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The Night the Floodgate Opened

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The Night the Floodgate Opened
by Tracy

 

"My partner was killed with a laser weapon. I saw it burn a hole the size of a baseball in Blanchard's chest; do you want to know what that smells like? Why don't you lean a little bit closer `cause it's still on me."

Hume's words echo in his mind. He shifts on his bed for the second time after being completely docile for the last one hour. He has to sleep. He curls up, his body on the edge, waiting even as he begins to drift away. His defenses fall, as he lays open, vulnerable to the emotions, thoughts and memories that begin to writhe inside of him. The world is black, gray and blue held against his closed eyelids. Silently, he begins to remember events after events in painful clarity. He awakens; breaths quick and rasping before he can convince himself that he is safe, and he is strong, _he will never go back_.

_Safe._ Calley scoffs. It is an impossible dream. The world is set against them; he knows that for sure, they will never be safe. Humans have created the trap themselves and sooner than later it will be the one to bury them alive. They do not realize that they are already caught up now in something that will never release them, no matter how hard and fast they run, and no matter whom they leave dead behind. Hume is the ignorant one for not knowing and caring. Hume has a loving wife waiting for him at home; doting parents whom he can derive comfort from as he was growing up. He will never truly understand. The act, the feel, the sight and scent of death is too familiar to Calley. He has murdered in the past and he will again in the future to protect them, the ignorant ones.

He thinks of Owen. His remains is stored at the funeral home, he has not visited him for awhile. Back in those days in the Academy, Owen used to slip drops of moonshine inside Calley's morning coffee. The two of them would compete feverishly in all academics. Both were equal in brains as well as brawn. Everyone in the Academy knew of their unlikely friendship. Owen was the outgoing one, the good-looking one and the one who always managed to get in trouble. Calley was the quiet, serious one and the one who always bailed Owen out of trouble. But at nights, when the two of them lying on their bunks, free from the watchful eyes of their peers and instructors, Owen would tell him intimate stories about his family and his childhood
opening the closed gate of emotions Calley didn't know he had. Before Owen, he used to wonder how it felt to have a mother who fussed over him, a father who would play catch with him or a sibling who fought over who received what toys on Christmas mornings. He saw these things through Owen's eyes. For that, he was forever grateful to Owen.

***

Owen was killed in action in the hands of `dysfunctional' Consortium androids fifteen years ago. Burnt parts of his brains scattered all over the wet ground; the blood was still fresh on Calley's suit. He would wear that suit to the trial against Rekall a year later.

***

He can still remember vividly the day when they cremated Owen. Kirsten, Owen's little sister sought him out. She pressed her beautiful tearful face to his chest in front of his unsuspecting colleagues. They both understood too well the pain. Despite his hesitations, he had hugged her back tears streaming down his face. It was the first time he had shed tears in his entire life. Months later, in the rain in front of CPB building, she asked him out, he had stared at her; polite refusal hovered at his lips. But he had agreed instead.

Then they had leaned toward each other and fallen into desperate embrace. She had a small loft; they had sat and made love on her bedding piled with blankets in the corner of her room. They would talk for hours, and words had become something so beautiful and true.

For a short period of his life, he learned what love was.

Kirsten was infuriating. Nevertheless he loved her anyway, he still does. He had wanted to protect her from the Consortium and she wouldn't let him do so in the only way he knew how. He felt startlingly helpless in front of her accusing face. _What was she hoping for? Love, romance, marriage, children, a home with white-picket fences? Happily ever after?_He sighs, she should've known better that it is impossible in this world they're living in. But she always had the taste for normalcy or the closest thing to it if it were even remotely possible. She tried to convince herself there was more to life than fear; he believes she was living a fantasy.

***

Kirsten's leaving pained him almost as deeply as Owen's death. Until now, Calley does not want to analyze whose fault caused her to leave.

It was unimportant, immaterial to him. She left. His parents did so too in the beginning.

***

He had thrown himself into work after Kirsten left. His work was and is the only constant and tangible force in his life. Richard Collector had told him that when one morning he came up to the exhausted Calley who had been working non-stop for days on Internal Affairs cases bringing him a cup of coffee. He was sincerely surprised to see a supervisor to truly care about his subordinates.

After that day, they had always made time to have a small conversation every morning during coffee. Although he despises the man now, to this day he still thinks that his words ring true.

Old man Collector or so he was called amongst the AO rookies, in young Calley's naïve idealistic eyes, was the embodiment of the father he never had. Not only a father, to Calley, Collector was also the only decent man amidst the brutal corruption in the Assessor's Office upper personnel. Throughout the years, he taught Calley to be a strong, passionate and honorable man. Collector's name never entered his mind when they were investigating the leak of AO high profile secrets to Consortium companies. Calley had trusted and believed in him from the start. It took him years to recover from Collector's betrayals and a couple years more to climb up toward the AO inner sanctum. If he were honest to himself, he might've admitted he never recovers from that.

***

It's been years since the last Consortium incident, Calley muses. He has been waiting for the ticking time bomb everyday for the last fifteen years. He has grown since, strengthened by pain, betrayal and abandonment. Earlier this evening, Rekall has opened a floodgate. Soon secrets will be revealed and lives will be taken. But this time he will be ready. A vague feeling of regret and pity engulfs his mind so suddenly and he shakes it off. _There are no more innocents._ Staring outside the window at the artificial lights of floating commercials, a thin smile creeps up to his lips.

 

Fin.

I hope it's a good read for a rainy day, have a good day all. :)