Saturday, November 23, 2013

Story # 3.3 Happiness Escapes Me

Jay laid in his bed, staring at the ceiling.  Just below his neck, lay Linda, snuggling up to him in bed together, the sheets draped over their naked bodies.

The kids were tucked in their own beds, sleeping the night away.  For the exception of the night shift crew of The Fleece, Jay was the only other person still awake.

He stared into the grainy, tiled ceiling of the room, pondering all that had happened to this point.  Not just since the whole dream shifting issue began, but everything.  Everything from the time he could begin remembering, until today.

Jay thought about his childhood, one of his first memories.  He remembered nearly being kidnapped as a child but some strange woman, right out of his grandmother's living room.  She walked in and snatched him up, even as Jay's family stood all around.  It was like time slowed down for everyone and everything, except him and the dark-headed woman.  She simply took him and intended on taking him further away.

Jay wondered, what might have happened had she succeeded in taking me?

Jay's thoughts were random, shifting to and from different memories.  He remembered the day he proposed to Linda.  It was a joyful moment for both of them, as he watched his bride-to-be cry tears of joy over a long awaited day that she wasn't certain would ever come.  Jay, for that matter, felt the same.  After all, Jay thought, what woman could put up with me and my ways for too long?

He shifted thoughts readily.  Another memory encompassed his walks across the stage to obtain his diploma, his degrees, and other such honors.  Another walk was the long one the day his son was born, as he nestled into his mother's arms and cried tears of both joy and heartache, as the delivery had not gone exactly according to plan.  In fact, at one moment, Jay thought he might lose his son.  He was worried about Linda too, as she was nearly torn open to bring their son into this world.  A frightening moment that Jay could truly count his blessings that the people he loved did in fact survive.

Jay recalled the first time he ever kissed someone.  It was as sweet as sugar spread all across his lips, as he ran his tongue around them and licked it off to enjoy the sweet and succulent flavor of ecstasy.  You never forget the first person you kissed, no matter how good or bad it might have been, from either person's perspective.

He remembered the heartache of rejection, by the first girl that ever rejected him.  By an instructor telling him he wasn't cut out to be a nurse.  By not receiving the job he so wanted.

He thought back on the pitfalls of his life, and the triumphs.  He remembered the "I dos" and the "I don'ts."  He remembered holding his babies, and being held like one.  He remembered running for fun, and running scared.

They all had one thing in common...

...there was no more happiness.

Not in this place.  Not in the place Jay was in now.

This whole dream situation had turned his entire world upside down.  This had been the first time he could really even think about it, rather than react to it.  Now, in this new place, The Fleece, and what Pat had just done, Jay had no clue what to think anymore.  He was a blank canvas, bereft of intrigue.  The happiness was gone, at least for now.  Jay hoped he could find it again, but it was going to take time.  This whole situation had tried him to his very core.  He was left feeling empty, hollow.  His whole life had become reaction to his environment and this series of events had called all of it into question.

But he was left with one thing.  The voice that had talked to him in his dream.    As Jay ran from the horde, that voice was a calming influence on him.  He still remembered what the voice had said.  "Do not be deceived.  You are not in control."

Jay looked down at the top of his wife's head.  The rhythmic movement of his chest rising and falling would allow Linda's head to rise and fall with it.  She laid their, resting, undisturbed by the fluid movement.  The rhythm probably aided her resting cycle.

He stared down at the crease in her hair, the shape of her nose, the length of her eyelashes.  Everything as perfectly placed as it had always been.  She was perfect to him, anyway.

But one thing stood out tonight.  One glaring, obvious difference that only Jay would be able to notice.  Everything, right down to the love that they had made, was exactly as it had always been.  Except for one thing.

Never, ever, not even one time in the history of their marriage, engagement, or courtship had Linda ever called Jay "Honey."

That was when Jay knew, Pat was his true enemy.  Somehow, someway, Pat had "replaced" his Linda with a perfect replica.  An actress.  But that actress' ad lib had already cost Pat dearly.

Jay would play along for as long as he could stand, but sooner or later, Jay was going to force that bald-headed twit to tell the truth.  Pat was going to tell him where his wife was at, and then he was going to tell him how to get her back.

Besides, if the man can read minds, then he is capable of anything.  The only problem for Pat, however, Jay knew he was capable of so much more now.

And Jay couldn't wait to unleash it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Story # 3.2 Wide Awake

"Good morning, Jay."

Jay awoke, the light blinding him from the ceiling of the room.  He held his hands up to protect himself some from the brightness, and looked in the direction of the voice that had just greeted him.

"We thought you'd never wake up."

Jay only saw the form of a man, then the image began to become clearer.  He could see the bald head, shining teeth, and piercing eyes of Pat standing before him.  In his hand, Pat extended a cup of coffee to his waking friend.

"Where am I?", Jay asked.

"You're at The Fleece", replied Pat, still extending the coffee towards Jay.

"My wife?  My children?"

"Jay, we need to talk..."

"No.  I need to see them first."


"No!  I had a dream about this, this very conversation, and it didn't go well!  I need to see my family, NOW!!"



"There are more pressing things than your family right now, Jay."

Jay screamed out in agony over the words Pat had just spoken.  What could be more pressing than seeing your own family after you just woke up?

A lot of things can be more pressing, Jay.


Yes it is, Jay.

Stop talking...

Jay looked up at Pat and realized the last set of words had not originated from Pat's lips.  Pat was just smiling.  But he had heard an audible voice.  I must be seeing things, Jay thought.

I assure you Jay, you're not.

Jay's eyes widened.  His pulsed began to race, and he scurried away from the table, falling to the floor all the while backing into a corner on the far side of the room.

He can hear my thoughts?  He can talk to me in my own mind?, Jay questioned.

Most people here at The Fleece can, Jay.  It's one of the many perks.

"How are you doing that?", asked Jay, audibly.

"Oh, telepathy, that's a palor trick compared to some of the things that go on in this place, Jay."

"How is that possible?"

"Anything is possible, you just have to know where to find it and how it works is all."

None of this was making sense to Jay, and none of it diminished his desire to see his family.  Now he was more scared for their lives than ever before.  He now knew he was dealing with something extra-human, super-human in fact.

"Genetics, as it turns out, Jay, can be easily manipulated to create a new lifeform.  Even one that has existed for tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, even billions of years.  You just have to know what sequences to change.  That's the difference between being human, and more than human.  The difference between a man of bone, and a man of steel.  Of being Kirk or Khan.  All it takes is a tweak."

Pat crotched down in front of Jay, who was still cowaring in the corner.  Pat's trademark smile was still gleaming.

Jay just stared back at him, unsure where to go from there with the conversation.  He just wanted to escape.

"Jay, you're a very inteligent man, so I want to share something with you.  Something I believe you'll understand readily, and openly have professed in some respects yourself.  It's about the reasons for being..."

This statement did grab Jay's attention, slightly, as one of his lectures had started with this phrase.  Jay always tried to interject phrases he thought his students would remember.

"Have you ever wondered Jay, why there are so many theories out there about where our origins came from?  There are plenty of hypotheticals, but two in particular most people cling to for...understanding, so to speak.  One is creationism, the other is The Big Bang.  One encapsulates billions, upon billions of years of history, of which most of the time the Earth was unlivable for humans.  The other says that the Earth and everything else was formed a mere six thousand, almost seven thousand years ago.  But they're both theories that require faith and diligence to perceive.  Wouldn't you agree with that?"

Jay did not move for a few moments.  Knowing that apparently he was not going to hear anything about his family until this conversation was over, Jay finally knodded in agreement.

"But the honest truth, Jay, no one knows where we came from.  No one knows how.  It's all an educated guess, just like a student would try on one of your tests.  You give them a question to answer, and make all of the answers potentially correct, then that student has to decide which one is the right one for that moment.  The same rule applies to this question, the mother of all questions.  Why are we here, Jay?"

Jay just stared back at Pat.  He finally answered, "You have to be educated to guess."

Pat laughed loudly at that statement.  He looked back at Jay after he regained his bearings, "That's the spirit, Jay, I knew you had it in you."

"What does this have to do with my family?"

After Jay's question, the door to the room openned.  In walked Jay's children first, who immediately recognized their dad.  Both children ran, smiling and screaming for their daddy.  Jay embraced them both.  As Jay hugged them, another figure approached.  He looked up to see Linda standing before him.

"Hey, honey!", Linda said, a big smile filling her face, as usual.

Jay's eyes lit up, he jumped to his feet and embraced her, their children clinging to their legs.  Linda and Jay kissed passionately as they held to one another.  Pat, of course, was all smiles during all of this.

"Should I get you two a room...and a babysitter?", Pat asked.

Linda laughed and looked at Pat, "That won't be necessary.  I would like to take my husband to our room you've prepared for us."

"Of course you can, Mrs. Trent."

Jay, smiling now, looked at Pat, "Am I ok to do that?  How long was I out?"

"Several days.  You injured yourself pretty good.  You hurt Larry pretty badly too," said Linda.

"Larry!  Is he ok?"

"He's fine, Jay, just fine," replied Pat.  "Do go with your wife and settle back in, since you met an untimely event the last time we attempted to do so.  Afterwards we'll get together and talk some more about the things I just brought up, as well as what happened after you left us."

"Did the other guy appear?", Jay asked.

"Rob, you mean?", said Linda.

"Yes, he did in fact, but we may have found a way to stop that from happening.  A way for you to control this phenomenon we had already been discussing", said Pat.

"Perhaps with some of what we have just discussed in here, Pat?", asked Jay.


Pat was smiling at him again.

Jay was still skittish about what happened with Pat before his family arrived, but that was no matter for now.  Now, all Jay wanted to do was take a hot shower and spend time in the arms of his loving wife and children.  After that, he'd indulge Pat's discussion some more.  It was intriguing, afterall.

Besides, how can you refuse a man that knows what you're thinking.

As Jay, Linda, and the kids left the room to head for their, Pat turned and looked in their direction as they left.  Once the door was closed, Pat continued to stand there.  He then began to bark off orders.

"Keep track of them, I won't to know exactly what they do and where they go at all times."

"Yessir," a voice chimed in from a speaker.

"Make sure they are accommodated well."

"Yessir.  What about the others?"

"Keep them in stasis.  Some of the regeneration did not take as well as we would have liked."

"And Mrs. Trent?"

"She was just here, as you saw."

"The OTHER Mrs. Trent?"

"Oh, yes, her..."

Pat pondered that one for a moment.  He rested his index finger to his lips, and paced in the room slowly for a bit.

"Give it some time, and let it play out."

"The longer she is alive there, the greater the risk, sir."

"I understand that.  But she's somewhere she can't harm things, for now.  When the time comes, we'll neutralize her permanently, along with Rob."

"Sever the link?"

"Once Jay is active, there'll be no need for a link anymore."

"Affirmative, sir."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Story # 3.1 Day Dream?

"So what exactly is history?"

Jay was standing before a lecture he was giving for one of his nursing classes.  This particular class introduced his students to the history of nursing, in and of itself.  But, Jay liked to take a walk on the hypothetical side at times, particularly where it pertained to history itself.  This particular time Linda, Jay's wife, was watching his lecture from home.  She always loved to hear him speak, even if it was about something as boring as history to her.  His spin on it was what made it so intriguing.

"Why is it our history is what it is?  Have you ever stopped to think about that sometimes?  Why did it follow suit the way that we today have it recorded?

"What if something is missing?  What if none of it is even true?  What if it has been altered?  None of us in this room were there to witness it, so we have to take everything that has ever been recorded on faith alone, as proof.  But what if it all truly is a myth, a lie concocted for some reason we'll never know or never understand?

For instance, how do we know that the Egyptians didn't have automobiles, planes, or electronic devices of all sorts?  Some mysterious hieroglyphs seem to suggest that something unusual existed back then, as you can see in the slides beside me.  Scholars would have you believe they were worn away glyphs that implied something else entirely.  But, really?  I mean, look at that obvious shape of a light bulb.  It wore the glyph away that uniformly?

"What if the Romans had nuclear weapons?  What if America wasn't the first to have invented the atomic bomb?  Immediately following the fall of Rome the Dark Ages ensued.  Now, was it just because of revolt and uprising or did a man made disaster occur on the part of the Romans?  Maybe they were responsible for the devastating eruption of Krakatoa in 566 A.D, with some sort of nuclear device?  Perhaps not, that's probably a stretch, but who knows.

"Or what if, going back to the time of Noah, the world then was exactly like the world we live in today?  What if they had skyscrapers, billions of lives, and a massive flood destroyed it all, wiped the slate clean?  After thousands of years there would be very little proof of such a thing, depending on when the flood may have occurred.  But what if our world today is just a cyclical rebirth of a world long since forgotten?  What does that spell for our future, and how will it end?"


"Hey!  HEY!", snipped Rob at Linda, who appeared transfixed in thought.  She fell out of her gaze and looked up at the boy who was Rob.

"You better stay focused, lady.  There's no time for day dreaming here."

Rob and Linda were hiding near a loading dock at the back of the hospital for the area.  Only dumpsters separated them from a bevy of zombies nearby, wandering aimlessly.

"Do they always come in bunches like this?", Linda whispered.

"Sometimes.  Sometimes more, a lot more.  But the thing is, you could run right out there, right past them, and none of them even look at you.  Or, you could attract the whole lot of them.  It's just the luck of the draw."

"But, I thought they feed on us?  Our flesh?  Our brains, I guess?  Shouldn't they always come after us?"

"Only in a movie, lady.  These things don't act like that.  I really can't tell you what they want, I just know when they want something you had better be gone, especially if you're what they are after."

"You mean they....they can think?  What kind of zombie is that?"

Rob looked right at Linda, "One that's under someone else's control."

Rob looked back out at the landscape before him.  He saw a gap between several of them, one he thought they could slip through quickly to the adjacent building where there would be safety.

"Ok, lady, let's go!"

Rob darted off, even as Linda pleaded for him to wait.  Hesitating only for a second, Linda jumped up and followed him along the path.

Just as Rob had predicted, none of the zombies were paying either of them any attention.  It was as if both of them were completely invisible and sound proof.  Having only see this kind of thing in movies and on television, Linda was gasping as she passed within inches of several near the path they were on, but none lunged for her.  Both of them made it across safely to the building where Rob had set up his own camp.  It was an old laboratory building that was vacated some time before.

Once inside, Rob bolt the door with his makeshift lock, sealing them inside.

"We're safe in here now", said Rob.

"I can't believe that just happened?  I can't believe we just walked right through those things like they weren't even there?  This can't be real?", said Linda.

"Well, you'd better get used to it, Linda, because it's very real."

"But why?  What's causing this?  And you said they are under someone else's control?  Who's?  Pat's?
  The people who sent us here?"

"Pat is just a player, I'm not sure anyone knows who's actually in control of all of this."

"What happened here, Rob?  The truth?"

Rob stood there for a few moments, staring at Linda.  This was a lot for a young boy to have to answer for.  Boys weren't supposed to have to do that.  They were supposed to collect baseball cars, play basketball, play video games.  Rob was living a nightmare and even he wasn't completely sure of why.

"I don't know the truth.  I just know one day the world was a lot like yours over there and then the next it was this, and lots of people were dying."

"Over there?  Like Dr. Blake said?  An alternate reality?"

"Something like that."

"No it is that, right?"

Rob went on to doing something else, as Linda pursued him.

"Rob, you've been here for a while, right?  You have to know more than you're telling me, something?  Anything?  You can't just wake up in this world and that's just it.  What are you not telling me?"

Rob stopped sifting through items, which he appeared to be looking for food, and planted his arms firmly on the table, his back to her.  Linda stood there waiting for a response.

Rob turned around to face her, "I don't like to talk about what went on here because everytime I do something bad happens, or I go to sleep and something worse happens over there.  It's not worth it.  You think you've got it rough today?  HA!  Look what I've had to put up with lady?  You beating on me, people attacking me, all in a body I have no control over how I even got in it or when.  I just know that this is it, this is all.  So you can shut up and help me find food and drinks, or you can walk back out that door and try to save your own life all by yourself.  It's up to you."

Rob immediately turned around and rummaged again.  Linda looked over the dimmly lit room.  There were all manner of canned goods.  It was obvious Rob had loads of food at his disposal, and drinks weren't far behind.  It looked a little too well stocked.

"Why did he send you here, Rob?"

Rob stopped again, holding a can in his hands, "Who?"

"Pat?  What did you do to deserve coming here, like me?"

Rob turned back around to her, laughing a bit.  "What makes you think he sent me here, like you?"

This puzzled Linda.

"I told you, this is my world, this is my home.  I've lived here my entire life.  My dad, Pat, was here with me too, my whole family and all of my friends.  You don't need to be asking why he sent me here.  You need to be asking why he came to your world in the first place?"