Last week, I made a short reference to quite a strange dream that I had several weeks ago. When I was a teenager, I penned a little fiction. I’ve mused about exploring that further, either editing the admittedly thin narratives from my younger years or fleshing out some of the ideas that kind of dead-ended for me. I’ve also wanted to play with some original work, but haven’t really known what direction to go with it. This dream that I mentioned earlier was really quite compelling and I think it will make a great starting point, so I will make an attempt to serialize it in a written story here. I’ll try to keep it in small enough chunks that it doesn’t take any huge commitment to read, but provide links so that you can read it all at once if you so choose. Well, assuming you stumble across it when more of it has been published. So anyway, please do let me know how you like it as it progresses, but try to be gentle as I haven’t done much fiction since I was a kid. Anyway, here’s the first installment:
I disliked Havoc from the first moment I saw him, and I eventually came to find out that my prejudice was well justified. I don’t know whether that was the name his mother gave him at the time of his unfortunate birth, his inherited surname, or an alias that he picked up along the way; but I appreciate the irony that havoc is exactly what he does to the lives of anyone that crosses his path. It never ceases to amaze me how people will so willingly let him hijack their lives. It seems like so long ago when my life took such a strange curve and some of the details are fuzzy now, as though they occurred in a dream long ago.
My wife and I were on a trip. We were passengers on a bus headed for a resort for a working vacation. For personal protection, I was wearing my pistol, as I always did in those days. I never needed to use it, and I have no idea where it even is at this point. She and I were so happy; it seems like we never had a care in the world. I know that’s not as true as I remember it, but as compared to what we’ve been through since, it’s quite a reasonable feeling. I had with me a case of something that was related to work – small parts or something. As I said, some of the finer details are vague from the old days. I remember that the items seemed important at the time.
Before we reached our intended destination, the bus had to stop. It was most likely the radiator or a radiator hose, as it was losing a lot of coolant and there was quite a bit of steam coming from the engine compartment. The bus company offered to put us up in a hotel while they had the bus repaired, but we had a schedule that we had to keep. We met some people at the truck stop that offered us a ride. As nice as this seemed, we should have declined their offer. I know now that they would have become insistent, and I should have then used my pistol. But, had I known then what I do now, things would have turned out far differently.
They did not take us to the resort where we were headed, but instead took us to Deep Hawk. At first, I was not alarmed because I didn’t know the way to the resort, and thought that our alternative destination might be a facility in the resort itself. Its name is officially Deep Hawk Training Center, but it should more rightly be called a human trafficking detention center. I still had my pistol on my hip at that point. Had I known then what I know now… and yet I repeat myself. We were shown to a large room and instructed to wait.
The room was about the size of a basketball court and was finished darkly. The floors were in brown, industrial carpet, the walls were dark red painted cinder blocks, and the cavernous, industrial ceiling was painted black. There were too few mercury vapor lights that burned starkly, not adequately or comfortably lighting the room, but still casting harsh shadows. Whether the room was not equipped with enough lights or if it had some that were not lit was nearly impossible to determine with the contrast of the harsh light produced against the black background. There were couches and chairs arranged loosely into multiple seating areas about the floor. Around the walls, there were what looked like vending booths with shuttered windows, and there were several sets of double doors. On one end of the room, there was a large projector screen playing commercial material advertising DHTC. There were other people being escorted into the room from the various double doors.
“This seems odd for a resort,” my wife commented to me, “What is Deep Hawk Training Center? Is that an activity offered by the resort?”
“I don’t know,” I responded, “I don’t recall anything about it in the literature.
One of the other people in the room approached me, “Hey buddy, do you know what is going on here?”
“No, I don’t. Do you know where we are?” I returned the question.
“Can’t say,” he said and offered a handshake, “The name is Mike.”
“Hi,” I responded coldly. I didn’t know where I was, but I was not there to make friends. My dread continued to deepen as I overheard others in the rapidly crowding room wondering aloud where they were and why they were brought there. I was scanning the doors to see if we might be able to slip out when a booming voice came from the end of the room opposite of the projector, as if in answer to everyone’s concerns. He was about six foot five, broad shouldered, and had a neatly trimmed beard.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he addressed us, “I’m certain you’re all wondering why you are here, and I’m going to tell you. I’d like to welcome you to Deep Hawk Training Center. Here we train the best of the best elite forces. Right now, you are thinking to yourself that you’ve never heard of us. That is correct. Nobody had ever heard of us, not even the other so-called elite forces. Each and every one of you has been individually selected for your unique talents that we will help you to cultivate and develop in return for your service.”
There must have been something pumped into the vents, because this sounded like a far better proposition than it seems in retrospect. I was not alone as I noticed the unanimous reaction of excited anticipation from the crowd. I made eye contact with my wife and could tell that she was also fascinated by the proposition put before us. the side doors opened and several people came in wearing strange uniforms. The group cleared a path for them as they made their way to the center of the room. One of the men crouched and then leaped up into the air, spanning the thirty-foot rise to the ceiling, and grasping the ceiling supports with his heels, hanging upside-down. Another man outstretched his hands and the couch in front of him levitated above the crowd. A woman with them held her hands out, palms up, and produced flames from her hands which blazed ten feet into the air, hotly, like the burner in a hot air balloon.
In his tobacco-seasoned, gravely voice the speaker continued, “When we’re done with you, you will jump higher, run faster, and hit harder than you ever thought possible. Many of you will become weapons experts, some of you will be intel masters, and others of you will build skills that exceed the limits of your imagination. If you are not interested in realizing your full potential, there’s the door.”
Not an eye turned in the direction he pointed, granting further credence to the possibility that we were all being drugged for compliance by way of the ventilation system. I unwisely ignored the little voice telling me that this was going to be a long and unpleasant journey. I didn’t trust our hosts a single bit, but I found myself irresistibly intrigued by the proposition.
“My staff and I will oversee your training and conditioning over the next few months. I am General Havoc and I’d like to welcome you all to the program.”
In a previous entry, I asked for advice on POV and other details. I obviously decided to write this first-person, but I have yet to settle on names for the protagonists. The dream was first-person point of view, and unlike some of my other vivid dreams, I was me and I was married to Jenni. I know, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Anyway, the storyline deviates so far from reality that it seems pretty contrived to stick with “Michael & Jenni”. So, please help me out with some suggestions so I don’t have to name them “Pubert & Shanaenae” or “Sven & Olga” or something silly even. Or, if you think that I should go ahead and leave them named after us, please tell me that as well.
Edited to fix terminology of lighting technology. o_O
Edited to clarify that the windows weren’t shuddering, but were closed with shutters.
Also edited for a typo in the footnotes.
Part two will permalink here.