DISCLAIMER: Any part of Warehouse 13 is unfortunately not mine. If I did, Bering and Wells would be together. The song “King Of Pain” was written by Sting and performed by The Police. Also not mine.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I always felt Myka would grieve after they left Helena in Boone but the show acted like Myka didn’t seem to care in the following episodes. So I wanted to rectify that and have her go through the process of grief. But because I am Bering and Wells trash, things end up on a good note for our ladies. Warning: there is an illusion to suicide and a few graphic scenes of both human and animal deaths. Because I have always associated the song “King of Pain” with Myka, I used the song as a template. The story is both a literal and metaphorical interpretation of the song because I felt it fit the circumstances so well. This is why the structure of the story is a bit strange. To get a better sense of things, if you are not familiar with the song, you may want to look up the lyrics. It’s one of my favorites. One more thing, Pete and Myka are so perfect as best friends and bros, I will never forgive the show for putting them together and basically assassinating Myka’s character. I thought it fitting that Pete would be the one who would help Myka and show her there is more than the cruelty of nature of life; there is also beauty and wonder. Spoilers for the episode “Instinct”
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To slaymaster415[at]gmail.com

It's My Soul Up There
By wiffyscoob


"Wow. I can't believe we got two eclipses in two days. What do you think the chances are of that, Myka?"

I don't answer as I gaze at the now black sun in my eclipse proof glasses.

There is only one pair of the eclipse glasses so I hand them over to Pete who is practically doing a jig to see the eclipse.

He just saw it yesterday.


How is it any different?

Eventually, Pete tries to hand the glasses back to me but I wave him off.

"Come on, Myka. You should look again."

I turn my back, and say, "I've seen enough."

And I walk back to the car.

"I can't reach that, Myka."

Pete jumps in the pointless attempt to grab the top hat which has risen to the top of an pine tree.

I can't even figure out why he thinks a jump is going to possibly be enough to reach; the tree is probably twenty feet tall at least.

In fact, the branches and needles are so thick, it's a wonder the top hat is even visible.

Finally Pete has caught on his jumping could never even reach that high.

He purses his lips, and suddenly his eyes light up, and he turns to me.

"You know, when I was a kid, I was great at climbing trees. Grand champion of my neighborhood." He puffs his chest out like it's an amazing feat.

It's not like it's an Olympic medal. I mean, there's a reason why there is no tree climbing medal. Who cares?

"You'll never make it through. It's too thick," I remark. "And pine needles are not exactly pleasant to deal with."

He pouts. "Hey! I've dealt with pine needles before." I just stare at him. "Okay, I was scratched up pretty bad."

I want to say "Duh!" but he concedes before I speak, so I refrain from voicing my sarcasm.

"I'm gonna go ask one of these people for a ladder," he gestures towards the track houses, all the same, with only a variation in color.

I make a noise that could be taken as an agreement, and Pete trots off while I stand here, staring at the hat wondering how on earth it got so far up there. There has been no wind, after all.

I have trouble thinking a kid could get it up there. Well, maybe a tall teenager. A top hat is a strange thing to actually take the time to climb all the way up a ladder for though.

I shrug at my thoughts. It doesn't matter in the end anyhow. The only thing that matters is getting the hat, and that is supposed to be easy.

It's not the first time Artie's been wrong

I see Pete has already charmed an older woman to open her garage, and in a few moments he emerges with a tall ladder.

And I grudgingly admit to myself if anyone can, it's Pete.

Or so I think.

"Man, I've never seen that before."

Pete shouts at me from the flag pole and I frown as I grow closer.

He inspects it and tugs on the rag fruitlessly. "I've never seen a flag so twisted. I really don't think it was done by kids. Weird. There's no rope to tie it, no glue or anything else."

Pete glances at the sky, and then brings his gaze back down to me.

"There hasn't even been much wind the whole week. I wonder why no one else noticed. It IS a school after all. Lots of peeps even if most of them are kids." He scratches his chin, the action seemingly odd and out of place for someone whose hands are covered in purple latex gloves.

I feel bored, and could care less that no one has noticed this untwist-able flag. I'm ready to go back to the car.

"I don't know if anyone can get this flag off this pole," he sounds dejected.

Then his mood changes so abruptly that if I wasn't feeling so apathetic it might startle me.

"It's just like Excalibur, Mykes!" He exclaims with a boyish grin. His eyes narrow as he studies the pole. I can tell he fancies himself as King Arthur, freeing the flag from its seemingly impossible position.

Pete's face clears, and with a happy smile, he bounces over, but it's an impossible endeavor, and his disappointment is palpable.

"Darn. I really thought I could do it." Pete laments, and asks me, "Want to give it a shot, Mykes?" Then he grins again. "Hey! If you free it, that means you'll be like King Arthur!" He puffs his chest out. "And I could be your knight."

I say nothing, and go to inspect it, just to appease him so we can find a way to loosen it, snag, bag, and tag it…and leave.

The flag refuses to yield, and Pete's face once again falls, his dreams of being at the round table deflated.

I'm not surprised, really, that it doesn't work for me.

Frankly what surprises me, is Pete not being the one with the ability to untwist the flag.

This is already taking too long. "Just find a way to cut it. As long as we don't touch it, and immediately put it into the static bag, it's good enough."

Pete sighs, and then acknowledges, "I suppose so. I hope we don't need like huge scissors or something." He frowns and then mutters, "Maybe a sharp box cutter?"

Before I can reply, he bursts out with, "Do you think we could get them to take the entire pole out?!"

I roll my eyes wishing we'd the foresight to bring the neutralizing goo not just a bag..

I remember the farnsworth in my back pocket, and as much as I hate it, we need to call Artie who will no doubt be cranky and cross.

I call Pete over and hand him the farnsworth.

I have no wish to talk to someone who will only blame us.

"Woo hoo!"

Pete barrels past me and leaps into the steady rain, splashing in the puddles like a madman.

He grins at me, and waves me over from where I have stood for the last half hour watching the rain falling down.

Maybe I should give it a go, I think to myself.

I walk down the steps and the rain begins to pour.

Instead of joining Pete in his manic glee, I stop once I reach the edge of the backyard and stand, becoming soaked.

I don't want to think, but I do.

Where is she?

What is she doing?

I pointedly ignore the thoughts of her returning and what it could mean for us.

No that's not what I mean…I mean the team.

Yeah, that's it.

Nothing to do with me at all.

Hail begins to beat the ground, interrupting my thoughts.

They were unwanted anyways so maybe the need to return to the house is a good thing.

I am only a few step from the porch, when my feet slip on one puddle.

Pete is still splashing through the puddles, and I want to blame him for not warning me the puddle is even there.

Instead, I irrationally blame the one who isn't there.

After all, it's common knowledge I slip and fall in the rain.

I don't know why today should be any different.

That's not true, and I frown.

I never used to.

Not before Boone.

"Be careful, Mykes. It's slippery here. You know how you are."

I want to feel annoyed at Pete's words, but with the way I've been on any wet ground, I reluctantly agree with his words of caution. I know they are really meant in his worry as a friend for me, and not some misogynistic pandering.

Even if does feel that way.

The waterfall is close by, so I become wet regardless. Pete gingerly navigates the slippery, rocky terrain. Once he finds the fossil, he removes the tools from his belt and begins to dig it out.

I glare at his back as I remind myself I researched it. I discovered its existence after all. I should be the one digging it out, not Pete.

I shiver as he struggles, and hope he'll finish soon. It's cold here.

I glance at the cave entrance behind me we unfortunately have to stand in front of to reach the fossil. It's so dark inside, and I realize it's the cold air coming from the mouth of the cave that is making me so cold.

I don't like this place, and am tired.

I bite my lip. I don't why I came really, now that I'm here I don't want to be.

After all. I'm not needed.

There is no point.

"Man, I would never eat that."

Pete scrunches up his face as we observe the dead salmon inexplicably frozen mid swim in the waterfall.

I don't see a precipice; it appears to simply be frozen in mid air.

How is that possible? Surely, the water would have forced it down into the warmer water by now.

I wonder if there is some sort of scientific explanation for it.

As if reading my thoughts, Pete remarks, "I bet HG would know." I feel the weight of his stare beside me, and I know he's trying to get a beat on my reaction. I ignore him, and continue to focus on the frozen salmon.

I know he hates it when his vibes don't work.

They haven't worked on me for a long time.

Ever since Boone.

I decide I don't want to discuss some stupid frozen salmon which was an idiot in the first place for thinking it could reach warm water just by jumping into a cold waterfall.

Instead of replying, I simply walk away, knowing I have to travel through the forest to meet the car.

I almost wish I could stay. No one else is here. It's actually kind of peaceful.

But the sky clouds over, and I smell rain.

With a sigh, I begin my trek through the thick trees and foliage.

Unfortunately, I need to stop and wait for him to catch up.

I can't remember how we got here, and I feel angry my eidetic memory has failed me.

At least Pete has a compass.

"I never knew they could get this big, Mykes."

It's a blue whale, for Christ's sakes. The biggest mammal on earth. Of course, it's going to be big.

The sadness on his face stops my annoyance though. He cares for this beast who most likely beached itself of its volition in this springtime ebb.

I want to feel pity too but all I can think is it's a part of nature.

No one really knows why creatures of the sea sometimes do this.

Fleetingly, I wonder if perhaps these creatures were simply tired of swimming, of existing in that wide, cold, and deep ocean.

Maybe they felt it too much to bear.

Maybe they preferred death to being alone.

It's a thought I can understand.

I look at Pete who stares at me with a puzzled look on his face and I realize he doesn't seem to understand at all.

"Boy, I wouldn't want to go that way."

I peer at the glistening web and the butterfly trapped within.

Pete squints as he gets closer. I have the feeling he wants to pluck it out of the web, but I think it's too late.

Pete pokes at the butterfly, and the lack of movement affirms my guess.

"It's too late," he says softly, sadness in his tone. Then he looks around and says, "I don't see any spider. At least, I can free it and give it a proper burial instead of letting some spider feed on its corpse."

He carefully frees the butterfly, and cradles it in his hand. The butterfly really is beautiful. It's too bad it died.

But then again, butterflies don't live long; at most a year. It was going to die soon anyways.

"My sister loves butterflies," Pete says softly. "Her favorite thing was finding a cocoon, and waiting for the butterfly to be born."

I shake my head. "They're not born, butterflies are in the last stage of their life cycle. It has already been through three different forms by the time it emerges from the cocoon. It's how it's supposed to be. It IS nature after all."

"That doesn't stop it from being beautiful and new."

I shrug, suddenly feel bored.

He can bury it.

I look at the butterfly he gently cradles like it's precious, but no longer find it beautiful.

I turn, and walk away, leaving him to bury it or whatever he plans to do.

Before I go far, I inexplicably find myself stopping, and glance over my shoulder.

Pete is still gazing sadly at the butterfly cupped in his hand.

I suddenly wish I could care as much as him.

But I don't.

It's nature and you can't fight nature.

"Hey, Mykes, why don't you come inside?"

I lift my head, eyes closed, and mouth open to catch the falling rain.

"We-" And I know he means him, Claudia, and Steve "are up for whatever game you want to play. Claudia had wanted to play Mario cart, but Steve thinks we should let you pick."


"Fight for him. I was wrong when I said that you weren't being true to yourself. Maybe I was just afraid of losing a friend." I choke out.

I sound pathetic, like I'm begging her to be a part of my life someway, somehow.

"Make this your home," I add, hoping she doesn't notice the tears I can feel forming.

Helena responds, "You will never lose this friend." Maybe it's her smile or her tone that sound insincere to me, but I find no comfort in her pledge. I lost this friend a long time ago; the moment she consciously chose to become Emily Lake.

I feel awkward and respond with a lame, "So, I guess I will see you around."

She nods. We hug, and it feels like goodbye. I climb into the car, and Helena leans in the car window.

Panic sets in, and I realize if I don't seize this moment, there won't be another. I almost do it, I almost grab her arms and scream at her I was wrong, and beg her to leave this manufactured existence.

But when I look into her eyes I realize the woman leaning in the car window is not Helena; it's Emily Lake so I refrain as hard as it is.

"Maybe just coffee next time?" Emily Lake suggests.

"Or save the world. See what happens." I don't why I say this. I can tell by the look on her face she knows I was speaking to Helena, and while I told her to stay here, I won't let it be so easy to stay away and reject her Warehouse family. To stay away from me; to reject me.

I do my best to hold it together as I wave goodbye through the glass window.

She has her arms crossed, and it may be my imagination, but I thought I saw a flash of Helena Wells stare at me in sorrow until she become Emily Lake again.

I feel sickened by the sight.

When I turn to face the front car window, I know Pete understands why this is so hard. That doesn't mean I want him to understand or deal with his pity.

He reaches over to squeeze to my hand but I jerk away before his hand can touch mine, and hunch away as far as I can without climbing out of the car, and stare at the dark night through the passenger glass window.

I don't want to be touched right now. ////

The rain is pouring and I feel Pete tug on my arm. I open my eyes, and see his concerned face, his hair and jacket getting soaked.

I shake off his grip, say nothing, and walk back to the house.

As I reach the door, Steve and Claudia part, letting me walk through the doorway.

Claudia suddenly starts to bounce in place. "Let's play Twister, Myka! I want to see Pete fall on his butt."

"Hey! I can twist with the best of them!" Pete protests behind me, and as they bicker, I hang up my coat.

Then I pass them by and begin to go upstairs. But then it hits me I should take off my sneakers, so I stop before I go any further. With a sigh, I unlace them, not happy with the difficultly in removing wet shoes.

Finally they are free, and not turning around, I say, "I'm wet and want to change. I'll be down in a bit."

I hear Pete and Claudia whoop, and they return to their bickering about what game to play even though it's supposed to be my choice.

As I climb the rest of the stairs, I realize I only heard two sets of feet walking away, and sense someone watching my back, and I know who it is and feel annoyed with him for doing so.

I pause on a step, and not turning, I pointedly ask, "What?"

"You're lying," Steve responds, sounding certain of his observation. "You're not coming back down."

I shrug, not particularly caring what he thinks, and continue walking up the stairs.

"Geez, I thought I would be happy to be here, but now I wish we never came."

The self professed King of the board game Life sits on his front porch, his eyes torn out from birds.

When I close, I notice he body shows he was literally pecked to death. Dried blood can

came many deep gouges through his clothes and surrounding area. Considering he leaves alone in a remote area…well, it's not surprising he's dead.

It may be an artifact causing this, but it change the inherent cruelty of the birds. It's nature.

The man's body smells, and Pete gags as he comes up beside me, causing him to immediately hold his nose.

"This takes Hitchcock to a whole new level." His speech is muffled, but I can catch his words anyways. "Man, I wonder what he would say if his knew his movie came true."

"It doesn't matter what he would think. He's dead," I reply, peering intently at the empty eye sockets.

When I finally return my gaze to Pete, he makes some sort of gesture that I interpret as to why I'm not holding my nose too.

"We used to examine cadavers when I was in med school." I shrug. "I've smelled worse."

"Worse than that?!" His expression incredulous.

I say nothing but turn and start to walk down the front porch steps.

When I reach the bottom, I call over my shoulder, not looking back," Come on, the DVD is in town. We need to get going. You want the birds to come back?"

I open the passenger door, and he jogs to catch up. Before he climbs into the drivers side, he speaks in his normal voice. "Don't you think we should call it in? I don't think we should just leave him here."

"It shouldn't take too long to get the artifact. We already know where it is. We can tell someone later."

Pete pales. "I don't think that's a good idea, Myka. I mean, what if they come back? The king will become an all you can eat buffet."

I roll my eyes. He's dead. What does he care?

"Call it in then. If we're too late, and the birds show up again in town, I'm not taking the blame."

I climb into the car. Pete pauses and watches me through the glass window in concern . Then decisively he takes out his cell phone.

I turn to look once again at the self professed King of Life sitting there in his rocking chair, and wonder how it feels to have your eyes pecked out by some crazy birds.

"How can we get the artifact if this guy can't even remember what happened?"

"I'm surprised you don't have more sympathy," I respond, dryly, "He's only been blind for a couple of weeks. He couldn't even move around his living room without assistance."

Pete looks hurt. "Hey! Of course, I care. I guess I'm just stressed out, and worried we won't get the artifact soon enough before others get hurt."

I suddenly feel guilty. I should know how much he cares about people by now. I pause, then say, "My guess is his Caretaker probably threw the glasses, including the eyeglass case, into the trash. He's now permanently blind after all. Why should he keep them?"

Pete frowns. "I guess..." Then he scrunches his face, and adds, "I really don't want to look through the trash dump."

"You and me both," I respond, not happy with the thought either.

Suddenly he shouts, "Shotgun!"

I roll my eyes, and squint at the sun, putting my ray bans back on.

There's only two of us, and I'm the one who's driving anyways.

"Some people have it so good, and don't even know it."

Pete scowls as we watch the butler close the door. Everywhere I look I see gold.

Well, not all gold but it is still apparent in some fashion everywhere.

Gold trims the white mansion, but the driveway itself is all gold for gods sakes. When we drove up earlier, it felt like we heading down the golden brick road.

The only thing missing was the munchkins singing as I held Toto in my arms.

I reach into my pocket to grab my car keys, but as I pull them out, I wind up dropping them.

I bend down to retrieve the keys, but frown as I get closer to the ground. I squat, and run my hands over the bricks.

This is fake gold, but it sure is a good imitation. I wonder how much of the gold in this guy's house is fake.

Pete hunches down next to me, and suddenly his face clears as he figures out the same thing.

I find the keys, and after we both rise, Pete scoffs at the giant golden T on his door.

"I bet all his supposed gold in there is fake, including his golden bed."

This guy may not be super rich, but all this fake gold isn't cheap. Instead, he's just an egoistical insecure idiot trying to impress everybody.

I turn and walk away, not impressed by this man's display one bit.

I remember the woman we left in suburbia, who needs no fake gold and is truly rich in a different way. Rich in knowledge and talent; a genius.

At first I smile at this, but abruptly my smile ends.

She has become fake too.

We didn't leave Helena Wells in Boone.

We left Emily Lake.

"Yo ho ho! A pirate's life for me!"

Pete gleefully takes a stick from the floor of the 'cave', and brandishes it like a sword.

I ignore him, and so does the employee who takes us though the back area of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride excited tourists will never get to see.

"It's right here." The young employee (or should I say "cast member", Disney's preferred term, which only causes me to internally roll my eyes), sounds nervous as he leads us back here.

We come upon the skeleton, and I can tell right away it's not fake.

A real skeleton with a piece of bread stuffed into its mouth.

"My boss" and I know he means the Disney CEO, "is grateful you could come."

We already know this. Amazingly enough, the Disney CEO is a friend of Mrs. Fredric which is a shock in itself.

This man has recently been murdered, his skin stripped, internal organs gone, simply reduced to his bones, is cause for alarm, not to mention the ping Artie received.

I glance at the pale employee, and notice his green pallor, and wonder if I should send him away.

I know he was the one to originally find the skeleton, and for the first time I notice how truly young he is. Is he even eighteen? He doesn't even look like his shaves.

As far as I'm aware, he is one of only four people who know, the knowledge then running up through the chain of command.

It was never specified, but my guess is they wanted discretion for fear of how much money they would lose if this was discovered.

After all, who would bring their kids to a place where a real murder had been committed?

God knows how much money was given to keep each person's silence.

I notice his green pallor, and wonder if I should send him away.

I sigh, and Pete pipes up. "There's nothing here, Mykes. What do you want to do?"

The real question is what does Mrs. Fredric expect us to do with a human sized skeleton? Stuff it into a gigantic static bag and drag it out for everyone to see?

As if reading my thoughts, the boy says, "If you can move it, I was told the way I can get you out of here with no one seeing you."

I roll my eyes. This is ridiculous.

This is a crime scene and should not be disturbed even if it was done by someone with an artifact.

"I don't know, Pete. I guess call Artie because we shouldn't have to take responsibility for disturbing what is a crime scene."

He nods, and reaching into his pocket, pulls out the farnsworth.

As Pete talks to Artie, the boy says sadly,"I never thought something like this would happen here."

He looks at me pleading, "It's the happiest place on earth right?"

I really don't know what to say.

Suddenly I feel hyper aware of his innocence, and realize they don't need to give him money to keep his silence.

This place means so much to him, he doesn't want anyone else hurt to find out the truth

I want to tell him Disney's tag line is nothing more than to draw in the tourists.

They're as fake as any other corporation.

But as I look at his face, I feel pity, and surprisingly, a twinge of jealousy.

I haven't been that innocent, that naive, in a very long time.

So I lie.

"It still is. But you know, even life invades here. We'll get him out of here, and solve it. It will be okay." I awkwardly pat his shoulder.

The boy nods weakly, and then I hear Pete close the Farnsworth.

The happiest place on earth doesn't exist.

If it did, I would be standing next to a time traveler right now.

I glare at her book on my nightstand which I had been foolishly moping over in private

as I read her words again and again.

The book makes me irrationally angry enough that I throw it across the room with it landing hidden behind my chair.

Out of sight, out of mind, I think to myself.

"Pip pip cheerio, my good man. May we speaketh to your lord?"

The butler looks disgusted, but leads us to the entrance way while he goes in search of the owner of the house. Well, mansion, I should say.

"Pete, pip pip cheerio means goodbye not hello," I hiss, feeling embarrassed. "No one talks way. And stop with the atrocious British accent."

"That's not the way it is on tv. I've watched BBC, you know, and they talk like this," he argues.

I roll my eyes. "Just please, talk like your normal self."

He grins. "Okay, but if any ladies show up, I'm gonna do it again. British chicks dig it. HG totally did when we first met. I even got her to kiss me."

I feel anger at his insensitivity, and want to throw him across the room just like I did her book yesterday.

I want to point out HG was just using him.

What she was doing wasn't real…it was fake.

Any retort on my lips as I see the look he's had in the past. He is teasing me, baiting me, and I think I know why.

He is waiting for a response. Instead of anger, I begin to feel resentment, and stay silent. As I turn away determined not to take the bait, the braying of a pack of dogs outside break my mood.

I look out a window, and watch a man carry something in a large cloth towards the back. The cloth is dripping blood. Just before he is out of sight the cloth comes unfolded and a mutilated animal spills out. A vague suspicion comes to mind at the sight of the this animal and at the braying hounds in the distance.

The man sets up cleaning up the mess, and the moment he moves out of our line of vision, I see the head hanging at an awkward angle connected to what's left of its torso, confirming my suspicions.

"Shit." I turn to see Pete, who looks like he's going to throw up. "I thought fox hunting was illegal."

"It is. Maybe they found a loophole."

Another man arrives with a box where they stuff the remains of the fox, and scurries out of sight.

The second man immediately returns, brandishing a hose and a bucket of what I assume is filled with soap and water. He begins to scrub and spray the ground so vigorously there is no trace of the fox killed by humans for sport. As if this creature never existed at all.

Mother Nature isn't responsible for this.

The nature of man is in all his inherent cruelty.

This isn't how it's supposed to be.

But man has always been there to interfere in the most heinous of ways.

Not just to animals but also to each other.

I think briefly of Sam and Helena's Christina.

No wonder she chose the manufactured life she lives now.

But I also wonder if her choice was really the right thing to do.

Pete has known the cruel side of humanity and yet he still finds beauty in the world, and sympathy for those often forgotten.

I glance at him, and begin to understand why he does.

"Aw, man, Myka, look at this bird."

Pete walks over to the seagull, and squats to inspect it.

"It's still alive. I think its back's broken."

The bird makes some sort of pathetic noise, and I can tell it's in pain. It can't fly again, and will probably die soon.

I can see Pete wants to pick up the bird, but before I can warn him not to, he stops his hand.

To my amazement, he's crying, and I don't know what to say.

I suddenly hear laughter down the beach and see three boys throwing rocks at seagulls.

I have a suspicion what happened, and Pete does too. He's no longer crying. He's angry, and runs over to the boys before I can stop him.

I know he's sensitive towards dying creatures, but when I see his gun drawn, and shooting in the air, I'm alarmed.

As I get closer, I hear him angrily yelling at the boys, threatening them.

The boys have dropped their rocks, and are now cowering in fear.

One is crying but one is still full of bravado and threatens to tell his father, saying he'll sue.

"Pete!" I tug on his arm to bring him back to lucidity. "Stop! This is not the way to handle it."

I turn to the boys, and flash my badge. "What you're doing is against the law, and I can arrest you." It's a ruse. I could probably get away with detaining them until a law enforcement officer with jurisdiction on this state beach, but in the end, I doubt they would get nothing more than a stern talking to the parents.

We don't have time for it, so I hope my 'threat' is enough to strike enough fear to make an impression upon them.

The one boy continues to cry, the others stumble their apology, and run away.

As they run, I yell, "The next time, I will arrest you!" There is no point in saying there won't be a next time since we are on a west coast beach, only to return to South Dakota once we retrieve the artifact.

Pete looks lost, and then guilt wars with his naturally open kind features. "Pete-"

He stalks back towards the hurt gull which is most likely dead by now.

I follow and as I grow closer, I find him staring at the now dead gull with a desolate expression.

I feel helpless. I used to know what to do when he hurt. Now I feel useless.

I hear the cry of seagulls close by, and suddenly we are surrounding by some of the flock, trying to be the first one to feast on the carcass.

I start to shoo them off, but Pete just shakes his head and says as he passes by me, "It's too late.", and walks back to the car.

The birds tear into the flesh. I start to leave, but then become incredibly angry and I kick and scream at the scavengers.

I'm reminded of the red fox

Pete's right.

This creature didn't deserve this kind of death and I'm reminded of the red fox.

Instead the cruelty of humanity came in the guise of children, and I can decide which is worse: an adult who knowingly killed the fox or these boys knowingly killing a defenseless bird. Both for the same reason: sport. For fun.

The remains of the seagull is disgusting mess, but I find myself wanting the seagull to at least find peace in death, unlike the red fox.

I also find myself somewhat pleased in denying Mother Nature this particular entitlement.

I take a static bag from my pocket and while I continue to fiend off the birds, I do my best to scoop the remains inside. Finally, I stand, feeling like I've done my best, but I'm at a loss as to what to do with it.

I can't bury it in the sand dune. The birds or something else will just scrounge it up, and it is probably illegal to do so.

Suddenly I sense Pete behind me and wonder how long he's been standing there, watching.

"I'm not sure what to do with it, Pete," I lament.

He places his hand on my shoulder, which I allow, and then realize I am actually happy to feel any sort of touch.

"It's okay, Myka," he says softly, "We'll figure it out together."

I gather the book I threw two months ago from its hidden place behind my chair.

It still hurts a bit to look at it, but I can put the book on the shelf now.

"Come here, Myka, and take a peek through the telescope."

It's the middle of the day, but the sun spots have been there for awhile now.

"My dad taught me how to view the spots safely through the telescope. I have a safety filter secured."

I knew he and his dad shared a love of astronomy, but I thought it only extended to casual viewing at night.

Pete's more knowledgeable then I thought, I realize, as he begins to explain about the various filters he has used for safe viewing. I admit; I'm impressed.

I feel shame in underestimating him, and remember HG's scoffing at his intelligence level.

Suddenly I feel angry towards her, and protective of Pete.

I'm brought up short by my own ridicule of Pete, and am angry at myself.

Pete sees my face and I can tell he understands.

Smiling softly, he says, "I bet ya never thought I would understand this." He starts to see my apology, and places his hand on my arm. "It's okay, Mykes. No big deal."

I don't shrug off his hand, and he gently pushes me towards the telescope.

Before I look, I ask tentatively, "Maybe you and I could do some stargazing sometime?"

He grins, and replies, "That sounds great."

I feel better, and put my eye to telescope, and I see what Pete always sees.

The beauty and wonder of life.

"Happy Summer Solstice, Mykes."

I smile, feeling lighter than I have in a long time, and I realize how much of that I owe to my best friend.

I pull him into a big hug, and mutter, "Thank you," into his shoulder, and I know he understands the meaning behind those two words.

He releases me, kisses my forehead, and goes over to the backyard railing.

Leaning on it, he smiles, and remarks,"Man, this day is really turning out beautiful, right, Myka?"

"It sure is," I say, as I lean on the rail next to him.

"So, I was thinking of a barbecue. Luckily it's a Saturday, and no artifacts to chase, so we're all here."

"You better keep your fingers on that," I can't help but add.

He knocks on the wood railing. "There! That oughta do it!"

I laugh, and then say,"Make sure you have vegetables, Pete. I don't want to have nothing but a slab of meat to eat," I say, scrunching up my face at the thought.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm gonna grab Claudia in a bit and head to the store. Want anything? Twizzlers?" He teases.

I shake my head. "I'm okay."

"All right, see ya in a bit"" he squeezes my arm, and heads off into the house.

The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in sight.

I head out into the yard, and am contemplating going into the basement to retrieve a lawn chair, grab a book, and have a nice sunbath.

I was so cold for so long, and it feels wonderful to have the warmth of the sun settling into my bones.

I hear footsteps behind me, and know it's Pete returning, no doubt complaining that he hates the smell of garlic, and can't I live without garlic just this one time?

"Hey, Mykes, this just came for you in the mail."

Pete's voice sounds odd. Is it worry? Caution?

I feel a bit of trepidation, and the moment I have the envelope, I recognize the familiar scrawl.

I look up at Pete and I see the questions in his eyes: are you okay? Do you want privacy or do you need me here, because I will stay if you need me.

A flash of anger crosses his face. Why should I let her back in? Will I get hurt again?

I admit to having a bit of trepidation as well, but…I can't help it; I feel hope and a bit of excitement.

I squeeze his hand. "It's okay, Pete. It's okay. Whatever she says, I'll be fine."

He looks doubtful. "I can stay here, if you need me, Myka's."

I give a small smile, and take a deep breath. "I'll be fine. I need to open this alone." Then I smile, and say,"I think somebody needs to go to the store and buy some food for a barbecue."

He finally smiles back. "I'll see you in awhile. I'm taking Claudia."

Pete takes his leave, and after staring at the envelope for at least five minutes until I work up the courage to open it.

The parchment is beautiful and so is the pennameship that only an upper class victioain is capable of.

My dear Myka,

The easiest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. And those lies often hurt others including those we care about the most.

You were right; I have been running away from the truth, that I tried so hard to forget.

You told me once you have forgiven me but I have not forgiven myself, nor do I expect I ever will.

It was easier to play the part of someone else than to take the much more difficult path; to face these fears, to look guilt in the eye and accept the consequences

To feel your soul is not worthy, inherently evil to is very core to its very foundation. Irredeemable in your eyes, and you will only continue to hurt the ones you care about so very much.

Today we celebrate the summer solstice, and as I expect you know, seen traditionally as a Time of rebirth, a renewal of one's being.

It is symbolic of passion, creativity, creation, action, and clarity. desire and sensuality all of which burn more intensely within the hearts of both humankind and animals alike

You are the one who inspires all of these in me, bringing forth my soul to rise from the ashes of my own creation.

I have been a fool.

I cannot make up for my past mistakes.

I cannot make up for not coming back, for rejecting you and this family I know I have no right to ask but I do anyways.

I have left Nate in a mutual decision and after at the risk of sounding like a cliche some very much needed Soul searching and introspection.

Mrs. Fredric eventually came to me and offered me the position of Warehouse consultant. I am required to attend weekly therapy sessions, and have bought a house in Featherhead.

I am no longer Emily Lake but I have eneavored to take the very best of the woman you met in Wyoming: a caring, warm indivial who seeks to shape the young minds and hearts.

I teach chemistry and physics at the local high school, and found to my surprise, how much I love it and my students. I still wish Christina were here to enjoy this time, and all it has to offer.

Mrs. Fredric has finally given me the opportunity to see you and that ragged bunch of miscreants you call family, and I would very much become aquanted once again.

Yours always,


I re-read the letter several times, just to be sure it's real.

I slip the letter back into its envelope, and take in the beautiful day, the beautiful backyard with trees in bloom and green grass, that is just ripe for taking ones shoes off and enjoying the feeling of it through your toes.

Never would I have expected the Warehouse to be my happy place, these misfits more my family than my own, and a bed and breakfast in South Dakota as my home but I do.

And I realize we have a family member missing. A family member I hope to become more than just like Pete another kindred spirit.

I sigh, feeling warmth and comfort.

I head inside, determined to call a certain time Traveler.

It's time for our last member to come home.

The End

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