Thursday, March 15th, 2029
I’m in a world of black. I open my eyes and black surrounds everything. I’m lying on the ground. Or...at least it is what I believe to be the ground. I see a figure standing in the distance. I stand up and begin running over to it. Once I get closer I see a shadowed figure. They’re completely encased in black, but I think I recognize a humanoid shape.
“W-Who are you?” I ask
“Well...John, I’ve been...waiting to meet you,” the shadow figure says, slowly and methodically. Its voice is as deep as it gets. I recognize it as the voice in my head.
“How do you know my name?” I ask.
“I know all about you, dear child. Poor shame what happened to your...parents,” the man says.
“Calm down, you really shouldn’t be addressing your future god in such a tone.”
“Hm, you’re much more clueless than I had originally thought. I have been called many a name in my day, but you may call me Reinhardt.”
My eyes go wide. “You’re the one that was in that note,” I answer, looking downward.
“Yes, I trust Micah gave you the message?”
“What the hell did you do?!”
“That isn’t important, Jonathan.”
“Don’t call me Jonathan,” I say, gritting my teeth.
“Why not? It is your name, isn’t it?”
“I don’t want the likes of you saying it. It’s just John to you,”
“My, my. What a temper you have.”
“Don’t patronize me.”
“I’d like to think that you’d want some answers, yes?”
I stop talking.
“Yes, that is much better.”
“Where...are we?” I say, waving my arms around.
We’re still surrounded in complete darkness. Reinhardt waves his arm around and then holds it out as if he were presenting the darkness to a potential customer.
“This...is the Dreamscape.”
“The Dreamscape is the foundation of my life’s work,” Reinhardt begins.
“So, you aren’t actually a God?”
“Between you and me, no, I didn’t start out this way. Those idiots believe me to be their savior into the afterlife. Let them, I say. Free labor is a hard thing to come by.”
“What is that...I mean, what does that mean?”
“It is the physical manifestation of the future.”
What the hell does that-?
“It means that it cannot be changed, John.”
Shit, he can read my thoughts?
“Think of it this way, the Dreamscape is a theater and you’re one of a select few with tickets,” Reinhardt explains. “It’s not its only use, but that will come up later.”
“There’s another like me,” I say.
“Yes, Miss Sarah is quite the special one,” Reinhardt begins smiling.
“Anytime you dream from now on, you will enter the Dreamscape. I do not know the cause of your potential awakening immediately, but I’d just chalk it up to time. Once you enter here, the Dreamscape shall change to accompany whichever setting and location that it sees fit for you.”
I look into his dark eyes for the first time and in the darkness I see not light reflected, but words.
“Memento Mori,” he says, turning his head down to me.
“The words you see in my eyes, are they not?”
I nod slowly.
“It’s Latin, John, “Remember death”.”
Remember death? What the hell could that mean?
“That is the literal translation. You could take it to mean, Remember your mortality. Remember those who have died. Remember that you too will die.”
I look downward and the scene below me begins to change. It is as if I am standing on a glass pane above a giant city, but not just any city. It is the city from my dreams. “This is Denver, Colorado, where it all began,” Reinhardt explains.
“The tests, don’t you...” He looks momentarily confused. “Oh, my sincerest apologies...I had accidentally mistaken you for...gods you were so much alike,” he says, stroking his chin.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Nothing, just an old...acquaintance or two...” Reinhardt trails off.
“Would...that be two guys? One with black hair and one with dirty blonde?”
Reinhardt stops in his tracks and his shadowed head looks straight at me for a few seconds. “These dreams have shown you a bit more than even I could imagine.”
So, they are the ones that he’d known before. I look below me the city begins to change. I see smoke begin to rise and through the smoke I see outlines of purple and red lights. They seem to be like beacons of a sort. They pop up almost exponentially. One at first, then two, then ten until the whole city is filled with purple and red lights.
This is the outline of life that once was.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Memento Mori. This scene is that phrase in action. This is the eighteenth when all hell breaks loose,” Reinhardt explains.
“So, those lights...”
“Are all the people that will die, yes.”
I look down at all of the glowing lights.
“It can’t just end like that, how can it just end that way?” I say.
“Why not? Humans kill and maim each other on a daily basis. This is fast forwarding past all of the gruesome images.”
“You are human,” I say.
“I was human. To live is to err, but I am not even technically living.”
“What can I say? The world is a horrible place.”
“You’re wrong. There are good humans out there who don’t deserve this,” my voice grows in volume.
“Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?” He asks, a slight tone taken into his voice.
“You should take up Latin, John. It teaches you some lessons you might not learn otherwise.”
“What did that mean, then?”
“Where are those who lived before us?”
“What do you mean...those before us?”
“What is says, John. Where are the people that lived previously? Where are the supposed good humans you speak of?”
He looks towards me and casts out his arm, immediately, the world around us returns to darkness and the shadows around him seem to tighten and become more mysterious. “They’re dead, John. The people before us are all dead. We are a race that is destined to die and every second inbetween we only cause damage. I’ve transcended the human imperfections and will continue to rule this world and bring it back to its former glory.”
“Y-You’re insane, you do know that, right?” I ask.
“To someone who doesn’t understand, I may seem insane. I assure you that I am the most sane out of everyone here in this world.”
“I’m going to stop you,” I say.
“Many have said that before you, John. Who knows, you might even meet some of them, but what makes you so sure you’ll be the one whose sword drives home?”
I feel my voice leaving me. I can’t speak anymore. He begins to smile once more and I feel my body beginning to go numb. I drop to the ground, but I can still see the chaos that is happening below. I crane my head up using the last of my strength. Reinhardt walks over to me and kneels down. I see his smile one last time as he closes my eye lids.
“Wake up, John.”
“Wake up, John.”
“John, wake up!”
My eyes open like a flash. I see a solid gray color above me. I realize I’m lying against something hard and brittle. I turn my head sideways and notice metal bars running horizontal. Then I notice it is the angle which my head is turned which makes them seem horizontal. Through the metal bars I see Sarah. She is gripping the bars with an iron grip and shouting at me. I sit up and I get a better view of my surroundings. I’m sitting in a jail cell for one thing.
“There you go!” Sarah says.
“Sarah?!” I ask. Turning myself upright and I hop off of the bed. I wince and fall down the instant I put pressure on my left leg.
“Don’t strain yourself!” Sarah says.
I look down towards my leg and it’s bent at an awkward angle.
“I’m...I’m sorry, I just forgot.” I say.
“I was so worried about you,” she says.
“Me? I was worried about that detective leaving you there for dead! What is up with that?!” I ask.
“I don’t know,” she answers.
“Where’s Iris?” I ask.
“She went home a few hours ago. I told her I was going to stay until you woke.”
“What time is it?”
“I think it’s a little after three, still the thirteenth.”
“So…this is all real?” I ask, rubbing my head.
Sarah’s face grows sad and she nods slowly.
“The story seems to be that you killed your parents and then went to kill Mr. Underwood.”
“So…it doesn’t look good,” I reply. She shakes her head. “So, you really waited all this time for me to wake up?” I ask.
“Well...I wanted to make sure you were okay,” she says, blushing. Immediately after she perks right up, “Right! I’ve also got some good news!”
“I called around for a lawyer for you and I found someone who said he’d help.”
“Help? Help with what?”
“I think I should just let him explain.”
A confused look crosses my face and Sarah backs away from the bars. A new face enters. It is a very clean cut gentleman-like man. It takes me a minute to realize that he is the man from my dream, the one with the black hair who had known Reinhardt before. He looks to be wearing a very expensive suit. I don’t see the light bursting behind his eyes, but I do sense a lot of inner turmoil. In front of that turmoil I do sense a sense of duty and compassion for those around him.
“Hello, John. My name is Andrew Cress, but I’m not one really for formalities. You can call me Andy.”