Serial Saturday: The Stolen Man, episode 3-7

We are roughly half way through our story.  So it’s a good time to assure you,that there is a method to all this madness?  There are actually clues to the “rules” as it were throughout episode 3.  Clues to his identity, to Six, Seven and the rest.  And get a load of the table of contents?  Have you noticed anything weird about them?  I count three oddities, but then I know because it’s my job to know.  While I reserve the right to keep secrets, I leave clues everywhere.  And rest assured faithful reader, I will not leave you frustrated and mystified.  By the final episode, everything here will make sense.  You will know who stole our heroes life, and why.  There will be revelations aplenty in episode 7, so enjoy the ride and I’ll meet you at the end.

The Stolen Man:  Law of the Land, Episode 3-7

(S.M. Table of Contents)

 

White isn’t quite the right description, more like transparent but with nothing to be seen behind it.   You wonder idly if this is what deep space is like.  You conclude equally idly that you hadn’t expected insanity to look like this, but then perhaps it’s different for other crazy people.

“This is not madness.”  You realize this is the first time you’ve ever heard Seven speak.  You are so busy contemplating the strange sound of it, melodic, but not soothing., unsettling somehow that you only belatedly realize he is answering your thoughts.

“So I’m not mad then?”

“I never said that.”

“Then I am crazy?

“I didn’t say that either.  But honestly would it really help if I said one way or the other?”

You ponder briefly and shake your head, “Where am I now?”

“Call it a respite.  A rest in the chaos.”
“Why?”

“I thought you needed it.”

“What I need is my life back”

“Agreed.”

“Agreed?”

“Agreed.  I’m going to help you get it back.”

“Who are you?”

“I know who I am, Troy.”

“I’m not…”

Seven shakes his head, waving his hand dismissively, “It’ll do for now.  But that’s my point. You don’t know who you are. I know who I am.”

“So who are you?  Seven?”

“Some call me that.  I’m a friend, Troy.  I’m on your side.”

“Do you run this building, all the projects?”

“I own this building.  I created sunnyvale, nothing happens here without my authority, but I’m not happy with all the projects created here.”

“But you have authority, you could stop them?”

“I could stop them.”

“But you don’t.”

“Only rarely.”

“I don’t understand.”

“No you don’t.  But some of that is undoubtedly the Lysergic acid and Phosphoryl. “

“The gas and the injection?”  You look down at your hand.  It’s swollen and starting to look a little purple.  That can’t be good. “So I am drugged?”

“Actually you’re pretty lucid right now, but the rest of it, from the beginning, it’s all illusion.”

“All of it, but I was only doped yesterday…at least I think it was yesterday.”

“I didn’t say you’ve been dreaming the whole time, only that it’s all illusion, lies, deceptions, various methods all designed for your confusion.”

“Why?  Who?”

“You have to remember. And you have to let me help you.”

“Why?  You’ve not helped me before now.”

“I’ve been helping you all along, Troy.”

“When, how?”

“Why do you trust Dan?”

“Shouldn’t I trust Dan?”

“Why do you trust him?”

“He gave me the pictures.  He showed me it was real.”

“Did he?  Look, I won’t keep you here much longer.  Listen,  be careful who you trust.  It’s going to get worse before it gets better.“

“Oh, no.”

Your hand is starting to radiate with that pain again, traveling up your elbow towards your head again.  Seven’s normally impassive face suddenly looks concerned.  He leans toward you, speaking louder, demanding your attention.

“Listen to me.  I know who you are.  I know who you are.  If you look for me, you’ll see me.”

“Where?  When?”

“Everywhere.  Always.  And Troy…”

Now you feel as if you are becoming like the space around you, nothing, transparent…fading.  You try to ignore the pain and look at Seven, who is still speaking.  You think you are just able to hear a last few words before the world flips again–It’s not about Helen.– and you are sitting in the coffee shop sitting across from Dan.  The list of floors is in front of you, just as it was when you were here before.  Have you been hear all along?  Was the rest of it real?  Is this real?  Dan is pointing at the list,  speaking, has been speaking and his first word overlaps with the words ringing in your ears from Seven,

“…Helen.  Do you hear me Troy.  It’s Helen”

You are confused.  “Helen?  It’s Helen.  She’s the key?”

“What?  No I didn’t say Helen.   I said Helen.”

You can think of no response to this but to repeat what you are hearing,

“Helen?”

Dan is irritated but as he speaks the world is turning again and Dan is fading away.  AS before you staring to hear Dan’s words and they seem to ring even a you find yourself transporting.  Whatever is happening to you it’s happening quicker now.

“What is up with you?! Not Helen.  Wake up your ears.  It’s…”

Now you are in Sunnyvale, back in your room with Lorelei and as before, Dan’s last words combine with Lorelei’s first words.

“…Helen.  Why do you keep saying that?  I never said it was Helen.”

“Yes, you did.  Last time I was here, you said it was all about Helen.”

You are yelling at Lorelei and she is yelling back, ”I didn’t say Helen, I said…”

You are back in the coffee shop and now it’s Dan speaking again. Dan’s words are completing Lorlei’s sentence.  Now he too is yelling, trying to get your attention.  You are trying to listen, but it’s hard keeping up one conversation with two people in two different places.  He should really take some pity on you.

“…said Level 9.  Not Helen.  L9.  L9.  Are you hearing me!”

“Wait, what?  L9?”

“Yes, that’s it.  L9 is 76.”

Dan’s look of relief is no being reflected on Lorelei’s face in Sunnyvale as she continues, “When you wake up, go to L9.”

“Am I waking up? Is that what’s happening?”

“Well, I’m not sure.  You might just be moving into a more normal sleep temporarily before diving back into the nightmare.  Sometimes the Phosphoryl works that way.

“If I’m dreaming.  I’m just talking to myself.  How could I possibly know that?  What you just said about the phosphoryl?”

Helen, standing in her (Your?) bedroom, turning from the bureau, answers your question to Lorelei, who is of course no longer here.

“Because you created it.  Not Phosphoryl of course, nor the Lysergic acid, but this particular use of the two. It was supposed to be a way to get at truths even you couldn’t get to. Just find Helen” says Helen.

You look at her blankly, speaking dully, “Helen.”

Helen yells at you suddenly exasperated, “L9!”

And then Helen and the bedroom are gone.  Dan and Lorelei are both standing over you now, but neither is yelling.  They seem to be studying you. You are neither in the coffee shop nor in Sunnyvale.  You are laying flat on your back, but not on a sidewalk or sitting in a strange chair.  You can’t see your hand, but it’s throbbing painfully.  You start to speak but it seems like a lot of work and so you just look.  You try to turn your head, but that too seems an impossible feat.  You begin to slowly realize that what you are laying on is comfortable, and moving.  A gurney.  Dan and Lorelei are walking beside the gurney, looking down at you.  They might be talking but you can hear nothing.  You are being wheeled into a door.  It might be Sunnyvale, and as you are wheeled in you see Seven standing outside the door watching you enter.  He nods at Dan, or is it at you?  and then you are being wheeled past him into the door.  Incongruously he winks at you, and you realize that he is signaling that he knows you are awake.  You further begin to realize that Dan and Lorelei, think you are still unconscious.  This realization is immediately followed by the realization that you are, in fact, not going to be conscious too much longer.  Just before you drift back to your nightmares, you remember Seven’s words, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”  You hope he’s wrong but you suspect he rarely is.

 

(Next episode)

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