Friday, August 13, 2010

Day Twelve

Day 12: 13 Aug 2010

Didn't sleep last night -- I guess I'd had enough of unconsciousness over the last couple of days.

Honestly, I didn't know what to do with myself. The answer would seem to be obvious on the face of it: call the police, you jackass. And believe me, that was one of the first things I thought about doing.

I didn't, though. Really, what was I going to tell them? Oh, hi, officer, I was just kidnapped for the last couple of days. No, I didn't so much escape. He let me go. Proof? Um, yeah. . .

I had nothing in the way of proof. No one at work had called or emailed looking for me, so they hadn't missed me or didn't care. I had no marks on me, and when I walked back down to the place I'd been held around 3 in the morning, everything was gone.

So instead, I'd had some dinner and played some XBox. I know, it sounds strange, but again, I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't bother to go to work this morning, either. I guessed I didn't have a job anymore, anyway. Turns out I did -- more later. I had breakfast at a place down by the beach, and had the definite temptation to walk into the ocean the whole time I was there.

The repeating dream had obviously had its effect on me.

I got back to the apartment about eight a.m., and decided to watch TV. I thought I was unemployed, remember -- might as well do what unemployed people do best. Also, my head wasn't really on straight. After I'd flipped through the channels a couple of times, someone knocked on my door. I looked out the peephole -- it was Kevin.

I opened the door, and he stood there grinning at me. Now, I'm not a fighter by any stretch -- never been in so much as a scuffle. But the temptation to punch that guy right in his smirking face was overwhelming. I had to keep telling myself he's handicapped.

"Yeah. . . I know you want to beat the shit out of me, and I don't blame you there. But we should talk. I have answers for you."

"So, talk."

"Can I come in first?"


"Yeah. . . fair enough. OK, I was there with your brother six years ago. At the port of Long Beach."

"Where he died."

"Where they made it look like he did," Kevin said. "No one died there that day."

"They found his car, with his hands inside."

"They found his car with someone's hands inside," Kevin said, holding up his dual prosthetics.

"The cops said his prints matched. You mean those were your hands?"

"Yeah. And do you know how cops run prints? Computers. Not a whole lot of work to switch one person's prints for another for quick verification. They hacked the Tallahassee PD's computers. Replaced the prints your brother had taken when he got pulled for DUI in 2001 with my prints."

"But the cops said. . . "

"That someone would bleed out really fast if their hands were chopped off? True. But they cauterized my stumps here immediately."

"Why'd you let them take your hands off? And who are 'they,' anyway?"

"I didn't let anyone take my hands. They took them. Back in those days, I was a thief, and I stole from the wrong people. They found me and went all old-school with a bone saw. Figured if they killed me, I wouldn't learn my lesson -- but they could still get information from me if they just cut me up a bit."

"You still haven't told me who they are."

"'They' are some bad people. And they've turned your brother into something. . . else."

Kevin and I just stared at each other for a few minutes. I didn't know what to say, but he was clearly waiting for a response.

"And?" I finally said.

Kevin sighed.

"I would have guessed some part of you would know already. Come on, Travis. I've got things to show you."

Without waiting for me to follow, Kevin turned around and walked out into the parking lot. I shrugged and grabbed my phone, keys, and wallet from the table by the door, intending to follow him -- he'd gotten me curious.

That short delay, the few seconds I took to grab my stuff, probably saved my life. A black Mercedes 600 Grosser came out of nowhere, its tires screaming as it rocketed through the parking lot. It hit Kevin full-on, sending him flying over the hood and roof. He landed with a loud thump on the pavement, not moving at all, blood slowly pooling around him.

The Mercedes stopped. Its massive rear doors opened, and two guys in what looked like black combat fatigues jumped out, machine guns in their hands. As I said, I'm in no way a fighter. I do work out every day, though, and I can run like mad -- which is exactly what I did. As soon as I saw those guys, I took off, running out the front door and around my building as fast as I could push myself.

I ran across the street, dodging cars as I ran -- I knew they'd be back in their huge Merc limo and after me in a matter of seconds. I needed to get off-road, and fast. There was an office building off in the distance, and I went for it, staying off the street. I cut through back yards and parking lots, never dropping my speed at all. My lungs burned and my legs were toast, but I made it. I bolted into the building and headed for the stairwell. No one came in looking for me -- I'd lost them, it looked like.

I spent the next twenty hours in an abandoned office on an abandoned floor, which is where I fell asleep tonight.

The irony didn't escape me that today was Friday the 13th.

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