Sunday, March 18th, 2029
The van continues down the stretch, we’re getting closer and closer to John…to Jack. It looks like it is several miles long with water on both sides, it’s barely wide enough for the van to drive alongside it.
As we near the center a chill starts to form around us, even inside the van. I look to Andy who looks back at me. “If Micah was causing too much stress on the world…imagine what Jack is doing,” he says.
“Sarah, you know that if we do what Jay asked us to do, we have to fully commit to it. You can’t let your feelings deter you from what you need to do,” Iris says, her voice a bit strained.
“Right, that’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about.”
“We’re putting him out of the misery that Jack is causing him,” Andy says.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“John, are you looking at this? The VIP guests are arriving to the party right on time. They’ll be here in due time.”
I sit in the darkness, facing away from the peepholes that show the outside world. “If you want to be a part of ending everything then fine, just don’t involve me in it,” I bark back.
“Are you losing your resolve? That is something I’d expect out of your piss-for-brains father.”
“Wake me up when you’re done gloating,” I call out, lying down and looking up at the darkness.
“I don’t think you understand who you’re talking to, John.”
“I’m talking to a maniac. It doesn’t matter what the fuck I say to you anyway, you can’t do anything to me anymore, you’ve already done your worst.”
“I can kill your friends.”
“You were planning on it from the beginning, no amount of me kissing your putrid ass would change that, so you know what? Fuck you. And do you know what else? You aren’t going to kill them, because they’re here to send a bullet straight through your brain…my brain.”
“They aren’t killing me if it is worth saving you.”
“I’ll gladly make the sacrifice to rid the world of you.”
“But do they know that?”
I stop for a moment. They don’t even know it’s Jack…or do they? Could they figure it out if they get out? What if they don’t know? Would they be willing to take the shot if they did?
“This day was destined to happen since the beginning of time, John. The events had been set in motion by my father, and I was born to continue his work, to continue and expand!”
I see a spark in the darkness above me, the slightest amounts of illumination. I look at it in wonder as it ignites, letting off light like a sparkler. An older man’s face emits from the light. There is a look of wonder on his face.
“Jonathan, is that you?”
“What’s the deal with everyone calling me Jonathan? It’s just John. And who are you, one of his figments of my imagination?”
“Oh, John, I’m so sorry, I’ve been such a terrible dad.” The anger suddenly dissipates, the light lowers to the ground beside me, the light continues to fill the rest of his body in, and then leaves him sitting there.
“What do you mean…Dad? My parents are dead, killed by Micah.”
I look into his eyes, his stormy-gray eyes mirror my own, his hair kept short and dark.
“I…I…those weren’t my real parents.”
“I am so sorry, John. I never meant for you to become involved in this. I see what you’ve been through and realize my judgment has been misguided. I had thought that Peter and Tonya would take care of you, I had believed they’d give you everything you’d need.”
“What do you mean…you saw what I went through?”
“I’m dead, John. A simple accident, but it happened nonetheless. I prefer it that way, because now I can be here for you to tell you that no matter what has happened I have always loved you.”
“It is kind of a little late for that,” I say.
“I don’t deserve your forgiveness, I know this. I know you’ve been through so much without me around, and I cannot apologize for it enough, I thought I was keeping you safe by getting you away from him.”
“In the end it didn’t really matter, huh?”
“I’d say it did. You met with Sarah, managed to find the other people who were fighting the very same battle you’re fighting. They’re all good people, and they’re coming to stop Jack’s madness.”
“Does he know you’re here?”
“He knows, but he can’t interfere. I put the equivalent of a soundproof barrier around us, we’re free of his talking for now.”
“Is there anything you can do? About what he’s going to, I mean.”
“I can’t alter anything in the physical world because I am no longer a part of it. The only reason I have influence here is because you are essentially lodged in your own mind now, there isn’t anything physical about it.”
“Are they okay? Coming here, are they okay?”
“Gavin and Lindsey are down. He was able to kill Micah but he couldn’t save himself. Though…We do seem to handle death differently now that our DNA has been changed. Like, I’ve been able to visit Sarah in a dream she had because of our mutated DNA, the links we’d been coded into our system. Maybe there’s something else for Gavin’s mind? I don’t really know.”
“My real mother, what was she like?”
“How about this, I’ll give you all of the help I can offer, and I’ll answer all of your questions in a bit?”
I stare at him, the man who gave me life. I can’t help it, I want to be mad at him, I want to be angry that he never cared enough to come back for me…but I can’t. Throughout it all it finally starts to make sense. I can make sense of where I came from.
“What can you help with?”
He smiles. “I can help your willpower.”
“What’ll that do?” I ask.
“You can win this fight.”
The center of the peninsula is approaching, it is a large circular bit of land that sticks out into the Salton Sea…or as it is called now, The Acheron. The Acheron had been a river that flowed through the underworld in Greek myth, I suppose that it is only fitting our journey ends here. I feel like we’re entering Hell.
The van slows to a stop, Jake stands up, he nearly topples over. “Are you sure you’re okay enough to be walking?” I ask.
“I haven’t been on the drugs they were using me to keep me alive in a while, so I’m going to be a little disorientated, but I’m good.”
“Disorientation can mean the difference between life and death in a fight.”
In the next second I see the ceiling of the van begin drooping as if some invisible force was yanking it down. Jake has to dive out of the way to avoid being crushed.
“What the hell is this?!” Iris screams.
“Jack, it must be Jack. We have to get out of this thing now!” I say.
Jen kicks open the back door and slides out of the van, rolling onto the ground. I have to worm around the ceiling which had disproportionately caved into the floor of the van. I run and jump out of the back, Sarah and Iris are next. Jake swipes the duffel bags on the way out and slides out of the van. In another instant the van collapses completely on itself. The metal grinds upon itself and it is so overbearing I have to put my hands over my ears.
The van explodes, sending debris and scrap metal flying into the air. Behind the remnants of the van amongst the fallen Statue of Liberty I see a single figure standing, staring out towards us. I need no introduction to know who it is standing there. I begin sprinting towards him, the man behind all of our problems. I’m running faster and I’m about to cross into the circular jut of the peninsula, but as soon as I do I slam hard into a wall, completely invisible to the naked eye.
“Hey! What the hell! Open this up you coward!” I hear footsteps behind me, I realize it is the others catching up. Jack lifts his head up, smiling out towards us about fifty feet away. Beside him I can see the broken remnants of the Statue of Liberty up close.
“Why, hello Andrew, it’s good to see you again. Why, the gang is all here.”
“Let this fucking wall down so I can rip you to shreds!” I yell, pounding on it.
“My, there isn’t any need to be antsy. The barrier before you is only a testament to my new power, what can be achieved once we are pushed to our limits. I have made an exception, I made it impossible for any but those with my blood to enter. And, if I’m recalling right, there are two of you here,” He says, scowling.
I look to Sarah and Jen, they seem to be looking at each other.
“I had to code it so my blood could enter and exit, or else I’d be here forever! Of course, that would mean that you two, my blood-spawn can freely enter between.”
“And you’re telling us…why?” Sarah asks.
“Because I have to. There is a certain path that the world must travel, and I cannot go against the will of the world.”
“If we come in there, we are fully prepared to do everything in our power to kill you,” Jen says.
He smirks. “I expect nothing less.”