Angel stood outside Dr. Red Bear’s house. The front door lay shattered on the porch from the force of Angel’s kick. . Angel glared through the doorway, the internal rage that was boiling inside threatening to explode.
The opening teased at him, taunting him, prohibiting him to enter. Angel picked up stone planter and threw it into the entrance with all of his strength. The resounding crash only slightly relieved some of his frustration and fury.
Angel had only thought about finding Cordelia. He hadn’t thought beyond reaching Dr. Red Bear’s. He hadn’t thought about what would happen if she weren’t there, that he wouldn’t be able to enter the premises.
Angel raised the mate of the stone planter, pulverizing the decorative pot with the pressure of his hands. With a low growl, he slumped to the steps, the dust and pieces of stone falling at his side.
He was lost. Angel wanted to race from the house, but he just didn’t know where to race to. Cordelia wasn’t there; she had never been there. The spicy sweet scent of his seer was absent from the air. Angel’s shoulders hunched further into his body. He wanted to kill, he wanted to cry, but mostly he wanted to find Cordelia.
Angel’s head jerked up as he caught the sound of an engine. For a brief moment he thought or rather hoped that it was the doctor with Cordelia. Then he would be able to accomplish two of his desires, to kill and to get Cordelia back.
With a dejected snarl he got up, it wasn’t Cordelia. He recognized the sound of Gunn’s truck as it traveled closer and she wasn’t with them. Her scent was still painfully missing.
“Um, Wes,” Gunn said staring at the forlorn and angry vampire pacing back and forth in front of the house. “We forgot about the invite thing.”
“Quite.” Wesley hurriedly got out of the truck and ran towards Angel. “Angel…” Wesley stopped. It was apparent that Cordelia wasn’t there.
Angel glared his friend. Wesley’s silence confirmed that they had not found out where Cordelia was. “Search the place,” Angel ordered.
Wesley nodded. Stepping over the broken debris on the porch, he entered the house. Gunn quickly followed.
The house was not large, but gave off the appearance of being spacious. Expansive bare windows lined the back wall. The outside and the inside seemed to blend into one. The few decorative pieces were Native American in origin. Red, yellow and black colored basketry hung on one of the walls. Several pieces of pottery adorned the table and shelves.
A grouping of photographs on the wall captured Wesley’s attention. They all depicted the same two individuals in the photo that Wesley had snatched from the office. The age of the boy in the pictures ranged from very young to the teen years.
All were taken at the same location. Wesley took down a photo that had a more descriptive view of the surrounding area. The cabin was small, located by the water. Again, impulsively Wesley pocketed the photograph.
“Anything?” he asked Gunn.
“Naw,” The black man said in frustration. “This place is neat and useless,” he grumbled.
Wesley looked back to the doorway. He could barely see Angel. His dark clothing blended into the night. But Wesley didn’t need to see Angel to know that the vampire was impatient.
“Come on,” he said with resignation.
Gunn nodded. Wesley stopped at the table by the entranceway. He looked at the stack of mail. He quickly flipped through it. He wasn’t sure what he would find. Gunn may have been joking, but Wesley had hoped that maybe something, anything would jump out at him and point loudly and vividly ‘this is where Cordelia is’. But there was nothing-just bills and more correspondence from the Hopi Tribal Government.
Wesley and Gunn faced Angel. Wesley shook his head, not wanting to say the words of failure.
With a low growl, Angel turned away and headed for his car. “Hotel,” he snarled.
Wesley and Gunn just looked at each other. “Maybe, Cordelia’ back there, Maybe we are just getting all wiggy for nothing,” Gunn piped up.
Angel paused and turned back to the black man. It was the first time since they discovered that Cordelia was not in the diner that Angel had actually looked at Gunn. Gunn stumbled back at the fierceness of the vampire’s glare. Shit, the young man thought, Angel blamed him for losing Cordelia. That was not a real safe place to be.
“I…” Gunn started. Gunn really did feel responsible; he knew he screwed up. But, he hoped that maybe everything would be okay and not because he was scared of the vamp’s reaction if it wasn’t, but because he didn’t want Cordelia to be in danger. He had come to care a lot for the young girl.
“Don’t,” Angel said lowly. Angel knew that both Wesley and Gunn cared for Cordelia and would do anything to protect her.
And Gunn’s lapse was unintentional and understandable. Angel knew this objectively. It wasn’t Gunn’s fault, it was his. But Angel still wanted to kill someone. And if Gunn didn’t shut up, Angel feared that the young black man would be his target.
Wesley pulled at Gunn’s arm. “Come on, let’s go. Angel, we’ll meet you back at the hotel.”
Wesley and Gunn were silent on the drive back.
“He’s just worried,” Wesley explained, finally breaking the quiet.
Wesley couldn’t contradict that statement. “It’s the unknowing that’s causing it. Once we figure out where Cordelia is, Angel will be fine.”
Find Cordelia? How? Gunn thought dejectedly. “Wes, the doc doesn’t seem the regular bad ass evil type. I mean, Cordy will be okay, won’t she?”
“God, I hope so,” Wesley whispered.
Cordelia was drifting back and through consciousness. She could sense the movement around her. She was in a car, traveling.
But where? She tried to concentrate, to move her body, to wake up, but it seemed the harder she tried, the harder it became. Soon the she slipped back into unconsciousness.
“Your father is already at the cabin.” The driver of the car called back to John.
John nodded, his hands stroking at Cordelia’s hair. His soft gaze embraced the young sleeping woman. She was truly an innocent. He didn’t want to cause her any fear or upset, but he had to do this, too much was at stake.
“Hurry,” he ordered.
Wesley and Gunn watched in concern as Angel paced up and down the lobby. At least, the vampire had stopped breaking things, they both thought.
“Angel, you have to calm down.” Wesley called.
They had reached the hotel, shortly after the vampire. They entered the hotel just in time to see Angel destroy several pieces of furniture.
“I don’t get it,” Gunn whispered. “I mean, I get that the vamp is worried, man, we’re all worried, but Cordy has been well snatched before. Why is this time so, well ….” He pointed to the damaged furniture.
Wesley shrugged. “The necklace, it’s unknown power, the fact that Cordelia wouldn’t have been outside if something hadn’t happened between the two of them earlier, maybe he finally realized that he is in love with her….I don’t know and it’s not relevant, what’s important is to find Cordelia.” Wesley whispered back.
“Angel,” the former watcher said louder. “We need to discover more about Dr. Red Bear. I think maybe it’s time to try out that thing,” Pointing to the computer.
“We need information to put in the computer before it can tell us anything.” Snorted Angel.
“Yes, well, we do have some.” Wesley turned on the computer and waited for it to go online. He punched in a search for the University. As soon as the website appeared. Wesley clicked on faculty. “Okay, it seems the Professor is a member of the Hopi tribe.”
“So,” Gunn questioned.
“I’m not sure but there were a lot of letters from the Hopi Tribal Government in his belongings. So, that would mean, I imagine, that he was still very active with his tribe.” Wesley thought a moment and changed the search to Hopi.
The men read the information in the site.
“That doesn’t really help.” Grunted Gunn.
“No…but…if we assume that the Necklace has some major spiritual significance to the Hopi and that is why he took Cordelia, then presumably he would take her to some place with spiritual significance, maybe somewhere in the reservation.”
“I Imagine, but, assume, if…We need answers, not guesses.” Angel demanded.
“Ah, Wes, the reservation is in Arizona,” Gunn pointed out. “Over 600 miles away.”
Wesley shoulders slumped. That was so far away. They couldn’t afford to go there and be wrong.
“Still,” Wesley couldn’t get over the feeling that John Red Bear’s connection with his tribe was important. His professional life and his home seemed to be concentrated on his culture and his people.
Wesley pulled out the photographs he had taken. John Red Bear had possessed numerous photos of this one place. “The cabin. It’s important to him.”
Angel grabbed at the photo’s breaking the frames; He pulled out the pictures studying the back and front. “Nothing,” he grimaced. He couldn’t see anything unique about them. Nothing to indicated where the cabin was located.
“That ain’t Arizona,” Gunn claimed, pointing out the trees and body of water.
“No it’s not.” Wesley thought some more. He punched a new search. This time concentrating on California.
“Um, I might have found something,” he said not trying to get too hopeful.
“What?” Angel growled.
“The Colorado River Reservation- it’s comprised of the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo Indians. It’s located along the Colorado River. It’s in both California and Arizona, about 200 miles from Los Angeles.” He stared at the pictures again focusing on the body of water depicted in them.
“That’s a big leap,” doubted Gunn.
“Yes, but…okay, but…we have nothing else.” Wesley shrugged. “There is nothing here about the necklace…. It’s the only thing that makes any possible sense.”
Angel stood silent. 200 miles. It was still too far, if they were wrong. But…did they have a choice. Angel looked towards the darkened windows of the hotel. It would be dawn soon. “Wes, Gunn go. See if you can find the cabin. I’ll stay here and go to Caritas and talk to the host.”
“Obviously, we’ll go, but first we all,” Wesley emphasized, “should get some sleep…just for a couple of hours,” he added at Angel’s glare.
Sleep? Angel knew that it would be impossible for him to rest. Wesley was right, he needed to calm down, but lying down alone and thinking about Cordelia wouldn’t accomplish that. More than just his nightmares would keep him awake.
He couldn’t stop and let his fear for Cordelia take over.
“You and Gunn sleep.” Angel partially conceded. The humans had been awake for hours without any real rest since before the fight on the pier. “I’ll go to the host now.”
“She’s so young,” The old shaman’s wrinkled hand gently caressed the turquoise stones resting on Cordelia’s skin.
John merely nodded. They had reached the cabin only a few minutes ago. His father had gingerly approached the young woman John had placed on the couch. Like John before him, the shaman had attempted to take the necklace off Cordelia. And like before the necklace wouldn’t budge.
“The necklace has chosen her. Bring her.” The shaman led the way through the back of the cabin to a lone wooden structure. It was shaped like a box and had no windows.
The one entrance to the outside room was trimmed with bright Native American symbols. The interior of the room was bare except for a lone bench and a large stone fire pit in the middle of the floor.
Ceremonial bowls filled with herbs and powders lined the bench, along with a simple long smoking pipe.
The Shaman struggled with removing his shirt all while leaning on his walking stick. Then he measured out some of the powder and placed it in the pipe.
“John,” he ordered.
John placed Cordelia gently on the dirt floor, taking off his shirt and shoes as he got up. He went over to one of the bowls, handing it to his father and taking the pipe. The shaman placed his fingers in the bowl mixing the ingredients. He brushed the powder onto the once firm skin of his chest. He drew intricate designs on his flesh. Once done he repeated the process on his son.
Father and son went back to sit around the pit. John gathered Cordelia up against his body, resting her head on his shoulder.
The Shaman glanced at his son. The old man sensed John’s concern for the young woman. “It has to be done. I must see her dreams. I must know.”
“I know, father.”
The old man nodded satisfied that John would do what he had to do. The shaman dusted some more powder over the rocks and wood shavings that filled the stone pit, chanting lowly. Soon, smoke occupied the room as the rocks glowed red and the chips burned.
Cordelia stirred against John’s chest. She tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t form. A burning heat surrounded her skin, sweat pooled dripping down her body. Cordelia forced her eyes opened. She jerked away from the old Indian staring intently at her. “Who…where….Angel…..so hot,” her confused words rambled.
“John,” the shaman ordered.
John pulled Cordelia back to his chest, holding her face still. “Sh, Cordelia everything will be fine.”
The shaman took a long drag off the peyote pipe. He waited as the drug flowed through his lungs, then took another one. This time he didn’t breathe in the smoke, but held it in his mouth. He leaned into Cordelia’s face. Cordelia’s eyes widened in confusion and fear as the old man grabbed at her jaw forcing her mouth opened. The Shaman covered her mouth with his own releasing the powerful drug. He then quickly clamped his hand over her mouth, and pinched her nose shut.
Cordelia struggled against his grip, trying to breathe. Involuntarily, her lungs filled with the smoke that had been trapped in her mouth. Cordelia gulped at the air as soon as she was released. Again, the Shaman repeated the process, filling Cordelia’s lungs once again with the drug.
The room expanded around Cordelia. She stared at the old Indian, her eyes large brown circles. She tried to concentrate as the old Indian moved and flickered in and out of her sight. The walls of the room began to melt around her. Cordelia loss all sense of reality as her world faded and changed.
Cordelia stood on the outskirts of the forest. She was in her dream place. She waited for Tweety and…she really needed to think of a name for her pretty wolf, she couldn’t just go around calling her wolf. As on cue, the animals appeared.
“Hi,” Cordelia called. “What’s wrong,” she asked, puzzled at the animals less than friendly welcome. Usually, Tweety and…she studied the dark fur of the wolf…Mocha, she thought. Good she had found a name. Cordelia shook her head; she couldn’t keep a straight thought in her head. What had she been thinking about? She stared again at her spirit guides. They hadn’t moved. The humming bird frantically beat its wings in one place not leaving the wolf.
“Guys, why won’t you come here?” She stepped closer to the animals. Mocha growled in response. She stopped. “Why?” Cordelia moved again. Mocha barked out a warning. Cordelia stopped again; her guides didn’t want her to go near the forest. They wanted her to leave.
“I don’t know how to,” she complained. Cordelia tried to concentrate on waking up. If they thought it was a good idea for not to be there, she would leave, but first someone better tell her how to. She wasn’t waking up. Cordelia pinched sharply at her arm. Nope.
“Young one.” An old Indian appeared out of the trees, he had a type of wildcat by his side. Cordelia stared at the animal. The cat wasn’t that large. It had long powerful legs; a short bobbed tail and tufts of fur surrounded its pointed ears. A lynx, Cordelia realized in recognition. Of course, identifying the cat did nothing to explain who or what the Indian wanted, she thought in irritation.
“Who are you?” She called. Mocha and Tweety were instantly by her side. Blocking her path towards the old Indian.
“Um, nevermind. Tweety and Mocha don’t seem to think it’s a good idea for me to talk to you. So go away, this is my dream place.”
The Shaman looked at her spirit guides. “It’s true you do have two power animals,” he looked in concentration.
“Yeah, so what? I don’t think they like you. Is he a bad type guy?” Cordelia asked the animals by her side. “Tweety, stop buzzing around my face, just answer the question,” she gently chided. Cordelia could have sworn she saw both of the animals’ shrug. Neither committing to an opinion. “You don’ t know, so I can talk to him.” The wolf barked and nudged Cordelia away from the Indian.
“Look,” Cordelia said to the Indian. “You might not necessarily be a bad guy, but they don’t think I should be here. So, leave me alone. I need to wake up.” She pinched at her arm again. “Any helpful clues on how that’s suppose to be accomplished?”
“I’m afraid that you won’t be waking up, not for awhile. Not until you lead me to the ‘Wise One’.”
“You have been given large dose of Peyote. You will remain in the dream state until it wears off, after I see the answers I need.”
“You drugged me,” she cried out in disbelief. “I’m tripping? Geez, who are you?” Cordelia tried to remember what had happened prior to her entering the dream state. She had been running from the hotel.
Damn, that vampire. He had no right to growl at her like that. All she wanted was to help him. God, she wished Angel was here.
Mocha’s muzzle poked at her side. “Oh, I’m getting sidetracked again, aren’t I,” she whispered to the wolf. Cordelia tried to grasp her original train of thought. John had taken her to get coffee. And then what? She remembered drifting in and out of consciousness, riding in a car, feeling disjointed and hot.
“John kidnapped me.” She waited for confirmation.
“It was necessary. The necklace belongs to my people. We must have it back.”
“Tough. I don’t know ‘who’ your people are, but the necklace isn’t yours. It’s mine. The ‘wise old shaman guy’ gave it to me and the Powers said it was part of my destiny. It’s my gift to help the helpless. You can’t have it. Anyway, the thing won’t come off.”
“The necklace has been in the Hopi tribe since it’s beginning. It belongs to us.”
“Well, you seem to have lost it somewhere down the road. And it found me,” she retorted. Why did everyone think that the necklace wasn’t meant to be hers? Why wouldn’t anyone believe her?
“Look we will settle this once and for all. If the ‘wise old guy tells you its mine will you leave me alone”
“You can lead me to the “Wise One”?”
Cordelia shrugged. “Mocha and Tweety took me to him last time. I don’t see why they couldn’t do it again.”
“We will talk to the ‘Wise One.’ He will explain.”
Cordelia nodded. “Okay, lead on,” she beckoned to her animals.
The animals didn’t move. “Come on.”
Mocha growled, trying to urge Cordelia away from the woods with her sharp muzzle. Tweety frantically flew around Cordelia’s head begging her to listen to the wolf.
“Look we need to find the old guy. I’m going to go with you or without you,” she ordered. Cordelia didn’t really feel comfortable ignoring her spirit guides warnings. But they weren’t being real clear and they didn’t say the Indian was bad. Anyway, she needed to get this over with. So, she could wake up and get back to Angel.
With a stern look at her animals, she moved towards the woods.
The wolf growled, but followed with Tweety buzzing close by.
The shaman waited. The lynx by his side nudged at him, growling softly. The old Indian looked at his spirit guide and those of the young girl. None of them wanted to go into the forest. They were uneasy about the humans’ choices.
Normally, the Shaman would follow without thought his power animal’s warnings or censure, but not this time. He had to see the ‘Wise One’.
The group entered into the forest and followed the path. The Shaman paused as he heard a low pitch wail growing in volume and plurality. The cries were full of pain, suffering and sadness.
The young girl stopped changing direction. The Shaman stood back as she walked up to a wall of energy. Faces screaming in agony pushed out through the wall, trying to reach Cordelia. He watched in amazement as the young woman approach them, her hand extending through thick barrier.
Tears fell in a torrent down Cordelia’s face. The imagines in the wall focused on her hand, swirling down and around it. The wails lessened as Cordelia’s tears fell harder.
The wolf brushed up around her leg, rubbing her body against Cordelia’s. Cordelia clutched the soft fur. She slowly withdrew from the wall, wiping the tears from her face. “They will always be there, won’t they.” She crumbled to the ground hugging the wolf close to her chest. Mocha licked and pushed at the girl, allowing Cordelia’s tight embrace. Tweety buzzed around, trying to stay still along enough to brush up against Cordelia’s face.
The Shaman’s lynx left the Indian’s side and sat close to the crying young woman giving her his support.
Cordelia took a deep breath and with one last hug and kiss to the wolf, she stood. “Geez, you would think I would get use to it by now, uh,” she tried to joke, but the sadness was apparent in her low tone.
“Who are you,” the Shaman asked stunned at what he had witnessed.
“Cordelia Chase, ump. Don’t you even know who you kidnapped and drugged.”
“What are you?” the old man asked again in exasperation.
She shrugged. “A seer and according to the Wise one, now a healer.” She moved forward not looking at the old man or the wall of souls.
They walked the rest of the way through the forest in silence. Finally, the reached the open meadow.
“This is where the old guy showed up before,” Cordelia commented. She looked around expectantly. “There he is.” She pointed to the very old shaman seated cross- legged, the sleek black jaguar rested on its hunches close by.
“Healer,” the Wise one acknowledged Cordelia. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, like I ever do,” she grumbled. “But this guy,” she pointed to the Indian by her side. “Wanted to take my necklace. I told him you gave it to me, so now he wants to talk to you. He didn’t believe me.”
The wise one turned to the Shaman. “Son, you do not belong in the Healer’s spirit world. You have brought evil here.”
“No.” the shaman argued.
“Yes. Bathym knows your dreams and now he knows her. You have shown him the way. He is coming. You have endangered your only hope.”
“Whose Bathym?” Cordelia interrupted.
“Talk about a cue,” a wicked laugh penetrated the atmosphere. A massive dark cloud swirled creating a vortex in the air. All of the power animal’s bristled at the disturbance. Mocha and the humming bird hovered close by, their bodies standing between the emerging being and Cordelia.
A huge robust demon appeared through the dark hole. “Why thank you. I have been searching long and hard for the necklace.” The demon turned towards the seated shaman. “So Wise one,” Bathym said in disdain. “It looks like I win, your children will be mine.”
“It’s not over.” The wise one warned, vanishing.
“Well, he may be able to escape into the other realm. But you can’t” Bathym laughed facing Cordelia and the shaman.
“No,” gasped John’s father. “What have I done?”
“Good, freakin’ question what have you done? Who is the big and ugly? And what’s he doing in my dream?” glared Cordelia.
The shaman ignored the young woman’s angry comment and concentrated on Bathym. He held out his hands chanting furiously.
“It’s too late,” crackled the demon. “I’m too strong. I think it’s time for you to join your ancestors.” Bathym reached out his arm, it’s length stretching and extending until his fist was clasped around the old Indian’s throat. The lynx growled and lunged at the demon. The demon’s other hand shot out striking the lynx. With a whimper the cat fell to the ground.
“No,” Cordelia yelled running towards the demon. With another quick movement of his hand he tossed Cordelia through the air. Mocha and Tweety rushed to her side.
“Nice knowing you and thanks for the necklace,” Bathym crowed as his grip squeezed the breath out of the old Indian. “Now die,” he commanded, breaking the shaman’s neck.
Cordelia struggled to get up. She glanced at the Shaman’s fallen body. “No,” she whispered running towards him, falling along his side. She reached out to touch the Indian’s chest.
“I don’t think so,” Bathym commanded. “It’s time we left this place.” In a flash of bright light, both the demon and Cordelia disappeared from the spirit plane.