Ettie's graveside service was mercifully short. Mike didn't think Cap could've handled a longer ceremony.
In a scene almost straight out of the dream, Mike and Harold helped Cap back to the funeral home's limousine. The
Kentucky Stanleys followed.
Afterward, everyone gathered at Mike's house, since his was the largest property. Aspirin was keeping headaches
at bay for the time being, and he was fighting being uncharacteristically moody. At such a bum time in everyone's life,
he chided himself for not being more supportive.
Fortunately, Marco and Chet stepped up to handle refreshments. A number of County Fire coworkers, including Chief
Houts, were present. Cap sat in the recliner which Mike had finally decided to buy for himself. His apartment
had been too small for such furniture.
Leaving his guests bantering with each other, Mike slipped off to his room to gather himself. He sat on the bed,
and Meowzie nuzzled him in support. He really didn't have to close the door to the room to contain her--she had
emerged from under the bed when he walked in. He couldn't believe the Kentucky Stanleys had not yet asked about her.
Perhaps they would do so later--they were bunking at his house.
Someone screamed; the others gasped. Mike's heart went into his throat, and Meowzie ran with him to the den.
The day was bright, but the brightness in the den. . .
His soul knew who was there. As scenes of meeting with the spectral Brin in the dream flashed through his mind,
he had no idea of where he was anymore. The light advanced to him, and an arm extended from the light, beckoning him
Everybody had gone to their knees and were weeping, including County Fire's own chief, but Mike didn't see any of it.
His eyes were riveted to the face of his beloved, greater in beauty than that of Brin in the dream. He wanted to
go back with her, and she gave him the look of a sympathetic "Ohhh?"
Obviously not the answer, he thought. Betsy smiled. She wore the racing colors in which she had died--hunter
green with white Old English "P" and sleeves--sans helmet.
Everything that has happened, he heard her say within him, and everything that will happen in your life, is
connected. There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason. You were put on this earth to do a job
that only you can do. Your new gifts are to be put to use for the good of humanity. You may never touch anyone's
life in Germany, but you touch many lives here in L.A.
Elizabeth reached for the light, and wept, "My baby!"
While Mike saw Betsy, two other, smaller, starbursts came in from over the ocean, through the door, and hovered
next to her. Both Dr. Brackett and Cap wept harder and keeled. Dixie appeared to the left of Betsy, and Ettie,
to her right.
An even larger light enveloped the three smaller lights. Everybody was overwhelmed with warmth and love, drawing
strength from the event to go on with life, and more resigned to their circumstances. All four lights became
as one, then shot out the balcony doors.
Mike was overcome with dizziness, and grabbed for something or someone to hold onto. Chief Houts caught him under
"Stoker, are you okay?" asked the chief as he lowered Mike to the floor.
"Just dizzy," said Mike.
Dr. Brackett leaned over him. "You saw something, didn't you?"
Mike put his right forearm over his forehead and nodded. Johnny and Roy raised Mike's legs so that the blood would
go to his head.
Elizabeth knelt at Mike's head. "What did she say? Did she say anything?"
"Basically the same thing
she said in the dream," he said. "I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed."
Only then did he notice that everyone's faces were dry, and nobody was shedding any tears.
Double depressed. . .