A Bridge to Sight and Sound by Sammi M.Schuyler and Blair had pretty much slept the day away and Jim and Brenda had taken the time to share more stories, trade secrets and discuss their jobs. The detective found out about the many layers of "Doc DeMoss" as some of her co-workers called her and she found out what made him tick – for the most part.
Around midnight, Jim noticed that someone was stirring upstairs and he suggested, without letting her know he *knew* one was awake, they check on the sleeping Sandburgs. *Sounds like a road act,* Ellison chuckled to himself. Once inside, they were happily surprised to see the grey eyes staring at them. What pleased them more was the eyes were *tracking* their movements.
Brenda quietly, so as not to disturb the still out Blair, fussed around the girl and was finally satisfied that everything seemed okay. "Looking good, kiddo. How are ya feelin'?"
"I'd be lying if I said great, but, considering how I was, this feels tons better." She smiled as she saw the figure behind the woman and held out her hand. "You can come over. I won't bite – much. I outgrew that stage years ago when Blair finally bit me back – hard too – the little bugger!"
Jim moved beside her and took her hand. "Bren was telling me about that. I understand you learned the difference between baby teeth and permanent teeth fairly quickly." He smoothed the hair off her face. "Now, for the \$64,000 question – how are the senses?"
Schuyler gave him the most breathtaking smile and he almost sat back from the intensity. "I found my dials, or more they found me. Everything's still a little wobbly so I won't be relying on them for a while, but they're there and it feels *so* good."
"Oh, but to see Heaven you must first touch Hell," Brenda whispered. As she watched the two interact, she suddenly realized what her grandfather had meant when he'd first said that to her. *Things are definitely looking *up* around here.*
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&Naomi stood at the door glaring at the three who were busy bringing her bags in. It was clear she wasn't happy about a couple of things, but she was saving it for later. *Oh boy, am I saving it for later!* Only one thing was on her mind right now and that was her first priority. "Where's Schuyler?"
Since no one else was offering directions, Jim decided to grab the bull by the horns. "She's fine, just resting a bit upstairs. We were going to call you as soon as she awakened, but you beat us to the punch."
The older woman looked the man up and down and turned her eyes on the other two and did the same. When she was finished, she gracefully went upstairs without a word.
"What was that all about?"
Blair shivered and decided to enlighten his clueless friend, "That was Naomi's classic 'assessing the players' move. She always does it right before she does a severe purging. Has something to do with her seeing how much height she's *purged* off of you when she finishes." Shaking his head. "That was her 'before' memory. She takes great pleasure in comparing it to her 'after' one."
Brenda stepped forward, "In plain English? It's some mumbo-jumbo that she favours where she remembers how the guilty looked before she chewed their asses off and then compares it to how they looked after the chewing. If everyone looks suitably chastised and about three-feet-tall and she hasn't raised her voice, then it was a successful 'purge.'" She released a numbing sigh. "I'm really getting too old for all of this. I should have made one of you call at least once. Guess this proves the memory is the first thing to go. How on earth could I have forgotten how much I hate these things!"
Jim was still confused. "I'm not getting this people. What is the big deal? So we didn't call. Schuy's fine and she can't complain about that." Not understanding the look of fear from Blair and the look of resignation from Bren. "Even if she does feel warranted in chewing us out, it's *not* … *that* … *big* … *a* … *deal* ." He motioned in their general direction. "I was in the army, I'm used to it. Sandburg, I've sat in on enough sessions between you and Simon to *know* you are and Brenda, you went to medical school. Those people are notorious for being ball-busters – so to speak. I'm sure, even with Naomi hitting us with her best shot, it won't be anywhere near our worst."
"I'm glad you think that way, Jim. I *always* enjoy a challenge." Said Sandburg answered as she left the stairway with a rather large and predatory grin. "First things first, before we purge, I just want to clear the air on a few things. Does anyone remember what exactly I said I'd do if I weren't kept abreast of things? Shall we review?" She counted them off on her fingers. " One, I've cancelled all of my retreats for the next *two* months and, two, Kirby – you remember Kirby, don't you Bren – has offered me some of the highest grade sage and other herbs – other just as *aromatic* herbs – as he's ever done. I've also convinced one of my old friends, a Shinto priest, to come and check out the loft to see if there's some way to clear the air of all of it's negative pulses and give it a more natural ambience." At Jim's green look, she turned a satisfied eye onto her son. "I've talked to another old friend, a Dr. Landry in your department, and I told him how much you absolutely adored hearing his *detailed* stories about his various surgeries. He was quite surprised, but when I explained how you felt that you learned so much more about people when you listened to what their bodies have gone through to be healed, he couldn't wait to talk to you especially about his gall bladder surgery. I think he even has pictures." Blair groaned; Naomi bounced. And then, she nailed Bren. "As for you, my *best* friend, I just can't thank you enough for all that you've done for Schuyler and for me in helping me contact all of my old, dear friends. To show my appreciation, I asked Matthew to call up all the kids and all the grandkids so they could come up and spend the weekend with you."
The woman blanched. "This weekend? Matt and I have been planning this weekend alone in Catalina since I finally married Nonie off. There's got to be some mistake, right?" Her eyes pleaded with the serene woman. "You can't *possibly* have been so cruel that you would take my first free weekend with my new, only three months in use, husband away from me?"
"Don't you just love *old* friends?" Naomi took a satisfied deep breath and clasped her hands together. "Now, I think we're all ready for the purging. Shall we step into the den?"
As three defeated people followed the light steps of their tormentor into the room, one figure upstairs could barely contain her laughter at what she'd heard. With just a little more extension of her hearing, she could clearly detect the first volleys of the purge and it definitely sounded like it was going to be a good one. She couldn't fight it any longer as her runaway giggles erupted.
Schuyler was laughing so hard she almost missed the soft whispered threat of the one she considered every bit as much her brother as the other. "Laugh now, Precious, but payback is quick."
Whispering in return, "Too bad for you guys, Mom's not. Have fun and whatever you do, look attentive!" The girl settled back in her bed with her hands clasped behind her head and smiled up at all of the individual millions of dots that made up the designs on her ceiling. *Don't worry, Big Bro. After what you guys did for me, I'll make it up to you. I now have all the time in the world and all the senses to make it perfect.*