Chapter 4 Velodise
Video Recording: A low hum echoed across the dark woods as the moon shined. The wind blew the trees, and a drone patrolled as something stepped and crunched on the dead leaves nearby. Suddenly, something banged into the drone, causing it to tumble into the branches. Its recording went static, and it played again on the floor full of leaves. As the breeze blew the limbs of the tree, the leaves cracked and crunched again, heading toward the damaged drone. It got louder, but then the cracking stopped for a moment. A blurred figure slammed something into the drone, and it went blank. End of Video.
In a room, inside the Trioscepter headquarters, Barry sat in front of a computer that played the recording. He squinted and grabbed one of the two red masks they discovered in the woods. The masks were drawn with black marker that created the eyes and mouth, and its face looked sinister, having a long grin.
Aldrich appeared and said “What a surprise. We thought you didn’t make it.”
Barry turned his seat and said, “I’m ashamed you believe that the Scarlets had a chance. In fact, I’m horrified you thought of that.” He stood and stretched his arms. “Regardless, we made it out safely. Someone accidently stepped on my earpiece when we encounter the Scarlets. Have you told Ron what happen to his brother?”
Aldrich took a deep breath and said, “He was silent when I told him about his brother. The news of the cash didn’t even make him feel any better.”
Barry said, “I understand. My young brother passed away too back then in the country Velodise during their revolution. He was an inventor, and he wanted to use his technology for good.” He gripped his knife. “But he was kidnapped, and I didn’t make it in time. I’ll never forget that day.” He slammed the point of the knife into the desk and crossed his arms.
Aldrich sat on a rolling chair and put his hands together. “Maybe you should talk to him. Like you, he has no more family but the organization his father built.”
Barry took a deep breath and said, “I rather not.”
Aldrich moved his chair next to the computer and picked up a piece of a damaged drone on the table. He checked the computer screen and said, “Did you check the surveillance again from that night?”
Barry scratched his head and said, “Yes, it’s strange. During the surprise attack from the Scarlets, a man yelled something similar.” He grabbed two red masks and held them in the air. One was a regular red ski mask, and the other was marked with black marker.
Aldrich received the masks and compared them.
Barry said, “Before the man’s death, he told me we weren’t going to get away from what we did to them.” He called us greedy fools because we robbed them at night and we were monsters for killing their brothers and sisters unmercifully. He yammered insults to us and then I shot him.”
Aldrich put the masks on the desks. “We never took any money from them. They took from us.” Aldrich scratched his chin and said, “This might explain why the Scarlets came into the bank. They were more aggressive than usual.” He stood from the rolling chair and said, “Hey, on the bridge what did you use to take out the Scarlets. It nearly hit us. You could’ve got us killed. Did you use Donovan’s prototype?”
Barry frowned and stood. He said “Wait a minute Aldrich, if it weren’t for me you would’ve been killed. You’re lucky I happened to show up.”
Aldrich put his arms together. “You weren’t supposed to use it.”
Barry said, “Relax, Donovan won’t mind. He’s been working on it for six months since he’s been here. He was practically begging for someone to use his new invention.”
Aldrich said, “Donovan never wanted anyone to use it. He just wanted to show it off. He’s always proud to show what he can do. He’s almost like you, but you’re more full of yourself. Where’s the prototype? Do you have it with you?”
Barry said, “Well, I ...”
Donovan yelled, and Aldrich looked at Barry. They ran to Donovan’s room. In a room with open cabinets and a computer, Donovan dug through piles of paperwork on a table. The papers dropped to the floor, and he was panicking.
Aldrich said, “What are you looking for?”
Donovan continued tossing papers not even realizing they had stepped in the room.
Barry leaned on the door with his arms crossed and said, “Ay! Aldrich just asked you a question.”
Donovan slammed his hands on the table and put his head down. He said, “The man who was here for a couple of weeks has gone with my documents and has seen my face. You must alert everyone before it’s too late.”
Aldrich ran and alerted the entire headquarters to search for the man.
Barry said, “Don’t worry, Donovan. We’ll find this cockroach. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Donovan said, “Barry, you will find him?”
Barry said, “Do you doubt me?”
Barry shook Donovan’s hand firmly. “I’ll find him. You have my word.” Barry left and hopped on his motorcycle. As his engine roared, he drove off as the sun descended into the horizon.
Donovan returned home, and his hand trembled as he twisted the knob.
Cassidy opened the door and smiled. “Hey, how are you?”
Donovan smiled as sweat flowed down his face. “I’m doing great.”
She said, “Are you sure? You don’t look so well.” She put her hand on his forehead. “Is it because of all the work you have?”
He said, “Yes, they have a way of putting pressure on me. They want to make sure all my security gadgets are made safe and well for the public.”
Cassidy said, “You should’ve taken the job Dakota offered you in her home country. You wouldn’t be stressing this much.”
“I would have taken it, but I already got hired. I couldn’t have just quit that same day.”
“Well it’s the past, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.” She held his hand and said, “Why don’t you come sit with me?”
Donovan said, “Well, maybe later. I’ve got things to do.”
Cassidy frowned and said, “Like what? Is your work more important than me? Relax, you’re not at work. You’re with me.” She grabbed the remote and turned on the television. “Come on, just relax.”
He said, “Look let me just fix some things, and I’ll come back.”
She said, “You always say that, but you never do. Ever since you took this job, you hardly talk to me because you’re always worried about deadlines and other stuff. You’re always trying to control things, but you never have any faith that things will work out.”
A vein bulged on his forehead, and he said, “I do have faith. I got a job didn’t I and look what we have. We were on the brink of poverty, and now we have everything that we lost from that stupid company that fired me.” A news report interrupted the television program that was playing. It was night, and a reporter stood in front of the bank as red and blue lights shined on his face. Donovan gulped and turned his face away from the television.
Cassidy listened to the report and said, “It seem like things are getting worse by the day.”
Donovan then left and locked himself in his work room.
Cassidy looked back and held her tears as she stood alone in the living room. She said, “Donovan.”
Donovan leaned on the door, and his chest began to hurt as heat moved across his body. He got up and paced near his inventions, talking to himself as he walked back and forward. “I wonder if they caught him? Who is he? Why did he steal from me? What will Cassidy think of me? No, I’m sure she will understand why I did this? She has to realize that I did this for us. She will understand, will she?”
He opened his computer and grabbed a black drone about the size of a large grapefruit. He brought a remote controller and walked to the window, but something grabbed his attention to the cabinet. As he moved toward it, he stepped on a broken lock. Donovan opened the door, thinking the chip was gone, but it remained inside and was surprised that the red-light still blinked and that the battery remained alive. Donovan scratched his head and walked to the buttons that opened the hidden doors with his mini-drone. He took the chip inside his secret room and walked from there.
He then typed on the computer, but suddenly, he fell from his chair onto his stomach, and his eyes shut as paper sketches dropped on his body.
Donovan woke up and grabbed his stomach as a burning pain pulsed through his body. He rose, putting his hand on his belly and the moonlight from the outside shined into the area from the large glass windows. In the room, there were computers on desks in rows from left to right, and the air was still. Not a single person was in the area, and he said, “Where am I?”
Donovan walked to the light switch, but the lights didn’t turn on. A sudden bloom of heat went across his face and body, and for some strange reason, the beat of his heart accelerated as he flickered the switch. As he continued flickering the switch, a pressure hit his chest, and he had a hard time breathing. His entire body trembled as a dark laugh with a low pitch echoed in the entire building. Donovan finally let go of the switch and ran under a desk as he shook and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
The laughter stopped, and the air was still again. Donovan wrapped his arms around his body and tried to stop shaking. His head peeked out as he rose and he walked slowly because of a heavy pressure on his leg muscles. As he moved forward, something banged on the door, and it swung open. Donovan raced under the desk and planted his head on the floor. Through the cracks underneath the desk, black boots dashed on the floor. He rose, and a person in a hood leaped and crashed through the glass window.
Donovan got up and ran toward the shattered glass watching the person sprint on the snow into the woods. Loud steps marched toward Donovan’s direction, and the dark laugh echoed through the building. Full of terror, Donovan jumped out the window and rolled into the snow. He stumbled on the clumps of snow and ran into the woods in the same direction as the individual.
As the night changed into the morning, the light revealed a beautiful snowy forest that had a light blue tint on all the trees leaves. They didn’t lose their leaves in the cold temperature, and the tree bark was white. The deer played, and the white rabbits cleaned their fur. The icicles on the tree glowed as the sun shined its light and the rivers sparkled on the flowing rivers.
Donovan walked but fell into a snowy ditch. He wiped the snow off his clothing but was in shock at what he saw. A pile of dead soldiers rested in the snowy ditch with their mouths open and with their eyes enlarged as if they saw a ghost. Donovan climbed fast from the ditch and stood. The deer ran away, and the rabbits hopped into their holes. He stepped forward, and bright red covered the snow.
In the forest, someone shouted, “Fire! Kill that monster!” Multiple gun shots fired and men screamed. As the shots stopped, a man pleaded for mercy, and then he screeched like prey being killed by a predator.
Donovan ran away but got lost and was surrounded by forest. He stopped and moved the limb of a bush, and his heart stopped. A person in a gray hood kneeled in the snow with its head down and a dead body laid in its arms. This corpse didn’t have the clothing of a soldier like the others scattered around it. He continued watching, but the person in the hood remained motionless. Near Donovan, something invisible wrote in the snow, and the writing was written in blood. It read: You are next.
Donovan shivered and breathed rapidly as he read it. He moved the bush limbs, but the hooded person and the corpses disappeared. At a distance, black smoke rose in the sky and fire consumed trees. He ran, but the fire caught up, burning nearby trees. The fire spread everywhere as trees slammed into the snow. Everything was starting to burn, and the forest looked like hell. The black smoke covered the entire sky, and the fire grew to the height of trees. Donovan ran and turned in every direction, but the flames surrounded him. He pulled his hair, and his watery eyes broaden. As he turned, the hooded person stood on a cliff.
A wall of fire rose in the background of the person in the hood, and the darkness from the hood covered the person’s eyes and nose. The flames surrounded it and it still remained motionless. Suddenly, the person turned its head and pointed toward something at a distance away from the fire. A male and female silhouette were together in a lush green area with blue skies and animal life. That area didn’t scorch, and an unburned pathway led there.
Donovan ran into the pathway as sweat streamed down his face and arms, but the fires raged and consumed the area, narrowing the path. He looked back once, but the hooded person disappeared again. Donovan continued running and fire spit on his clothes. He patted it down and ran down the narrow pathway as the fires destroyed everything behind him. He was inches away from the green forest, and he reached his hand out.
Donovan took another step, but his foot met the air, and he dropped and yelled into a bottomless trench. Looking up, he saw that there was an illusion. The beautiful place was farther than what he could perceive, and he was not even close to the green forest. It was extremely far way, and he shut his eyes and loosened his body as he fell into a dark pit.
Donovan awoke, and he leaped, gasping for air on the floor. As he stood, his papers design and inventions laid on his desk. Donovan looked at a clock, and it was close to dawn. He was back home and sluggishly walked toward the door until he spotted something. An old article laid on the floor with a picture of a military building near a snowy white forest. The title read: The Velodise Massacre.