## Chapter 5
"Hey Frank, Frank, I got some news, good news!". Its Johnson, from work, he called the other day, about some military friend, sounds like he may have really found something.
"Really, what does he know, does he know where she is?".
"I am sorry Frank, but we can't talk here, he says it might be dangerous, don't want anyone listening in. Maybe you should come over, were its safe".
"Yeah, no problem, I will be right there".
"You remember were it is don't you?".
"I can find my way, no worries". I got to be honest, although it would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that I am not a Tad bit curious, excited even, I don't put a lot of stock into this so-called friend of his. He has never really spoke of him in the past, and as such, how much exactly could he know about something like this anyways. I mean, if what we said before is true(and by we I mean me and the cops) than you would think that it would be fairly top secret. They wouldn't, I imagine, just let any Joe blow in on this kind of thing. And remember, everything about this on our part is totally speculative, its a conspiracy theory of sorts, we have no true evidence towards this goal whatsoever, all we have is that the van is supposedly government of some sorts.
An since I have quite a bit of time to think of things while driving over their, if you really think about it, this whole scenario, it does seem quite ludicrous doesn't it. Like some strange Jason Bourne type novel or something. Why in the world would they, the government, even consider doing something such as this, kidnap one of their own. The more I think about it, the more I don't want to be apart of it, but nonetheless, maybe his friend found out something about the real kidnappers. Because as the cops said before, normally in a situation like this, the culprits in question make some kind of bargaining agreement, a trade so to say, usually involving money. Still though, if it is just a couple of every day criminals, why would they kidnap Judy. I just don't want to go to far in the wrong direction, should keep the options open. Johnson lives about 45 minutes away, as his places is a lot closer to the city than mine. I have been their only a handful of times, usually for beers and a game or two, which I am really not that into, so I am really not sure why I go.
As I drive down the Backstreet corridors of the suburbs and such, I see kids and families playing in various ways, moms pushing babies while dads lag behind with the pet dog. I have always tried to be the strong one, tried not to let my feelings show. It started years ago actually, when I was a kid, I remember the day quite vividly. It wasn't some big event or some traumatic experience like you may be thinking, it happened fairly normally, and on my own accord. I was always a feisty kid, never really felt as if I belong anywhere, so my emotional state was usually in the forefront. Until one day( that day actually) I realized that it wasn't helping, just hurting. My family always thought that everything was my fault because I would supposedly freak out so suddenly. So on that day, I decided to keep it all inside, to never expose my emotional state again. So as i said before, it wasn't some huge life changing event, although i guess it was kind of life changing. People now tend to see it as a weakness though, and maybe they are right. Girls (except for Judy) have never really stuck around to long because of this. They think that just because I don't show it I don't care, which just isn't the case. The fact of the matter is, is that I wouldn't even know how to show such emotions at this point, how exactly would I go about it. As I pull up to the house, a nondescript car sits vicariously in the driveway. It must be his friends, as I never seen John with anything like that. It looks as if he scrubbed every detail out, like I would completely forget about what it looked like as soon as I turned away. Inside John makes his way to the basement, with no sign of anyone else in sight. I have been to his basement before, and it's really nice actually. Its as if I walked into some bar in the 1940's, every time I suspect some gangster to be hanging out with his thugs in the back corner. Its dimly lit, with hanging glass chandeliers that almost seem out of place. The walls are a dark (somewhat) blood red, with those white board things running along the bottom. The carpet is a dizzying array of different shades of green, and a red felt pool table sits in the middle not in use. I am not really sure how 40's it is exactly, but its what I imagine a bar would look like in that time period. To the far right, where the actually bar sits, sits a man dressed in a light grey suit from top to bottom. A hat, presumably his, stands on the counter beside him to the left. I can see his eyes in the mirror adjacent to were he sits. They watch his drink sitting before him, as he shakes it in a circular fashion like a tide pool, or a cyclone of sorts. He watches the motions intently, as if studying every movement of every molecule that resides in the glass.
"If I would happen to drop this glass on the floor, right in front of me, what, my friend, do you think would happen?". I look around, while he says this, confused about the fact on who he might be talking to." I would think that it would break, depending on the structural content of said glass".
"Exactly!". He says, holding up the glass above his head, while still watching its every movement." But did you know, that there is a chance, a infinitesimally small chance, but a chance nonetheless, that each shard of glass could potentially chance direction and have the glass reform".
"No actually, I didn't know that".
"Well its true, you just never see it happen". He continues, now finally drinking the contents of the glass." Because there are too many ways for it to break, and only one way to reform".
"Yeah". I say." Entropy always has to go up, never down".
"That's right". He tells me, turning around for the first time. He appears younger than I thought he would be, there is no, or very little, noticeable wrinkles on his face. He almost looks like a man trapped in a younger body. His eyes show years of hardship that the rest of him doesn't, as if they are not on speaking terms.
"My name is Charles". He says, extending his arm." An you must be Frank, your friend has told me all about you, so please". He says, pointing towards one of the stools." Sit down, we have lots to talk about".
We sit down on the stools adjacent to each other, while Johnson stands opposite attending to the drinks. Charles stays silent, instead looking into my eyes like he is attempting to hypnotize me, either that or he is leading himself up to kiss me.
"Your wife, Judy? You say she was taken from your house right, while you were away?".
"Yeah!". I tell him." I was on my home from work actually".
"John here tells me about some van that you saw, a white van, was that right?".
"Ummm! Yeah, the cops said the plates might have been government, seeing that they weren't allowed to check up on it".
"Hmmm!". He thinks to himself." A white van, doesn't seem very government, does it?". He asks, rhetorically." Sounds more like a vehicle the cops would use, don't you think?".
"The cops! Why would they stake out my house, especially before I had even called them, how would they know?".
"Think about it, if it was a government issued vehicle like they claim, it should have had some indication on the license plate. An to really think about it, I find it hard to except the they would be so dumb to hide out like that with there own vehicle. To me, anyways, it sounds like at the very least the cops aren't telling you the whole story".
"I guess that makes sense, its all very confusing, convoluted even".
"Convoluted?". He repeats." How so?".
"Well its sounds to me like some plot to some crazy movie. I mean, how does that old saying go, oh yeah! The simplest one is usually the right one, or some shit like that".
"That is just what they want you to think".
"So!". Johnson jumps in, you guys thirsty or anything, any snacks of any kind".
"Just a beer for me please". I answer.
"The usual for me". Charles answers.
" alright, one beer and a vodka Cran, no problem".
There is a long silence after this, as John hands us our drinks, and we all kind of stare off at each other like some gunfight standoff. I can't believe that it would be the cops, especially in a situation like this, I mean why would the police bust into my house and take Judy, what reason could they possibly have. But I guess the task at hand at this point is, is how far up does this Charles really go.
I look over at Charles, that sits beside me rather uncomfortably. You can almost see his legs twitch, like a dog who is dreaming of various things. Johnson has gone upstairs to get a bite to eat, so its just me and him, and the drinks that sit silently in front of us.
"So Charles, if I may ask?". I pause, waiting for a response that doesn't come." How far up can you actually go?".
"What do you mean, how far!?". He asks, acting puzzled, knowing full well what I am asking.
"You know, your security clearance. How high can you go?". I say, stumbling over my words.
"You mean what classified info can I get my hands on. Well I a not at liberty to say".
"You might get in trouble I guess!".
"Yeah". He says." Something like that".
"Tell me though, and I hope I am not being to forward when asking this, but couldn't that happen to you by just being here?". He stops for a second, setting his empty glass on the counter, as it sits perfectly on the ring he made earlier from the overflow of condensation.
"Yeah". He tells me." It could, but I have yet to tell you anything. And if I do, it wouldn't be leaving this room anyways, would it?". He says, looking over straight at me, like pinpoint lasers blaring a hole through anything it touches. He is a intimidating man, he has that rugged enough look to make you think twice about your actions. As he can probably take care of himself( he is in the military!).
"Hey guys!". John yells out as he stumbles down the stairs." I picked up a few things in case your hungry".
"Thanks!". We both say, almost in unison. He sets the plate on the counter to the right of us, its full of sandwiches of differing variations. I am not even sure how he made all these so fast actually. After a few minutes of silence as we all partake in the food brought down for us I can feel the atmosphere begin to get serious. As if a cold front moved in from upstairs, or a ghostly apparition decided to join in on the fun.
"So!". Charles starts out." To answer your earlier question to begin things off. I do not know the details of every operation that goes on, especially this one in particular. But I hear things, little hints at the so called truth every now and than. An I do believe its in direct correlation with your wife. Which by the way, I am sorry to hear about. It must be hard to not know her specific, or nonspecific whereabouts at that".
"Thanks". I mutter, before he continues.
"Well, the word around the base is, is that there is another, team, if you can call it that. Kind of like the CIA, in a way anyways. Nobody knows what they do though, or where they're located. But I looked up into the computers, and I ran into something quite odd. In certain operations, well, practically all, to be honest. We have deaths, you know this, we don't plan it, but things happen. But anyhow, we have a record of all the deceased, on the computers you know". He says, waving his drink around, like he is painting a Pollock." An it seems as though someone else has access to this list".
"They have access to the deceased list, what are you trying to say, why in the hell would anyone want that?". I pause." Isn't it accessible to everyone anyways, at least in military circles".
"Well to not go into details, but I dug deeper, and found certain, abnormalities, in some profiles".
"What are you saying exactly?". I respond.
"I don't think they're dead. I think somehow, they are being recruited". 2284
# Chapter 6
The next morning I awake in a fog, and as my eyes struggle to get things into focus all I can see are the blurry remains of what I can only imagine is the furniture. As I get up, I can feel my back still crunched over from leaning up against the chair all night. But as my eyes finally come back to life, like a zombie, struggling to reach the earth through layers of dirt, I fondle the chairs as I try to keep myself up to reach the bar. How much did I drink last night exactly, we did it in such a passive way I wasn't really paying attention. But it must have been a good amount, seeing that I am paying for it now.
Upstairs, I find the other two sitting at the kitchen table staring at each other, barely saying a word. The table itself though is decorated with eggs, Bacon, and pancakes, as well as other assorted goods to go along with it.
"Sit down Frank, have a bite to eat, you must be parched after last night".
"Yeah". I say." I am, and to be honest, I don't even remember the whole night".
"That is okay Frank". Johnson says." After what you been through, we are not all surprised". He laughs, as food partially spews out as he haplessly tries to cover himself with his arm.
"How many drinks did I end up having, I didn't realize I drank that much?".
"It doesn't matter now, does it. Just have a bite to eat. You'll feel better afterwards". Charles tells me, in a gruff voice, like trying to start up a car on a cold winters day. A good portion of the morning is now spent at the kitchen table, with the only sounds that emanate from our mouths being varying grunts and gurgles as the food barges a path to our stomachs.
After breakfast, we all head back downstairs. In the middle of the room now awaits a round table with a few chairs( that I failed to notice on my way up this morning) decorating the outer circumference. All the legs point upwards like horns on a herd of triceratops.
"So Frank! We need to know what happened".
"I thought I already told you, before you know".
"Before we go in Frank". Says Johnson." We need to know exactly what they went through on there search afterwards".
"How am I supposed to know that! I wasn't allowed inside!".
"There is no need to get angry Frank, we are just here to help".
"I know, I really do. But ever since I got here you guys haven't told me a goddamn thing. How am I supposed to act exactly. My wife is out there, apparently with some fucking government officials doing God knows what".
"I realize this has been hard, but we need to look through your house, see what they were looking for?".
"Looking for, they were just looking for evidence, what else would they be looking for?".
"They we're looking for something, I can guarantee you that". Charles tells me." But it wasn't what they told you".
"What exactly than". I ask.
"That!". Charles says." I am not sure about".
There is a moment of silence, as we all still holding our coffees. And almost out of no where, as if something just popped into there heads at this very moment, Johnson and Charles look at each other like some scene in some teenage coming of age movie.
"Frank?". Asks Johnson." Do you remember anything about last night, certain conversations we might of had?".
"The last thing I remember, now that I think about it, is something about the deceased files, and how certain people have access to it".
"That's right, I tried to look more into it, see why anybody would possible go through so much to get into it, but it went cold. They must know I am on to it, because.. certain oddities began to happen, I was cut off, at every corner".
"What! You mean the military stopped you?".
"No, whoever it was got into my computer, wiped my files, even got to my sources as well, it must be some faceless organization or something".
"Which, I would imagine, is why we are hiding out in Johnson's basement". I chuckle, as Charles expression hardly changes, except for a slight quiver of his lips.
"Something to that order". Charles says dryly.
"Anyways". He pauses." They were most definitely looking for something in your house, and we got to find out what".
"How!". I exclaim." Could you possibly know all this though, I mean... with all due respect".
"I just have a hunch, that's all, just a hunch. An besides, we got to start somewhere".
"Okay than". I say." It's settled, tonight, in which I believe is when we'll go, we head over to my house and search for something".
"Yeah, it will be tonight Frank, under cover of darkness, as I imagine they will be watching your place".
Through these last two days of being stuck down here with Charles, I cannot help but figure there is something odd about him, as if he has yet to fill in certain blanks. I do realize he is in the military and all, but how could he know all this. He is like one of those classified documents you see on TV, all the good parts are blacked out, and everything else that's left over barely passes for legible. It makes me wonder, if what he said was in fact true, and they are actually onto him, at least to some degree, why would they just let him go like they did, why would they take that chance of him spreading the so called word of their existence, if in fact this crazy cult thing does exist. It just sounds crazy, doesn't it. And also, to take things a by farther, what purpose would they have anyways, I mean what are they up to that they have to be so secretive. It can't be just some CIA type stuff I would imagine. What exactly are they up too, an why are they recruiting people, especially in such a macabre way.
"So Charles, I do have one question, but I am not currently sure you can answer though".
"Well ask away Frank". Charles says, matter of factly".
"How is it even possible for them to even recruit people that are dead. I mean, really, how do they know this beforehand. Unless there the ones doing the killing?".
"I am not sure about that, as I might of said earlier, all the details I have obtained are a bit fuzzy, hearsay, and what have you. But if I had to take a guess, I would imagine that they would get to them beforehand, you know, make everyone think they're dead".
"Yeah". I say." I can't imagine the government killing for such a reason".
"In all honesty though". He says gruffly." I am not even sure they are with the government, I have got no certain indication to tell me so, or otherwise". He pauses." For that matter". I do actually wonder if he is right or not, or even telling the truth at all. I mean, as I said earlier, how exactly did Johnson get mixed up with this guy, how did I get mixed up with Johnson. He is not exactly my favourite colleague. But the only thing in this whole charade that does kind of ring true, is that if it was a normal(if you can call it that) kidnapping, wouldn't they have called or something for ransom.
The rest of the morning passes with hardly any words, outside, the rain begins to fall, as the suburbs are coated in darkness. As I look out the window, watching the rain, you can almost see a pattern emerge, an ebb and flow if you may. As if its falling in tune to some song on the radio. Judy was never the one for the rain, always hated it, as I imagine most people do. The snow though, the snow was were its at, she always had a child like wonder when it fell. Like seeing it for the first time at every moment in her life. She always got a bit sad when it turned to slush, as if saying goodbye to a good friend. I remember when we first started dating, I lived downtown at the time, and it was winter, a bad one at that. It snowed so much I couldn't get out of the back alley where I parked. I hated it, absolutely hated it, but whenever I saw her, she had this look in her eyes like she just discovered Atlantis or something. Or like if Disney land just fell from the sky, it was such a stark reality from were I was from. As I was never the most happiest of children, always had a predisposition towards sadness. But she had a way of brushing that to the side, and whenever she might be away, I always think about those moments, it always seems to bring a smile to my face.