Evolution – Chapter 23
“Why are you leaving? And when are you coming back?” – Gabrielle asked with a concerned voice. “Don’t you think you should be next to your family now instead of going on an adventure in California? On your own?!! Why can’t we come?”
“It’s hard to explain…” – Angel replied. “I’m going to see someone I’m not even sure exists. I know I’ve been troublesome these past few months, so I think this will clear things up once and for all. I think it’s important for us to get my mind right about this. And I think it’s best if I go alone.”
“Don’t drag US into this. You saw that news last night and it spooked you! Don’t say it’s not so, I’ve seen you fade away so many times these days it’s unbelievable! Do you even remember that you have a wife? A child? A mother?”
“My love, I know it’s hard to understand. And I do realize that after being so absent it’s one of the moments you need me the most, but I just can’t go on like this. Can’t you see this is destroying me? From within?”
“What I see is this thing that’s been eating away at you getting outside and eating this world as well. What do you want to happen? Are you trying to push me away? After we’ve built this family? After we have a child?!”
Their voices were getting quite loud and a soundless baby cry echoed from the next room. Gabrielle’s tears were so heavy she could barely see, as she was so mad and could not understand what was going on with her life.
“We’ve woken up the baby.” – She said. “I’ll be going to stay with him now. You’re right of course. You should figure this out. Just don’t bet on finding us here when you come back.”
She left in the other room to hold the baby, as both she and the little one were crying silently, almost afraid of what was about to happen. Angel came along and sat in the door frame, looking at them. As time passed on, he found it harder and harder to stay connected to this world and keep control of the things that used to be so precious to him. If anyone would have come to ask him who are the most important people in his life he would falter before answering. He shook his head at such thoughts and came close to them and tried to hold them both together. Gabrielle pulled aside for a bit, but gave up easily and let herself held in his arms.
“Just come back safely to us ok?” – She asked.
“I will. I always do.”
The ride to the airport felt much sadder than any other ride he ever took. The driver was babbling about the news and how Angel’s project managed to start a reaction to change the world, revolution and other stuff like that. In Angel’s mind however, there were completely different things. And Gabrielle was not one of them. He was focused entirely on him meeting Ken. Looking at his life objectively, the focus was shifting below his feet. His organized mind was trembling through the web of intrigue now inside his head, trying to set things in some kind of order.
He slept on the plane – the first real sleep in many weeks. It wasn’t the baby that kept him awake, but the constant fear of losing grasp of what’s real and what’s not. Flashes of memory troubled him often, he would often dream he’s still tied to the pole, but this time it was his family that was in danger, not just him. This time there was so much more to lose.
The plane landed in normal conditions, but the impact jolted Angel awake. As he was getting out of the plane, a car was waiting for him.
“Courtesy of Mr. Ken!” – The driver told him as they drove away. It was not a long trip. Fueling cells had advanced beyond the normal combustion and, for the right price, flights around the world could now be done with special shuttle-planes that took a fourth of the time. The car they were driving in was a regular limo. There was nothing special about it, in spite of the technological evolution, but Angel thought it better this way. He did not want to be noticed coming in one of the new cars. Their permanent connection to the US News grid would have let anyone know he has landed and he did not want that. After so many years and his project recognition at international level, he was quite the subject for gossip. The problems with his family were also common news. This had to stop, one way or the other. He was glad Ken chose this method of transporting him, the less public eye the better.
Reaching Ken took a few minutes, but he was patient. He somehow knew that he was on the right track and this would definitely end right. He could not explain it to himself, but he knew. As he got out of the limo, Ken waved from afar, being sure that he will be noticed. There was very little he could not guess, being able to telepathically talk to people from around the world. Angel walked towards him.
“Would you like to come in?” – Ken asked. His voice sounded weird. While his physical form was identical to the one in Angel’s mind projections, his voice was completely different. It was still his voice, but much more wavy and mechanized. “I know. I sound different in person.” – He continued after seeing the confusion in Angel’s eyes. “I’ve been told that before.”
“I imagine you meet many people with whom you first talk only in dreams” – Angel replied as he walked side by side with him into the building.
“Yes I do. There aren’t many people I want or agree to meet and obviously they are not all in one place, so naturally we use different methods of communication.”
“You could have called.”
“I thought I did.”
Angel smirked, but then saw the seriousness in Ken’s eyes. As if it was not enough that he doubted his entire reality, his mental experiences were now put to the test as well. Did he not talk to Ken in person in his mind? Was that all fake? His mind came to rest when he realized that Ken actually looked exactly like he pictured him, with gestures and all. It must have been real.
The building was a normal industrial building, with large hallways and beautiful people, suits mostly. He’s been surrounded by this kind of people on a daily basis at his company and other meetings so he felt comfortable. The walk soon came to a long hallway and they started walking towards a big door at the end. From strictly a physical point of view, there was nothing special about that door, only a door like every other. However Angel could not shake the feeling that he was somehow called towards it.
“I think you’ll enjoy what we find there.” – Ken said. “There is no need to be alarmed or anything, I just think it would make you feel more at ease.”
“So you’re not going to tell me?”
“Let’s say there’s an old friend there. And leave it at that until you see for yourself.”
Angel’s thoughts dwelled on Alex and Luke for a few moments, but they soon scrambled as he soon figured out there was little chance for either of them to be in contact with Ken. Neither of them displayed the erratic behavior that he did, or have the same blackouts. Either that or they’re better at hiding them. Maybe he was simply too weak. He did not know.
“Relax.” – Ken said as he calmly touched his shoulder. “And let’s go in!”
Without realizing it, Angel had reached the door. Ken opened it and, there was Danny, studying the huge monitors on the walls. There was a room that seemed made of screens. All walls were screens showing information overlapping information, from which Angel could barely understand a thing. Statistical data, wavelengths, as well as what looked like a city in the middle of a red desert. It seemed populated, yet all the buildings and clothing was weird. It was something Angel had never seen before.
Danny looked down for a moment and took off his glasses. His look was different, and both eyes seemed to be so focused they could burn.
“Hi Angel!” – He said. “You finally came!”
“Danny here was supervising your thought impulses and he had the brilliant thought that we should meet. He’s done quite a nice thing with the place!” – Ken said.
“I’m lost.” – Angel replied. “I was beginning to think you are prisoner Danny the way you were staring at those things. Knowing Ken, and working together, what are you guys doing here… what is… JOSEPHINE!!!!”
“Please calm down.” – DNA said. “Or cry out, I don’t really care. It’s Ken that you should blame for all of this. It will take some time to acclimate. He gave me quite a ride when I got here.”
“What? What do you mean? I don’t understand any of this!”
“Tell me. What do you see now?”
“Well, I see you and Ken, and we are in a circular room, filled with screens for walls, that seem to have captivated your eyes somehow. Looking at you and seeing the reflections of all these screens in your eyes, it’s almost like your eyes are burning. If there’s anything natural in this room, while I never thought I was gonna say that, then it’s Ken!”
“That sounds particularly interesting.” – Danny replied. “Ken would you help me see what he sees?”
Both Ken and Danny touched Angel’s shoulders and then they simply went “Wow!!”
“I would give anything to have a mind so detailed and focused.” – Danny said.
“I told you it was smart to bring him here!” – Ken intervened. “Let’s show him how you really work!”
Then they both closed their eyes and Angel saw the room collapsing on itself. Walls turned white-ish green and the air became colder. Danny’s clothing became a hospital robe, and the entire environment transformed into a sickening operation room, with bright and old monitors in the center, relaying the information that Angel was previously viewing detailed on the walls. Everything felt like putrefaction and dirt, and all the company-like feeling and suits turned into a smoldering sensation of death.
And then they let go and Angel returned to his beautiful and warm environment.
“Ok, what the hell was that?” – He asked.