The iFactor Chapter 20

Chapter 20

The excitement and horror of the murder investigation, augmented by the feeling he was being followed, the disturbing note he found at his door, and the medications wearing off all conspired to wreck another night’s sleep. Matt tossed turned as nightmares struck like ringing hammers.

They started with long, seemingly endless corridors with continual side branches, each leading back to the place where the woman’s body hung from the ceiling; blood pouring from her soaked clothing and dripping in a steady procession from her toes. About him, people walked, oblivious to the death hanging above them. The throngs moved in and around him, crushing and smothering until he screamed. The crowd dissipated, leaving Matt in a plain police interview room.

“What? You mean you hit her.” Mr. Kossman behind an interview table rose to his feet.

“She left me no choice,” Matt heard himself saying. “The cosmetic surgeons say they can repair most of the damage.”

“You bastard, I’ll kill you.” Kossman lunged at him and was gone.

“It’s too bad the dome blocks the stars.” Jill walked beside him under the artificial lights of the dome. He noticed that some of the brightest stars were visible through the protective glass.

“The cameras on the dome provide a pretty clear feed if you are interested.”

“I show them to my students all the time, it’s not the same.,” she said.

On the path before them, Matt saw two men in technician uniforms passing each other. They nodded in a cordial greeting as they passed. One man stumbled a bit toward the other growing opaque as he did so. As the men became translucent, Matt could see that one held a roll of paper that he handed off to the other. Inside the small role, he could see several vials of the drug fantasia.

Hatred swelled within him, and he charged at the men. The world turned into a corridor leading to his door and the sign. “They know where you are.”

A soft droning, childlike chanting greeted his ears as he stared at his door.

‘Go to sleep and go instant

Past and future all the same.’

He rushed into his apartment found himself in a long dark room lined with rows of chanting people, strapped into medical chairs. Each one was staring forward, unseeing. Catatonic, but for the movement of their lips. To his right, a light grew brightly around one of the patients, and he approached the nearly familiar face of a young woman, an older version of the girl he’d seen at Kossman’s apartment. Becky.

“Dales.” She said.

The detective was abruptly awake, sitting up in his bed, heart beating painfully in his chest, fighting to comprehend his surroundings. He stumbled out of bed and around the room, double-checking every lock and corner. Once sure that all was secure, he ventured out and into his shower.

Cold water flowed over his head, clearing his mind. After the residue of the dreams had flowed down the drain, an idea came to Matt, and he rushed out of the shower, still dripping.

“Activate message system, voice only. Detective Rishards. Urgent.” While he retrieved a towel from his closet and started to dry off, Matt listened to the tell tail being of the connection.

“Dales?” A sleepy feminine voice responded.

“I had an idea.”

“Now?” her voice grew irate. “It’s the middle of my sleep shift. Call me in a few hours.”

“I’m going to interview Kossman again,” Matt explained. “This time, I want him clear. No one is to tell him anything, not even that he’s a burnout.”


“I want to see his reaction to specific stimuli.” Matt felt sure he was on to something. His dreams were telling him something, and he would find out if they were right: they usually were.

“Whatever Dales. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Okay, I’ll call the night shift supervisor and give him instructions.”

“Yeah, Okay.” the disconnection sounded irate. Rishards wanted to see how a real detective operated. That you never let a hunch, or a lead grows cold. It was still late, however, and Matt would need a clear head for the morning. He downed a few sleeping pills before he went back to bed. They did their job well, and he was quickly in a dreamless sleep.

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