"Surrender, surrender

But don't give yourself away"

Cheap Trick/Surrender

When he awoke and remembered where he was, his despair draped over him again like a dark cloud. It was still raining and the thunder was deafening. He stood up and looked at his surroundings. There, on top of a grave a few plots down was a dozen white roses that someone had left for the deceased. He walked over and asked politely if he could take one. He heard the slightest of whispers saying "yes." He thanked the spirit and plucked one from the rest. He placed it on Jan's grave, tenderly piling the dirt around it so it would stay put. He felt renewed. And he felt strong. He needed to get back so he could find Jan and confront Simon. Before it was too late.

He found himself standing in the park by the sundial, this time he was not tired and he did not need to rest. He began to run out of the park to find Jan. It took him four tries before he located her hotel. He was nervous about seeing her again. How would she feel about him? What would they say to each other? He knocked on her door but there was no answer. He tried it, but it was locked. The only thing left to do was try to get inside without disturbing too much. He closed his eyes and willed himself through the door. He found himself standing in her room, amazed that he could now perform the "trick" in such short of a space.

The room was empty but it was filled with the images of the very recent past. He saw them together, saw what he did to her and he could barely keep his composure. He had to find her, and quickly. He closed his eyes again and bounced from place to place searching for her. He went to the bookstore only to find that the bookstore wasn't there anymore, in fact it was a simple childrens park on that corner. "Where is the bookstore that used to be here?" he asked a mother playing with her son on the swings. "Bookstore?" there was never a bookstore here," she answered "and I have been coming here for years now." He thanked her and disappeared again in a flash of light. He reappeared on another corner and looked around. Just as he was about to leave, he saw something that made him stop in his tracks. There, standing in the middle of a bustling crowd was a little boy… his Sean. He ran up to him, calling him by name. "Daddy?" his tiny voice answered, "Is it really you?" he was crying in Phil's arms now, sobbing out loud. "Sean, what are you doing here?" he knelt down in front of him with his hands on his shoulders.

"I was riding my bike and I fell and hit my head. I am in the hospital now… or at least I was in the hospital. Daddy, where are we?" he was crying again, obviously afraid. Phil lifted him into his arms and held him tight. "Weren't you wearing your helmet?" he demanded. "No daddy, my old one got lost and auntie hasn't bought me a new one yet." Phil sighed. "We have to get you home" he thought for a moment. You wait right here and I will be right back. "Daddy, don't leave me, I'm scared!" he cried. "Don't be Sean, you'll be fine. I am just going to go and see your aunt and uncle and find out how you are doing in the hospital." Phil reassured him and Sean calmed down. "Okay daddy, I'll stay right here." he said. "That's my good boy, see you in a few." and with that he was gone in a flash of light. Sean smiled.

He reappeared in the living room of his sister-in-law's house. They were sitting there drinking some soda and watching a football game. "Hey you two, it's me, Phil… Remember me? The father of the kids you have in your house? The one who left you tons of money to take care of them? Don't tell me you spent it all and couldn't afford to by MY son a new bike helmet?!" They just sat there watching TV, laughing at some inane commercial. "How can you be enjoying yourself when Sean is in the hospital?" he was almost screaming at them. Suddenly the reception on the TV went out. "There, now will you listen to me?" he yelled. They turned to look in his direction, but they weren't looking at him, they were looking through him… at little Sean coming down the stairs.

Part 24