldn´t allow it. The antibiotics and the sedatives were good for his body but were wreaking havoc with his mind; no sooner did one nightmare end than another began. This one was the same as before he found out about Rachel. Adam, frantically calling out to him for help, Adam, as he would look now, and as a small child running out to meet him when he came home in the evenings. The next image was the one that finally brought him out of his enforced repose. The sight of Adam running from the burning truck, his skin charred and his face fixed in agony brought Chris to his senses in a blinding, agonizing rush of grief. Chris sat up in bed and called out for the son he thought was forever lost to him in a mournful cry. The anguished cry torn from the throat of his best friend brought Vin to his feet and to Chris´ bedside.

“Chris! Come on Chris, wake up! It´s just a dream Chris, everything´s alright. For the first time in a long time Pard, everything´s ok,” Vin spoke in a low, soft, steady voice. The others had gone to get something to eat and some coffee to fight off the fatigue that always came with staying at a hospital. Without Josiah there to counsel him the urge to tell Chris about his son was almost more than he could bear. Only the warning from Josiah to take it slow for Chris´ mental stability was holding him back. The doctors were also worried about Adam´s ability to handle the revelation that he had a father that loved him and would take care of him. The child had been denied the love and comfort of a family for four years, to introduce him to it too fast wouldn´t be the best thing for him, so the professionals in their infinite wisdom had decided that it would be best for him to stay in a foster home that dealt exclusively with the problems associated with displacement. Vin knew all about foster homes and knew that they were not the best place for anyone, displaced or not. Weren´t all kids in foster homes displaced? ‘Somehow,´ Vin mused, ‘I´m gonna keep Adam out of there and at home with Chris where he belongs, but Chris has to get better first.´

Vin´s pleading brought Chris back to reality. He sat up, sweaty, disheveled, and bewildered. Larabee looked around the room and finally his eyes locked with Vin´s. The steadfast gaze calmed his mind and he relaxed visibly. In the next moment the look issuing from Vin´s eyes evolved and Chris sensed a hesitancy never before affiliated with the quiet, calm sharpshooter. Larabee became unsettled and Vin immediately picked up on the vibes emitted by his friend.

“Tell me Vin.” The order issued by Larabee was one that Vin couldn´t ignore. The expression on the face of his best friend brooked no argument and Vin wasn´t sure he wanted to even try to keep the truth from the injured man anymore. There were all kinds of injuries and the emotional ones were sometimes more harmful than the physical. Tanner braced for the onslaught of questions and more specifically the condemnation for the cowardly way they had all handled the entire situation.

“Chris, you got to promise me that you´re gonna stay calm. Promise me Cowboy, and mean it, or I won´t tell you anything.”

“I promise Vin. Have you ever known of me breaking my word?”

“No. I just hope you remember that when I tell you what we have been trying to figure out a way to tell you for two days now.”

“Tell me,” Chris replied levelly.

“Pard, there ain´t no easy way to say this so I´m gonna do it the way I always do, straight out. Chris, you know that we were investigating the possibility that Adam was alive, right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Well, when we caught Rachel going into the basement of the cabin we followed her and found her trying to escape. She wasn´t alone,” the tracker paused trying to let his still disconcerted friend catch up. “Chris, she had him with her. Rachel had Adam.”

Larabee looked stunned only for a moment and then immediately started trying to remove himself from the bed and the IV from his arm. “Get me to him.” The demand was sharp and Vin noted that Chris hadn´t even mentioned the fact that they kept his son from him for two days.

“Get me to him NOW! Now, and I might forget that the lot of you kept this a secret from me and I´ve lost two days with Adam.” ‘Well, so much for neglecting to mention it,´ Vin thought to himself.

“Hold on Chris, let me get a doctor and let him ok you,” Vin pleaded with the determined man.

“I don´t give a damn if he ok´s it or not, get me to my kid or I´ll do it myself.”

“Chris dammit, wait a minute, there´s more you need to know. Damn, I´m not even supposed to be tellin´ you this. Josiah´s gonna kill me,” Vin stated running his hands through his hair and sighing loudly.

“What´s Josiah got to do with it?” Chris asked sharply.

“He and your doctors agreed that you should be stronger before you were told any of this, and they were right. Look at you, already trying to tear down any progress that the docs made with your leg…” Vin´s voice dropped off into a muttered “Damn.”

“I´m fine, just tell me everything. Everything, Vin.”

The young sharpshooter thought for a moment, carefully considering the best way to proceed. He finally determined that Chris would not be dissuaded and that a short version of the long chain of events would be the best course of action.

“Chris, this is real complicated. The boys are worried about you. We want this to be as easy for you as possible. I´m gonna go slow so I can get it all straight, ok?” Vin spoke calmly to the anxious man.

“Just tell me Vin, please,” the low, dangerous tone had begun to take on a pleading manner.

“Chris, you remember going to meet Rachel at the park, right?” at the nod of the blond head Vin continued. “We heard the message on your machine and headed there to intercept you, but Buck ran into an old friend of yours. Your brother in law Jake.” Chris´ eyebrow shot up in surprise but he remained silent, waiting for the rest of the story.

“Jake told us that he thought Rachel was taking you to the cabin, that it was the place the whole thing started, I don´t know what he meant by that. We all went to the cabin; I went down to see what was going on. That´s when they got me and threw me in with ya. After that I don´t know what happened outside, but inside things got real hairy at that point. Rachel was on really rocky ground. I don´t know how much you remember but she wasn´t really herself, she kinda went back and forth between Rachel and Sarah, she called herself Sarah, Chris. It was like she had a split personality or something. At the end I think there might have even been another person in her head. She talked all crazy like. Chris, I don´t know how responsible Rachel was for everything that happened. It seems like there were too many people in her head for one of em to take blame.”

Chris was in deep thought trying to remember any of the instances that Vin revealed to him. Everything that happened after he saw her in the park and Jimmy hit him was a blur, snatches of memory came to him, but they were shadowy and elusive. Vin, seeing the blond brow furrowed in concentration, became concerned that he was going too fast for the confused man. Chris noticed the silence and looked Vin in the eyes and gave him the silent ok to continue.

“When the boys came in to get us out of there after you´d been cut and I had my brains rearranged, I told them I had seen her going down through a trapdoor in the floor. They followed her down there and Buck found him Chris. Buck found Adam. We weren´t able to tell you cause you were unconscious. He was real skittish, just like an unbroken horse. There´s a lot more to the story Chris, but I don´t think you´re up to all the details, and they don´t really matter anyhow. All that´s important is that Adam is alive and you´ll be able to see him soon. Right now they are trying to get him used to everything, he was pretty isolated with Rachel and he ain´t takin to things real well. Chris we just got to take it one day at a time with him. We´ll all be there to help you. It´s gonna be the most important thing to all of us. You know that´s the truth Pard,” Vin finished earnestly.

“I know,” Chris replied quietly. Chris was thoughtful for a moment and then asked a question that had been plaguing him since Vin mentioned Jake. “What was Jake doing here?”

Vin thought for a minute about his answer. The fact that they had not seen the man since day before yesterday was bothering him. He didn´t know how he would tell Chris that Jake seemed to have disappeared. It would be almost as difficult as telling him that they had yet to recover Rachel´s body from the ravine at Eagle Rock.

Tanner took the tiger by the tail and began the more sordid part of the story that he had hoped to be able to put off for a few more days. Chris´ look of determination prohibited his attempt to stall for more time.

“Chris, Jake showed up at the office and told Buck that Rachel was here and that you could be in danger. By this time we were already looking for you and somehow he knew that you were at the cabin. Buck contacted us and we all headed out there. Chris, Jake told us that he knew about what Rachel had done. He knew Rachel killed Sarah. He knew how and when. He knew that Jimmy had built the bomb. He knew that Rachel took Adam; he knew all of it. He helped cover for her. He said that he just couldn´t turn her in. He tried to help her get well. He finally got her committed but she escaped. That´s when she came here. Chris, we haven´t seen him since day before yesterday. We are checking with his commanding officer to see if he has checked in yet. I don´t think we´ll find him there though. I think he just faded into the background.”

“Let me guess, they ain´t found Rachel´s body yet either,” Chris stated rather than asked.

“No Pard, they haven´t. They´ve looked everywhere. They´re still looking.”

“When can I see him Vin? They can´t keep him from me forever.”

“They won´t Chris. Just give him a couple of days. His doctors are planning on talking to you about it tonight. They´ll tell you what´s going on with him. Josiah said that he is a real artist. His drawings are the talk of the hospital. You might have a Van Gogh on your hands.”

“I don´t care whether he draws, or plays sports, or likes horses, of just sits on the couch and plays video games all day, just so long as he´s with me while he´s doing it,” Chris replied. “God Vin, he´s really alive. Are they sure it´s him?”

“Without a doubt Pard. Besides the best first hand witness in the world, they did blood tests. It´s been proven without a doubt.”

“Who was the witness?” Chris asked.

“Bucklin. You should have seen him Chris. He was like a kid on Christmas morning. He recognized Adam right off. I just wish Adam would´ve recognized him. I guess that´s a little much to ask after four years though.”

“Yeah, I don´t think he´ll recognize me either. I guess it´s for the best that they are taking it slow introducing him to me. I just want what´s best for him Vin. If it means that I can´t get him back right away I´ll just have to deal with it.”

“Good Pard, I´m glad you see it that way,” Vin lied, a little disappointed that Chris wasn´t chomping at the bit to get Adam home. The specter of the foster home wasn´t setting well with Vin.

“But, I won´t wait long,” Chris stated determinedly. This brought the smile back to Vin´s face.

Chapter 38

Adam´s doctors met with Chris later that evening. The other agent´s were there with their friend for moral support. He needed it. By the time the doctors had catalogued the list of Adam´s injuries and problems Chris was overwhelmed. Adam had a broken arm that did not heal properly and would have to be rebroken and reset. It would take about six weeks to heal. The emotional scars would take a lot longer. The doctors explained to Chris that Adam had the equivalent to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The child had been witness to his mothers death, that combined with the physical and emotional trauma bestowed on him for the last four years had almost destroyed the child. He had some very unusual habits and rituals. These came from the uncertainly of where he would lay his head to sleep at night and where his next meal would come from. The most distressing of all his problems however, was his silence. The child had not spoken the entire time he had been in the hospital. The doctors prodded him and did all kinds of tests on him; he never made a sound. The silence was only a part of the emotional damage. Adam refused to sleep in a bed, he hoarded food, and he drew deeply disturbing pictures full of abusive images, fire, and a child´s interpretation of hell. The sight of the drawings and the subject matter left Chris visibly shaken. Adam was indeed a talented artist. The graphic nature was brought to life by the hands of the ten year old who lived the tragedy.

The meeting with Adam´s doctors was almost more than Chris was ready to handle. He fell asleep almost the moment the doctors left. They had promised Chris at least a look at Adam the next morning. He felt both excitement and dread, and the emotions carried over into his dreams.

The troubled, restless sleep wasn´t broken during the night. Chris awoke to find Josiah sleeping in the straight chair beside the bed. Larabee, trying to be quiet to avoid awaking the sleeping man who appeared to be as tired as he himself was, raised the head of the bed using the control unit at his left hand. The unit hummed quietly but the sound of anything except his own snores woke the profiler anyway. “Sorry Josiah,” Chris remarked quietly.

“It´s alright Chris. I needed to be awake anyway. I wanted to check with Adam´s doctors anyway. Are you ready?”

“Yeah, I guess. Hell, I don´t know Josiah. I want to see him, but God; it´s been four years. What if he doesn´t come around Josiah? What if I can never convince him that I love him? What if all he ever believes is that I threw him away, that I never looked for him?” Chris asked brokenly.

“That won´t happen Chris. Adam will see what the rest of us see. His dad. A man who loves him. He´ll come around Chris. Don´t worry.”

“I´ll try not to Josiah.”

Chapter 39

Dr. Crane, Adam´s child psychologist, met Chris at his office before they went to see Adam. Vin and Buck were with Chris and Josiah joined them at the doctor´s office suite. Dr. Crane wanted to test Chris´ reactions to Adam and Adam´s to him. The doctor explained that these reactions would determine the length of time that Adam would stay in the foster home that had been arranged for by the Child Protective Service organization.

Dr. Crane informed Chris of the qualifications of the parents in the foster home where Adam would be staying. The Olson´s had a daughter that was kidnapped at ten years of age and was finally returned a few months after her fourteenth birthday. The couple was very familiar with the emotional upheaval that came with being pulled away from all that was familiar and thrown into sometimes- gruesome surroundings. The return to the family that was supposed to be the most loving and familiar thing but in reality became the most foreign of concepts to the child was experienced first hand by the Olson´s and their daughter Melissa.

Chris wasn´t happy about the turn of events. He wanted Adam to be home where he belonged, but could see the sense in allowing the child to become accustomed to living in the real world again before being exposed to life in a home with a family that Chris was sure deep down Adam would resent. Larabee still hadn´t come to terms with the idea that he had let Adam stay lost for four years. He was sure Adam hadn´t come to terms with it either.

Buck watched with concern the play of emotions crossing his oldest friends face. Wilmington knew the demons Chris had lived with for the past four years. Now the demon of guilt was weighing on the blond head even heavier. Buck placed a hand on Chris´ shoulder and squeezed firmly. Chris looked up and into the eyes of his oldest friend, Adam´s godfather, and saw mirrored in Buck´s eyes the same mix of happiness, fear, doubt, anger, and anxiety he was sure could be seen in his own. Larabee knew at that moment that no matter what happened he would not face it alone; Buck and the others would be there to help him deal with whatever the fates dealt him. After all, the impossible had happened; his son was alive.

Chris was brought back to conscious thought by Vin touching him on the arm. He raised his eyes to look into the face of Adam´s doctor. The man repeated the question that Chris was sure he would never hear; “Are you ready to see your son Mr. Larabee?”

Chris could do no more than nod his head, not trusting his voice to speak.

“Let me remind you that this is just a look see. You can get a good look at him and then in a couple of days we´ll set up a meeting between the two of you. See how it flies. OK Mr. Larabee?” the doctor warned.

“Yeah, I got it,” Chris agreed to the terms set by the doctor.

The hallway that Chris was wheeled down seemed to go on forever. Finally the small parade stopped in front of a door at the end of the long corridor. The doctor pushed the door open and Buck pushed the wheelchair Chris was sitting in through the doorway and into the bright open room.

The room was full of children. There were children playing board games, children reading, coloring, and drawing. There were children of all sizes, ages, and colors. Vin was quietly observing and trying to determine which one was Adam. Chris needed no time to observe. He drew in a rapid breath and in a shaky voice, filled with awe and emotion, spoke the name that for the past four years had only been spoken with deep sorrow and melancholy. “Adam.”

TO BE CONTINUED? You tell me.
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