Silas Saber passed out and fell from the deck of his father’s place. When he woke he was staring in his brother’s face. “What the hell is your problem?” asked Jim lifting him from the ground.
“It’s a long story. What time is it?”
“A little after twelve.”
“It’s dark. I can’t see.”
Jim turns on the flashlight on his phone. “Can you see this?”
“Yes!” Silas whips his head away. Okay, I can see. I had to make an important phone call at 2 p.m. Please tell me it’s not twelve midnight.”
“It’s after midnight. What, or when is the last thing you remember?”
“I was going to clear some branches the thunderstorm knocked down, the next thing I know I wake up on the ground looking at you. I believe you snuck from behind and hit me in the head.”
Jim laughs. “I didn’t do anything to you. About what time were you going to the backyard?”
“Around 12:30 p.m.” replies Silas.
“You mean you lost over twelve hours?”
“Yes. This is the most I’ve lost so far.”
“What do you mean the most you’ve lost so far. How many times have you lost time?”
“I don’t know...ten, fifteen times. At first, they weren’t much, five to seven minutes then they stretched to ten and fifteen minutes.”
“If you fell, why aren’t there any bruises or scratches?” asks Jim.
“I don’t know. I guess I don’t bruise easy.”
“You say you’ve passed out and lost time on several occasions, but I can’t say that I’ve seen much of any bruising on you lately, but your wife says you’ve been less than reliable lately. So what the hell is really going on?”
“What do you mean by less than reliable lately?”
“Silas, she said you don’t show up to the kids’ games, football, soccer or swim meets. You promised to take them to Six Flags and a drive-in movie but you showed up so late you could do neither. So what the hell is really going on?”
“Nothing, Jim. I’m a grown man. Just let me live my life.”
“It’s not just you’re life, Silas. What part of you’ve got other people who care about you don’t you get? What part of what happens to you affects our lives haven’t you figured out yet?”
“I’ve figured out I just can’t get too much into it. It’s just crazy, Jim.”
“What’s just crazy.”
“You gotta confide in me because it’s worst than I’m saying. Your kids are done with you. You’re wife’s hanging on by a thread.”
“Okay, Jim. You are your father’s son.?”
“What has dad got to do with this,” Jim asks stepping back placing his hands on his hips.
“Dad never left us for another woman or another family. Yes, he disappeared, but it was not of his own choosing.”
“What?... He ran out on us, Silas. Stop burning the torch for him. He’s out there somewhere. Has he bothered to contact you to find out how you’re doing? No!. Has he tried to know his grandkids, his daughter-in-law? You’re going the same route he is.”
“I haven’t taken that route. Dad never left us. He thought he could control it. He couldn’t.”
“What, denying his responsibilities? I get it you’ve grown up. You don’t let it bother you. Your objective.”
“I’m that,” states Silas. But it’s more than that. When I work a case I’ve learned that I haven’t worked it at all if I do not follow up on instincts. Or that still small voice that calls for you to write this or that down⎯no matter how out of the box it may seem; and keep it to yourself. Well, that’s all dad is guilty of...keeping it to himself.”
“Keeping what to himself? Keep it simple agent Saber. And remember big brother I’m not one of your Bureau students. The more you talk Silas the angrier I get⎯reminded that you left just like he did. You knew mom needed all the help she could get. You could have gone to college in state, Rio Salado. It wasn’t too good for the rest of your family, but you had to go damn near three thousand miles to be near Quantico.”
“Will you get off that already. Mom reiterated on several occasions that RSC wasn’t the one and only option to earning an education. Don’t act like you weren’t there. You’re blaming dad for everything that went wrong in your life. You’re wrong about dad. I will explain, but you need to keep an open mind.”
“It’s cut and dry, Silas. He left. He’s not here and you want your best bud back. You’re never gonna see him again. Douse the flame already.”
“I have seen him. I have seen dad. I talk to him on a regular basis...face to face. I spent Thanksgiving with him. We went to the football playoffs. We go running. We’re going to the Olympics next summer. The Olympics, Jim. Liked we talked about when we were younger. We’re going to get tickets for track and field, swimming, basketball⎯men’s and women’s, closing ceremony and some other stuff.”
Jim continues to watch him. A stunned and perplexed look on his face. The corners of his mouth continue to lift ever so slightly into a full smile. Jim says nothing⎯slowly shakes his head. “All this time...All this time you knew. You knew where dad was. You knew mom was hurting. You knew we needed closure. And you’re whooping it up. In the midst of running trails and skipping rocks did it occur to you to ask. ‘Hey, dad why not drop mom a line? Let her know you’re okay and what’s going on with you?’”
“Yes. On many occasions. Here’s where the open mind comes in. Dad exists in a different dimension.”
“Alternate universe, parallel world. He exists. Just not with us. Not in this...particular physical realm.”
Silas presses the panic button on his car key.
Jim’s head snaps around looking to the high pitch wail then back at Silas.
“You with me?” asks Silas holding up the key fob.
Jim replies, “You tell anybody else that story and they’ll spin you into a psych ward faster than you can blink. Next stop, mental facility for the rest of your days. You’ve lost it. You’re so desperate to paint dad in a good light, you’ll destroy yourself and everyone that should mean something to you to do it.”
“He’ll understand dad,” I told him. “No dad, Jimmy’s different,” I said. “If I explain to him that you’re sick.That you have these seizures before you’re transported to this alternate reality. I’ll tell Jimmy in this alternate reality, in this parallel universe the seizures stopped. But then you couldn’t return to us. He said you would act like this, Jim. He said to go to mom first. Tell her. Then ask her what her group witnessed during their school missionary trip in the mountains of Ghana when she was fifteen. He said she would explain. She would know for sure it was him.”
“Ghana?” Jim puts his hands up before Silas can answer. “Nevermind. I’m having a hard enough time processing one thing. Okay, so dad is in this alternate universe. How did you get there?”
I’m at home. It’s morning. I go downstairs to grab some breakfast. Next thing I know I wake up on the floor of this house. I’m facedown. Some guy asks me what’s wrong with me because no one in their right mind comes to rob a place and falls asleep on the floor sober. I recognized the place as the house we would rent when we went to the Grand Canyon. And then I think to myself⎯impossible. ‘Dad?’ I ask. He said...at one time.”
“And then what,” asks Jimmy. “He recognizes you and now it’s happily ever after.
“No. He asks me if I have any weapons. He pats me down. He doesn’t believe me. Finds out I’m clean. Tells me bread is on the table, sandwich meat and mustard are in the fridge. And I can explain how I got in his house without breaking windows and kicking in doors as he keeps the gun on me. Dad hasn’t changed much at all. He still doesn’t recognize me.”
“Okay, I’ve come this far,” states Jim. “How did you convince him?”
“Stories. Things only he and I did together. I was ten when he caught me skipping school. I skipped for the rest of the day with him instead of with my friends. We went to the movies, the space museum, and the planetarium.”
Jim says, “and that’s why this fascination with everything⎯out there. It still doesn’t explain how you got to his parallel world.”
“I told him what I told you. I go downstairs. Next thing I know I wake up on the kitchen floor. He asks me if I saw spots before I passed out. I say no. He asks me if I have a headache now. I tell him I do. A slight one. He explains that he believes what happened to him happened to me. He believes I had a seizure and have been transported to this parallel universe. Why? He doesn’t know. We were in mid-conversation and I was transported back to this dimension. This is the first time it occurred.”
“And you’ve had seizures and have been transported back to the dimension dad is in on several occasions?”
“Yes,” replies Silas.
“Does the Bureau know?”
“I’ve decided to turn in my report in six or seven months in July or August.”