D Is For Damien: Chapter 9
DAMIEN WOKE UP face to face with a hideous monster staring at him. He shrieked and jumped back, clinging to the couch, then let out his breath as soon as he saw what it really was. "God, Morris, it's just you! Don't do that!"
Detective Morris snorted and backed away. "Fine, then. But I just thought I'd come to tell you. You're wanted down at the station."
Damien looked at him, puzzled. This was the weirdest awakening he'd ever had--how'd this guy get in, anyway? "Why?" was all he could get out.
"Hey, do I look like an information booth? Go down there and find out for yourself."
Damien snorted himself and got up as Morris left the room, lighting a cigarette. He was a little surprised that he'd fallen asleep on the couch but didn't question it. Stranger things had happened, and doubtless still would happen. He went to the door and stepped out onto the porch, sticking his head out the door to say something to the detective--but Morris was gone.
He looked around, stunned. Where could he have gone so fast? And why was it daytime already? He couldn't believe he'd been out on the couch all night! Even more confused, he glanced around for a moment, then went over to his car to check something. He bent down and gazed at his license plate. CRY 105. That was right. He stood up, rubbed his eyes, and glanced at it again.
Aha! He stood again, nodding with satisfaction. So that's it. This is a dream. He turned his head this way and that, looking at his surroundings. Weird. I've never really known when I was dreaming before. What do I do now? Check the mail? That must be it; try to find something important. Maybe I'm trying to tell myself something.
He strode out to the mailbox, opened it, and pulled out the mail. At first there were several letters and a catalog, but then it changed to several letters and a package. This didn't surprise him. He'd read about dreams before, and knew two things: One, you could never read the same thing twice, and two, the weirdest things could happen. He opened the first letter, addressed to him (he realized that right then they were all addressed to him), and read it. It made no real sense to him; just something about the solar system--all of the planets and funny signs written beside Mars and Pluto, signs that looked Greek; he didn't know. Weird what could come up in dreams. He opened the next one. It was a story about himself. He put it aside and opened the third. Nothing important. Only one sentence: PERU IS IN SOUTH AMERICA. Must have been something he read somewhere. He stopped to look at the package, which had increased in size, then looked back at the short note. It was different now. There was a picture of the sky with windows in it, and it read, under this, SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK CAREFULLY AND THEN YOU'LL FIND WHAT YOU'RE SEARCHING FOR. OTHER TIMES YOU JUST CAN'T BE CERTAIN.
Weird! He decided to leave that one alone for now. No telling how many times it would change like that. Instead he turned to the package again and gazed at the label. Something hit him--the address was wrong.
C/O CHEBOYGAN COUNTY
Now things were getting a little too strange. He tried to shake off the weird feeling he had and opened the box. It seemed almost to open itself, and before he knew it, he was staring down at a silver D.
His first instinct was to check around his neck. His D wasn't there now. He looked back down at the one in the box and could somehow see his reflection in its surface. It took him a second to realize that his throat had been cut.
He started so suddenly that he dropped the box, along with its contents, onto the ground. He now checked his neck; it was still in one piece, and his hands came back unbloody. He shuddered. Best leave that alone too and get back to the story about him--if it was still a story about him. He picked up the leftover letter and looked at it. It was still a story about him. He couldn't be sure if it was the same as before or different as he hadn't read it yet, so he didn't try to compare it. It was written in a child's scrawl--he recognized it as Harvey's--but the spelling and punctuation were too perfect for a second-grader. However, this was a dream, wasn't it?
My name is Harvey
I come from the city
Where I come from
Things ain't always pretty
My uncle's name is Damien. He got that name from his uncle who's a priest. We live together in a house in Cheboygan County. A lot of other people live with us too. I had an adopted sister named Esmeralda but she liked to be called Ez.
Damien stopped. "Had"? "Liked"? What was that supposed to mean? He frowned but read on to find out.
Uncle Damien is still pretty upset about what happened to her, and so am I because she was my sister. She was killed a while ago. We used to play near the railroad bridge. One day Dami and her were there when it started to rain so he went home to get an umbrella and when he came back she was--
Damien quickly crumpled up the letter, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He couldn't bring himself to read the rest of it; he had the feeling he'd get sick if he did. Why Ez? he thought. She has nothing to do with this. Why is she here instead of Lilu this time?
Shuddering, he glanced at the ground. The package was gone, but the D was around his neck again. At least something was back to normal! He went over to his car. Morris had said he was wanted down at the station. Well, this was only a dream, but he had to find out what the cops wanted. After all, it was his dream, so what business had they to do with it? And besides, maybe whatever they had to say could tell him something about his situation; he wasn't really one for interpreting dreams, but this was one that appeared to have been lost in translation.
Before he knew it he was there, on the steps of the police station, standing right in front of the door. He hadn't even entered his car yet. He didn't question how it had happened. He just went up to the door, pushed it open, and went inside.
The room was bigger than he knew it--and it was devoid of any furniture, save a table, a chair, and a light suspended from the ceiling. The light shone down on the table and the two people in the room--one seated at the table, one pacing back and forth. The rest of the room was lost in darkness. Puzzled, he went to get a closer look, careful to remain in the shadows; maybe he'd better check this out first before plunging in. Now he could see that the one who was walking was Detective Morris, and the one at the table was Damon.
Damon? he thought. What's he got to do with this? He stepped closer just as Morris slammed both of his hands down on the table right in front of Damon. Damon jumped.
"All right, spill it," Morris said in a threatening voice. "You know something and I know it. Tell it now or you'll regret it later."
Damien suddenly realized this was an interrogation session, and he knew from experience how easy it was to scare Damon into talking. "Don't listen, Damon," he said softly, knowing no one could hear him anyway.
Damon was trembling but he finally managed to stammer, "Al-all right, I did see something. But--but I really don't know what it was."
"Describe it, then!"
"It was dead," Damon started. "It had fur on it.... And it was black."
"Why was it dead?"
"They killed it, and I--I guess they drank its blood." Damon shuddered. "All this time I thought UFOs were scary enough!"
"What?" Damien asked abruptly, coming forward. "What was dead?"
Morris and Damon looked up at him, apparently able to see him now. Damon looked slightly relieved to see a familiar face. Morris simply gave a sort of sneer. "So you're finally here," he said. "Just getting Damon to speak up. Tell him."
Damon swallowed and said, "I was in the woods with my binoculars and flashlight looking out for any UFOs, you know?"
Damon continued. "Well I didn't really find any, but I came up to this tree and there was this big black thing--I think it was a cat but I'm not sure--pinned to it. I really don't know who did it or how they managed it. It was just stuck there, you know, kind of like the way you'd put a stake through a vampire's heart, and its throat--"
Damien nodded again, signalling him to stop. Thankfully, Damon--or at least the dream Damon--did. Morris lit a cigarette and stood shaking out the smoking match, staring closely at Damien for some sort of response. Damien was quiet for a moment, then turned to him.
"All right, Morris, you got me here," he said, his own voice harboring a hidden threat. "What's so important that you gotta drag me into it right in the middle of a dream?"
Morris walked up to him, staring him in the eye. They were so close that their noses were just about touching. Neither spoke for several minutes. Then, in a very faint whisper, Morris said:
"Sometimes you just have to look carefully and then you'll find what you're searching for. Other times--"
Damien gasped and sat up with a start as a shrill beeping sound cut through his vision. He started throwing quick glances around him. Everything was dark but he could tell that the noise was coming from somebody's watch, left behind on the coffeetable and now sounding its alarm. He reached over and turned it off, then, his heart pounding, looked him around again. The TV. The stereo and CD player. The VCR. The family pictures. The air vent, now with the lights behind it turned off. The whole house, now perfectly still and normal. He let out his breath slowly, leaning back against the couch with confusion. What a weird dream! Too much television, too little time outdoors. He'd have to remember that. Trying to shake off the strange feeling enveloping him, he got up and paced around the room several times, stretching his fingers and tracing the dim patterns on the carpeting with his eyes, trying to calm his jittery nerves. He soon stopped as he realized that he was still tired, but this time he headed for his bedroom, determined that, if he should have another such dream, it would be in the safety of his own room.
He felt himself lucky when he awoke the next morning. He couldn't remember any more dreams, but he did remember something. What was it Morris had said, right before he'd woken up? Something about searching... It suddenly came back to him, and he thought over it, more puzzled than ever. What could his dream be telling him now? Was it even telling him anything? He finally just shook his head, frustrated, and, pinching himself to make sure this wasn't another illusion, left his room.
Nobody else appeared to be there now; he checked Kat's room and she was gone. He had a feeling where she might be. He went outside in the sunlight to his car, stretching and looking around all the way. Things looked a lot more real in the daytime, that was for sure. He checked out his license plate several times but it stayed the same, CRY 105, so he got in, started the engine, and drove off.
It was time to start getting things done.