Part One: The Beginning
Why was the room so dark? Where was he, was this heaven or hell? Dr. Michael Christopher Larabee wasn’t sure.
Not more than a few minutes ago he, Josiah and Nathan had been battling some sort of demon. This thing has for the last few months been terrorizing the streets of Denver Colorado much the same way Jack the Ripper had back in his day in the streets of London’s less then stellar neighborhood. Although, much and distance had occur the killings are not that dissimilar, which have given the papers fruit to calling this killer with the same moniker.
Now he was thrown into some sort of darkness, and a feeling of lacking in continuity, there was no other explanation.
Suddenly a light of some sort was breaking through, was this the way to heaven? Dr. Larabee waited with bated breath as the brightness continued. Then voices started to make its way, was that JD?
Then just as suddenly a flood of memories entered.
* * * * * * *
It was the spring of 1985, Chris Larabee was waiting outside his father’s office, and he couldn’t believe he had to schedule an appointment with his father to meet with him. His parents had divorce one another more than seven years ago, and with his mother gone off on her honeymoon with her new husband Chris was to spend his last year of high school with his father.
Seating across from him was a boy with his mother. The small boy about seven years old was clasping his hands fidgeting in his chair. His mother would lean and whisper something in the boy’s ear and then the fidgeting would stop.
The boy looked over at him and Chris smiled, the boy seemed startled for a moment then turned away. Chris just shook his head not sure about the boy’s reaction.
Suddenly, Chris’ dad came out, looking first at the small boy then at his son. “Ezra, Mrs. Montgomery, why don’t you come in.” Both stood and walked over into the office. The tall slender man, about early 40th, with green eyes and blond hair is an older version of the young man waiting outside the office. Ezra an observant young boy noticed the similarities as soon as he saw Dr. Larabee.
Chris stood up also, waiting, as he’s father approached. “Hello, sir.”
The older man smiled, “Chris, it’s been along time, look how you’ve grown.” The young man’s eyes seem to light up at the sudden praise.
“Thank you sir.” Chris was about to shake his fathers hands when suddenly he was embraced in a tight hug. So, not like his father.
“It is truly good to see you, how’s your mother?”
“Married.” Chris replied.
“Well good for her, I hope she has better luck then with that first husband of hers.” His smile made Chris laugh.
“You seem different Dad, I don’t remember you being so, relax.”
“Well things change, I guess…” Pausing for a moment. “…anyway; I better get in to see my new patient. Here is the keys to the car why don’t you head on home and unpack you must be tired after your flight.”
“Yeah,” Chris smiled taking the keys. “I’ll see you later then, we can talk, okay?”
“We have a lot to catch up on son.” Both men standing up and then embrace again. As Chris walks out Dr. Larabee returns to his new patient.
* * * * * * *
“Well Mrs. Montgomery, its good to finally meet you.” He walked over to the young blond woman, very beautiful, with a most charming smile and a culture voice, southern. The voice was all he had to go by, but nothing would have prepared him for this vision before him. It had been a long time since he had taken notice of another woman since his wife.
“It is a pleasure Dr. Larabee, you came highly recommended, so I am hoping you will be able to help my son. His step father seems determine that there is, because as we spoke the bruising, on his person, I just can’t explain, and Ezra is determine not to tell me how he has received these injuries.”
Young Ezra, a beautiful little boy with such green eyes, light brown hair sat next to his mother, looking at… the Doctor followed the boy’s gaze as his mother continued to talk. He noticed the boy looking at his poker chips and cards that he kept in his display case. They are antique cards, stutz used back in the old west. He purchased them years ago in one of those old town shops his wife use to love going too.
Once Maude noticed the doctor’s direction she became quiet, waiting to see if this man would be able to help her son. She was worried and really couldn’t explain the marks on her son. At first she had thought her newest husband had something to do with them, but no Ezra had said as much. So, the question was why didn’t Ezra tell her the truth, who was hitting him? She waited…
The doctor stood up walked over and took the cards out of the cabinet. Ezra watched him intently. Then the man handed him the deck of cards. They were different then the ones he usually handled to ply his god given talents as his mother always said. Suddenly he began to shuffle and they flowed through his small hands as though they were made for each other.
Larabee couldn’t believe how careful and dexterous the boys hands were as he watches him shuffle those cards, and then he pulled the ace of spades. “You’re very good with those cards.” Not a question as a state of fact.
Maude was about to say something, when the doctor held his hand up letting her know he wanted the boy to answer.
Ezra merely nodded, looking up he handed the deck back.
“Where’d you learn how to do that?” He asked.
“My mother.” Looking over at her. She smiled at him not seeing the frown on the doctor’s face.
“Really?” Then moving over to Maude he gesture for her to follow. “Mrs. Montgomery, why don’t you wait outside, so Ezra and I can have a talk.”
“Very well Doctor, if you don’t mind I have another appointment and I shall return after this session.”
“That’s find; I’ll see you in an hour.”
“In an hour Doctor.” With that Maude walked out. Ezra stood up, but at a word from her, “I’ll be back Ezra you behave.”
* * * * * * *
“Well Ezra, now that we’re alone, perhaps we can sit down again and talk man to man.”
‘Right,’ Ezra thought. His mother taught him not to trust anyone including her, now he was expected to talk with this man. What was his mother’s game? For a seven year old he was quiet the cynic.
But that was how Ezra grew up, shipped from family to family, never able to rely on anyone, how could he possibly tell this man what had been happening to him. Who would believe him? Certainly not his mother much less a stranger and a doctor for crying out load, what was his mother thinking.
“And what pray tell should we talk about, “man to man” as you put it?” A voice from a defiant little boy, gone was the proper southern boy.
“Well let’s talk about those bruises for one. Has someone been hurting you, someone you know?” The doctor asked.
“No sir, no one I know?”
Ezra looked away and changed the subject. “Was that boy outside your son?”
“Yes he is, he’s name is Chris, or rather Michael Christopher Junior, name after his old man. But let’s talk about you?”
“How old is he?” Dr. Larabee frown, so that’s how it’s going to be. All right then…
“He just turn 17, he’ll be graduating from high school this year. Now how did you receive those bruising?”
“What does Chris want to be when he grows up, a doctor like you?” Keep them at a distance and distract them whenever possible. Keep them guessing. That’s what his mother always taught them. The con was always a priority nothing else mattered. So this had to be some sort of con. His mother was testing him; it had to be.
And for the next hour that’s how it went, the doctor would pose a question and Ezra turn it around and ask his own. When the hour came, and Ezra’s mother was late, the boy waited outside in the waiting room. The receptionist was to keep an eye on him. With his last patient gone, Ezra was still waiting.
“Ezra, do you know how to get in touch with your mother?”
“Yes, may I use you phone?”
“Sure, just dial nine then the number.” Ezra nodded.
A few minutes later, Ezra’s raised his eyebrows. “I can’t seem to reach anyone in residence. I’m not sure where my step father is at and none of the servants are at the house.”
“Is there any where else she might have gone?”
“If there is she did not inform me of her plans.”
Larabee nodded then dialed his answering service, “Yes, this is Dr. Larabee, I will be leaving the office, if a Mrs. Montgomery calls will you give her my home number.” Then looking over at the young southern boy, “well looks like you’ll be able to meet my son after all. We’ll wait for your mother to call. Is that all right with you?”
“Good, how about I stop for take out and we head to my home for dinner?”
“Can we have Japanese? I like sushi.”
“Sure, and we’ll get pizza too, Chris isn’t fond of sushi.”
With that the two gentlemen left the office.
* * * * * * *
It had taken Maude two days to finally show up and collect Ezra. During this time the boy wasn’t at all worried. After that the session stilled continued. It only took two months for Ezra to finally open up.
“Come on Ezra, I know you want to tell me? I can see in your eyes. Talk to me?” Dr. Larabee cajoled.
“Doc, it has been my experience that Adults rarely say what they mean.” Ezra explained. This had been going on now for two months. Why mother was determined to torture him like this was beyond her normal scheme, to as she puts it ‘keep you sharp’. Well maybe he should tell the doctor what has been going on. I mean it’s not like he’ll actually believe me?
Dr. Larabee sighed, even after all this time the boy still did not believe him. And know Ezra’s mother as he began to understand the relationship son and mother had. He understood Ezra’s reluctance, but still he still held out hope that the young southern boy would begin to trust him.
Ezra seem to see it in the doctors face, he knew he’d hurt the man by not trusting him, but… aw hell out with it Standish. “Doc? If I tell you will you promise not to tell mother about it. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t tried to tell her, it’s just that she would rather not hear it.”
The doctor frown, “what are you saying Ezra, your mother all ready knows?” Ezra merely nodded. “She doesn’t believe you?” More a statement than a question, the boy nodded again. “All right, what ever you say will stay between you and me.”
Ezra took a deep breath, and began to speak. “It began after an accident I was in almost a year and a half ago. My first stepfather, before Mr. Montgomery, was driving. He and my mother had gotten into one of their regular arguments about his drinking. He accuse my mother of having an affair, out of anger he grab me and we drove off, or rather he did I was just a means to hurt my mother. He lost control of the vehicle and we both ended at the hospital. My mother had said I was very lucking, because I had died and the doctors brought me back.” Ezra shrugged. “After that, things began to happen.” He paused again not sure how to go on.
“What kinds of things?” Dr. Larabee asked.
Sighing again he continued. “I don’t know if you’ll laugh or if you’ll think I need to be locked up. I guess it wouldn’t matter.”
Dr. Larabee got up and sat next to the boy, what ever he’d reveal was going was going to make a break through for both doctor and patient. Larabee was now determined even more to help this extraordinary now eight-year-old boy. Hell his whole personality was more adult then most adults.
“Whatever happens I won’t laugh, as to the lock up we’ll see.” Trying to lighten the mood. Ezra smiled.
“I don’t know what to call them, but I have been going to the library to find out as much as I can. But I’ve only read second hand experience, or rather the implausible as written by those investigating not those who have experience the phenomena?”
“What are you saying?”
“What I am saying is I see ghosts, specters, shades whatever you wish to go by.” Ezra stated.
“Ezra, you can’t be serious?” Before he realized what he’d just said, Ezra ran to the door, he knew the man wouldn’t believe him, I mean how naive could he be that this man would be any different then all the others.
Dr. Larabee ran after him and caught the boy as he made his way towards the elevators. “Ezra, I’m sorry, I made you a promise and I all ready broken it.”
Kneeling before the boy. “Please come back to the office and tell me everything about these ghosts.” Ezra looked at the man seeing only sincerity in his light green eyes, had the boy nodding and following the man back inside.
* * * * * * *
Ezra continued to tell Larabee of all that had happen since the accident. By the end of the session Larabee had more questions then answers. So he went to speak with an old colleague Professor Joseph Sanchez, an anthropologist and theologies of religion. “And the young boy insists that he actually sees ghosts?” Professor Sanchez asked.
“Yes, and the things is I believe him.” Seeing the look on the other man, he continued. “This boy is so ground in reality that I don’t understand what his motive would be in making this up. He even told his mother, who he says didn’t believe him.”
“So the boy told you, maybe he’s testing you to see if he can trust you, if you ask he’s mother he knows he can’t trust therefore wont tell you the truth and if you don’t ask he’s mother he can continue to lie without fear of having to tell you the truth. Either way you’re stuck my friend.”
“But what if he is telling the truth, you’ve worked with this kinds of situation Joe, is there any way to tell if the boy is lying.”
“I don’t know Mike you, we could do more damage then good.”
“I have to help him, please Joe at least speak to him.”
Part Two: The Truth
Dr. Sanchez met the young southern boy, Ezra was nervous, but with his ever-present poker face as his mother taught him, he was the picture of calm.
Quickly, Dr. Sanchez explained what was to take place. He also suggested that Chris accompany the boy to all testing areas, Dr. Larabee’s son looked to Ezra for approval, and then clasped his hand and both walk to the first testing sight, Buck an old friend from Indiana was visiting when all this took place and joined both friends a step or two behind.
After nearly two hours of poking and prodding Dr. Sanchez sat with Dr. Larabee to discuss the results of Ezra’s testing.
“Well Joe, what you’d find?” Dr. Larabee asked.
“It’s more than I’d hope for.” Dr. Sanchez replied. Making Michael frown.
“Meaning what exactly?”
“Meaning…” Sighing, “meaning, his test readings are off the chart. His brain activities alone are incredible. I can’t explain it, because I’ve never seen readings like these before.”
“So, are you saying he can see and hear spirits?”
Shaking his head. “It’s much more than that. I’ve seen various degrees of pronounced activity in most mediums frontal lobe readings, even in healers none compare to what I’ve seen in Ezra’s testing.” He stood up excited and scared at the same time.
“Ezra not only has his frontal lobe highly developed, his intelligence level is at least 10 maybe 20% more than the above average person. I don’t know whether to call it evolved or not but he’s using his brain far more than we are and his IQ is also off the charts. I don’t know how to explain it all. But there it is, in black and white.” Handing the tests results to Dr. Larabee.
“What do you think I should do?”
“Talk to the boy, see how much he knows, he could even be dangerous. He may even have other physic abilities he has not disclosed as yet.”
Dr. Larabee sighed, nodded and walked out. Outside the university, his son Chris, Buck and Ezra were waiting for him. They were playing it look like poker. The doctor smiled, Ezra sure loved a good game of chance.
How was the boy going to handle this new information? He would tell him the truth that was a fact. He just hoped Ezra would be able to handle this new burden. It was a lot for a seven year old to handle.
* * * * * * *
After sitting Ezra down, Dr. Larabee began to relate the information Dr. Sanchez found out. To say Ezra took the news well would be an understatement. For a seven year old the boy schooled him self like a pro.
An adult Dr. Larabee thought would probably have fallen apart, but Ezra took the news very well.
“Do you have any questions?” Ezra shook his head no. “I know it’s a lot to take, but you can trust me to help.”
Awareness, he tried to move, but couldn’t. He knew there was light, but where was it coming from.
“Josiah, Nathan is anyone there, JD?” He tried to move again, but something was holding him, at least that’s what it felt like.
“Dr. Larabee, can you hear me?” The voice of someone young, Michael recognized it.
“JD? Is that you, why can’t I see you?” He tried to stand up again, but still could not master that simple task.
“Yes, it’s me. Josiah, Nathan. I think I have him?” JD was shouting to his teammates.
Josiah and Nathan came running from across the lab, they had been working now for the last three days, trying to communicate with Dr. Larabee, but until not they had not succeeded.
“Dr. Larabee, can you hear me?” Josiah asked.
“I think JD all ready covered that. Why can’t I move and why can’t I see you?” No one spoke. “Well will someone please explain this?”
“Dr. Larabee, its Josiah.” ”Yes, yes we all ready established that.” Sighing heavily.
“Yeah, of course, there really is no easy way of telling you this. What’s the last thing you remember?” Josiah, an imposing man in his early fifties, with graying hair, and handsome yet rugged features. The older man towered over the young and exorbitant JD Dunne, a young man in his early twenties, dark slightly long hair with hazel eyes, and boyish looks. Next to them stood the taller of all three, a dark skin, handsome man in his early thirties, warm brown eyes with smile to match, at the moment all three trying not to look too strain for what has happen to their friend.
“I was in my office, doing work, then I heard a noise outside my window. There was someone outside, but after that I don’t really remember. Gentlemen, is there something I should know.”
“Do you remember the case we were working on?”
“We were helping Judge Travis, yes?”
“The man or thing we’ve been searching for found us, it attacked you. Do you remember that?”
“I’m not sure, Nathan will you please help Josiah, and come out straight and tell me what happen?” The young physician sighed.
“Doc, well you see it’s like this… like Josiah said that thing attacked you there was an explosion and well you died. Or at least your body did?”
“Okay, I died and you brought me back, is that why I can’t move did I suffer some sort of paralysis, but that wouldn’t explain why I can see?”
“Woo… woo Doc, we didn’t bring you back, that is your bodies dead, some how we’re not sure your consciousness has been transferred into the computer JD’s been working on the AI project you remember that?”
There was silence after that, Nathan looked over to his two friends not sure what to say. “Doc? Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I’m dead or at least my body is but somehow I’m inside JD’s artificial intelligence project is that what your trying to tell me?”
“I’m sorry Doctor Larabee, I wish I knew how to get you out… but if I did you’d died.” JD was nervous, Dr. Larabee took a chance hiring him right out of MIT to but together the most ambitions program, there had all ready been rumors of the government heading a secret AI project, JD him self was approached to work along side some of the world renown scientist, JD was young yes, but not naive enough to involve him self with secret government projects, no way. When Doctor Larabee offered not only to fund his vision but also to even let him publish his work well he couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
“JD, how… how did it happen?”
“I’m not sure, there was some sort of electrical energy that hit the computer when that bastard through you,” JD sighed. “I’m sorry Dr. Larabee I shouldn’t have said the “b” word.” JD sighed again.
Dr. Larabee had to chuckle and JD’s tone, “that’s okay son, that I believe is the least of our worries.”
“Have you be able to get in touch with my son?”
“We were able to get in touch with his CO, but he wasn’t able to get in-touch with Chris as yet, he’d let us know as soon as possible.”
The doctor sighed again, “What now boys? I don’t feel much of anything, shouldn’t I feel connect to something? I mean, hell I don’t know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I’ve only so far been able to retrieve you so to speak, I’m still working on bringing you fully on-line, but that maybe until tomorrow. We’re still not on full power here in the mansion. That freak burst of energy really did a number on all the electrical systems.”
“So for now on you can literally turn me on and off?”
The three mean frown.
“No… no Dr. Larabee, once the system is up and activated you’ll be in control, that’s what the whole project was all about remember. Its just that we were going to use, well you know some ones…” He trailed off not knowing how to finish.
“You me some one livings brain, memories… soul? Is that’s what’s in the system my soul?”
“Please Dr. Larabee calm down we’re not sure of any thing right now, first let’s try and work on getting the system on line, then hopefully Chris will be able to get in touch with us, and then we’ll go from there.”
“Always the voice of reason, huh Josiah?”
“I try sir, things we’ll work out you’ll see.”
Nathan and JD worked through the whole night trying to bring the system fully on-line, JD asking question after question as he connected various lines on the system. All the while Dr. Larabee answered each question and sensing or was it felling new sensations as he finally came on-line shortly before midnight.
“Well, I think that’s it. How do you feel Dr. Larabee?” JD asked.
“Strange, I think I’m getting the hang of this. JD, you should be congratulated this is far more than I could have expected?”
“Dr. Larabee?” Josiah entered their meeting room.
“Yes Josiah, have you heard from my son?”
“Yes I just got off the phone with him he and a friend of his will be arriving tomorrow evening.
“Good, now that I am unable to lead this motley group at least as before, I’d like Chris to take over.” After a brief pause, gathering his thoughts Dr. Larabee continued. “Also Josiah I will be contacting some else someone I knew a long time ago, who will be able to help with the investigation of the elusive ‘Jack the Ripper’.”
“How will you get in touch with your friend?” Nathan asked.
“Thanks to JD, I have access to the phone lines.” Pausing again, “Josiah I’ll get in touch with Ezra, but I want you to get in touch with Vin Tanner. He’s a tracker and living in Tascosa, Texas on the reservation out there. There is a number on my desk, I’ve been in contact with him, but he hasn’t yet given an answer.”
“Sir, why do we need a tracker? I mean how do you expect to track a ghost or demon?”
“Mr. Tanner is a very special type of tracker Josiah, he can literally track anything anywhere, he can see the tracks of otherworldly creatures if you will. Before your fathers’ death he’d seen the young boy at work, though I should say young man he’d be about twenty-six if I'm remembering correctly.”
“All right doctor, I’ll track him, no pun intended.” Josiah chuckled.
Part Three: The Prodigy
Later that evening a phone rang just outside a villa in Rio de Jenro. The occupant was having a heated argument; only to most people it was a one sided conversation, as no one could hear the other party.
“Sir, I’ve done my duty, helped you over three months ago, why on earth are you still lingering?”
“You think I want to be here, maybe you’re the one lingering.” The ghost replied.
“I am not the one dead.” The young man deadpan.
Ezra P. Standish had since the age of seven been able to speak and see the dead. His mother Maude when she had discovered her darling sons unique talent had set-up a nice con as a medium using Ezra via ear phones as a source of knowledge to speak with the dead.
By the time the young man was fifteen he’d had enough and he told his mother as much. They had made quite the profit and therefore were not to dishearten.
Ezra with his share entered a prestige’s university with an academic scholarship together with his earning he used that to live off of. Later graduating at the top of his class in literature and the arts also gaining various doctoral degrees in physics and theology, which came in handing when dealing with the paranormal.
Ezra, by the time he was twenty had written several fictionists thrillers using his knowledge of the paranormal to make them more exiting and written under the name of Ezra Simpson. He also wrote one obscure, about theories really on his perceptions in physics all though well received most of his theories were just that theories and although scientist could neither revoke his findings they could nor prove them. Which Ezra was just as please that was part of the man he was first and foremost a con man. Even though he could prove his findings he wasn’t about to.
Now at thirty-two, still handsome with intense green eyes, chestnut color hair, a very nice physic and a height of 5’10” a woman could not help but stare at the man. Now however they would be gawking wondering whom the young man was shouting at.
Ezra sat dejectedly down, he had been arguing with Arthur a man in his late sixties, graying hair rugged worn looks, who had come to the young southerner nearly three months ago asking for his help in bring his murder for justice.
* * * * * * *
Three months earlier, Las Vegas, NV, spring time. The climate as usual was all ready reaching in the 90’s, most of the visitors of course failed to notice since they were all pretty much preoccupied in Vegas’ more popular locations the casinos. In side the newest casino the Excalibur was holding the annual high stakes poker game. Anyone who was anyone would be joining the gathering and putting down a mere $150,000 sum just to enter. At least fifteen well-known gamblers were rumored to be participating in this event; Jake the assistant manager of the hotel had contacted an old friend from his college days. Jake just hoped Ezra would show.
Ezra made his way into the newly open hotel, very impressive, but he still preferred Rio this time of year, hell any time of year. He scans the hotel in search of the man responsible for his arrival. Although, the thought of gambling with the elite gamblers Ezra hated dry humid weather, he could all ready feel the clinging sweat building in his Armani suit.
Jake spotted Ezra as he entered the man always knew how to draw attention, whether he knew it was another matter, the man could be innocent in so many ways. Friendship was the hardest concept known to Ezra. Jake chuckled at that thought, he really liked Ezra, and just wish Ezra understood that.
“Ezra!” He shouted to get the southerners attention.
Ezra paused and turns at the sound of his name, “Ah Mr. Taylor, so good to hear your bellow across the lobby.”
Jake laughed, “sorry about that, but the noise level, you understand.” Ezra understood, in here you definitely could not hear a pin drop.
“Of course, Mr. Taylor. Have you’ve made the arrangements?” Getting right to the point.
“Sure, Ezra. Your rooms ready, I’ll make sure your things get taken care of.” Both began moving towards the hall where the competition would be held. The room was called the High Court; inside the wood floors were of the top quality money could buy, as well as the tables, not your usual green felt tabletops. The ceilings had images of knights in battle as well as jousting and swordplay. It was magnificent. Ezra loved this time period, he’d read every Arthurian tale, but his favorite was the Pendragon series by Stephen R. Lawhead, he wondered what kind of man Ezra would have been like, maybe a bard like Merlin.
“When will the games begin?”
“Nine o’clock this evening. You going to be ready?”
“Mr. Taylor, this is why I was born.” He smiled broadly looking around the room.
As they both exited the room, a shadow appeared behind them, Ezra felt a shiver but did not turn around, but continued listening to his young friend recount all the participants of tonight’s event.
* * * * * * *
By the time Ezra reached his room, he was tired. He had traveled from Paris to New York and then to Vegas. It all felt like a blurred he wasn’t sure which time he was still in. He picked up the phone.
“Yes, this is Mr. Standish, I’d like a wake up call for 8:30 this evening.” The other line answered, and Ezra continued, “thank you, that will be all.” As he put the receiver down and made his way to the bathroom, he felt the chill again, turning he saw the man watching him. “All right out with it?” The man frowned and continued to stare at the young man. “I don’t have all day.” Ezra began to undress; he needed a quick hot shower then a good nights or day in this case rest.
“Can you see me?” The man asked.
“Yes, of course, I can see you. Now out with it?” He asked again.
“Oh my god, you can actually see me?” The man was excited now, he wasn’t sure why he seemed drawn to the man, but maybe he knew that the man would be able to see him. “Look my name is Arthur, Arthur St. James, I was murdered a few nights ago just down the hall from here. And I need you to help me, because they think I committed suicide.”
“I see,” Ezra answered as he turned the shower on and entered.
“Hey, look you have to help me okay. No one else can see me, and my family needs the insurance money.” Arthur was now pacing outside the bathroom waiting on Ezra to come out.
A few minutes later Ezra exited the shower and towel dried himself, entering the bedroom St. James was waiting with his arms across his chest.
“Well it’s about time.”
“Sir, I will help you as soon as I get some rest and I finish tonight tournament.” Ezra went to his luggage opening and taking out his dark green silk pajamas and quickly slipping them on.
“Now hold on, this is important, I’ve been murdered and the murder is still here. I’m sure he’s still here.” The ghost began to pace again.
“Then perhaps you should following him and let me get some sleep.” With that Ezra laid down on the king size bed and closed his eyes.
“I don’t believe it, wake up you have to help me!” He shouted, but Ezra was use to the unruly ghost and ignored him quickly falling asleep.
* * * * * * *
Sat musing on how they first met, it had been one hell of an adventure, but they brought the man to justice and Arthur’s family was taken care of. But Ezra didn’t get a chance to enter the tournament as he had plan, maybe next time. Jake would keep him apprise of the next event.
Suddenly the phone rang, quickly walking over Ezra reached form it and he shivered. Frowning he spoke, “hello?”
“Ezra, it’s good to hear your voice how are you son?”
“Who is this?”
“Oh, now how many people has called you son?”
“Well sir quite a few I should think.”
“But I’ve always meant it. It’s Dr. Larabee Ezra? Now do you remember?”
“Doc? This is a surprise. I haven’t heard from you since Denver so many years ago.” Ezra sat down on the sofa, switching the receiver to his other ear.
“I wrote to you, but always seem to miss you, my letters were always return unopened.”
The young southerner closed his eyes and mumbled ‘mother’. “I’m sorry Doc, I did move around a bit. But how did you find me. I only arrived a few days ago?”
“Well, it’s a long story, I wanted to ask a favor. I was hoping you could fly out here to Denver for a visit. I could use your help?”
“This isn’t a convenient time for me Dr. Larabee. I’m sorry, but I just cannot leave at this time. Perhaps another time?”
“Ezra, I’ve all ready arrange a flight for you, the trip is on me, please come.” He asked again.
Ezra closed his eyes, he had a bad feeling about this and wasn’t sure he should go. “Is everything all right Doctor, is Chris all right?” He asked.
“Yes, Chris is fine, in fact he should be arriving this evening, and I’m hoping you’ll come and help too. Lord knows I can use a few friends here.”
“I don’t know Doctor, you are sure that nothing is wrong and you and Chris are all right?”
“Yes Ezra we’re okay, please son, come?”
Ezra looked over at Arthur, “go on Ezra I think maybe that’s why I’m still here, I can feel it? I can’t explain it, but I think we both need to go.”
Ezra didn’t understand any of this; this isn’t how it’s supposed to work. I mean, he helps the ghost out and then poof they vanish.
“All right doctor, I’ll come, what time is my flight?”
“This afternoon at 3:00pm your time. You’ll reach La Guardia at around two am our New York time then you’ll flight will leave at 7:00 am and head out to DIA arriving around 4p.m. I’ll have a colleague of mind meet you tall gray head man named Josiah, you can’t miss him he’s big. So make sure you get plenty of rest on the flight you’re getting to be jetlag.”
Ezra sighed, “nothing usual about that Doc. see you in a few of hours.”
Part Four: The Return
Chris entered the mansion, Buck and JD right behind him. The young computer tech had been assigned as escort for both Chris and Buck. The young man; had heard stories from Josiah about the Doc’s son. And after meeting the man in was in awe. The man was larger than life. At least JD thought so.
Buck had to suppress a chuckle looking at the kid. He knew that look. He’d seen it often enough when people met Chris for the first time. The kid was literally star-struck.
Chris just basically ignored the kid worried about the cryptic message he’d received from Josiah. The big man was hiding something he could feel it. All he’d said was to head back there was a family emergency; he had asked if his father was all right. Josiah had said yes but that he’d have to ask his father any more questions.
He looked around the house it had not changed much since his last visit. After college he and Buck both entered the Navy, after years of training and various secret missions, they were accepted as the elite naval group known as Navy Seals.
They’d been with the Navy nearly fifteen years. Chris thought his father would greet him but was not in the living room. “JD, is my father here?” Turning to the young man.
JD looked around hoping either Josiah or Nathan would be there but they were probably in the conference room. “Why don’t you leave the bags, there probably waiting for us, come on.” Taking them to the secret lair, as JD often referred to their meeting room. JD had designed a holographic illusion to where the AI system was being worked on incase of intruders trying to either steal his plans or destroy the progress he had made. Even the other houses were not aware of their special project.
Buck saw the kid about to enter the wall and called out only to see JD disappear. Both men stopped cold looking at where the kid vanished. The young man poked his face with a grin, “come on you’re father will explain everything.” He motioned both men to follow him.
As they entered, they found themselves in a larger room Chris had never seen before. It seem he wasn’t the only one with secrets. They entered an even larger room inside was both Josiah and two other men that Chris did not know.
“Josiah,” Chris greeted.
Smiling the older man approached both Chris and Buck. “Brothers, its good to see you.” Chris had to smile he’d forgotten the ex-preachers greeting.
“They with you?” Chris asked.
“Yes,” he smiled. The long hair young man is Vin Tanner, he just arrived a few minutes ago, the young black man to his left is Nathan Jackson, he’s been with the Denver House for about two years now, and you’ve met JD he’s been with us for just over a year.
“Where’s Dad?” Chris asked. He’d figure the man would be here to greet him.
“Right here son.” A voice slightly cold yet familiar responded, turning Chris only saw a large sophisticated computer system of some kind, he’s father must be on an outside line.
“I thought you’d be here, I received Josiah’s call, are you at a hospital?” There was no image on the screen only a line signally when his fathers voice responded.
“No son,” Dr. Larabee signed. This was not going to be easy. “There really is no easy way to tell you son, I was in an accident a few days ago. Some how my consciousness entered this computer and well here I am.”
Chris frowns and approached the console, looking at the voice image as it spoke. “I don’t understand? What is this some sort of joke?” Looking at Josiah and the other men, he didn’t like what he saw. He returns his gaze at his father? No not his father a cold machine. “No, what the hell is going on where’s my father? Josiah what have you done?”
Buck reacted first knowing the volatile tendencies of his friend. “Chris, calm down.”
“Go to hell Buck, where’s my father?”
Josiah made to secure Chris only to be stopped by Dr. Larabee. “Chris, stop right now!” The Doctor shouted halting any further outburst. “I know this is hard but hear me out.”
So after two hours of explanation, Chris sitting and listening, as did the others including the new arrival Vin Tanner, Chris began to calm down somewhat.
“What about your body, dad? Where is it, can Dunne get you back into, I mean… hell I don’t know what I mean.”
“Son, JD has tried everything, and its not as though we can go to a hospital and fix the problem. I am afraid I’m stuck inside this contraption.” He signed again. “I’m getting use to it.”
Chris just bowed his head, he loved his father very much, after his mother returned with her new husband, Chris had asked his father if he could stay with him. Yes his mother was sadden by the request but decided that perhaps it was best for both father and son to reacquaint themselves. So she agreed. Michael was thrilled and Chris had spent the last year with him before leaving for college, but every semester break or holidays Chris would come home to Denver for a visit, with Buck in tow.
Later on Chris began to see his father enter a new phase in his life and join a group know only as the Legacy or rather an organization known as the Luna Foundation. Chris didn’t know much about it only that Prof. Sanchez, Josiah’s father was also involved. Now here he was fifteen years later and his father somehow became trap in a machine. This was not good.
* * * * * * *
The red-eye leaving New York departed on time for once. Ezra arrived in Denver nearly four o’clock in the afternoon. Tired from the long flights he made his way to the baggage claim area, only to find out every passengers worst nightmare, ‘your baggage was left on another flight’.
“Good lord can this day get any worse.” Ezra left his name, number and brief description of his baggage and left to get a rental and yes the day got worse. “I beg your pardon, what do you mean there are no vehicles available.”
“I’m sorry sir, but there are several convention going on in Denver, and well we over booked?”
Ezra stepped outside for a breath of fresh air, and quickly hailed a cab.
The Larabee Mansion was situated in a remote area outside of Denver, in the Evergreen area; the scenic route was filled with flora and fauna. It was breath taking, and on the other side towards I70 began the ski slopes and other wonders.
However, by the time Ezra arrived none of the scenic wonders were seen, it had darken early. When the driver approaches the mansion the towers on several sides of the house gave it a haunted appearance, the driver shivered without realizing. Ezra grin and looked out of the window, when he had first seen it as a boy, he was in awe of the mansion. He imaged himself in a castle and Chris was Arthur and Buck his faithful Captain and Ezra another of the Knights of the Round Table, he grin at the warm feeling that washed over him.
After thanking the driver and giving the man an extra tip the man nearly ran over the southerner to get out of the place. Ezra just shook his head.
Knocking on the door, he expected Dr. Larabee to answer, but instead it was Prof. Sanchez.
“Prof. Sanchez, I wasn’t aware you would be here.”
Josiah looked at the young man before him, this had to be Ezra, “I’m afraid you have me confused with my father. He passed away several years ago. I’m his son Josiah Sanchez. Which would make you Ezra Standish.”
He wasn’t surprise to see the confusion in the young man; he was often told he looked like his father. “Come in we’ve been expecting you.”
“Thank you Mr. Sanchez.” Ezra walked in and looked around the house even though he wasn’t a boy any more the house still looked big on the inside. “The house hasn’t changed.”
“I suppose not. Would you like something to eat?”
“No I’m find; merely tired. Is Dr. Larabee here?”
“He’s in the conference room with his son.”
“Chris is here too?” Now this Ezra was news.
“Well I’ll be, if it isn’t the dark knight come to challenge Arthur.” Buck shouted.
Ezra’s face lit up at seeing a man he thought he’d never see again. “Mr. Wilmington?”
“That’s Sir Wilmington, boy.” Buck laughed and reached out and hugged Ezra.
“Please Mr. Wilmington, people will talk.”
Buck laughed even louder, “when have you been taking lessons from Chris?”
“I had no idea you and Mr. Larabee would be here?”
“Yeah, we didn’t find out you’d be coming until last night. How you been, and look at how grown you are?”
“Really Mr. Wilmington, it has been several years after all.” He paused looking at the others come in. “But I see there are new faces?” Looking to Wilmington for an explanation.
“Oh, yeah sorry Ez.” He chuckled when he heard the southerner groan at the shorten of his name. “The gentleman you met at the door is Josiah Sanchez, the kid here is JD Dunne, the long hair boy is Vin Tanner, and the young black man behind him is Dr. Nathan Jackson.” Ezra took each per offered handshake.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you all.”
“Hello Ezra.” Chris called as he approached the gathering.
“Mr. Larabee,” Ezra gasped.
Chris just laughed, realizing Ezra was older, but still the young boy that stayed with them for a while. “How many times do I have to tell you its just Chris?”
“Oh yes I’d forgotten ‘just Chris’.” The three laughed remembering that running joke of ‘just Chris’. It had gotten to the point where Chris finally relented and let the kid call him Mr. Larabee.
When they finally were in control again Ezra asked. “Where’s Dr. Larabee, isn’t he with you?”
“He asked me to bring you in, and he’ll explain why he called for you.” Ezra had a bad feeling; he wasn’t going to like this.
“Hey, Ezra whose your friend?” Vin Tanner asked as he could see the aura that seem to trail the southerner.
Ezra blinked and looked at the young man, he wasn’t sure if he was referring to Arthur or not.
“Ezra, you think he can see me?” Looking over at the Texan, “I think he can?” Not waiting for an answer.
“Mr. Tanner, whom are you referring too?” Ezra asked.
“Well its been standing next to you since you got here, thought maybe you knew about it.” Vin suggested.
“What’s Vin talking about,” JD couldn’t help ask.
“Ezra, is someone here with you?” This time Chris asked, he knew all about Ezra’s special gift.
He looked over at the one man who he admired most of all.
“Yes, this is Arthur. I sort of helped him a few months back and well he has yet to leave.” Ezra answered, and Arthur snorted the only one to hear him was the southerner, who just looked over at him.
Part Five: Q & A
“You helped him, how?” Chris asked.
“Well Arthur was murdered, only the authorities believed it was suicide, that left his family without his life insurance, and well I helped solve that mystery.” He shrugged.
“You’re a regular PI.” Buck laughed.
“Hardly Mr. Wilmington, Mr. St. James clearly helped in this matter.” Ezra raised an eyebrow.
Chris shook his head. “Come on kid, Dad what’s to talk with you.”
Chris walked through the wall, just as if he was a specter, startling the southerner. He looked over to Wilmington. Smiling Buck merely walked through the wall as well.
“What just happen here?” Ezra gasp.
“It’s all right son, that is a holographic simulation that JD design to keep prying eyes from finding our sensitive central computer system.” Then gesturing to the southerner Josiah entered or rather pass through the holograph.
“Don’t worry Mr. Standish, its save.” The young computer whiz commented.
Ezra took a deep breath and walked through the room, and entered another; a much larger room, one that you could not imagine being on the other side of a holographic image.
“Good lord, this is incredible.” JD smiled he was very proud of his baby as he often referred to it in private no way was he going to mention it now in front of Buck that’s for sure.
“Thanks, Mr. Standish.” Still smiling.
Then Ezra sensed another presence as the other men entered the room even Arthur sense it. The southerner looked around looking for Dr. Larabee he was getting a bad feeling when a voice spoke as if from thin air.
“Hello Ezra, it’s good to see you again.”
Ezra jaw drop slightly and he gape at the image or rather the sound coming from the computer, the voice was hollow, but at the same time familiar.
Dr… Dr. Larabee?” It was a phone link up that’s what it was, he wasn’t feeling the Doc’s presence, and he was just on some sort of link up.
“Yes Ezra its me, or rather spirit, soul or what ever you call those from the after life.”
Ezra could feel his heart racing, he was having trouble breathing, and he also felt warm, sweating. No it couldn’t be the Doc, he wasn’t dead. He’d know that, hell he’d be right beside him just like Arthur.
“No… no you’re not dead.” He wanted to shout but it came out as almost a whisper, Nathan saw that the southerner was have trouble and immediately walked over to him.
Grabbing him by the arms the young black doctor moved the southerner over to a coach. “It’s all right Mr. Standish, and you are right he isn’t dead at least not in the same sense.” The southerner was looking at the young doctor explaining what was going on hearing the words but at the same time not understanding them.
Chris walked over to his young friend, berated himself for not preparing him, but hell how would you prepare someone for this. “Ezra, I’m sorry I should have warned you.” Sighing he continued. “There was an accident, Dad somehow left his body and now…” looking over at the computer. “He’s inside there.”
“Its incredible, Ezra I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this before. But then death doesn’t come with instructions.” Arthur was looking at the computer console. When he heard laughter coming from it. He backed away.
“You must be Arthur?” Came the voice from the box.
Ezra’s head went up. “Dr. Larabee, you heard him?”
“Apparently I can pick up high frequency sounds that normal humans can’t. At least expect those who are as sensitive as you.”
“Wow, I wasn’t sure that it would work.” JD exclaimed.
“What do you mean son,” Josiah was also startled by this new revelation. Apparently there was more to learn.
“Well basically, the system was to be used to pick up voices, you know from the dead. And well it works.” He shrugged.
Buck shook his head, “you’re a genius kid.”
* * * * * * *
After a thorough explanation of all the events, which to the southerner was the most incredible story he’d ever heard.
“So, this specter doesn’t sound like any ghost I’ve ever encountered.” Ezra was rubbing his chin trying to remember anything from his past.
“I’m not surprise, this thing what ever it is, has somehow traveled through another realm and into ours. And we have to find it before the killings start up again?”
“So, this thing hasn’t killed since it attacked you?”
“That’s right son. I’m guessing that the electrical storm that through me in hear somehow short circuit the demon.”
“Not short circuit Doctor; but depleted its energy. What gives it the ability to become tangible?”
“Of course this would make it vulnerable and we might be able to stop it before it reenergizes itself.”
Chris was frowning, ‘we need a battle plan,’ he thought. Dr. Larabee recognized that look as did Buck both smiled.
“Well ol’ pard I guess you got a plan?”
Chris looked up at his old friend and grin, “I reckoned.”
And so begins the search for ‘Jack the Ripper.”
Comments as always are welcome