Part V - Chapter 25 - Prophecies of Coming Things

Hard Rock, CA

James and Rachel had been in Hard Rock for roughly 24 hours. It was early evening again and Rachel was still asleep in the upstairs bed. The doctor was planning to check in on her again in the morning but he said that she seemed to be progressing well with her recovery. Over the course of the 24 hour period, Lenore and James spent the time catching up. He had discussed his adventures through various points in time and the joy of being able to catch up with Gus and Shaun. The phone line was still out of order but Lenore wasn't ready to head into town or to share James again, not yet anyway. The day passed quickly and found the mother and son sitting at the dining room table having just finished dinner. As Lenore began to clear the plates, she caught James looked at the door to his father's old office. James seemed lost in his own world. Lenore placed the plates back down and stretched her hands across the table to squeeze James' hands in an attempt to bring him back to the present.

"I'm so glad that you are here," she said while smiling.

James broke his stare of the door to turn and look at his mother. "I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner."

"Baby, you didn't know-"

"But that's the thing, isn't it? I could have said 'home' at any time and the bracelet would have brought me here. That Doc fella said that I have a unique connection to the bracelet. It would have responded to anything that I told it to do but I didn't."

"Don't be so hard on yourself."

"You aren't understanding. This doesn't feel like home anymore. Hard Rock doesn't feel like home anymore. With Pa gone, nothing feels like home anymore. It's like when we buried him, part of me was laid to rest with him." As James explained, his eyes filled with tears but he wiped them away before they could fully form.

"Honey, part of us did die with your Pa."

At James' hurt face, she continued, "Nothing will be the same without your father. And as we move on with our lives, we will be reframed and find a new purpose. But part of our souls will always be buried with him. And it's okay to feel that pain and to grieve his absence," cried Lenore. It was so hard to see her son in pain.

"And even if you move on to other adventures in life, know that you are always welcome here," she smiled and gave his hands another squeeze. "And know that home is not a house or the absence of your father, but it is anywhere that people love you."

James stood to give his mother a hug but the sweet moment was cut short. Rachel began to scream. Lenore and James ran upstairs and burst through the door. Rachel was still asleep but she was screaming and seemed to be fighting an invisible force.

"Wake up, dear! Wake up!" commanded Lenore as she shook Rachel awake.

Rachel awoke with a start and began to take deep breaths as she looked around the room. When she locked eyes with James, she ran to him and wrapped him in a hug. "Don't go!" she whispered intensely.

James tried to laugh at the strange worry in her voice and said, "Don't worry, girl. I'm not planning on going anywhere. You just had a bad dream."

"No," she whispered and looked up at him. All of the color had drained out of her face as she began to cry. "It's not a dream. James, I saw you!"

"Saw him where, honey?" Lenore said as she gently took Rachel and guided her back to bed. It may be commonplace for actresses to run around in their nightgowns but under Lenore's roof it was improper for a single woman to hug a young man who is not her husband while wearing only a nightgown.

"It was awful," Rachel explained to Lenore as she allowed herself to be guided. It was a giant mansion full of ghosts and an army of skeletons. They took him, Lenore, and they wouldn't let him go home!"

"Shhhh, it's just a dream, Rachel. Go back to sleep," Lenore sat at Rachel's bed and gently hushed her back to sleep. Lenore noticed that James had seemed to disappear shortly after she got Rachel to bed and assumed it was his manners that had convinced him to give the girl her privacy. Lenore inwardly praised her son for his etiquette before continuing to hum over Rachel. When Rachel had finally gone to sleep, Lenore began to look around the house for James. After a quick search in every room, she could not find James.

Where did James go?

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

In Serenity, the small group of prisoners were escorted into the town's tiny hospital. It was a one floor building holding roughly 6 beds and all were empty. The small group of prisoners, Zoe, Jayne, and Mal passed Doctor Simon sitting at his desk filling out paperwork and moved beyond the beds to a small room in the back of the hospital. The room looked barely bigger than a closet and a petite young woman with long dark hair was sitting at a small table while flipping Tarot cards in front of her. As the group filled the small room, she continued to flip cards and did not look up to acknowledge their presence.

After a few minutes with only the sound of flipping cards Doc attempted to break the silence. "Ahem. So, why are we here-"

"Shhhh!" snapped Zoe.

"The tall one is from a different world and his innocence will not save him," the words chilled Doc to the bone.

"I see the man called 'County,'" she said of Brisco, still without looking at anyone in the room. "You are the hero that you have always been and 'The Coming Thing' that you have sought will soon be revealed to you." Brisco did his best to stay calm but could feel his heart beating in his throat with excitement.

"The bearded man knows Jayne from a previous life and a life yet to be. He will not be labeled nor will he label. The world and nothing are in his hands."

"Divinations always seem to be vague and full of riddles," scoffed Pete.

At Pete's mocking response, River actually looked up and directly into Pete's eyes. Her dark and piercing eyes took him aback as she stated, "Chucky has not forgotten you." At those words, Pete felt a piercing ice of fear slide down his back.

"That may be helpful to this lot but I need to know, are they on our side or are they Realtors?" demanded Mal.

River closed her eyes and took a deep breath. It felt as though the world had stopped as all waited for her assessment based on an unseen judicial scale. She finally gave a small and far away smile before responding that they were indeed not realtors. The sheriff and deputies sighed with relief before the group was escorted out of the room.

Mal and Brisco were the last to leave as River sang, "Two by Two, Hands of Blue. Two by Two, Hands of Blue."

At her song, Brisco saw Mal tense up before responding, "They're coming for us."

"Who is coming?" Brisco asked curiously.


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