a Sentinel story - I don't own the characters, I just had fun playing with them :D
November, 11 – h. 8.30 p.m.
On the fourth consecutive rainy day in Cascade, with dark heavy clouds in the sky covering the city and the following drop of temperature, Jim Ellison's temper was not good. He had spent the last days in the Cascade Mental Health Care, working undercover as an assistant, to find evidences of the presumed murderer happened two weeks before. A man, about 65, without relatives, whose physical health had always been good or good enough, considering his old age - despite the fact that he was in a Psychiatric Hospital – had been found dead in his room. The fact in itself was not so strange. But what made Jim Captain's suspicious was that this was the third death in that place in a month and a half; the circumstances were always the same: the men were all in good health until the day they were found dead without an apparent reason. Nobody found it strange and the case was closed. But Captain Banks had ordered his best detective, Jim Ellison, to make some more researches and what he found was enough to justify his undercover assignment.
But, as he had learned in the last days, in the movies it would had been a easy task while reality was much different. The first difficulty he met in his daily work at the Clinic – that was the way the personnel who worked in the Hospital called it – was to maintain a security distance between himself and the people admitted. Jim had always considered himself a brave policeman, but the first night after a long day at the clinic, in the silence of his bedroom he cried. He saw many young men, all wearing the same grey uniform, wander all the day in the anonymous rooms or watching the tv in the sitting room, moving as puppets when the orderlies came to them with their medications or when it was time for them to sleep. There was no light in their eyes. They were so lost in their mind that nothing reached them. They were quiet most of the time, because of the heavy drugs they were given, most of them, but someone sometimes had a crisis and in an instant the boneless puppet became a danger for himself and the other patients. It usually took less than a few minutes for the orderlies to recover from the surprise of the sudden outburst of energy in an otherwise catatonic man: the poor one was immediately surrounded by heavy assistants, whose task was to make him retreat in a corner and then calm him in many ways. Sometimes a straight-jacket was enough, sometimes they had to sedate the patient: in every case, all the benefits the man had gained before the "Episode" were lost. Jim wasn't prepared for all these and the brutality of the situation hit him hard.
Starting from his second day of work in the Clinic, he willingly maintained a security distance between him and the patients, trying not to be involved in their personal history. That was the only way if he wanted to solve the case.
That night, he was dead on his feet and his only wish was to go home and have a long hot shower and don't – absolutely don't - think about his work. But he still had to call his Captain to tell him about the development on the investigation and that thought made him not particularly happy. He decided to call in his car, before heading home, wishing the man to be in a good mood. He was half way to his Ford when he heard a faint heartbeat coming from nearby. He looked around but he saw no one in the parking space, the few cars were all cold and empty from their owners. Moving closer to his one, he caught a glimpse of a movement and the heartbeat sped up. Someone was hiding behind his car, that was clear. But who? Jim did not believed a possible thief would had waited for him in the rain. He carefully approached the left side of the vehicle where a young boy, very thin and completely soaked, was huddled on the floor. The hard rain prevented him to hear the detective coming so when Jim made his presence clear he jumped in surprised and began trembling, trying to hide under the car.
"Boy, it's O.K. You don't have to fear me! Come on, get out from under the car so you can tell me your name. I'm Jim Dillinger." Ellison was his real name, but he couldn't risk his covering.
The boy gave no signal to have understood and tried to escape coming out from under the car on its right side. But as he was on his feet again he saw Jim in front of him, blocking his only way out. In a last desperate move, he raised a big piece of glass with a trembling hand, pushing the sharp edge in the soft skin of his own neck.
Jim went very still and tried to reassure him that he was safe and he surely wouldn't do anything to hurt him so please to put the glass down.
"Come on, I only want to help! I promise I won't hurt you. Just let me help you. Please!"
"L-let me g-go!" he said in a raspy voice.
"I can't buddy! You're soaked and you need clean and dry clothes…" speaking of clothes, Jim noticed the grey uniform and the identification bracelet the boy wore on his right wrist. He noticed also that he was wearing only socks, no shoes. His trembling had increased in the few minutes he had been standing. Jim guessed the boy was in shock and was determined to take him inside the hospital – again – so to have someone to help him. "… at least can you tell me your name?"
"I s-said… let m-me go or I'll kill myself!". A thin trickle of blood poured down his neck. The boy was determined not to be touched.
"Ok, buddy, calm down now. You're going to hurt yourself. Please, let me help…"
"N-no! Go away!" he shouted.
Suddenly, a lightning exploded in the sky followed by a loud thunder. The boy got scared and Jim take advantage of his weakness to hold him in a bear hug. The glass fell on the ground. The boy tried to escape but he was too weak and exhausted to fight. After a few minutes, he became limp in the taller man's arms. Jim carefully deposited the light bundle in the passenger seat of his car, taking time. He took a soft towel from his gym bag and carefully dried the stranger's face and hair. "Beautiful" was his first thought. Suddenly, Jim felt so sad for this young man who minutes ago was so desperate to try to kill himself. "What happened to you, chief?" he asked to his unconscious passenger "Let me see your bracelet, what's your name buddy?" Jim took the boy's small hand in his and read the item: BLAIR SANDBURG. Cascade M.E.C. West Wing – Doctor J. Madler. "Ok, Blair, I'm sorry but I have no choice here. You need medical attention. I don't know what were you escaping from but I promise I will help you, once you're better. Oh my God, Chief, you're burning up!".
The detective wrapped his jacket around Blair's small frame and gathering him in his arms he rushed to main entrance of the Clinic. The orderly at the desk, after calling Blair's doctor, led Jim the way to West Wing where there were expecting them. Dr. Madler was there too.
"Dr. Madler, I found Blair in the parking. I don't know how much time he spent there in the rain but he's cold and I think he is running a high fever. I hope you can help him!" Jim declared breathless.
The older man checked his patient and quickly instructed the orderlies that took Blair from Jim's arms to lay him down on a gurney. They removed Jim's jacket and the boy started to shiver.
"He needs dry clothes." The detective added.
"Don't worry. We will take care of him. We were worried about him. Thank you, Mr. Dillinger! Now, if you excuse me, I need to take care of Blair."
The doctor disappeared with Blair. Jim had done his duty. Blair was going to be alright. Jim was sure of it. Once outside the main building of the hospital, he felt better. He had saved the kid's life tonight. Before starting the engine of the car, he phoned his captain. It took him only five minutes to update him and he was satisfied. Everything was going as planned tonight.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2
Reviews are most welcome!