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Chapter 20

Friday, March 16th, 2029


I cannot tell where I am. I think I’m dreaming, but I’m not one hundred percent sure. I don’t want to be here, not again. I open my eyes and I’m in a dark room, it is pitch black. It’s like nothing had changed from when I had them closed. I try to feel my way around the room, but it seems I’m shackled to the wall. I try to scream for help, but my voice doesn’t come. I try and I try, silence reigns.

I can’t just be here forever. I can’t stand being in confined spaces. My head is pounding. I can’t stand anything anymore. I sit in this hellhole for what seems like hours, slipping in and out of consciousness. I can’t tell what’s real or fake anymore. Time doesn’t seem to have any meaning anymore. Who’s to say what a second or an hour is when your only reference is darkness? Everything is one time. Now.

Finally, I see a light, a door about ten feet away from me opens. All I see is a mixture of whites and blacks, No shapes. I hear a chilling sound, it sounds familiar, but unrecognizable at the same time. It’s a man’s voice and I cannot tell if it’s real or just in my head.

“Welcome to my world of darkness, Jonathan,” the voice says, a bit clearer this time.

“D-Don’t call me J-Jonathan,” I mutter out, finding my voice. It’s a lot more strained than I originally thought. “What do you mean about a world of darkness?”

“I mean just that. It’s dark in here. I thought that was easy enough to understand. Maybe the drugs haven’t worn off yet,” the voice says, laughing.

“W-Where am I? Where’s...Sarah? What’d you do to me?” I ask.

He sighs. “We had to...give you a little sedative to keep you from being a pain. Well, more than you already are.”

“A little of what?”

“Well, what would be the fun in telling you? I mean, that’s how you would get me to stall so you could find some way out, is that not true?”

“Where am I?” I continue, ignoring his question.


“Where am I?!” I ask again, my voice growing hoarser each time.

He sighs again. “You’re in custody.”

“That’s not what I mean,” I say, aggravated.

“You asked me where you were and I told you. Who am I but a proper host?” the voice asks.

“You...who...are you?” I blurt out.

A bright light enters my vision and I can sort of feel the effects of the drug wearing off, I can see him coming into view. He’s wearing a white pinstripe suit with matching slacks. I can instantly recognize the attire. For confirmation’s sake, I take a look up and I see the jack-o-lantern like grin on the mask of his.

“Micah?!” I exclaim.

“Ah, I see you’re regaining all of your senses, great,” he says with delight. “Your skills at playing “Guess Who” are a little lacking based on context clues. I would definitely refrain from picking you if I had a choice of partners.

“What do you want with me?” I ask.

“That’s the line everybody who gets kidnapped says, isn’t it?” He starts. “Oh, what do you want with me? What could I have done to possibly deserve this?” He mimics in a high pitch. “I believe you already know, John. You spoke with Reinhardt, didn’t you?”

“You cannot expect me to go along with a plan that condemns the human race! That’s absurd!”

“Ha! So you do know!”


“I was proving a point. That your asking of questions is unneeded.”

This guy’s a pedantic asshole.

“John, it isn’t as black and white as you think it is. And if you really think you have a choice in the matter, well, you’re crazier than I am.”

“It may not, but you cannot eradicate everyone just because of-”

“Just because of what? You really think you’re going to convince me of anything, sleeping beauty? Fat chance.”

“I’d hope that you’d see reason when he is obviously going to trash you later,” I say, looking away.

I feel Micah’s hand grab my chin and pull me forward, so I can see the slits of the mask up close and personal. “I’d think not. I’d also like to think you’d rather worry about your own situation rather than mine,” Micah says.

“I...I don’t understand. None of this is making any sense.”

“You will understand within time, do not worry. Why spoil the fun now?” he says, shoving my head back. My head smacks against the wall behind me and I can see stars in my vision.

“And what of everyone else?” I ask, my vision clearing up.

“The others are unimportant. Reinhardt sees the purpose in only you.”

“That purpose would be...what exactly?”

“I already told you I wasn’t going be spoiling any of the surprises, didn’t I? What do you take me for, some two-bit amateur?” He fixes his collar, kneels down to my eye level and speaks slowly and methodically. “Now, do try to get some sleep. It’s going to be a long ride.” He rustles my hair and gives off a small chuckle. He stands back up and walks towards the exit of the room. As if on cue, the light in the room is snuffed out as soon as he leaves. It is pitch black again. I’m left in the blinding darkness and I’ve nobody to talk to, to listen to, anything at all.

Then again, it isn’t like I’m used to being with other people. Another light enters my vision and then I look to see my watch on my wrist, its face glowing green. I hadn’t even remembered to put it on, how did that get there? Surely it was still with the rest of my things back in the courtroom? I look down at myself and sure enough I’m still in the orange jumpsuit from before. I cannot reach around to change the display, so all I can see is the display of the random numbers.

It seems to be rising, but it seems like it went really low. It was just at 10 not a moment ago, but now it’s gone up to 11 and then 12. An indefinite amount of time later I can see it’s risen to 50 and even longer it’s stretched all the way to 190. Maybe it’s searching for something? It could be like, sensing how close I am to something?

A familiar voice appears in my head. “This is but a prologue, John. You have much, much more to learn.”


“What are...how are you even communicating with me?” I ask.

“It all began the moment you stepped in the middle of my three towers. I had the head puppet here install them so that I could begin our link.”

“Link? Like...a telepathic link?” I ask.

“If you want to restrict it to just that, then yes, but it is also so much more.”

“What do you mean by more?”

“You wonder about your leg wound, you broke it in the car crash, and when you next woke up it was completely healed.”

“Wh-What? Did you have something to do with that?”

“I did. I gave you a gift, a gift to heal your body. Your cells now have regenerative properties that when left alone heal wounds.

“This…is also how my head wound healed, right after that link?”

“It is. It is also how you’ve been seeing these dreams, I’ve been transmitting them to you. I’ve been doing so for a very long time, but you’ve only recently grew into the ability to receive them.”

“And you did the same with Sarah?”

“I needed to organize some sort of union in hopes Micah would grab you both, but it is fine with just you.”

“What do you want with Sarah…or Me?”

I wait what seems to be an eternity, just sitting in silence waiting for a reply, anything, but then I realize that’s the exact opposite of what I want. I don’t want him to talk to me. I don’t want him to be in my head, none of it. I slink back against the wall and pull my knees close and begin sobbing.

I look down at my watch again at the random numbers, it shows 2770. What? How could it have risen so far so fast?

My eyes open suddenly and I’m sitting upright in a chair in the middle of a square shaped confined room. How did I get here? Or…have I been here the whole time? No, I was chained to a wall just a moment ago. I was certain I didn’t close my eyes either, so how did I do this? Or maybe…did Reinhardt take control for a time? I try to stand up, but I find that my wrists are bound to the armrests on the chair. It’s always something.

I look around me and I see that the walls are all white, the floor is white and I’m not even sure what is behind me but I can guess it is white too. Whoever designed this place must either really like white, or I’m in some sort of mental ward. Maybe it’s both.

I’m greeted by laughter as another man, one who I’m unfamiliar with, strides in from behind. He walks right in front of me, he wears a face of confidence and a bit of arrogance. He stands tall with short brown hair cut close to his head.

“So, you are the John I keep hearing about,” he says, his voice miles below my own.

“Now who are you? I’m sick of waking up to all these strange old men,” I say.

His eyes are dark and mysterious. I have to blink to make sure I’m not missing anything, but his pupils are actually white. They’re a shade darker than the rest of his eyes, but it’s really freaky looking. He looks to be in his mid-fifties. He’s wearing a black suit and long black pants. Not everything is black and white? The wardrobe design for these guys seems to be.

He remains stone faced and walks right up to me. He bends down until he is at eye level with me. I feel his breath on my face.

“You’re in the presence of Oliver Avery, commanding officer and ruling president of these United States. I would certainly hope that you would show some respect,” he says.

“Where? I’d love to meet him,” I say, sarcastically.

He punches me in the gut and I can feel the air leave my body.

“You’re looking at him,” the man says.

“H-Huh, a little more...wrinkled than I would have imagined our dictator to be,” I say.

This is why I don’t do sarcasm. I’m shit at it. That little voice in your head that normally tells you to avoid saying stupid things...I think mine’s broken right now. I just can’t stop saying them. There’s something else that seems fishy in all of this, though. I just can’t put my finger on it.

“You know, Micah informed me about your little friends. Feel free to keep up the act while they suffer because of your lack of respect,” he says.

“Wait a minute, I thought something was odd. Don’t you have a bounty or something on Micah’s head? Now you’re working together?” I ask.

Oliver cracks a smile. It isn’t a full smile, or even half of a smile. More like a remnant of a smile. “That had been the original plan. I’d intended to have the rebel locked up for his actions, but he showed me something that had proven his usefulness.”

“What would that be?” I ask.

“You have a knack at getting people to talk, you know that, boy?”

“Well, you don’t give me anything else to do, maybe once we’re done chit-chatting we can go play some pool or something,” I say.

Why do I keep doing that? I can’t control the words coming out of my own mouth. This isn’t me...is this Reinhardt’s doing? I have a bad feeling about all of this. Maybe he’s stopped talking to me because he’s figured out how to talk through me. I shudder at the thought.

“At first, I thought his ramblings about his god or whatever to be trivial.”

“At first?” I ask.

“Minds change, John. Things aren’t as-”

“Black and white as I think. You don’t know how many times people say that to me.”

“I experienced a dream with Reinhardt and he showed me the way. I understand my place, as should you. You are an essential part to the human cleansing process.”

“Now, I’m sure you know that you would be...cleansed as well? It’s not a good cleansing, either,” I explain.

Oliver chuckles. “It is too late for us, we’ve corrupted too much.”

I’m not going to get anywhere with this argument. “Tough luck. I refuse to be part of anything that kills so many people.”

“It never was your choice to be made.”

“What do you mean? I thought you said that I was the key to all of this?”

“Yes, you are, but you aren’t. Your spirit is not required once we’re finished. You must know of your power?”

“What do you know of it?” I ask.

“Only what the good lord has told me. Your power was given to you because you were chosen. There were others before you. They were unfit to serve the good lord, but you’re different.”

“How’s that?” I ask.

“That is yet to be told,” Oliver says.

“What? So you don’t even know?” I ask.

“You have to have a little faith in the good lord, John.”

“Your faith will lead you to your death! You and anyone who follows him, hahah!” I burst out laughing, on the outside at least.

How horrible, he’s telling him straight to his face that his faith is worthless and I have to sit here and watch it all unfold.

“You have the premium tickets, front row seats and backstage passes to all that is going to unfold.”

Oliver looks down at me with his stone-faced stare. He stares at me for a couple of seconds and then walks behind me. I feel a sharp jab in my neck. I open my mouth to cry out, but a gloved hand covers it whole. My head begins shaking and I turn my head slowly to the right. He bends down right beside me and cracks another half-smile.

“It’s time to complete the connection,” he says calmly.

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