sovereign visions vol.1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Review Chain
a neuro-scientist who created a quiet life, finds his world turned upside down when he returns to work and finds his co-workers killed. find out why and seek revenge? or run, hide, and survive? wwyd?

Submitted: April 03, 2016

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Submitted: April 03, 2016

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My name is Kilae Idris Kippens. And currently I’m tied up in the back of a trunk with a black bag over my head. I don’t have any idea how or why things went so abysmally wrong, but they did, and I’m here now, so there’s nothing to do but move forward. Literally, we’ve been driving straight for almost forty-five minutes. And now that I’ve a time to reflect, I look back to a very specific date that really seems to make sense of it all. But doesn’t it always come back to the beginning in a situation like this. I’m either a lucky bastard or an unfortunate saint, because the shit storm I’ve been through up to this point makes you wonder if existence is necessary.
 
Anyway, I do apologize for rambling, as I sometimes, often do. Like I was saying, my ‘situation,’… a complicated assortment of miserable mix-ups and screw-ups alike. And as I stated I’m currently tied up in the back of a trunk and the only intelligent reason I can see for being tied up in the back of this trunk leads me back to April the twenty-third, a year ago. I guess that’s where we can begin with this tale of tales.
 
I had just gotten to the office at Dream Tech, late as usual. It was a good thing I was cool with Blake the security guard around the back. I knew him from grade school. He was the typical dumb jock with dark hair and blue eyes, who just needed to pass to get into any school he wanted. But of course if he had straight A’s he could get into a more prestigious program, and I was the geek who got the pleasure of forging his schoolwork. After his professional career didn’t pan out he needed a job that paid well and I gave him an excellent reference. “B-Man! What’s the happenin’!” I said shooting the double pistols at him as I greeted him. “You are still such a nerd,” he replied as he took my badge and scanned me in. “You know I’m not supposed to do this right?” Blake said as he handed me back my badge. “Yeah, you’ve said that,” I replied back shortly as I was indeed late and had no time for small talk.
 
“Oh how nice of you to join us Kik,” my floor manager Monk yelled as he caught me slipping into my station. His real name was Larry but for some reason everyone called him Monk. “You know, here on the fourth floor we have specific hours you’re required to be here. Just because you stay late does not mean you’re excused for a tardy.” I basically finished the sentence for him I’d heard it so many times. “So is today the day of success?” he asked as he leaned against one of my lab chairs. His Lennon style frames fell down to the bottom of his nose as he awaited a response that I had been waiting to give him since I had woken up that morning. “Yes sir-ree! If all goes well the ‘DEVO’ should be up and running in about three to four hours,” I replied as I checked my watch.
 
Before we go any further I feel like it would be important to point out that I’m a neuro-scientist. And I realize what that might say about my character. Words like pretentious, know it all ass hole come to mind. And though that may be true, one thing I am not, is a difficult prick. I believe this also says more to you about my ‘situation’. I’m a neuro-scientist, tied up in the back of a trunk. Did you feel that tingle go down your spine? Yeah, it did mine too. I’m apparently in some deep deep shit.
 
I smiled as Monk walked away from my station. I knew he was proud of me and I was glad to make him proud. Monk was more a father figure to me then my own dad. He was one of my professors my sophomore year in college and from there he kind of took me under his wing. He even got me the job at Dream Tech six long years ago. The DEVO (Dream Extraction Video Operator) was our baby. Monk had come to me about three years ago saying he had a special project. He wanted me to create a machine that would allow you to view a person’s dream, live, while they are asleep right in front of you. I was obviously enthralled with the idea and jumped aboard. The only catch was that it was to be kept a secret. Only three other people know about it besides Monk and I. And after three long years I was almost for certain that we would meet a major break through soon.
 
It took a year just to build the DEVO. We had to develop a machine that could tap into the cerebral cortex. From there we had to find the information in your head that forms the dream and keep track of it in the neural network using a code to translate that information to a computer screen. That code was created by Josey our neural coding specialist and myself. That was year one. Once the code was corrected and perfected, Brian, our computer science guy helped me turn that translated data into a still image, but only after the dream was over. Which is where we stood to that point. That day we hoped get more then just a still image. I was to spend the next few hours adjusting the DEVO to where it would would give us a visual of a recorded dream, or at least a few seconds of one.
 
I laid my jacket on the lab table, hung my briefcase over my chair and jetted for some coffee, one of two things I must have to start my day. When I got back to my table I reached in the drawer of my lab station and pulled out the other necessity, my personally made vaporizer. I have more of them then I care to mention but I get use out of everyone one. The reason I made them is because they only sell tobacco use only in the stores and I’ve never smoked tobacco a day in my life. I keep them all full at all times with my own special liquid vapor mix. After I took a few puffs and drank about half of my coffee I got to work. I worked through the data, and did calculations, and then redid them. Too much stimulation to the frontal lobe and it damages the translated data. To little and the information doesn’t even register for the code to be translated. I paced back and forth trying to work out the correct formula, taking a few more puffs from my vape then I usually do. And after about six hours, four coffees, and two boxes of pizza, I thought I had finally figured it out.
 
I ran from my station to Monk’s office like a school yard kid going to tell his father he got straight A’s. “Slow down slim. What’s got you scrambling?” Monk said to me as I burst in. “I got it. I think I got it. I need to turn on the machine,” I exclaimed as I tried catching my breath. “OK. Ill call Jesse. It shouldn’t take him but about twenty minutes to get here,” Monk replied as he analyzed my work. “Wow Kik, this is truly incredible. I can’t wait to see the results,” he said as he handed them back to me and picked up the phone to call Jesse. Jesse was basically our human lab rat. We paid him a nice fee and he gave us permission to run certain test and experiments on him.
 
I grabbed my vape, another cup of coffee, and headed upstairs to the roof for a puff and a cool down. It was almost sunset. The city was crowded with buildings and tiny little people making there way through the maze of what we called Servanyia. It was a busy place at all times as far as I could tell but I didn’t know much else about the city at all to tell you the truth. I wasn’t from there, I just worked there. I proudly keep to myself. All but Peezy. Peezy was the only thing that mattered to me besides science. She was the most beautiful thing ever to set foot upon this earth. I took my phone out as the vapor filled my lungs sending that euphoric rush through my body. I had three text and a picture message from her, all summarizing how much she loved and missed me. I replied to her messages and let her know how much I love her and that I might be in the office late. Then I made my way back downstairs to meet with Monk and the rest of the team.
 
I made my way through the fourth floor to Lab D, which was restricted to everyone but the DEVO team. Everyone was already waiting for me. “Oh how nice of you to join us Kik,” Brian said sarcastically as he finished prepping the DEVO. “Kiss ass! You sound just like him,” I snapped back as I sat down at my computer to put the new formula into DEVO that would hopefully give us the visual. Jesse was already laid back on the operation table comfortable as he could be. “Josey if you’ll go ahead and induce his sleep,” Monk called out. A friend of Josey’s from up on the eleventh floor had created a trial sedative cocktail that speeds up the process it takes to get to REM sleep and allows you to stay there for long periods of time. The first trial she sent left Jesse unresponsive for six hours. But the second one she gave us we were able to wake him up easily after about an hour, sometimes two. Josey stood up and added the sedative to the I.V. bag hooked to Jesse’s arm. It was no time before he was asleep. I placed the half inch thick, silver metal headband just over the top of his eyebrows and clicked the sides into position for safety. “Test run 14. DEVO in place and secure. Starting sequence now,” I said as the flipped the switch on the DEVO and watched the blue electro lights beam down from the DEVO to Jesse’s forehead, searching the cortex for the right information. All the entire crew could do was wait as we hadn’t quite figured out how to watch the dreams live yet as we had first hoped.
 
An hour and a half later, Jesse was able to be woken. His dreams had been recorded and now it was time for the moment of truth. Jesse was drunk from the strength of the sedative and quickly had to have Narcan pumped in his I.V. to help with his recovery. Monk walked slowly over to me and awaited the data mesh. I took the file and uploaded it to the video player and watched the screen. There was silence throughout the room aside from the the loudness of Jesse’s doped up breathing. A few seconds of darkness played off on the video as discouragement began to creep its way into the room. But suddenly the image cleared and began to focus. It was showing the ceiling of a bedroom. It stayed still for a few more frames before the camera angle changed showing what looked like more of the bedroom. All signs were pointing towards success, but none more prominent then when the screen went in front of a mirror and showed that it was Jesse’s perspective we were seeing from inside his dream. Everything we had worked years towards was finally coming to fruition. We had reached a very great success.
 
We all shared in a small celebration but knew the job wasn’t even close to being done. Shortly after Brian and Josey decided to leave while Monk nursed Jesse back to health. I myself stayed to continue analyzing the data. I needed to keep pushing myself if I wanted to achieve the actual goal of live dream viewing.
 
It was late by the time Monk got Jesse up and out of the building. When he came back to the lab he had this shaky look on his face. I could tell something was up but I wasn’t about to rush it out of him. “You know, you’ve really done good work here. I couldn’t be more proud of you,” he said as he stood behind me watching me. “Thank you sir. I truly appreciate that. I just wish we could have done what you originally wanted for this project. I really wanted to watch his dream as he dreamed it you know,” I said to him, hoping he wouldn’t be as hard on me as I am on myself. “My boy you have done more then I ever thought was possible. Just locating a person’s dream alone is ground breaking. And now that I’ve seen someones true dream, I’m for certain we will reach what we set out to accomplish in due time,” he said as he patted me on the back.
 
He was building up to something big. My palms began to sweat from the anxiety. “So Kik I was wondering,” he started, I mashed my heel into the ground nervously as I waited, “would you want to take the DEVO home with you. I feel like you could do more with it on your own. You still have a home lab correct?” he asked as he unknowingly set my world on fire. “I do. And I would be honored to take it home sir. Honored,” I said calmly but on the inside I was jumping like it was a Thursday evening before a three day weekend. “That’s great Kik. I know you’ll do great. The red eye will show it’s face upon yours one day,” he said strangely. I looked at him funny, not knowing how to respond to the red eye comment.
 
That was until now. I’ve been in this trunk for at least an hour now. But the last thing I remember seeing before I was taken was a red ‘I’ tattoo on the wrist of whomever put this bag on my head. All I know is that Monk said it to me then, but why would anything that has to do with Monk be of any danger to me. Yet I’m tied up in the back of a trunk with a bag over my head. And I did not volunteer. Either way that still doesn’t tell you everything…
 
“OKAY. Well yeah I’ll most definitely take her home. I’ll have us where we want to be in a jiffy,” I said to him confidently. He shook his head in agreement and began to head towards the lab exit. “Oh and Kik, take care of her will ya. That’s my girl you know,” he said cautiously before he left. I myself didn’t stay to much longer as I was very excited to get home and play with the DEVO in my own lab. The fact that what I was doing was completely illegal and could get Monk and I both fired was as far back in the back of my mind as possible. The chance to work at my own pace in my environment with the DEVO was a once in a lifetime thing. I packed up everything as carefully as I could and called it a day.
 
I nearly dropped the DEVO more then once walking through the parking lot simply because I’m a klutz. I drove a cinnamon 2006 Hyundai Sonata. I paid it off working through college. Of course I wasn’t allowed to drive until my sophomore year in college when I turned sixteen. I started the engine, took a puff from my vapor, and turned it to number fourteen on my CD, Otis Redding’s ‘Sitting on the dock of the Bay’. Lately I had been playing that song on repeat. The high notes he hits during the chorus are so flawless they send chills down my arms. It’s the most soothing noise I can tolerate during my hour ride home from Dream Tech. You would think traffic would die down at some point but in Servanyia the streets are never idle.
 
It was almost midnight when I got home. I carried everything through the dark directly to my room. Behind my closet wall was a secret entry way to my basement that I had since turned into a full fledge secret neuro-science lab. It was like having my own bat cave. It was a good thing I had minored in engineering. I made my way down the narrow, spiral steps to the lab. It was late and I had to be at work the next day but I was to excited to sleep. I went and started the coffee machine I had down there and took a few puffs of my vape before making a very important video call to my love Peezy.
 
Again I knew it was late but I knew she would be awake. She was a psychology teacher at East Servanyia Community College, there was no doubt she would still be grading papers at this hour if I know my girl. There was only two rings before she answered. Her long charcoal hair hung down past her shoulders. Her smile was perfect. She took her reading glasses off and waved at me with the same excitement I had to see her. “How was your day hunny?” she asked as she moved around some papers on her desk. I took another long draw from my vapor admiring her for just another moment longer. “Better now that I’ve seen you’re face,” I replied making her blush a little. “No really it was great. We were able to watch about thirty-seven minutes of real dream from the dreamers perspective,” I continued trying to not sound to boastful. “Oh my word baby that’s incredible! I’m so proud of you!” she said clapping for me. “I know. We had no idea what we were going to get but it all worked out,” I continued. I took a small bow and smiled as we stared into each others eyes. We didn’t speak much more, but there wasn’t always the need for too many words when it came to our relationship. We were on the same page and that’s all that mattered to us. We had met a couple years before I graduated with my PhD. She was as focused and determined as anyone I had ever seen besides myself. It was like she knew me before I even got the chance to say hello.
 
After our brief chat I got back to work on the DEVO. We had watched Jesse’s dream but we still weren’t able to watch it as it was happening. I just had to figure out a way to get the DEVO to compute the information almost one-hundred and twenty percent faster. Simple enough right. Hours passed. I made no real progress at all. But that wasn’t surprising. I had been working on this thing for four years, and though I’d made a real break through I really wasn’t were I wanted to be. The last time I looked at the clock it was it was half past three AM. I still didn’t care. I didn’t have to be at work until nine-thirty, well I get there at around ten, but as long as I got a few hours of sleep I was good.
 
When I woke the next morning everything felt odd. For starters I was still in the lab, which meant I didn’t set an alarm. I scrambled for my phone that was completely dead when I found it. I quickly set it down on the wireless charger and made my way over to the coffee machine. I nearly crossed my fingers hoping that I wasn’t too late for work. When I got back over to the phone I was screwed. It was nearly noon and it took an hour to get to work. I rushed to get ready finishing my coffee and refiling my vapors. I took a quick shower, got in the car, and headed to work.
 
Of course midday traffic was heavy and it took and extra twenty minutes to get there. About four ambulances made things worse as they swerved through traffic with no regard. I parked and headed to the back entrance where Blake was guarding the door as usual. “Have to much fun in nerd town last night?” Blake asked as he took my badge. “Yeah one for the century,” I replied taking my badge back and rushing past him to climb the stairs to the fourth floor.
 
I was actually nervous as I got to the door. I had never been this late before. When I went to open the door though something threw me off. It was smoky and the emergency lights were on. I opened the door curiously but cautiously. I crept down, clutching my bag to my side. I could barely see anything the fog was so thick. I continued my way through the office quietly trying to make it to my station. I was waiting for someone to show themselves and let me know everything was OK. Then I came across what let me know everything wasn’t. I tripped over a leg that was sticking out at the station across from mine. I tapped the leg a few times waiting for it to move but it didn’t. “Check the employee list for this floor. Make sure we didn’t miss anybody,” a voice yelled out from in the fog. My heart sank down to my feet. A stream of blood had finally made its way to where I was crouched over setting in my worst fears. This was Brian’s station.
 
There wasn’t any time to think. I moved up from the stiff leg that had caught my attention. The pool of blood the stream came from was from three bullet wounds. Two in the chest one in the head. The mess was abundant. I reached into the lab jacket of my recently deceased friend for his badge. Luckily our our badges only had our names and a bar code on it so I switched mine for his. Next I took all the money and anything irreplaceable, including pictures, out of my wallet and placed it in his back pocket, removing his and taking it with me. Maybe this would fool whoever enough to where they wouldn’t come after me. But this also meant I was now technically a dead man. Just a small downside. I heard footsteps begin to approach. I quickly made my way back to the back door I came in without be caught.
 
The next step was to get back downstairs and get the hell out of that place. I made it to the bottom floor but there was one obstacle in my way. Blake. I knew if he saw me he would be liable to tell someone I was alive. I took a fire extinguisher off the wall and snuck up behind him. I hated to do this but it had to happen. I banged him over the top of the head with the extinguisher with enough force to knock him out. But on his way to the ground he hit his head on an a trash can and it looked as if he had snapped his neck. My luck was getting worse by the second. I didn’t have time to stop and check if he still had a pulse nor did I want to find out if I was now a killer. I started heading towards the parking lot to my car so I could leave. But then it dawned on me that it wouldn’t match up with me being dead so I headed down to the street on foot.
 
It didn’t surprise me that the ambulances that slowed down traffic were out in front of the Dream Tech building. I was so worried about being late that I hadn’t noticed them when I pulled in. I walked casually through the street as the crowds started to flock to the scene. I saw about three news stations doing interviews and reporting but I couldn’t make out anything of what was being said. That’s when an atomic bomb dropped on my head. Everything happened so fast I hadn’t had time to worry about anything or anyone but myself. I saw a stretcher being carried out with a body zipped up in body bag. On the top were Monk’s Lennon style frames that I knew all to well. An officer ran over to the body and snatched the glasses, placing them in a plastic evidence bag and mouthing something I couldn’t understand.
 
I was devastated. As far as I knew everyone on the fourth floor was dead, including my DEVO team. It was time to get out of there before someone recognized me. I turned and walked a few blocks before grabbing a cab. I had quite a bit of money on me but five hundred dollars wasn’t even close to being enough for a dead man to survive on. I gave the cab driver an address that was two hours out of the city. He didn’t put the car in drive until I bribed him with and extra thirty dollar tip for his troubles. I was a simple guy when it came to money for the most part. The amount of money I was making was an amount I never imagined I would see growing up in south side Servanyia. It wasn’t anymore rough there then any other area but when it came to having nice things and materials, none of us had them. So when I got my first advance from Dream Tech for sixty thousand I buried twenty thousand in the back yard where I grew up, in case of any sort of emergency, and that’s where I was headed. I just couldn’t have ever imagined it would be this kind of emergency.
 
A two hour drive turned into a two and an half hour drive with traffic. I had the cab driver flip through the different radio stations to listen for any report on what happened at Dream Tech but heard nothing. I did my best to hold back the tears as I thought about everyone back on the fourth floor that was gone. I wouldn’t have been the person I was if it wasn’t for Monk. He basically raised me from sixteen on. He taught me how to be a man, and how be comfortable in my own skin. And Brian and Josey had started to grow on me over the years working on the DEVO. We never hung out or anything but I didn’t mind their company while in Lab D. On the bright side I was glad that I refilled my vapor’s because it didn’t look like I was going to be headed back home for a while.
 
When we finally arrived at the house the sun was nearly set. I went through my key chain until I found the old key to the front door and let myself in. I went upstairs to my old room and put my things down but there was no time for rest. I made my way downstairs and to the back yard to begin digging up the money I had hidden six long years ago. I had put the money in a lock box and buried it under a bush near a fence in the back yard that was invisible to anyone that wasn’t directly looking for it. I found a shovel by the shed and began digging. After twenty minutes of digging I was relieved to find the lock box in the same place I left it. I grabbed it and checked inside for the money. Thankfully it was still there in the yellow envelope I left it in. Crisp one hundred dollar bills that hadn’t been touched in six years. I put the envelope in my back pocket and began replacing the dirt.
 
I stood there next to the bush and paused for the first time since I’d gotten to the old house. How did this happen to me? Everything was going so well. We just made so much progress with the DEVO, my relationship was healthy, and my bills were paid. I didn’t bother anybody or cause trouble. Why am I the designated dead guy. I put the shovel back and headed back inside. “You show up and don’t even announce you’re here. What does that say about your character,” and voice spoke out from the dark as I walked through the kitchen. I knew exactly who it was. It was my dad. “I didn’t want to disturb you Dad. I figured you were sleeping,” I replied. “Well shit, you’re out there digging and throwing dirt around and what not. How you do you suspect you didn’t disturb me,” he mumbled off and he made his way through the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
 
My dad was like a typical dad in the 90’s, absent. But it wasn’t his fault. My mom kept her pregnancy from him until I was eight when she dropped me off with him and said should couldn’t deal with me anymore. She said my mouth was too much, not to mention I was a boy genius that questioned her every decision. He was very reluctant to take me but my mother didn’t give him much of a choice. She convinced him she would only be gone for two days and then she would be back to get me, insisting that she just needed a break. But she never came back. I hate to say my dad was a bad father, but he was an unwilling one. He spent most of his nights out getting drunk. He’d occasionally bring women home. He once was so drunk that he mistakenly brought a woman into my room and had sex on my bed with me wedged between the bed and the wall. It lasted for over an hour and then they just fell asleep. When I got home the next morning there was a trail of condoms, tampons, and vomit leading from my room to the bathroom. Needless to say I washed my sheets immediately.
 
“And how long you gone be staying here boy,” he said angrily as he got his cream and sugar out. “Just a few days. I’m taking a vacation from work,” I replied shakily hoping he wouldn’t ask too many more questions. “Yeah, and you decided to come see your dear old dad right. Don’t buy that shit. I’ll leave the vacuum and some tools out for you to change some vents tomorrow. You remember how I like my eggs now. 8 o’clock sharp boy and I ain’t playing,” he demanded as he walked back to his room.
 
I made myself a cup of coffee and went back to my room. I took my laptop from my bag and began to search the web for stories about the fourth floor of Dream Tech. But still there was nothing but silence. When I finally gave up searching there was only one thing left on my mind. Peezy. She had called my phone at least one hundred times and I wanted nothing more then to call her back and let her know that I was alright. But I’ve watched more then enough movies to know that that will only put her in danger. If and when whoever finds out I’m still alive they will come looking for me. And my best bet is that they will pay her a visit at some point. It’s best for her not to have to lie not matter how much it hurts. When I get to a secure safe position and know that no one is searching for me, then maybe we can move far away together. But until then no contact, with her or anyone. I laid there thinking about her for a while, but that steam of blood that came pouring down from Brain’s chest to my feet earlier in the lab kept interrupting my thoughts. If I hadn’t over slept I would have been there too.
 
Like I said, lucky bastard, unfortunate saint.
 
I only had a few hours of sleep before it was time to get up and make my dad’s breakfast. My father didn’t speak something that he didn’t expect to happen. And when I got to the kitchen the vacuum and some tools were left out just as he said. I did my best to multi-task the cleaning and cooking so he would be impressed when he came into the kitchen. That wasn’t the case though. “Boy didn’t I say 7:30 and here its 7:45 and my breakfast still ain’t done,” he grumbled as he walked into the kitchen. I knew my father expected his breakfast early but I only expected him to show up about five minutes early, not fifteen. “It’ll be ready in a few minutes Dad, just be patient,” I said to him rolling my eyes at his bitterness. “You tell me to be patient in my house again boy you’ll see what ready really is,” he snapped at me. We ate breakfast in silence as he wasn’t much of a talker when he wasn’t demanding things of me.
 
He opened his pill box and took out all thirteen pills he was required to take every morning for the rest of his life because of his drinking. He had already lost eighty-five percent of his sight in his left eye and fifteen percent in his right. I kindly understood his anger, but also agreed that he brought it upon himself so I did not feel the least bit sorry for him. He left the table without saying thank you and went back to his room where he spent most of his time. I finished cleaning up the kitchen and began the rest of the house work he wanted me to do.
 
I took my time with everything doing my best to keep quiet enough to hear the TV in the living from anywhere I was at in the house. I had left it on the news to listen for any word about Dream Tech, but there was still nothing but silence. Surely they would announce some phony story. Oddly enough I needed to make sure whoever thought I was dead. I had to leave my phone locked in my room so I could resist the urge to call Peezy and tell her I was OK. The cleaning kept me busy. I used the entire day to clean the entire house, all but my dads room of course. By the end of the night I had worn myself out and managed to go straight to bed.
 
The next day I found the hedge clippers and the weed eater left out. Dad and I had a silent breakfast and then I occupied my day with lawn and gardening, pushing my mind as far as possible from Peezy and that stream of blood. My dad had an old radio he kept in the shed that I listened to all day to hear if they had finally reported anything about Dream Tech, but all day long it was never mentioned.
 
That night I went to bed with the TV on the news. My gaze at the ceiling was interrupted by loud urgent music. “This just in. A laboratory at Dream Tech located on the fourth floor was gassed with a deadly toxin this evening. Apparently Dr. Larry “Monk” Dinkler was transporting a deadly liquid without permission and made a costly mistake,” said a stiff necked news reporter. I turned the TV off as fast as I could. How could they say it had just now happened? And how could they say it was all Monk’s fault. Something very strange was going on. I turned the TV back on when I remembered they might show the casualties. I was just in time to see Josey and Brian’s pictures pop up on the screen as deceased. Then there came the expected blow to gut, “Also killed was Kilae Idris Kippens…” she continued but I did finally turn the TV back off.
 
I laid there gazing at the ceiling. I had very few friends in this life but now the majority of them were dead, and the rest were lead to believe I was dead. The best thing about my situation besides the fact that my dad didn’t watch the news, was that none of my living friends knew about my dad. I took the city bus to get to school and was always on my own until Monk took me under his wing. And since my father wasn’t there for my birth the government had no connection between the two of us so I was safe there for now. But that left one glaring problem that was very important to me. The DEVO was sitting at my house alone. Given it was hidden in my basement that no one knew about,  aside from the late Monk. Trust me I removed every record of its existence once I decided to turn it into a secret lab. No one else could get to it. I just needed to get to it myself.
 
If I was careful enough and found just a bit of luck I could lock myself in the basement for a while until all this blows over. I would just have to come up with a way to make enough money to skip tow. Complete sadness took over my emotions as I thought of the five-hundred thousand dollars in my back account that was untouchable. All that hard work for nothing. All that being responsible with my money for nothing. Oh well. I needed a plan and the DEVO was my best bet. I needed to continue my work and come up with some way to make a profit off of it. There was no way I couldn’t figure out a way to sell something on the black market with that thing. The question was what.
 
Then there was the question of whether or not I wanted to find out what really happened at Dream Tech. Was it worth risking my life? As of now I had a plan, well sort of. If I could build on that plan little by little I could get to Peezy and try and escape Servanyia, and maybe even the country for good. That’s why I decided not to purse what happened to them. I’m sure about something foul and dirty and would most likely get me killed, which is what I didn’t want.
 
The next day I found no instructions from my dad. We had breakfast in silence and he went back to his room like he always did. I spent the rest of the day in my room as well going over my makeshift plan and deciding if it was a good one or not. Or I could still go after whoever did this to Monk and Josey and Brain and the rest of the fourth floor crew. Still with all that, I decided it was best to sneak home and barricade myself in the basement. Before I left though I would need three things, the first two of which I could get from my dad. I didn’t want to, but I had decided I would steal my fathers gun, just for safety. If someone did find me in the basement I wanted the chance to make it out of there. The next thing was going to be more difficult, I needed his car, but before I went for either of those things, I needed to go and see my guy about the ingredients for my vaporizer.
 
I left the house and made my way a few blocks to my old neighborhood ‘guy’. Phang, was his name and I had been going there since I discovered the stuff when I was twenty. He was a paranoid guy and liked to keep schedules but this was an emergency for me and I had to make a visit. I knocked on his door and waited patiently. “Who’s there?” Phang yelled from behind his door. “It’s Kik, let me in,” I replied nervously. A moment of silence went by before he cracked the door. “What are you doing here Kik?” he asked, barely peaking his head out. “What do you think,” I replied looking at him like as if he were stupid. “Hurry up, come on, come on,” he said pulling me inside forcefully. Phang was, in a word, different. He was on track to be one of the top botanist when he graduated college. Had a promising career lined up for him. But when he realized the type of cash he could make selling his own strands, he choose one life over another. After he graduated he set up shop in a spot almost directly between ESCM and the state college and the money rolled in and never stopped.
 
Walking through the front of his house was like walking through Wally Cleaver’s living room. Everything was perfectly placed and dusted. There was a complementary jar of candy on the coffee table and even a King James Bible underneath a lamp. The pictures of his fake family were almost too obnoxious. Once you got past the living room and entered the kitchen you could start to see the real makeup of the house. There were dishes pilled up next to old take-out on the sink. There was a curtain in front of the doorway on the other side of the kitchen that hid his high tech security door. I always wondered how he kept afloat for so long with out getting caught but at this point that was neither here nor there.  He started to put his combination in but stopped short and turned to me with a peculiar eye. “What are you doing here Kik?” he asked again, this time with more base in his voice. “You know why I’m here Phang. We JUST did this,” I replied starting to get annoyed. “See. I don’t like you using my name like that man,” he said scratching his head nervously. “I…You’re not supposed to be here until next. Again I ask, why are you here?” he asked as he reached around to the back of his waist. His scrawniness was what you noticed about him first, then the oddness of his wide eyes. And it might lead you to believe that he’s someone you might be able to deal with. But I knew otherwise. “I got fired from my job OK. I ran through what I had. I’m just really having a hard time right now OK,” I responded, making sure to have enough panic and grief in my voice to sound believable. He stared into my eyes trying to determine if I was telling the truth. “Well why didn’t you say so man. Times are shit man. Truly. Let’s get you set up man,” he said as he turned back to his security door and finally put in the code.
 
From there things went smooth. He was so understanding that when I asked him for double my usual amount he gave me a discount. We sat and chatted for a minute about nothing like people do. I had to stay long enough for it to look like a personal visit, something I was never to happy about but I managed to suffer through. When it was safe to finally leave I packed my fresh goods in my bag and made the hike back home.
 
When I got there I noticed the kitchen light was on, which meant my dad was awake and probably about to cause me a whole heap of unholy hell. “I suspect you’ll be leaving this night wont you boy,” he stated as soon as I was visible to him. I walked slowly in the kitchen as I had this nasty feeling in my gut. I wasn’t fearful but just felt like I didn’t know what I was walking into. The silver .38 special sitting on the counter across from him made my skin crawl. “Do you intend to do something stupid with it?” he asked. His words were tranquil and steady. He was treating me like a man for the first time as far as I could remember so I kept it straight with him. “No sir. Something stupid happened to me, and I just want to… to,” I began to explain but he cut me short by slightly raising his hand. “I’d rather give it to you then know you stole it,” he said as he pulled out a box of bullets from his robe and set them on the table. I grabbed both and slide them into my bag graciously. “And I’m going to need your car too,” I reluctantly asked while everything was out in the open. “Yeah I figured that,” he replied also taking the keys from his robe and sliding them across the table. “You bring that back in a couple days now you hear me,” he said as he left the kitchen knowing that was probably not going to happen. I continued up to my room to get the rest of my things.
 
I stood there taking in the last few moments of peace before I had to get in the car and begin the dreadful two hour drive home. I had two ounces, a shade over twenty-thousand dollars, a loaded .38, and was a presumed dead man, my anxiety was high enough to be prescribed totem poles. I debated on whether or not to go and tell my father goodbye and decided against it. It wouldn’t do anything to help or hurt the situation. But he caught me as I was almost out the door. “Hey Kik,” he yelled from the doorway of the kitchen. I stopped but didn’t turn around. I just wanted to get going. “Take care of her will ya. That’s my girl you know,” he finished. I shook my head yes but I don’t know if he saw it or not. It was time to hit the road.
 
I got in the car and headed towards my own home finally. My plan thus far was to get a few blocks away and see if anyone was watching. It wasn’t very detailed but I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I had kept the thought of Peezy away from my mind but that stream of blood that flowed from Brian kept finding its way into my forethoughts. All my hope was in the DEVO, if I could just get to it. Get to it and create a way for me to disappear with Peezy. All the rest couldn’t matter. There was no way to bring anyone back. I took a long drag from my vapor as I hit the interstate. I had so much on my mind I didn’t notice the radio wasn’t playing. I turned it on but immediately turned off the distasteful noise I heard coming from it. So I decided I would just sing my own tune. “Sittin’ in the morning sun… I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes…”
 
 
 
 
© Copyright 2016 Taylor Joel. All rights reserved.
 


© Copyright 2017 Taylor Joel. All rights reserved.

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