Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (40)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-

Lost In The Clouds

As if I had been nothing more than a computer, Jordan had just struck a methodical sequence of 'CTL-ALT-DEL.' My mind was nothing more than a damaged hard drive, my memories but corrupted files.

I was grateful that neither he nor Baxter spoke for the next several minutes. I needed those minutes to digest their revelations. I needed to plunge into the abyss that my mind had become, to salvage any part of my being that might lurk in the depths.

Except for the dream of the two little boys, if it was indeed a dream, I could evoke only memories of my life as Ben Bering. From nowhere in the recesses of my mind could I induce recollections of ever being Michael Black.

I began to concentrate on one ego, that of Ben Bering. I willed my mind to rewind, to play backwards to the earliest memory of Ben. To my dismay I hit a wall, a seemingly impenetrable barrier. Had I reached that point where they'd surreptitiously tampered with my head? Was this the point where Ben Bering's life had begun? The memory that manifested itself in my mind's eye was not quite ten years earlier.

Ben, was twenty-five years old. I was an observer, watching Ben on his first assignment as a reporter for the Globe newspaper. He was at a night club, one of several he'd visited that week, to observe the use of drugs at those venues.

The pretty young girl who'd asked him to dance seemed attracted to him. Despite the seven years difference in their ages, he was also attracted to her. Before the night was over they were in bed having wild and wanton sex.

He would not see her again until eight years later. She, Susan Parsons, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck to drive him to that first meeting with Michael Black.

Aware of the situation of that moment, I cleared my head of the second-person thoughts. I could sense that both Baxter and the professor were observing me. They must have known that I was beginning to fit some of the pieces together.

Although separated by nearly eight years, that night at the club and that night in the truck were not happenstance events. They were not coincidental meetings. However, they were significant in that I remembered them. There were other encounters, none of which Susan and I remembered because they had been erased from our minds.

It had been quite a shock to both Susan and I that we'd been sexually intimate before we'd ever met. Whoever had wiped our memories clean had not anticipated that we would see the tapes recording what took place during the experiments of Michael Black and Michelle Gray. They never had counted on us learning about the dating service which had matched us. In the end, it had never occurred to them that Susan and I would ultimately fall in love.

I was a passenger aboard an aircraft which was soaring above the earth at about thirty thousand feet. I was lost in the clouds, both literally and figuratively. I needed to reassess my life such as it was, even though it was becoming more and more apparent that my entire life had been manipulated. Yet, somehow I had an inkling of an incredible conspiracy.

I cleared my throat to break the uneasy silence before speaking. "Gentlemen, allow me to tell you a story. You'll excuse me if the who, what, where, when and how parts are not in chronological order." The two men nodded and adjusted their postures in their seats. I reached into the cooler for another can of beer. After emptying half of the contents down my throat I stood up and faced them.

"There is one person not on this plane," I began, "who is not the minor player I was once thought he was. I was curious as to why he was already at our destination. Why is that? Is he with Michelle even as we speak? Is he having the similar discussion we are having?" I looked directly at Professor Jordan, "He's informing Michelle that she isn't and never was Susan Parsons. Isn't that right, professor?"

He lowered his head and muttered, "Yes, it's true."

"If I may," Baxter interjected, "It was never intended for our enemies to know that he had any knowledge of their operations. Michelle and Ben were supposed to have been on this flight with you and Susan. When you were separated, we were forced to change our plans. We had no choice but to send him ahead."

"I take it then, that our learning about our backgrounds was imperative in order for your plans, whatever they may be, to be successful."

"Correct!" Baxter snapped. "Tell me, was it the absence of Stu Jankowski that helped you put together your story?"

I drained the remainder of the beer and bobbed my head in acknowledgment. "Yeah, I realized that Stu was a common denominator in my so-called life. I had to ask myself, what editor of a large newspaper would send an inexperienced cub reporter to cover a story about the usage of drugs on the night club scene?"

I shoved my hands into my pants pockets and continued, "Then a flood of questions raced through my mind. Why did Stu not espouse 'freedom of the press' when the Feds stopped the presses on my story? Why did he shake hands with General Gates who was in charge of the shutdown?"

"See, Jeremy," Jordan said, "I told you that your brother could deal with the truth." He glanced at me apologetically and said, "I'm sorry, please continue with your observations."

"The more I thought about events before that, the more the pieces started to fit together. I remembered that it was Stu who first took me to that diner and introduced me to Rosie. It was he who arranged a date for me with Faye, Rosie's sister. When Faye and I were married, it was he who gave away the bride because her father, General Gates could not be there."

"Most of us working on the mind project realized that General Gates had objectives of his own," Jordan said, "objectives counter to the goals of our work. He desired power and he saw that with mind control he could attain it. We could not get Bishop King to hear us on that matter. At that time he greatly favored the general."

Baxter sighed deeply, "Gates disapproved of you as his daughter's husband. He didn't know anything about you. He became suspicious when he could find nothing about you before you started working for Stu. He grew paranoid and then he convinced Faye to seek a divorce from you." He looked into my eyes, "Haven't you ever wondered why she married Brock O'Day so soon after the divorce?"

I nodded, "At the time, yes. The marriage makes sense though. O'Day served under Gates in Vietnam. The general must have felt he could keep him under his thumb. Of course, Faye was there to keep him apprised of any developments in the civilian sector."

"It was when his good friend Jimmy was killed that Mr. O'Day's loyalty to Gates came into question. Although he had no evidence to support his suspicions, the Sergeant knew that Gates was behind it," the professor asserted. "He has become a valuable ally in our attempts to stop all of this ... this madness."

I slipped back into the seat next to the professor and addressed him, "Well, I might not know who I am, but at least I know who I'm not. Perhaps, when this is all over, if we are successful in bringing it to an end, you'll help Jeremy and me find those missing twenty odd years of our lives. I'd like to know what happened to those little boys who were being bathed by that naked woman with the butterfly tattoo on her thigh. I'd like to know where I was before I went to work for the Globe."

"I will try, Michael. I make no promises, but I will try," he replied directing his words to both me and Baxter.

"That's all I can ask," I said with a broad grin. "I think it's time that you filled me in on your plans. At least there is one thing in our favor. We don't have to worry about Bishop King and Julius Gates getting in our way."

"True," Baxter said, "their specter might be present, but the dead will cause us no harm."

"Dead?" Jordan roared. "Oh, no. Bishop King and General Gates are very much alive!"

( To be continued

A Date With the Dead )



Jack K. said...

I knew they would still be alive. Now the fun really begins.

WV: felun

Sandee said...

I kind of thought they would still be alive too. I'm with Jack...the fun really begins.

Excellent story.

Have a terrific day. :)

Hale McKay said...


I couldn't keep the fact that they were still alive from you - so it wasn't a shocker.

Am I getting too predictable?

Hale McKay said...


You too felt that King and gates were still alive?

So much for surprising cliff-hangers!