I stood on the ledge of a building, wind went through my hair and I was wearing a black hooded jacket...it's back came as a tail that made a point. I knew the jacket well. I looked around trying to figure out what I was doing there. “Pathetic.” A voice said, “Absolutely pathetic you know that?”
“Who's there?” I asked,
“You let yourself get dropped on and taken out by three chumps. How did you ever fall so far.” I felt something pushing me,
“I don't know what you're talking about,” I said to the voice, “I'm not the same person I was then.”
“Ya damn right you aren't.” The voice said, “You're pathetic, you have no right trying to find Brandon's killer like you are. You should give up right now and go live that damn Leave it to Beaver life you had.” I wanted to argue but my voice stopped and a force began pushing me. I tried to fight but it didn't help in the least. I fell fast but just as I was about to hit the ground...I woke up.
My eyes shot open, 'I'm alive?' I asked myself touching myself all over trying to see if I still had everything intact. Everything was where it was but I wasn't where I was. I was in a bed wearing a hospital gown. 'Hospital?' My mind began to flash, operating rooms, people in face masks and scrubs. I was definitely alive but I didn't understand why. Those men wanted to shoot me, they had every opportunity. “If you're wondering why you're still alive you're not alone.”
I looked to my side and saw two people. Houston and Hernandez-Sifu were in my room.
“Houston? Sifu?” I looked between the two of them confused. “What are you talking about.”
“I got the call about someone being dropped in front of the hospital a few days ago and was told it was a mugging.” I sat there and listened to Houston as he explained, “Found out it was you and had to be sure...was it a mugging Chase?” Houston and I locked eyes. He wanted to be done with me; his eyes told me that much, I didn't say anything. “Chase, I want to help you but I told you I couldn't do this again.”
“No one said you had to Houston.” I told him, “I was coming home from work. Got my ass kicked, didn't know them.” I said, “We done?”
Houston tensed up visibly but Hernandez-Sifu placed a hand on his shoulder, “That's enough Houston.” He told him, Houston eased up lightly but he never broke eye contact with me.
“I know your number Houston.” I said, “I remember anything else I'll call you.” Houston let out an exasperated sigh but he wasn't about to attack a man in a hospital bed. After a moment of silence he stormed off without a goodbye to either Sifu or myself. I stroked my chin and felt that I had already sprouted a beard. “Hmm, always wondered what I'd look like with a beard. How do I look?”
“Like a man pretending to be the brawny man who got beat up.” Sifu said, he and I shared a laugh before he took a seat. “What were you doing Chase?” There was a moment before I told him everything. The shooting, my not knowing what's happened the past three years, Finding out the guy who killed Brandon wasn't the actual killer, the fight at Fei's, Charlene leaving, getting attacked by the Mayor's bodyguard and two other people.
“So you have no idea what's been going o the past three years?” He asked, “How is that possible?”
“I have no idea.” I said slowly pushing myself up from the bed and kicked my feet to the side. “I've been trying to get my feet in but it wasn't enough apparently.”
“What are you doing?” Hernandez-Sifu asked,
“I can't stay here.” I told him as I got up slowly and fought back the urge to cry out in pain. “Those guys are still out there and, though I don't know why they didn't originally but they could come back at anytime and finish the job.” Hernandez-Sifu came over to me and forced me back onto my bed.
“They could yes,” he said, “But if they wanted to they would've done it already Chase.” He was right, it was what worried me. “Here, I got to go but I'll be back later. We're going to need to talk, but only when everyone can listen.”
“What?” He then pulled out his wallet and left something he pulled out of it at the foot of the bed. He left and I was left with the thing he placed on my bed. A card. An old one at that. “Century Storage, huh?” I asked myself.
“Goddamn.” I said as I painfully got out of my SUV. My body still ached from my stay at the hospital. Nothing I wasn't new to but at the same time it felt like hell. The docs wanted me to stay for a little bit longer telling me I had several hairline fractures and broken bones all over my body. Even some from years ago that never healed properly. I wish I got a picture of the man's face when I asked him if that was all.
I walked stiffly into the office of Century Storage. There was a desk and a bell that I tapped a couple of times and a voice called from a door behind the desk, “I'm coming.” A man walked out on a cane, “Oh, it's you.” He said looking at me, “Hadn't seen you in a while.”
“I get that a lot.” I told him, “Weird question-?” He just laid a key in front of me.
“Keep it this time will ya?” I nodded and walked off with the key he laid down and looked for the storage locker “K-24.”
I got to the locker and was surprised to see how big the thing was on the inside. “Guess Century Storage means you can pack things here that you accumulate over a century huh?” I asked myself as I looked around the locker and smiled once I saw something I had been missing. Pulling the tarp off I saw the unforgotten beauty that was my bike. “Hey there darlin' missed me?” I was surprised, the paint was redone, darker, my tires were new as well, it practically looked brand new.
After appreciating it I began looking around at the boxes I had set up everywhere. Simple boxes labeled work, junk and all that. I pulled out the box labeled work and figured I'd might find something that could be helpful. What I had found were files and stories I had done. They were going by date and each one had noted here and there but as I went through them, each one had more notes, each one more in depth as well. It was interesting even some notes said, “Call Houston.” it was weird.
I went to another box once I had my fill of the work one. I went to one labeled personal and found two things. A photo album and a portable DVD player, “That's not cryptic at all.” I said aloud as I began to go through the album. Each of the pictures were from when I was a kid, a lot of them were with my brothers but mostly Brandon and I. I laughed as I reached a few that had Brandon and I during our “greaser phase.” 'God I'm a damn softy.' I thought to myself as I continued leafing through the album.
The pictures ended and I was a little disappointed. That feeling was soon replaced however, I had noticed something strange about the album's pages. There were indents on the pages. 'What could've caused these?' I asked myself as I flipped through the pages several times only to find nothing until I reached the back binding of the album. There was a bulge on the back of it and slight peeling of the back. I made the slight more prominent by pulling the back and revealing a jewel case in which held a piece of paper with my name on it and what I guessed at the time was a disk in it. 'A DVD?' I looked at the portable DVD player and shrugged. 'Nothing ventured and all that.'
I opened the case and pulled out the paper and saw that it was folded and as I let my curiosity take hold, I unfolded the paper and saw a message.
Inside the box, which I'm sure you found the DVD player already. On the disk you'll hopefully find some answers for some of the questions, which I have no doubt you have. There's more to say so put the disk in alright?
I didn't take much time for me to turn on the player and insert the disk. After a minute I was surprised by what I saw, “Hey Chase.” The player said. “Guess you came this far so we should keep going huh?”
The person talking to me through the player, was me.