Inez was cleaning up the saloon when she noticed Chris sitting alone in a corner, drinking a long neck. "Senior Chris? Is everything okay?"
Chris looks up at her, "Yes, Inez. I'm just remembering Halloweens with Sarah and Adam."
"Your wife and son." Inez nodded.
Chris or Inez didn't see the woman enter the saloon, or when she came over to Chris's table, so when she spoke, they were startled.
"Miss? Is there a phone I can use?"
"Si, down the hallway to the restrooms," Inez answered with a hand to her chest.
"Thank you. I won't be long."
Both Inez and Chris watched the woman go to the hallway before either of them said anything. "Where did she come from?" Inez asked.
"I have no idea. I didn't see her come in, did you?"
"No, but my back was to the door."
The woman came back and sat down at a table and opened her rather large, leather hand bag. She took out a deck of cards and started to shuffle them but ended up dropping them onto the floor. Chris walked over and picked them up and handed them to her.
"Thank you sir. I'm so clumsy sometimes. Please, join me. I hate to see a handsome, young man, such as yourself, drink alone. My Russell will be awhile. He's with our son, Benjamin."
"That's okay, ma'am. I have a table," Chris said smiling at the woman.
"Oh, come now, call me Iris. I haven't been a ma'am for a while, and besides, it makes me feel old." Iris smiled up at him. "Please, sit with me, it'll do this old heart some good to be seen with a, handsome man, half my junior."
Chris had to laugh. "What about your Russell? Won't he get jealous?"
"Oh, I can only hope," Iris sighed.
"Alright, just let me get my beer." Chris smiled and left to go and get his beer.
When he returned, the woman was playing cards. He watched her as she flipped one card after another. He had never seen this game before, and was intrigue by it. He hadn't realized he was so focused on what she was doing until she spoke to him.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"What do I call you?"
"Sorry, Chris, Chris Larabee."
"Is your middle name, Michael or Gabriel?"
Chris stared at her when he answered. "Michael. How did you know?"
"Lucky guess. You look like a Michael or a Gabriel."
"What's the name of the card game you're playing?"
"It's just another form of solitaire," Iris said as she flipped another card. "Who is the woman in your life?"
"I don't have one. My wife passed a few years ago."
"Yes, it was sudden, she was a brunette with child. The one I am referring to is the blonde with a boy. The brunette sent her to you, because she doesn't want you to be alone."
"Who the hell are you?" Chris said, angered at this woman for whom he has never seen before.
Iris went on, "Now, what the brunette wants to know is, why haven't you done anything about the way you feel about her, and to tell you it's not your fault, it was their time and she wants you to know, it's okay to love again."
"Lady, that accident was in the papers "
"But it wasn't an accident, was it?" Iris stated more than asked.
"She wasn't with child, she had a child with her. Our son."
Iris looked at her cards, flipped a couple, then looked at Chris again, "She was with child, Chris. The cards show me three children, one with the blonde, two with the brunette."
"No, she wasn't. She would have told me," Chris said with a hint of doubt in his voice.
"Maybe, she didn't have time to tell you," Iris said calmly.
"And how do you know this?"
"The cards. When you picked them up off the floor for me, you left your aura on them."
Chris looked down at the cards in front of him, then messed up her card game by running his hands through them. "Now what are they saying?" Chris asked, angrily.
Iris picks up the cards and reshuffles them into one stack and starts to lay them out again. "I see you're a leader of men, six of them."
Chris is dumb founded. "Okay lady, who have you been talking to? Buck? Vin?"
"I have no idea who these people are. Are they two of the six men that you lead?"
"You know they are. Vin's my second in command."
"And this, Buck?" Iris asked, very interested.
"He's my oldest friend," Chris said, skepticism in his voice. "If you are who you're pretending to be, you would have known that."
"We don't know everything, just what we read in the cards. So why isn't this Buck your second, if he's your oldest friend, and I am willing to wager, he's been there for you through the toughest times of your life, and the best." Iris looked down at her cards. "Uniforms? Are you Policemen?" She asked.
"Of sorts. The reason Buck isn't my second, is he doesn't want to be. I know what a tarot deck looks like, Lady, and that's not a tarot deck. That's a regular deck of cards."
"I see I'm going to have to make a believer out of you. Good, I love a challenge." Iris flipped a few more cards. "Stop living in the past."
"That's just a regular deck of cards, so how is it, you can read them like a deck of tarot?"
"Why don't you ask one of your own? The one who is always with a deck of cards."
"Ezra!" Chris said with a growl. "He put you up to this, didn't he?"
"No one put me up to anything. This Ezra, he knows the ways of the cards, does he not?"
"You could say that."
"Ever wonder how he does what he does?"
Chris thought about the question. "All the time."
"Well, that's because, the cards speak to him."
"Like they speak to you?"
"Kind of." Iris thought about her words. "More like, they tell him about a persons trustworthiness. Know what I mean? Watch him while he plays with them."
Chris nodded his head as he thought over what Iris said. He watched Iris flip a couple more cards. "What are they saying now?"
"That someone sees you as a hero, superman, and looks to you for guidance."
"JD." Chris smiled. "Buck is always telling me how, JD defends me against others out side of our team."
"This JD? He's very young?"
"He's the youngest ATF agent."
"Keep an eye on him. He has plans to be the best law enforcement officer possible, and with the right guidance, there is no telling how far he will go."
Iris flips a couple more cards. "There is an older gentleman on your team, a spiritual man. God speaks to him, but he doesn't listen. Did he at one time?"
"That would be Josiah, he was a Preacher."
"He has many demons. It's a good thing he's on your team. Now, there is another, the cards are a bit confusing when it comes to him. He saves lives and takes them? That make any since to you?"
"That would be Nathan. He's an ex-EMT."
"Ah, that explains it. Interesting."
"May I ask you a question?"
"Sure. Whatever you want to know."
Iris smiled. She knew what Chris was asking. "Because, when I entered the building, I felt there was someone here that needed answers to questions in his heart. The cards led me to you." Iris looked at cards in front of her. "You fear the future, so you live in the past." Iris looks up at Chris, "What you seek, Chris, is in front of you. You have six brothers, one has been with you and always will be, no matter what you do or say to him, he will always be there to pick up the pieces. You have one who has become your best friend, someone for whom you share the same thoughts with. Another challenges you, makes you feel again. Then there's the one who respects you, and looks up to you, he does what he does because he doesn't want to disappoint you. Then there's the elder brother, who, if you let him, can guide you through the devil's domain, because he has been there and knows the way. Then there's the last one, he knows the way of the heart and can heal your wounds, but only if you let him. You have a woman in the waiting, but she won't wait for long. You have a mother and father figure. There is even a child that already thinks of you as his father. Every time your heart has wished for someone, it has been filled. You have all this, but you want to live in the past, with the brunette. Let her go, so she can rest in peace. Your future awaits you."
Chris watched as Iris gathered the cards and shuffled them again. This time she laid them down in a pile and ruffled them. "Choose any three, Chris, and hand them to me as you choose one."
Chris looked down at the cards then back at Iris. "Why?"
"Please, just humor an old woman."
Chris took a long drink of beer, looked at the ruffled cards, then Iris. Iris smiled at him. Hesitantly, Chris pulled three cards from the pile. Iris gathered up the remaining cards, and sat them to the side, she then flipped the three cards over and looked at them.
"The three sevens. Karma. It's as the cards were saying, it's karma, Christopher Michael Larabee, no matter what you do, you can not control it all the time." Iris picked up the three sevens and put them with the rest of the deck. "That'll be for you."
Chris looked at the woman, puzzled. Just then a phone rang. Iris just smiled when Inez hollered for Chris that he had a phone call.
Shaking his head, Chris answered the phone. "Larabee. Shit. I'll be there."
"Everything okay, Senior Chris?" Inez asked when Chris handed her the phone.
"No. I have a team in the hospital, with various injuries, the nurse wasn't sure how they got them, just that it has something to with, JD's and Vin's, trick or treat candy and a couple of them may need a ride home."
Chris seen Iris leave through the front door and followed her. Once outside, he searched the area, but didn't see her. He thought maybe her husband finally showed up to get her, but, where is the car or truck. Iris wasn't but only a minute or two ahead of him. Chris shrugged it off, and got into his truck and went to the hospital.
"Come on JD." Chris heard Buck begging JD for something when he entered the hospital waiting room. Buck had a arm in a sling and wearing a Dracula costume.
"No. You had your chance and blew it. And leave Vin's alone too." JD held tight onto his bag as he reached for Vin's. JD had an ice pack on his ankle and dressed in a pirate of the Caribbean costume.
"Do you mind, I have a headache," Ezra growled. He was holding an ice pack to his wrist, and eyes closed, was slouched down in the chair, so his head could rest on the back of the chair. Ezra was dressed like an old river boat gambler.
"Please, JD, just give him what he wants." Nathan had his head tilted back with an ice pack on his nose. Chris could see he also had a black eye, and dressed like a surgeon.
Chris shook his head. He looked around for his missing two agents but only seeing a man in the corner with his head in his hands. The man was dressed in jeans and a short sleeved, dress shirt. The man had the same fair colored hair as Chris and looked to be thinner than him. Just then he heard Vin and Josiah.
"Chris? When did you get here?" Buck asked.
"A few minutes ago and what the hell happened? I thought you were going to the Halloween party at the federal building."
"We did, but it got over hours ago," Vin answered. He was dressed in camouflage, and hobbling on his right leg.
"Vin and JD wanted to show Ezra what it was like to trick or treat, since he let it slip that Maude never let him." Josiah was dressed in an old civil war uniform, from his re-enactment days.
"That does not explain the injuries," Chris said holding his arms in front of him.
Chris watched as five of his men looked to the sixth, and frowned. He thought he heard a growl or two.
"What? It was an accident. It could have happened to any one."
A doctor came into the waiting room and walked over to the man in the corner. Mr. Grant? Benjamin Grant?"
"Yes, that's me. How is my father, Russell?" The man said and stood.
Chris went white when he heard the man say his name and his father's. He didn't hear anything else his men said, instead, he walked over the man the doctor was talking to. Chris felt a cold breeze when he stood next to the man, he felt goose bumps go up his arms and could not help but shiver.
"I am sorry. We did everything we could."
"Thank you doctor, I'm sure you did."
The doctor left the man. Chris laid a hand on the man's shoulder.
The man looked at Chris. "Do I know you, sir?"
"No." Chris turned to go, but Benjamin stopped him.
"You seen her, didn't you?" Chris turned to face the man. "She read her cards for you didn't she?" Ben chuckled. "I grew up knowing things most kids didn't. My mother, Iris, had a gift. She was the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter. The gift is past from one generation to another. My sister Emily has it, and I'm sure she will pass it onto her daughter, Zoe."
The remaining team seven listened as the man went on.
"Iris said she was waiting for Russell to join her, I thought she meant he was suppose to pick her up."
"Well, she doesn't have to wait any more." The man patted Chris on the shoulder. "What ever she told you, you needed to hear it, or why else would she have sought you out after her death. Heed what she told you, my friend."
"When did she die?"
"A few months ago, from a heart attack. My dad had a stroke earlier. I knew he wasn't going to last much longer than mom," Benjamin sighed. "Look, I have got to go. Remember what she told you, okay?"
The man left after Chris promised he would. Chris sat down in a chair. Buck came over and sat down next to him. "So, what did the dead woman tell you?"
This made Chris laugh. "She said to stop living in the past, and get on with my life. Sarah would have wanted me too."
"It took a ghost of a woman, to tell you what I've have been trying to tell you do for, how long?" Buck asked.
"Let's get out of here. Who needs a ride back to my place?" Chris said to change the subject.
A couple of hours later, after his men had been seen to, Chris heads for his truck. Josiah said he would take their brothers out to the ranch if Chris had something he needed to do. Chris handed Josiah the house key and told him to make them selves at home. He hoped it wasn't to late.
The lights were still on, when Chris arrived at Mary's. He seen the door open, and Mary step out onto the front porch
"Chris? Is that you?"
Chris smiled as he got out of the truck, with flowers in hand, he made his way to Mary's front door and Mary. He hoped it wasn't to late.