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)-
Michelle grimaced and shifted in her chair. I studied her face for a moment to see if she was trying to signal me with her eyes. She was staring off into space.
Ever since our minds had been transferred into those bodies, mine into Michael and hers into Michelle, we had gained a limited ability to sense what the other was thinking. I picked up something but it wasn't thoughts.
"Oh!" she murmured. Her eyes closed and she began to tremble.
Moving to her side I placed my hand on her shoulder, "Michelle! What's wrong?"
"It's ...so cold," she shivered.
It wasn't her thoughts, but rather an icy aura I'd sensed. I realized that she must be experiencing that recurring dream, the same one she'd had that very morning.
When I touched her cheek she recoiled and opened her eyes. She placed her arms across her chest and clutched hard her shoulders. Still shivering she whispered, "I'm okay. I just had a sudden chill." Dropping her arms to her lap she added, "I hope I'm not coming down with something."
"You didn't look so hot a moment ago," O'Day offered. He nodded in my direction and said, "I think your husband should take you home for some rest and some TLC."
Hiding her indignation she responded, "No, I'll be alright. Whatever it was, it has passed."
I pushed myself away from the table, "Well, it would appear that our colloguing has produced little in the way of answers. Perhaps those answers lie with one Professor Bernard Jordan."
At that moment Brock's phone chimed. He glanced at the screen before speaking, "Yeah, McNeal." He listened for a moment and spoke again, "Provincial Bank, Water Street branch ... I'm two blocks from there now. On my way!"
"Trouble?" Michelle queried.
"Bank robbery in progress," he belched. He arose from the table and pointed to us in turn, "If you find Jordan, contact me. Don't leave me out of the loop!" He turned and trotted off to his cruiser parked nearby.
Michelle looked at me and answered my question before I could form the words. "Yes, it was the dream, the same dream! It's the first time I've had it while awake." She cupped her hands to the side of her face, "It was so intense this time. Like before, I'm cold and naked in a street. The images are the same ... Route 66, the motel and the swarm of blue butterflies ... It all seems so real!"
"Honey," I said leaning closer to her, "hear me out on this. Has it dawned on you that the first of the dreams, the disturbance of the graves, and the appearance of Ben and Susan at the bar have all taken place at relatively the same time?"
She gasped, "No, but now that you've mentioned it, I had that dream this morning. Then we received the call that mother ... Rosie was gone. Ben and Susan took her. Then the Feds showed up."
I nodded, "Then of course in the meantime, there were all of those accidents on the expressway."
She stood up and noted, "...And this time, O'Day gets called to a bank robbery!" She faced me, "Coincidence? I think not."
Fifteen minutes later Michelle pulled her car up to the curb a block away from the campus of Northeastern University. We had decided that our search for the professor would begin there. With so many people looking for him it was doubtful that he would seek asylum at such a logical location, but we reasoned that it was possible we might find a clue to his whereabouts.
As we strolled across the campus quad we were soon immersed in a sea of bodies. I remembered reading that NU had an enrollment of fifteen thousand undergraduates and over five thousand post grads. If Jordan had in fact returned to the university, it would be easy enough to hide out in the open amidst all of those students.
We observed with casual interest the myriad of students we passed on our way to the main science building. Men and women of all sizes and shapes, nationalities, religious beliefs and backgrounds paraded past us. Some of them were ambling along at a leisurely pace while others seemed more hurried. Several zipped past us on inline skates and skateboards, while others were astride bicycles.
I became conscious of our appearance and said to Michelle, "You know, we don't exactly blend in with the population in these business suits."
She nodded and replied, "You're right. We're probably dressed better than the instructors."
I craned my neck and scanned the outer edges of the campus. "We aren't the only ones. Check out those three over there," I said motioning across the campus in the direction of a large oak tree.
Following my line of vision she noted, "Feds. Do you suppose they've been following us?"
"Maybe," I stated, "or they're looking for the professor too." On a sudden impulse I grabbed her hand and began to jog pulling her after me, "Let's see if we get their attention."
She glanced back over her shoulder and announced, "It did. They're coming in our direction."
After twenty yards I steered her toward the closest building. "In here," I shouted.
"The Student Union Hall? Why there?" she asked trying to keep up with my pace.
"I don't know," I replied, "it just seems like the right place to go."
After we passed through the large glass doors I stopped for a moment inside the entryway and looked to see if our pursuers were in sight. Sure enough, they were not fifty yards away and fast closing the distance.
It was Michelle who led the way pulling me along by my arm. She pointed at a door marked 'Maintenance' and said, "Quick, in there."
Through the crack of the closing door I could see the three suited men barging through the doors. "Hell," I swore, "they're in the lobby and we're trapped in this closet."
Behind me Michelle was running her hands along the back wall. "I know it's here somewhere," she whispered.
Turning I responded, "Yes, you're right." I pointed to a spot near her hand, "The coat hook ... turn it to the left."
A section of paneling swished open to reveal a steep staircase which descended into the darkened depths of a basement. I didn't know how I knew it was there, but I grabbed a flashlight hanging from a nail next to the stair railing. Without hesitation, we stepped through the entrance.
Once we were both standing on a concrete landing just large enough for two people, the panel closed behind us. The beacon of the flashlight guiding us, we descended into the dank bowels of the building.
At the foot of the stairway Michelle faced me. Her confused expression was mirrored on my own face. She said, "This building, the maintenance room, the coat hook, the flashlight and those stairs ... how did we know?"
I shook my head, "I've been bouncing that one around inside of my skull. I..."
My words were interrupted by a rapping sound behind and above us. The three men must have been inspecting the maintenance closet. On cue I followed Michelle's lead down a long narrow hallway.
"We take the next corridor to the right," she announced.
"Yes, then a left for about a hundred yards and ... another left," I added.
I couldn't help but think that we were somehow being guided through the maze of underground tunnels. There could be no other explanation for the seemingly instinctive knowledge of the labyrinth in which we found ourselves. I knew Michelle had to have been thinking along the same lines.
Taking the perceived second left turn we came face to face with a solid wall. "Uh oh ... dead end," Michelle exclaimed.
I twisted my head in the direction we'd come, "I hear footsteps somewhere back there." I took a deep breath and exhaled, "I fear we've cornered ourselves."
"No," Michelle whispered, "we went the right way. I know it." She grabbed the flashlight from my hand and shone it above us.
There was a glint of light on something metal. "Yes. There's the ladder," I exclaimed. I grabbed the bottom rung and pulled the retractable fixture to the floor. I stepped aside and motioned for my wife to start climbing.
At the top of the ladder she said, "There's a trapdoor in the ceiling." When she pushed upon its surface it sprung open and we were bathed in a sudden stream of light from above.
Michelle scrambled through the portal and disappeared from view. Pulling myself up behind her I peered over the edge of the floor and called for her, "Michelle?"
Her reply sounded muffled and I sensed something was amiss. Pulling myself through the opening I found myself staring into the muzzle of a gun.
I mumbled under my breath, "Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly."
Jordan's Cocoon )