“Duality” – By WrathOfMagneto
“Rest easily, young one, for I’ll always watch over you. I’ll always be there for you. And whenever you need me, I’ll be there,” A soft, young voice said to me. It was fairly masculine, as if it were a boy just becoming a man. I know I recognized the voice, but for the life of me, I couldn’t place it.
My eyelids fluttered open, and I took in my surroundings. I was on a bed, in a small cramped room. My body felt as if it were on fire, my nerves screaming in agony. My head pounded and my eyes hurt. It felt as if I’d not seen or heard anything in months. I groaned in pain.
“Shhh, I’m here,” I heard the voice say. Strong arms wrapped around my torso and I was lifted to a sitting position, the way a father would lift his newborn baby. With great care, I turned my head to look at the one who was comforting me. When I saw him, our eyes locked and I saw the love he had for me within them.
Signalman. My savior. The one who said he’d take all my problems away. The pain I felt was seriously making me doubt him for the first time. But the love deep within the pools of his eyes renewed my faith. My doubts melted away.
He smiled at me. A genuine smile, showing the dimples in his cheeks. “You’re awake,” he said simply. I nodded dumbly, nothing making sense. Sunshine walked over to my bed, and looked at me. Smiling as brightly as ever. An old man and woman walked over with her, and I knew then that I was with my family. Everything was right with the world. For a moment, my mind had so much clarity that it filled my entire being, and I knew exactly who and what I was. Who everyone around me were. And what had gone so horribly wrong. But as quickly as the moment came, it vanished. I knew nothing at all. It were as if everything I had known for sure a moment ago had been erased from history.
The faces above me changed. The old man and woman had looks of utter horror on their faces. As if I’d done something terrifying to them. Sunshine’s happy smile changed to a contemptuous smirk, then to a devilish grin.
And Signalman…his eyes changed from their deep pools of love to shallow puddles of sadness. It broke my heart to see him look at me like that. I knew I’d let him down. I’d forgotten him.
I clenched my eyes shut. My head was spinning with confusion, doubting what was real and what wasn’t. “NO! I KNOW HIM! He’s my beloved! I LOVE HIM! I COULD NEVER FORGET HIM!” I screamed inside my own head. But I had. I had forgotten him. I’d let him down. I’d let my true love down.
I opened my eyes and found a happy face still smiling down at me. But as the fog began to clear, I realized it was Orion. When my eyes had fluttered open, his smile widened, like a little boy who’d just been told he could have a new toy. But when the first tear slid down my cheak it vanished, wiped away by concern.
“Are you alright, Adam?” I looked away for a second. For some reason, I didn’t want to look vulnerable to him. I hated looking vulnerable.
“Adam?” he asked again. I wiped my eyes, and looked at him. His golden blonde hair shimmered in the faint light of the room, and his eyes were the color of moonstone, shining as brightly as I’d ever seen it.
“I’m alright, Orion, just a bad dream,” I told him in a reassuring tone. At least, I hoped it was reassuring.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” he asked. I had to look away from his eyes. His eyes were so easy to get lost in. just to fall into and never want to return.
“Not really,” I said. “I just want to put it behind me.”
“It was about him, wasn’t it,” he asked quietly. He wasn’t looking at me anymore, he was sadly staring at a spot on the carpet. When he finally lifted his eyes, I didn’t have to say anything. He knew he was right.
“I’m sorry, Orion,” I said. “But you know I love Signalman. I have to find out what happened to him.”
“I know,” he said. When I didn’t relent my stare, he continued, “Okay, maybe I’m being a little selfish here. I like having you all to myself.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. He looked so sad, and I didn’t know how to comfort him. What if Signalman’s alive? Would I just go running back to him?
“I have to try to find him, Orion. I love him,” I said. He sniffled, and rose his eyes to meet mine.
“And if he’s alive you’ll just dump me? Is that all I am to you?” He was close to tears. I was torn. I know I love Signalman, that much I’m certain of. But Orion is so beautiful on the inside as well as the outside, I know I could fall very hard for him. In truth, I’ve already begun to. I just didn’t know how to handle it.
“You know you mean more to me than that,” I told Orion.
“Whatever,” he said, in a manner that told me the conversation was over. “Let’s just get ready and get out of here.”
I sighed in defeat, and got dressed. As I gathered my things, I watched Orion walk out of the room. I shook my head, knowing that this was going to be one of those days. I was just putting the folder I’d gotten from Katrinas in my bag when Tariq walked in.
“Where’ve you been? I thought you and I were roomies last night?” I asked him.
“Yeah, well when your boyfriend started making goo goo eyes at you this morning, I decided to leave,” he said. I winced when he said boyfriend, but he didn’t notice. At least, I think he didn’t. hard to tell behind that visor. “Didn’t wanna throw up. That is, if I had something in there to throw up.”
I grunted, and finished getting ready without much more than a glance his way. I headed out into the hall to find Orion patiently waiting on us. He didn’t even look at me when I got to him.
Rachel’s door opened, and she walked out with a slight pink tint to her cheeks. She gave a nervous glance at Tariq, and walked into the other room. Tariq started chuckling when she was gone.
“I guess now I know why they call you ‘Hell Razor’,” I said to him.
“Damn straight,” he said. “You girls ready? I wanna get this over with.”
I rolled my eyes, and nodded, as Rachel came out of the other room. She gave barely a glance to Tariq, and then looked more civilly at me.
“Freak is going to keep working on the Declaration of Independence we’re going to deliver to a contact with the Elders,” she said. “I’m going to run some errands, getting some supplies for the house. We should both be here when you guys get back.”
“Speaking of Freak, where is he?” I asked.
“Feeding,” Rachel said. “You know how nosferatu are.”
“Right, I guess we’ll see you later,” I said, and we were off. Tariq picked up his bag, and pulled out two .40 caliber pistols and holstered them. Then slung the bag over his shoulder.
We hopped into the car we’d left in the garage, and pulled out into the Chicago night. It was slightly overcast, and a bit chilly, but not too bad for us. I mean, it wasn’t as if it was going to kill us. I leaned my head against the glass of the door, and just zoned out for a while.
I was in the theater again. The projection room, along with the two humans, Dawn, and Signalman. They were happy as before. But this time, I was more lucid, and when I realized I was dreaming, I tried focusing on anything that might jog my memory. I saw Signalman, nothing but love for me in his eyes, but nothing that I didn’t already know. Then I looked over at Dawn. For a brief instant, she was looking at me in a longing way, as if she were in a daydream herself. Almost as soon as I noticed it, it vanished, and she was laughing again at something Signalman had said.
What was that? God, I wished I could just remember! What had happened between the five of us? What had gone wrong?
“HEY! Answer me when I’m talkin’ to you!” Tariq said, snapping me out of my dream.
“What?” I asked, irritated.
“I asked if you remember anything about Sunshine. From what I remember she was a frigid bitch with no qualms about telling you to fuck off. I don’t see why she’d want to help you,” he said.
“Well, she’s the only one who can at the moment,” I said. “If she tells me to fuck off, then I’m no worse off than I was before.”
“Unless she stakes you,” he said.
“Yeah, there’s always that,” I said, and Orion giggled from the back seat despite his grumpy mood.
We drove on in relative silence. Soon we were passing out of the city, and the scenery became more and more rural. The road itself became more and more rugged, and finally just turned into a dirt road. After about two hours of driving, we were beginning to get restless.
“Are we there yet?” Orion asked in a comically whiney voice, which got a chuckle out of me.
“…I swear to god…” Tariq said in an annoyed mumble. I started laughing at him. He turned and glared at me. At least, I assume it was a glare, hard to tell behind the mask. “Don’t encourage him.”
“So, how’re we supposed to find her?” I asked. “When we get there, I mean. You do know where you’re going, right?”
“Do you want me to turn this car around, half-life?” Tariq growled. Orion giggled. “Of course I know where I’m going. And to answer your question, we aren’t going to find her.”
My mouth dropped open. “Then what the hell have we been driving for two hours for? Pleasure?”
“She’ll find us,” he said simply.
“Oh, that’s reassuring,” I said, as I leaned my head back to try to relax for the rest of our trip.
“Adam?” Orion said from the seat behind me.
“I’m sorry about earlier. I know you can’t help it, but I can’t help how I feel either,” he said. I turned to look at him. His eyes looked red and teary, as if he’d been silently crying from the back seat. I literally felt my heart breaking for him.
“Listen, Orion,” I began. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know if whatever Sunshine says will change anything. But I do know this. I care about you. Nothing anyone says is ever going to change that. Please believe that. I’m sorry, but that’s all I can say for sure right now.” A tear had begun to slide down his cheek, but he wiped it furiously.
“I know,” he said quietly. “I guess that’s better than nothing.”
I put my hand on his knee, to comfort him. I gave him a reassuring smile.
Tariq made gagging sounds from the driver’s seat, and Orion cracked a smile.
“Shut up, old man,” he said.
“Old man? That’s it, as soon as we get back–” he never finished that sentence, because there was a loud pop and the car swerved violently. Tariq fought the swerve as well as he knew how, and eventually was able to regain control long enough to pull over.
“Whoa,” Orion said.
“Must’ve hit something in the road,” Tariq said. “I think we blew a tire.” I gave him a ‘no-shit’ look after he said that, but he’d already gotten out of the car.
Orion and I climbed out as well, and soon we were standing befind Tariq as he was examining the left front tire.
“Son of a bitch,” Tariq said. He struggled for a momen to pull something out of the tire. When he held it up, I knew we’d found what we were looking for.
“It’s a ninja star,” Orion said, as he looked over my shoulder.
“In the shape of a sun,” I said. It looked like a metal version of a cartoon sun.
“Tariq Fontaine,” an icy voice said from the trees. “I thought I made it clear to you that I didn’t want to be found.”
“Evening, Sunshine,” he said evenly. “Nice to see you again, too.”
She stepped into the clearing, holding a short sword in one hand, a pistol in the other. Looking every bit the hunter she was. Or, used to be. Then she saw me. Our eyes locked.
“You! What are you doing here?” she yelled at me.
“I need answers, Sunshine,” I began. She cut me off.
“Stop calling me that. That hasn’t been my name for years,” she said angrily.
“Dawn, where’s Signalman?” I asked. She looked incredulous for a moment, then for an instant i Iaw that flicker of sadness I’d seen in my dream. It vanished, and the anger rushed in to replace it.
“Why should I tell you anything?” she asked. “You made your choice a long time ago.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. “I don’t remember what happened between us.”
“What, you have amnesia or something?”
“Yes,” Tariq, Orion, and I said at the same time. We looked at eachother for a second, thinking how creepy that was.
“Oh, that’s hilarious!” she said, not looking at all amused. “The prodigal son returns, and doesn’t know why he had to leave in the first place.”
“What happened to him?” I pressed on. She gave me a hard stare, then turned around and started walking toward the trees.
“Ask him yourself,” she said simply.
I looked at Orion, then Tariq, and then followed her, not knowing what else to do. I’m sure she would have stopped us if she wanted to.
I don’t know for how long we walked through the trees. It took quite a while, but finally we came to a clearing. There was a small run-down shack with faint light flickering through the windows, our obvious destination. Without so much as a glance at us, Dawn walked inside, and we followed.
“Dawn, is that you?” the same young male voice that I’d heard in my dream asked.
“Get in here, Simon,” she said. Simon? Was that Signalman’s real name? I couldn’t remember. I was shaken out of my thoughts when he walked into the room.
He was as beautiful as I’d dreamed he was. For a second, I felt that everything would be alright now. But that feeling vanished when he looked in my eyes.
“What the fuck do you want?” he asked with venom in his voice. “You’ve got a lot of nerve coming here after what you did.”
The confusion was evident on my face. What had I done?
“Seems Adam here lost his memory,” Dawn said to him. “Needs us to help him fill in the blanks.”
“I should kill you after what you did to Mark and Linda,” he said. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Tariq rest his hand on one of his pistols.
Who were Mark and Linda? A flash of light. I’m sitting next to Signalman, and we both look over at the old man and woman. Mark and Linda. Linda had just taken our picture.
I snapped out of it in an instant. “The old man and woman?”
“They were our family! You don’t even remember them?” he asked, fury written all over his face.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember much,” I said guiltily.
“Fine,” he said. “You wanna know, I’ll tell you. Then you get the hell out of here and don’t come back.”
I nodded, although his words hurt me severely.
“You’d just started your training to be a hunter,” he began. “I was against that from the start. I didn’t want you to become some ruthless killer, but you were too idealistic. Said you wanted to ‘make a difference’.”
He paused, to gather his thoughts. My mind was spinning. A ghost of a memory was wavering in and out of my consciousness.
“Mark and Linda never liked the vampire politics. They pushed for there to be some kind of judicial system, and spoke out against many of the Elders’ decisions. The Elders kill people regardless of guilt. Whatever way you look at it, hunter, that’s wrong.” He said.
Tariq grunted, but Signalman went on, as if he didn’t hear him.
“All they wanted was equal rights for our kind. But because they were human, the Elders didn’t trust them. Thought they might be a liability,” he paused, pain evident in his voice.
“What happened to them?” I asked as gently as I could.
His eyes once again locked on mine. There was no trace of the love he had held for me there anymore.
“Why did you do it?” he asked me in a voice barely above a whisper. “They loved you. We all did. Why? I never understood.”
“What did I do?” I asked. A feeling of dread clenched itself into a ball in my stomach.
“You killed them,” he said simply.
Flash. Mark and Linda looking at me with looks of utter horror on their faces. Utter disbelief. They were dying, blood was all over them. I’d done it. I’d really killed them. Shot them in their hearts. I watched as the last dying embers of life burnt out of them, and turned to find Signalman behind me. His eyes were filled with a sadness I’d never seen before. I walked past him, barely acknowledging him. As I passed, the eternity band on my arm burned, as if it were white-hot. Sunshine stood in the doorway, looking at Signalman with a contemptuous smirk. Then her eyes locked on mine, and she gave me a devilish grin. I passed her, and walked out of the room. I kept going. I was no longer welcome there. I was exiled. I am exiled.
The vision faded out as fast as it hit. Tears poured from my eyes, and I collapsed to my knees.
“Oh…my…god…” I had done it. I’d destroyed everything that was good in my life. But why? It didn’t make sense. Why did I kill them without remorse? They were my family.
“Now, why did you do it?” Signalman asked me with tears in his eyes.
“I…I don’t know! I can’t remember,” I said.
He looked at me with disgust. “Then get out,” he said. “Get the fuck out of here.”
The look of disgust in his eyes changed in an instant to a look of surprise. The reason was obvious. There was a blade piercing his heart from behind him. The blade retracted from his body and he fell to his knees. Dawn was standing behind him, smiling maniacally.
Before Tariq had a chance to draw his pistol, Dawn’s was aimed at his heart. “Don’t even think about it,” she said.
“What the fuck is this?” Tariq asked.
“Just finishing the job,” she said. She pulled out a small electronic device from her pocket. “Target A has been neutralized,” she spoke into it.
“Excellent, see to it the others aren’t harmed,” Katrina’s voice answered her. “Bring them in.”
“You bitch!” Tariq yelled at her. “You’re working for Katrina?”
“Hey, it was either this, or get staked for nothing,” she answered. She looked back at me with that manic glee in her eyes. “She found me about a week ago. You think it was coincidence you found that file on me? Everything has been carefully planned and calculated. This is much bigger than some stupid vampire with amnesia.”
She glanced down at Signalman. “And the fact that I got to kill the love of your life was just a bonus. He knows things, things that could destroy Katrina. The same things Mark and Linda were killed for.”
I knelt down and embraced Signalman. “I’m so sorry,” I said in his ear. He didn’t respond. Couldn’t respond. He was fading fast. “Why do you hate me?” I asked her, in a barely controlled rage.
“Because you loved him!” she screamed. “Because I couldn’t have you!” she swung her gun at me.
I heard Orion scream and there was a flash of light. I thought I was dead.
When my vision cleared, Orion, Tariq, and I were standing. Dawn was not. Tariq rushed over to her.
“She’s alive, I think,” he said. “Something triggered her sleep cycle.”
We both looked at Orion, who was panting heavily.
“What was that?” I asked him.
“I…I don’t know. I think I just reacted…” he said.
“We need to get moving,” Tariq said. “Katrina’s guys will be all over this place soon.”
I picked Signalman up, and we left the shack. Tariq picked up Dawn, and took her outside. When we got to the main road where our car was, Tariq dropped her onto the road. I gave him a confused look.
“Dawn’s coming soon. Might as well leave the bitch out to rot,” he said. I shrugged. I didn’t really care. I was numb. I put Signalman’s lifeless body into the trunk of the car, and got into the passenger seat. Orion got into the back, and after Tariq finished changing the tire, we were off for home.
The ride back was quiet. I think everyone could sense that I needed some time, so they kept to themselves. One thing kept going over and over in my mind. Why had I killed Mark and Linda? I couldn’t think of any logical reason. And why was I so cold about it? Despite the whopping puzzle piece that Signalman had uncovered, there were still so many blanks. What was it that they knew that would destroy Katrina?
I didn’t even realize we’d arrived home. Tariq parked the car in the garage, and we got out. Orion stretched with a loud yawn. He was exhausted from what he did to Dawn. I walked back to the trunk, and carried Signalman’s body into the house. I took him up to the roof. I laid him down, and closed his eyes. I kissed his forehead, and said goodbye to my love for the last time.
When I’d finished, I went back downstairs. Tariq and Orion were in the kitchen, but there were no signs of Rachel or Freak.
All of a sudden the back door busted open and Rachel came running in.
“It’s Freak!” she panted. “He’s gone. They took him!”