"Karen," John said, shocked. "But, you're dead."
"I know," Karen told him.
"How? But you're only an image brought on by stress caused by…"
"JD," she cut him off. "You know how much I hate it when you spout out logic."
She skipped by him by him, almost gliding through the field. John was awestruck.
She can't be a real spirit, he thought to himself.
"Isn't it beautiful?" Karen asked, breaking his train of thought.
"Yes, very. Exactly like your painting," he said. "But I don't understand why I'm here."
"Listen, JD, you've been majorly stressin' out since you found me dead. Why don't you just relax for once?"
"Karen, it's not that easy. I mean there've been these cases and trying to find the Phoenix. I said I'd avenge your death."
"I know, I heard you loud and clear. But you can't just expect to avenge someone in a day."
"What's so funny?" John asked.
"You remind me of my sister. She once had a pet mouse and it turned up dead one day. She swore she'd avenge its death and spent a whole week trying to find it. She got so stressed out we thought she'd lost her mind. Turns out, the mouse was old."
"Look, Karen, it's not the same with you." John told her.
"Really? 'Cause you sure are acting like my sister. JD, if you don't relax, you'll lose your mind and then how will you avenge me?"
"I, I don't know." John said.
"Exactly. And just between you and me, I really don't want to see you lose your mind. I mean, you're already half gone as it is, what with the whole mystery thing and all."
John knew she meant it as a joke and laughed.
"See, you need to do that more."
She was right. He didn't laugh enough. It was a proven fact that laughter was good for the mind, especially at relieving stress.
Why hadn't I thought of that before? he thought to himself.
"Um, not to burst your bubble, but I can read your mind, JD." Karen told him.
"Really? I didn't know you were psychic."
"Very funny. Look, I don't have much time as it is. You know, the whole spirits can't interfere with the living thing. You're my friend, JD. I don't want you to forget me, but I don't want you to go crazy avenging me. I'm ok, here. No more worries, ok?"
"I guess you're right," he said.
"Have I ever told you wrong?" she asked him.
"Good, now go, you making my flowers cry."
"Will I ever see you again?" John asked.
"You might, who knows, right?"
"Take it easy, JD."
The image of the field slowly faded, replaced once more by the darkness. John assumed it was the end of the ceremony. Yet he didn't wake up.
"Now what?" he asked.
"Only you can bring yourself out of the dream, John." River's voice told him. "You must be completely ready to wake up."
"I'm ready to wake up. I'm sure I am."
"Then, wake up."
John woke to find himself next to the fire. The sun had already come up. John sat up and looked around. River was nowhere in sight.
"River?" John asked.
He got no answer. He wondered if River had been a dream also. Shrugging, John got up and fixed a quick breakfast. Today was the day he'd head home. He felt completely relaxed. Everything had returned. Everything except his identity.
Too bad I couldn't find that out, he thought to himself.
John packed up his gear and trash, made sure his fire was out and began the hike back to Digger's truck. Nine hours later, John walked up to the bar at The Sea. A smiling Digger appeared as if by magic.
"So, how was your weekend?" he asked.
"It was relaxing. I've never felt better." John told him.
"Good to hear. I trust all the information came back?" Digger said, tapping his head.
"Yes, it's all there. Well, almost all of it. Still no idea who I am."
"Well, it's still good to have you back and I mean the real you." Digger said as he walked away.
"Oh, by the way, thanks for sending that friend of yours to help me." John told him.
"What friend?" Digger asked.
"The Native American man that met me there."
"John, the only Native American friends I have live in Arizona." Digger told him.
"But he said he was a friend of a friend. I thought he meant you."
"Sorry, John, wasn't me." Digger said and walked away.
John sat there for a moment. Fear ran through his mind.
Who could have sent him? he thought.
Deep in the forests of British Columbia, a train slowly made it's way along the tracks. Inside the lone car was an array of computers, each manned by someone doing continuous research. On several screens were news articles on John, on others, archaeological digs across the globe. In one corner at a table sat the trench coat man, typing away on his TDD.
"You were unable to get the information we needed." Trench coat said. "You only taught him to oppose us."
"Forgive me, but I had to gain his trust in order to perform the ceremony." River told him.
"Still, he learned to not fear us."
"She is to blame." River said, pointing to the corner. "She appeared in his dream and told him to relax. It is her fault, not mine."
"It is unfortunate." Trench coat responded. "I'm afraid our relationship is at an end."
"Please, no, give me another chance." River begged as two men grabbed him. "I can get the information you need. Please."
The men opened a door as the train went over a trestle. River tried to make one final plea, but was thrown out before he could finish.
Such a pity, Trench coat thought. He was convinced he could break Doe.
Trench coat looked over to the corner at the captives.
How is it you were able to get into his mind? he thought.
He slapped the one he thought River had pointed to. It was Theresa. Too exhausted to make a sound, she merely jerked, but remained asleep. Beside her, gagged and bound and equally exhausted, Karen slept; unaware of how she'd helped her friend.
A/N: Ok, I know, everyone thinks Karen's dead, but I don't think she is. She has to have some connection to JD or else the Phoenix wouldn't have taken her in the first place. They could have taken Frank, Digger or Jamie, but why Karen? Theresa's sister perhaps?