Praveen Yadav | Jul 25, 2021 | 0
DREAM WALKER – Chapter 9: Coincidence?
“SURPRISE!” a hundred voices roared as Eric looked around, literally surprised at seeing so many people around him. “What? What’s going on?” Eric asked nobody in particular in an astonished voice as a young girl in a beautiful yellow sundress approached him with a smile bigger than Eric’s surprise. Eric searched his cloudy memory and instantly recognized the girl. “Sarah? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at school with your friends and celebrate your birthday?” Eric asked, despite a wave of happiness running through his chest. “Actually, I was planning to do just that, but then, I remembered that sadly, it’s not my birthday today”, the girl said with a smile. Eric felt his cheeks heat up and embarrassment fill his head, as more and more people circled around him. “Why have you come here, then? Who’s birthday is it then?” Eric asked, his voice laced with sheer uncertainty. “It’s the birthday of Team Bluenicorn!” Sarah let out a joyful cry as she held up a photograph in which a healthier Eric and an even younger Sarah stood near a blue wooden horse, with a cardboard horn on its head and thermocol wings on its back. Glimpses of a memory rippled through Eric’s head as the photograph teleported him several years ago when both he and Sarah cut a cake as all the family members around them sang the Happy Birthday song. “It’s your birthday, Grandpa, I was just tagging along because I wanted to cut the cake with you,” Sarah said, snapping Eric back to the present moment. “A very happy birthday to you, Grandpa”, Sarah said as she wrapped her arms around Eric and everyone around clapped their hands.
“Who are all these people?” Eric asked when Sarah retreated. “They’re all your colleagues from your publishing house,” Sarah said, and everyone around took off their caps which had the logo of ‘Periwinkle Publications’ embossed on them. Sarah looked at Mileena and gently nodded, and Mileena started pushing Eric’s wheelchair. Charlie quickly blindfolded Eric, as they made their way towards a big double-decker bus. Eric’s wheelchair was moved up with a mechanical ramp and when they had reached the top of the bus, Charlie removed Eric’s blindfold, leaving him stunned at what he saw. He recognized the faces of some of his relatives and friends and also noticed several kids of Sarah’s age standing around with smiles adorning their bright faces. He saw several photographs featuring him and the people around him wherever his eyes ran, a few of them not very visible from his position since they were polaroids. A man and a woman pushed a small mobile table in front of him with a big Chocolate truffle cake and said in unison, “Happy Birthday Father!” in a sweet voice and with toothy smiles. Sarah came from behind and put on a blue birthday cap onto Eric’s head which had a cardboard horn attached to it. Tears came to Eric’s eyes as everyone sang the Happy Birthday song as he cut the cake. Just when he was about to feed the first slice of the cake to his granddaughter, someone slightly whispered in his ear, “Happy Birthday Eric” and Eric immediately turned around, only to notice that a tall figure in a brown overcoat and a fedora atop his head with his back to him bid him goodbye.
“You do know that we are not senior enough for the hospital to think twice before firing us, don’t you?” Lauren said, then tossed a cushion aimed at Sally’s head when she didn’t answer her question. The cushion landed perfectly on its target but failed to make a dent on it. Lauren looked at Katsumi who was looking at Sally who was looking at the whiteboard on which Sally had jotted down all her points related to the identity of the Feli-City vampire. Katsumi’s apartment had turned into House 221B of Baker Street before she could even blink. Sally was submerged into deep thought when she opened her mouth all of a sudden and cried, “Lauren!” Lauren almost jumped at the shrill and agitated calling of her name and the phantom hair on the ends of her waxed hands and legs jolted into attention. “Who do you think healed Katsumi?” Sally asked with the same loud voice to Lauren, pointing at her with her marker. “I did!” Lauren screamed back. “What?” Sally asked looking at Lauren. “How the fuck would I know?” Lauren pouted. “At least take a guess! Feel free to utilize all the valuable information I have singlehandedly written here, all by myself”, Sally said acting high and mighty, while Katsumi slurped on a smoothie.
“Well, it could have been that creature with the blue hands, because only he seems like he was capable of doing some magic,” Lauren said, searching for any leftover french fries from a paper bag emptied by Sally eons ago and tossing it away in frustration. “The blue-handed creature may have the potential, but we still don’t have any motive to attach to his actions. He had killed a man with his claws when he was sighted for the first time” Sally said, putting the marker in between her teeth. “The blonde man had the motivation to heal me up”, Katsumi began, and before Sally could interrupt with another one of his counters, she herself added, “but he had said he would do it only if he succeeded in fulfilling his objective”. Lauren was still amazed at how calm and composed Katsumi was. She had seen the trauma several of her patients usually found themselves in who had been physically or sexually assaulted. She also recalled how the kidnapped woman, who had also seen the creature, took several days to recover herself before speaking to the police. Katsumi saw Lauren looking at her and smiled at her. Lauren blushed and looked away, forcing a sweet little giggle out of Katsumi. “So, what do we go with?” Sally said, “That the blonde man succeeded in fulfilling his objective, or the creature healed Katsumi on a whim?”
“We also do not know what his objective was in the first place,” Lauren said, folding her hands. “I know you don’t want to remember what happened last night, again and again, Katsumi, but, did the blonde man blabber anything which could give us a hint to what he was looking for?” Sally asked Katsumi. “Oh, it’s not a problem at all. It would take more than that to traumatize the swimmer in me, who has braved the unforgiving waves of the Pacific more times than I can count”, Katsumi beamed. “And no, that man didn’t say anything which can tell us anything about his goal. He was very talkative though” Katsumi said a little glumly. Just then, a crashing noise came from the living room and the three women rushed to the source of the sound. They saw a cute, black kitten with amber eyes standing in front of a broken flower vase. The room itself was a big mess, with a bloody carpet, a window reduced to wood splinters and glass shards, and a round three-legged table fallen near a cute little furball. “Are you all right, Umi Chan?” Katsumi said as she called the little kitten towards her, who purred in response and sat on the palm of Katsumi’s hand. Lauren’s eyes lit up seeing how perfectly the kitty fit into her hand. “The crime scene!” Sally yelled, giving Lauren another jumpscare and earning a hiss from Umi Chan. “Why didn’t we investigate this area before?” she demanded from everyone, including Umi Chan. “The best answer for that would be that you didn’t leave that room because all the foodstuff was stashed in there”, Lauren hissed back.
Sally walked around the room thinking of all the possible ways in which the objects in the room could’ve been destroyed. She noticed several small dents on the floorboards, and, noticed the angle at which they had been formed. Her mind instantly went to bullets, but there was not a single bullet in sight. The dents in the floorboards also didn’t suggest that the marks were bullet marks. She looked out of the window, and, tried to figure out where had the ‘projectiles’ come from. There was pin-drop silence inside the room. A sharp and clear noise of the tik-tok of Lauren’s heels boomed in the room. Sally turned around and was astonished to see the daylight scared out of the calm and composed Katsumi as she looked at the face of Lauren who had her hand outstretched in front of Katsumi’s face. Sally rushed in and pulled Lauren away as Katsumi strode away from the room to desperately drink some water. “What the fuck do you think you are doing?” Sally asked Lauren sharply. “I healed Katsumi”, Lauren said, her eyes still looking in the direction where Katsumi was standing. “What? Enough with it, Lauren! You scared her the hell out of her!” Sally said as she shook Lauren, trying to bring her senses back from wherever they had wandered off to. “No, no, Sally. I’m not kidding. I have seen all of this before. I just couldn’t connect the dots until now because Katsumi didn’t have much to say about the creature, and had mostly spoken about the blonde man. Now that I’m here, a memory sort of unlocked in my head”, Lauren said, her forehead covered in sweat and her lips quivering with each word that came out of her mouth. “The creature, the Feli-City Vampire or whatever he is. He healed Katsumi, and, my head keeps telling me that I was the creature who held out my hand in front of Katsumi” Lauren said as the strength in her knees started fading.
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