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You Brew the Coffee. I'll Brew the Story.

You Brew the Coffee. I'll Brew the Story!
Pour yourself a cup o' joe, sit back, relax, and enjoy each "episode" I bring you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Incarnation (From "Perspectives")


A Short Story About

the Creator Becoming the Creation

from an Angel’s Point-of-view

by J. Chad Barrett, Sr.

© 2010. J. Chad Barrett, Sr. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form without permission

in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations

embodied in critical articles or reviews.



Cosmic rays from swirling suns light up the colorful gases which blasts out of exploding nebulae. Reds, blues, and greens dance in sequence to the music that radiates from nearby stars. Harmonics of majors and minors fill the universe with amazing sounds only the Creator can imagine. I am still most intrigued at His work. And in the center of it all—the center of His fundamental quantity of the measuring system called time, the center of His vast universe, and the center of His masterful and most mysterious plan—is the lonely planet called Earth.

It is a most mysterious plan to us, angels. For we have not quite understood the full reasoning behind the existence of the creatures of His hands on Earth. They are weak, mortal, and easily manipulated. Insignificant they are, especially when compared to beings such as us. However, having seen His true love permeate through the years since Earth’s conception, we know that humans are the key to the actual defeat of the one by whom we were once supervised—Lucifer.

My service as the Most Holy of Holies’ First-ranking Messenger has brought me to places where I was able to witness marvelous scenes within His great plan. The fine details of creation were not hidden from my eyes. The giant explosions at the floor of the oceans which aided in the Earth’s great flood were part of my involvement. And being held by my former colleagues for twenty-one days when on a dire mission to minister to one called Daniel was quite the adventure.

Yet, what I am about to tell you—well, even for me words cannot accurately describe. I find it extremely difficult to paint the picture clear enough and extravagant enough for you to properly define or comprehend the sequence of events. It is not that I am unable to recall, yet I am unable to master the divinity of the context. Prophecy dictates that there will be a brief silence of ourselves and His other heavenly creatures here. Just to state such an event is deafening to the ones who hear of it. One cherub might as well begin to pluck his wings. Nonetheless, the event I am destined to explain to you now trumps such a thought of silence in heaven.

The event of which I speak first became known to me as I was about my service of His Holiest during the fourth millennia. We had known for aeons that there would be a deliverance of the humans. We just did not quite know how it would be carried out. Some had wondered if one or two of us would be called to serve as a sacrifice for the evil that landed on Earth.

However, as quickly as the thought came, we realized the sacrifice would take far more than any angel could offer. Hence, all the hosts of His heavenly beings together would not be near sufficient to satisfy the pure holiness of YHWH. We realize now that many of us thought about what needed to happen, but the thought never made its way into speech then. None of us would dare speak of such wickedness.

I was about my business when I was approached by the Highest Messenger of His Grace. Gabriel served nearest to the power of YHWH. We were sharing heaven’s joys, and he gave me my orders for a mission on earth. Suddenly, Gabriel’s wardrobe began to illuminate. He noticed the elite glow and then looked at me with a smile. He turned toward his right as the Word approached us.

As the Word grew closer to us, Gabriel grew more and more curious. Anytime the Word was intently gazing upon, or thinking about, or seeking to converse with another angel, both the angel and the Word would illuminate. However, as the Word clearly sought Gabriel’s company, only Gabriel illuminated. The Word did not, and this made Gabriel most curious.

Gabriel looked into the blazing eyes of the Word, and as he did his smile slowly disappeared. Without words, Gabriel’s essence expressed, “Oh Holiest One, all of heaven does not see what this occurrence means?”

The expression deepened into the core elements of the Word. The two shared that perfect and harmonious fellowship the way only heaven can experience. I stood there, and my essence listened as the wordless conversation between holy angelic and Holy Divine Word stirred the stars around us. Gabriel was given a mission unlike any other.

As their fellowship intensified, an innumerable host of our beings surrounded us. My wardrobe glowed, as did the host. It was most glorious. I find it overwhelming, if I may, when we shine as we do when YHWH beckons us! Yet, as we expressed our eternal praise, it was being revealed to us the answer to the dilemma of the state of the humans. One was to be sacrificed, and it was not anyone of us.

It seemed we knew deep within our being just who the answer would be, but none would dare bring that thought to speech. Only One would be sufficient to be the perfect sacrifice for the sinful state of the humans. Only One could meet the demands of pure holiness—the ever existing essence of the Father. That answer was standing before Gabriel and me.

The stars around the universe seemed to have come to a standstill. The entire host of angels gazed deeply upon the dimmed face of the Word. Gabriel’s curiosity surfaced from deep within and expressed itself toward Him. He looked at Gabriel and spoke audibly, His words penetrating every nuance of his being.

“I AM” is all He said. And that was enough for Gabriel. Then I, still quite astonished at His presence, spoke with slight anxiety in my voice, “I understand the sacrifice that must be made, but I do not understand why You have forsaken Your glory. Please give me understanding.”

The Word smiled brightly towards me. “I made you to be curious of the Father’s plan. You give Me pleasure when you speak of your desire to know. It glorifies Me. My glory I have not forsaken for eternity, but for the fascinating purpose of redeeming My loved ones I have set it aside to become one of them.”

“You will become part of Your creation,” I said with a new realization. “I cannot comprehend You, my Master and Creator, to be lower than I. The humans are insignificant and weak. Lucifer has little trouble gathering them to his side; indeed, much less trouble than he did with the angels he brought down with him.”

I suddenly felt I had spoken too much. For certain, my curiosity has brought into question the plan of the Father, although my intent was only to understand. But the Word graced me from His essence to mine.

With no words He communicated a single thought.

A picture of a face.

‘Twas the face of a human. This face bore the expression of joy and peace. But then it changed into fear and uncertainty. Finally, the expression gave way to anguish and sorrow. The Word allowed me to see what He saw—the reality of the love He has for His humans.

Suddenly, as if witnessing this picture of a human face was not enough, the Word transplanted this expression into my essence. Immediately, my illumination was swallowed up by a thick smoke and dark ash. The black smoke whipped and whirled around me. I fell to my knees in extreme humility; the heaviness was too much for me to bear. I saw the face of the human, and it was real. I could not lift myself up. The weight of the humility was the compassion of the Word, and I was unable to continue to remain beneath its load.

Finally, the Word released me of the pressure. My illumination returned, but I remained on my knees before Him. I had understanding. The love the Word has for the humans is phenomenal! Gabriel helped me back to my feet as my strength slowly returned. I could not peel my eyes off the face of the Word. At a moment, His face resembled the face of the human.

I asked, “Is this real?”

“It is.”

“I know why. I understand why it must be done and why it must be You. But now I would like to know one more thing.” The Word had eyes of blazing fire as I asked my last question. He placed his hand on my shoulder as my essence spoke, “Who is the human? Why was this the face You chose to show me?” He gave me His answer, and then He walked away.

The host shouted with praise as the Spirit of God made His entrance to the earth; Gabriel followed close behind. The Word stood in the center of the Crystal Sea next to the Father’s throne. Suddenly, the cosmic rays of reds, blues, and greens began to dance around Him. They swirled faster and faster, providing a vortex of great light and a trembling sound. The Word stretched His hands through the vortex and grabbed onto the rays. Then, as He bowed His head in honor to the Father, He disappeared. All that remained was His glory.

I am relaying this to you for a good reason.

The question I asked the Word is my reason.

His answer is reading this report, for you were the face He showed me.

Down on the earth cells began to split, and The Father’s plan continued its course of redemption.


©J. Chad Barrett, Sr. 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Unknown Enemy, episode 3

Episode 3

© 2010. J. Chad Barrett, Sr. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form without permission

in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations

embodied in critical articles or reviews.

John’s tears streamed down his face, and he wiped them with the backside of his hand. “I didn’t realize I was him. This is just too much for me to handle,” he said to the doctor. One of the detectives stayed behind while the other one had left for the police station an hour earlier.

“John, I want to talk to you about Katherine Cheaney,” said the doctor.

John ignored him. “I kidnapped my own wife? I am Mike Stanton—a murderer?” He said as he looked up at the doctor. His countenance was one of pure distraught.

“You mean your roommate?” asked the detective.

The doctor looked at the detective as if to say, “Let me do my job.” But John looked up, as well, and replied, “My roommate? Mike is my roommate. Yes, Mike is my roommate.” John seemed to enjoy his self-realization.

The doctor chimed in enthusiastically, “You know Mike?”

“Yes. He’s a horrible man,” said John.

“How do you know him?” asked the doctor. To him, this was quite a breakthrough.

“We talk all the time, Doc. We’re roommates. You know that.”

“Talk? You mean you—what—leave notes for each other?”

“No,” said John laughingly. He looked at the detective and the doctor. “We talk face to face.”

The doctor sat back in his chair. He was completely baffled. Face to face? Mike is not real! How could this be?

“So does this mean the little girl does not exist, either?” The other detective had joined his partner at the station. Both were trying to figure out this whole Mike/John/Katherine case.

“No. Karen Stanton is real. We have her school records, medical records—” said the partner, but he was interrupted by an associate who was handing him a document.

The detective examined it for a few seconds. “And now an official Amber Alert. Karen Stanton is the 5-year-old daughter of Mike Stanton. Her mother was mysteriously killed in a house fire three years ago. Okay, people!” He directed his voice to the entire office. “We have a real, live, missing girl. Let’s get to work!”

Within 12 hours every local news station was covering the Amber Alert for Karen Stanton, the 5-year-old missing daughter of Mike Stanton. Groups of people from various neighborhoods, churches, and clubs were setting up search-and-rescue teams to look for Karen. Flyers were being posted with her precious picture, and child’s rights activists put up a $50,000 reward for her safe return.

Soon the hunt for Karen had become a statewide phenomenon. Flyers were made into posters. Signs were transformed into t-shirts. A website was even dedicated to finding Karen. The pictures of such a precious little girl captured hearts everywhere, and many were willing to go to war and demand her safe return.

It was late at night at the Hamilton County Psychiatric Center, and an associate was administering his 3rd shift rounds to each room. He closed the door to a room after checking on the patient and walked to the next door—John Whitley’s room.

He inserted the key and slowly opened the door. The lights were off, and the associate decided that John was asleep. He walked in and saw a figure standing in front of the window on the other side of the room. The figure had a blanket over his head and was staring out the window. The moonlight shining through the window caused the associate to only see a silhouette of the figure, and the figure was gently rocking back and forth and singing softly.

“Hello, John,” said the associate. “Or is it Mike?”

The figure stopped rocking and singing. He slowly turned around and began walking toward the associate.

“I’m not John. And I’m not Mike. And I don’t like being in here anymore. I want my little girl.”

The associate froze. Suddenly, the figure charged him with a terrifying scream.

“I have formed a hypothesis that I think might work,” the doctor said on the phone to the detective. “In theory, this injection I can give Mr. Whitley should cause a severe enough change to his neurochemical levels that it would throw him into a transformed state of consciousness. It’s worth a try. Don’t you think?”

“Do it,” commanded the detective. “We’re on our way now.”

The detectives pulled into the parking lot about 15 minutes later. Upon their arrival, they were stunned to see the doctor running out to meet them. He was frantic and waving his arms at them.

“Sir! Sir! You must come quickly!” shouted the doctor.

The detectives hurriedly followed the doctor to John Whitley’s room. They noticed blood streaked across the floor—like a body had been dragged, and they followed it to a supply closet opposite the room. Both detectives pulled out their handguns and directed the doctor to stand back. One of them slowly opened the closet door.

Wide opened eyes horrifically stared directly at them as the body of the hospital associate fell face forward to the ground. And they noticed that his keys were missing.

The doctor was terrified, and the detectives grabbed him by the arms and hurried down the hall toward the main offices. Suddenly, the sound of a woman screaming brought the men to a dead halt. Then all was silent. The men stood still—the doctor was shaking.

Then they heard someone crying. A woman, as it sounded, was weeping. The sounds echoed through the empty halls of the psychiatric hospital. Then the cries grew louder and louder.

Suddenly, the woman shouted, “All I wanted was to have a daughter! A girl of my own, and now you are trying to take her away from me!”

The doctor couldn’t take anymore fright, and he took off running down the hall towards his office. The detectives yelled at him to stop, but he continued. And they began to chase after him.

Just then, the lights were turned off, and the detectives stopped. One of them tried a light switch, but nothing happened. The other pulled out a small flashlight from his inner coat pocket.

“Come on. Let’s go,” he said.

They ran down the hall and hung a left around the corner when, suddenly, they were greeted by the doctor and someone behind him. The detective shined his light in their faces. It was John. He had a blanket wrapped over the top of his head like a shawl, and his right arm was around the forehead of the doctor. The detectives noticed John’s left hand. He was holding a bloody knife to the doctor’s throat.

“Easy, now,” said the detective. “We’re not here to hurt you. We just want to talk. You can let the doctor go, and we’ll just talk. Okay?”

The detective’s attention was drawn to the doctor’s left hand as it slowly moved toward his outer coat pocket. The detective casually shook his head, trying to get the doctor to quit making moves and allow them to do their job.

Ignoring the instruction of the detectives the doctor reached into his pocket and pulled out a syringe.

“Why don’t you people just leave me alone? Why do you always have to get into my business? Can’t you see I’m just trying to raise my daughter like any proud, loving parent would want to do?” It was clear this wasn’t John.

Each detective had his gun drawn and was watching the doctor slowly maneuver his hand upwards toward his captor’s neck.

“So you must be Katherine,” said one of the detectives, trying to keep the attention away from the doctor.

“Of course, I’m Katherine! Who else would I be?” she shouted.

“And Karen—Karen is your daughter?”

“You better leave Karen alone, or I will kill you both!” she said. Her breathing became heavy. “Cross my heart—Karen…Karen…Ka—” Katherine began to lose her grip on the doctor, and her eyes started fluttering. The doctor took advantage of her switching and stabbed her in the neck with the syringe, shooting the medicine deep into her veins. Then the detectives each grabbed an arm and dragged Katherine down the hall to the offices. The doctor followed closely behind.

With their unknown enemy seated and tied securely in the chair, the doctor walked into the office, holding a medium-sized frame in his hands. The picture was facing him, and he sat down in a chair directly across from his patient.

“We don’t have much time,” said the doctor. Then he asked, “Okay. Who do we have here? John? Mike?”

The unknown enemy’s head began to shake, as if he was trying to shake something off.

“It’s working. He’s still switching,” said the doctor.

“How do you know it’s working?” asked one of the detectives.

“Because he’s still switching. Because it’s taking so long—it’s the medicine. The only problem is,” said the doctor, “I have no idea which personality he’ll land on.”

“What does this medicine do exactly?” asked one of the detectives.

“It slows the switching process. This way they should be able to actually see each other as he switches,” answered the doctor.

Then it was as if time had slowed for John. His eyes were closed, and his head still. Then he heard a voice, John. John. Everything is alright, John. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to give up your life for Karen. She’s worth it. There is nothing more important than to give your life for another, especially a child. Do not be afraid. Everything will be just fine.

The switching stopped. The unknown enemy’s head hung low—sweat dripping from his hair. Then his shoulders began to slightly bounce, and soon tears were streaming down his face.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so sorry.” John looked up at the men in the room. “I will do whatever you need me to. Tell me what you want me to do.”

“John?” asked the doctor.

John breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. “Yes, it’s me.”

“John, I want to you look at something for me. Okay?”

“Okay. What is it? Will it hurt?” John asked.

“No. It won’t hurt.” And the doctor slowly turned the mirror around to face John.

John’s eyes suddenly grew wide, and he tilted his head back in fear. “Why is he here?” John asked with a frightened voice.

“John, we need your help. We need you to follow through with the switching, and get Mike to help you locate Karen. She’s in danger, John. You must help us.”

“I can’t! I can’t help! He’s a killer!”

“You will help us, John!” shouted the doctor. John’s eyes began fluttering. “You must get Mike to help us!” John’s head began to shake violently.

Suddenly, John was in a transitional switch and Mike swung his head back, yelled, and then threw it into the mirror, shattering it into pieces. His forehead was now bleeding, but he sat still—staring at the mirror.
“There you are,” he said. “Long time no see, Katherine.”

The men in the room were speechless. They felt a dark energy in the room, and their battered nerves were causing the hairs on their arms and backs of their neck to stand out.

“Give it up, Katherine. It’s over. You’ve lost. Give us the girl,” Mike said. There was silence for about a minute. Mike just sat bleeding and staring at the mirror. “Give us the girl, and I promise to take care of you.” Another minute of silence went by before Mike spoke again. “Cross my heart. Hope to die. I will take care of you, Katherine. John will never know about us.”

Another minute and Mike said, “Thank you, Katherine. Thank you.”

“Mike?” asked the doctor. “Mike, do you know where Karen is? Has Katherine revealed to you Karen’s whereabouts?”

“Yes. We will take you to her.”

“We?” asked the detective.

Mike looked at him and responded, “John and me.”

Lightning cracked across the black, starless sky revealing black clouds with each flash. With his hands cuffed in front, John led the detectives and four other police officers into an old, dilapidated apartment complex on the wrong side of town.

As they were about to walk through the front doors, one of the detectives paused and looked up at the shadowy, boarded windows. They gave such an eerie appearance of a face with darkened eyes. His partner spoke up. “What’s the matter,” he said as he looked up, too. “You’re not scared, are you?” Suddenly, lightning cracked again and it began to rain. The two detectives looked at each other with blank faces, and then they walked inside the building.

The inside was extremely dusty and rundown. The floor was checkered with black and white, and there was a staircase that circled upward to the second floor. It was a shame—this abandoned complex must have been so beautiful in its day.

John led the men up the stairs. “It’s this way,” he said. “Follow me.” They walked beside a balcony with doors every 12 feet on the opposite side. Finally, John stood in front of one of the doors.

“Is this it?” asked one of the officers.

“This is it,” replied John. He slowly reached for the door knob and turned it. The door squeaked as it opened. John looked at the detective, who motioned with his face for John to move in first.

As soon as they walked in, it was clear where the little girl was being kept. There was a door across the room with a padlock on it. The detectives ran over to it and inspected around.

But John noticed something unusual. His attention was drawn to a full-length mirror, and he couldn’t look away from it. His heart started to beat fast, and his breathing became heavy. Suddenly, his eyes widened with fear, and he pointed to the mirror and shouted, “No!”

As the detectives ran over to him, his eyes quickly fluttered and his head shook hard. Then, still cuffed, he punched one detective in the face and gave a strong back elbow to the other one in the throat. Mike grabbed one of their guns and aimed directly at the mirror.

“You will torture us no more, Katherine!”

Mike pulled the trigger and the mirror exploded. The blast sent shards of glass all over the room. The officers covered their faces with their arms from the flying glass. Then, as Mike’s hands recoiled upward with the handgun, something flew out of the mirror past the broken, flying pieces of glass. It blew Mike backwards at least 6 feet, and he landed hard on his back.

The police officers rushed to him, disarmed him, and held him down. Then one of the detectives shot the padlock and opened the door.

There she was—very dirty, and her clothes were torn. The frightened little girl was shaking and sitting in the far corner of the small room. She had tears streaming down from her red eyes. The detective holstered his weapon and walked carefully to her.

As he squatted down slowly he said, “Hi, Karen. My name is Charles. I’m a police officer.” He slowly reached for her, but she pulled back. “It’s okay, Karen. I’m not going to hurt you. We’re here to help you. We’re gonna take you home, honey.”

He tried to reach out again, and this time she allowed him to take her hand. Karen slowly stood to her feet. There were bruises and scrapes covering her legs. Charles carefully picked her up and walked out of the little room where Karen had been imprisoned.

The officer carried Karen right past John who was lying on the floor. John’s breathing was heavy. His eyes were wide as he stared at the ceiling. The police officers were looking back and forth—at John and at the shattered mirror.

The detective knelt down beside John and carefully raised his blood-soaked shirt. He was bleeding from a bullet wound in his upper abdomen. His breathing was slowing down, and his face was becoming pale.

The detective looked up at the officers standing around them. “He’s been shot,” he said.

“Which one of you got a shot off?” a stunned officer asked the rest of his men, but it was revealed that none of them had. They all looked at the mirror as a piece of glass fell to the floor.

“I—I don’t know what—what just—” the detective stuttered. He slowly shook his head in confusion.

“Did—did you find her?” asked John.

“Yeah,” answered the detective, still quite puzzled at the situation. “We found her. She’s gonna be okay.” Then the detective gathered his wits and said, “You did good, John. You did real good.”

“I was not afraid—to give my life—for her.”

“We need more people like you in this world, John. You did real good.”

Then John, the hero, closed his eyes and breathed his last.

A month had passed, and Karen was recovering well. Her foster parents were a terrific couple, and they had already discussed plans to adopt her.

It was about 9:00 on Saturday morning. The foster mother walked past Karen’s room and stopped. She backed up to watch Karen as she played with her new dolls. The mother leaned against the door frame and smiled. Karen stood up and, with a doll in each hand, walked directly over to her full-length mirror. She held up her dolls in front of the mirror, pretending they were talking to each other.

Suddenly, her head started twitching slightly. The foster mother’s smile slowly turned to a confused frown. Karen’s head was definitely shaking.

“Karen, are you okay?” asked the mother.

Karen’s head was down. Then she slowly lifted it and looked directly into the mirror.

“Hi,” Karen said with a smile. “What’s your name?”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unknown Enemy, episode 2

Episode 2

© 2010. J. Chad Barrett, Sr. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form without permission

in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations

embodied in critical articles or reviews.

“What?” John’s heart almost stopped. He recalled his voicemail to Katherine just days earlier. “Katherine?” Could she be setting him up—just to get rid of him? No. No way.

John stood up and leaned forward to look closely at the monitor. Then something caught his attention. Finally, his unknown enemy had made a mistake. He was, apparently, adjusting the camera, and when it had turned away from Katherine John saw something familiar. The unknown enemy accidentally exposed his left hand. John saw a small tattoo—a star on the hand of his unknown enemy.

John started walking in circles, and then pacing back and forth. “Where? Where have I seen that before?” Suddenly, flashbacks began to enter his mind, one by one.

The cell phone store.

Work.

The coffee shop.

The grocery store.

One by one, he remembered seeing this tattoo at all these places. The flashbacks began to flood his mind, sending him into near meltdown.

He fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands. His head ached with pain. Then he jumped up and looked at the monitor again.

“Who are you? Please tell me!”

No answer.

Just then, John noticed something strange on the screen. A slight blip. He leaned in closer and waited about two minutes. There it was again—another blip. Soon he figured out a pattern. A blip every two minutes. Then the camera turned away, and he saw the same version of the exposed left hand with the tattoo of a star. Then it hit him—this was no live feed. This was recorded!

John ran out of the closet and out of the bedroom. He nearly stumbled as he made his way to the apartment’s front door. He jerked it open and almost plowed into three large men. Each one wore a black jacket and white pants. Behind them stood four police officers with their weapons drawn.

“Who are you? What’s going on?” John demanded.

“Mr. Stanton, we need you to come with us. Everything will be alright. I promise. Just drop the gun and come with us,” said one of the large men.

“Stanton? I’m sorry, you have the wrong guy.”

“Mr. Stanton, please—”

“I am John—John Whitley! My name is John Whitley!”

As John was yelling his name, the large men grabbed him by the arms, knocking the gun out of his hand, and drug him to their van. He noticed a logo on the side of the van. It was familiar, but he couldn’t place it. He yelled and fought them all the way to the van, and the police cuffed him before putting him inside.

Then one of the large men inserted a needle into his right arm. “I’m sorry, Mr. Stanton. This is for your own safety,” he said. John’s eyes fluttered. He tried to shake his head, but it became very heavy. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he passed out.

“Mike? Mike Stanton? Wake up, Mike. You’re home now.”

His eyes slowly opened. “Where am I?”

The doctor sat down in his chair across from his desk. “It’s good to have you back, Mike.”

John looked around the office. “Doc? What happened? What’s going on?”

“Mike, you’ve been away for a while. We’ve been looking for you, and we are so glad you are home,” said the doctor.

He took a deep breath and said, “I’m so glad I’m home, too. Wow! The dream I just had! Oh, my head—you got any Tylenol?”

Just then, two men walked into the office. They introduced themselves as detectives, and then they sat down on each side of John.

“Doc? What’s going on?” said John squirming in his chair.

“These men are here to ask you one question, Mike. Just one question. Now, I want you to relax. Take a deep breath and relax.”

John breathed in deeply and tried his best to relax. He was a bit confused. Then one of the detectives turned to him and showed him a picture of a beautiful young lady.

“Her name is Katherine Cheaney. Does she look familiar?” asked the detective.

John stared at the picture for a few seconds before replying, “No, but she’s hot.” He smiled at the detective.

“I’m glad you think so,” replied the detective sarcastically. Then he looked at the doctor and nodded.

“Mike, I want you to listen very carefully,” said the doctor. “You are in a mental hospital. You are very sick, and there is no cure for your disease.”

“What? No cure?” John sat forward in his chair. His heart rate escalated quickly.

“That’s right, Mike. No cure. I am so very sorry,” said the doctor.

John began to stutter his speech. He was becoming very anxious. His eyes began to flutter, and he began shaking his head. Then he stopped. The detectives looked at the doctor. They were quite nervous about what has happening.

“It’s OK,” said the doctor. “He’s switching.”

“Who are you?” asked John. “Where am I? Where’s Katherine?” He was shouting violently.

The detectives had to restrain him.

“John! John! Calm down. Everything’s gonna be okay!” said the doctor.

John sat down and tried to be calm. His breathing was heavy.

“John, Katherine is missing, but you can help us find her,” said the doctor.

John’s breathing calmed, and he stared at the doctor as if he wanted to kill him.

“John, look at your left hand.”

He did, and he saw a tattoo. A star. John jerked his view up to the doctor in astonishment.

“John, you have a disease. It’s called DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some call it Multiple Personality Disorder. Your other personality is named Mike Stanton. Mike is a kidnapper and a killer. Mike kidnapped Katherine Cheaney—your ex-wife. She divorced you over three years ago. We don’t know where she is, John, but Mike does, and you have to help us find her. Will you help us?”

“I’m him? I am the unknown enemy?”

“Yes, John. You’ve been texting yourself this whole time. You escaped our hospital two months ago, pretended to have a job, stole money from anywhere you could get it, stole a car … and the whole time you thought you were still married to Katherine.”

John’s heart began to pound the inside of his chest as the doctor continued.

“You used to be a computer programmer, so somehow you got your hands on quite a bit of computer equipment and a bunch of other high-tech stuff.”

He couldn’t take it anymore. John’s nerves were shot, and his eyes fluttered and his head began to shake.

“Where is she, Mike?” demanded the doctor with a sudden change in demeanor. “Where is Katherine? You can’t hide anymore!”

Mike turned to his left and right, eyeing the detectives on either side. Then he looked at the doctor with fierceness in his eyes. “Fine. I’ll give her to you,” he said. “But you have to make John hand over my daughter.”

The two detectives and the doctor sat in the conference room discussing the case of the kidnapped wife and daughter of the same man.

“So, apparently, what we have figured out is that Mike Stanton kidnapped John Whitley’s wife, and John kidnapped Mike’s daughter,” the doctor explained slowly. “And Mike and John are the same man.”

“Okay. So Mike’s daughter—is Katherine Cheaney’s daughter?” asked one of the detectives with his head tilted in confusion.

“No. She’s not,” answered the doctor.

“I don’t understand—in fact, I’m really lost here.”

The doctor filled him in with his hypothesis. “You do realize that Mike and John are the same man, right?”

“Yes, I got that part.”

“Alright, they must have been living two separate lives. Mike must have fathered a child while, at the same time, he was married to Katherine, as John,” said the doctor with a tad of sarcasm.

“But that brings up a question: Why are Mike and John against each other? Why would they want to kidnap one another’s loved ones?” asked the other detective. The men looked at each other—no answers. “We need to get into John’s—or Mike’s—room. Look around and see if there are any clues that would help us answer this question. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find something this man left behind that sheds some light on this strange situation.”

The first detective chimed in, “And we need to put out an Amber Alert on the little girl. What do we know about her?”

“I’ll have my staff continue to question Mike and John to see if we can get any more information out of them. I fear for these two girls,” said the doctor.

The two detectives were in John’s room browsing around, looking for anything that would lead to answers, when a patient walked in.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hello there,” said one of the detectives.

“My name is Bill. I live here. I’ve lived here for 22 years.” Bill said in a monotone voice. He was a short, thin man with messy hair and an unkept beard, and he wore house slippers and a thick, white robe.

“Wow, that’s a long time.” The detective stared at Bill as he said that, but he was really talking to his partner.

“Good to meet you, Bill,” said the partner.

As the detectives started looking around more, Bill added, “I heard you found John Whitley.”

The detectives perked up. Perhaps Bill could be of some assistance to their investigation.

“Yes, we did. Do you know John well?”

Bill thought for a few seconds before he answered. “No one knows him well. Only his roommate, I guess.”

“Bill has a roommate? Who?” asked the detective. “I thought he was too dangerous and had to live in solitude.”

“Well, he always talked about his roommate. A man named Mike. But no one has ever met him,” Bill said.

The doctor walked in at the end of the conversation. “I should’ve told you. Mike is only manifested when John becomes greatly anxious or angry. Here at the hospital, he stays quite calm. Well, usually.”

The detective’s cell phone rang, and the others watched as he listened. After a minute of minimal conversation he hung up, turned to his partner, and said, “That’s interesting. Before three years ago, Katherine Cheaney never existed.”

“That’s crazy,” said the doctor. “I’ve seen her myself.”

“Have you really?” asked the detective. “In person? Have you actually met her?”

The doctor sighed and, with disappointment and shame on his face, he pushed up his eye glasses on his nose and answered, “No. Just pictures and a couple of videos, I’m afraid.”

“I need to see our video again,” the detective said to his partner. He pulled it out of his bag, opened it up, and brought up the video of Katherine tied up.

They watched several minutes of it. Suddenly, the detective yelled, “Stop! Stop it right there!” He pointed to something they had overlooked. “See if you can blow that up a bit.”

His partner expanded the section of the frame in question, and the doctor removed his eye glasses and leaned in closely to view it better.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” yelled the doctor. “I can’t believe this!” He couldn’t remove his eyes from the small tattoo of a star on Katherine’s left hand. The detective pulled out his cell phone and called his office. “It’s official. Mike Stanton, John Whitley, and Katherine Cheaney are all the same person.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unknown Enemy (mystery/thriller)


UNKNOWN ENEMY
Episode 1

© 2010. J. Chad Barrett, Sr. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form without permission

in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations

embodied in critical articles or reviews.


All was still. Calm and silent. He smiled. Then his eyes fluttered a bit, and he shook his head.

An hour later the rain was coming down hard as he pulled into the only parking place in front of The Cellular Superstore. Life couldn’t have gotten worse for John Whitley. His wife wasn’t speaking to him after their last fight, and now his cell phone had been dropped into a puddle in the rainy weather.

“One hundred fifty dollars?” John asked the young lady behind the counter. “I’m sorry. I can’t afford that. You got anything cheaper?”

“Well, we have this one. It’s used, but it works well,” said the clerk. “Only $49.99.”

“OK. I’ll take it.”

Later that evening, John parked his car and placed a call on his “new” phone.

“Katherine, it’s me. Please call me back. This is ridiculous. I’m sorry for what I said. Call me back, and I’ll make it up to you. I promise. Cross my heart, hope to die. I promise. Come on, call me back, Babe. Let’s put this behind us.”

John ended the call. Then he began browsing around, trying to figure out his cell phone since it didn’t come with an owner’s manual. There were no pictures, but he found a series of texts. Apparently, the phone’s previous owner had recently been fired from his job, and he wasn’t very fond of his phone either.

One text read: No, don’t like it. LG. Gonna take it back. Some1 else can have it. Whoever u r, if ur reading this: the phone sux. Enjoy.

About an hour later, John was devouring a plateful at a Chinese buffet. Suddenly, his phone vibrated. He pulled it out of his pocket and noticed a text received. “Please be you, Katherine,” he said as he opened the text.

Don’t ever call me again.

It was Katherine. John slammed the phone on the table, attracting the attention of the nearby customers. He nervously ran his fingers through his hair. How did his marriage come to this?

Then his phone buzzed again, and he quickly picked it up. But this time it wasn’t Katherine.

Enjoying ur new phone? Told ya it sucked. By the way, watch ur back. Someone’s following u.

The number from the text was blocked. John texted back to see who it was, but there was no reply. He fluffed it off. Surely it was just a prank from one of his friends at work.

The next morning John opened the door of the local Starbuck’s and walked in. He was third in line, and he hated waiting. He thought about trying to call Katherine, but he figured it would be no use. After all, he was planning to drive there after work anyway.

Just then his phone vibrated in his pocket. It was another text—the third one this morning—but this time chills ran up his spine as he read it.

Someone’s following u. I think they want to kill u. Watch out.

Who is this? Tell me now! John replied.

“Sir, what can I get you?” asked the barista behind the counter.

John looked up at the barista, and then he turned to look behind him. There was a man waiting and a woman behind the man. John viewed the small crowd seated in the coffee shop, and his attention was drawn to a man sitting in the corner. He was wearing a black jacket and white pants, and he was staring directly at him.

Ignoring the barista behind the counter, John fled the coffee shop. He got into his car and started it up when he noticed the man in the black jacket walk out. Then another man joined him, and the two started running after John. John threw the car into reverse and punched it. The screeching sound of the tires drew the attention of bystanders and pedestrians. Then he slammed on the brakes, shifted into drive, and punched it again.

A few minutes later another text came in: I can’t tell u who I am. U might know me. Ur wife knows me. Very attractive. Shame she hates u.

John tried calling Katherine, but, as usual, she didn’t answer. He left a dreadful message, “Honey, please call me back! Something awful is happening to me, and I’m afraid! You might be in danger, too. Call me back!” Then he drove to his cell provider’s store, AirOne Cellular.

He burst through the door and ran up to the counter. Out of breath, John said, “I wanna change my number.”

“Okay, sure. Just give me your current number,” said the clerk, who was a little taken off guard at the demeanor of her new customer.

Two days went by. Finally, two days of peace. John was returning home from work. He had noticed that Katherine also changed her number. It angered him that he had no way of contacting her, but he was glad he had left a voicemail with his new number before she changed it. And he was really struggling with the fact that she had moved out of the apartment.

Just as he thought how glad he was that the texting had stopped, his phone signaled one received: So u thot u could get rid of me? Never. Just for that I’m gonna kill u and ur wife. I’m watching u.

John pulled over and texted back: I’m going to the police.

Then ur wife will die today.

Wait! Please, no! I won’t! replied John, but there was no answer.

It was midnight, but John was wide awake. He went through the corridors of his mind trying to figure out who could be threatening him—who would be able to get his new number. He thought of co-workers, past enemies, and even Katherine. No. It couldn’t be Katherine. Could it? Then he thought he might be going crazy. Could this really be happening?

So there John lay with his hands behind his head. His eyes were wide with fear, doubt, and anxiety. And then he thought of a plan.

The next morning, he sat next to a friend of a friend—a computer hacker who had the reputation of being able to break into almost any website, through almost any firewall, and was arrested twice for it. John gave him his cell, and the hacker got to work. Fingering the keyboard as fast as lightning, he brought up page after page—typing code after code. Finally, he broke through the system and was able to retrieve an address.

1610 South Freeway. Apartment #12. Cincinnati, OH.

John knew that if he called the police, his Katherine would be gone forever. So later that night, he paid the hacker to make a call to 911 saying that a burglary was in progress at the address.

At a distance, John watched from inside his car. The police arrived at 9:35 p.m., and in minutes they were walking out of the apartment calmly and with no one apprehended. John got out of his car and approached one of the officers.

“Excuse me, sir. What happened here?” he asked.

“Oh, must’ve been a prank call,” replied the officer. “Someone said they saw a break-in, but no one was there.”

“Really? No one? I mean, that’s good!” John said.

“No. Not a soul. In fact, the apartment is totally empty. The landlord said it has been empty for six months,” replied the officer.

To say John was frustrated would be an understatement. He got back into his car and watched as the police drove away. Suddenly, his phone vibrated, and he read the text: Now that they are gone, come on inside.

“No way,” he said aloud, pounding on the steering wheel. “There’s no way I’m going in there!” For a split second, he thought about calling 911, but quickly rejected the idea. After a few minutes of arguing with himself, he leaned over, opened the glove compartment, and pulled out a .38 revolver. He would do anything for Katherine, no matter how she treated him.

John walked up to the apartment door and turned the knob. It was unlocked. He looked around to see if anyone was watching. No one. And he walked in.

“OK. I’m here!” John yelled. He was tired of the secretiveness of this whole ordeal. He was ready to face his unknown enemy, even if it meant he had to use his gun.

His phone buzzed.

“Why don’t you just come out and talk to me? Huh?” John said.

He read the text: Master bedroom. Closet. Secret door.

With his gun in hand, John forced his right foot forward to take a step toward the master bedroom. The electricity was off, so he had to feel his way in the dark. He held up his cell phone to use as a flashlight. Then he found the closet door.

John stood there for over a minute, trying to move his hand to open the closet door. His phone buzzed again: Are u coming in, or not? We’re waiting.

He took a deep breath. Exhaled. Another breath, and he opened the door. The closet was completely empty. Nothing in sight—not even a clothes hanger. “What do I do?” he whispered to himself. He looked at his phone, expecting more instruction via another text.

Sure enough, he received one: Turn to ur right. Find small finger hole. Pull door open.

His eyes fluttered. Nervousness was overtaking him. He shook his head and pointed his gun directly at the hidden door. It creaked as he pulled it open.

Then his eyes widened! The small doorway opened to a large room. There was a huge desk with lots of computer equipment, and all of it was running. He walked slowly toward the three monitors on the desk. Suddenly, John gasped in horror.

“No!” he screamed. “No! No! No!”

In the middle monitor, John saw a live feed of his wife tied up and gagged. He fell back 3 steps; his nerves were completely shot! Eyes fluttering and head shaking, he noticed his phone buzzing. He read the text: What would you do to save her?

“Let her go! Please! I’ll do anything! Just let her go!”

That’s not what I asked, replied the text.

John moved closer to the monitor, his breathing very heavy. It was a clear and close view of Katherine. “Katherine, Baby, can you hear me?” She didn’t respond. “Please, whoever you are, just let her go. Tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it. Just don’t hurt her—please!”

I asked you a simple question.

“You’re crazy, man! I’m gonna kill you! I promise—I’m gonna kill you!” John yelled, trying to catch his breath.

The question, John. Just answer the question. What would u do to save ur wife, John?

John leaned on the desk with his head down, trying to catch his breath. Then with sudden calmness in his voice, John answered the question, “I would give my life for her.” He waited for the next reply. He waited 2 minutes. 3 minutes. 5 minutes.

Finally, a reply came: Well, John. U have a gun in ur hand. R u gonna use it, or what?

John was sweating profusely. No matter how Katherine had been treating him, he still loved her very much. He would chase her to the ends of the earth if he knew there was a chance to reconcile.

“Katherine, if you can hear me, know that I would do anything for you. I—I love you very much.”

He looked at the gun in his hand. Then he looked at his bride tied up in the chair. He fell to his knees and cried.

“Why are you doing this to us? Why?”

There was no response. John slowly moved the gun closer to his head. Then he put it back down.

“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” he asked.

Cross.

My heart.

Hope.

To die.