Monday, July 02, 2012

Ten Little Spies - Episode 4

Episode 4: Kevin's Nightmare
~ Chapter Four~
by Toni Walker
Maxie Demarco stumbled backward, yanking her hand from Kevin's grasp. Her pulse beat a tattooed rhythm that threatened to tear her heart from her chest.
"You're awake," she stuttered, stepping back away from Kevin's bed. The sterling silver bowl clattered to the floor dousing it with soapy water and bits of shaving cream.
Kevin Fairchild didn't know what was happening to him. The minute he woke up and felt the nurse's hands on him, he began to see things. Things he shouldn't be able to see without a monitor and a security system. What he witnessed was startling, especially upon waking. He was somehow able to see Jazz Demarco, which wouldn't have been a big deal if he was in his room, but she wasn't. He could see too much. He could see the horrified expression on her face as someone shot her in the back. Her body flinched, convulsed then dropped to the floor.
The strange things was, he knew she was dead. But she didn't have to be.
The nurse was her sister, Kevin didn't know how he knew that, but the image was so strong he couldn't deny it. He couldn't let his friend, Jazz, die if he could find a way to stop it.
"You have to call your sister RIGHT NOW!" Kevin reached for Maxie, but he was only able to grab her white lab coat. He used the leverage to drag her closer. His hand tangled in the white fabric of her jacket, clutching and tugging it to drive home his point.
It took a moment for Maxie to realize that Kevin had only taken the cell phone from her pocket. She stood transfixed as he punched in a string of numbers. Then he handed the phone back to her.
"Tell her to get out of the building. Tell her she's in danger." Kevin's face was white. He looked as if someone had crawled into his skin and died. Maxie had never seen him so intent or deathly pale. He collapsed back onto the bed, slumping in an awkward position.
"Tell her there is a corridor to her left hidden behind some boxes. They can escape that way." Each word seemed a struggle for him to whisper.
The phone in her hand was ringing the number Kevin had dialed. She nearly hit the end button when she heard her sister's voice.
"Hello?" Her sister's words were muttered incoherently.
"Jazz? Are you okay?" Maxie glanced nervously at Kevin's now prone form. Was he right? Was her sister in danger?"
"You deserve to die," Ezekiel said. His voice was quietly stern, but there was an edge to it that told of his insanity.
Ezekiel glanced down at the large tan man lying on the carpet, staining it with his blood.
"I'm sorry it had to be this way," he said to the dead man. "I have nothing against you, personally, but you had to die in order for him to pay. Don't you see? That monster kidnapped my daughter." Ezekiel's voice quivered with emotion. "I haven't seen her since she was very young, a babe really. But then again, it's so hard to tell the age of children when they're that young."
Rudy Kent couldn't respond to Ezekiel's monologue. It was impossible since he was dead.
"Your friend, Jared, wasn't as easy to kill. But he was lucky. Next time, rest assured, he will die. I will make certain of it. All ten of them will die ending with the climactic death scene. The monster will die, a monster that has haunted me for so many years. He will finally be vanquished."
"Are you okay?" Maxie asked her sister again. "You sound awful."
"I don't know. I feel funny. Very tired. I think I'm going to go back to sleep." Jazz started to put the phone down onto the concrete where she was lying. It was cold and hard, but she couldn't bring herself to care. She was too tired.
"NO!" Maxie shouted. "You have to listen to me. You have to get out of that room. There's a ...." She looked to Kevin and hoped this wouldn't sound like the strangest thing she'd ever said. "... a hallway to your right, behind some boxes. At least, I hope it's there. Take that hallway. Get up and go now. You're in danger, Jazz!!"
Jazz was disoriented, and it didn't help that she was trying to stand up straight while talking on the phone. She didn't think about the strange command, she merely followed her sister's directions. When had her sister ever steered her wrong?
"You're right," Jazz said with surprise. "There is a hallway back here. How did you know that?"
She could hear her sister shuffling along the hard floor.
"Now hide. Find a place to hide. Somebody is trying to kill you."
All movement stopped suddenly and Maxie only hoped that meant Jazz was out of sight.
"I think someone's coming," Jazz whispered. A small moan emitted from her mouth. "My head hurts." She glanced at the hand she had placed on her head. "Oh, my God, I'm bleeding." She stared in horror at her bloody hand. "Can't you die from losing blood, Maxie?"
Suddenly, the connection was lost when the phone clattered to the floor.
Kevin fell back into the comfort of his bed after yelling at his nurse. He didn't know what was going on with this "you're in danger" nonsense. He'd never seen such visions before. He'd always been one to think psychic powers to be a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.
Kevin couldn't explain the clear as crystal vision of Jazz Demarco being shot in the back. He could see the scene in his head even now. It felt like he could even walk inside the vision and converse with the players.
His body was so tired. That was why Kevin didn't realize when he'd fallen asleep.
Dream Number 1
"What are you doing?" Kevin stared at his brother, Ethan, who was on the other side of the room wearing a strange contraption on his face. It was covering only his eyes, and looked like one of those virtual games he'd seen at the mall.
"It's called virtual reality. Quite ingenious, really." Ethan walked around the room, the goggles attached to his eyes like sunglasses.
"What are you seeing in there?" Kevin couldn't help but ask.
"Many things. Three years of my life was spent in here." Ethan didn't seem concerned by what he had just said.
"How could you have spent three years like that?"
"I don't know," he said. "At the time, I thought it was all real. Everything after the Bulgarian Underground monastery wasn't real." He could tell his brother wasn't convinced. "Oh, it seemed real to me, but not to anyone else.
"You're talking so nonchalantly about this. Doesn't it concern you that someone trapped you inside a virtual world for three years?" Kevin was shocked by Ethan's admission.
"I only react like you expect me to react. It is your dream, after all." Ethan removed the VR goggles from his head. His eyes were a haunting white.
"Do you know who did this to you?"
"No, no, I don't. They'll tell me I'll get my sight back completely after my eyes heal. Not before."
Kevin sat down and asked his brother to do the same.
Suddenly, Ethan changed the subject. "I'm glad you're out of your coma. That nurse, Maxie, has a thing for you, you know. She talked to you nearly every day even though you couldn't talk back.
Kevin seemed surprised. "How could you know that if you were in VR for so many years?"
"I don't know that, you idiot. You know that. This is your dream, remember?" Ethan smiled. "You're just dreaming that I am talking to you. It's your new gift that allows you to see the truth."
"I don't want this damn gift!" Kevin shook his head. "Why is this happening to me?"
"You need answers." Ethan motioned to the audience neither of them could see who were reading these words as the two of them spoke. "They need answers too. You can provide that for them."
Dream Number 2
The scene with Ethan faded. It felt like someone had turned off a television in one room and flipped on a different one somewhere else. A spotlight lit another portion of the landscape of his mind. It took a few seconds to clear the fuzziness of his vision, but then he saw her. His sister, Faith sitting in a dungeon-like cell. Her hair was stringy, and it looked as if she hadn't bathed in weeks.
Kevin ran to her wanting to make light of her obviously precarious situation. He crouched down next to her on the floor. "How's my favorite sister?" he said with a smile.
"I'm your only sister, you dope." Even though she had been through a lot in the last three years, she still managed to give him a smile.
Faith stood, her legs were weak. He helped her to remain upright, but she couldn't venture far. Her leg was shackled to a spot on the floor.
"Where are we?" Kevin took in the medieval surroundings that his sister found herself in.
"I don't know exactly where I am, but I do know we were moved from the monastery in Bulgaria. Where, I'm not sure. We've been here since then. I thought I was going crazy for awhile." Faith threw her arms around Kevin and held on for dear life. "I'm so glad you're here." She embraced him so tightly he didn't want to let her go on like she was. He could feel the love in that embrace, their almost psychic connection that enabled them to know when one needed the other. And right now she desperately needed him. She needed family.
He held her back a bit by the shoulders just to look at her. The dirt on her face didn't matter. Nothing mattered except that she was here.
"You keep saying 'we'. Who is 'we'?"
A noise from behind had Kevin spinning around.
"I can probably answer that." Phoenix Gray looked worse for wear, but his spirit still seemed strong. Kevin knew he'd be a real champion when the chips were down.
"So, you both survived the monastery explosion in the Bulgarian Underground? That's good. That's really good."
"Yeah, we're pretty happy about that ourselves, but we're even happier if someone could find us. You'll try, won't you? You'll try to find us?"
"I'll do everything in my power." Kevin noticed a crest carved into the cell door. The letters W and A were greatly prominent. He somehow knew this image would be important later.
"You want to ask me about Jonah Sogard?" Faith asked.
Kevin wanted to say no, but then he realized that Jonah was a part of Ethan's virtual world. "In this moment in time, right now, do you know who Jonah is?"
"No," Faith answered honestly. "There was a sort of alternate time line that only Ethan experienced. In that time line Jonah protected me at your request, but that never really happened. It only happened in Ethan's mind. Kinda nice to know that even in his delusions he wants to protect me." She sighed and motioned for them to let her sit down and rest. "The entire time Phoenix and I have been here we knew someone would find us. I know someday you'll find me. You'll find us. I'll try and be strong for you until then. You always have been my strength, Kevin."
Faith hugged her brother again before she and Phoenix faded away.
Dream Number 3
The next scene was another unfamiliar place. It was the campus of a university. He had barely gotten his bearings when someone hurtling down a bisecting sidewalk crashed into him. Neither fell over, but both were startled by the collision.
"Sorry about that," the man mumbled. "I wasn't watching where I was going." The man was large, nearly 6'5" and good looking. For a moment, he seemed like a virtual stranger. Maybe because that was exactly what he was.
"You seem in a hurry," Kevin noticed.
"Yeah, I'm late for a class. You can't let these kids stay alone for a second. If I don't grab their attention at the beginning of the year, they'll snooze during lectures for the rest of the semester."
"Or just not show up at all," Kevin laughed. He extended his hand. "I'm Kevin Fairchild."
"Carter Wayne. Nice to finally meet you."
"You know me?," Kevin asked.
"No, not really. I was familiar with your brother, Ethan. I was hired by a man named Lucian Black to play a character in a virtual reality world called Darkstone: Secret Agent. I was on hiatus from school and it seemed like a fun assignment. In the real world, I teach theater and dramatic arts at this college. Some of my friends took the assignment with me to play pretend spies on a pretend spy series. We all had a blast, especially Rachel who got to portray Solitaire, the sexy assassin. In fact, it was so realistic, at times it almost seemed real."
"Is there a secret you wanted to reveal to me?" Kevin had no idea why he had asked that, but so far, he'd learned a lot from this dream.
"The only thing I can think of is that I changed my name after I escaped from the clutches of a madman. He had me believing my name was Carter Wayne Fairchild. It seemed so simple to believe him. It seemed so natural when new kids arrived one after another. He changed most of their last names to Fairchild. Some he farmed out for trusted friends or relatives to raise. I felt like I was a part of some special zoo with only him as an audience."
Kevin shook his head. "It must have been a confusing time."
"It was," Carter agreed. "A very confusing time. But once I ran away, I slowly began to recover my real memories and remember who I was. You'll know what I'm going through soon enough."
Like Faith and Ethan, Carter faded away as well.
Kevin awoke with a start. The dream was prominent in his mind, but seemed jumbled and disjointed. Maxie, his nurse, wasn't in the room any longer. It had probably been hours since he'd fallen asleep.
Lying on the table next to him was an elaborately carved box. Curious, he opened it. Inside was a candle shaped like an apple. It was bright red with so many tones you almost couldn't distinguish it from the real thing.
Maybe that was what he needed, some candle light to soothe him from the strange nightmare. He found matches in the bedside table. The candle gave off a subtle glow. Kevin didn't realize that soon after he laid his head back on the pillow that a noxious gas began to billow out of the wax creation. Soon the room was filled with the substance. Still Kevin slept on. Even his new found psychic powers couldn't warn him about this.
Moments later, Maxie came in to talk to him about her phone conversation with Jazz. She was startled to find the room filled with a yellow smoke. She quickly moved into action.
"Code Red! We have a Code Red in Room 526!"

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