Thursday, March 15th, 2029
I look straight at Andy, my eyes unblinking. I then also realize where I’d heard of this man before, even before my dream. I hadn’t seen him before, but I did hear whispers of a guy named Andrew Cress.
“Wait, I heard about you, you were in that game, weren’t you?” I ask.
Andy lowers his head. “The experience that you are going to refer to happened seven years ago. I would like for it to remain there,” he says stone cold.
“Oh, of course,” I say, nervously.
“What I’m here for is to help you and to do that, you need to help me.”
“How are you going to help?” I ask.
Andy looks back up at me, smiling, “I’m here to defend you in court.”
His mood sure changes on a dime.
“Andy here is a really famous lawyer back in Colorado,” Sarah begins.
“I used to work back there, but I moved up here for personal reasons.” Andy finishes, laughing.
Colorado? That is the second time today that something relevant has come out of Colorado and the second time it has dealt with Reinhardt. Maybe he was right and this whole thing is related to Andy’s case seven years ago.
“What’s all this about court, anyway? Don’t trials take like, months to start and finish?” I take my mind off of my own thoughts.
“That was before the shutdown...Times have changed, John. Your trial is scheduled for Friday,” Andy explains.
“Friday?! That’s in three days!” I nearly shout.
“Avery made the change. He took the “speedy trial” bit from the constitution a little bit literal,” Andy explains.
“You don’t say?” Sarah asks.
I sit back on the little cot I was lying in.
“So, you said you needed my help?” I ask.
Andy nods his head.“Is there anything you remember at all about the time of the murders?” He stands back and takes a breath. Next, he takes out a small notepad from his coat pocket and a pen.
I shake my head. “Not much, I remember waking up to an empty gymnasium. I looked around me and all there was on the ground was blood,” I say and he begins scrawling on the pad. “There wasn’t any blood between me and the body, which was odd. His stomach and pretty much all of the rest of his internal organs were strewn about and there was a bullet hole in his forehead.”
“Would you mind putting that in writing?” he asks, finishing up.
“Don’t you have it in writing right there?” Sarah asks.
“These are for me to keep a handle on the case. The court won’t accept notes in my own handwriting. I need something from you, like an affidavit,” he explains.
“Sure, could you get me a pen and paper?” I say.
“It’s going to be a tad more difficult than that,” he says, looking away.
“How so? Don’t I just write it down and sign it?”
“Affidavits need to be sworn in by someone of legal ability. Now, we’re in short supply of legal advisers able to sign off on affidavits, what with the whole legal revamp that Avery did.”
“So, what do we do now?” I ask.
“Couldn’t you just swear it in?” Sarah asks.
“I could...if I wanted to get our case thrown out before it even begins. It’s in extremely bad conscience to have the presiding lawyer sign in on their defendant’s affidavit. If it doesn’t disbar that lawyer, then it ruins any credible reliability in this country that they have,” Andy says.
“So, we have no legal ability to put in my word in?” I ask.
“Not exactly, One of the changes to the system is that we can get the judge to swear in your affidavit through testimony and as long as your two stories don’t differ, we should be fine,” Andy explains.
“Okay, so just tell the same thing as I write down?”
“What I need you to do is to tell the truth. If you do that, then there isn’t any need to remember anything.”
“Is that...Judge Judy?” I ask.
This seems to catch him off guard, “I...didn’t expect anyone your age to get that,” he says.
I smirk as Andy hands me the pen and the notepad and I begin writing. I write down everything from the smell of the blood to the positions of the stab wounds and bullet hole on Mr. Underwood.
“Is there anything else you remember, like anything before the crime?”
“No, I was unconscious for about two weeks prior to the incident.”
“He’d been put in as a missing person from February 26th to March 12th, where I’d found him outside of the school,” Sarah looks from Andy and then to me, giving me a weak smile.
“Give or take,” I answer.
“I find that hard to believe…but you aren’t lying to me, very strange.”
“You can tell if he is lying to you?” Sarah asks.
Andy nods his head, “Now, you may not believe this and I don’t expect you to, but I can usually pick up on people’s nervous habits. The visual tells that tells the whole truth when people lie.”
“That sounds incredibly useful,” I say. He seems more connected in this whole thing than I originally had thought. I mean, he can see things like this? Is he just like Sarah and me? How far back does this thing go?
“So, tell me what you remember last, John,” Andy begins.
I shake my head for a few seconds, clearing my head.
“The last day I was conscious was February 26th. I went to my room after meeting up with Sarah earlier in the day. I had a dream where a man, Micah, handed me a note saying he was going to borrow me-”
“H-Hold up, John. I don’t have to tell you that dreams don’t count as admissible testimony in a court of law, do I?” Andy interrupts.
I think to myself for a moment. “The…note!”
I reach for my pocket and then I realize I’m wearing some prison-wear.
“Where are my clothes?” I ask.
“What?” Andy asks.
“My clothes I was wearing when I was arrested. Surely they must be somewhere?”
“Let me go check,” Andy goes to leave my field of view. Sarah and I wait in silence just staring at each other. No words are needed to share our tension and worry. Andy comes back a few minutes later with a plastic bag and my clothes inside them.
“Now, what did you need these for?” he asks.
“In the…right pocket there should be a note,” I say, running up to the bars and gripping them hard. Andy picks up my blood stained jeans and ruffles through the right pocket. He pulls out a slip of paper, it has dried blood splattered on it.
Andy unfolds it and begins reading it.
I want to learn about you, Jonathan. When the time comes I’ll have to borrow you. It is only because Reinhardt has an interest in you, so nothing personal, okay? March 18th is approaching.
“How…did you get this?” Andy asks.
“You said you had the ability to see people’s habits, did you not?” I ask.
“Yes, what does that have to do with-”
“I want you to do it, right here.”
“I’m going to tell you how I have that slip of paper and it is going to be the truth. You will know it is the truth, am I correct?” Andy is silent for a minute and then nods slowly. “You aren’t the only one…with a strange ability. With something that you can do that nobody else would believe. I do too and in fact, Sarah has it too.”
“John, you aren’t considering-” Sarah says.
“I need to Sarah. Now, back to what I was saying. I got that note in a dream, from the man named Micah. Surely you’ve heard of him?” I ask.
Andy nods his head and takes a deep breath. “More than you know,” he says.
“Well, he handed it to me. He handed it to me in my dream. Whenever I dream...since the 25th I’ve been...I’ve been able to see images or visions or what have you of the future.”
“It’s not just that. Things that happened in these dreams started spilling into the real world...where’s my watch?” I look down to my wrist and then back to the bag Andy is holding. “Get out the watch from inside there,” I say.
Andy reaches inside the bag and takes out my Pulsar Mark II.
“This looks familiar,” Andy says.
“Press the button on the side twice,” I say.
Andy does so and I see the holographic projection come up and it is the same message as before.
“This looks like a bunch of...wait a second,” he says. “It’s...talking about the end of the world?”
“It lists a date, March 18th, 2029, this year, five days from now. I’d seen that date the day before this message popped up.”
“I’d seen that message too, that’s the one Micah hacked into the local news, right?” Sarah asks, looking over Andy’s shoulder.
“I’d seen this message and then the next night I received a note from Sarah, giving me her phone number, where we met up and started talking about. The next night...the night when I was kidnapped, I received that note in your hands from Micah and then the scenery started shifting around me in the dream. Then I was being grabbed by what seemed like several people. I was half awake and half in the dream and it all blended together and then the next time I was aware of my surroundings I was sitting in the gymnasium, covered in blood.”
“That is...a lot to take in,” Andy says.
“It’s true,” I say.
“I believe him,” Sarah looks to Andy for confirmation.
“I didn’t sense any nervous habits from you or any falsifications in your story,” Andy says.
“And then there was something else...”
“Just now, before you came in, I had a dream. I met with this...shadowed figure.”
“You too?” Sarah asks.
Andy turns to look at Sarah.
“I sort of nodded off, before I woke you up. I’d only done so when I’d woken up from it. He said his name was...something with an “R”, right?”
“Reinhardt, but I don’t think that’s his real name,” I say, my mind racing.
“What...what is it?” Andy asks.
“The figure, he showed me this place...the place where I go in my dreams, Sarah too, it seems. He called it the Dreamscape, it was a manifestation of these dreams. He called it like...a theater.”
“He must be like...projecting these dreams to us, because the Dreamscape can change and adjust itself to fit his needs, the figures, I mean.”
“So, this shadowy figure is showing you these images, this supposed doomsday on the eighteenth of March?” Andy asks.
“I’d seen them, those numbers in that message. I see them in people’s eyes like a reflection, signify the eighteenth of this month. The first dream I had of this caliber was the city of Colorado being demolished to pieces. No survivors.”
“Hold it.” Andy interrupts.
“Just now…I sensed your habit,” Andy says.
“When you were talking about there not being any survivors, your hand began to tense up.”
I look towards my hand and I can see the smallest of veins popping out.
“So, you did see that.”
“John, what does that mean?” Sarah asks.
“It means…there were two survivors in my dream. It was you and Iris,” I say.
“You aren’t telling the whole story,” Andy says.
I look down at the ground and sigh.
“I was there, too.”
“John...” Sarah says.
“P-Please, I don’t want to say any more,” I stutter.
I fall to my knees, grappling the bars as my only support.
“Okay. I can tell you mean the truth behind your words,” Andy says.
“That power of yours is certainly potent,” Sarah says.
I’m shaking, trying not to break down.
“And going by what you’ve said, so is yours,” Andy turns to Sarah.
“You have friends with you, do you not?” I say, remembering my dream. There was another with him.
“What?” Andy asks.
“Dirty blond, scruffy hair, two different colored eyes, sound familiar? Then a woman with long black hair?” I ask, standing back up.
“How did you…did you see it in a dream somewhere?”
“I saw the both of you talking. You were talking about looking for someone and how they were connected with dreams. I also got an interesting bit of information. When I was in the dream with Reinhardt, he mentioned he had previously met with the two of you,” I say.
“The shadowed man…that could only mean one thing…” Andy says quietly.
“Which would be what?” Sarah asks.
“John, I want you to tell me if you saw any detail in this man whatsoever. Hair length, color, eye color, anything,” Andy says, grabbing a hold of the bars.
I shake my head. “I didn’t see anything, all of his body was covered in darkness, his voice was really deep, if that’s anything to go off of,” I say.
“I’m almost certain that this Reinhardt fellow you two saw was the same man behind my experience,” Andy says, shaking his head.
“You mean…that game?” I ask.
“Game?” Sarah asks.
Andy lifts his head up, “Seven years ago I was trapped inside of a virtual reality video game. It was called Elysium and I was one of thousands that were a part of the virtual prison for the better part of a week.”
“A week?” Sarah asks.
“Don’t let that time fool you. Over four thousand people were killed in that game. Approximately ten thousand were sent inside of this game, that’s nearly half of the people dead. Those were ten thousand people and I that was forced to play this one man’s sick and twisted game…”
“This man...what about him?” I ask.
“I’m certain that the man behind Elysium is your Reinhardt, but back then I knew him as Jack Adata.”
“And what of your friend?” Sarah asks.
Andy is silent for a moment and then looks up.
“His name is Gavin Daniels. His story is similar to mine, but he’s honestly been through so much more than I. I’ll let him explain when you meet him and he’s been plagued by your Reinhardt as much as I have, even more I think.”
“Am I the one you were looking for?” I ask.
“It’s looking like it, John.”
“Well, so what do we do from here?” I ask.
“You’re going to have to stay here for the night and tomorrow we have your trial. It’s going to start right at ten in the morning, so I’d say arrive a little early. Once we get you acquitted we’ll meet up with everyone else and we’ll talk about what to do from there,” Andy explains.
“It isn’t just Gavin and I here, but I’ll explain more on that when you actually meet them,” he says. He nods his head to both Sarah and me and then says nothing more as he walks out of the room. Sarah approaches the bars once more.
“We’ve got one hell of a fight tomorrow,” I say.
“You can say that again.”
“We’ve got one hell of a-”
Sarah punches my arm playfully. “I should go. It is getting late and my mother is probably worried sick. I’d stay with you all night if it were possible,” Sarah says.
“It’s okay. I understand. Go on and get some rest, it is going to be a long day tomorrow,” I say, giving off a fake smile. She returns one back. I am not sure if it is fake or not. She too leaves the room and I am left alone in my cell. I close my eyes and sleep comes easy.