Friday, October 29, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (36)

(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)-

I felt drained and devoid of all emotion. My mind was under siege and it was about to be deluged with another stream of more improbable facts.

Facts or fiction? Dreams or reality? Was I capable of distinguishing one from the other?

His eyes meeting mine via the rear view mirror, Baxter inquired, "Michael, how much do you remember of your childhood?"

Although I opened my mouth to reply no words escaped my lips. While my mind existed in his body, I knew nothing about Michael Black's past. I could summon only memories of my own youth ... as Ben Bering. My only recourse was to become defensive. "What does my childhood have to do with any of this?"

"Nothing and everything," he said.

"What? What's that supposed to mean?" I asked my irritation growing more apparent.

He didn't respond right away but slowed down and pulled onto a vacant lot. He twisted in the seat until he was facing me. "I know who you are, who you were and who you're trying to be. Your identity, such as it is, is safe with us."

My eyes darted to Brock O'Day's face. "You know? How? When?"

In a passive gesture he raised his palms, "I only learned of this about an hour ago from Professor Jordan."

"Jordan? You saw him and spoke with him?" I shook my head, confusion reigning supreme in my head. "He just walked up to you out of the blue and told you that I'm ..."

He produced a folded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to me. "Not exactly. While I was waiting for you to come out of the building he came up to me and handed me that handwritten note. I couldn't believe what I was reading." He looked into my eyes and implored, "You're really Ben? And Michelle is Susan?"

I nodded, relieved to be sharing my secret with someone I considered to be a friend. I turned my attention to Baxter, "I suppose you also learned of this from Professor Jordan?"

"No," he replied. He leaned over the seat and placed his hand on my shoulder. "I found out about it from our father."

If it were possible for one's jaw to drop to the floor, mine would have done so at that precise moment. "Did you just say our father? Please tell me that you were reciting a prayer opening."

Grinning he shook his head, "Come on, you haven't wondered about our striking resemblance to one another? It never occurred to you that we might be twin brothers?"

"That's preposterous!" I cried. "I have no siblings, let alone a twin!"

He removed his hand from my shoulder and said, "I'll pose the question again, but this time I'm asking Ben Bering. How much do you remember of your childhood?"

I swallowed hard before I was able to respond. I hadn't thought about my youth in a long time. I lowered my head and stared at my hands folded across my lap. I realized that my answer would be an admission of sorts, "Actually, not a whole lot. The old man was an abusive drunk. He use to beat my mother ... and me."

"It's painful, I know," Baxter said. "Tell me that I'm wrong that you felt no remorse when he died in that automobile accident." He seemed amused at the startled look on my face and continued, "You were sixteen when your mother died and you ran away shortly after because they were going to place you in a foster home."

"How ... how," I stammered, "could you know that?"

He turned and shifted the vehicle into gear. His biting reply was short, " I have the identical memory."

"Stop! Please? Let me try to digest what you've been laying on me. My mind feels like it's going to short circuit." I lapsed into a silent stupor. Moments later I was staring out of the window but not actually seeing anything. The road signs and the absence of urban development did not register at first. I sensed that something wasn't right, but I was too numb to realize what.

"Baxter," O'Day said to the driver, "while he's digesting, maybe you could give me something to chew on." He continued when the man nodded, "If Michael and Michelle are Ben and Susan ... then who in the hell is that woman in the back seat?"

"That, my friends, is an answer I don't have," he replied.

I leaned forward and tapped Baxter's shoulder, "Jeremy, before you unveil any more revelations, there's something I need to know." I began counting on my fingers as I spoke, "Besides Michelle and myself and Professor Jordan, and you and now Brock, who else knows ...?"

"...That you and Michelle were Ben and Susan?" he answered before I could complete my query. "Beyond those who were present at the hospital when the mind transfer took place, I'm certain that covers the list of those in the know."

"Hmmm," I mused, "Bishop King has since died. That would leave Stu Jankowski and of course, Rosie. They have Rosie and Stu is among the missing. I think it's safe to assume that they must have him too."

His reply seemed cryptic, "Perhaps, and perhaps not."

"I think it's time you told me why we are driving away from Boston and the airport? Where are you taking me?"

It was O'Day and not Baxter who responded. "There was a change of plans, Michael. We're on our way to the Bedford Airbase."

"That's right," Baxter said. "I thought a precautionary measure was necessary to throw off anyone who might be tailing us. I've arranged for a military jet to fly us to Nevada. We'll be airborne while the FBI and our other friends are gathering at Logan awaiting our arrival there."

I nodded in approval. It was a good idea to stay one step ahead of the enemy. I took a long deep breath and slowly exhaled, "Alright, Jeremy, why don't you elaborate on my ... life story? For starters, just who is my ... our father?"

"I think you have an idea, but I'll get to him later," he stated. "First, we have to take another trip back to your childhood ... our childhood." Once again our eyes met in the rear view mirror as he spoke, "You don't remember bath time?"

I felt my pulse quicken, "What?"

"We couldn't wait for those baths, Michael. Don't you remember her coming out of that shower naked? We loved watching her drying herself. You don't remember her bending over the tub to scrub us clean?"

I was trembling as I responded, "That was a dream! Are you telling me that you've had the same dream? It was a dream, wasn't it?"

"Was it? Is it really possible that we've had the same dream?" he quipped. "Could it be that some buried subconscious memory somehow came to the surface?"

I didn't want to believe him. It didn't make sense. "That woman was our mother?"

He did not respond but instead asked, "Do you remember the two little girls?"

My response was almost mechanical, "Our sisters? What ever happened to them? Where are they now?" I tried without success to swallow the lump in my throat while awaiting his answer.

"They are very much alive and have been figuring prominently in the recent events."

He noted and understood my stunned silence. He then turned to look into the face of Brock O'Day, who was staring wide-eyed back at him.

It was O'Day who was finally able to speak. "Rosie and Faye?"

( To be continued

One Happy Family )



Hale McKay said...

A treat - two installments in the same week!

I'll guess that the "revelations" have raised a lot more questions.

Sandee said...

Oh this is indeed twists I hadn't even imagined. Wow, all family. I want to know more about their childhood. Sounds very intriguing indeed.

Excellent story and it has more turns than I ever expected.

Have a terrific day, weekend and Happy Halloween too. :)