I enjoy the sound that freshly fallen leaves make under my boot as I trudge my way back home. Work at the mill today was particularly tedious today. Say… I’ve never met this old man before. He looked up at me from staring at the bloody ground. He replaced his cap on his balding head and said “Lad did you know that a girl had been murdered here?”
“Really?” I had replied only to realize the old man wasn’t in the mood to talk any longer. I tipped my cap in respect and continued on my way home. The road seemed a lot longer today. “Why had what the old man said struck me so deeply?” I thought. “Was it sympathy that I was feeling? No I’m not the sympathetic type. A strange feeling like the one I get when we take the old truck out for a spin when my parents are out at the neighbors. Except… heightened.” My pulse quickened and I increased my pace to get home faster. When my house came into view I thought: “Yes… a good night’s sleep will do me well” I walked down the long road that leads to our house. Inside I found no refuge until it was time to go to sleep. My bed was old but comfortable. As my thought drifted I was brought back to the old man again.
“A girl was murdered here”. I tried to put the thought out of my head.
“Ugh… another day down at the mill tomorrow…”
“A girl was murdered here”. I turned onto my left side hoping it would provide some relief.
“A girl was murdered here”. Again and again! Plague me no longer! Just as I thought I would go mad the sweet nirvana of sleep enveloped me. Good nights sleep…
A thud woke me from my sweet slumber. Hmm, normally it was lighter out than when I went to sleep tonight seemed darker… Oh well I must have just only slept for a couple of hours. I went down stairs to see what the ruckus was all about. Hey! My hunting knife was gone! It’s always on top of the fridge! Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a glint of steel off the lights and a figure, head out the door.
“STOP YOU THIEF!” I hollered as I ran out regardless that I was still in my pyjamas.
Where had he gone? Where was he? I ran down the driveway and onto the main road. I continued to run down the road until I was close to the town. Funny, I thought, I’m not tired from running that whole way? I dismissed the thought from my mind and continued into the city. I turned the corner to see a girl I knew from town being harassed by a man. Stop that, I yelled at the man and he stumbled back into the bar as if he didn’t notice me. The girl was named Victoria. I followed cautiously knowing she probably wouldn’t want to talk after that ordeal. I wanted to pursue her further and ask if she was okay but I noticed that familiar figure. “The Thief!” I thought. I ran towards the figure but it seemed to disappear when I got there. Had he gone to harass Victoria as well? I ran down the road to hear a muffled scream. I ran down the road to see the figure behind Victoria the moon glinting off his teeth bared in a gleefully evil grin. He turned to face me and I suddenly noticed who it was… It’s… me! As soon as I realized I noticed that I was standing close to Victoria with the knife in my hand. “NO!” I thought. But my body seemed to turn on its own accord towards the bleeding corpse of Victoria. I could feel myself grinning but I broke into a run towards my house. “WHAT HAD I DONE?!”
I ran to the well and desperately dunked my knife and arm into the well. I had to get the blood off. I let out a sob as I noticed all I was doing was turning the water that I was dunking my arm into, into the same blood. My dad ran out and looked me in the eye. His look pierced me to the heart. My son? He said, what is this? I could not bear to look him in the eye. I cried one more tear as I fell into the well of blood. It was filling my throat and lungs and was seeping into my stomach. Every orifice was being filled with this red sticky rotten juice.
I let out a blood-curling scream as I woke from my dream. “Is everything okay Mr. Brubacher? Someone get a nurse in here!” yelled a blurry figure. The blood! Everywhere! I felt the touch of strong arms holding me down. Another voice “Yes Janis! He’s finally awake! He’s come out of Coma!” A clicking noise followed. “Uncle? Uncle Josiah?” That was my name… I knew it well.
“Are you okay?” Did they know? Where was I?
“I thought there was no way he’d come back to us after 5 years! I wonder how he got into this coma in the first place?” A number of figures shook their heads and then turned to me. They all looked like the figure! I struggled to get free. I must get free from these evil figures! I could feel my heart beat. It was slowing strangely, almost comforting…
Good nights sleep…
Josiah looked up from brown patch of ground where he had been standing for so long. He didn’t remember when the Lake had turned to fire. It was only a while ago but now crossing it was even more difficult. He already knew what would be across the lake, the one thing that dominated his mind. “It’s just a matter of time” he thought. He just wanted to be pulled under by the waves of fire. He realized that the only way across would be to swim. He jumped knowing full well the waves could scorch or dissolve him. He hit the flames and instantly it shattered like glass. The glass fell downward into a black abyss. He felt like he was falling into nothing when he realized there was a wooden floor. With a resounding THUD he smashed into the wooden floor.
His head ached as he woke up. He looked to see a maid making the bed in the room. He grunted and heaved himself up. “Excuse me miss?” he asked while rubbing his head. She didn’t notice him. She looked at the mirror beside him and shook her head then saying aloud in her thick British accent “What in the name of Mother Mary ‘appened ‘ere?” She looked at the broken mirror and picked up the dustpan and sweeper that were on the night table and proceeded to clean up the glass. He asked the woman again “Excuse me? Can you hear me? HELLO!?” She, again, completely ignored him. “Now listen here…” he said as he tried to put is hand on her shoulder. His hand swept through her like she was the morning mist. He stared blankly at his hand.
“What was happening?” he asked himself.
As he followed her down the stairs into the main area he was greeted with the sight of a sea of pub-goers and a small boy standing behind the bar on a stool. The boy looked familiar but he couldn’t put his finger on it. The boy shoved pints of beer at ugly, old men that lined the bar. He walked up to the boy and touched his shoulder. He felt a shock of electricity as the boy looked back at him. He fell to the floor, knocked out cold.
Josiah woke up again to see the little boy standing in front of the lake of fire. In a booming voice he said “Until you have repented of your sins you will be locked here eternally, suffering the pain that you have inflicted on others throughout time.” The little boy disappeared. “That’s right.” He thought “That was Ramunno Jackson, his first accidental kill. Why did he have to be there? Why did he have to SEE?”
The world went black.
Josiah woke with a sick feeling in his stomach. He wretched and heaved and threw up on the ground. Once the feeling had passed he got up to see where he was. A place that was all too familiar. He got up and looked around. He was in a almost castle looking family room with a red upholstered sofa from the 17th century in front of the fire. There were animal heads from game hunting expeditions from long ago. He heard giggles and laughter coming from the hall. As he turned to look at the door a teenage boy and girl run into the room past him. The instant they passed he knew. “Victoria…” Was the only word that could escape his mouth. So many memories and scenes unfolded in front of his mind’s eye. The first time they met, the first time they kissed, the first time they made love. The emotions welled up inside him quickly and soon he could not breathe. He remembered where he was now. As a tear rolled down his cheek he turned around to see the children smiling in a warm embrace in front of the fire.”Our first kiss…” he said, his voice quivering with that same emotion that he had the first time.
His world surged forward with such intensity that he was knocked flat on his face. He saw another door. It was originally painted white but age had stripped some of the paint of and dulled it in other places. He opened the door to see a tumbling, squirming mass of a white blanket on a white canopy bed. He walked into the room and looked out of the window. He laughed. This was that old abandoned house that was next to Victoria’s manor that they frequently visited for… in-depth, study of human anatomy. There was a clunk as the undraped form of Victoria slid out of the mass of blanket and landed on her rump. She laughed then climbed back in. Josiah couldn’t help it now. He cried… and cried… and cried. He flung his head up in despair and screamed “How could I do such a thing?! I loved her!”
As his screams echoed in the back of his mind he was brought back to the place where it happened, where she died… or to be more accurate, where he killed her in that dirty street outside of bar. The man who had harassed his lover was already gone. He watched in horror as he was forced to watch himself kill the only woman he had ever loved. In and out the dagger slid, again and again blood was spilt on the virgin ground. The look of glee upon his own face made Josiah sick. Sick to the point where blood started to dribble from his mouth down onto his chest. He fought to stand as he couldn’t help but to smile along with the figure of himself. The blood swirled into his mind and brought him back to the well of blood, the blood that filled every orifice and area. Her blood… and the world went black.
Josiah woke up in front of the lake of fire, once more greeted by the faces of those he had slain. Now it was not just the boy but all those who he had slain. The sheer number of people caused his heart to pain even further. He was still completely confused as to why he would kill his beloved Victoria. As soon as he finished that thought a slender hand reached from the crowd. It picked up his head as made him look upward. That beautiful face… much more beautiful than… CRASH! The ground underneath Josiah shattered and he plunged into yet another unknown.
Josiah rose quickly this time. He thought, “I may be getting accustomed to this…” A slender woman grabbed the back of his shirt, pulling him down onto the soft grass below his feet. He smiled up at the girl. She kissed his forehead and kissed her way down his cheek. Her lips locked with his and in a brief second he melted like ice in the sun.
Time surged forward again for Josiah. This time he looked to his right and he saw Scarlet under the covers next to him. He pulled aside the covers, went on top of Josiah and said “Now you see why I am much more suited for you Josiah? Give up this Victoria girl and stay here… with me. He gave him another heart melting kiss and he melted once again “I-ah-ah-ah-ah…” Josiah Stuttered. “But of course, being your boss at the C.C.U.O. I must inform you that this won’t affect our working relationship.” She said trying to sound non-formal but failing miserably. “Are you ready again?” She asked. Josiah nodded.
Time, once again, surged forward. This time it brought him into his office at the C.C.U.O. The “Canadian Conference of Underground Operations” Josiah read off the sign in his office. He wondered how Canada had kept this secret. “Crappy Canadian Military my butt!” thought Josiah as he strolled through the hi-tech hallways of CCUO. He reached the main office and the doors swept open and revealed Scarlet sitting at her oak desk. She coughed and handed Josiah the mission data for his next hit. Josiah saluted and walked out the door. He left the hidden agency and walked for his BMW that was parked around the block. He opened the package and read it. He dropped the paper on his lap and his mouth hung open. The paper read “Target: Victoria Williams, Objective: Terminate at all costs, Client: **Private**”
Not only did he know that he had to kill his love but he knew that the only time the Client was “Private” was when it was within the agency…
Time surged forward again. Josiah staggered back and forth. His hands covered in blood and a knife loosely gripped in his right hand. He stumbled towards a farmhouse with its front door open. On the way there he slipped on a cow pie and fell head first into a drinking well.
Josiah woke up in front of the beautiful woman again. He looked up to see the face of Scarlet smiling evilly. She kissed Josiah but he pushed her away and spat his saliva on the ground. “Get away from me you devil!” He screamed, “You made me kill my Victoria!” He lunged at Scarlet and punched her hard in the face. She stumbled back and let loose a blood curling scream. The scream grew louder… and Louder and LOUDER! Soon the scream was so loud Josiah fell onto the ground and started screaming along in pain.
….the world went black
Josiah woke up. A wretched stench filled his nostrils. He gagged and stood up to see that the lake of fire had died down and had left a black crater on the ground. He stood at the edge of the crater then ventured inward. He walked down into the middle and realized that everything around him was completely black. He walked up onto the other side and looked around at the black forest with black bushes and black dirt that packed the black forest floor. Josiah walked on for what seemed like an eternity through the black forest. Just when Josiah was about to turn back he noticed a large oak door. The strangest part about this door was that it was in the middle of a forest and yet Josiah could not see around it. It seemed to almost turn with him so that he could not see past it. He decided to peek into the door but the door would not budge. He became infuriated and grabbed the doorknob and pulled it with all of his might. A surge of energy pushed him back and knocked him unconscious.
The world shifted back to when Josiah was in his car reading the mission file on Victoria. He saw himself listening to the mission data and then he heard “The reason we are killing someone that is so dear to you is because she has discovered your true job here at the C.C.U.O and she took your mothers life in rage and hurt from betrayal. You must kill her to protect your identity and the identity of our agency.”
Then his eyes opened again he saw Victoria once again. She was sitting on a stool in front of a mirror. Her best friend was behind her and she was doing Victoria’s hair. “I just know it Jenny! He’s going to propose tonight! He told me to meet him in the bar near the McClear’s farmhouse to discuss something important.” Said Victoria happily. “Well don’t get your hopes up. Are you sure that’s what he wants in your relationship?” asked Jenny as she put the finishing touches on Victoria’s hair. “Of course he does!” said Victoria as she slipped into her favourite outfit. “How do I look?” asked Victoria. “Wonderful as always Hun.” Replied Jenny.
The next thing that Josiah realized Victoria was waiting at the bar. She was looking around for Josiah but he wasn’t showing up. In a breath of despair she slid down from the bar and walked towards the exit. As she was nearing the exit she felt a large hand slap her butt. She turned around to see a completely sauced man in his forty’s. “Hey sweetie, how’s about you give me some… uh… lovin’?” asked the man in slurred speech. She smashed the guy in the face with a closed fist and said “Back off you drunken bastard!” His friend ran at her but she quickly ran out the door. He followed her into the street. “Come here wench!” The man’s friend grabbed her wrist and she quickly kicked him in the groin. He stumbled backwards and fell down. He then crawled back into the bar as Victoria walked away.
Just as a tear rolled down her cheek she heard a familiar voice from behind her.
“Victoria… I’m sorry.”
She was about to turn around when she felt a sharp sensation in her back.
“I’m really sorry.”
Her eyes opened wide as she fell to the ground. Her eyes misted red… Darkness.
Josiah felt a something rush up his veins through his shoulder into his heart. He felt woozy and sick. Victoria’s body fell to the ground and he staggered forward. He looked down at the knife. There was a hole that had opened up on the hilt of the knife. There was a needle that was extending into his wrist. “It… was…trapped?”
Josiah woke with a start. He looked around but did not find the black forest or door. He was in a bedroom covered in white sheets and a blanket. The door opened slowly and a familiar male face came into view. “Uncle Josiah?” asked a young man that was standing in the room now. “Nephew? Mark is that you?” asked Josiah. “You’re awake!” Mark ran up to Josiah and gave him a hug. He then sat down first reassured him that he was in the real world and explained to Josiah that his agency had tried to find him in the hospital but Mark had lied to the agents and smuggled Josiah here to his house. He had suspected the agency for along time and now his suspicions were confirmed. “What happened to you Uncle Josiah? I didn’t hear what actually happened.” Asked Mark. “I killed Victoria on a mission for the agency and they trapped the weapon I used to try and kill me.” Replied Josiah.
Just then the door rang. They both got up immediately. Mark pulled out two handguns and handed one to Josiah. He held up his finger to his mouth to signify silence. He went down to the door and looked through the eyehole. He breathed a sigh of relief and opened the door. Josiah had a look of utter shock on his face as Scarlet walked in the door. He stretched for words as she walked up the stairs towards him. “I… I… I…” stammered Josiah. She pushed down his gun and gave him a kiss. He melted instantly.
“It’s not safe here Josiah. I’ll take you two to my apartment where it’s safe.”
After arriving at Scarlet’s apartment Josiah’s mind was spinning. “I thought I had killed her… I thought she was the perpetrator of all of this…” he thought to himself. Scarlet sat them down and explained that there was someone higher up who wanted you, Victoria and his mother dead. She told them that they should spend the night then they should sneak into the agency tomorrow morning and find out who this perpetrator was.
Josiah slipped off his robe and went into Scarlet’s large glass shower. He turned on the shower and let the water flow over his body. He just stood there for a while letting the warm water sooth his aching head and body. It felt really good… Now that he thought about it there was other parts of his body that were feeling good as well. He quickly spun around to see Scarlet. “Fancy us being together again.” She said as she moved forward and suddenly pressed him up against the shower wall and pressed her body up against his. He couldn’t help but smile. It seemed like an eternity since he had been like this with her. He locked lips with her and let things go from there.
He woke up in the morning with his arm draped over the body of Scarlet. He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. “Wake up Scarlet.” He whispered into her ear. He got up, put on his clothes and walked into the kitchen. After preparing breakfast and eating it with Scarlet and Mark, Scarlet said that they were going to a friend of hers house where they would be getting equipment and some information about who had set up Josiah. They walked together out of the door and into Scarlet’s car.
“Oh! I forgot something back in the room.” said Scarlet, “I’ll be right back.” As she got in the door Josiah felt that something was wrong. He got out of the passenger door and started to walk towards the door. BOOM! The car exploded in a large inferno. The shock pushed him over and a piece of metal embedded itself in his left shoulder. He looked up from the pavement to see Scarlet standing there with a detonator in her hand. He pulled his gun out of his pocket with his good hand and started shooting at Scarlet. She immediately hid behind a wall. He picked himself up from the ground and continued to shoot at her to keep her behind the wall. He got into a nearby car and hotwired it. He started to drive away and shot the last of his clip at Scarlet and drove away. After driving south for about 10 minutes he pulled over to the shoulder. “Everything has been taken away from me! Any time I reach out my hand to hold something it destroys everything!” screamed Josiah. He laid his head up against the steering wheel and cried until he was so exhausted that he fell asleep.
Josiah woke up staring at the leather steering wheel of his car. He wiped away the tears that remained on his face. He pulled down the visor and looked himself in the eye. His eyes were red and his face stared back at him blankly. He closed the visor and started up his car. He drove in a straight line down a long dirt road until his cell phone started ringing. He picked it up hesitantly and answered “Hello?” A familiar voice said “Josiah. Come to 119250 Queen Street. The person on the other end hung up.
After driving for sometime he came upon a familiar farmhouse with the number 119250. He pulled into its long winding driveway and passed a familiar stone well. He stopped the car and went up to the door. He knocked on the door and waited. Soon after he had knocked the door, the door creaked open and Josiah’s old partners head popped out. He smiled and said “Josiah? Is that you? Well don’t be a stranger come on in!”
Josiah walked into the door and was greeted by the man’s wife and a slice of chokecherry pie. He sat down and the man introduced himself “Do you remember me? I used to be in the Agency with you! How can you forget your old partner George?”
Josiah laughed and apologized by saying “Sorry George. It’s been a long journey.” George continued, “This is my wife.” He signalled to his wife. His face suddenly turned from its usual smile to a deep frown.
“We have some news for you Josiah.” He pulled out a file containing a lot of papers. “You could read them all but I’ll summarize… The Agency wanted you, your mother and Victoria dead. You shouldn’t have told your mother about your job. The agency found out when Victoria had left your house in a rage because your mother broke the news to her. The agents moved in a killed your mother, blamed it on Victoria, had YOU kill her and in-turn kill yourself.” Josiah dropped the chokecherry pie that he had been eating onto the floor.
George continued, “When you got the mission The Higher-ups had already killed your mother and framed Victoria. You should have seen this Josiah. If Victoria killed your mother she wouldn’t have agreed to meet you in your favorite bar.” George paused to let it sink in on Josiah.
“You need to get out of here and drive to Brandon. In Brandon there will be a hospital where I’ll have a contact waiting for you. He’ll give you some equipment and money so you can get far enough away from the CCUO to never be bothered again.” Said George.
He stood up, smiled and ushered Josiah towards the door. Just as they arrived at the door a bullet flew through the glass next to the door. Josiah grabbed George and ran up the stairs. Bullets started flying through all of the windows on the front of the house. Josiah looked down and saw that his wife was hiding behind a huge oak desk, which would protect her. George ran into his bedroom and threw a hard black case at Josiah. Josiah caught it and opened it. He quickly realized what it was and assembled the AK-47 assault rifle. He looked up and George handed him ammo for both his rifle and his handgun that he had. George was also carrying an AK. When the bullets stopped they took the chance to hide Georges wife and put the huge oak table near the window so they could use it as cover. They hid behind it and stole a look over. There were three men in black suits with automatic guns and Scarlet with a large rifle.
Anger boiled up inside of Josiah. He popped up and fired in short bursts in Scarlet’s direction. Scarlet noticed that she was being fired upon and tried to drop behind her car as cover but she was hit in the square of her chest and she fell behind the car. Josiah felt himself smiling that same blood-crazed smile that he had when he killed Victoria. George pulled Josiah down as more bullets zinged over their heads and into the large oak table. George popped up and sprayed at one of the men. He fell, blood spurting out of his neck. The other two realized they were severely outgunned and out skilled. They started running to their car. Josiah stood up and emptied his clip on the running men. They fell in a bloody heap. “GO Josiah!” screamed George, “I need to take care of my wife. You need to get to Brandon NOW!” He grabbed Josiah and hauled him out of the front door. Josiah snapped out of his blood frenzy and climbed into his car. He put his guns on the passenger seat and started it. “Don’t die on me!” yelled Josiah.
“Don’t worry about me! I’ll meet up with you along the road one day. If they knew you came here they’ll be after me now too.” George Answered.
Josiah drove down the long road. He noticed a sign that said “Brandon – Next Left”. He pulled onto the off ramp and sailed into Brandon. The emptiness of the place made Josiah sigh as he searched for the large red “H” to signify the hospital. He turned left and immediately spotted the large H. He pulled into the parking lot and shifted his car into park. He got out and entered the hospital. He walked up to the reception and said “Hello. My name is Josiah. I believe that someone here is waiting for me.” The Receptionist eyed him up and said “Down the hall. Room 142.” Josiah thanked the woman and continued down the hallway. He spotted 142 on a brown oak door and opened it slowly, not knowing what to expect. He peered in and couldn’t believe his eyes. There in her shining beauty was…
Victoria. The light gushed forth from the window, like torrential rain soaking all in its path, enveloping her in a shimmering white bliss. A tear came to his eye as he walked forward towards the love of his life. Words surged around in his head. “Does she know? Will she trust me? Will she love me again?” Josiah’s head ached. His hand extended and grabbed her shoulder. Victoria turned around and dropped her “Get Well Soon” gifts all over the floor.
Time slowed. His hard, callused, hand stroked her cheek ever so gently. A tear rolled down her cheek onto his hand. His legs felt weak, so weak he wondered how he was still standing.
She stared at him…
Pale blue eyes…
Deep caverns of ecstasy
He couldn’t believe his eyes. They must be deceiving him. He stepped back. His vision blurred as he shook his head back and forth. He looked up and she was so close he could count the number perfect skin follicles on her nose. She wrapped her lips around his and they fell into it, like a daydream or a fever.