Dreams of Destiny Pt. 12byKrenna Smart©
John awoke early and ate a large breakfast. The doctor came in to make a final check of his vital signs. John hit the pavement running when the doctor signed the release form. He knew where he had to go and what he had to do.
First John went home. He played with Aristotle for a good, long time. Dumb dog didn’t know when to quit. Then he went into his office and tidied up a few things.
John took a long, cold shower. He loved the feeling of getting the DC summer stickiness off of him. He washed his hair and let it dry naturally. He dressed in a light linen suit that fit the summer to a T.
Then he made his way to DC Superior Court.
He was on the fifth floor when Destiny and Juan got off the elevator. He watched them go into the Courtroom to talk to Elaine.
Stephen/the demon -- they were one by this time -- had furiously tracked Destiny to the Courthouse after she gotten away from him. He’d followed her through the snowy reaches, saw her create a vortex out of thin air. He’d tried to jump in with her but his timing was off and he was sorely whipped by the backlash of matter as the vortex closed.
The Demon was now maddened with pain as well as lust for power, possession and sex. He was a mindless thing, following his obsession by instinct and cunning. He tore open a piece of space and traveled to the Courthouse. He didn’t care who saw him in this condition. He would finish it now. He was sure he was strong enough to take the bitch, whatever form she might take. As for the other -- John --he would die an unthinkable death. The two had been dogging him and barbing him and thwarting him for centuries. He was the one with the true power. He would prevail.
He jumped over the metal detector on the first floor. A Marshall started to pull his gun, took one look at the demon and fled down the hall in the opposite direction.
“Where is she?” he roared. He looked left and right. It was a crowded day in the courthouse. There were lawyers and defendants and plaintiffs and jurors and judges in profusion. People were scattering everywhere. Anyone who looked upon the demon found him or herself praying that they would be allowed to disappear anywhere.
The demon pulled himself up short. He’d never find his prey if he scared everyone off. He took the escalator down two flights. He stepped into the men’s room next to the cafeteria. He looked in the mirror. . Almost nothing of Stephen Williams remained. He was a demon. His appearance shocked even himself. This is a dream, he told himself. Quiet it down. Tone it down. You are Stephen Williams, golden man. Women fall at your feet. You win cases just by smiling at the judges. Destiny is yours for the taking. You’ve just been playing with her -- giving her some rope. Now its time to pull her in. You have the power. And you can deal with the other one at the same time.
He looked in the mirror again. Better. His human features were coming back into shape. The reddish caste to his skin was fading and the golden tan was taking over. His eyes changes from coal black to burnished brown. He smiled politely in the mirror and made a mock half bow.
He left the men room and walked over to the lawyer’s lounge. “Has anyone seen Destiny Lysander this afternoon?” the demon asked.
“”Yeah, I saw her a little while ago. Before the black out. She was in some strange get up. I asked her if she was appearing in court like that and she gave me the finger. What a bitch. I hope she got stuck in the elevator. That’s where she was heading.”
“Do you know what floor she went to?”
“Nah. Probably five. That’s where Judge Raven is. Destiny’s always got something before Raven.”
The demon didn’t bother with the elevator. The escalators only ran to the fourth floor. He rode the escalator up to four, and then took the stairs to the fifth floor.
The fifth floor atrium is wide open. All that stands between the hallway and the six floor drop to the cafeteria level is an expanse of greenery and a railing which is about three and a half feet high. Ever since Destiny first came to practice in DC Superior Court she had wondered when someone would take a dive from the fifth floor railing down to the cafeteria level. She’d imagined the flight down any number of times when a case was going badly. She often thought of all the tragedies that were played out in the halls of DC Superior Court and was amazed that no one had ever taken the plunge.
She’d mentioned the fantasy to a couple of colleges, who’d rolled their eyes, and then avoided her for a while. Was she the only one who saw the danger? She remembered the courtyard below her dorm room in college where someone had painted JUMP SOON. From time to time Destiny’d been tempted to put up a sign on the fifth floor railing warning away persons with suicidal bents.
Destiny and Juan were walking away from Courtroom 517 towards the elevators when the demon burst out the stairwell. The demon made a grand leap towards Destiny but John had been waiting for this moment -- the moment he had seen in his dream -- intervened. He jumped on the demon and brought him down. “Run Destiny” he shouted. Destiny froze. John grabbed the demon by the neck and started to squeeze. The demon broke the hold easily, by standing up and tossing John over his head. That threw John, over the railing and down seven flights, to land outside the door of the lawyer’s lounge.
Destiny screamed. All the hurt and anger he had caused her over the years came pouring into her and moved her hand. “You mother fucking bastard, she said.” She pulled out the pistol John had passed to her in his dream, aimed it and let fly round after round, straight into the demon’s chest. The demon backed up fell, and rolled over the railing to land head first on top of John. Destiny and Juan stood in the atrium, stunned.
Destiny turned to Juan almost in hysterics. “This is a dream. I’m, going to wake up in my bed now, okay?” Tears were pouring down her face. She blinked. Nothing happened. “Damn it, I have to wake up now.” she cried.
“Stop it Destiny,” Juan said. He took her by her shoulders and gave her a shake. “It’s not a dream. It’s over. At least this part is over. You have to pull yourself together. There are going to be all kinds of questions. Like where did you get that gun, and how did you smuggle it into the courthouse.” He looked around and was surprised to see that they were alone in the hallway. No one had been there to witness the scene.
Then he experienced a strange sense of coming together, like a part of him which he hadn’t known existed had joined him. All of John Rodger’s feelings, and a lot of his memories somehow entered his being. And, just for a flash, he felt the excruciating pain and sorrow John had felt at his death.
Juan recovered more quickly than Destiny.
“I can’t pull myself together. I don’t know which one of me I am any more. And that’s John down there, God damn it. He’s dead. Don’t you understand? He’s dead, and I can’t dream it away! He died trying to save me. What’s all this been worth if I can’t dream that away, Juan? John’s not supposed to die. I should be down there with him.”
Destiny broke as if to leap over the railing, but Juan was way ahead of her. He grabbed her, pulled her down onto the floor and held her tight until her sobs started to quiet a little. “Hush, Cara mia, hush. It’s over. Come on now. We’ve got to go.”
They stood up and were making ready to leave. As if by magic, Elaine materialized from the Courtroom. “Come on you guys. I’m taking you out the back way. There won’t be any questions. None that you will have to answer anyway. At least not tonight. It’s been fixed that the story will be that officer John Rodgers spent his career hunting down serial killer Stephen Williams. It will come as a huge shock to the legal community that they nurtured such a viper. The press will report that Williams shot Rodgers with a special gun that can’t be detected by standard metal detectors.
You’d better give me the gun, Destiny. I have to make sure it gets to the right place tonight.”
Neither Destiny nor Juan could imagine how everything had been arranged in the short amount of time since the shooting. But they were too numb to ask questions.
Elaine kept up a steadying rain of chatter as they headed out through the bowels of the Courthouse. But she didn’t explain anything about her role in the afternoon’s events or reveal anything about others who may have helped finesse the situation.
“Destiny, remember that request for a three week leave of absence you put in a couple of weeks ago?” Destiny hadn’t put in for any leave. “Well it’s been granted. And guess what? I just happen to have a couple of first class tickets to San Angeles Island, leaving on Sunday at ten a.m. from Reagan National Airport. That is, if you’re interested.”
“I guess,” Destiny said woodenly. She was filled with pain. “Will you feed Top Cat? He’s kind of picky and he’ll never forgive me if I disappear for three whole weeks..”
“Well, maybe he’d like to stay with me for a time?”
“You’d do that for me?” Destiny asked.
“Of course. I love cats. We’ll get along fine, as long as he doesn’t snore.”
“Juan., what do you think? Should I come to San Angeles Island? I’m kind of at loose ends, you know? everything’s happened so quickly. And, dear God, John’s dead. I only knew him for a couple of days but I felt like I knew him forever I wanted to know him forever.” She started to cry again. Juan held her tightly to his chest. It was strong and comforting.
“Destiny, John’s not dead. That was just a shadow figure on the floor of the courthouse. He’s here with me -- with us, I mean. Just like that Destiny of the island is with you. She didn’t depart in such a dramatic fashion, but she disappeared. You know she’s with you. Right?”
“You’re right. I hadn’t thought of that.” Destiny looked slightly cheered by the thought.
“And the demon’s dead,” thank God.” I wish I’d been the one to kill him he said with violence in his voice,” knowing know about Destiny’s rape the night before. But I suppose the demon’s not truly dead. Esteban still prowls the island.”
“That’s why we have to go back,” he said referring to their earlier conversation. I need you. I can’t get rid of him without your help.
They exited a little-used side door of the Courthouse and said good night to Elaine, thanking her for her trouble.
“I’ll be calling you tomorrow Destiny.” Elaine said. “I’ll have to get your itinerary and your list of stand-in attorneys. Also, well, someone’s going to have to go through John’s home. I guess Youth Division will handle the service and the funeral, but someone should look out for his things. He didn’t have any family other than Juan, you know?”
“How do you know all this?” Destiny asked.
“Oh, we clerks get around. We hear things. You could say we are the soul of the Courthouse.”
“So..., “ Juan said as they watched Elaine walk away into the late afternoon sun, I guess you’re stuck with me for the time being.”
“Well, Juan said, stating his obvious dilemma, “I can’t very well go to John’s place, where ever it is. I don’t have the keys and the cops are probably there going over it with a fine tooth comb. They’d be really tickled if I showed up saying I had a right to the place because, guess what, he’s me?” And he probably has an attack dog that would eat me the minute I stepped in the door. Surely you’re not going to send me to a hotel?”
“No, of course not,” Destiny said tiredly.
“Don’t sound so thrilled.” Juan was not sure why, but he wanted to pick a fight.
“I’m not thrilled, I’m not anything. I’m just hot, and tired and sad and want to go home.”
“Well, lead on then.” Juan said.
“How do you want to get there,” Destiny asked. “We can walk. We can wait for one of two busses at various locations which don’t run very often. We can take the subway and walk from Union station. We can grab a cab. Your wish is my command, Colonel.”
Juan stretched out his arm and, presto! a cab stopped. “I’ll pay Cara,” Juan said with a smug look. “What’s the address?”
Destiny told the driver the address, and the two sank into their separate air conditioned circles, not quite ready to engage again, happy for the silence.
“Hey,” said the cabby. You guys come from the Courthouse? I hear two people were killed by falling off the fifth floor balcony inside the building. Did you see it happen? Folks are saying it was a double suicide or a murder suicide. No one knows what the hell happened. God, what a thing to have happen. New York maybe, but here? I think maybe it was some damn lawyers desperate to get paid. What do you think?”
“I don’t know anything about it,” Juan said coldly, willing the blabbermouth to shut up. Just when you need a silent cabby you get one with diarrhea of the mouth, he thought. Destiny said nothing.
The cab seemed to hit every red light on the way to Destiny’s apartment. What should have taken five minutes seemed to stretch on forever. Then, finally, the cabby pulled up and stopped. “That’ll be $12.50, the cabby said to Juan.
“Destiny scowled, angry now. You not only have a big mouth, you’re dishonest. You know the fare’s eight bucks. I don’t like to be fucked with, you worm,” Destiny said with venom in her voice. “Give him eight bucks and get his name and license number. I’m gonna call this in in the morning.”
”Hey lady, give me a break, huh? I’m sorry. I misread the chart. Accidents happen, right? Right mister?”
“Yeah,” Juan tried to soothe her. “Drop it, Destiny. It’s only a few bucks. You’re not really angry at him, anyway.”
Destiny whirled. “Don’t tell me who I’m angry at Juan Rodriguez. Go ahead. Settle up with your buddy. I’ll be inside. Why don’t you give him an extra hundred, just for being stupid.”
Destiny slammed into the house. Juan paid the driver, tipping him a buck and a half.
“Thanks buddy,” the driver said. You’re all right. What’s the matter with the missus, PMS?”
“No, a friend of hers went over the railing this afternoon. And she’s a damn lawyer always worrying about getting paid.” He gave the cabby a hard look. The cabby shivered as he drove away. People, go figure!
Juan walk up the path to Destiny’s flat in the light of early evening regretting his earlier irritation with Destiny. He approved of the riotous flowers that grew in the small front yard. Destiny’s a summer girl, he thought. There was a big apple tree smack in the middle of the yard, which gave shade to the small porch. The downstairs neighbors had put out plastic garden chairs, but they were empty as Juan walked up the steps and rang Destiny’s door bell.
“It’s open,” Destiny called from upstairs. “I left the grate key by the door. Could you lock up when you come in?”
“Sure.” Juan locked the security grate, closed and bolted the inner door and flicked on the stairwell light. He thoughtfully picked up Destiny’s mail and carried it with him on the way up.
He opened the inner door and was surprised by the size of the apartment. Most inner city flats were small and squalled. This was large and roomy, with high ceilings, a sun light, two bedrooms, an alcove and a stupendous kitchen. “How on earth did you find this treasure of an apartment?” Juan asked.
“It hardly anything compared to what you’re used to on the island,” Destiny said, unexpectedly pleased that he approved of her home. She stopped feeling so cross.
“Yeah, but for the city its great. Its light, its airy, its colorful. It suits you.”
Juan looked around the apartment again. He noticed that Destiny’s furniture was mostly interesting, refinished second hand work, rather than the knock out pre-fabricated stuff people on budgets usually opted for. Destiny had put a lot of herself into furnishing the place, Juan thought. He had a flash back of a dream of furniture hunting with Destiny at an antique shop near Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He noticed a cedar trunk in the dining area.
“Destiny,” Juan said excitedly,” I was with you when you bought that trunk. Do you remember?”
“Oh my God, yes, I do remember. We, I mean John and I, lived together when he first came up from West Palm Beach. No, that’s not right, we couldn’t have, could we? We just met two days ago. This is impossibly confusing. I’ll never sort it out.,” Destiny complained.
“I don’t think we’re meant to sort it all out. But my memory is the same. I, as John, lived with you here for a while. I’m just not sure when. Was it after the amusement park killing? That’s when our lives first became intertwined.”
“Yes, I think you’re right. The amusement park wasn’t just a dream. I broke up with Nathan after that trip. When I got home from Florida I’d look at Nathan and wish he was John. I started dreaming about John all the time. So I told Nathan that ‘I loved him but wasn’t in love with him’, and that I wanted to look for the magic of being in love. And that was that. Actually, Nathan had a hard time letting go. But it worked out well for him in the long run. He found a good job, made it rich, and ultimately married a woman who suited him a lot better than I did.
“And John showed up on my doorstep one morning. I’m not sure how that happened. I think I woke up one day and he was there on the porch. He just slipped in on a dream. Maybe that’s why my memory of my time with him is so fuzzy.” Destiny shook her head in puzzlement.
“I wonder if two alternate realities can run on the same line for a time?” said Juan. That would explain the trunk.”
“I don’t know. Anyway..., are you thirsty,? Destiny asked. She gestured at a chair for Juan to sit in.. Juan sat.
“Sure, what do you have?”
“Water, diet cola, ice tea, Lite beer, A chilled Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, or if you feel like getting toasty tonight, I’ve got the makings for Margaritas.”
“I’ll make us some margaritas,” said Juan, standing up and heading into the kitchen. He stopped a few inches from Destiny. After all, I’m the one with the Spanish accent. You, my dove, are charged with finding us some food.” He ran his index finger down the side of her face.
“You can cook, if my memory serves me” he said suggestively. He felt like some unknown force was driving him. He wanted Destiny, badly, and immediately.
Destiny was feeling the heat too, but was trying hard to ignore it. “This must be your Latino side rearing its head,” said, She stepped back, towards the refrigerator, trying to make some room. Her heart rate began to quicken. Blood coursed through her and she became wet between her legs. Her palms dampened. Sweat began to bead up in the tendrils of hair on her forehead. Damn it, why can’t I get some control over this lust?. Its not the right time or place to make love.
Juan sensed Destiny’s arousal. Without a word he enfolded Destiny in his arms. She couldn’t fight the fever inside her. She grabbed at his back and his buttocks. They kissed deeply, feverishly.
Destiny was first to break the embrace. “My bedroom. Not here.“
Juan nodded his assent. They walked together into Destiny’s bedroom.
Juan gave a big grin. Then he picked Destiny up in his arms and tossed her onto the bed. “Mine” he said with a growl followed by laughter.
Then “MEEEOOO” Top Cat skittered out from under Destiny, hissed at Juan, and left the room with is nose out of joint and his tail in the air.
“What was that?” Juan laughed.
“My guard cat. I think you just made an enemy.”
“I’ll deal with that pussy later,” come here. Juan grabbed at Destiny.
Destiny was laughing full out now. “Oh my lord, be careful,” Destiny laughed as Juan pulled at their clothing. “You don’t have any other clothes here, so if you rip them you’ll have to look war torn tomorrow.
“It’ll be a badge of honor, won at your bed side. I’ll be able to tell my tale of valor for years to come.”