Home: Chapter 1 (And a Note To DREAM ON Readers)
Part One: The Dead Rise
“The mission was simple. You were to go in, find the weapon, grab it, and get out. It was that simple! And yet, somehow, you managed to get three men killed WITHOUT EVEN SEEING THE WEAPON!”
“Yes sir.” David closed his eyes, trying not to remember.
“Care to explain, agent?” The anger in the officer’s voice was distinct and deadly, challenging David to say something. “What happened?”
“Raina.” David muttered “Raina happened.”
The rain outside the car pattered against the darkened windows, enhancing the deafening silence that filled David’s ears. He knew what the officer was thinking, but he really didn’t care. Raising his hand, he rubbed his forehead in an attempt to wipe away a distant memory. It was several long minutes before the officer spoke again.
“I have been thinking about this for some time now.”
“Really?” David couldn’t help but let sarcasm bite through.
“Yes.” The officer glared at David “I think you need a break. At least a month off, possibly more, and no contact permitted.”
“With respect, sir, I don’t think that’s the best idea.”
“With respect, agent, you do not give me orders, I give them to you. You have no choice in the matter.” The officer looked up and switched his focus to the driver “Stop here, George.”
The car slowed to a stop and the driver opened David’s door revealing two large bags sitting in the mud. The officer gestured towards the open door.
“Your time off, agent. We are a few miles from a small town called Galesville, I believe you know of it?”
David looked up in surprise, with a hint of anger in his eyes.
“These bags contain everything you might need. We have set up a perimeter around the town, far enough to remain unnoticed, but close enough to keep an eye on you. Don’t try to run off anywhere, you won’t get far. Enjoy.”
With that, he practically shoved David out into the rain and closed the door. The driver nodded his head to David before sliding back into the car and driving away. Mud, rain, and blood mixed on David’s clothes as he stood in the downpour, cast off by those he thought to be his friends. Of course, none of them really were.
David picked up the bags and started walking. He walked through the rain until he reached a shed by the side of the road. After changing into less blood stained clothing from one of the bags, he took stock of what he had been given.
The first bag contained a few items of clothing, but a hidden bottom revealed a variety of guns and large knives. David added his personalized gun to the stash, fingering the engraved frame as he reminded himself of the meanings of every symbol before turning to the other bag. Just as the previous bag, it contained clothes and some necessities as well as another hidden compartment. This bag contained a stash of a large variety of strange devices and materials which David recognized from previous missions.
Having satisfied himself, David closed the bags and picked them up again. The rain had stopped, so he began to walk again in the same direction as before. He walked for several hours and saw no cars, no people, and no signs of life except for the occasional bird. There was nothing anywhere except for trees. Towards the end of his journey, a town suddenly sprung up out of nowhere startling David with its familiarity.
It was a quaint little town, more like a village, that was quiet at that time of night. The sun quickly disappeared at this point, replaced by a multitude of eyes glaring down at David from the heavens. They peered from the bushes and trees as well, staring at him with accusation and hatred. He simply looked down at the ground and kept walking, confident that he was headed in the right direction. Or perhaps it was the wrong direction. The only thing he knew for sure was that it was momentarily the only direction.
Past the local church, three houses down from the local diner, up three worn out steps, and behind a screen door, David knocked. He tapped quietly at first, almost afraid of an answer. Then he tapped with slight confidence, only enough that he could be heard in the entire house.
Waiting for a moment, he turned to leave in relief that was quickly wiped from his face, replaced by a fake smile. He turned around slowly as the door swung open and someone called out that they were coming.
Any words that might have been spoken next were frozen on the lips of the young lady who opened the door. She just stood there, staring at him.
“Hi, Jenny.” David almost whispered “I’m home.”
She just stood there, staring at him. Another pair of footsteps walked up to the door and an old man peered out at him. Any words that might have been spoken next were frozen on his lips. He just stood there, staring at David.
Another pair of feet walked up to the door and the final face peered out. The old woman in the doorway also was lost for words for a moment, but that moment did not last as long as that of the others. She stood there, staring at David, and then took a haltering step past Jenny.
“Davy?” Her voice trembled with disbelief.
Something seemed to snap Jenny back into awareness and she jumped into action. Rushing forward, she reached out and slapped David as hard as she could in the face.
“YOU ARE DEAD!” She practically yelled at him, causing lights to flicker on in the houses around them.
“Clearly not.” David said, with a slight smile as he thought of the irony of that statement.
“They told us you were dead.”
Now she sounded hurt and desperate, as if she were searching for answers. David honestly wished her luck in that search, but he didn’t know if answers would ever be reasonably possible to achieve. Even he did not know the answers to all of the questions, and he knew more answers to more questions than most. Of course, his answers would be so unbelievable that it didn’t matter if he told one or all of his secrets. He’d probably end up in prison for some of them.
“They told us you were dead.” She said again as she pulled him into a hug.
“Hi, sis. Good to see you too.”
David smiled, this time for real, as first his sister, then his mother, and finally his father all gathered around to hug him. He was not a hugging kind of guy, and no one else would be allowed to live after hugging him, but they were his family. As much as he hated to admit it, David had missed them. It was good to be home, even if the questions that he knew they would ask would have to go unanswered. Still they had to start asking questions first. They were not long in coming.
“David,” his father spoke for the first time, “How exactly are you alive after six years in the grave?”
Part Two: The Dead Cannot be Seen
Caleb walked down the street, watching David. He looked around him, noticing the CIA agents stationed discreetly throughout the town. No doubt David had noticed them too. They were hidden in the shadows, examining David’s stride, his pace, every stop he made, and every glance to the side. David just kept walking.
Caleb wasn’t quite sure why he was still following David, except that he really had nowhere else to go. Nowhere but up; or maybe down. Heaven or hell, it didn’t really matter since he didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Caleb knew he wasn’t really dead, but he might as well be a ghost for all the attention he got as he followed his friend. No one even knew he was alive, much less walking down the street with his best friend.
Being invisible to everyone did have its perks, such as knowing everything that happened. It was because of his ghost-like appearance that Caleb knew more than David, but it was also why he couldn’t let David know. All he could do was follow David around and hope that someday, by some miracle, he’d be able to get a message through. Maybe he’d suddenly be able to send messages through the air, like Jacob, or maybe it would be something as simple as being able to move something real again.
Until that day came, all Caleb could do was gather as much information as he could so that he could help out eventually. So that was what he was doing, gathering information. Like the tidbit about Jenny’s husband, John, and who he really was. It was almost enough to make a ghost smile; a secret as fun as that was even more fun when Caleb had to keep it. He only hoped he’d be there when they met for the first time, so that he could watch their faces. Now he did smile.
The smile turned into a grin, which suddenly turned into a laugh as he imagined the revealing of the big secret. It was a short laugh and nothing too loud, but David stopped walking for a moment. He looked around as if he had heard something, and Caleb stopped too. Could he have heard me?
David started walking again, and Caleb did too. No, he couldn’t have heard me. He must have heard one of the agents. Still… Caleb decided to make sure, so he coughed loudly and then ran in front of David while whistling. David didn’t even flinch, so Caleb sighed and continued to walk behind him. It’ll never happen. He thought quietly to himself. The dead cannot be seen.