*October 31st - Halloween...what a day.* thought Jim Ellison. *One of those days that brings out the kid in most people but also brings out an assortment of crazies and sickos. Not to mention one of the craziest, busiest nights for Cascade's finest - extra duties, street patrols, kid watches, wild party refugees....*
Simon poked his head out of his office. "Ellison! In my office, please."
Jim blinked, startled out of his thoughts by Simon's call and entered the captain's office. "What is it, Simon?" the detective asked with a slightly crooked smile.
"I can't believe this stakeout I'm going to have to assign you to...especially tonight..." Simon said, shaking his head. "You know we're always stretched thin on this evening and into the night. So if you can grab Sandburg and relieve Brown and Ryf...."
Jim patiently waited, eyebrows up. "And what is this unbelievable assignment about?"
"Possible drug bust, possible vandalism," the captain said, flipping through some papers.
"Yes....." hinted the detective. "Where.....?"
Simon looks up at the Sentinel, then looks down at his desk and mumbled.. "The....umm....." The captain ran a hand over his face, garbling the location.
Jim's Sentinel hearing tried to pick up the garbled message, but couldn't make it out. "Where?"
"East High Cemetery."
Jim's eyebrows almost leapt off his normally stoic face. "You're kidding, right?? A Halloween prank....you should've waited for Sandburg."
Simon looked up. "No, Jim...I'm dead serious..." then grimaced at the pun. "Sorry, but there has been complaints about vandalism in some of the area cemeteries, and the information about a possible drug deal is from a reliable source. Whether the two things are related, I don't know." The captain paused for a moment and glanced out into the bullpen. "By the way, where is Sandburg?"
Jim, still processing the assignment in his mind, almost didn't realize he had been asked a question. He blinked and looked at Simon. "Oh, he's at the university finishing up some papers. The campus is in costume mode...all day with a Halloween party late tonight."
"Oh yeah? What is he going as?"
Jim smiled. "I honestly don't know. He wouldn't tell me and I left before he did. Guess I'll find out later.....by the way, what time do we need to be at the cemetery?"
Simon checked the schedule. "Eight o'clock. If nothing happens, your replacements will come at 2 a.m."
"OK." Jim starts to leave. "I need to call Sandburg and give him the details..." He paused, then gave a mischievous smile. "Some of the details. I think I'll leave out the location."
"Jim...shame..." said Simon, smiling.
Jim was smiling broadly now. "Yeah." With that, he left, heading back to his desk. Once there, he picked up the phone and called his partner at the University.
"Helluu, Blair Sandburg," came the young man's voice.
"Hey, Chief...Jim here."
"Jim! Hi! Have you changed your mind about coming to the party? I can still get you a great costume."
"The mind boggles." Jim said, rolling his eyes. "No, but I've got to relieve Brown and Ryf at a stakeout tonight. I know you've been looking forward to this party, but if you wanna come along...I sure could use the company....if not, I'll just go alone." Jim used his best martyred voice, knowing Blair wouldn't let him go alone to a stakeout.
Blair sighed. "Ok, Jim. When does this start, and you know you don't go alone, man. You need me."
Jim smiled. "We need to be there by 8pm." It had worked. "I'll come and get you after work, then we'll get something to eat and then go from there."
"Ok," said the anthropologist. Then, as a quick afterthought, "Where..."
Jim cut off the impending question with a quick "Bye" and hung up.
Jim looked at his watch as he pulled up in front of the university to pick up Blair. 5:05pm. He watched a myriad of people, all ages, dressed in assorted costumes. Pirates, Romans, historical characters, fantasy, sci-fi --- everything that could be imagined and.....*Wow! Look at her....almost costume!* Jim thought as a pretty coed walked past. *Good thing Sandburg's not here...* On the other hand, now might be a good time to focus his sight for a little experiment' of his own.
Just then, a familiar voice cut through his thoughts. "Hi Jim!"
Jim reluctantly turned away from the object of his attention and saw, sprinting across the parking lot, a 60's flower child with a guitar slung over his shoulder. Blair.
Blair hopped in the truck and looked at the detective over the top of his square blue-tint glasses
Jim appraised his partner's outfit. "I thought you were supposed to wear a costume," he teased.
"Ha, ha." Blair rolled his eyes, the corners of his lips twitching in amusement and put the guitar between them. "So, where do we eat?"
Jim smiled wickedly. "My choice."
"Oh no!" Blair grabbed his stomach and leans back with a groan. "The Greasy Spoon." Then, looking over at the older man. "Oh, hey! Where did you say we were going to meet Brown and..."
"I didn't." Jim interrupted and stepped on the gas.
The Greasy Spoon delivered a special treat tonight for Halloween "Finger fries and Horror Burgers." And back in the truck, Jim's happy smile counters Blair's grimace as he waits for the rebelling of his system.
Jim put the truck in gear as they head out to their destination. Soon they started exiting the city proper.
As they headed down the less inhabited roads, Blair peered out the window and wondered where exactly they were going."
Finally, the truck stopped and Jim hopped out. "We go on foot from here, Chief."
"On foot where...?" Blair looked around as they headed out, walking around several bushes and thick hedges to the sign at the gate. His mouth fell open as he gaped.
--------EAST HILL CEMETERY------ the sign read.
Blair looked incredulously at Jim. "You've *got* to be kidding!"
"Nope," Jim replied, with a smile as he kept walking, Blair right behind him.
"Oh, man, is it *dark* out here..." the young man whispered. "Where is Brown and Ryf supposed to be...?"
"Shhh..." Jim put a finger to his lips and continued walking.
Blair trusted in Jim's sight and hearing and followed in silence.
Jim slowed down and started to turn when, behind an unsuspecting Blair, a menacing shape appeared.
Blair nearly leapt out of his skin, eyes like saucers, and spun around. His eyes came to rest on Brown's and Ryf's smiling faces. Jim was unsuccessfully trying to stifle his laughter.
Blair looked accusingly at the Sentinel. "You knew he was there, didn't you?" And slapped his arm.
Jim was still trying to stifle his giggles. "Sorry, Chief. I just didn't have time to warn you." he said, still smiling. "Just remember those deep breathing exercises."
Brown pats the young man's back. "Sorry, HairBoy," he apologized, smiling. "Really, didn't mean to scare you. We're really glad to see you." Then he looked at Jim. "Oh, Jim, there's been no activity yet...."
Blair held up his hands. "Please," he injects, "Don't say quiet as a tomb'."
"Ok," Brown chuckles. "Here, take these," and he handed Blair a large MagLite flashlight and a thermos of warm coffee. Then to the both of them, he added, "Be careful and good luck! We'll see you tomorrow. Happy Halloween. Bye." With that, Brown and Ryf leave.
Blair gave a dismissive wave. "Yeah, Bye." Then to himself, he said, "Happy Halloween."
The night wind began to pick up, causing limbs to screech as they rubbed against each other. The full October moon cast strange moving shadows and was accompanied by the sounds of rustling leaves that were being blown around. Somewhere an owl hoots.
Jim stretched out his Sentinel senses to scan the area. Blair switched immediately to mode of guide to help in case Jim began to zone.
The fall nip in the air and the dampness from the ground filtered into the tired cramped joints of the Sentinel, aiding his decision to physically stretch as well by moving to a different area.
Blair followed just a little behind and slightly to the left of the detective, holding tight to the thermos and flashlight, and trying to be careful enough not to turn on the flashlight lest it gave away their position.
Noticing how uneven some of the ground was, Jim turned to his partner to warn him. But no sooner did he get out, "Be careful here, you better...." Blair disappeared from view. Jim scanned the area immediately and said in a harsh whisper, "BLAIR!"
Jim found that heartbeat he knew as well as his own and found the young man in a large, rectangular hole, sitting up, shaking his head and looking around.
"Blair! You ok?" Jim asked anxiously, the corners of his mouth twitching.
Blair grimaced. "Oh yeah...just fine!" he said sarcastically. "It's a good thing this dirt is soft..."
Jim leaned down and pulled his friend up and out of the hole and helped dust him off, giving a quick check to make sure he was okay. Satisfied that Blair was fine, he looked at the hole and then back at Blair, a smile threatening to cross his features again. "Interesting choice of cover, Chief." He chuckled and Blair just rolled his eyes.
Then Jim bent down to feel the dirt around the hole. "This dirt was freshly dug...it's still warm." He stood and listened intently for a moment before heading off, with Blair following close behind him--this time walking almost in Jim's footprints, separated from Jim's back only by the buttons on his heavy coat.
Blair had lost the thermos, but still clung to the large MagLite and his sense of humor. "Boy, I hope this is over soon. I keep expecting someone to jump up and say Trick or Treat'."
Jim suddenly stopped, causing Blair to bump into him. "What...?" the anthropologist started to ask.
"Shhh..." Jim whispered. "There are two voices" and begins to listen.
~~~~~~~~ "Hiding the stash in a box in a cemetery! Who would've thought to look here," said the first voice.
"....and with the damage we did at the other cemeteries when we knocked down a few old tombstones and dug around. Who would suspect what was really here...just the work of some punks," said the second voice. The the sound of a tombstone being knocked over was heard. "Now it's payday."
"Nooooooo..." a plaintitive sound was heard....the wind?
Whatever it was, it spooked the voices. "What was that?" asked the first voice, followed by the sound of something being dropped, like the end of a box. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jim and Blair moved close enough to see them. Jim suddenly jumped up and yelled, "FREEZE! CASCADE POLICE!"
Blair followed suit by flashing the MagLite in the vandals' eyes.
Temporarily blinded and no chance of reaching any weapons other than their shovel, the punks started to run. Jim chased the large of the two, grounding him with a full tackle.
Blair went after the other one, who had stopped, his foot apparently caught on a root of some sort, jutting out from an old grave. The thug stopped trying to pull his foot free and and turned around, raising his shovel menacingly. He took a swing, but the root holding his foot threw him off balance and he missed. Blair didn't miss a beat and brought down the heavy MagLite with a mighty swing, knocking the thug out.
After securing the prisoners and calling for back up, Jim listened, while an excited Blair told him about the lucky rood and reliable MagLite. Jim then looked at the area Blair had indicated the root had been.
"I see where they must've knocked over the headstone, but there's no root here or anything else that might've caught his foot." Jim observed, shaking his head.
Blair looked closer, shining the light all around, unbelieving. "There *must* be..."
Jim took a closer look at the headstone and read aloud, "Detective Sargeant Rich Mays - a cop's cop. Always ready to lend a hand to catch a crook.'"
Blair wasn't sure if it was the wind blowing his hair or if it was just standing up on its own.
The sirens announced the arrival of the patrol cars to take the criminals and stash to the department.
As everyone began to depart, Jim and Blair walked back to the cemetery gate where Blair paused briefly, looking back and said quietly, "Thanks, Sarge." then hurried to catch up with Jim.
In the truck cab, Jim started the engine and pulled out into the street. He glanced over at his partner and smiled. "Y'know, it's still not that late....What kind of costume can you get for me?" he asked. Then as an afterthought, he added, "Anything but a ghost."
Blair looked at the Sentinel and laughed. "BOO!"