There was a storm coming. The woman felt it in her bones, could smell the saltwater in the air even in this abandoned warehouse, even through the numbness of the drugs that was slowly fading. Soon, all the tension would erupt, and rain would bless the earth after this long period of drought.
She was running out of time.
“David,” she gasped, reaching out to someone who wasn’t there, wasn’t there, was –
“I’m here,” he said, and God, she had missed his voice, missed his presence beside her while she had been taking the blockers –
“It hurts,” she managed to get out, “it hurts so much.”
“I know,” he said, and let her crush his hand in her pain, “but this was the plan, remember?”
And how could she forget. Only four of them were left, and it was only a matter of time until all of them would be gone. Giving birth was their only option, but still – “I don’t want anyone to die because of me,” she crumbled under a new wave of pain.
“They’ll be hunted both unborn or born,” he whispered, “But you can give them a fighting chance.”
She nodded, took all what was left of her and reached out once more –
And there they were.
She could see them clear as day, as if they were just a step away instead of on the other side of the world:
The boy in Columbia, preparing for his next surgery, looking up from his papers to meet her gaze with a confused frown –
The girl in Seoul, going through her morning prayer and turning to look at her with eyes full of wonder –
The boy only a few blocks away in the outskirts of Cape Town, having only just now fallen asleep after a long shift, startled from his dreams by her appearance ¬–
The girl in London, in the middle of her one-night stand, catching only a glimpse of her in the mirror across the shoulders of the boy she was fucking –
The boy in Mexico City, practicing his aim on the goal, stumbling when he saw her watching him in the stands –
The girl in São Paulo, studying in the library, tired from last night’s performance, rubbing her eyes as they fell on her –
The boy in Oakland, barely paying attention to his lecture, staring her down unnervingly the moment he realized she didn’t belong there –
The boy in Berlin, throwing her a nervous glance over his shoulder as he followed his mother through a narrow alleyway –
Lightning struck, splitting the sky outside down the middle. “He’s here,” she breathed, all strength gone, and no more drugs left to take.
Tetsuji Moriyama had finally caught up to her.
“So this is where you’ve been hiding from me,” he said, his triumphant grin razor-sharp.
The mob behind him stood still, waiting for his signal to take her away, to strip all her secrets off her and make her reveal the faces she had just seen, and she would not allow them, she would not –
“Silly, silly girl,” Tetsuji laughed. He was leaning over her crumpled figure, and at the same time he was still standing in the doorway, the rain pouring down behind him. “Why did you stop taking those drugs? Did you really think I wouldn’t find you?”
She shook her head, and he seemed to notice something about her. “But no, that’s not why, is it? You gave birth to another cluster, didn’t you?”
He didn’t wait for an answer. “This won’t help you, Kayleigh. I’ll track them down like I did with you, and I’ll find them all, even fucking Wymack, no matter how smart he thinks he is.”
She only whimpered in response, felt David’s hand tightening around hers.
“Oh, he’s here now too, isn’t he,” Tetsuji drawled. “Well, tell him I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
“Go,” she whispered to David desperately, reaching for the gun near her empty box of blockers. “I don’t want you to see this, please just go – ”
He nodded, his face twisted in painful understanding.
“Just promise me you will protect them,” she added.
“I promise,” he said, and then she was alone.
She lifted the gun with shaking hands until it was resting against her mouth. There was nothing else left to do.
Tetsuji grinned mockingly. “Oh, come on, how many times have you made that threat? I think we both know you won't do it.”
“Don’t be so sure of that,” she said, her voice much stronger than it had been before. “And don’t ever fucking touch my children.”
Thunder rolled. The storm was only just beginning.
No one heard the trigger going off.
Allison Reynolds had a headache, and she was pretty sure it had something to do with this dude that was still somehow in her apartment although it was already past noon.
Sure, they had only woken up around ten, and she had graciously allowed him to use the shower, but now he was just lazing around in her kitchen and helping himself to her food, and at this point he was really overexerting her hospitality.
“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” she asked, not caring enough to keep her annoyance out of her voice.
“Oh, come on, beautiful,” Seth said, taking a bite of a scone and chewing very loudly. “I thought we could enjoy each other’s company a bit longer.”
“You do understand the meaning of the word ‘one-night stand’, right?” Allison asked and rubbed her temple. She needed an ibuprofen, but before that, she should probably at least eat something.
She briefly considered kicking Seth out so that she could have breakfast in peace, but then decided against it. Maybe having some company wouldn’t be so bad after all.
“You okay?” Seth asked from where he was sitting on the kitchen counter, still chewing obnoxiously loud.
“Can you at least be quiet if you’re going to stay?”
“What, I thought you liked how loud I was,” he smirked, and she rolled her eyes.
“Last night, maybe … but my head really hurts right now,” she admitted, wrapping her robe around herself and grabbing a mug from one of the cupboards to make some tea.
Seth just let out a noncommittal hum in response.
“Did you sleep well, at least?” he asked eventually when she was seated at the kitchen table, digging into her bowl of oatmeal and fruits.
She frowned. “Actually, I had the weirdest dream … no, wait, I was still awake when this happened – I saw this older woman looking at me from across the room, who I had never once seen in my life before. I could feel something was wrong with her, but I knew I couldn’t do anything because she was in a totally different place, far away from me … it’s all really a blur now, but it was the strangest thing.”
She didn’t know what made her tell him all of this, but he seemed intrigued rather than unbelieving.
“That is so interesting! You know these stories of people who feel that there is something bad going on with a family member, for example? And then the other person is actually sick or something happened to them? That’s limbic resonance! It’s a language older than our species,” he leaned forward excitedly.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “You believe in that kind of stuff?”
“Sure,” he shrugged. “There’s probably more shit going on in this world than we will ever know of.”
“Fair enough.” She took another sip of her tea.
“But of course, you can enhance your experience of the world; see more than just what is most obvious to the eye,” he continued, reaching for something in his pockets. “You know, when people take drugs, they see their birth, their death, worlds beyond this one.”
He finally found what he was looking for and pulled out a bag of blue pills.
“Maybe you should try it, see if you can find this woman again,” he said, waving the bag in front of her suggestively.
“Nah, I don’t do drugs.” She popped the last blueberry from the bowl into her mouth, stood up and shoved Seth off the counter.
“And now get the fuck out of my apartment already.”
On the other side of the world, Aaron Minyard was staring at his reflection.
Something was wrong with it.
Sure, it seemed to wear sweats and a t-shirt as well, and its blond hair was sticking up everywhere like it always did in the mornings, but first of all, Aaron had never possessed a pair of black sweatpants. He preferred gray ones, thank you very much. And second of all, why did he seem to have covered his arms with black bands?
Confused, Aaron looked down at his own arms, which were very much band-free.
He looked back up at the mirror and was wearing his gray sweats again.
He blinked a few times, but his reflection seemed to be permanently back to normal.
He rubbed his eyes tiredly, already feeling a headache building up. Maybe he needed to get more sleep if he was starting to see things that weren’t there.
He turned around to face his fiancée, who was leaning against the bathroom’s door frame.
She smiled at him, then yawned and ran a hand through her tangled hair.
“Just tired, same as you,” he mumbled.
“Yeah, these long shifts are killing me,” Katelyn said, sliding behind him and wrapping her arms around his waist. “I’m so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.”
He relaxed into her embrace. “I hope I won’t wake you up, though … it sucks that we don’t get the same days off this week.”
She pressed a kiss to the back of his neck. “It’s alright. If I wake up, I at least get to see your beautiful face before you leave.”
“God, I love you.” He turned around to kiss her.
She laughed and let him wrap his arms around her shoulders. “Love you too – but also, we’re already late, no time for make-out sessions.”
“Shit,” Aaron said, glancing up at the clock.
“Shower together?” he offered after a moment of consideration.
Katelyn nodded, and he followed her to the tub, ignoring the way his reflection seemed to stare at him when he looked back at the mirror.
He had a long day of assisting surgeries to look forward to, so he should better concentrate on that instead of whatever his sleep-deprived mind was making up.
The smell of hospital disinfectant woke Andrew Doe up.
He groaned, stretching his body and squinting at the radio on the nightstand. He couldn’t make out much, though, so he reached for his glasses and tried again.
Fuck. It was seven in the morning. He had gotten exactly three hours of sleep after coming home from his night shift at Eden’s.
Of course, now that he was awake, he knew better than to try to fall asleep again. At best, he would just lay there for hours without being able to drift away. At worst, he’d have nightmares that would follow him through the rest of the day.
He rolled over, and stayed like that for a while, before finally standing up and making his way to the shower. There, he tried to scrub away that acrid smell that was still stuck in his nose.
Finally, the smell and all the memories his brain had dug up in association to it faded, and he allowed himself to breathe in deeply.
He slowly and methodically went through the motions of getting ready – putting on clothes and his contacts, shaving his face, brushing his teeth, combing through his hair, and applying some deodorant.
Then, he moved on to the kitchenette, nibbled at some stale cookies for breakfast, and washed down his pills with a glass of tap water.
He looked at the radio again. It was still only eight.
It was going to be a long day. He put on his armbands, the weight of the knives in their sheaths settling him, took his uni backpack and left his shitty dorm room behind.
Walking across campus towards the library, he couldn’t seem to shake off a kind of uneasiness that was creeping up his back. It felt like someone was following him, and he didn’t like it one bit.
Just before he reached the main entrance, he saw something move in the corner of his eye. Steeling himself for a fight, he swiveled around only to find nothing but empty space in front of him.
He frowned. Something like this had happened yesterday, as well. That woman that had appeared in the middle of his 4pm lecture had certainly not been real.
Fuck. He really needed to talk to Bee.
Abram wondered, not for the first time, whether he was growing to be even more paranoid than his mother.
Surely, she must have noticed the blond boy who had been following them since they had exited the U-Bahn station at Neukölln.
“Mom, wait –,“ he called out and moved to catch up with her, his duffel bag swinging behind him.
“It’s Mama now,” she chided him in a sharp tone once he was close enough that nobody would overhear. “And you should really hurry up, I don’t like these streets.”
“Me neither,” Abram agreed, stuffing his hands in his pockets and adjusting his walking speed to that of his mother. “I think we’re being followed.”
“What?” Mary glanced to the sides, trying to gauge the situation without being too obvious. “I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure,” he said, but frowned when he tried to recall what exactly he had seen. Just because he had spotted that blond guy a few times didn’t mean that he was one of his father’s men. Maybe he just was headed in the same direction. Besides, Abram hadn’t seen the guy for a few blocks now – it was like he had vanished into thin air.
“Maybe you’re right. I’m just exhausted,” he conceded, and his mother threw him an assessing look.
“Let’s be more cautious regardless,” she said after a moment and led them both through a more adventurous route than planned.
Finally, they rounded another corner, and Mary pulled her son through a small doorway into a dingy backyard. There were several doors which Abram assumed led to different apartments, but they seemed pretty empty, the glass in the windows mostly shattered and graffiti everywhere.
It wasn’t the worst place he’d seen.
Mary pried open one of the doors and they entered their new place. Abram knew his mother was already making plans to get a better, sturdier lock the next day, but for now they would have to take turns sleeping and keeping watch to make sure no one would discover them.
They spread their only blanket on the cold concrete of the floor and set their bags down to use them as pillows. Mary took a bit longer to go through her stuff, and finally retrieved one of their new passports that she had been safe-keeping for both of them.
“Keep this with you at all times,” she reminded him, handing him the thin red booklet. Abram nodded, remembering the dozen times she had already told him this in the past. He didn’t think he would ever forget.
Mary took the first watch, insisting he should sleep off his exhaustion, even though it was only late afternoon. He curled up on his side, resting his head on his duffel bag, and rifled through his passport until he found his new name.
“Stefan Koch,” he mouthed silently, trying to get a feel for the pronunciation.
A new identity, a new place and language, once again.
He wondered how long it would last this time around.
Kevin Day was not having a good day.
He’d felt a bone-deep exhaustion, similar to jet-lag, since he’d woken up, even though he had not been in an airplane for some time.
Over the course of the day, he had then developed a massive headache that even his usual hangover cures couldn’t get rid of.
And now, he was just immensely frustrated with himself. He was a perfectionist through and through, and that he had missed several passes by his team members in the last few minutes had escaped neither him nor his coach.
“Let’s take five minutes,” Herrera called, and then came over to Kevin when he was chugging down his water. “Get it together, Day. Even if you’re a soccer superstar on the national team, I won’t hesitate to bench you if you don’t focus on the Eagles as well.”
He was gone before Kevin could snap at him, which was probably good. He still felt like he wanted to break something. How dare Herrera assume that he wasn’t going to give his all for his team! All that was important to him was the perfect game, no matter if it was in the league or the national team, and his coach should know that.
On the other hand, he really wasn’t playing his best today.
Kevin sighed and rubbed his temple, hoping that hydrating would help his headache at last.
An arm thrown around his shoulder startled him out of his thoughts. Jeremy was smiling at him, although he could make out a certain tenseness around his eyes.
“You alright?” he asked quietly. Jean had come up to them as well, hovering awkwardly next to them with a concerned expression.
It was understandable, Kevin thought. After all, they had been the ones who discovered his grogginess in the morning and had tried to convince him to call in sick.
“Still that headache,” he mumbled. “Maybe I should really sit out for the day, I don’t want to compromise the game any longer than I already have …”
He could feel Jeremy squeezing his shoulder in support before he let go. “Try to get some rest. Call one of us if it gets worse,” Jeremy whispered, and Jean nodded his agreement.
After a small argument with the coach, who was still pissed off at his performance, he was sent off the pitch with the advice to “fucking stay home next time if you know you can’t play properly” and climbed the stairs down to the showers defeatedly.
He let his thoughts wander while he was standing under the stream of water, and they kept coming back to that weird woman he had seen in the stands yesterday. It hadn’t been an open practice, but no one else had remarked anything about her.
He was still wondering about that particular mystery when he stepped into the locker room and stopped right in his tracks.
There was an Asian woman sitting on one of the benches, her head bent in what seemed like a prayer.
He was definitely going insane.
Renee Hwang had just been getting ready for her early morning prayer, when she looked up to find a half-naked man in her bedroom.
She politely averted her eyes, while he just gaped at her in shock and nervously adjusted the towel around his waist.
“This is the men’s locker room,” he finally spluttered. “Why are you in here?”
“I could ask the same of you,” she said calmly, although she had to admit she was surprised at herself for not being more shocked at what was happening.
“This is my bedroom,” she said, and the half-naked man’s eyes went even wider.
“Where am I?” he said, as if he had just now realized his surroundings.
“As I said, you’re in my room,” Renee answered. “Which is in Seoul, to be precise,” she added since something in her gut told her that the man had no idea about this, as well.
“In Seoul?! What the – “
And as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone again.
That had certainly been strange, Renee thought. It was similar to the vision of the woman she had had the day before, around the same time. She, too, had been in distress, although Renee wasn’t sure what had been troubling her and if it had been the same as this man’s shock.
Perhaps God wanted her to see these people – he must have a plan for her in all of this, she thought, and entrusted herself in his hands.
Once she had finished her morning prayer, she went about preparing herself some breakfast, fiddling with her cross necklace and thinking about her plans for today.
She had to go to work in a couple of hours, and on her lunch break she would buy a nice little bouquet and stop by her foster mother’s.
It had been a while, she thought and hummed to herself while doing the dishes. She was already looking forward to seeing her.
“How was your meeting with your mother?” Laila asked when Matt got in the car.
“Good,” he mumbled through the last bite of his hamburger and nearly choked in his haste to swallow. “Just kind of forgot about the time,” he managed to get out and chased down his food with the rest of his coke.
“I can see that,” Laila said and raised an eyebrow at him. “You’re a whole mess, Boyd.”
“Thanks, Dermott. Love you too,” he laughed, and Laila snorted.
“At least you’re actually on time for our shift.” And with that, she hit the accelerator.
While they made their way on their patrol through the city, Matt started telling her about his dream from last night to pass the time.
“It was like I was there,” he told her. “I could feel the wind coming in through the broken windows and smell the rainstorm outside and the dingy mattress she was sleeping on. It wasn’t like a normal dream, now that I’m thinking about it.”
“Maybe you were astro-projecting, like Dr. Strange,” Laila quipped as she made a turn into one of the warehouse districts, leaving the finer neighbourhoods of Cape Town behind.
Matt rolled his eyes at her. “Why are you so obsessed with Marvel movies, anyways,” he replied and then focused on looking out for potential problems again.
She ignored him, before piping up again. “Officer Strange! That’s your new name now,” she laughed, but Matt was suddenly distracted when a building they were just driving by caught his eye. He recognized that warehouse from somewhere –
“Stop the car,” he demanded.
“I said stop the car!”, Matt said and scrambled out as soon as Laila had slowed down enough.
“What the fuck?“ she replied, parking the car and following him towards the warehouse.
“This is where it happened,” he explained, drawing his gun and motioning for her to do the same.
“What happened?” Laila asked confused, reaching for her weapon anyways just in case.
“The woman – in my dream – and oh my god, I remember now, she had a gun, I think she hurt herself, I – “
He stopped right at the entrance of the warehouse, interrupting himself in his stammering. A mattress lay in the middle of the floor, a blanket crumpled above, but there was nobody there. The whole building was completely abandoned, and still Matt’s brain was suddenly flooded with images from last night. “This really wasn't a dream.”
“Of all the partners, I end up with a Mulder-wannabe,” Laila sighed.
“Laila, this is serious - a woman killed herself right here,” Matt insisted. He could now remember it much more clearly, as if he himself had been in her place.
“Well, then where's the blood, Matt? Maybe she only shot herself in the fifth dimension, so we can't see it,” Laila said a bit exasperated.
Matt stepped forward into the room and moved towards the mattress.
“Listen, I've never been here before, but I know about this,” he said, reaching for a small box that was hidden under the blankets with a certainty that surprised him. “She had some kind of drug stored in this.”
He opened the box to reveal a small nondescript pill bottle. There was nothing but some kind of black residue left inside.
“Well, that still doesn’t really prove anything,” Laila said. “To be honest, you’re starting to freak me out. I think I’m gonna go wait in the car until you can actually show me evidence of a crime, alright?”
Matt just nodded and watched her go. He knew that he sounded insane, but on the other hand he also knew with absolute surety that the woman from his dreams had really been here last night.
A noise from behind him made him turn around, his weapon raised.
There was a girl standing in the middle of the warehouse, dark-skinned, with short hair and clad in some kind of colourful costume. Matt hadn’t heard her come in.
“What is this place?” she asked, then seemed to recognize her surroundings. “Is this where she died?”
“How do you know that?” Matt asked, lowering his gun slowly and tucking it away again.
“I saw her,” she answered. “Did you see it too?”
“Yeah,” he said. “It happened here. But I have no idea why I know this and what’s going on.”
“This is not in São Paulo, is it?” the girl asked, and started wandering around and inspecting the building. Somehow, if Matt concentrated on it, it felt like he was walking right beside her, while simultaneously still standing where he had been before. It was fascinating and unsettling at the same time.
“No, it’s in Cape Town,” he answered.
The girl turned towards him with a surprised gasp. “In South Africa? But I’ve never been to South Africa!”
She came closer again, until she was standing right in front of him.
“What’s your name?” she asked curiously.
“I’m Matt,” he said. “And who are you?”
“I’m Dan- Oh, God no, what are you doing?” she suddenly shouted, flinching away from someone that wasn’t there, “What-“
There was a loud crash and a scream, and then she was gone.
In a flash, Dan was ripped away from the cop in that abandoned warehouse and found herself back in the private room of the strip club.
The two men that she had been entertaining just minutes ago were facing each other with wild looks in their eyes and guns in their hands.
“Oh, God, no, what are you doing?” she shouted, trying to get their attention with her raised voice.
One of them looked at her briefly, just to shove her away with a brutal hand, and she flinched away from him, barely finding her footing in her stilettos.
“What - “
Before she could finish her sentence, a shot went off, sending the other man crashing into the table stacked with liquor. Blood oozed through the fabric of his shirt, and glass shards had pierced themselves into his hands.
Dan screamed, clapping her hand in front of her mouth to muffle the sound.
The man who had fired the shot ignored her, grabbing a briefcase that the gunned down man had been carrying before, and turned his back to hurry out of the room.
In that moment, the bleeding man, who was clutching his wound with one hand, reached for his gun with the other. Before the other had even reached the door, he fired several times into his back, until they both fell to the floor, unconscious.
Dan sank down to her knees, shaking all over and feeling like she was going to be sick.
Both of the men were dead.