The Assassination - Part III
11/01/2005 - Previous installments of The Assassination can be read online at www.ourtowncasper.com
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"What could be taking him so long?" Roy said. "I'm getting worried!" He, Jonathan, Lily, Anna and Elizabeth were all waiting in a dark green Suburban parked across the street from the small, one-story hospital.
"I'll go in and check on him." Jonathan said, but as soon as he climbed out of the car, the red-haired man came bursting out of the hospital pursued by the hospital security staff. Jonathan leapt back into the car and watched as the man aimed the gun behind him and pulled the trigger. Since the man wasn't looking, the star only hit the brick wall and performed it's nasty show with all the security staff members watching while the red-haired man ran off into the distance.
Anna began to sob. "He's dead!" she cried, "Elijah must be dead!"
Roy tried to comfort her. "Don't say that," he said, "We don't know for sure," and he climbed out of the car and took off toward the hospital.
Inside, Nurse Kimball threw her arms around him. "Oh, Roy!" she cried. "That boy! You called him Elijah..." and she dissolved into tears. Roy pried her off of him and ran down the hall toward a small group of people that were kneeling around someone. He pushed them aside. When he saw Andrew lying there, he felt a lump rise in his throat.
"He did it for me!" Nurse Kimball managed between sobs. She had run up behind Roy.
Roy knelt beside his best friend. "Is he..." Roy began, but he couldn't finish.
"No," someone exclaimed. "He's alive!"
Relief washed over Roy as he rolled up his sleeves. He turned to Nurse Kimball. "I need you to go outside." he said. "Across the street there is a dark green Suburban with a man and three ladies inside. Go tell them Elijah's alive. Tell the man to lay low and all of them to stay put."
Nurse Kimball ran off and Roy turned back toward his patient. Then, he heard an ominous creaking sound. It was coming from just above him and when he turned to look, there were cracks spreading in every direction from the gaping hole in the wall that the star had made. The cracks formed a web-like design that soon spread to the roof and all the way across the ceiling. Oh, great!
As the doctor surveyed the damage, trying to decide what to do he began to panic. Nurse Kimball came running in. "Stay there!" Roy shouted. He threw his arms around Andrew and rolled down the hall out of immediate danger. Then he leapt up and grabbed the nurse pulling her up to the wall. They watched in horror as the entire hallway caved in. Nurse Kimball was still sobbing. The doctor was gasping for breath. He leaned forward putting his hands on his knees and watched as the only wall left standing in the hallway or the rooms branching immediately off of it, crumbled.
Then he turned back to Andrew. The doctor was still kneeling over his friend when Andrew stirred and opened his eyes. As soon as he remembered where he was he sat bolt upright, "Jonathan's assassin!" he exclaimed.
Roy tried to calm his friend, "Shhhh. You just stay quiet," he said gently trying to force Andrew to at least lean against the chest of drawers nearby. "You're going to be okay."
Andrew shook his head persistently. "The Mystery Man! He's going to assassinate Jonathan!"
The doctor desperately wanted to hear what Andrew had to say, but knew now was neither the time nor the place, so he devoted his energy to calming Andrew, a task that was not easy at all. In fact, he finally resorted to clapping his hand over Andrew's mouth. He hoped Andrew hadn't already exposed too much informaton, but it didn't appear anyone was paying that much attention. They were occupied trying to get as far away from that hallway as possible.
Roy leaned in for a closer look at his friend. "I can't even tell what happened to you. You have a clean bill of health in my book. Let's get out to the car. Your poor wife's worried sick."
"I got electrocuted by this weird star thing, but apparently it was just a stun. It's in here, let me get it." Andrew leapt up and ran into what used to be another room but was now another pile of rubble.
Roy shook his head. "Andrew let's just go, please?"
Andrew ignored him and continued to dig. After about twenty minutes with Roy standing by tapping his foot, Andrew lifted his head triumphantly. "I found it!" He held up now thoroughly bloodied hands to show his buried treasure, the star with the insulation wrapped up in the middle of it.
"Fascinating. Can we go, now?"
"Wait!" Andrew said and began to dig deeper into the rubble.
Roy rolled his eyes.
"I can see them from here!"
"His clothes. He left in the hospital gown, you know. Here's his cell phone, his ID, whoa! Another gun, but this one looks normal. Some sort of funny looking device-"
"Fine," the doctor said. "Bring it and let's go!"
Later that night Andrew was up studying the items he'd found. He was particularly interested in the cell phone, but hours of fiddling with it got him nowhere.
Anna came in at about one thirty. "Elijah, it's late, a lot happened today and you didn't sleep at all last night. Shouldn't you be getting to bed?"
Elijah turned around and smiled at his sweet wife. Her quiet voice brought him peace in the tumult he had inside. "Come sit on my lap," he said and held out his arms to her. When she was comfortable he motioned toward the things on the table.
"Do you see all these? These could be the key. I may be able to unlock the mystery of this whole assassination thing and save your dad, if he's meant to be saved, and I only have five months. Election day is mid-November. That's when it'll supposedly happen. I need this."
Anna sat in silence for a moment and then quietly asked, "Can I help?"
Elijah consented and the two sat for hours studying the electronics. They didn't make much progress with their work, but in their hearts they both felt so much peace — and thankfulness for each other. Anna was just happy to have Elijah alive. After what happened that day she wasn't sure she would. Elijah was glad to have someone as devoted as her, there through thick and thin. He kept her close by his side all night long, even when she eventually drifted off.
The next day brought no break to Elijah's routine, even though he was having difficulty concentrating due to lack of sleep. At about noon, though, he made a groundbreaking discovery. The phone, though it appeared normal, had an encrypted partition containing all kinds of videos, audio recordings and hidden text. As he scrolled through the files he realized that this one cell phone had a memory with the capacity at least two hundred times the size of his own computer's memory.
The only thing he could think of to do was start watching and there was plenty to keep him occupied. He called Anna into the room and asked the Pattersons to come as well. Elijah hooked the phone to his television screen and the four watched all of the files one by one.
At first they seemed to have no significance, but little by little they learned more about their enemy. They frequently saw in the videos the interior of a building that was very strange. It was so white that it gave an illusion of brightness and had a hallway that appeared to go on forever with doors that were completely concealed until they opened. The men working in the building were dressed all in black creating a stark contrast. As the videos continued to play, the small band of rebels grew increasingly apprehensive. It appeared that their enemies were so well rehearsed at this time travel thing they had refined it to an art. Elijah recalled how in his letter he had been in the same place at the same time as a toddler and a teenager. These guys had such a knowledge of the dynamics of this phenomenon that they were able to capitalize on it and then record everything on their cell phones so they never forgot. They seemed to have the mindset that if they made a mistake they could just erase it. It was every man for himself, really. They appeared to work together for the common goal of ultimate power over their own actions, and that of the universe, but they still erased each others successes to achieve their own, and they played each other like puppets.
"That's no kind of world," Elijah said, pulling Anna closer. "Sometimes you need to give of yourself for someone else."
The scenes continued to flash by and then they saw something that sent chills down their spines - scenes from their own alter-reality. They saw Jonathan running down the endless hallway. They saw Elijah brawling with someone in the back of Jon's maroon Stratus and they saw scenes from the cabin itself as they spent their final days in that world rebuilding the machine.
"They know all about us!" Roy said in fearful astonishment. "It's a lost cause."
Continued next month...