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Chapter 17: Memories

The Real-Cassidy found herself wandering through a dream of events that felt very familiar to her. At this moment, she did not know what was real and what was not. The illusions that she was floating through had become the whole of her existence. The real-world around her was gone. Her conversation with Nadja was a nonexistent event. Her meeting with Lucian in The Cavern was the first memory to play out in her mind.

“Detective Tremaine, how did you find us?” Lucian questioned with emphasized pronunciation for each word.

“Find—you, find?”

The Real-Cassidy could feel how vague the Dream-Cassidy’s response was, but she did not understand why her brain was functioning that way. The Dream-Cassidy’s mind felt sluggish, as though it was under the influence of a chemically induced stupor. Despite this awareness of the Dream-Cassidy’s condition the Real-Cassidy felt to be sober and wide awake. The Real-Cassidy noted that the man speaking to the Dream-Cassidy did not seem to be surprised by her incoherent response.

“How did you know we were here?” Lucian questioned in a clear and unhurried speech.

“I followed,” the Real-Cassidy heard herself answer and could feel that she had a better understanding of the question.

She noted that the man immediately accepted her answer. With her first thought this unconditional acceptance seemed strange to her. An instant later she became aware that she was unable to say anything other than the truth at this moment.

“So much for repressing her obsession with this investigation,” Stefan uttered with a modulation that reflected his distaste for the conclusion.

“She is tenacious of mind,” Lucian spoke with an inflection of agreement.

“She’s dangerous,” Stefan spat out an instant behind.

“Detective Tremaine, who knows that you are here?”

It took the Dream-Cassidy no time at all to process this question from Lucian despite her dazed condition.

“Nina,” Cassidy answered with a word.

“Does anyone else know that you are here?” Lucian queried back almost immediately.


“Is Nina expecting you to call?” Lucian questioned a second after the last answer.

“I—ah, Nina?”

This stammering and dazed pondering came out of the Dream-Cassidy despite her effort to do otherwise. The Real-Cassidy noted that her dream-self was having trouble with the idea that she should know what Nina was expecting. She thought it likely that Nina would be anticipating a call, but her expectation was something that she did not feel comfortable giving a yes or no answer to. Shortly, the Real-Cassidy saw that this fumbling response annoyed Lucian.

“Yes, is Nina waiting for your call?” Lucian questioned with a hint of impatience.

“Yes,” Cassidy answered from behind a look that suggested she was unsure of her answer.

“When is she expecting you to call?” Lucian questioned in response to Cassidy’s last answer.

The Real-Cassidy was aware that there was no answer to this question. Neither versions of her had any idea when or if Nina would be expecting a call from her. She could feel her dream-mind struggling with this problem, but she did not understand why this was the case. In her thinking the answer to the question was, I don’t know.

“Will Nina send someone to look for you?” Lucian questioned in a clear one word at a time speech after a long pause

“No,” Cassidy answered from behind her dazed expression.

The Real-Cassidy watched as Lucian wasted no time going to the next question.

“Detective Tremaine, approximate how long it will be before someone begins to miss you?” Lucian asked after rethinking the question.

“4 o’clock,” Cassidy responded with no outward appearance that she gave the question any thought. “My neighbor will miss me if I don’t arrive to pick up my kids.”

Once again Cassidy noted that Lucian accepted the answer without question.

“We should deal with this,” Stefan spoke in a decisive tone.

“Blank her, and send her own her away,” David suggested quickly.

“We can’t do that,” Christine Meyer insisted sharply. “She knows too much.”

“Nothing that she can prove,” David argued back.

“It’s enough for her to start to believe it,” Evan Pritchard spoke in support of Christine Meyer. “We can’t have her pointing a finger at us.”

“Razvan is right,” Stefan quickly added. “Trying to throw her off the scent has failed. We need to deal with this while we have time.”

It was clear to the Real-Cassidy that this was the popular consensus. She saw that most within the room were nodding their agreement with this thinking.

“I will drink her blood this time,” David asserted sternly. “She will remember nothing.”

“It’s too late for that, Cristiãn.” Brooke Chapman challenged sympathetically. “Her mind is already cluttered with incongruities about us.”

“I will manage it,” David insisted an instant behind.

“That’s too dangerous, Cristiãn,” Ronald Hollis disputed.

“It’s my call,” David rifled back with temper.

“It’s our risk,” Brooke Chapman countered without hesitation.

The Real-Cassidy watched as David gave Brooke Chapman a stunned look. She watched as his mind seemed to be in search for a counter argument. Shortly his contemplation was interrupted by another voice.

“We will deal with this when the others arrive,” Lucian directed softly.

There was no challenge to this. A prolonged silence followed Lucian’s instruction, and then Nadja began to speak pleasantly to all present.

“Well, let’s not keep her like this. Let me take her into Cristiãn’s office while we wait.”

There was a long moment of awkward glances after this suggestion. David looked to his escort. She looked to Lucian. He looked back to her and then to Stefan. He looked to her and then to David. And all the others looked back and forth between the four of them.

“Yes, please do,” Lucian agreed with a smile and a nod.

Nadja got up from her chair with a hand from David. She casually walked over to Cassidy and gently took her hand into hers. The Real-Cassidy felt her dream-self comply without resistance. She could see Nadja, but the Dream-Cassidy had no awareness that she was standing next to her.

“Come with me,” Nadja softly spoke into Cassidy’s ear.

After speaking these words Nadja turned and left the room through the hallway entrance. Cassidy followed alongside with only the slightest of urging to keep her in motion. She had just reached the entryway when the room suddenly dissolved away and a new memory began to materialize in its place.

The Real-Cassidy suddenly found herself in David’s bedroom, lying in his bed. The transition felt natural to her despite her thinking that she should be in shock at this moment. Shortly she became aware that her clothing was gone, and that she was lying naked under the covers. Her gaze was fixed up at an angle and toward the foot of the bed. She thought to move, to sit up and look around the room, but her body was not responding to these thoughts. Suddenly the image of David’s face appeared in the corner of her vision, and then she heard his voice speaking softly into her ear.

“When you awaken, the things you heard and saw inside the warehouse will begin to feel like a distant memory. You will forget about the woman’s voice that you heard. You won’t remember how tall or strong the man was that attacked you. The whole event will be a faint memory. Do you understand?”


The Real-Cassidy understood what David was saying, but the Dream-Cassidy could not stop herself from questioning the word warehouse. This event was primarily fixed in her mind as an address.

“Last Friday,” David began again in a slow and soft speech. “You went to a warehouse in Brooklyn, do you remember this?”

“The fire?” The Real-Cassidy heard herself question back.

“Yes, at the warehouse in Brooklyn,” David softly corrected. “It caught fire. Do you remember this?”

“Yes, the warehouse, I remember,” The Real-Cassidy heard herself say without reservation.

“When you awaken, all that you heard and saw in that warehouse will feel like a distant memory. Your interest in this case will be gone, and you will stop thinking about vampires as suspects. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy responded despite her inclination to say nothing.

“You will forget about the woman’s voice that you heard. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy answered without thinking to do so.

“You will not remember how tall or strong the man was that attacked you,” David asserted in a quiet voice. “The whole event will feel like something that happened many months-ago. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy replied without hesitation.

After this there was a brief time of silence. The Real-Cassidy watched as David examined her face as though he was trying to memorize it. At the end of this he began to speak again.

“Go to sleep. When you wake up you will not remember this conversation.

An instant after this The Real-Cassidy felt herself slip away into slumber. Shortly after this her eyes reopened to see she was no longer inside David’s bedroom.

The interior of The Cavern appeared out from behind a slowly dissipating haze. Everything about the location felt familiar to The Real-Cassidy. It felt like a prolonged déjà vu event. The sounds, the smells and the images were all rekindling the sensation of an event that she could not attach a time or day to. She had a memory of thinking and then saying that she wanted to meet the booth three regulars. She had a recollection of deciding to take their measure. She was standing in the main room of The Cavern and watching the booth three regulars. Suddenly she recalled asking a question, and an instant behind this she did.

“Can you introduce me?”

“You want to meet them?” David questioned back.

“Yes, I want to meet them,” Cassidy answered succinctly.

The Real-Cassidy noticed a pause before David’s said his reply.

“Okay, but I warn you, they’re conversation can be a little—lewd.”

The Real-Cassidy could feel her growing determination to do this, and then she thought of a reply that reflected this.

“I can deal with lewd.”

She saw David smile just before he spoke.

“How should I reference you?”

“Tell them I’m a friend,” Cassidy returned. “We met three years ago when I vacationed in England and my name is Margaret Petrucci.”

She recalled David’s response as he said it.

“Were we romantically involved, Ms. Petrucci?”

The Real-Cassidy could feel herself give David a squint just before her answer.

“A summer fling—we separated as friends, and we’re renewing our friendship.”

“Our friendship?”

She heard David question and then recalled it with a feeling of déjà vu. She did not have time to ponder on this. She could feel a reply coming from her an instant after he spoke.

“We’re taking it slow. Can we do this?”

In this dream that felt like a memory The Real-Cassidy could feel herself following David as they walked toward the booth three regulars. She saw them examine her as they approached.

“David, have you come to join us?” Alexandra Hays spoke first.

Somehow the Real-Cassidy knew she was going to speak first. She then waited on David’s response as though she was looking at a movie that she had seen several times before.

“Hi. I’m just here to make sure that you’re enjoying yourselves.”

“We are. Who’s your friend?”

The person that asked this question was Ryan Sandoval. The Real-Cassidy already knew this in the same way that she anticipated his inquiry.

“This is Margaret Petrucci,” Cassidy heard David introduce her as he stepped aside. “She’s an acquaintance from my past.”

As the Real-Cassidy thought to verbally react to David’s introduction, the Cassidy in the dream did.


The instant this was said she knew that Evan Pritchard was going to speak, and he did.

“A past love?”

Giggles erupted from the women and smiles from the men. She listened as David responded to the suggestion.

“Our first meeting was too brief for that, but I have hope for the future.”

“Oh, I have no doubt of that,” Evan Pritchard returned with a smile.

There were more giggles and laughs.

“I think Ms. Petrucci may have been in here a couple of weeks ago.”

Ryan Sandoval spoke these words. Alexandra Hays bobbed her head with excited agreement with this observation. For the Real-Cassidy, none of this was unexpected. This meeting was one long familiar event. Shortly a response popped into her thoughts, and then she spoke it.

“Yes, I was. I dropped in to say hello to David.”

“I told you,” Alexandra Hays bragged in response.

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ms. Petrucci.” Ryan Sandoval acknowledged with a look and a smile. “Won’t you join us?”

The Real-Cassidy knew this was coming. She knew that she would say yes in the end. She could feel where this was going, but still she feigned a reluctance to do so. Despite this response, the booth three regulars, overrode her reluctance with simultaneous assurances that she would not be an intrusion and sidled over to make room at the end of the booth seat. The Dream-Cassidy acquiesced to their invitation and sat down, as the Real-Cassidy knew she would.

Shortly after she sat down the group began introducing themselves. The Real-Cassidy knew their names, including the four guests, but she pretended as though she did not. She greeted them with a smile one by one. Their greetings to her were full of pleasantry and excitement. Immediately after this they started into small talk about her. This conversation lasted for several minutes, and then Ronald Hollis broached the subject of her plans for the remainder of the evening.

“So, how late do you plan to stay out, Margaret?”

The Real-Cassidy could feel that the Dream-Cassidy was eager to entertain this question and was reluctant to show it.

“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.”

She listened as Ronald Hollis made the offer that she was expecting to hear.

“You should join us. We always have a little get-together when we leave here.”

“Oh yes, you must come,” Alexandra Hays urged to no surprise of The Real-Cassidy.

Cassidy listened as Christine Meyer, Brooke Chapman, Ryan Sandoval and Evan Pritchard added their encouragement.

“Our get-togethers are great fun, aren’t they, Barbara?”

Cassidy watched as Christine Meyer directed this question to one of their female guests.

“Yes, they’re the best,” she agreed with a suggestive smile.

Cassidy continued to watch as her dream-self agreed to be a part of this get-together. She looked through the eyes of her person as though she were a passenger inside of her own body. She followed these events as both participant and spectator. She watched herself drive to the condominium that held the apartment that Ryan Sandoval and Alexandra Hays shared. She recalled being the first to arrive at the apartment behind the owners. She could feel herself going through the doorway to the residence with a pleasant smile on her face. And she began to foresee events an instant before they occurred.

Everything inside the residence looked familiar to The Real-Cassidy. The colors, the feel, the smell of the interior was just as she expected. She knew the floor plan as though this was an innate instinct. The furniture looked the way she expected it look, and it was situated where she expected them to be. Almost immediately Alexandra Hays took her in arm and delighted in touring her through the expensively adorned condo. It all felt like a dream within a movie that she participated in many years back. Shortly into this she began to hear the familiar laughs and giggles of the gang of six as they entered the apartment. She did not know why their laughs were familiar or how she knew that they belong solely to them, but she did.

When Alexandra Hays led her back into the living-room she saw that the remaining members of the booth three regulars were there, comfortably situated about the room. There was no music playing. There were no drinks being consumed. The four guests of the regulars, Barbara Markowitz, Elliot Copeland, Cora Peterson and Kenneth Dunn, were coupled in two locations along the edges of the room, respectively. They whispered and giggled between them as they watched Cassidy and Alexandra enter the room. The remaining five of the regulars were seated in and about the center of the room. Christine Meyer and Evan Pritchard occupied one of the two sofas that faced each other. They were snuggled together as they whispered and giggled while watching Cassidy enter the room. Ronald Hollis was seated in a lounge chair, and Brooke Chapman was seated in his lap. They too were affectionately engaged in whispers and giggles as they watched Cassidy come in. Ryan Sandoval was standing beside the sofa where Christine Meyer and Evan Pritchard were seated. The sofa opposite them was not occupied with anyone.

“Have a seat,” Alexandra Hays proffered with a gesture toward the empty sofa.

The Real-Cassidy could feel the distrust and worry within her dream-self with regards to this odd assembly. Despite this she heard herself thank Alexandra Hays for the courtesy as she walked over and took a seat on the sofa. As she did this she noted that Alexandra Hays took a seat on the opposite sofa and Ryan Sandoval promptly sat next to her and sidled in for a cuddle.

“You have a very attractive home,” Cassidy spoke toward Alexandra Hays and Ryan Sandoval while holding a pleasant smile.

The Real-Cassidy could feel herself scheming to focus the conversation on them. She wanted to encourage them to talk about themselves. She wanted them to reveal their secrets through idle conversation or by a direct proposal to include her in them.

“Thank you,” Alexandra returned with a wide smile that was followed by a mischievous laugh.

Cassidy noted that the other members of the booth three regulars were equally amused about something that only they seemed to know about. Even their other four guests seemed to be out of the loop on the joke.

“So, Ryan, what do you do for a living?” Cassidy questioned at the tail end of this group chuckle.

Again, The Real-Cassidy could feel her dream-self maneuvering the conversation on to them. And again, she noted that her query engendered mirth in the gang of six and nothing from their other four guests. Ryan Sandoval gave the question a large smile that bordered on a grin, and then he forced out an answer despite it.

“As little as possible

“So, you’re financially independent?” Cassidy questioned over the chuckles of the gang of six.

The Real-Cassidy already knew that their situation exceeded financially independent. She recalled that the background check on all six produced a tag of independently wealthy.

“More or less,” Ryan Sandoval returned with a wide smile.

“Is this true of all of you?” Cassidy questioned as she panned across the faces of the gang of six.

Their chuckles expanded into laughter. Shortly, into the midst of this, Evan Pritchard responded.

“More or less.”

The laughter continued for several seconds more. Cassidy noticed that Barbara, Elliot, Cora and Kenneth were as clueless as she about humor prompting this mirth.

“I imagine that I would be bored near to death if I didn’t have something to do,” Cassidy courteously suggested from behind a confused expression and a smile. “What do you do to occupy your time?”

With this question, The Real-Cassidy could feel her dream-self prosecuting her plan to keep the focus on them. But even as she spoke it she began to feel a little dizzy. The sensation caused her to rock back into slightly. She righted herself in time to hear Alexandra Hay’s enthusiastic response.

“We entertain.”

Another burst of laughter erupted from the regulars behind this remark. Cassidy heard nothing coming from the four-additional guests. But she could not tell if this was because they were not laughing or her mind was simply not registering it. With each passing second The Real-Cassidy became increasingly aware that her dream-self was slipping into a stupor. This sudden change in her state mind made her suspicious. She believed it was too quick to be the result of alcohol, and unlikely because she only had a few sips of wine almost an hour earlier. Her thinking went to the idea that she had been drugged, but she could not think of how that was done. She had not ingested anything since the wine.

Nearly a minute went by with nothing being said. The Real-Cassidy took note that the booth three regulars examined her with growing amusement. Near the end of this time they began to whisper between each other, but she could still hear what they said.

“What shall we do with her?” Christine (Dumitra) spoke softly to everyone present.

The question produced a few giggles and shortly a response.

“There is no hurry on that, Dumitra, is there?” Ryan (Radu) spoke with a look and a smile her way.

“What are you thinking, Radu?” Brooke (Adrianna) whispered out.

“She amuses me,” Ryan (Radu) answered from behind a constrained grin.

The Real-Cassidy watched this exchange with a feeling of amazement. But this was a feeling that her dream-self did not share. She could feel that the mind of the Dream-Cassidy was vacant of any thoughts. It felt as if she were lost within a void that existed deep within her brain.

“Flavia, please tell your mate to find his pleasures elsewhere,” Christine (Dumitra) spoke with a turn of her head towards Alexandra.

“Dumitra, you take things too seriously,” Brooke (Adrianna) reported with a feigned look of disapproval.

“It could be, Adriana, that you do not take things seriously enough,” Christine (Dumitra) returned with a serious look that was not at all fake.

“I like her,” Alexandra (Flavia) declared with a wide smile. “Why can’t we just play with her and then blank her memory?”

“Flavia, do please grow up,” Christine (Dumitra) responded with a critical expression.

Alexandra (Flavia) showed no sign of being harmed by the rebuke and was quick to giggle in response.

“I think we should dispose of her,” Evan (Razvan) announced.

“I agree,” Christine (Dumitra) supported an instant behind.

The word dispose set off an alarm inside The Real-Cassidy. For the first time, she became fully aware that they were discussing her demise. She wanted to run or to call for help, but the body of the Dream-Cassidy did not respond to her commands. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see Barbara Markowitz and Elliot Copeland. She examined them for some sign that they might come to her defense, but they looked to be just as dazed as her dream-self. They appeared in every way to be in a catatonic state.

“Razvan, you know we must find out what she knows first,” Ronald (Sorin) instructed soberly. “There could be others examining us.”

Evan (Razvan) pondered this for an instant before agreeing to it with a nod of his head. During this silence that followed Brooke (Adrianna) spoke up with a new point to consider.

“Cristiãn may not care for us doing harm to her,” Brooke (Adrianna) suggested with a shrug.

“Cristiãn likes her,” Alexandra (Flavia) agreed with an excited nodding of her head. “I can see it.”

“Cristiãn will have to find someone else to play with,” Evan (Razvan) challenged gruffly. “This is something we must address right now.”

“Still, we must question her,” Ronald (Sorin) insisted.

“Yes, Sorin, we will do that,” Evan (Razvan) agreed with a hint of exasperation. “The question is, are we in agreement on what we have to do?”

“Shouldn’t that depend on what we hear?” Ronald (Sorin) challenged softly.

“No, she examines us,” Christine (Dumitra) insisted. “She must be eliminated.”

“I think this is too soon after her partner,” Ryan (Radu) pondered out.

“Of course, it will look like an accident,” Evan (Razvan) responded as though he was speaking the obvious.

“It will look suspicious,” Ronald (Sorin) countered an instant behind.

“Suspicious or not, they will not connect it to us,” Evan (Razvan) returned defensively and with temper.

“We dare not become the focus of police attention,” Brooke (Adrianna) spoke up from behind a stern expression.

“There it sits,” Christine (Dumitra) vehemently countered with a look of shock. “And as long as it lives and breathes it will not go away.”

There was no argument in response to this last remark. The Real-Cassidy could see that they were all coming around to the same decision. Ronald, Brooke, Ryan and Alexandra appeared to be doing so with varying degrees of reluctance. Evan and Christine were showing no emotion either way.

“Then it is agreed?” Evan (Razvan) questioned after a moment of silence.

Evan (Razvan) looked to his right and then to his left for any dissension. His eyes settled on Ronald (Sorin) for a few seconds, and he responded to this with a verbal reply.

“It’s agreed.”

Another moment of silence went by and then Alexandra spoke with an absence of the enthusiasm that was normal for her.

“Aw, I like her.”

“Yes, Flavia, we gathered that,” Evan (Razvan) answered with a look of disbelief.

There was a prolonged pause of silence after this. All eyes of the booth three regulars turned toward Cassidy and held there for several seconds. The Real-Cassidy could sense what was about to happen as though it was an exceedingly long occurrence of déjà vu. She knew who was about to speak and what was about to be said. Her attention went to Evan Pritchard an instant before he began to speak.

“Detective Tremaine, what makes you think that we had anything to do with these Greenbelt killings?”

“Haynes made calls to The Cavern,” Cassidy responded with an automatic delivery.

This report seemed to surprise the booth three regulars. There was a sudden moment of silence as all there began to give one another suspicious glance. This moment came to an end when Evan (Razvan) looked to Cassidy with a new question.

“Which of us did he call?”

“I don’t know,” Cassidy answered blandly.

Again, there was a moment of silence as all who were self-aware devoted some time to ponder this answer. After a brief time, Brooke (Adrianna) broke the silence.

“Detective Tremaine, are we being investigated?”

The Real-Cassidy could feel that the Dream-Cassidy was having trouble determining the appropriate answer for that question. Shortly Christine (Dumitra) jumped in with a new query on the same subject.

“Detective Tremaine, is anyone other than you investigating us?”

“No,” Cassidy answered without delay.

“What is the status of this investigation?” Christine (Dumitra) questioned with a stern frown.

“The case is suspended pending a new lead or evidence,” Cassidy returned without any sign of thought.

“Is anyone other than you searching for this new lead or evidence?” Ronald (Sorin) questioned quickly.

“No,” Cassidy returned with a near questioning inflection. “The case will be reviewed periodically by cold case detectives.”

There was a moment of silence behind this answer. Everyone who was self-aware gave the answer a moment of thought. At the end of this Evan spoke up with a new question.

“Does anyone other than you see us as suspects in this investigation?”

“No,” Cassidy promptly returned.

“Detective Tremaine, why didn’t you close the case?” Christine (Dumitra) questioned with mild look of curiosity.

“We think Andrew Lantz may have had an accomplice?” Cassidy returned as though it was an automatic response to this question.

This answer provoked Evan, Ronald Christine and Brooke into giving a moment to consider it. Ryan and Alexandra seemed to be content to let the others do the questioning. Shortly into this thinking the silence was broken by a response.

“She has nothing,” Evan (Razvan) smugly announced to no one in particular.

“She has enough to make her curious of us,” Christine (Dumitra) replied instructively.

“Yes,” Evan (Razvan) agreed with a look and a smile. “But it’s not enough to lead the authorities to us if she comes to an unfortunate end.”

There was a long moment of quiet behind this remark. Evan (Razvan) looked to the others, one after the other, for any disagreement with the direction of his thinking. After a brief time, he took their silence as an affirmation.


“Aw, I’m going to miss her,” Alexandra (Flavia) complained somberly.

“You don’t even know her,” Christine (Dumitra) contradicted from behind a look of incredulity.

“She’s different,” Alexandra (Flavia) argued back playfully. “These weekend party mortals are all the same. I like the feeling of intrigue I get when she’s around,” she finished with a dejected intonation.

“Well, you’re going to have to find your intrigue elsewhere,” Evan (Razvan) instructed with a look toward Alexandra (Flavia). “Detective Tremaine is too dangerous to keep around.”

“Well, if we’re not going to let her go can we at least give her a night she’ll remember for the remainder of her life?” Ryan (Radu) questioned with a sly smile.

“Yes,” Alexandra (Flavia) supported cheerfully.

Evan (Razvan) gave Ryan (Radu) a smug look and a smile before responding.

“I suppose that’s the least we can do.”

Alexandra (Flavia) cheered this on with a wide smile and a quick clasp of her hands. Evan, Christine, Ronald and Brooke snuggled back into their seats and looked on as if they were waiting for her to do something. Briefly after they did this, Alexandra and Ryan followed their lead. The Real-Cassidy noted this with a growing fear. Her imagination was foretelling what was about to happen while her mind attempted to dismiss it as fiction to be ignored.

Shortly into their examination of her, The Real-Cassidy could feel her dream-self stirring into an awareness. The sensation of rousing out of a deep slumber was familiar to her. A dozen seconds later the sensation began to feel too prolonged and unnatural. She could feel how her mind was resistant to achieving full clarity. Nearly a minute into this effort to acquire full clarity of mind she began to hear herself mumbling out one and two word questions.

“What? Where am…? What’s going…?”

The Dream-Cassidy had a feeling of disorientation. It was a sensation that degraded her sense of sight, sound and smell. But the Real-Cassidy had no such hindrance and immediately became aware that the four additional guests of, Barbara Markowitz, Elliot Copeland, Cora Peterson and Kenneth Dunn, were stirring to self-awareness as she was. Their moans and movements coincided with her own. It was another minute into this transition when Cassidy began to feel aroused.

The sensation of feeling sexual excited came on gradually but at a rapid pace. By this time, The Real-Cassidy could feel that the mental state of her dream-self was like that of a stupor. She had a faint awareness of who and where she was, but she was too groggy to act on this. Her effort to clear her head was also being complicated by her growing sexual arousal. Her dream-self was not aware of her growing writhing in response to this sensation. But her real-self could plainly see that the feeling was beginning to break down any inhibitions about her decorum. She also noted that the booth three regulars were watching her evolving contortions with a mixture of dispassion and amusement. They did this near to the exclusion of their four other guests who were kissing and groping as they unclothed each other.

“Elliot,” Alexandra (Flavia) called out to her guest that had Barbara Markowitz pinned to floor and half naked.

There was no response from him. He continued to kiss Barbara Markowitz about the mouth and neck while he fondled her bare breast in his hand.

“Elliot!” Alexandra (Flavia) called out in a louder voice.

Elliot Copeland looked up at Alexandra with a dazed expression. Alexandra directed his attention toward Cassidy with a point of her hand. It took him a moment to comprehend the meaning of the gesture. An instant after that he raced over to the couch and threw himself atop Cassidy. His lips searched out her lips, her neck, her breast. His hands were everywhere. The Real-Cassidy could feel how out of control she was. The Dream-Cassidy was lost in the throes of arousal and lust. Her mind had lost all interest in what was going on. Her body relished the attention of the man that was in the process of ravishing her.

Alexandra (Flavia) giggled repeatedly at the sight of Cassidy’s out of control lust. Ryan (Radu) shared her amusement with a wide smile. Christine, Evan, Brooke and Ronald displayed no sign of amusement in what they were seeing, but their eyes did not stray away. They did this even though Cora Peterson and Kenneth Dunn were already in the act of having sex while Barbara Markowitz kissed and groped at either of the two that gave her any attention at that moment.

Elliot Copeland had been atop of Cassidy for little more than a minute when his hand found its way between her legs. Cassidy moaned excitedly at the feel of it and then searched out Elliot’s lips as if to award this action. She writhed heavily under the attention of his hand and clasped him tight around the neck and back. The Dream-Cassidy was lost in the moment. She could not get enough of the man who was on top of her. All other sounds, and all other presences ceased to exist. There was only the man atop of her and her lust. For the Real-Cassidy every sound and every person within the room registered within her mind. She could the ecstatic moans of Cora Peterson, Kenneth Dunn and Barbara Markowitz as they rolled about the floor. She could see the regulars watching her with a mixture of amusement and glee. And then she heard the apartment door open and shut. Just as this happened Elliot Copeland moved his head down between Cassidy’s legs. Instantly he began to kiss her there while simultaneously searching out the tops of Cassidy’s panties so that he could pull them down. He was a second away from doing just that when David Burrell grasped him by the arm, pulled him up from Cassidy, threw him through the air and onto the floor.

“Cristiãn,” Brooke (Adrianna) called out as she and Ronald (Sorin) stood up. “What are you doing here?”

Ryan and Alexandra followed their lead and rose to their feet. Evan and Christine showed no inclination to give David’s presence any special attention.

“Not her,” David (Cristiãn) bellowed angrily toward Evan (Razvan).

The Real-Cassidy noted David’s anger even as her dream-self jumped up from the couch, threw her arms about David and began to kiss him despite his resistance.

“She’s just another mortal, Cristiãn,” Christine (Dumitra complained with a frown. “Find another to play with.”

Before responding David took a moment to push Cassidy just far enough back to keep her from kissing him. This gulf motivated her to struggle against his restraint.

“This mortal is off limits, Dumitra,” David commanded.

“I told you he liked her,” Alexandra (Flavia) boasted gleefully.

“She’s a danger to us all,” Evan (Razvan) asserted strongly as he got up onto his feet. “You can’t keep her from us.”

“To us all or to you, Razvan?” David questioned angrily. “Is there something you’re hiding?”

“Are you accusing me of something, Cristiãn,” Evan (Razvan) spoke back from behind a scowl.

Cassidy stopped her struggle to get past David’s resistance and went limp. David pulled her into his embrace and allowed her to snuggle atop his chest. The Dream-Cassidy closed her eyes despite the efforts of the Real-Cassidy to do otherwise. David took a moment to return Evan’s scowl before responding to his remark with acrimony in his tone.

“I will not have her harmed.”

“Be reasonable, Cristiãn,” Christine (Dumitra) countered with insistence. “She examines us all. You cannot make a pet of her.”

“Dumitra is right, Cristiãn,” Brooke (Adrianna) supported with an inflection of reluctance. “She is a problem for all of us.”

“I will take care of this,” David returned with a strident delivery.

“Be realistic, Cristiãn,” Ronald (Sorin) pleaded. “She’s a threat.”

“She continues to investigate us,” Brooke spoke in support of Ronald (Sorin). “Think of what could happen if she convinces others to suspect us.”

“We all agreed on this, Cristiãn,” Ronald (Sorin) added soberly.

“You cannot make this decision,” David argued as he gathered up Cassidy’s purse off the end table. “The others will be here Monday. By then she will have lost interest in this investigation. I promise.”

“Don’t be stupid, Cristiãn,” Christine (Dumitra) argued from behind a grimace. “This is her job. She will always come back to this mindset.”

“Monday,” David insisted as he scooped Cassidy up into his arms and setoff for the apartment door. “I have until then. You don’t decide.”

Cassidy promptly opened her eyes, wrapped her arms about David’s neck and began to smooch him there as they walked. David was a step away from reaching the apartment door when Evan (Razvan) yelled after him.

“Monday, Cristiãn!”

The Real-Cassidy listened to this entire conversation as though it had come through a radio. The Dream-Cassidy had no idea what was happening. When David set her down on her feet at the door The Real-Cassidy could feel the excitement that welled up in response to being under her own locomotion again. She immediately went back to trying to kiss David on the lips. He evaded this effort several times as he guided her through the doorway and down the corridor on the other side. The Real-Cassidy could feel the persistence in her dream-self. She felt how her dream-self was aware of nothing. Her desire to have sex with David, or with anyone else available, was a mindless compulsion that dominated her existence at this moment. When they stopped at the elevator door her hands made several attempts to undo his tie and unbutton his shirt. David intercepted these efforts by grasping her hands and steering them away from the garment.

The Real-Cassidy took notice of the smile on David’s face when he restrained her with a hug while looking into her eyes. A few seconds later the bell rung and the elevator door slid open. David separated from the hug and led her into the elevator. When they stopped inside Cassidy’s amorous intentions went into full activation again. Her hands set themselves to the task of disrobing him once again. David quickly pulled her hands away from his shirt. As he did this, Cassidy tilted up with her head and lips. David turned away from the kiss an instant late and then fixed his attention onto the elevator buttons. As he reached out and pressed the button for the parking level Cassidy stooped down and unzipped his pants. David caught her arm an instant before she could put her hand inside his pants. He then pulled her up to full stance and pressed her against the wall of the elevator. While restraining both of her arms behind with just one of his, David zipped up his pants. Once again Cassidy took advantage of his distraction to kiss him on the lips. He entertained this kiss for several seconds before pulling away just as the elevator came to a stop.

“Okay, Ms. Tremaine, let’s get you home,” David whispered to Cassidy with a smile.

When the elevator door slid open, David led a giddy, dazed and affectionate Cassidy into the parking garage and to her car. The Dream-Cassidy had no knowledge of what was happening even though her motor skills and mental acuity had much improved. Her highly aroused state kept her thoughts on David and on sex. And for the first time she could articulate this thinking.

“Are we going to do it in the car, David,” Cassidy inquired with a mixture of intoxication and delight in her manner. “I’ve never done it in a car before.”

Cassidy paused to giggle at the thought of having sex in the back seat of a car, and then she spoke again with greater delight in her tone.

“But there’s a first time for everything. Right?”

The Real-Cassidy paid little attention to what her dream-person was saying. She was too busy noting the return of her mental faculties. She felt her thinking begin to improve from the moment she stepped out of the apartment. It felt as if the intake of new air was clearing the fog from her mind.

“That sounds very exciting, Ms. Tremaine,” David spoke as he stopped beside the driver’s door of Cassidy’s car and began rummaging through her purse for the key. “But I think I’m going to have to pass on that tonight.”

Cassidy’s reaction to this was to step in close so that their faces were an inch apart. She then whispered a reply that was thick with sexual innuendo.

“I know you want me.”

David found the keys, pressed the keypad button to unlock the door and turned away to open it. He then maneuvered Cassidy down into the driver’s seat.

“I want you too,” Cassidy continued with a smile as David lifted her legs into the car. “I always have; from the first moment I saw you. I bet you didn’t know that.”

“No I didn’t,” David responded just before he shut the door.

David closed the driver’s door after this remark and then walked around to the passenger door with the keys still in his hand. He immediately opened the door, climbed into the passenger’s seat and closed the door behind him. No sooner had he done this did Cassidy lean toward David to make their situation more intimate.

“Hi,” Cassidy spoke with a large smile and with her face a couple of inches from his.

“Hi,” David returned with a smile while gently clasping her head between his hands.

This attention brought Cassidy nearly to a grin. She waited for David to kiss her on the lips and was taken by surprise when he kissed her on the forehead.

“Relax,” David whispered into Cassidy’s face as he gently pushed her back into her seat.

At first Cassidy resisted the push back. She strained to connect with David lip to lip.

“Relax, Cassidy. Relax,” David continued to whisper as he slowly settled Cassidy back into her seat.

The Real-Cassidy could feel how her dream-self was calming. She noted how quickly the effect was washing over her.

“Sleep,” David instructed softly.

An instant after hearing this word the Dream-Cassidy closed eyes and began to drift off into a slumber.

“Sleep,” David continued to whisper while he slowly took his hands away from Cassidy’s head. “Sleep, sleep.”

David moved back from Cassidy and examined her for a short time as she slept. At the end of this he began to speak to her in a soft voice. The Real-Cassidy sensed this from what she could hear, but she could see nothing while the eyes of her dream-self were closed.

“Cassidy, do you hear me?”

“Yes,” Cassidy answered with her eyes still closed.

“Cassidy, when you awaken you will not remember what happened upstairs. You will not remember coming here. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy returned as she slept.

“When you wake up your only thought will be to go home. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy answered as she continued to sleep.

“When you wake up you will not remember meeting Ryan, or Alexandra, or Brooke, or Ronald, or Christine or Evan. You will forget your entire time with them. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy answered.

“Cassidy, listen carefully to this,” David leaned forward and whispered. “Are you listening?”

“Yes,” Cassidy answered from behind closed eyes.

“When you get home, you will go to bed, and you will sleep for the remainder of the night. When you wake up tomorrow you will feel refreshed. You will feel happy. And your investigation of the Greenbelt murders will be the last thing on your mind. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy confirmed from beneath her sleep.

“You will lose all interest in this case. As the hours, days, weeks and months go by, you will remember less and less of it. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy confirmed.

After this confirmation, David said nothing for several seconds. The Real-Cassidy suspected that he was examining her. It was the only explanation that made sense of this silence.

“When you hear the car door close, you will start to wake up,” David instructed at the end of this silence. “When you are fully awake, you will go home. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Cassidy confirmed again.

Cassidy saw none of this, but she listened to all that had been said with great interest. She recalled the words just an instant before they were spoken, but this rehearing had her greatly intrigued. Because the eyes of the Dream-Cassidy were closed she had no visual memory of this this exchange. She took note of the silence that came after this remark, and then she felt a soft kiss on her lips. A few seconds after this she heard the front passenger car door open, and then she heard the thump of it as the door was slammed shut.

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