Danielle N. Calhoun
SOMETHING WRONG WITH JAMES
One Thursday evening in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a police officer was walking his K9; a German shepherd named Max, around a rundown building. As the dog sniffed the area for any evidence of drug activity, he immediately stopped at a large broken and withering bush near the entrance and growled.
Officer James Decanter, owner of the dog and officer on duty, turned on his flashlight and aimed the beam at the bush as he said aloud “Who’s there?” with a shaky voice. James always got the jitters while on foot patrol and this night was no exception.
Two years to the day, James had been on patrol in a different part of town when he crossed the path of a drug dealer.
When James’ dog attacked the dealer, who was about to fire a small pistol… James pulled out his own gun and said “Put down your weapon….NOW!”… As the drunken and doped up suspect got down on the ground as ordered, another suspect, who could not be identified beat James and both men left him for dead. James was battered and bruised for two weeks and since then, even though he had his dog as his partner, he would still think about that one night and get the jitters.
James breathed a sigh of relief when he realized there was no one there. He looked at his dog and said, “It’s nothing, Max. Let’s go to the cruiser.”
Suddenly, as James moved away from the very same bush that Max had growled at, there was a rustling sound and before James could react, he was knocked almost senseless and fell to the ground. Max barked and yelped as James hit the ground and attacked the assailant as another figure came out of the darkness and dealt with James.
James stood slowly as he was being forced to his feet and felt dizzy as he felt the back of his head. When James saw the blood, he blinked in disbelief and said, “Son of a B****, who the hell do you think you are?”
The taller figure, which James was unable to identify due to the total darkness when his flashlight fell to the ground, pushed James against a wall and said,
“Shut the hell up unless you want to die!” The other figure Max was dealing with kicked the dog in the chest and stood as the dog whined.
James struggled as the figure holding him against the wall pulled his hands behind his back. While James tried his hardest to break free, the other figure came closer and punched James square in the gut.
James gasped for air as the fist came in contact with his body and said as he tried to catch his breath, “Let me go, I swear, Max is trained.”
“For what? That dog is nothing.” the man said as he pulled James by the shirt collar
“Now, my friend told you to shut up, didn’t he?”
James flinched as the other figure tightened his grip and whined as he felt something was about to pierce his skin… it felt like a knife.
“That’s better.” the man said, “Now, don’t give me any trouble or my friend here is going to make this look like a suicide.”
He backed up a little as Max decided to go at him again and pulled out a gun and aimed the barrel at the dog.
James freaked as he did his best to try and break free of the other mans grip. In the struggle, the man dropped the knife and James said, “Max, go! GO, NOW!” as he ran for the cruiser.
He and the dog just reached the cruiser when the taller man grabbed James by the back of the neck and said, “You little F***, you think you can get away that easily?”
James flinched as the man aimed for the dog again and said, “Now, either you listen to me or I’m going to kill your beast!”
James fell to his knees and said in near tears, “What do you want from me? Who the hell are you?”
“You don’t need to know now.” the taller man said
“Now, are you going to cooperate? Or is Mr. Brute going to have to kill the beast, instead of me?”
Just then, the other figure grabbed Max by the collar. Max whined and tried to snap but it was not any good, the man was too quick; he couldn’t get a good bite.
The man laughed as the dog gave up and fell to the ground in exhaustion. James stared at his dog laying there panting and looked up at the taller figure as he thought, ‘You kill my dog and I swear you will not live.’
The taller man laughed at the sight before him and said, “You care for that beast like a child. You are a loser. Cops are not supposed to be that soft.”
James said, “Some cops are just too hard, I’m not one of them, at least I care.” as he stood.
The taller man pushed him down again and said “Now, since we got that figured out, you are going to listen to me very carefully.”
James said in anger and frustration, “Who the hell are you?”
“SHUT UP! AND LISTEN!” the taller man yelled as the other man placed a cloth over James mouth and tied his hands behind his back.
The taller figure pulled something out of his pocket that seemed to glow in the moonlight and said, “You may feel a little dizzy so listen carefully. From here on out, you will only hear things I want you to hear and see and remember things I only want you to remember. Nothing else.”
James felt his head was spinning as the man said, “Shoot the dog.”
Everything went dark.
Meanwhile, as all this was taking place, James twin brother, who was working the dispatch unit of the Philadelphia Police Department, suddenly jumped as if he was slapped in the back of the head.
He took the receiver and said “This is Police Dispatch, calling car 45, come in car 45.”
“Car 45, respond.”
Still, there was no response.
John felt goose bumps as he thought, ‘Come on James, you should have checked in by now.’
John felt that something was wrong as another dispatcher said, “John, are you ok?”
“Yeah, John said “James might just be taking a break… he should have checked in, though, he knows better than that.”
John then stood as he said, “Could you take over for me? I need to take a break myself.”
“Sure,” the other dispatcher said “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“I’m fine,” John said as he left the room. John walked to the main entrance and was about to walk down the steps when he heard a whine and said “Who’s there?” as he put his hand on his gun.
Max limped out of the shadows and John said, “Oh God, what the hell happened? Where is he, boy, where’s James?”
Max fell in front of John and whined as John looked at the wound.
He was hit in the chest, but it looked like it was only a flesh wound, Max was breathing well but his leg was painfully swollen. The other dispatcher, who John and James had known since childhood, came out and said
“John? We’ve got a problem.”
“What is it, Rick?” John said in a voice that Rick knew was a voice of a man who was about to have a nervous breakdown.
“James was found unconscious about 5 minutes ago, they had to call an ambulance.”
Rick regretted saying that when John stood and said, “Where?! What the hell happened?! What the hell is going on?!”
Max whined as John yelled and Rick said “John, calm down, everything will be fine.”
“Fine? Everything will be fine? You look at Max and tell me everything will be fine! What if he was shot, what if someone….”
John fell to his knees and Rick kneeled beside him as he said, “John, you have to relax, if you don’t, the whole department is going to be wondering what the heck’s going on.”
“I let this happen.” John said as he tried his hardest to control his emotions. “James is always getting hurt and it’s always when I’m not there.”
Rick felt his heart leap to his throat as he thought ‘Why? Why now? Why does this have to happen now?’ and said to John, “Hey, you have to stop blaming yourself, these things happen. Everything that happens is not your fault, not even when we were kids.”
“But you were there.” John said “Rick, you were there when we were kids… if I had not listened… “
“It would have happened anyway, John” Rick said “Even if you were there to protect him, you both would have suffered the same way.”
John looked at Rick and thought ‘As if I’m not suffering enough… he’s my brother….I never should have let him go out there alone.’
Another officer, who was standing near the entrance, walked outside and said “I hate to interrupt… one of you has to get back to the desk, the chief… ”
“F*** the chief” John said in a low voice.
Just then, a tall man, about 6 ft 4 walked outside and said, “Ok, what the hell’s going on? I’m making my rounds and all I hear is yelling, why aren’t you two at your stations?”
The other officer explained what happened and the chief said to John “Well then, you go to the hospital and check on him. After all, his is your brother.”
Rick asked permission to go with him and when he got the ok, the chief said, “Eric, you take over for John and tell Stephens to take over for Rick. You’re getting paid to protect the city, not to wander around all night.”
Another officer was called to take Max to an animal hospital and Rick took John to the hospital.
As Rick drove, John said “I’m sorry for my attitude, I just freaked.”
“It’s ok.” Rick said “If I had a brother, I’d probably do the same thing.”
For a full day and a half, James remained unresponsive to any kind of treatment. The doctor tried everything he could to wake James, but nothing seemed to work. The doctor told John that they just had to wait and see what happened. John never left his brother’s side.
Friday evening, as John stood beside his brother’s bed and said to himself as he watched for any signs of awakening
‘James, come on, it’s me, wake up. Please.’
John continued to watch his brother as Rick walked in and said, “Is he ok?”
John just shrugged his shoulders and said, “The doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong. He said there is nothing wrong with his breathing. All he has is a slight bump on the back of the head, but nothing major.”
John sat in a chair as he said, “I want to know what happened, but the only way we will find out is when James wakes up.”
Rick handed John a cup of coffee and said, “You know, you look beat, do you want me to watch him for you while you rest?”
“No.” John said “I want to be here when he wakes up, I’m not leaving until he does.”
Rick looked at John and said, “You know, you have always been a stubborn ass.”
John looked at him and snarled “Well that’s just the way I am.”
Rick backed off and said “John, I… “
“I know.” John said “Sorry, I must be tired.”
“Go home, then.” Rick said.
John stood and said “Why does everything always have to happen to him? Why can’t it be me for once?”
Rick looked at John and said “Don’t wish stuff like that on yourself… you know if James heard you say that, he’d flip out.”
“I guess you’re right about that.”
John said “But I’m still not leaving. I’m staying here.”
Rick decided not to argue and sat there as John went to talk to one of the nurses. James whined in his sleep but Rick didn’t think anything of it as he drank his coffee. He watched James carefully when he thought he saw his eyelids move and thought
‘Come on James, you have to wake up… if you don’t, then John’s going to have a fit.’
Before the story continues, here is a short summary of the young men in our story:
John and James Decanter, as mentioned, are twin brothers. They both have blonde hair and hazel eyes, but James, being the younger of the two has slightly lighter hair and his eyes are a little lighter, almost pale.
Both are about the same height, James being a couple inches shorter 6 ft 4. John and James both have muscle, but again, James, being younger, is not as big as his brother is. Both were right handed, but James had something happen to him, which will be explained later on in this summary.
When the brothers were about 6 years of age, their mother had passed away due to difficulties caused by lung cancer. Up until the boys were 17, their father watched over them. As the two were growing up, their father had begun to drink heavily but no one ever thought anything of it. When they were reaching their 17th birthday, James had one of a series of arguments with his father.
Around noon time, close to their birthday, James father asked, “Why are your grades so lousy, James?”
John was in the dining room looking for his jacket when he heard his father say this, walked into the kitchen and said to himself, ‘Oh, great, not another one.’ and said aloud, “Dad, you know why James grades are slipping. It’s because he is not very good in the classes they put him in.”
James looked over at John and closed his eyes as his father snapped “You stay out of this, you know better than to interrupt anything that is no concern of yours.”
“Sorry, Dad,” John said “I just… “
“John, don’t.” James said under his breath just low enough so that he could hear and not his father.
John looked James in the eye and said in a low tone “You sure?” James nodded as his father turned around and said “John, I said leave, go out with one of your friends or something, now.”
John left the room and James said, “You didn’t have to yell at him, he was just trying to tell you… “
“I know what he was trying to tell me!” James father snapped
“You should not have to have him stick up for you all the time, you wimp.”
James flinched at the remark and looked down as his father said, “Now, I’m going to stand here until you tell me why your grades are slipping, for crying out loud, boy, you’ll be graduating next year.”
He grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and said, “I’m waiting.”
James thought of all the excuses that he could use and said as he looked away from his father, “I really don’t know, Dad. I guess I’m just not meant to be as smart as John, he’s the one you seem to like the most.”
James father slapped him across the face and said, “Don’t ever talk about your brother like that again.”
James was shocked and stared at his father in disbelief. He never hit him before, no matter how pissed off he was.
James stood, looked at his father and said, “I wish you were not my father!” then ran upstairs to his room.
“Go ahead and go to your room!” his father yelled, “You are nothing but a baby. He then went to the kitchen to finish the beer.
James sat on his bed and slammed his fist against his pillow as he thought to himself, “Why can’t I ever be like John, he’s always getting the good grades and shit.” James then turned on his radio and set it full blast since he didn’t care what his father would say about it.
About 5 minutes later, he turned it down after he realized his father was not going to complain about it.
‘Must have fallen asleep.’ James thought as he quietly opened his door. He crept down the stairs and saw his father asleep on the couch and said “You bastard, you wait. You will get what you deserve.”
About 4 that afternoon, John came home and James told him everything that happened.
“You have to tell him to stop.” John said, “If you don’t he might hurt you.”
“What do you care?”
“Every time he tells you to leave, you do anyway, no matter what.”
“That’s because you ask me to. You don’t want me to get involved, so I won’t.”
“Well, next time if I say not to do anything, don’t listen to me.”
John looked puzzled and James said, “Forget it, never mind, Dad's got me totally pissed and upset, please Don’t take what I say seriously.”
“Ok.” John said as he stood to go to his room for a while.
That night, everyone slept quietly.
One day, about 3 weeks after their 17th birthday, their father became so violent towards James. John was going to invite his friend Rick over when James and his father had one last argument.
“I said pick up the damned mess you made!!”
“NO!” James yelled back
“I’m tired of being treated like shit! It’s about time I did it to you!”
“You shut your fucking mouth and listen to your father!”
John stayed in the living room as the argument started and thought to himself, ‘Hurry up, Rick, please.’
Ever since that day, James and his father argued about nearly anything that they could argue about. Now, it looked like everything had finally gone too far. James had been trying his hardest not to lose his temper, but today just seemed like a day that no one was going to forget. For a while.
James yelled, “Go to Hell!”
John heard a loud slap and knew that his father had hit his brother. When James realized that his nose was bleeding, he looked at his father and said, “I fucking hate you! I wish you were DEAD!”
John jumped when the doorbell rang and walked to the door as he said to himself, ‘Oh, God, James, please stop this, I can’t stand it anymore!’
“What the hell is all the yelling?” Rick asked as he stood in the doorway.
“James and Dad”
John said “I’m not allowed to get involved; we had better go before they bring it out here.”
Just then, James said, “I’m not my brother! He’s always good enough for you! That just isn’t fair!”
James father then yelled, “DON’T bring your brother into this; he’s not the lousy SOB that you are!” He then punched James in the stomach and said, “You stick up for yourself once in a while and maybe I’ll treat you like I treat him!”
James looked at his father and said, “Maybe I will!” and pushed him.
“John is only there for you because you are an asshole!”
His father stood and looked at James and said, “Well, since you want to be tough, you might be able to handle THIS!” and punched him in the gut again and James fell to the floor.
His father grabbed a piece of a broken beer bottle and went for James.
Just then, as John and Rick were waiting for the bus to go to the mall, John jumped as if he was hit and said, “We have to go back.”
“Why?” Rick asked as he stood and moved away from the bench he was sitting on.
“Something is not right, something is wrong.” John said as he walked to the corner.
“John, what the hell are you talking about, man?” Rick said as he followed his friend.
“Just trust me on this.” John said, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
About 3 minutes later, they reached the house and John heard some commotion going on that made him bolt onto the porch and open the door without hesitation.
Rick followed and both boys saw James, crying and bleeding from the left wrist and forearm as his father hovered over him and said, “I told you were a wimp.”
“DAD!” John yelled, “What have you done!”
Rick called the cops as John tried to look at James injury.
“Let me see it James.” John said as he gently forced James to sit up and pull out his arm.
James had the look of a child who fell off their bike and said, “I tried to stop him, he was going to kill me.”
John saw the injury and his temper flared beyond what his brother had expected. “You BASTARD!” John yelled at his father, who was cleaning off his hand like nothing happened. “You almost killed him!”
Rick went over to James as he said, “John, don’t do anything stupid, the police are on their way.”
John didn’t listen and went for his father and beat him until he was knocked out cold. He didn’t even have a chance.
2 months later, the case was taken to court.
After weeks of physical therapy to recover what James could of his hand functions, he finally agreed to testify in court to what happened.
The case was taken to trial and the judge sentenced their father and said to him, “You may think that you could have gotten away with this, but you were wrong, NO ONE who abuses children the way you did deserves to have a life, you’re done.”
John and James, being only 17 at the time, were placed in the custody of their mother’s brother, a well-respected man who knew the law and promised never to let anything happy to his nephews while he was their guardian.
When the brothers reached their 21st birthday, they were both enrolled in the police academy, not even thinking about anything that happened to them when they were younger. With their uncle’s help, they became two of the best cops around.
Back to the story:
Saturday morning, while John was watching his brother, he just about fell asleep when Rick walked into the room. “Are you still awake?” Rick asked as he quietly closed the door to the room.
“Now I am.” John said as he sat up “I was about to doze off. Everything makes me edgy, I can’t sleep at all.”
Just as he said this, James whined as if he was having a bad dream and moved around like he was in a struggle.
He said something in a low voice that neither John nor Rick could understand and then shouted NO! I’m not going to do it! John stared at his brother as he said “Get one of the doctors; I’m going to try to wake him up.
When Rick left the room, John went over to the bed and said, “James, wake up, it’s me, wake up.”
James seemed to struggle as he opened his eyes and John said, “It’s ok, James, it’s me, you’re fine.”
John then went to touch his brother’s hand to let him know he was there when James sat up and said, “Help!” and stared at the room and everything around him.
“Where am I?” James said as his brother sat in one of the chairs and thanked God that James was ok.
“John, what is going on, what am I doing here?” James said as he tried to sit up some more.
“You’re at the hospital,” John said. “You were found unconscious and they brought you here to figure out what happened.”
“Ok… ” James said, “I don’t get it, I’m lost. I don’t remember anything, where’s Max?”
John didn’t answer as the doctor came into the room, with Rick, close behind. “James Decanter?” the doctor said.
“Yes, that’s me,” James said, “What’s going on?”
“You’ve been out for a while.” The doctor said. “We were beginning to fear that you might be in a coma.”
James looked confused.
“James, do you remember anything that happened?”
James said, “I’m totally lost.”
Rick left the room to go back to the station, to inform everyone that James was ok.
The doctor examined James for no more than 15 minutes. “Other than that bump on the back of your head, you seem to be fine.” He checked James pulse and asked, “What happened you your arm?”
“Oh, that happened when I was a kid.” James said, “My father did it.”
John looked at James and said, “He had an accident, something happened with some machinery we used to work on when we would help our dad out in the garage.”
The doctor considered this and said nothing. He looked at James and said, “I wouldn’t worry about the memory lapse, I’m sure that you will remember everything in due time, it’s probably best that you don’t remember what happened.”
“When can he go home?” John asked as he stood.
“Tomorrow, I want to keep him overnight just to make sure that he is ok.”
John thanked the doctor and the doctor left the room.
That night, Rick stopped over to see what was up and found James wide-awake and John asleep in a chair across the room.
“How are you feeling?” Rick asked James as he sat in another chair across from the bed.
“A little sore, but I’m ok, I guess.”
“The doctor said that you can’t remember anything that happened” Rick said.
“I can’t remember a damn thing.” James said as he sat up in the bed.
Rick looked over at John sleeping in the other chair and said “It’s about time he fell asleep, he wouldn’t sleep at all while you were out.”
“He’s always been like that.”
James said “Every time I’m sick or something, he drops everything just to care for me.”
“I know.” Rick said, “I was there most of the time.”
He stood then said, “I’m going to head back to the station and let the chief know you’re all right, the nurse told me that you will be out in the morning”
That night, James and John both slept soundly and John never woke up until the next day.
Around 9 AM, John and James both woke up and waited for the doctor. Half an hour later, the doctor came in and examined James.
“You can leave now, just be careful about work, don’t over work yourself and if you need to take time off, take it.”
He handed James a card with his name and number on it in case he had any problems and handed him his discharge papers
As John drove from the hospital, he stopped at a red light and asked, “You remember anything?”
“No,” James said, “but… where is Max? He was with me. What happened to him?”
“Max is fine. A bit sore, but he’s ok.”
“What happened?” James asked.
“He was shot near the heart, but luckily, the bullet missed.” John said. “He’s got some soreness in his right front leg, but he should be fine.”
He then went on green and said, “I wish I was there, none of this would have happened. It’s not your fault.”
James said, “I should have been more prepared, I was told that the area was bad, but I didn’t think it would be that bad.”
As they neared the house, John said, “Max might be a bit excited, he hasn’t seen either of us. I just hope that the vet didn’t forget to lock the door on the way out.”
“HUH?” James said
“You. I’m kidding.” John said.”I have to go get him after I drop you off.”
“I want to go with you.” James said, “He might freak if he doesn’t see me.” John agreed and they both went to the vets’ house.
The vet, a long time friend of the family, took John and James to the back of his house where Max was laying in the sun and dozing. When James called Max, he sat up and whined as he walked over to James and the other two. His arm is healing, his heart is fine, nothing wrong there and he’s been eating. Like a horse. James laughed at that and said The K9 vacuum cleaner. John and the vet laughed as well.
Max, a pure bred black and tan German Shorthaired Shepherd, was James pride and joy. Because James cared about Max so much, John sometimes felt as if he should be jealous. He was a 6-year-old and an orphan when he was only 3 weeks old. James adopted the puppy when it was 5 months and raised it with all the love and care of a parent with a child.
After James and John got in the car with Max, James said to his brother, “I am so glad that Max wasn’t hurt too bad.”
John laughed and said, “Well, I feel so loved.”
James laughed and punched John in the arm as he said, “There, a love tap from your little brother.”
Both men just burst out laughing and Max lay there in the back seat just looking like whatever.
When they all got to the house, John asked, “So, how does it feel to be home?”
“Good.” James said as he walked up the steps to the second floor. He went to the bathroom and to his room as the doorbell rang.
As James came back down, a good friend of theirs for the past 3 years, Stephen Ryan was standing in the doorway as John said, “There he is now.”
James and Max went to the couch as Stephen sat in the armchair and said, “John told me everything that happened, I heard some from a friend, but he didn’t give me all the details, are you ok?”
“I’m ok, I guess.” James said “A little sore from the bump on the head, but otherwise fine, nothing to worry about, the doctor just told me to take it easy for a while.”
“Well, it’s good to hear that you are ok,” Stephen said,
“How would you guys like to come over for a little Sunday night party? Just us and a few other guys.”
“I can’t see why not.”
John said, “Do you feel up to it, James?”
James said, “I didn’t hear the doctor say anything about no partying.”
Stephen said, “How about 5 o’clock tonight? I’ll end the party about ten so that you guys can get some sleep and so John can go to work tomorrow.”
John and James both agreed to the idea
“It’s not the 13th is it?” James asked as he pet Max and handed him a squeaky ball to play with for a while.
“Yeah, it is.”
John said, “I almost forgot until Stephen came over.”
“But I never got the chance to get you anything.” James said, “I feel so bad now.”
“It's ok,” John said
“As long as you are not in the hospital – that is enough of a present for me.”
James agreed and said, “Well, I will get you something next year.”
John then went to the dining room and pulled a box out of the coat closet as he said, “I hope you like this; I’ve been saving up and collecting for a while now.”
James opened the box that John handed him and said, “Where on Earth? I thought they didn’t have these anymore. He was looking a collection of CDs but country star Garth Brooks.” He had them all, including the Chris Gaines album.
“I knew you would like that.” John said.
James thanked John and said. “You will get something from me sometime as soon as I get the chance and the money.”
As the clock chimed 12 noon, James said, “I’m getting hungry, what is there to eat?”
“Well, I could make a couple sandwiches.” John said. “We do need to do a bit of food shopping, though. Max is running out of food as well.”
James sat on the couch and watched TV as John went to the kitchen and fed Max. After he gave Max his food, John then made sandwiches for him and his brother and took two cans of Soda out of the refrigerator.
“What’s on TV?” John asked his brother.
“Nothing really,” James said “just the news and a few cartoons.”
“What cartoons?” John asked as he handed James his sandwich.
“Tom and Jerry – and a few others.” James said. Both brothers ate their sandwiches and watched TV as Max lay in the dining room.
When the brothers finished eating, John said to James, “I’m going to go get that food shopping done; you want to go with me?”
“Nah,” James said, “I’m just going to stay here.”
John said ok and left the house as James watched Television.
At about twenty after 12, James began to feel tired and lay down on the couch. Max went over to the couch and lay down.
As James slept, he had a dream.
“I want you to do something for me.” a voice said.
James looked around thought, “What the hell is going on here?”
“You’ll find out soon enough.” the voice said.
James jumped and said, “What the….I didn’t even say anything.”
“I can hear everything you think.” the voice said.
“Why am I here?” James asked aloud.
He looked around to see if anyone was in the shadows and began to realize that he was inside a rundown warehouse.
He began to feel a little edgy as he said, “Tell me what the hell is going on here, now. Who the hell are you?”
“You will find out when the time is right.” the voice said as James saw a shadow move across the broken cement floor.
The building was dark but for some moonlight shining through some broken windows. Judging from the moonlight, it seemed to be after midnight.
“I want you to do something for me, something that no one would ever expect a person like you to do.”
“What do you mean?” James asked as he felt the hair on the back of his neck raise as if he was being watched.
“You ever kill anyone, James?” the voice said as a figure came out of the shadows and moved closer to James.
James was startled at the remark and said, “I can’t do that, I’m not a killer, you are insane; who are you?”
He then thought, “How does he know my name? I am not telling you who I am.”
The figure said, “You will find out eventually Now, are you going to listen or do I have to use some kind of negotiation?”
James backed up as the figure moved closer and said, “I don’t know who you are, or where the hell I am, but you had better leave me alone or else.”
“Or else what?” the figure said.
James still could not see the face, but the man was tall enough that James had to look up just to see his head. James backed away a bit to try to see the face as he said, “Well, you going to answer or are you just going to stare at me?”
James stood silent as the man said, “You aren’t going to be able to get anywhere just staring at me.”
James then said, “If I’m going to do something for someone, I have to see who he or she are and know who they are as well.” He shook as he said this thinking, ‘Oh, God, what the hell am I going to do, this better be a dream.’
“This is a dream… what you are going to do is far from a dream.” the man said. “Now, you are going to find someone, kill him and everything will be fine.”
“What will happen if I don’t do what you want me to do?” James said.
“Someone you know will suffer.”
James panicked as he asked, “What are you telling me?”
“I’m telling you that if you don’t do what you are supposed to, you might lose a family member.”
James shook his head and said, “No, I don’t care who you are, and you’re threatening me and I don’t like it, you had better leave me the hell alone.”
“Or what?” the man said, “You going to arrest me? How can you arrest someone you can’t see?”
Just then, James woke up.
“Well, it’s about time.” John said. “You had better get moving or were going to be late.”
“Late?” James said, “Late for what?”
“The party,” John said, “it’s at 5, it’s almost 3:30.”
James sat up, not thinking about the dream he just had and John said, “You sure were out for a while, you sure you want to go to this party?”
“Definitely,” James said, “I need something to do.” He then stood as he said, “Let’s get ready.”
As John and James headed out to the car at about 4:15, a voice said to James, ‘You will find out who soon – you will do as I say’
James shook his head and John said, “You ok?”
“Yeah,” James replied, “I forgot my painkillers, should I go get them? You might do some drinking,”
John said, “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
James agreed and both men got into the car. Max looked out the window as the car left and lay on the couch.
At about 4:55, John and James got to their friends’ house. John knocked on the door and James said, “Why is it so quiet, I thought he said that a few others were going to be over, too.”
“Don’t know,” John said, “Maybe they aren’t here yet.”
Stephen opened the door and said, “You got here just in time, I was just about to call to see if you two were coming.”
John and James entered the house as Stephen said, “Now… ”
“SURPRISE!” a group of people, shouted from all corners of the house. John and James were surprised to see people that they knew from work and a few friends from when they were in school.
“Happy Birthday.” Stephen said, “You two deserve this.”
John and James both thanked Stephen and James said, “Where is Mike?”
“Oh, he’s at a friend’s house, I guess.” Stephen said, “We had a fight this morning and he left.”
John and James looked at each other and Stephen said, “Don’t worry, it’s not about that, we just had a little disagreement, that’s all. He said something and I disagreed with it.”
“Ok.” John said. He went to talk to the other people as James followed Stephen to the kitchen.
“You know,” James said “Ever since you and he had that fight, he’s been disappearing a lot.”
“I know.” Stephen replied, “I think it may just be the fact that he doesn't want to stay with me anymore, but I can’t put him on the street, he has no job and his friends don’t have any places for him to stay either.”
“Why doesn’t he get a job?” James asked, “Don’t let him live like this. You have to get him to get a place of his own.”
“I know,” Stephen said, “But if I kick him out now, he might just think that it’s because I hate him or something.”
“We could talk to him.” James said.
“The last thing he’ll do is talk to a cop.” Stephen said, “You know how he is about government and law officers.”
James agreed then said, “Well, he might want to consider counseling. If he keeps acting like this, he’s going to wind up hurting someone.”
Stephen pulled some things out of the refrigerator as James said, “I need something to drink; where are your cups?”
“Right behind you in the cabinet,” Stephen said, “Help yourself.” He then went back to the living room and put out some sodas and chips and dips.
James pulled a pill bottle out of his pants pocket and thought, ‘Wait, I thought I left these at the house?’ He shrugged his shoulders and thought, ‘Oh well, I needed them anyway.’ and took a couple pills.
As he drank he water, a voice said, “You will find out when I want you to, you will do what I tell you to.”
James then jumped as John popped his head into the kitchen and said, “You coming out or are you just going to stand there with that cup in your hand?”
“I’m coming,” James said as he followed his brother and joined the party.
Half an hour later, after everyone showed, one last person knocked on the door and Stephen said, “It’s about freaking time.” He opened the door and a tall guy brought in a bakery box, and then left.
Stephen opened the box and said, “Sorry it’s late, guys, but here it is.”
The cake had ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES AND JOHN’ written in icing and Stephen went to the kitchen to get candles. 53 candles were placed on the cake and the brothers blew them out on the count of 3.
When Stephen cut the cake, John took a piece and said, “I’ve been waiting a long time to do this.” He went up to James, who didn’t even see it coming and put the cake in his face.
“That’s for all the times that you let Max into my room to wake me up every morning on the weekend.”
James wiped the cake off his face as he said while he laughed.
“Well, this is for all the times you karate kicked me in the gut when we were kids!” and hit John in the face with his piece.
A small food fight started as everyone laughed and watched the brothers’ act like children. About 5 minutes later, everything calmed down for a bit and there was cake and icing all over the rest of the food.
Stephen laughed as he said, “And you didn’t even start drinking yet.” Everyone laughed and someone got beer out of a cooler and began passing it around.
Around about 7:00 PM, James went to the kitchen and got another glass of water as John came in and said, “Are you ok?”
“Yeah,” James said, “Just need a glass of water, don’t want to drink too much beer.”
He then pulled out his painkillers and John said, “I thought you left those back at the house.”
“I didn’t,” James replied, “I had them in my pocket the whole time.”
John shrugged his shoulders, said, “Ok.” and He then turned around as he said, “Are you positive that you are ok? You looked like you were having a bad dream earlier; does it have anything to do with what happened?”
“Don’t know,” James said, “I still can’t remember anything that happened.”
James then heard a voice say, “Soon, you will do it soon, just wait, you will know.”
James growled under his breath, ‘Leave me alone.’
“What?” John asked, as he was about to leave the kitchen.
“Nothing.” James said, “I’m ok, I’ll be there in a little bit.”
John stared at James and said, “Come on, James, what is it?”
“Nothing.” James said, “John, if anything was bothering me, you know I’d tell you about it.”
John said ok and left the kitchen.
James took his painkillers and said to himself, ‘Come on, leave me alone, I’m not going to listen to you, you’re just my imagination; I’m not going to listen to any of this.’ Then he went to rejoin the party.
John watched his brother as he walked in a said to himself, ‘Ok, he must be all right.’ He talked to a man with a woman they laughed as he said something about being the next chief of police.
When 9:30 hit, people started to leave.
When the last person left the house, Stephen went upstairs. John saw that James was sitting in the dining room staring at a pendant on a chain that John had given to him about 4 years ago.
“Are you ok, James?” John asked as he walked into the dining room.
“I’m fine.” James said, “I am just a little tired, that’s all.” He stood as he said, “I’m going to go lie on the couch, wake me up when you’re ready to get back to the house.”
“Are you sure that you are ok?” John asked as he watched his brother, he was walking, as if he hadn’t slept for days, he seemed so sluggish.
James snapped, “Just let me be. I’ll be ok, as long as you leave me alone.”
John stared at his brother who sat on the couch and then said, “James, I just asked a question.”
James stared at John and said, “Just leave me alone, ok?” He then muttered an apology.
John felt as if his heart was torn as he said, “If this has anything to do with what happened to you, please tell me. I hate seeing you like this, what happened.”
“I told you that I cannot remember.” James said. “If I could, you’d be the first to know.”
John flinched at the attitude that James was giving him and said, “James… “
“Just get out of my face and leave me alone.” James angrily replied, “I don’t need you wasting your time worrying about me, I am fine.”
He then went out the front door as John followed and said, “James Michael Decanter, if you don’t quit with the attitude… “
Stephen then came downstairs and outside as he said, “What the hell is going on with you two?
“Ask James.” John said, “He’s the one who’s been acting strange since he got back.”
Stephen looked questioningly at James and he said, “I’m fine.”
The three men went back into the house as John said, “I’m sorry if I was prying, but I’m just worried about you.”
James apologized and said, “I don’t know what came over me, I’m sorry.”
John accepted James apology and said to him, “I won’t be so forceful about it. I just hate seeing you like that.”
At about 10:00, Stephens’s son, Michael R. Ryan, walked in the door.
“Thought you weren’t coming back tonight?” Stephen said.
“I wanted to apologize for what happened this morning.” Michael said.
Stephen accepted and said, “Did you get anything for your Godfather and for James?”
“Yeah,” Michael said, “Was only able to get something small for each of you guys, but I found something.”
He handed John a box with and James a smaller box. John opened his box and found a small leather money clip with a cross. James opened his box and found a small mans ring with a clear stone, the band was silver. Both brothers thanked Michael.
“You two have to leave.” Stephen said, “It’s already getting late.”
John agreed and Michael said, “Why do they have to leave now?”
“We have work in the morning,” John said, “besides, James just got back from the hospital and he needs his rest.”
“You knew that, Mike, I told you about it before you left the house this morning.”
“I forgot,” Michael said, “I don’t remember you telling me that at all.”
Stephen shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh, ok, well, you two really have to get going.”
John agreed and he and James left.
As John drove, James was dozing off in the passenger seat. John nudged his brother and said, “Hey, no sleeping until we get to the house.”
James laughed a bit and said, “Sorry about my attitude, I think that some of that beer that I drank along with the painkillers made me a little wacky.”
“It’s all right.” John replied, “Don’t worry about it.”
When John drive up to the curb in front of the house, James got out and said, “I’m going straight to bed. What about you?”
“Me too.” John said “I just think that it’s best if you don’t go to work, you need some rest.”
James wanted to say something but changed his mind as John opened the door. Max ran to the door and jumped on James as he said, “Ok, Max, you have been a good dog since we were gone, now stay that way.”
Max sat and James said, “Good boy.”
As he walked to the couch, Max went to the dining room and lay under the table. John and James both went upstairs. John went to his room as James went to his. At about half past midnight, John fell asleep as James sat there in his bed.
Max came up the stairs and nudged open James door. James looked over at Max and said, “What is it, boy?”
Max jumped up on James bed and laid his head in James lap as James heard a voice say, “You will kill the person I want you to kill or else suffer the consequences.”
‘Who the hell are you talking about?’ James said in his head. ‘I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but I am not a killer, you are just a voice in my head and a figure in my dreams so, you are nothing that I can’t handle right now’
‘Oh really?’ the voice said, ‘You will believe in all this when I am through with you.’
At this, James felt tired and fell asleep as Max jumped off the bed to let him have it all. James began to have a dream as he lay there on the bed with his body facing the wall of the room. Max just lay on the floor, looking up at his master, and whined a bit while he dozed as well.
John still remained asleep in his room.
James kept hearing voices in his head saying, ‘Kill him! Kill him.’ He tossed and turned all night and John woke up to see if he was ok at about 2 am.
Max jumped up as the door opened and John said, “It’s ok, boy, it’s just me.”
Max relaxed and lay down again as John shut the door and went back to his room and fell asleep. As he drifted off to sleep, he realized that James was wearing the ring that Mike had given him and thought, ‘I’ll ask him about it in the morning.’
At about 7:00 am, James woke up ahead of his brother and got ready to go to work. John woke up about 5 minutes later and by 8:15; both men were ready to get to work. James called Stephens house to see if Mike could watch Max and when everything was set, John and James left the house.
When the brothers entered the police department, Rick said to John, “Chief O’Neal wants to see James in his office.”
James looked at John and John said, “It might just be to see if you are ok, you don’t have to worry.”
James agreed and went to the chief’s office as John and Rick went to the dispatch room. When James got the chiefs office, he heard a voice in the office say, “I don’t care what you do Diane, just make sure that those kids do what they are supposed to, I’m tired of them not doing their chores, they need to learn to clean up after themselves.”
There was a minute pause and the voice said, “Ok, fine, just please make sure that they clean up this time, they are already in high school for crying out loud, it’s not like they are kids anymore.”
There was a click as a receiver was put down and James knocked on the door as he thought, ‘Oh, please be in a good mood.’
“Enter.” the voice said.
James walked in to find the chief with a cigar in his mouth and a pile of papers on his desk and said, “You wanted to see me.”
“Yes, I did, James.” Chief O’Neal said as he pushed some papers aside to make room for his ashtray. He then stood as he said, “You can sit down.”
James sat in a chair in front of the chief’s desk as he thought, ‘Oh please don’t make me leave; I’ll just do some desk duty.’
“We are still trying to find out what happened that night, James, however, there were no witnesses, so it’s going to be very difficult to figure this all out.”
“Well, I can’t remember anything at all, if I do, you will be the first to know.” James said.
“James, you know, you should not even be here today. I mean, after what happened I’d expect you to be at home relaxing.”
“I want to work,” James replied, “Nothing will stop me, you know that Chief.”
Chief O’Neal agreed and said, “Very well, then, if we find out anything, you know we will be asking you questions and things like that.”
“I know. James said, “I’ll be ready for them.”
“You are going to be stuck on desk duty for now.” the chief said, “You better do a good job.”
James smiled, said “Yes, sir.” Then stood and left the office.
After James left the chief’s office, Rick walked up to him and said, “You ready to do some light work?”
“I guess so.” James said, “I need something to do to pass the time.”
Rick and James walked to one of the clerks desks as Rick said, “You’ll be filling in for Officer Monroe today; he’s out sick with the flu.”
James said ok and sat down as Rick said, “All you have to do is work on the activity schedule, nothing major, we have made some changes and all you have to do is use the computer to fill all the blanks and correct all the mistakes that need corrected.”
James looked at the schedule and said, “What do I do when this is all done?”
“I have some papers that need edited, too. You’ll be pretty busy for the next couple hours.” Rick said as he handed James a folder.
James cringed at the site and said, “Oh, boy, I will never be able to look at a computer again after all this is done.”
Rick laughed and said, “You’ll be just fine, take your time and don’t rush.”
When Rick went to his desk, James looked at the first page of the months schedule and started typing it out on the computer.
‘You are going to find out soon.’ a voice said as James typed, “You will find out and when you do, you’ll do as I say or else.”
‘Shut up.’ James thought as he tried to concentrate. ‘Whoever you are, just leave me the fuck alone.’
He saw something in the back of his mind and thought, “What the…?”
He jumped in his seat as Rick came over and said, “You ok?”
“Yeah.” James said, “Didn’t hear you walk over. Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Rick said. “No big deal, I just wanted to tell you that I forgot to mention that you have a lunch break at 1:30 today.”
James nodded and said, “Ok, thanks.”
As James began to type again, Rick went back over to his desk and thought, ‘Wow, he’s jumpy; whatever happened to his I-know-when-people-are-behind-me sense?’
Around 10:30 am, James was just finishing a report that needed a complete rewrite when the whole thing disappeared off the screen.
“Damn it.” James said aloud as Rick stood.
“What is it?” Rick asked.
“The damn screen went blank.” James said, “I just finished the report, too.”
“Did you save it to the disk?” Rick asked.
“Yeah,” James said “But… “
Just then, the screen went back on and Rick said, “Must have been a glitch in the system, we’ve been getting stuff like that all month.”
James stood as he said, “I’m going to take a break; I’m heading outside.”
Rick agreed to go with James and said, “I’ll see if your brother wants to go for a break, too, it’s quiet today, not even one arrest report, I doubt he’s doing anything in Dispatch.”
Rick called the dispatch department and John answered, “You doing anything?” Rick asked as James answered the phone at his desk. “This is Ryan County Police, how may I help you?”
There was nothing and then a voice said, “Stephen…” and broke up as James thought, “What the hell?”
James then said, “How may I help you?”
Then the voice said again, “Stephen must. Die.” James flinched at the response and said, “Please hang up and try again, you have the wrong number.”
The voice laughed and said, “I have the right number, you have the wrong idea.”
Then there was a click and the phone line went dead. Rick asked, “What was that?”
“I have no idea.” James said, “Someone making a prank call, I think.”
James trembled a little as Rick said, “You look as if you saw a ghost, are you sure that it was a crank call?”
“I guess.” James said. “My head hurts, got any painkillers, I left mine at the house.”
“Sure,” Rick said, “Do you tolerate Tylenol?”
“Yep,” James said, “Let me have them.”
After James took the Tylenol, Rick said, “You can relax for a bit while I see about another little project for you.”
As James waited for another report or two, the voice inside his head said, ‘You will never do it, will you? You are going to kill him and it will be tonight’
“No,’ James thought. ‘He is my friend and I am not a killer, cops don’t kill innocent people.”
“Well, he is my enemy and you will do as I say or I will make you do it. My way!”
James got the worst chill he ever had and thought, ‘Oh, God, no, not that’
Rick snapped his fingers in front of James eyes and said “Hey, wake up.”
James jumped and Rick said, “Shit James, what the hell is going on with you today.”
Other officers were watching as James stood and said, “I have to go home, I can’t do anything.”
“James” Rick said, “What are you talking about?”
James shook his head and said, “I don’t feel so well, I think that I should have stayed home.”
As James said this, his desk phone rang. James backed up a bit as Rick said, “I’ll get it… Man, you are… Hello?”
There was silence and Rick said, “Stupid punks, they always do that.”
Rick went to his desk and dialed John’s pager. Not one minute passed when John rang.
“John?” Rick said, “James has been acting funny; I think you might want to talk to him before he gets the whole office wondering about him.”
Rick handed James the phone and John said, “James, what the hell is going on?”
“I just want to leave.” James said, “I think I made a mistake coming in today.”
“Well, I warned you.” John said. “I’ll come over to the office in a sec and take you home before the chief decides to kick you out.”
As James hung up the phone, Chief O’Neal came out of his office and said, “James, get in here please.”
James looked at Rick and Rick said, “I didn’t do anything.”
James went over to the chief and said, “Yes, sir?”
“I have been hearing all that damn commotion, what on earth is going on?”
James looked down and thought, ‘Great… too late John.’
“Well?” Chief O’Neal said, “What is going on?”
“I’m taking care of it.” John said as he entered the office.
“Well, you’d better.” Chief O’Neal said, “I don’t want my supervisor coming in unannounced and hearing all this damned nonsense.”
John agreed and drove James home. As John drive, James sat silent and John said, “What is going on?”
“I don’t know.” James said, “For all I know, I might just be going crazy.”
John shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, we all go a little crazy sometimes.”
James smiled and said, “Smart-ass.”
John smiled back and said, “Well, I have to be to stay saner than you.”
When John dropped off his brother, he said, “You had better get some rest. You look like shit.”
James said ok and went to the door.
As John drive away, James opened the door and Stephen said, “What are you doing back already?”
“I wasn’t feeling well.” James said. “I’m going upstairs.”
Just then, Max jetted down the steps and met on the love seat. James had been about ready to go to the stairs when Max came out of the upstairs shadows and pinned him to the seat.
James petted Max and shoved him gently off his lap as he said, “Ok, Max, you’re too big for that.”
Stephen laughed and said, “Do you want me to leave so that you can rest, or do you still want me to take care of Max?”
“You can stay.” James said, “I just don’t feel rig being alone.
Stephen agreed to stay and about half an hour later, James fell asleep on the couch and Max lay on the floor.
‘What the hell is going on?’ Stephen thought as he watched James sleep.
As James slept, the voice said to him, “You might as well do it while he is there, you have the chance; you just need an alibi.”
“No.” James said as the figure appeared.
“If you don’t someone else will, and if you both fail. You will both suffer, you more than the other.”
Just as he said this, James saw a faded image of his brother standing next to the dark figure. The image seemed to cringe and James saw a gun pointed in his direction. James froze and said,
“I WILL NOT LISTEN TO YOU! This is not REAL! I’m not a KILLER!”
“You will be.” The figure said as he stepped closer to James.
James flinched as the figure grabbed his arm and pulled him close as he said, “Do it or Die, James, Do it or Die.”
James pulled away when he got a look at the face and said, “I will not listen to you… I’m not a killer, you have the wrong guy.”
James then heard his brothers voice call his name as the figure said, “You will do as I say and you will do a lot more if you do this right.”
“James.” John’s voice said, “James Wake up!” John said as he shook him gently. “James, I swear, if you don’t I’ll… “
“John, no,” Stephen said, “That will only make his dream worse.”
John stared at Stephen and said, “Ok, then what the heck am I supposed to do?”
“Tell him that everything is all right and to just wake up.” Stephen said. “I’ve done it to Michael, it worked more than once for him.”
Just then, before John could say anything, James sat up and shouted, “NO!” and John asked, “James, are you ok?”
James looked blankly at his brother and said, “What happened? What was I doing?”
John told James that he was having a dream and he told him that he tried to wake him up.
James looked at John and said, “I can’t remember anything.” He looked as if he was about to cry as he said, “I can’t remember anything at all.”
John comforted his brother as Stephen left.
“I’ll call you later, John said, “to let you know what goes on.”
Stephen said ok then left.
“Now, as for you.” John said as James calmed down a bit. “What is going on, James? What happened to you?”
“I told you I don’t remember.” James said. “Every time I have a dream, I forget what it’s about, and that scares me.”
“Why does it scare you?” John asked his brother as they both walked up the steps to James bedroom. James said that he didn’t know and John said, “Ok that’s it; I’m giving you something to help you sleep. You have to get rid of those damn dreams and I mean it.”
“Was I talking in my sleep at all?” James asked. “I know that when I was a kid, if I was having a bad dream, I’d talk about it in my sleep.”
“Stephen told me that you were mumbling something.” John said as he walked to the bathroom.
James heard a pill bottle and said aloud. “I’m not taking it, John. You know I can’t take that stuff.”
“Well, you’re taking it tonight. For me.” John said as he walked back into the room, “and for you.”
“Why did you come back?” James said as John as John opened the pill bottle.
“I was going to come back and just check on you and the chief gave me the rest of the day off, I have to work extra sometime after you get better so that I don’t miss any hours.” John said as he handed James a couple of pills.
“What did I talk about?” James asked as he tried avoiding the medicine in John’s hand.
“Something about not being a killer.” John said, “Please take this.”
“I’m not going to take it.” James said. “Every time I sleep, I have a bad dream and I’m not about to let it get worse.”
“James, it’s just your mind playing tricks on you.” John said. “Now either you stop thinking about it and start remembering what happened or I’m going to have to call the doctor and he can give this to you in a different way.”
James looked at John and said, “You’re mad at me.”
“No I’m not mad at you.” John said. “James, you know me better than that.”
He then put the pill bottle and cup of water on the nightstand next to James bed and said, “When you are ready, you can take it yourself.”
He then left the room. James thought to himself, ‘He’s never going to understand or believe me.’
‘He’s in the way,’ the voice said
‘Get him out of the way. I may decide let you go and get someone else to do this.’
“NO!” James shouted as he sat up and knocked his nightstand over.
The water and pills spilled all over the floor. The voice laughed as James picked up the pills and cleaned up the water as John came up the stairs and said, “What the hell is going on?”
“Nothing.” James said. “I was going to take the pills and the whole thing went all over the floor.”
John rolled his eyes and said, “James, you are a mess, now, either you take this stuff or I will just knock you out myself.”
James frowned at the remark and said, “I’m not crazy.”
“I never said that you were.”John said. “James, please just listen to me and do this now before someone calls the cops.”
“We are the cops.” James said as he laughed at the remark.
“No duh.” John said. “Sorry, James, but I’m getting tired, please just try to relax and get some sleep.”
About half an hour later, James finally got some sleep.
John relaxed as he went to his room and said, “It’s about time.”
Just as he was about to get some sleep, he heard someone say something and it sounded like it was coming from his brother’s room. John stood up out of bed and went to his brother’s room. James was sound asleep but John decided not to leave until he was sure.
Sure enough, James was having another fit. John went over to James bed and said, “James, wake up!”
James didn’t even hear what John said as he said, “James, get up, come on.”
James said something inaudible and Max walked over to the bed. John pulled Max back, as he said, “No, boy not yet.”
James struggled in his sleep and finally snapped back into consciousness.
John sat on the edge of the bed and said to his brother, “That’s it; you had better tell me what the hell is going on.”
“John, I can’t, I really can’t”
“Yes, you can and you will.” John said as he stood. “James, this is bull, you have to tell me what the hell is going on.”
Max went over to the bed and James said, “Well, if I tell you, promise me you will not call me loony or something.”
Max jumped up on the double bed and lay next to James. “Ok,” John said as he stood in the doorway, “Shoot.”
James told John everything that is all that he could remember. He didn’t, however tell him about killing his brother if he did not do as he was told.
“So, what you’re telling me,” John said as he walked over to James, “is that someone is trying to get you to kill Stephen, but only you have to do it when this person says or else you will be forced?”
“Yes.” James, said as he stood and walked over to his dresser to pick up a CD and place it in the case. John said on the bed and said,
“Well, you’re not loony!” James stood silent as John said, “But, you are crazy.”
James sat on the edge of his dresser and said, “Fuck it, I knew that you wouldn’t believe me.”
“Well,” John said as he stood “this all sounds like something out of a stupid corny movie.”
“Well, what am I supposed to believe?” James yelled as he stood, “Every time I go to bed, something keeps playing in my mind and the more I hear it, the more I want to just kill myself!”
“Don’t you dare say that again!” John said as he went over to his brother and slapped him across the face. James seemed to blank out then John said, “James. I’m sorry, I….”
“I HATE YOU!” James screamed as he pushed his brother.
A voice inside him said, ‘Kill him, kill him now, he’s only getting in the way!’
But, then as the voice faded, John saw a figure and said, “James, what the fuck is going on here!” He scrambled to his feet and said, “James, answer me! Please!”
James stared at John and went for is top dresser drawer, “You asked for it.” he said as he pulled out a pistol that he kept in case of emergencies.
The figure seemed to look at John and John said, “James, who the hell is that! Stop doing this to me! You’re scaring the hell out of me.”
‘Serves you right for not believing your own brother.’ the figure said as he moved away from the two brothers.
James pointed the cocked pistol at his brother as the figure said, ‘No, not yet, I want to see them both suffer.’
John saw that the ring James had on his finger was glowing bright red and said to himself, “No, it can’t be….what the….”
John suddenly saw a flash and James said, “Call Stephen, now.”
He still had the pistol and the figure seemed to become more vivid and Michael said, “Do as your brother says!”
“What the… ” John could not finish; James fired a shot that missed his head. John felt as if his heart stopped for a second and he said, “What the hell are you doing to my brother!”
“Giving him orders.” Michael said as he stood between John, who was on his knees on the floor and James, who had the gun pointed at John’s forehead.
John closed his eyes and said, “If you have to kill me, go ahead and do it, I’m nothing but trouble for him anyway.”
“No,” Michael said, “I’m going to let you live, for now.” He walked over to James phone and lifted the receiver and said, “Call him.”
“Call whom?” John said as he stood. At the same time, he kept his eye on the gun that James held, which followed him every second. John took the receiver and said, “Who?”
“Call Stephen.” Michael said.
“Now!” James said.
Max licked his hand and James flinched a bit as Max whined.
“Stupid mutt.” Michael said, “You should have died.”
He kicked the dog and John said, “Stop that! Stop doing this!” He had tears in his eyes and said, “I’ll do it.”
“You’d better.” Michael said, “He’s never going to forget this. Better yet, why don’t we do this downstairs?”
John hesitated and James waved the gun telling him to move. John moved as Michael followed close behind and Michael said, “Stay, mutt.”
“Leave him alone.” John said as they all got to the bottom.
James pushed John over to the loveseat and said, “Shut up.”
Michael looked at the dog and said, “That dog would be perfect.”
“For what?” John asked, “You’re little companion?”
“Exactly.” Michael said as he grabbed Max by the leash.
Max whined and struggled to get away but he was not strong enough. He gave up and panted on the floor in front of Michael as he said, “Mine, now.”
Before John knew what was going on, Max jumped into his lap and began to attack him. John could not believe what was happening.
“Max! Stop!” John yelled as he wrestled the snarling and biting beast to the floor. John felt a sharp pain as he fell. Max had bitten his forearm and John saw blood through his police shirt, which he never had the chance to change out of. James just stood there not flinching and John shouted for the dog to stop.
John noticed after a minute or so, that Max had begun to relax and said to Michael, “You are insane! What is going on here?”
“Hard to believe, isn’t it?” Michael said, “I bet you thought all this kind of stuff was in the movies.”
John stared at Michael and said, “This is not right; this has got to be a bad dream.”
“Reality is nothing but a dream.” Michael said as he handed John the phone. “Now call him or else”
John dialed the number and when Stephen picked up, he said, “Can you come over for a bit?”
“Why? What’s the problem?” Stephen asked as he sat up in his armchair. John said that there was no problem and asked Stephen if he’d like to come over to watch a movie.
“Ok” Stephen said, “That’s cool with me, I guess.”
He hung up the phone and thought ‘Ok, what on earth is going on with those two?’ as he went out to his car.
John hung up the phone on his end and said, “Ok, I called him; now what the hell is going on here?”
You’ll find out soon enough.” Michael said as he waved a hand in front of James. James seemed to black out for a second and almost fell to the floor.
John caught him by the arm and said, “James? You ok?”
James looked blankly at his brother and said, “Yeah, I’m fine, why?”
Michael laughed and James jumped out of his skin as he said, “I told you that you’d do everything that I wanted you to do…. But I had to use your brother and your dog to help out.”
James stared and thought, ‘Oh, god, no.’
“Yes,” Michael said, “all we have to do now is wait for the catch to take the bait.”
Just then, the doorbell rang. Michael vanished and John and his brother looked at each other with confusion and freight as Stephen said, “Anyone there?”
James stood up and John went up to change his shirt and dress his wound and Max laid there as if nothing happened.
James opened the door and Stephen asked, “Where is John.”
“Oh, he went up to dress a wound, he was doing something in the basement and cut himself pretty good on something down there.”
“Ok” Stephen said as he sat in the armchair.
“Stephen?” John said. “Is that you?”
“Yes, it is.” Stephen said as he stood.
John walked down the stairs and Stephen saw the blood on a bandage that John was still working with.
“What on earth did you do to yourself?” Stephen asked.
John thought for a second and said, “I was fooling around with something in the basement and cut my arm on something sharp.”
James sounded startled about something and Stephen said, “What?”
James pointed behind Stephen, who turned around and said, “What the… “
Just then, he was hit on the side of the head. Stephen fell to the floor and John said, “What are you trying to do?”
Michael laughed and said, “Something that I should have done a long time ago.”
John went over to Stephen, who was struggling to get up and said, “Are you ok? What the hell is wrong with your son?”
James cocked the trigger of his gun and pointed at John’s head as he said, “Get away from him unless you want to die, too.”
John stood slowly as Stephen got to his feet as well. Michael walked over to his father and said to John, “Now, what I’m about to accomplish here is not to be repeated to anyone in any way whatsoever.”
He grabbed his father by the shirt collar and said, “The next time you try to steal something that belonged to my mother, I told you you’d pay, didn’t I?
“I never touched it,” Stephen said, “I just moved it so that someone else could not take it.”
James turned the pistol from John to Stephen. Stephen flinched at the sound that the pistol made as a bullet flew past his head and said, “What did I do? I swear I never stole it!”
“Then why did I find it in your shirt pocket just now!!” Michael yelled as he pulled out a crystal encased in a gold locket.
“Huh? Wha…?” John noticed something about the crystal and said to himself, ‘James ring? Oh, god, no! He’s controlling him with the ring.’
“My mother was a Wiccan in her native country.” Michael said. “She would have died had she not come to America actually; she would have never died, had she not met this moron.”
“What happened to your mother?” John asked as he kept his eye on James ring. Sure enough, every time James hesitated, both the ring and the crystal glowed bright blue.
“My mother died before you met my father,” Michael said, “From a broken heart. This moron stole the only thing that had kept her alive. I had to get it back now just so that I can finish what my mother started.”
“And what was that?” Stephen said. “She was crazy, I only married her because I felt sorry for her; she never told me about that damned crystal until after you were born, she told me that if you had it, you’d be able to control anything and everything that she had controlled. I didn’t believe any of that crap.”
“If you didn’t, then why did you steal it?” Michael said, as he looked his father dead in the eye.
Stephen stood silent and “You’re going to die first, you coward.”
James aimed the gun for Stephen’s chest and said, “Don’t even think about it, John.”
“No one is going to die in my house!” John shouted as he leapt for his brother’s hand holding the pistol. Just as he was about to grab his brothers wrist, John heard a voice say, “John, don’t. I don’t want to hurt you.”
John backed off and thought, ‘What the hell am I supposed to do? I’m hearing voices now.’
“Just sit and watch.” Michael said.
James cocked the trigger again and John said, “James, you know you don’t want to do this, please stop it.”
James trembled slightly and Max then ran out of the living room as if he was yelled at and hid under the dining room table.
“James,” Stephen said, “you know that you don’t want to do this, snap out of it, this is just a bad dream.”
John sat helplessly watching his brother cringe and Stephen said to his son, “Michael Ray Ryan, you had better stop doing this, you know for a fact that I am not the real reason your mother passed away. I loved her and she gave me that crystal because she was afraid that this would happen.”
“What?” John said, “You said… “
“I am trying to mess with his mind.” Stephen whispered as John stood next to him, confused.
Michael watched along with John as James suddenly walked over to Stephen and said “That’s right, do what I told you to do, don’t screw it up, either!”
John stared at his brother and thought, ‘Come on James. Please stop this, you can, I know you can.’
James cringed a bit again and Stephen said, “You can’t control him for long, Michael, he’s going to snap out of it eventually.”
“Not if I can help it.” Michael said as he put the necklace around his neck. James stood straight and said, “You’re mine.” and pulled the trigger.
Stephen jumped out of the way just in time and John covered him as the bullet whizzed past his right shoulder. John felt like he was about to scream when Stephen said, “John, get up!”
John stood as Stephen said; “They disappeared.”
As John stood, he noticed a small cross on a chain lying on the floor. He went over to pick it up and said, “What the hell? How did he lose this?”
“It must have fallen off when you tried to get the gun away from him earlier.” Stephen said, “Where the hell would they be now?”
“I think I know where.” John said as he stood and held the cross tight and placed it in his shirt pocket.
“You know, if he doesn’t get me, he might just kill others until he does,” Stephen said
“Well, maybe if you hadn’t fucked up… ” John stopped. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Don’t worry.” Stephen said, “I know what you’re feeling right now. I want to just get your brother out of this mess, it is all my fault.”
John and Stephen went to Stephen’s car and John said, “Did you see the way Max acted?”
“I know,” Stephen said, “I think somehow Mike is able to control what he does, too. But why he didn’t take him, too, I have no idea.”
“I think I do.” John said. “James has a soft spot for that dog. Nothing but that damn dog can keep him from going nuts.”
John directed Stephen to the place where James was attacked earlier and when both men go out of the car, John heard a voice inside scream, ‘HELP ME!’
John fell to his knees and held his head as Stephen said, “What the hell was that?”
“Your bastard of a son is torturing the hell out my brother!” John yelled as he stood “I HATE YOU!”
He ran to the entrance and Stephen followed close behind. Just as they entered the building, James grabbed Stephen, said, “Got you.” and twisted his arm around to his back.
John saw the gun and suddenly froze. James pointed the gun to Stephen’s head and said, “Time to die.” pulling the trigger without hesitation.
The bullet went right past Stephen’s head as he broke free of James hold. Stephen fell to the ground and covered his left ear and John yelled at his brother and wrestled the gun away from his hand as best as he could before James could take another shot.
John punched his brother in the face and backed up as he thought, ‘Oh, shit, I’m dead!’
Michael’s voice could be heard saying, ‘Kill him, James, he’s screwing everything up, kill him now before he stops us completely!’
“James?” John said in a panicked voice, “Please… “
James stood and put the gun to John’s head as John sat on his knees and begged that he be spared. James cocked the trigger and John ducked as Stephen said, “Michael, stop this right now.”
He was bleeding from his left ear and he still had the courage to walk over to John and drag him out of the way of the gun. James grinned and said, “He’s not getting away that easily.”
John stood and was about to run for the door when James said, “Why weren’t you ever there for me, John?”
John stopped in his tracks and Stephen said, “John, go, keep going, he’s after me, not you.”
John hesitated and James said, “That’s right, John, be a coward, let him die, just like you almost let me.”
John thought about what his brother just said and said to him, “James, listen to yourself, you have to snap out of this.”
James just stared at his brother and said, “Snap out of what? I know what I’m talking about.”
“No you don’t.” Stephen said. “James, look at you, you are holding a gun. You shot me; you are about to kill your brother. This is not you, James.”
James stared at Stephen and said, “I’m not listening to you.”
“That’s right.” Michael said, “You are going to listen to me and no one else, aren’t you James.” James nodded and John said, “Leave my brother alone!”
“You can be the first since you are such a pain.” Michael said. “Get him, James, get him now!”
James looked at his brother and John saw the confusion in his eyes and thought, ‘God, please let James snap out of this.’
“Looks like I’m going to have to give him something to make him do what he’s told.” Michael said. He held the crystal that he had around his neck and said, “You’re going to do this no matter what; so do it now, or you die first.”
James cringed as if he was in pain. John watched helplessly as his brother fell to his knees and held his head as he whined and said, “Please stop!” in near tears.
The ring on his finger seemed to glow a dark blue and John said to Stephen, “We have to get that ring off his finger.”
Stephen nodded and said, “Yes, but how; every time you try to talk to him, he keeps getting zapped.”
“You shut up.” Michael said as he grabbed Stephen by the shirt collar. “You’re going to get what you deserve as soon as James decides that he doesn’t want to disobey me.”
He looked at John and said, “Watch him.”
John watched as James stood and said, “I wish you were dead a long time ago.” and cocked the trigger. John jumped back and didn’t even realize Stephen was behind him and watched helplessly as Stephen fell to the ground and cringe as the bullet hit his chest.
John yelled at Michael and said, “You bastard!” as he went for his own brother.
James jumped to the side and John fell to the floor hard and opened the wound that he had gotten earlier from the dog. He cringed and saw stars as his brother walked over to him and said, “You’re still going to die, John, no matter what, you made me fuck up.”
John tried to stand but with his arm in as much pain as it was, he stumbled and fell to his knees and stared at his brother, hoping to God that the gun would fail or that James would snap out of it.
Just as James was about to fire a shot, the gun jammed and Michael said, “You stupid fuck.” He grabbed James and shoved something in his hand and said, “Use this; it’s not going to fuck up.”
John saw the thing that James had in his hand and thought ‘SHIT!’ as he stood slowly and said to James, “James, you know you don’t want to do this.”
James laughed a horrible laugh that John never heard from him before and said, “Yes, I do.”
John thought that he saw a tear in his brother’s eye and said, “James, you know you don’t want to do this, please listen to me, he’s messing with your mind. He’s the one you want to kill and you know it!”
James stared blankly at his brother and John said, “That’s it, James, wake up, snap out of it.”
James sat up in bed and John said, “What happened? Are you ok?”
“Y-yeah, I guess so.” James said as he stared at his dog, which lay on the floor next to the bed. Max was just a pup and James and John were only 19 years old, living in an apartment that there uncle had purchased for them.
Both brothers had just been accepted to the police academy and John was trying to wake James to tell him the good news. James looked at the paper and said, “Great, that’s just wonderful.”
“James, what’s wrong?” John said, “You don’t look so great.”
James stared at his brother and said, “Nothing; had a weird dream that’s all.”
John stood and said, “Ok, well, when you’re more awake, come downstairs and we can look over the papers and then I’ll take them and give them to Uncle Jack.”
James agreed and John to the living room as Max went over to James and whined.
“What is it boy?” James said as he patted Max on the head. Just then, James heard a knock at the door and someone said, “Hey, John, what’s up?”
“Nothing much.” John said as he let the person in.
James walked down the steps and saw who was at the door. It was one of their neighbors from across the hall. “James?” the man said, “How are you?”
“Ok.” James said, “Just got up.”
He looked at the man’s hand and saw a ring – the same ring that he had in his dream.
James backed up and asked, “Where did you get that?”
“This, oh, it’s nothing, just a little thing that my son gave me last night for my birthday.”
James blinked and said “Oh, ok.”
“James, are you still sleeping?” John said as he nudged his brother as they sat at the table.
“Oh, I’m awake – just thinking about that damn dream, that’s all.”
“Forget it.” John said, “Nothing will happen, whatever it was about, it won’t come true.” James agreed and as he stood to answer the phone.
When James picked up the phone, he heard a voice say, “I got ya.” And there was a horrible laugh. James dropped the phone.
“James!” John shouted as he shook his brother gently.
“Huh?” James said as he woke up and almost smacked his brother.
John backed up and said, “Damn, James, what the hell.”
“Nothing.” James said as he sat up and looked at his dog, still a pup.
“Ok, then why don’t you just get up and get ready to get going, we have to be there in 3 hours.” John said.
“Where?” James asked as he stood.
“The academy, you dummy.” John said, “Training, remember?”
James shook his head and said, “Shit, that’s right.” and got out of bed.
John stared at his brother and thought ‘Oh, boy, what a day this is going to be.’
©Copyright 1999-2003 by Danielle N. Calhoun