Mr. Monk and the Lazarus Plot
Notes: The characters are not mine (except the villain) and the story is! The title is based on the title of an old Hardy Boys Casefiles book. There are spoilers here for the seventh season episode Mr. Monk and the Magician, and maybe some scattered ones for later episodes as well. I was rather heartbroken to discover who is killed in the magician episode, and I have thought long and hard about a way to rebel against that twist while not going against the themes of the show (or against the powerful episode itself). Thus, here is what I offer. I hope it will be an enjoyable, intense read. Many thanks to Crystal for plot help!
Immediately after the death of the magician
Everything was completely white.
He was not exaggerating. No, he was not an exaggerator by any stretch of the imagination. All that he saw was exactly how it was. The sky, the clouds, and the . . . well, there actually wasn't a visible floor, but if there were it would probably be white too.
He wandered ahead, navigating his way through the misty clouds around his legs. What was this place? One minute he had been in his dressing room, giving himself a pep talk after his terrible magic act, and the next . . .
A hand flew to his neck. What he was remembering was horrible and impossible, but . . . it had to be true. He remembered the sudden attack, the pain, his desperation to fight off Karl. . . .
Yes, it had been Karl Torini. Why? What had he ever done to Karl? And how had Karl gotten to San Francisco when Karl had called right from Reno? There was no mistake; Karl had been right there, visible in the mirror. Then Karl had lunged with that wire and had pulled it around his throat.
He had failed to save himself.
He had been strangled, choked, asphyxiated.
He was dead.
And yet he did not feel dead. He felt vibrant and alert and alive.
Had he gone to the afterlife? This was not what he had pictured Heaven looking like, all white and filled with nothing. But then again, how would anyone really know what Heaven was like until they got there themselves? Anyway, it surely had to be Heaven and not . . . the other place.
He would not be sent there, would he? He had always tried to live an upright life, helping whenever he could for the sake of helping and not for any monetary or social rewards. And he had been there for Adrian as much as he could.
Adrian. . . .
Oh no, what would Adrian think when he found out about this? To lose a friend, especially to a murder . . . what would that do to him?
"Hello?" he called. "Is anyone here?"
It could have been as soon as he spoke or an eternity later that a figure moved through the clouds towards him. He stared, transfixed. Was it someone he knew? A relative, maybe? He had heard that family members sometimes came to meet the newly departed. Maybe it was one of his parents.
It could also be a friend. He made friends easily, and he was sorry to say, he had lost a couple of them to death.
Or . . . could it be . . . dare he even think it? God?
The figure drew closer. Now he could tell it was a woman. He frowned in confusion, stepping closer. "Hi?" he said. "Do I know you?"
She smiled. "We've never met," she said. "But I know about you, Kevin."
"You . . . you do?" he gasped.
There was something familiar about her. And as they came face-to-face, it suddenly hit him.
"Holy Toledo! You're Trudy!" he exclaimed. "Adrian's Trudy!"
"Yes," she said. Though she still smiled, now there was a bit of sadness in it.
"It's an honor," he said, holding out a hand. "I never thought I would actually meet you! Adrian talks about you all the time. He has nothing but good things to say, and . . ."
"I know," she broke in. She looked steadily into his eyes. "I want to thank you for being Adrian's friend. He really needed, and still needs, one."
"Oh. . . ." The sick feeling was back. "What's going to happen to him now? When he finds out I'm dead, he'll be devastated. I just know it."
She gave a sad nod. "Well . . . something's going to have to be done about that," she said.
He looked at her in surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"You aren't supposed to be here," she told him. "You'll have to go back."
His eyes widened. "Go back?" he repeated. "You mean I'll be alive again?" She nodded. "I'll be one of those NDE cases! I'll tell everyone what I've seen through the veil and they'll come to me for answers about death and I can help them. And I'll be able to tell Adrian that I saw you!"
She smiled again. "When you see him, please give him a message from me," she said.
"Of course!" he exclaimed. "Anything!"
She leaned in and whispered her words. Then in an instant, everything was gone—Trudy, the clouds, the white—and he was falling into a darkened room.
His wild flight was brought to an abrupt halt as he slammed into his body. With a jerk, his eyes flew open. Everything was blurry, which could only mean two things. He was alive and his glasses were gone. For a moment he lay there on the cold metal, breathing heavily as he gazed up at the ceiling high above him.
"I'm back," he whispered at last. His voice was scratchy and his throat was on fire, but at the moment he could not care less. He had been to the world of the dead and had returned. It was something only a select few could talk about.
He tried to sit up, supporting his upper body with his shaking arms. The thin sheet slipped from his chest to around his hips. At the same moment, the light clicked on. He froze, looking towards the source.
The elderly, white-haired man coming towards him was someone he did not know. At least, he did not think he knew the man. Maybe if he could see properly, he would be able to tell otherwise. It could be someone he had met once or twice. He really was good with faces, when he could distinguish them well.
The possible stranger stopped in front of him, holding a clipboard in his hands. He glanced over it briefly, then set it aside. "Kevin Dorfman," he mused. "So, you're one of them now." He smiled, but something about it only made Kevin feel uneasy.
"One of . . ." Kevin desperately wanted to converse with this person, but his burning throat did not seem willing to permit it. This was far more painful and debilitating than an average sore throat that came with a cold or the flu.
"You'll have to tell me all about it, when you're feeling up to it." The newcomer reached out, pushing Kevin back onto the slab. "Where I'm taking you, you'll have plenty of time."
"What?" Kevin tried to rise again, but the man firmly held him down. "I can't go with you. I have to let my family and Adrian know . . ."
"Nevermind them. The only thing to concern yourself with now is me."
Suddenly the air was filled with something sweet. But there were no candy bars or chocolates or anything else edible. There was only a cloth, one that the unwelcome guy was abruptly pressing over Kevin's nose and mouth. There was no chance to fight back.
When he was certain Kevin was unconscious, the man removed the chloroformed cloth. "Yes, Mr. Dorfman," he said. He positioned himself at the head of the slab. "Once we're safely away from here, I am very interested in what you have to say." His eyes narrowed. "No one will miss you. After all, for all accounts and purposes, you are dead. And dead you will remain—to them. Only I will know the truth—that you crossed over and have returned."
Several Months Later
Talbot Philips was running.
His shoes slapped against the pavement as he tore around a corner. Behind him, his white coat billowed out like a cloak—or more unfortunately, like a beacon. He would be seen in an instant.
Not that there was any place to hide. The street was wide and open. The only covered location was the parking garage he was flying towards, where he had hidden his car—a white 2008 Chevrolet Impala. His sole hope was to reach the vehicle before the would-be murderers reached him.
But even as he approached, headlights lit up the entrance to the multi-tiered garage. Instinctively he knew. "No," he whispered. He turned to run the other direction, even though it was useless.
The car gunned its engine, speeding down the ramp as it barreled towards him. The hapless man did not have a chance. The vehicle struck him before he could even manage to move several feet. As he crumpled to the ground, the 2008 white Chevrolet Impala roared down the street and out of sight.
The doors of the office building next to the parking garage opened moments later. Ellen Turner, secretary to the company president, searched through her purse with a frown. Her keys were supposed to be in there somewhere, but as usual, she could not find them.
The form in the road caught her eye when she happened to glance up at the streetlight. She gasped, the color leaving her face. Was that what it looked like? She ran over, her heart gathering speed as she dropped next to the body. "Hello?" she cried. "Can you hear me?"
The man's eyes fluttered open halfway. The blood slipping down the right side of his face blurred his vision, but he fought to focus on the woman who had found him. It was too late for him. But he still had a message to deliver. If there were any hope, any chance, that she would take it and do something with it, then at least his death would not be in vain.
"They . . . got me," he rasped. Every breath, every word, was painful. But he had to speak.
"Who got you?" she cried. She fumbled in her purse again, this time for her cellphone.
"Doctor. . . ." He shuddered.
"They're not dead," he said now. Even though he was barely able to speak, the urgency in his voice was audible. "You have to save them! Please. . . ."
"Who's not dead?" Ellen exclaimed. "Who do I have to save?"
But he could say no more. As she watched, horrified and sickened, the man's eyes fell shut and his chest stilled.