Chapter 7 (Monday, September 13th PM)
The three detectives returned to the precinct. It was 1:00 p.m. and Captain Millar was anxiously waiting for Victor and Jack’s arrival.
After the two detectives explained everything they had heard from Chuck and Hawk, Captain Millar ran his hand through his hair as he sighed and said tiredly,
“All those children were meeting their drug dealers before their disappearances. That is disturbing.”
He leaned forward propping himself on his elbows with both hands on the sides of his face, looked at Victor and asked, “What I still don’t understand is how they disappeared. You’re saying it has something to do with a beam of light?”
“Yes, sir.” Jack replied.
“Do you have any other witnesses who saw the light besides Chuck and Hawk?” Brent asked.
“Well, a total of 7 people apparently saw a bright beam of light.” Jack replied.
“And then all those children disappeared… Poof… just like that?” asked Captain Millar. “You expect me to believe this?”
“That’s we’re at, Brent. We need to dig more to make sure that this is really the case. But we thought you would want to know our progress.” Victor answered.
“Thanks, Victor. I gotta say, though… in one day, what both of you found on these cases--it’s amazing.” There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Then he asked in a more serious tone, “Have you talked to anyone else about this?”
“No, definitely not, sir.” Jack replied proudly.
“Good. Keep it that way for now. Keep at it. I feel a little better knowing we know some things now about the abductions. It will be easier for me to handle the parents and the press. Though I certainly won’t be releasing any findings to them at this point. And how the hell would I explain the flash of light without making us sound like complete idiots! What’s your next move, Victor?”
“As I mentioned before, we identified 3 drug dealers who were associated with the missing children. We need some men to tail those dealers for a while to help build some evidence,” Victor said, knowing that the Captain would follow any lead that didn’t end up with having to explain the alien angle.
“Okay. I will assign 6 officers to make sure that all three dealers are under twenty four hour surveillance. Anything else you need?” Millar asked hesitantly.
“For this afternoon, we’ve already made arrangements to accompany one of the drug dealers, Jimmy Nelson. He is meeting a boy named Trevor at 2:30 downtown at their usual place. Jack and I will be there also. But we need 3 more men so we won’t miss anything if an abduction takes place.”
“Okay, Victor. I will arrange that, too. Good luck.” Captain Millar said, believing that they were all going to need all the luck they could get if they had any hope of solving the cases.
“Our next plan doesn’t guarantee a favorable result and in a worst-case scenario, we may lose Trevor if we are not careful. But we have to take this chance if it means that we might stop future abductions” Victor said knowing that he didn’t need to explain to Captain Millar the desperation he and Jack were feeling.
“I understand. Do you need anything else?” asked Captain Miller.
“I think we have the men we need for now. Would you arrange for all of us to meet tonight and we can brief them? I need all of them to be here tonight at 8:00 p.m. in the large meeting room.”
“Okay. Consider it done,” the Captain replied.
“Thank you, Brent. We’ll give you a report tomorrow morning unless we find something new this afternoon,” Victor said.
“That sounds great. Thank you both for handling these cases.”
The Captain looked at Victor and Jack with pursed lips and a nod, grateful in knowing that some progress was being made. He leaned back in his chair and quietly let out a measured sigh of relief.
It was 2:15 in the afternoon. As promised, Jimmy was waiting for Victor and Jack at the main entrance of the Northgate Market in downtown LA.
“Thanks for doing this, Jimmy,” Victor said.
“Well, I didn’t really have any choice, did I? Mama wanted me to do this. She rules our house, you know?”
Jimmy led Victor and Jack to a narrow alleyway that was similar to where Timothy had disappeared. Jimmy was unaware that there were 3 more detectives following them in close proximity. They were all dressed in civilian clothes and watching their every move. One of the undercover officers remained behind at the corner of the building where he could view the alleyway clearly. The second officer entered the restaurant opposite to the alleyway and sat by the window. When the third policeman arrived at the meeting place, he hurriedly stationed himself on the roof of a nearby building where he could look down into the alleyway. Jack and Victor accompanied Jimmy for a while.
Then Jimmy said to them, “It’s almost time. I think you should hide.”
“Will do.” Jack quickly disappeared into a crowd around the corner. Victor remained in the alleyway and hid himself behind an industrial garbage bin.
Jack looked at his watch. It was 2:29 p.m. Then, among a crowd of adults, he spotted a teenage boy who was nervously approaching the alleyway. The boy stopped before he turned the corner. He then looked around the street to make sure no one was following him.
Jimmy glanced at the boy and gestured with a subtle sideways jerk of his head to him to come closer. The boy, still looking around, approached Jimmy with his hands in his pockets. Without a word, they exchange money for the goods. Then, both the boy and Jimmy left the place.
To everyone’s disappointment, nothing happened during the exchange. Victor did not know whether to be happy or sad. Part of him was relieved that neither Trevor nor Jimmy disappeared. But at the same time, he began to feel frustrated that he had not witnessed “the light”. The light was the only clue they had so far that signified the mystery. But he was not about to surrender hope.
That night at 8:00 p.m., Victor and Jack had a meeting with all the detectives assigned to the case as they had requested. After Victor briefed them on the recent findings, he assigned the detectives to surveil the 3 drug dealers for the following 7 days. The meeting lasted late into the night. Their hope was that the beam of light could be witnessed by the detectives and eventually identify what was really happening during the drug transactions.
By the time Victor arrived at his home, it was close to midnight. He was worn out from the day’s work and very hungry. He opened the fridge and took out some leftover Chinese food from the night before, heated it in the microwave and quickly finished his dinner. He washed himself and went to bed. Unfortunately, even though his body was ready to collapse from fatigue, his brain kept working at full speed long after his head hit the pillow. Realizing that he was not going to fall asleep right away, he got out of bed and walked to the couch to turn on the TV. It was his routine to watch late night shows when he had a difficult time getting to sleep. Like other nights, this did the trick again and Victor eventually fell asleep on the couch.
He slept a couple of hours. With a start, he was awakened by a bright flash of light. Then, he began to feel his body being pulled away from his couch. He was helpless as his body started to move toward the living room wall. He tried to scream as he was forcefully pushed right through the wall in front of him. Victor kept trying to shout, but no sound was coming out. He then felt the sensation of being pushed downward, into a dark, deep tunnel that led to the center of the earth.
All of his 5 senses went numb for what seemed like an eternity. He had no notion of time or how long he had been in that state. When he began to get his feelings back, he slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw were pure white walls, so bright, they almost blinded him. It took a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the bright light surrounding him. When his eyes finally adjusted, he found himself in the middle of a room over 20 feet in width and length, and he began to clearly see his surroundings. Able to move his body again, Victor rubbed his eyes hard with his hands to focus on the faint figures in front of him. His brain started to process what he was seeing. Through the brightness of the light, he was able to see images of people.
First, Victor thought those images were two-dimensional figures that were projected on the walls. As he began to walk toward the wall, he realized that they were three-dimensional and all around him. Victor convinced himself that he was just dreaming. There was no way that anyone could walk through three-dimensional images as Victor was doing.
When all the figures became clearer, Victor found himself standing inside a church. The place looked very familiar to him. He soon realized that this was the church in which he had been married 18 years ago. He was surrounded by his parents, his relatives, and his friends who were all well dressed and smiling. He looked down and discovered that he was wearing a black tuxedo. The only time he had ever worn formal attire was at his own wedding. It seemed that he was reliving his wedding day. He looked toward the entrance of the church and saw his wife and his father-in-law slowly approaching. He could hear Wagner’s wedding song “Here Comes the Bride” sounding in the distance. When his wife finally stood beside Victor, he could see her beautiful smile. His heart began to beat fast as she extended her hand toward him. It had been a long time since that day. How beautiful she looked. He could even smell his wife’s perfume. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply to capture every particle of the fragrance, and then slowly opened his eyes, hoping to see his wife’s beaming face.
But Victor was no longer at the wedding. The surroundings changed rapidly and, this time, he saw his wife screaming in agony. She was lying on a hospital bed. Between her screams, she breathed hard and fast. Her brow filled with perspiration. Her eyes opened wide, while squeezing Victor’s hands to the point that Victor thought they were going to break. A few minutes later, Victor heard a baby’s cry. Then Victor saw his son James in his arms. ‘Tiny, beautiful baby boy and he’s mine,’ Victor whispered softly as he kissed James’ soft cheek. When the baby smiled at him, Victor began to weep with joy and closed his eyes again.
Next, he heard his daughter Christine’s voice from a distance. She was calling to him as she stood on shaky legs. “Dada”, was the first word that she spoke. How sweet her voice was. When Victor blinked his eyes, he then saw Christine trying to walk awkwardly toward him with open arms. Then everyone around Christine laughed with Victor. His wife, James, and Victor – all of his family were watching the tiny little girl’s first step together. How joyous that moment was.
Wondering why he was reliving his past, Victor was nonetheless grateful for being able to enjoy every joyous moment again. The visions continued, projecting the most significant events of his life. He was content for a while.
But the pleasant memories did not last long. A short while later, Victor found himself in the middle of a gun fight. He saw one of the undercover detectives he worked with being shot. With all his might, Victor managed to pull the injured man to a safe place. By the time the ambulance arrived, the man had stopped breathing despite Victor’s effort to keep him alive. Victor relived his feeling of desperation as he tried to stem the flow of blood and the helplessness as he watched his partner die and the bottomless pain of knowing that he couldn’t save his life…
A few seconds later, Victor found himself in a courtroom on the witness stand. The defendant glared at Victor with hatred. The hatred so intense that his eyes were giving out the signals that he would kill anyone who would stand in his way. Victor felt ill remembering that it wasn’t for show in the courtroom but that the man truly meant it.
When Victor closed his eyes again, he felt someone in his arms. He was horrified to find that it was his son James. Warm blood soaked through Victor’s shirt sleeves and then continued to drip onto his pant legs. His son was shot in his house. He was only 6. The small frame of his son’s body suddenly became lifeless. Victor could hear his wife and and daughter screaming behind him in horror.
The visions lasted a few minutes longer. Victor could not take them anymore. He was angry and began to yell.
“What is this all about? Why am I reliving my past? Stop! Stop this right now!!” He tried to wake himself from this dream turned nightmare.
The visions around him began to fade as if someone heard his voice. Then the shiny white walls began to reappear as if nothing had happened.
Victor gathered all his strength to look for a door or any gap in the room. After he walked around examining every inch of the wall, he realized that there was no way to escape from the room. Discouraged, he sat in the middle of the floor. By this time, he was exhausted from the emotional ups and down from reliving his past. Then he dropped his head almost touching the floor.
Victor closed his eyes again. The only thing he was longing for was the warmth of his loved ones’ embraces.
He whispered softly, “I love you… I miss you terribly. Forgive me James…” Victor felt numb. Nothing mattered anymore. At one point, he even forgot where he was.
In the corner of the room, to his right, a small perforation suddenly appeared. Victor sensed that something had changed and he lifted his head. The perforation grew larger as Victor gazed with curiosity. He got up slowly, and then he staggered right into the opening, as if he had no control over his body.
The hole Victor entered was a dark, short passage to another room. When he arrived on the other side, he felt something wet spray all over his body. When the mist from the spray began to evaporate, Victor found himself in a structure similar to a shower stall. Then, a strong ray of light covered him. Victor raised both arms to protect his eyes. He felt an electric shock course through his body. Victor fainted from the excruciating pain.
Victor could not tell how long he had been unconscious. When he awoke, Victor found himself leaning against the wall in a crystal like room. It only had room enough for him to move his arms and legs but no more. When he realized that he was caged in the crystal room, he tried to punch the wall around him hoping to break it, but the wall did not yield. He then shouted but he couldn’t hear his voice in the room. He tried not to panic but was starting to feel frightened.
Through the crystal room, he began to see some people outside. They all looked enormous. He felt as if he was surrounded by a roomful of giants. What Victor did not realize was that he was in a very small oval shaped capsule that had two flat sides with a small clip on top. The people he saw were not giants at all. Victor, instead, had been miniaturized. His height was now about half of an inch. In the capsule, though it was completely sealed, Victor did not suffocate nor experience feelings of hunger or thirst. The temperature was regulated so Victor felt very comfortable except for the feeling of claustrophobia.
After he realized he couldn’t do anything to break the capsule, Victor leaned against it and began to observe the people around him. What he noticed first was that they were all wearing bright white long sleeved shirts and pants. It reminded him of the hospitals in the sixties. Some of them were talking to each other, but Victor could not hear their voices. One of the people came closer to Victor. With his giant fingers, he very gently picked up the capsule from the table, then clipped it on the left side of his shirt pocket. He then grabbed a few other small items from one of the tables and put them all in a shoulder bag and left the room.