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Jazz sat on a mat with the top of her feet resting on her thighs, her hands, palms facing upward, placed above her knees. She rocked back and forth centering her torso over her hips while relaxing her head and neck, which caused her shoulders to fall forward slightly. Concentrating on the hara, the focal point for cosmic energy, she drifted into stillness and heightened awareness. She easily gained access to her subconscious, then super-conscious, having been there before.

An image of her mother came forth, at first a fleeting glimpse. Jazz called her closer while remembering being held in her arms, and the abject solitude she endured after her parents were so abruptly taken from her. When they died her identity shattered and disappeared with them. Lost and alone, she lived in a mire of depression, growing angry and defiant. To survive she stuffed away thoughts of her parents deep inside.

Her mother’s gentle words rang clear. “Trust your intuition. You have a wonderful life ahead of you.”

Jazz gasped, placing her face in her hands. As if her heart were chiseled open, tears streamed down her cheeks, releasing buried sadness. In that moment, Jazz realized she needed to forgive her parents for leaving her, and forgive herself for not saving them. Forgiveness and acceptance would free her from the prison she had created.

The ghostly image vanished swiftly and completely, but her message lingered, bringing Jazz hope. At length, a welcome wave of peace engulfed Jazz. Her mother was near, watching over her as promised.

Jazz rose from the floor of the meditation hall and walked with nimble steps to the garden. The early morning sunshine cast rays across the rows of vegetables. Monks worked in silence, hoeing around beans, peppers, and herbs. A distant low chanting echoed through the temple. Yan was waiting on a bench.

“How did you learn English?” Jazz asked, settling beside her.

“Hsu teach me.”

Yan appeared poised, her back straight, her hands folded, resting lightly on her lap. She possessed an aura of innocence, fresh as spring. Her large eyes made an elegant sweep at their outer edges and held a look of sanguinity. Yan’s slender body, full lips, and pure skin tone revealed a rich natural beauty. She was by any standard stunning.

“Let’s just talk to practice English.”

“Okay,” Yan agreed.

“I didn’t know there were women here.”

“Only I.”

“What brought you to the monastery?”

Yan gazed down at her smooth hands. “Mother leave me here.”

Jazz struggled to understand how a mother could leave her daughter at a monastery.

Yan seemed to notice her discomfort and added, “Monk protect me.”

“You need protection?”

Yan remained quiet. Jazz realized she was being intrusive. “Sorry. It’s none of my business.”

“My mother have son, so I hide here, my whole life. My family in your country. I go to them.”

Jazz wondered if this had to do with China’s one-child policy, but decided not to pry any further. Instead, she instructed Yan on plurals in English. They practiced by looking around the garden. “Six peppers, five birds,” Jazz said and Yan repeated the strange phrasing.

Yan pointed to the monks hoeing the garden. “Three monks.”

“You got it.”

Hsu walked across the garden and took a seat near Yan. “So, you have a friend. Finally, you can experience woman talk,” he teased with a tender smile like a proud father to his daughter.

Yan’s eyes crinkled and she chuckled.

Jazz turned to Hsu. “I need to contact a man who’s worried about me. But, a remote viewer is searching for me. I don’t want the CIA to know where I am until I figure out who my enemy is.”

“The government monitors communications; people call it the “Chinese firewall.” It might be difficult to contact your friend, but I will think of something. Do not worry; I can stop the remote viewer.” Hsu stood, bowed, and walked away.

Later that day, Jazz saw Hsu and he announced, “I have an idea.”

“What is it?”

“A friend travels to your country. He has agreed to carry a letter from you. Once he arrives in America he will mail it. It must be written tactfully to not disclose your location. You should write it now. He leaves tomorrow.”

Jazz accompanied Hsu to his quarters. “Describe things you both know. Tell him you are fine and will contact him again later,” Hsu advised.

Jazz lowered herself to Hsu’s desk and picked up a pen. She wrote about diving to the underwater cave, the swing in his pasture, and Aidan rocking her to sleep that night. At the end of the note, she said she was fine, would contact him later, and signed it. Jazz put the folded paper in the envelope and printed Aidan’s address. She hoped her words would comfort him.

“How can you stop the remote viewer?”

“Simply by placing an energetic barrier around you,” Hsu shrugged.

“You should teach me how to do that,” Jazz remarked with a grin.

The plane made a steep dive between adjacent mountain ranges bordering the Aspen airport. Aidan gathered his things, then tread across the tarmac to the terminal. He walked dolefully to his jeep. The trip to D.C. left him frustrated, having made no progress in finding Jazz.

The depth of Aidan’s passion for Jazz surprised him. He adored her playfulness and independence, with that underlying innocence, and femininity, that made him want to take care of her and do whatever he could to make her happy. Every instinct he possessed told him she was alive, but the proverbial needle in a haystack was daunting. He rejected the idea that he’d never learn what happened. While driving home through the mountain valley, he cleared his mind of the hopelessness taking hold. He would not give up his search, or leave it to the CIA.

When he pulled up to his mailbox, he retrieved the assortment of junk mail and bills, tossing them on the passenger seat. Soon, he was on his couch, a glass of merlot in hand. The sun disappeared behind Mount Sopris, leaving reddish-orange trails across the sky, and a chill that settled over the countryside like morning dew.

Aidan walked to the kitchen and noticed the unopened mail on the counter. He casually glanced through it until he discovered a letter, his address handwritten, postmarked from New York, with no return address. Curious, he opened it. As he recognized Jazz’s words, Aidan sank onto the breakfast barstool.

She described things they did together. Next, she mentioned she was fine. “Love, Jazz” was scrawled across the bottom. That was it. Wow, he thought, not understanding in the least. He read it again.

Aidan decided to call Harvey. “Jazz sent me a letter,” he blurted as soon as Harvey answered.

“What did it say?” Harvey sounded surprised.

“Well, it’s bizarre. She mentioned things we did together, but it was very vague.”

“That is strange. She hasn’t been back to Sandpoint. Can I see the letter?”

“I’ll email it to you.”

“No, let’s keep this secure. Mail a copy to my house. Do you think it’s really from Jazz?”

“No one else knows the details of our time together. It was mailed from New York. Is it possible she’s there?”

“It’s possible. The remote viewer thinks she’s somewhere in China.” Harvey paused. “I suspect she found a way to send you a letter, but couldn’t give you any specific information. Don’t worry, my friend, we’ll find her.”

In the morning, Jazz went to Hsu’s chamber. When he opened the door, she asked, “Will you hypnotize me again? I was having a nightmare, and I think it has something to do with what I can’t remember.”

“Come in. Have a seat. Tell me about your dream.”

Jazz sank onto the chair, smoothing the kesa under her. “I’m in an alley. Someone is after me, so I run toward a park. I hide in a crowd, look back, but no one’s there.”

“Have you ever seen this alley or park?”

“That’s a good question. Not sure. Maybe it’s the alley behind the coffee shop and Riverfront Park in Spokane.”

“Let us explore that.”

Jazz laid her head on the back of the chair and closed her eyes. Hsu guided her through the relaxation exercise, adding the powerful hypnosis deepeners he used. He suggested she go back a few weeks to a forgotten incident and describe her surroundings.

Her voice was low. “I’m sitting in a bare room… to test my remote viewing.” She paused. “Harvey went to a secret location… I remote view where he is… he took photos.”

Hsu asked her to move forward to later that day.

“They reviewed my drawing… my description matches the airbase.”

“Now move forward to the following day.”

Jazz spoke slowly, deciphering what she saw. “I’m in a room… with Harvey… and… another man… Sam,” her speech trailed.

“What is the purpose of this meeting?”

“To find assassins and identify their targets.”

“Travel through time to the next day,” he requested.

Jazz mumbled something incoherent. Sweat appeared on her forehead and she shivered.

Hsu tried to calm her. “Jazz, you are observing what is happening, not experiencing it. Describe it,” he directed firmly.

“It’s dark… I’m leaving a… coffee shop… someone’s following me… I run to the park… cross a bridge… to my car.” Her mouth moved, but she didn’t speak, and her chest heaved as she struggled for breath.

“Return to your peaceful place where you were earlier, where you are safe,” Hsu commanded. He waited a moment then guided her out of the hypnotic state.

Jazz lay still, ruminating the envisioned events. The answers she sought were so close, yet still hiding in the depths of her mind, perhaps waiting until she was ready. She glanced at Hsu. “I remember a little more.”

“We can revisit it again. Maybe it will be easier.” Hsu’s brow creased, his eyes reflecting his concern. “The truth often lingers between what is apparent and what is not.”

Jazz lifted herself off the chair as if the weight of the unknown hung heavily. She thanked Hsu and wandered to the garden to mull over the hypnosis session. Now, she remembered Harvey and Sam and going to D.C., but she did not remember locating the assassins or naming their targets. She almost reached the details, but wasn’t sure she wanted to know what was in the middle where the truth is, like Hsu said. Once she got to her car, everything went blank, and the only thing left was fear. Something scared her. The dream is where my answer lies.

Yan walked barefoot across the wet grass and rested quietly by Jazz on the bench. At length, Jazz realized her presence. “Oh, hello Yan, I didn’t hear you,” Jazz commented with a weary smile. They sat together in silence. Jazz appreciated Yan’s ability to be close and not pry. Her situation would be too difficult to explain. Finally, Jazz sighed. Repeatedly pondering the same questions was unproductive. “Do you have any games?”

“I read I-Ching.”

The fortune telling technique fascinated Jazz. “Can you give me a reading?”


Excited, the women stood and headed to the sleeping quarters. Yan’s small chamber had a twin bed, a handmade wooden table, and an ornate dresser. A small window was deeply inlayed in the wall behind the bureau. They scrambled onto the bed.

Yan retrieved a cloth bag from the table and poured out tarnished coins engraved with ancient symbols. Several times, she tossed the coins across the blanket while requesting a message for Jazz. When she finished, Yan spoke, “Is time of gathering. Secret force at work, lead together those that belong together. Yield to this and make no mistake.”

“Do you think I was guided here, Yan?”

“It say move with life, not interrupt flow.”

Reviewing where her steps had taken her, Jazz realized she hadn’t even come close to having a panic attack since she arrived at the monastery. The serenity was helping. Most importantly, she had forgiven herself and her parents. That changed her, released her. In addition, Hsu was helping her remember what she’d forgotten. But what is the secret force? Who is being brought together? Aidan, Yan, Hsu, Jian, she wondered.

“I-Ching say opposition give chance to gain merit,” Yan added.

The messages confirmed Jazz was gaining from this experience, however difficult. Strength was what she needed most, and she did feel stronger, and confident enough to trust her intuition, which had led her to Hsu and Yan, and allowed her to forgive Aidan. It struck Jazz that her life was in perfect order. Everything was as it should be. I don’t know why I’m hiding in China, but maybe having the answers makes the experience meaningless. Jazz decided it was time to stop resisting what was happening. “Thank you. Your reading has made me feel much better.”

Yan tossed a gay grin as she crawled off the high, narrow bed. She opened the top drawer of her dresser and retrieved a heavy box.

“What’s that?”

The red box, trimmed in gold, had tiny pink sapphires embedded on the lid, creating flower patterns. Yan opened it and pulled out a thick stack of envelopes. “My mother send letters to Hsu. My brother marry soon. I must go.”

“What would it take to get you to the U.S.?”

“I need papers. Still hard leave China. If caught I punish, monk punish who hide me.”

Jazz wasn’t familiar with China’s politics, but she was certain of one thing. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you truly want something, you’ll make it happen.”

“I make happen,” Yan stated definitively.

Early the next day, Hsu approached Jazz outside the meditation chamber and asked to speak with her.

“I need to talk to you, too.”

They walked across the courtyard to his chamber. “You first,” Hsu offered, settling on the chair by his desk.

“How did you get me into China?”

“We sedated you since you were in danger, and did not remember. You and Jian flew across the ocean in a private jet that landed on a secluded island. From there, you traveled in a small plane to a tropical region near the hospital.”

“Wow, I slept through the whole thing?”

“Either asleep or groggy.”

Jazz wasn’t sure sedating her was the best way to get her to China. I wouldn’t have remembered Jian if he had approached me though, or the promise I made, she reasoned.

Hsu interrupted her thoughts. “Are you ready to find a man who is missing?”

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