Saturday, February 12, 2005

Meet Joshua Wander, Part Fifteen

Art by Sherlock, adapted from an early draft of Rani's portrait.
Joshua Wander's story is too long to summarize here. Please see
Part Seven for the story up to that point, and Part Twelve for most of the rest. Links to earlier installments are on the sidebar.

Part Twelve: Chris/Josh insists on going to see Professor John Grayson. He and Rachel both think he's probably at the lab rather than the funeral home. Indeed he is. Josh and his friends find Officer Hennigan unconscious outside the lab. Leaving his friends behind, Josh goes through the door to confront Grayson.

Part Thirteen: Grayson has Officer Cindy Farrell tied in Rachel's chair in the lab. Grayson has been experimenting on himself as he experimented on Chris, and now he's trying to recreate the circumstances of Rachel's death, secretly recorded on videotape. Chris/Josh manages to interrupt the power to the lab, reducing Grayson's ability to use energy as a weapon. Just then, Hennigan, Onclemac and Jerry finally make it past the locked door and rush in.

Part Fourteen: Officer Farrell threatens to arrest Grayson, angering him further. Josh manages to deflect one bolt of electricity, and tries to block further attack by covering her with his own insubstantial form. Then he moves off again, leaving Rachel's spirit visible where Cindy Farrell stood a moment before.

Part Fifteen: Rachel's Last Words

“Is that…?” Harry asked.

“The late Dr. Rachel Grayson. Yes,” Jerry said.

“Where’s Officer Farrell?” Hennigan asked. “What have you done with her?”

“She’s here. She’s fine,” Rachel said.

As if from a long way away, we heard Cindy Farrell say, “I’m okay. But I can’t see anything.”

“It’s a trick,” Grayson said. “You’re just a policewoman under a light-based illusion, perhaps a holographic projection.” Behind the anger in his voice was a quaver that betrayed his uncertainty.

“Maybe it is a trick,” Rachel said matter-of-factly. “Or maybe I’m the spirit of your late wife, here to tell you the same things Chris came to tell you. Do you want to know who killed me, John? We all did. You designed the experiment, I ignored my own medical history as well as my mother’s, and Chris reacted a few seconds too late to save me.”

”It’s a trick!” Grayson said again. He raised his arms, but the ball of light he gathered trembled in time with his fingers.

“Stop this, John,” Rachel said. “Just stop. You’re being irrational.”

“That won’t deter him,” I said. “The whole situation is irrational.”

“Hush, Chris,” Rachel said. “John, think about what you’re doing. It is not reasonable to threaten the life of an unwilling subject. You’ve tainted the experiment, not just with illegality, but with uncontrolled conditions and emotional bias. Let it go, John. Let me go.”

“Go where?” Grayson snarled. “To heaven? Into that policewoman? Or with him?” He pointed at me. His eyes flashed with anger, and I’m not speaking figuratively. A small beam of infrared light brushed my face, delivering its heat.

“Heaven, I hope, but I don’t yet know my destination,” Rachel told him. “I merely mean that you must accept the fact of my death, and stop using flawed and dangerous science to deceive yourself about the circumstances of it.”

She actually seemed to be getting through to him. For a moment he just stood there, looking at her. Then his eyes narrowed, and he said, “If you weren’t murdered, then why are you a ghost?”

Rachel hesitated, but only for a second. Then she grimaced. “Maybe I wanted to say goodbye. Maybe I wanted you to know what happened to me, and whom not to blame. Maybe I wanted to stop you from wrecking your life in some stupid, irrational vendetta.” She waited a moment for the words to sink in. “But I’m apparently too late for that third part,” she added, “so it seems there’s no point in my hanging around any longer.” Rachel gazed up as a pool of light formed on the ceiling above her. “Guess my ride’s here. Goodbye, John.”

She floated toward the rafters, leaving the rather dazed-looking Cindy Farrell behind. As she disappeared through the ceiling, I “heard” her parting words, directed at my metaphorical ears alone. See you in Heaven--and don't dawdle.

The Real Joshua Wander
Joshua Wander: Two Fragments
Joshua Wander Lives (the history of the character)

Joshua Wander on BlogSpot (use sidebar to get to the individual installments)

Joshua Wander in Musings:
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve
Part Thirteen Part Fourteen

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