Emery woke slowly and with a throbbing head. He sat up and looked around. He’d been laid out on a stone shelf. Somehow his leg had come to have a gash on it and his pants were torn. He looked around again and gasped as his eyes came to rest on the bedraggled “ghost.”

His hair was longer than Emery remembered and hadn’t been washed in some time. His beard had grown out quite a lot. “What are you doing here?” he asked. His voice was hoarse. It was hard to tell if he was upset or angry, as he had been with the other officers. “Why have you come back? Are they here because of you? Did you send them to find me?”

Emery shook his head and replied, “The men… the ones who you’ve been attacking are surveying for the railroad. They aren’t here to find you.” He spoke slowly so that the man would be not feel the tension in his voice. “We… we came back because… it was time we did. We can’t move on with our lives without some closure. If we left and never came back we would never stop looking back.”

“You should never have come here,” he barked, gesturing almost frantically. “They might follow you to me. They might come after you too… and Miles.”

Suddenly, there was a shout and the “ghost” collapsed to the ground. Behind him Morrissey stood, panting and holding a wand aloft. “Emery, are you alright? Did he hurt you?”

“No!” Emery shouted. He bounced to his feet but collapsed as his injured leg gave way under him. Morrissey and the other officers swept into the cavern and moved to gather the “ghost” up. “I’m fine. Morrissey! Don’t hurt him. He’s my father.”

“Your father?” the older mage asked, shock evident in his voice.

“That’s what I said.” He glanced around for Hassett but the familiar form of his designated protector was not among the wardens with Morrissey. For that matter, both Everett and Franklin were missing as well. “What happened back there… when he took me?”

“He used some kind of spell, most likely the same one he used on the railroad workers,” Morrissey said. “My magic protected me from most of it but I was knocked out for a time. Hassett and the others fared somewhat worse. They’ll be alright but they’re staying overnight at the local clinic.”

“Good,” Emery said. He cast a minor healing spell toward his leg and sighed in relief as he stood up. “Please don’t let them hurt him, Morrissey. I know he’s done some horrible things but he is my father.”

“Well, no one died so that’ll help his case. That and the fact he’s plainly not altogether sane,” the older man said. “Treat the suspect gently, it’s possible he wasn’t entirely aware of what he was doing.” He turned back to Emery and asked, “Can you walk?”

“Yeah, I’ll be alright,” Emery replied. The small party moved on and Emery followed, limping slightly. He wasn’t surprised when one of the wardens stuck close by him the entire way out of the cavern. Nor was he surprised when he was bundled into a waiting ambulance as soon as he exited the cave mouth. By that time, his leg was throbbing once more and the services of a full healer were more than welcome.

He dozed on the way to the clinic and woke hours later, in a private room. His leg felt much better and any after-effects from the spell had dissipated by now. He had only to rest and recover. It was more than likely that he’d be released in the morning.

continued here