1. BobKowalski

    BobKowalski Member

    Nov 17, 2013
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    The Netherlands

    Geaby Cross

    Discussion in '2013 Science Fiction Writing Contest' started by BobKowalski, Nov 29, 2013.


    October 23, 1942

    “Bob, this has got to be the worst idea ever.”

    “Shut up, McHoggins, I know what I'm doing.”

    “She's dead, Bob, deal with it, there's no point in being a hero when they already found the body. It was an accident! What are we snooping around here for?”

    Bob turned around to face his partner, shining his flashlight into McHoggins face, “It was no accident, you should know that just as well as I do. The evidence is right here under our feet.” He turned back around and walked further down the hall.

    “Damnit Bob, we're not supposed to be here. We should go back. You won't find anything here.” A cold gush of wind blew down the hallway.

    Bob stopped in front of a door, shined a light on the paper he was holding in his hand, and looked up at the door. “McHoggins, get over here... See this?”

    McHoggins looked at the paper, and up the door. Frowned. “What is it?”

    “It's that same symbol I found in the girl's room — a tri-star with a globe on top.”

    “Well what does it mean?”

    “It means I'm right.” He tried the doorknob but found it locked.

    “Maybe we should really go back.”

    “Hold my stuff for me, will you?” He handed McHoggins his flashlight and piece of paper.

    “Bob, I'm serious. We are really not supposed to be here.”

    “You're just scared.” Bob took a step back and raised his foot. Wood shattered with a clash and the door flung open. “There we go.”

    McHoggins handed Bob his flashlight. “I've got a bad fee—”

    “I know that! Will you stop complaining now, please?”

    “Okay, boss, chill, I'm just saying that—”

    “—that we're not supposed to be here, yes I know. I don't care, I haven't come this far to turn back and forget about everything. I want to know what happened to this girl and I'm going to find out.”

    “Okay, okay, I get it.”

    “Thank you. Let's move it.” He shone his flashlight to where just recently a door had been locked, a spiral staircase led down.

    They stepped onto the stairs and made their way down, wood creaking under their feet.


    Officer Bob Rivera and his partner Jeff McHoggins had been investigating the disappearance of a 17 year old girl, Maureen Stradford, when her body was found downstream a river. Postmortem revealed no else than what the police on-site had already figured when she was first found - she'd drowned. Bob was curious, however, the one bridge over the river was a popular suicide spot, sure, but Maureen was not a girl he'd thought likely to kill herself. He was good friends with the girl's mother, and as far as he was concerned, the girl was perfectly healthy. She had awesome grades, plenty of friends, pretty hair. He had no idea what she could have killed herself over.

    Unhappy with the situation at hand, he wanted to investigate the case further, and asked Maureen's mother if he could have a look inside the girl’s room. She agreed, and Bob found himself sifting through piles of homework assignments just to see if he could find anything indicating anything what so ever.

    His efforts paid off.

    Between some math scribblings and English essays he found an empty piece of paper that carried a single symbol, and one line of text; a tri-star with a globe on top, and the address of an abandoned clothing factory. 225 Buxbaum Drive.

    Bob phoned his partner back at the station and told him to suit up, and that same evening they found themselves snooping around an abandoned clothing factory, McHoggins unsettled and Bob driven to know just what was going on.


    They came to the end of the stairwell and found their passage blocked by a large steel door.

    “That same damn symbol.” Bob looked down at his paper and back up at the steel door, another tri-star with globe was engraved in the plating.

    “That's it! It's blocked. We can't go further than this.”

    Bob ignored the comment and began caressing the wooden walls on one side of the door. “They have to be able to get in somehow, don't they?”

    “Who's they?”

    “Them, they, you know, the people behind all of this.”

    “Now you're just imagining things.”

    Click. Bob looked at his hand and saw one of the wooden panels indenting itself into the wall. “Are you seeing this?”

    “Seeing wha—”

    A loud hiss was followed by steel on steel scraping. Bob and McHoggins looked at the door and witnissed the tri-star symbol slowly drifting right. The door slid open.

    “Okay, I admit, there's something here, but we should really be going back.”

    “Damnit, McHoggins, what's wrong with you? You've been in situations a million times more dangerous than some spooky clothing factory and now all of the sudden you want to chicken out.”

    “This isn't right, Bob. Don't you think the guys who made this hid it specifically so nobody would ever find out about it? Don't you think this place should be kept hidden?”

    “No, Jeff, I do not think that. A girl died very probably because she knew about this, and I'm going to get to the bottom of just what ‘this’ is.” He stepped through the door and shone his flashlight into the darkness. He found himself in an office hallway.

    After a bit of scouting he found a electric switch and turned on the lighting. Fluorescent tubes illuminated the hallway that stretched into the distance.


    16 Years Later

    “And they were never seen since.”

    “That's fucked up, man.” Williams shook his head. “Not a trace?”

    “Nobody had a single idea of where to look. The last thing my mom heard of him was a phone call that he would be home later and that he'd be missing dinner, something about a breakthrough in the investigation, but he never came home.”

    “...And instead he went missing.”

    “He and his partner.”

    “That's nasty.”

    “Yup,” John nodded and took another sip from his coffee. “Of course they started another investigation on their disappearance, went over the girl's entire room, went over the entire riverside, went over everywhere they could think of looking. But they were gone.”

    Williams nodded.

    John gulped the rest of the coffee down his throat, wiped some off of his lips, “Ah well, it's in the past now, no need to go digging up ghosts of yore.”

    “True that, man. True that.”

    He threw his paper cup out of the window and looked down the road. The streetlights did quite a poor job of illuminating the roads around this part of town. He jawned.

    The radio crackled, “All units be advised, we have a 10-80 on Harbor Road heading Northbound into Geaby Cross, everyone keep their eyes peeled.”

    John pinched his eyes, “Wait, Harbor Road? ...And northbound. That's us.” He sat up in his seat, “Strap yourself in!”

    A roar came in from the distance and within moments a flash of headlights soared past. John engaged the lightbar, sirens, and was in hot pursuit within moments.

    He picked up the radio, “Geaby Station, this is unit 41 northbound on Harbor Road, we've got the suspect in our sights, he's not going anywhere, over.”

    “Roger that, unit 41, we've got a chopper inbound. Hang in there.”

    “Yes ma'am.”

    They came up on Geaby Cross and the car ran straight through the red light, and a second, and a third. On the fourth intersection the car veered right, with the two squad cars following closely. Another few red and green lights were crossed in disregard of traffic laws, and again the car veered left. It smashed through a mailbox and ran over a bunch of flowers before ploughing its way through some parking meters lined up by the side of the road.

    Williams grabbed his hat from falling off, “This guy’s a maniac!”

    The three cars zoomed, dashed, raced, and careened through pockets and waves of traffic before the trio left the streets of Geaby Cross in their rear view mirrors.

    “He's heading into the desert!” John said.

    “What? Why would he be going into the desert?”

    “There's nothing out there. I don't see where he's going with this.”

    By now they were far over the hills and the grass had all but receded to small plucks on the roadside, the suspect car smashed the brakes and dove hard right into a dirt road that only led further into the sands.

    Williams took off his hat, “I've got a bad feeling about this.”

    John picked up the radio, “Geaby Station, where is that chopper of yours?”


    “I've got a really bad feeling about this, John.”

    He looked out the window to his left, “I'm right there with you.”

    Still going double that of reasonable velocity, the forward car's rear lights went dark. The two squad cars were now driving top speed, through a pitch black desert, and chasing a ghost that had disappeared from their radar entirely.

    “This is messed up.” John slowed the car down to cruising speed, “We don't know where we're going, we're in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night, our radio has gone bust, the helicopter we were supposed to be getting is nowhere to be found, and the car we're chasing just went completely missing.”

    The missing car entered their headlights, standing stationary with the driver door wide open.

    “Found it,” Williams said.

    John rolled his eyes and pulled over. “Where'd the driver go?”

    The other squad car pulled up behind them and the four officers found themselves walking to the car, guns drawn and flashlights out.

    “You guys lost radio too?” John asked the driver of the other car.

    “Yeah, it went all static as soon as we entered the desert. We'd just asked Geaby Station where that helicopter was.”

    “And where was it?”

    “ETA static.”

    John smirked, “Lovely.”

    “Hands in the air!” Williams voice came from up ahead of the road.

    John and the driver looked over to see Williams pointing his gun to the middle of the street, the other cop was shining his flashlight onto a dark figure perched on the road, his head lowered.

    “Hands up, now!”

    The dark figure raised his head and looked Williams' straight in the eye, he grinned. “You are not supposed to be here.”

    “Your han—”

    The skies lit up. 6 spotlights were shining down upon the scene. A humming roar filled the surroundings as the lights began a slow descend.

    Williams looked up at the lights, the figure unholstered his gun and fired. Four bright flashes penetrated Williams' body and he dropped dead into the dirt. The other cop tried to grab his gun but soon found himself following Williams' example, the other driver dove out of the way and took John with him. Soon both cops found themselves hiding behind the figure's vehicle.

    John looked up at the lights, “What the hell is that!?”

    The figure laughed, “That is your destiny!”

    The driver took out his gun and came out of hiding, firing three rounds into the general direction of their aggressor before being impaled by four rounds himself. John watched him drop to the ground as the blood spilled from his wounds.

    John cowered before he got up, he began running for the squad cars.

    “No point in running copper, you should have never showed up in the first place!”

    Hails of bullets impacted the sand around his feet as he dashed headlong past his cruiser, trying to reach the other. One bullet smashed his left shoulder, a sharp sting rushed through his body.

    The figure laughed as he reloaded.

    Still ducked, John opened the passenger door of the rear squad car and jumped in, he fiddled with the ignition and slammed the car in reverse. He didn't dare look out the windows. Blood was dripping from his shoulder.

    Three volleys of bullets crashed into the reversing car.

    A hissing sound began emerging from underneath the hood.

    John grabbed the wheel and turned the car around. Pressing down on the clutch with one hand and handling the gear stick with the next, he managed to put the car in first gear and pushed the throttle.

    For half a mile he drove by the sound of rubber rolling from dirt to sand and back again, pushing down the throttle with one hand and holding the steering wheel with the other. When he finally got up half a mile later, there was not a single dark figure nor bright spotlight in sight.

    He sank into his seat.

    White light illuminated the road around him.

    The hissing dimmed.

    That same roar.

    His engine began sputtering.

    Cold sweat trickled.

    It was the helicopter.


    “Well that sounds like complete bullshit,” Chief Flanders said after John had finished reciting his story.

    “I swear, Chief, it's the truth. Six bright lights and everyone was dead... It was awful!” His eyes gazed deep into the wall.

    Flanders pulled his fingers through his hair. “You heard a helicopter, six bright lights came down, then Williams got distracted for a second and the next moment everyone died?”

    “It only sounded like a helicopter, I never said it was a helicopter.”

    Flanders rolled his eyes, “Helicopter or no helicopter, six bright lights caused the death of three policemen?”


    He let out a sigh, “Fuck it.” He looked up at the clock. 3:51 at night. “Go home, John. We're going to launch an investigation tomorrow and we'll see what turns up.”

    “Yes, sir.” John sipped another sip of his coffee. He stroked his bandage.

    Flanders nodded.


    He stepped out of the station into the rain. Moonlight reflected through puddles and the drainage pipes dripped. He made his way over to his car, and got in, turned on the heater and sank into his seat.

    “Don't you dare make one move,” a woman's voice said from behind his head.

    A cold touch jabbed into the back of his neck.

    “And don't do anything stupid now, John.”

    He nodded.

    “Drive. Head north and then take eastbound into the mountains.”

    He drove. North and then eastbound into the mountains. They left Geaby Cross and soon found themselves on remote mountain roads.

    “Take right up there.”

    John took right. Gravel tickled against the wheel arches of his car.

    “Pull over up near that cabin.”

    “There?” He pointed.

    Jab, “Yes, there.”

    He pulled over up near the cabin.


    And got out.

    Holding him in a straight line of fire she got out herself, made her way to the cabin, opened the door, “In here.”

    John went into the cabin.

    “Sit down,” she closed the door.

    He was still held at gunpoint as he sat down on the sofa. “What do you want from me?” His shoulder hurt.

    “If I let my gun down, do you promise not to do anything stupid?”


    She let her gun down.

    His shoulder still hurt.

    “We should be safe here, for now.”

    “Who are you?” He shook his head as he looked up at her.

    “Maureen Stradford.”


    “No you're not.”

    “Most certainly am.”

    “She jumped off a bridge.”

    “No I didn't.”

    “16 year ago.”

    “They lied that.”

    “They found her body!”

    “They found a body, not my body.”

    “My father was on the case, I'm sure he could recognize her dead body.”

    “Oh sure, he saw a body that looked like me. But that body was not me.”

    “Are you crazy?”

    Three vans drove up to the cabin and stopped.

    “Fuck. No. Get down!”

    Shots crashed through the walls and John dove to the floor, Maureen joined him.

    “I thought we would be safe here, at least safe for longer than two minutes.”

    “Who are they?”

    “The same guys that tried to kill you.” She began crawling towards the kitchen at the back of the room. “Follow me.”

    “The six lights?”


    “Why do they want to kill me?”

    “Because you know something.”

    Vases shattered and tables got shredded.

    “Know what?”

    “Fact that they exist?”

    A humming emerged from the distance.


    “What are they?”

    “They are evil, the lights are an it.”

    “Well what is it?”

    A few bullets shot over their heads. They ducked.

    “An Imperial Galactic X-9T Bulldog assault craft.”

    “A what?”

    They crawled behind the cupboards. Bullets clanged everywhere around them.

    “Something painful.” She opened the cupboard and grabbed two grenades.

    John peeked inside, “Why do you have armor plating in a cupboard?”

    She threw one of the grenades through the doorway. “Cause I want to live?”

    The grenade exploded and smoke filled the living room.

    “Follow me.” She got up, ducked, made for the hallway, opened a door underneath the staircase and ran down into the basement.

    He followed.

    She flipped on the lights and went over to bash commands onto a computer console, “Get in that closet over there.”

    “What? Why?”

    “Get in!” She pressed a button, a thing beeped, and she pushed him into the closet. She joined.


    A bright white.

    A loud zap.

    They stumbled out of the closet.

    A loud bang shattered over the top of the mountains.

    His heart skipped a beat.

    She pulled him up to his feet.

    He looked around.

    They were in a barn.

    There was a car.

    Red '57 Belvedere.

    Why did that matter anyway?

    He was dizzy.

    “In there!”

    He had to get into the car.

    He stumbled forward.

    Almost fell.

    “Damnit!” Maureen said.

    Reached the car door.

    Opened it.


    She slammed the throttle and they crashed through the barn doors onto a dirt road.

    “Where are we?”

    “About half a mile from where we were being shot at.”

    “How did we..?”



    Lights streaked past the car as it drove forward.

    “Am I dead?”

    “It'll wear off in a few minutes.”

    “Where are we going?”

    That same humming.

    “Away from that thing.”

    “How come you’re dead?”

    The car veered left and spat dirt.

    “I knew something.”

    “Knew what?”

    “Same thing your father knew.”

    “Which was?”

    “Same as you know.”

    “So they killed you?”

    “Tried to.”

    “And my father?”

    “They succeeded.”

    “Who succeeded?”

    “McHoggins, his partner, along with his accomplices.”

    “Jeff? Why would he do that?” His vision blurred.

    “Your father found something he wasn't supposed to find.”

    “What did he find?”

    “More than he knew.”

    “What didn’t he know?”

    “An outpost.”

    “Of what?” His vision crept back.

    “Of them.” She looked into the rear view mirror. “Two—twenty—five Buxbaum Drive.”

    Six lights were closing in.

    “Them trying to kill us?”


    “So why can’t we know about them?”

    “They're experimenting on us.”


    “Ever heard of Wernher von Braun?”

    “Is he evil too?”

    “Not really.”

    “Who is he?”

    “Nobody alive on our planet.”

    “What do you mean?” His head cleared and confused.

    “You know Earth, the world, everything?”

    “What about it?”

    “It's a lie. A copy. Of long ago.”


    She checked the mirror again. “Fuck.”

    Green flashed soared past their car, exploded to their sides. Maureen jerked the wheel and took a turn into a dirt road.

    The craft banked right and followed.

    “Listen,” she said, “Earth as you know it is long gone. Those guys trying to kill us, they copied Earth, exactly the way it was in 1921.”

    “What? Why would they do that?” He looked in the rear view mirror. “What are you talking about?”

    “Everyone currently alive is no more than two generations away from being descendants of a clone.”

    “What the hell is a clone?”

    More green flashes.

    “They're killing scientist in order to keep you guys under their thumb. They're letting everyone live a lie.”

    “How? What? Why are you telling me this?”

    A flash impacted the ground bare inches from their front wheel. The blast shredded the engine compartment and sent the car into a roll, off the road and down a hillside.


    He woke up.

    A white ceiling looked down on him.

    He looked left. White walls joined the ceiling. Sun was shining through the blinds and projected rays of light onto a wall opposite of him.

    He felt soft. Soft around him. He was lying in a bed, a nice bed, he liked this bed.

    He looked back up.

    There was the ceiling again.

    He was in a car. There were 6 bright lights that had followed him.

    And there was a girl. A woman. She was driving the car.


    Maureen was dead.

    Was she dead again?

    They were being shot at. When... Everything went black, and he woke up.

    His head was pounding and his throat felt dry.

    Something must have hit them. The 6 lights made their mark.

    It must have been.

    His vision blurred and his head grew heavy.

    He fell back asleep.


    For the next few days, John Rivera came and went, waking for a few minutes before dozing off again. After these days his situation became more stable and he was able to strike conversation with the nurse.

    “How did I... get here? Where am I?”

    “Ah! You're awake again! That's great! Are you hungry?”

    He was hungry. “Uh, sure.” He nodded.

    “You are at Geaby Cross Medical Centre.”


    “You've been in a coma for nearly an entire month.”

    “A coma? What? How?”

    “Let me get you a sandwich, I'll explain.”

    She left the room, and came back with a sandwich and a glass of milk, took a chair and took a seat next to his bed.

    The sandwich tasted good, a chicken sandwich with cheese.

    “Now, what do you remember from before you woke up here?”

    He thought... “Gunshots. Bright green flashes.”

    “Green flashes?” She raised a brow.

    “I don't know, it's all very hazy. I remember a car chase. Maureen. Who's Maureen?”

    “I don't know any Maureen.”

    “So how did I get here?”

    “You were in a shootout.”

    “Six bright lights!”


    “Six bright lights and everyone was dead.”

    “I don't know anything about six bright lights either.”

    “There was a car chase, into the desert, six bright lights came down and some guy shoots everyone.”

    “Okay just relax for a second, forget what you think happened, I’ll explain.”


    “Some guy killed a professor down in Plumbing Hill, he made off with a car and got the attention of the cops – you. He fled into the desert and killed everyone except for you. Although he came close.”

    “Yeah, I escaped in a police cruiser and later the helicopter crew picked me up and took me to Geaby Station.”

    “No they didn’t. The helicopter found you bleeding out in that car. When they got you to the hospital you were already in a coma.”

    “But I wasn't rushed to the hospital.”

    “You were.”

    “I was taken to Geaby Station, where I explained everything to Chief Flanders.”

    “Uh, hold on.” She got up and looked around the room, came back with a piece of paper and took a pen out of her chest pocket. “Chief Flanders, right?”


    She scribbled something onto the piece of paper. “Go on.”

    “He told me it was bullshit, and that I should go home. I stepped out of the station and got into my car, and someone put a gun to my head.”

    “Someone put a gun to your head?”

    “She told me to head into the mountains. Something about people trying to kill me.” He paused a second, “was the robber ever caught?”

    “The robber wasn't caught.”

    “Anyway, we head into the mountains, the girl that had a gun to my head told me she was. She was Maureen. Maureen Stradford.”

    The nurse was in thought for a moment, “I know that name.”

    “It's the girl that killed herself back in ‘42.”

    “Yeah, that’s her. So a dead girl put a gun to your head and told you to head into the mountains?”

    “She said they fabricated her death. That it wasn't her body that the cops found.” He scratched his head. “We were at this cabin, in the mountains. She said people were trying to kill me.”

    “Why? Go on.” She scribbled some more.

    “Because I knew something. Two vans came up to the cabin and began shooting, so we ducked behind an armor plated kitchen cupboard.”

    She raised her brow again.

    “Then a humming filled the air. So we went to the basement where she pushed me into a closet. There we left the closet and we were suddenly in a barn. Something exploded and we were running from the X-9T Empirical Bulldog or something like that.”

    “I see.”

    “She told me about about an outpost somewhere. Then green flashes happened. And nothing.”

    A blank gaze was staring through him. “We're going to have to run some tests.”


    “Just to make sure.” She pulled a wry smile and raised her shoulders.

    “Of what?”

    “That you’re not brain damaged.”

    “I'm not brain damaged!”

    “I'll get a doctor to test you later this week, and I'll get in touch with this Chief Flanders.”

    “It's all true!”

    “Would you like another sandwich?”

    He looked at her, a few seconds, “Yes, I would.”

    She smiled, nodded, and left the room.

    He looked at the wall opposite of him


    Three days later, Flanders came through the door. “John!” He was smiling. “Welcome back to real world, kid!”


    “Look, I brought you flowers!”

    “That's.. nice?”

    Flanders put the flowers in a vase on the windowsill. “I talked to that nurse of yours. You've been having some adventures!”

    “Uh, yeah.”

    “Anyway, you're too smart to live your life in a fantasy.”


    “How would you like to get out of that bed for a day?”

    “Can I?”

    “Oh, sure, the doctors tell me you've recovered well enough to take a little trip. Let me get you some pants.”

    Flanders left and returned with some clothes.

    “Now get up and get dressed, we've got to get you fit for duty again.”

    He got up and dressed himself, drank a glass of water, and followed Flanders. He stumbled a few times while walking down the hallway and down the stairs. Walking was still a bit of an issue, but he managed.


    They walked out the hospital and stepped into Flanders' squad car, then drove off.

    Flanders’ face straightened. “John,” he said, “you never saw me that night.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “You went straight to the hospital. The chopper crew informed me of that the second they picked you up.”

    “No, I went to see you, I know I did.”

    “John, you didn't, honestly. Put it out of your head, please, I can't use a cop that's delirious.”

    “I'm not delirious! I know what happened! Where are we going?”

    Flanders sighed, “You'll see.”

    Minutes later, they pulled up on the cemetery.

    “What kind of joke is this, Chief?”

    He shook his head. “Come on, John.”

    They got out.

    “You know that Maureen girl you told the nurse about?”


    “Follow me.”

    He followed Flanders. The November sun was shining down on the orange trees. It was quite cold.

    “Here we are.”

    They had arrived at a gravestone.

    ‘Maureen Stradford.’

    ‘January 28, 1925 — October 13, 1942, Rest in Peace'

    John looked at Flanders, he frowned, “Why are you showing me this?”

    “Because you must come back to us, John. Nobody is trying to kill you. You are safe. It was a traumatic experience, yes, but there's no such thing as an X-9T Bulldog Assault craft.”

    John pinched his eyes, “I know what happened. And I want to know what happened to my father too.”

    “What does your father have to do in any of this? It's been 16 years, John! Nobody knows what happened to your father! Don't you think it’s time to let it go?”

    “What if I told you McHoggins killed him?”

    Flanders was confused for a moment, “Jeff?”

    “Jeff McHoggins, his partner.”

    “Why would Jeff have killed your father?”

    “Maybe he found something he wasn't supposed to find.”

    Flanders raised a brow, “John, you're talking nonsense.”

    “This goes deeper than you and I.”

    “John? Just let it go?”

    “I will not let this go, Chief, I am going to get to the bottom of this.”

    “Please John, stop this. You're not being a hero by chasing ghosts! I know there’s sense in you.”

    “I know what I'm doing, Chief, let me be.” He walked back to the squad car. He felt dizzy. He stumbled.

    Flanders caught him from falling. He sighed, “Let's get you back to the hospital.”

    John nodded, “Let's.”


    That night, John didn't go to sleep.

    He checked his alarm clock, 02:14 AM. And he got out of his bed

    He put on the clothes that he wore earlier that day, took a sip of water, and made his way to the door.

    His room was on the fourth floor – top floor.

    He opened the door ajar, looked into the hallway, nobody to be seen. It was dark in the hallway.

    He opened the door a bit more, it creaked.

    “Fuck,” he whispered.

    He stood there for a full half minute.

    Nobody showed up.

    A cold drip of sweat crawled down his back. He took a deep breath. He stepped into the hallway.

    He was in the hallway.

    Still nobody showed up.

    He had to get to the end of the hallway, there was an emergency stairwell there that led to the back of the building. He would be out if he could get there.

    He started walking, carefully treading the floor hoping he wouldn't make a sound.

    Halfway to his destination he heard a door open behind him.

    He slowly looked over his shoulder to see a cleaning lady walk away from him.

    He looked forward and treaded on.

    Step by step he closed in on the door.

    Three fourth of the way now.


    Still closer.

    His heart was pounding.

    He reached the emergency exit door.

    He pushed the bar.

    The bar went down.

    But the door wouldn't budge.

    He could see the stairwell through the reinforced window.

    What emergency exit door doesn't open when the bar is pushed down?

    Was he being kept here?

    Why the hell didn't the door open?

    Now what was he supposed to do?

    He looked around, there was nobody around the hallway anymore. The regular stairwell was halfway across the hall to the other side.

    Halfway across the hallway all the way to the other side.

    Basically next to his own room.


    He treaded back.

    Halfway halfway the hallway.

    Three quarters halfway the hallway.

    Passing his own room.

    He could just go back, he figured. He could go back and forget this ever happened. Maybe they were right. Maybe Maureen was dead. Maybe there was no such thing as an X-9T Bulldog Assault craft. What the hell is an X-9T Bulldog Assault craft anyway? He never really saw one. It was just six bright lights. It could just as well be an X-NOWAY Bullshit Delirium.


    He smirked.

    But then who closed the stairwell?

    They didn't want him to leave.

    Didn't they?

    He kept walking towards the stairs.

    It was three floors down.

    When he was downstairs he would exit right into the lobby. He couldn't just walk out into the lobby. They were never going to let him leave. Not in this state.

    Maybe the emergency stairwell wasn't blocked on the first floor.

    He made his way to the first floor. Careful not to make too much noise, then walked over to the end of the hallway. He tried the door.

    It opened.

    Why did it open?

    He was in the emergency stairwell. One more piece of stairs down, one more door, and he would be outside. But not quite.

    He had to know why the fourth floor was blocked, he had to know his mind wasn't fucking with him.

    He walked up.


    Another up.

    Fourth floor.

    He arrived at the door.

    It was freshly welded shut. The welds were perfectly clean and shiny.

    He took a few steps back, before running down the staircase.

    Who welds shut an emergency exit? Any why only the top floor? Why only the floor his room was on? And why were they fresh welds?

    He raced down the final set of stairs, smashed himself against the emergency door and fled outside into the darkness.

    Thank god the last door wasn’t shut.

    He looked around and found himself in an alley, bent down and panted.

    Next up.

    225 Buxbaum Drive.


    If he remembered correctly, Buxbaum Drive was located on the east side of Geaby Cross. Geaby Cross Medical Centre was in the center of town. A few miles would just about be it. He needed a car.

    And quick.

    There were three cars parked by the side of the road.

    Hell, he was a fugitive anyway.

    He climbed into the nearest car and hotwired the ignition — being a cop had its perks. He pulled onto the street, lights off, and made his way east.


    227 Buxbaum Drive.

    226 Buxbaum Drive.

    225 Buxbaum Drive.

    There it was.

    The old clothing factory.

    The war hadn't been kind to fashion manufacturers, the place had been derelict for about 17 years now. All the clothing materials had been diverted into the war effort and there was no place to look fancy anymore.

    There was nothing but an old carcass now, a wooden building coming apart at the seams. Windows were bust and doors had fallen from their hinges.

    The darkness didn't fail to amplify John's creeps.

    He parked the car and got out. A gush of wind blew through the black trees.

    He felt cold.

    He was wearing jeans, a hospital gown, and a jacket.

    He had the rights to be cold.

    John began walking towards the front door. He had no idea what he was supposed to be looking for.

    It sure didn't look like an outpost.

    The front door had rotten, all paint had long but fallen off.

    He pushed the door. It creaked and fell into the hallway. A loud bang marked its rest. He looked out onto the street if anyone had heard him.

    Not really.

    He stepped in and onto the door.

    The wood cracked beneath his feet.

    It was one continuous hallway towards the back of the building. And dark.

    He felt the damp walls for a power switch, found one, tried it.

    Several lights sprung on, some exploded, and here and there a light simply refused to come on.

    From the ceiling hung a sign, “<— factory hall —|— offices —>“.

    He supposed the offices would be a good bet.

    He began walking, passed a couple of fungus infested toilets, passed the double doors towards the factory hall, and took right towards the offices.

    Another hallway.

    Another bunch of lights that didn't know whether they would enjoy being on or off.

    Four doors along the walls and a set of stairs at the end.

    Two doors with reinforced broken windows, one that said 'storage', and one that was empty.

    He walked past them at stopped at the empty door. It was sort of empty.

    There was a globe etched onto the door, and three star tips came out from underneath it.

    He tried the doorknob but found it locked.

    The hinges broke and the door fell towards him. He dove to the side and the thing shattered to the wall behind him.

    He looked into the opening that had just formed, revealing a spiral staircase that was leading down.

    “Something he wasn't supposed to find...”

    He stepped onto the stairs and made his way down, wood creaked under his feet.


    He came to the end of the stairwell. His passage blocked by a steel door.

    The light flickered and the walls were dead.

    Brown paint was falling off everywhere and slivers of brown covered the floor.

    Another globe was etched into the steel door, again with three star tips.

    “Definitely something he wasn't supposed to find.”

    A loud hiss was followed by steel on steel scraping.

    The door opened.


    “Put your hands in the air, make one move and you’re dead.”

    6 men donned in black were pointing rifles at his face. Green stripes of glow ran along the barrels. The men wore combat helmets and glasses which lenses shone bright red.

    Definitely not supposed to find.

    He put his hands up into the air.

    A bright green flash filled his vision.

    He felt fuzzy.

    He saw black.

    His knees hurt.

    So did his elbows.

    His head also became painful.

    Something was pulling him along.

    Everything went blacker.


    He woke up to the face of an old man staring him in the face. He must have been about 50. Not that old, actually, but for all intents and purposes the old man was still older than John.

    His cheek felt a sharp sting.

    The old man had slapped him. “Wake up,” he spoke.

    “Wait, just a second.” Why was the old man slapping him?

    Another sting on his other cheek. “Why are you here?”

    “Hold on,” his vision blurred again.

    His heart skipped a beat.

    It was cold.

    Very cold.

    Ice cold.

    Freezing cold.

    Sub—freaking zero cold.

    He grasped for air.

    He was awake alright.

    “What the hell was that for!?” His jacket was drenched.

    He was drenched.

    Also cold.

    Freezing cold now.

    “Look at me.” The old man grabbed his chin and forced him to look in his eyes. “Why are you here?”

    “Who are you?” John asked.

    “I'm your worst damn nightmare, you are not supposed to be here, why are you here, John?”

    John's eyes shot open. He recognized that voice. It was the dark figure!

    “How do you know my name?”

    Another cheek sting. “I ask the questions. Why are you here?”

    “225 Buxbaum Drive, Maureen told me!”

    The old man let go of his chin.

    John fell back in his chair.

    “That bitch.”

    “You know Maureen?”

    Another sting. “Shut up!”

    John noticed his hands were tied to the chair.

    The old man pulled a hand through his hair.

    “Who are you? Really?”

    “Geoffrey McHoggins, at your service.”

    “What did you do to my father!?” He shot up in his chair for as much as his shackles would allow him. He was cold no more.

    “Your father was an idiot.”

    “Fuck you!”

    The old man slammed his fist into John's chin. “Fuck you!”

    “What did I ever do to you!? Where am I!?”

    “If you had just forgotten about it! If you had just listened to Flanders!”

    “What does Flanders have to do with all this?”

    “Fucker can't do shit right!”

    “What the fuck are you talking about?”

    “I ask him one thing, one thing! And he fucks it up.”

    “Fucks what up!?”

    “Fucks you up!”


    “You should have died!”

    “You should have hit me!”

    “If he had just recalled the chopper, you would have been dead and nobody would be asking questions right now.”

    “Like my father?”

    “You're just like him. You see something odd and you can't fucking help going on adventure.”

    “What did he do?”

    “Always asking questions, always busy with business far beyond his reach. Fuck!”

    Another slam. “Fuck you, man!” John said.

    “Maureen was dead. Everyone knew that. Everyone was supposed to know that.”

    Jeff smiled.

    “But not your father, oh no. He had to be a hero about it. Fucking tri—star with globe on top.”

    “What about Maureen?”

    “Maureen never died.”

    “I know.”

    “She was like you and your father combined. A 17 year old kid going snooping around an old clothing factory. Come on, who fucking does that?!”

    “Who did they find in the river?”

    “An empty clone, no brains ever worth a shit, meant to die from the day it came out of the processors.”

    “What is a clone?”

    Another slap.

    Jeff walked out of the room.


    The room was completely empty except for his chair and an empty bucket of freezing water in the corner.


    The door opened again.

    Jeff came in with two guards, and a person dangling between them.

    “You see this guy?”

    The guy was naked, wet, and had a bag over his head.

    “When the night is over a nurse will walk into your hospital room.”

    Jeff pulled the bag off of the guy. It was John.

    “They'll find you, sudden death from brain damage.”

    “I don't have brain damage! What is this!?”

    “This is your destiny, your fate. Your own, stupid. Fucking. Fate.”

    “What are you going to do to me!?”

    “We'll kill you, unlike we did with Maureen.”

    “What did you do with Maureen?”

    “Something stupid.”

    “What the hell are you on about?” John looked at the guards standing in the corners. One of them had kicked the bucket aside. “Why do those guys have red glowing eyes!?”

    “It's the future, John, and you're nothing more than a disobedient pawn, that's why you'll suffer.”

    “Suffer my ass!”

    “Oh your ass will suffer just the same.”

    “Where is Maureen?”

    Jeff smirked, “We killed her.”

    “How did I get in the hospital?”

    “Don't you remember being shot at? By me?”

    “What about the cabin?”

    “What cabin?”

    “The one Maureen took me.”

    “I don't know of no cabin.”

    “The one that exploded!”

    “John, you’re brain damaged.”

    “How do you know I know about Maureen if you claim I never met Maureen!?”

    Jeff looked up to the ceiling, smiling.

    Another slam on his jaw.

    “I like you, Rivera, you're a clever fella. But then again, don't I know you know Maureen because all of this is a lie anyway?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Jeff looked at the red eyes of one of the guards. “Not too normal I suppose. And why are their guns green?”

    “Because it's the future?”

    “Wrong. It's because I can make and break reality, it's because I am you and you are me, this is nothing but your imagination running rampant!”

    “I don't believe this.”

    “You don’t believe your own lies?” He laughed, “Follow me.” Jeff turned to the guards, “untie him, take him with us. And someone clean up Dead John.”


    The guards took him out of the empty room and into an hallway. Exactly a hallway like the one he found the 6 black donned men who shot him.

    They took him left, right, up some stairs, and into an elevator.

    Jeff entered some commands into a panel on the side, and they went down.

    The elevator stopped to a ping and the doors opened.

    The room was big.

    Way big.

    Far big.

    Extravagantly big!

    It was like an airplane hangar. Only a hundred times bigger.

    Lamps lined the top of the cylindrical dome that stretched for certainly 10 mile.

    Maybe twenty.

    He’d lost scope of the scale of things.

    “Off we go, then.” Jeff said, and the guards pushed him onto a metal balcony halfway to the top of the structure.

    John's eyes were peeled.

    “Now, you certainly must have heard of the Imperial Galactic X-9T Bulldog Assault craft?”

    “Yes. I have.”

    “Well they're bullshit.”


    “You made them up.”

    “Then where are we?”

    “In your comatose dream state.”

    “No we're not.”

    “We are!” Jeff smiled, “Cool thing is, though, because it's all bullshit anyway, we can make a bulldog appear out of nowhere!”


    Jeff took his watch up in front of his mouth, spoke, “Bulldog.”

    A loud roar came from underneath the balcony, John looked down but saw nothing.

    The roar turned into a humming.

    The sound was ascending.

    John still looked down.

    Still nothing.

    “Keep your head and feet inside the vehicle at all times,” McHoggins pulled John back from the edge.

    The humming roar was now directly in front of them.

    There was still nothing.

    “Lights,” Jeff said into his watch.

    Six bright lights appeared out of nowhere, hovering in thin air in front of the balcony.

    “Cloak,” Jeff continued.

    An airship materialized from around the six lights, the lights dimmed, the craft continued coming out of nowhere.

    Within seconds John's entire view was engulfed by the ship humming steadily in front of him.

    Its wingspan must have been 30 feet wide, jet engine—like pods attached through the wings distorted the air underneath them.

    Two big turret guns were pointing straight at the ensemble of men standing on the balcony.

    A single black mirrored cockpit was situated right in the middle of the behemoth.

    “John,” McHoggins turned to him, “this is your bulldog.”

    John stood stunned, open mouthed, he was speechless.

    Jeff turned to the guards, “let's wrap this up.”

    One of the guards raised his rifle.

    Bright green flash.

    Fuzzy blackness.


    June 14, 1976

    A car pulled up to Plumbing Hill Hospital For The Departed, gravel crackled as it came to a rest at the front door.

    A woman in her early 50s stepped into the gravel, looked at her watch. 2:58.

    She trotted over to the building, entered, and made for the desk.

    “How may I help you?” A girl looked up from behind the counter.

    “I heard there's visiting hours on Wednesdays?”

    “Sure thing, who is it you'd like to see?”

    The woman slipped her a note.

    The girl read the paper, looked back at the woman, her pupils had shrunk, “Ah. I'll uh, I'll see what I can do.”

    The woman nodded, “Thank you.”


    The woman stepped into the visitor's lounge, couches were lined up with rugged coffee tabled in between them.

    Her heels tapped the tiles on the ground as she made her way to the single other person in the room.

    The windows were barred and sunlight protruded between them.

    She sat down in front of the single other person.

    He was swinging front to back, arms huddled in front of his chest, “It's all true, it's true, it's true!”



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