No lie, I am exhausted. After I finally got to sit down and take the day in, all of the flashing and conduit training really takes its toll. Mo didn’t survive past dinner. She fell asleep propped up on her hands at the kitchen table as the water boiled on the stove for my special macaroni from a box.
I lasted at least until I made it up to my bedroom. Granted it was before 8:00 at night and my mother wasn’t even home yet. Still, I beat out Mo. I consider that winning. I couldn’t carry her all the way down to her room for the night so I put her on the far end of the king bed in my room.
If anything, my mom would freak out. But I was honestly too tired to even notice Mo in any way other than my friend needing a place to sleep. I was nice and tucked her in under the sheets while I remained above them. I think this makes a neutral barrier for us both.
The last thing I recall before drifting off was how my bed was seriously the most comfortable thing in all of creation. My muscles melted like butter in a skillet the moment I laid down. There is something to be said about the cool breeze of fall outside of a nice warm comforter.
On top of a mentally and physically exhausting day, I also learned my slightly cranky trainer is actually my grandson from the future trying to protect me. Try, just try and make this scenario believable to someone a few decades ago. Their mind would pop.
On a side note, I need to be nicer to David when he grows up.
As my thoughts calmed into the pillow beneath my head, my body floated off to sleep. It was the most relaxing feeling I could imagine making the exhaustive day worthwhile if this is the reward. I would catch small fragrances of Mo’s soap or perfume, I couldn’t tell. It was citrusy and relaxing in the same. A fleeting glimpse of her resting on her side was all the heaviness of my eyelids would allow as I was out.
My dream started early that evening for me. I was a ghost, I think, floating like a breeze through the streets. Everything appeared like my city. I could see familiar places I had been like the station where I went to school each day. I moved along the air with the track and the first difference I could see was the gigantic crater in place of where my school used to be.
It wasn’t recent as it looked like loose debris had already been cleared away. The hole remained in place of an area stretching out engulfing the entire complex, parking lot, practice field and out into the streets around the property. Something large and heavy fell on my school or something massive exploded.
My dream allowed me to drift down to the nearby park a couple of blocks from where the Pemberton School used to be. I got closer and closer to the ground and stabilized myself at my normal field of vision. I had no recollection of my limbs; I was just a floating mass wafting in the night time air.
Something pulls my focus as I notice a couple of men walking down the dim path. I could catch their features for a second as they passed under the old fashioned light posts. It only took a couple of times to realize it was David and I. As I got closer, I could tell we were talking about something important.
“We simply can’t trust him,” David explains. “I know he’s your father, he’s my great grandfather, and no one wants it to be truer than either of us. But the simple fact is too much of this is coinciding with what happened to that hunter from a couple of months ago.”
“I know that, David.” Boy I sound pissy in this dream. “He came to us at great risk though. If we hadn’t been in the exact place at that exact time, you know he would have died. Call me old fashioned, but I still would like to know the whole story before believing in what someone tells me.”
“And that Hunter? Did he not convince you enough?”
I am starting to question the dream I’m having. Everything feels too vivid. Even though I feel like I’m floating on my back in water there’s something too real about it all.
“That’s so unfair. You know why I couldn’t just let him go.”
David began shaking his head in apology. As he did so, a breeze picked up into a small gust and a red food wrapper hugged around his leg.
“Man, shit. Why don’t people use the poles around here?” David is talking about the receptacle poles, which are literally located on every street corner. Basically, you put trash in, then it crushes, sorts and recycles what it can and burns off what it can’t; all eco-safe.
“Wow, I know this moment,” I casually mention to David.
“Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll catch up to you at the shop.” David nods and takes a few cautious glances around and in a glimmer disappears. No matter how many times I see it, it still gives me excited goose bumps.
My self goes over to a bench located directly beneath one of the lamp posts, takes a seat and waits. Whatever dream ocean I’m floating in has a current pulling me in that direction. I look like I’m trying to recall something as my eyes are pinched shut. When I open them, I’m looking right in my direction.
“I know you’re there. I remember this moment, only I was on the other side of this conversation when it happened for me.”
Wait, is this a dream?
“It’s not a dream, Carter. Oh, that’s weird, addressing myself aloud without having a real face to speak to.”
Can you hear me? Am I talking to you somehow?
A few moments go by, “I think I asked if I could hear me, and if it proves the same, then no. I can’t hear you. What you are doing is forecasting. You are asleep right now in your bed at home. Mo’s lying beside you. Because she is there, the Gemini power is working. So she is fueling a submersed talent you weren’t aware of before.”
I’m curious. This still feels like a dream, but in the same way I know that it isn’t.
“This is your first of many forecasts. You are basically doing what Timothy Lord did, only you are doing it correctly. Right now, you have projected your conscious a year in the future. Because you are me, your conscious will always be drawn to wherever I am. So no winning lotto picks, no roaming about trying to expect what else is going on in the world. You will be drawn to me whenever you forecast. After a while I won’t be able to remember all of our first encounters, so I won’t always know when you’re there.”
No way! If he could hear me or hear himself, I guess, I would be squealing with excitement. I wonder how many other hidden gems I have in store.
“Neat, right?” You’re damn right, …me. “Well, the main thing I have to tell you right now is about your tomorrow when you wake up.”
Ah yes, my apparent Doomsday. I hope I have some insights to share with myself.
“First of all, don’t panic. At least don’t panic yourself into flashing out of the room. They’ll be expecting something from you in order to track how you do it. And if they learn how you do it, they’ll also learn how to prevent you from doing it.”
Wait, am I saying once I wake up I’m going to be surrounded?
“Secondly, don’t worry about Mo. They are going to take her into another room thinking if you two are apart you won’t be any threat. She’ll be fine and you both will get through the day unharmed.”
Okay, so no panicking or worrying. And if this really is the future then I made it out okay and listened to my former future self. Wait, what? Crap! Time travel and loops get confusing.
“Lastly, just agree to whatever they say. Admit everything up to meeting David. Leave him out of it. But tell them about Ray and lying about Ray. Tell them about your mother with their questions when they ask. They’ll have you both back to school before the first bell sounds.”
Wait, I’m still going to school? As a student? Not sneaky-ninjaing in through a window or something? Nuts. I was kinda looking forward to that part.
“I know, sucks right? Don’t worry, you’ll have ninja moments later that day.” My future self looks around making sure that no one is approaching. As he does, I am curious what I have gone through in a year. I don’t look older, but there is something about me. Something that’s drastically different.
“Now, Principal Uzman will call you both to the office. Not to spoil it all for you but he basically runs the Program. The Program is the under the scenes organization within the government keeping tabs on people like us, and simultaneously experimenting on people with various levels of abilities. Most are kicked back out into society, not useful or harmful enough to do anything. Others either join into the Program or they simply vanish. Blamed on whatever is convenient at the time.”
I don’t know what creeps me out more, knowing such a thing like the Program exists or having to be in the same room with Principal Uzman who runs it. Principal Uz as we like to call him is pretty much the grossest man I have met. Not because he has a strange oily complexion necessarily, but he looks oddly disproportionate. His arms are too long, always exposing a few inches of wrist past his dress shirts. And, even though he is not an obese man, he has a strange double chin that’s always present.
The thought makes me dry heave and that is hard to do as a conscious projection into the future, well I’m guessing.
“When you are in there, don’t try to out buffer anyone. Not right away. Wait until the right moment. You’ll know when, cowboy. After that, be prepared to act fast work together. You’ll have about 15 minutes to find out what you need. Afterwards, let Mo work her magic and leave.”
Leave? Like go back to class, leave or get out of town, leave?
“Get home and your mom will be there waiting. She can take it from there.”
I have a feeling my comfortable night’s sleep might be the last I get for quite a long time. So, wake up without panicking, agree to whatever and make it calmly through a day of school before getting called into the principal’s office to hopefully overpower and mentally interrogate him. Got it.
“Time to get up, Carter.”
The comfortable warmth of my bed and the rhythmic feel of floating are suddenly pulled back into a cold and drafty room. Someone is holding my hand as I come out of the daze that I still believe is a dream.
As my blur tends to focus, there is a dark thing a few inches from my face. As my eyes strain to identify the object it slowly becomes apparent that the barrel of a gun is aimed at me. Poop my skivvies; I’ve never seen a gun in real life let alone had one pointed at me.
“Good morning, Mr. White.” It’s like I knew it was going to be him.
“Dr. Phillips. This is an interesting alarm clock service you’re providing.” I’m pretty sure my voice cracked in there somewhere.
“I received a concerning notice the other day which led us here. Whereas I am thankful for finding both of you here,” as he motions to Mo who is being escorted out of the room by a rather thick-necked gentleman in a suit, “still, I am curious as to how.”
“What do you mean?” I know what he means, he’s asking about Mo and her making it out of the car in one piece.
“We had a couple of witnesses come forward mentioning how you two were fighting earlier today and they thought you threatened Ms. Zester.” His smile was like a poison working its way through my blood.
“Well, as you can see, she is fine. I think whoever told you that was pulling your leg.” I have this strange itchy sensation coming from inside my head. My focus shifts from Dr. Phillips to the man standing in the background of my room. I thought he was a henchman like the one who woke me to the barrel of his gun. I can’t tell for certain, but I think he is trying to read me.
A small rush of panic quickly trails behind my thoughts as I scramble for what to do. Buffer? No, if I make my brain completely blank, they’ll know I’m able to hide something. The best I can do is try to imagine not rescuing Mo and everything else that followed.
“Mr. White, we came over here to question you about her car exploding. People from various angles said they witnessed her in the car seconds before it blew up, they also recalled seeing you there. So, now we are curious if you saw what happened?”
The man in the room is strong-arming his way into my thoughts, not like Mo who can simply pick them up. Luckily I learned quite a lot through David in the last day and I believe I hid all pertinent information as he goes trudging around.
“Is everything alright, Mr. White? You look pale.” His venomous grin makes me think that is what he expects, me in pain. I allow the charade to continue.
“It’s fine, I just have a headache.”
“Well, hopefully it goes away soon. Now, do you know anything about what happened to Ms. Zester?”
“Not really. I was at home and the next minute, she was in my backyard. She thought someone was trying to hurt her but not sure who. We bonded a little bit earlier in the day and I didn’t think she had any other friend to turn to so I let her spend a couple of days with me.”
“Without contacting her guardian?”
“Mo told me her aunt was out of town and not able to be reached, but she would be contacting her as soon as she thought she’d be available.” Where in the hell am I conjuring this story from? Because I know I’m not imagining it, but it certainly is pouring out of my mouth like I actually thought it.
“And you both didn’t attend school yesterday? What were you up to?”
“Mo was still scared the next day. I was caught up on all my assignments so I stayed with her. We walked around and even went to some places where I grew up, sharing some memories to take her mind off of things.”
“Ah, and where would that have been?”
This cat and mouse game gets old, especially since I know I am like a pit-bull hiding as the mouse. “Down by the wharf district. I used to play soccer down at a field around there. We just bummed around the rest of the day.”
At this, Dr. Phillips glances slightly over his shoulder in the other man’s direction. After a couple of seconds, he turns back to me. The toxicity of his smile was gone. “Mr. White, are you familiar with Raymond Lord, known by many as Lord Ray?”
I tried to force a small spike of panic so the Eventual in the room would pick up on something. From there on out, I confessed to being abducted by Lord Ray, all of the things I went through with him and anything else that fed Dr. Phillips’ hunger for information. After he was fully satisfied with my meal of explanations, he left the room briefly and I was alone with the man standing at the other end of my room.
He was ominous as anything I imagined a government agent could be like. He wore a dark suit with a darker undershirt. His tie was a vibrant blue and somehow took notice away from him. Even trying to recognize his features was difficult. The moment I tried to remember something about him, it would slip through like trying to stick margarine to a hot frying pan.
Dr. Phillips entered the room before it got to the point where I became nervous. I still have no idea what that guy looks like.
“Your story corroborates with Ms. Zester’s accounts.” He looked highly disappointed. Ha, good. “We recommend you both return to school tomorrow and have already assured your friend that we will devote resources into what happened to her vehicle and how she wound up in your yard.”
Dr. Phillips stands up and slides my chair back under my desk, signifying it was time to leave. The figure in my room didn’t budge. “Mr. Gemini, if you please.”
A small glare later and the man started moving. Gemini? Somehow that’s too coincidental for me. A part of me really wants to know more about that guy but doing so would tip them off to some degree. For now, it was better to let them go about their business and get out of my house.
After they all left the house and drove safely away, it was safe to talk with my mother and Mo again.
“Well, that went as expected.”
“Expected?!” my mother nearly shouts. “I nearly peed myself coming out of the bathroom to see a gun pointed at me.”
I giggle a little in my head, but thankfully hide that from her in my thoughts and my expression.
“Mo, was that you feeding me a story to tell Dr. Phillips?” Her shy grin confirms it. “How did you do that?”
“Well, you were busy buffering the other guy in your room to what you wanted him to know. I figured you could use a hand. But hey, looks like we get to go to school in a few hours.”
Skippy, just how I wanted to start my morning, three hours earlier than I normally wake up followed by a rigorous interrogation. “Did you pick up on what they called the guy in my room?”
“I heard, Gemini. I also got a little from him on what he was there to do.”
“I felt him poking around inside my head. It was unpleasant to say the least.” Remembering it gives me a small shiver. I hope such a thing doesn’t happen again.
“Did you catch what he was though?”
Now I’m wondering what else I missed besides what he looked like. “No, what?”
Mo was walking to go upstairs and change her clothes. She paused on her way up the stairs, looking over some of the photos on the wall. Her lack of an answer made me ask again as she was staring once again at my family photo.
“What was he, Mo?”
“You just had a Hunter in your house.”