Dark Impulse Ch. 04byAurora Black©
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, while soaring through the clouds, Gabriel had a dream.
* * *
He awoke to total blackness. He was naked, crouching in the depths of what appeared to be a cave. Panic seized him. For a moment, he remembered his experience on the Munich case seven years before; he feared that he had become a beast again.
But deep down, he knew that it could not be true. He was dreaming; he felt himself swimming just below the surface of consciousness, and he knew that he could leave this place anytime he wanted.
Not yet; I want to see what this dream has in store for me. I want to learn its secrets. I want the experience.
He crawled in the darkness, finding his way along the rocks by touch. The cave turned out to be a labyrinth of stone, with tunnels interlocking in an endless embrace.
After some time, Gabriel began to feel a deep despair. The maze was too complex for him to escape. He felt hopeless, like a failed experiment in a lab.
It was Grace's voice, calling to him like a siren's song. It had been so long since he'd heard her, and he trembled in response. It was the beacon of light that he needed to navigate out of these dark caverns.
"Gracie, keep talking to me!"
The tunnel in which he was crawling began to open up, and Gabriel was soon able to stand to his full height. He began to run.
"Gabriel, come to me."
He was panting in the darkness, allowing her voice to lead him. His thigh scraped against the wall, drawing blood. He didn't care; all his concentration was on following the trail that Grace provided.
"Follow the light."
In the distance, Gabriel saw a bright glimmer and went for it. The stone floor became a flight of stairs, and he rushed up them two at a time. The higher he climbed, the more illuminated the cave became.
"Gracie, where are you?"
He reached the top of the staircase, and the end of his journey. Or so he thought.
"I'm here, Gabriel. Turn the corner."
He did, and was blinded by the light.
* * *
"Sir? Sir? I'm sorry to wake you, but we're going to be landing soon."
The flight attendant looked slightly embarrassed, and Gabriel realized that it may have taken a while to wake him up. The evasive eyes of some of the other passengers confirmed this as he glanced at the surrounding seats. He hoped that he didn't talk in his sleep.
"Thanks a lot, and sorry that I was so difficult to wake."
She smiled at him, her cheeks flushed. She leisurely looked him up and down in a way he was familiar with, breathlessly replying, "It was my pleasure."
Gabriel smiled politely in response, and then she was gone. He turned to the window, his thoughts on the dream. He didn't even try to analyze the significance of it; he only knew that it meant that he was getting closer, and that he needed to continue.
Within minutes the plane landed at Washington Dulles, and soon afterwards he sailed through the passport and customs checkpoints. He then exchanged his marks for dollars and was on his way to the pay phones.
When he finally found an unoccupied phone, he retrieved a business card from his jacket pocket. It was for Mosely's office phone at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Gabriel and Mosely had managed to keep in touch over the years since their adventure in France. Although Mosely had made it clear to him that he didn't approve of Gabriel's treatment of Grace during that time, and that he wasn't willing to help patch things up between the two of them, their friendship remained steadfast.
He dialed the number, hoping that despite Mosely's misgivings over his relationship with Grace, he'd relent and agree to assist him once he realized the serious nature of the matter.
"Agent Mosely's office. To whom am I speaking?"
He cleared his throat, trying to sound professional. "Hello, this is Gabriel Knight. I'm an associate of Mosely's. Is he available? Please, it's urgent."
"One moment, please."
He set his watch to the local time while he waited. 2pm. He had been in the air for about 8 hours from Munich, and factoring in the 6-hour time difference between Germany and the East Coast...
"Hey, Mose! Nice to hear your voice again, buddy. It's been a while."
"Gabe, you wanker! How the hell are you?"
"I'm great, thanks. Listen, Mose. I'm here in D.C. right now; I've just arrived."
"Really? That's super! Just give me about half an hour and I can be right there to pick you up, and you can crash at my place..."
"Um, that's not really possible, Mose. I've got a connecting flight in about an hour and a half, so I'm afraid I'm just passing through on my way back to New Orleans."
"Oh, crap. I'm glad that you called, though. Even though it was just to let me know that you were in town. I've missed you, buddy."
"Me too, but I'm afraid that this isn't entirely a social call. Could you come over here to Dulles and meet me before my next flight? We need to talk, and I'd rather not go into details over the phone."
Mosely's voice sobered instantly. "All right. I can meet you in 30 minutes like I said before. Meet me at Smokey Joe's cafe, which is close to the Domestic Flights terminal. Since you're heading that way anyway for your next flight, it should be easy to spot. I'll see you then."
Gabriel picked up his duffel and walked towards the cafe-bar. He ordered himself a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, and patiently waited for Mosely.
He noticed that there was a group of middle-aged men in the corner of the establishment, gathered around the television. Judging by their colorful choice of attire - Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts and Birkenstock sandals worn with socks - they were all tourists, undoubtedly on their way to someplace tropical.
On a hunch, he decided to move closer to the group. He sat at a small table behind them and listened.
"I saw the report this morning, and Jesus Christ, the blood was everywhere! Whoever the poor bastard was, he didn't have a chance. The theory going around is that the guy was taking a walk around Battery Park, and suddenly someone comes, attacks and dismembers him while he's still standing! What kind of a world do we live in today, where stuff like that can happen in the blink of an eye? I weep for the future of this country, I really do."
The other guy spoke up. "What makes you so sure that it was a person who did this, Gene? The medical examiner also said that the puncture wounds were unlike anything he's ever seen, that they reminded him of those shows on the Discovery channel, in fact. It could have been some kind of animal."
Gene scoffed at his companion. "Wake up, Barry! A wild animal in New York City? Ha ha ha! If that's true, which it's not, the only place it could have come from is Central Park. The park is shut up tighter than a drum after dark because of all the late-night attacks and muggings, and automatically that includes the Zoo, genius! An animal? Come on! Only men are sick enough to do this kind of thing!"
Gabriel had engaged in this kind of discussion before, long ago, and he wasn't in the mood to continue listening. The news was on television, he noticed, but the volume was turned down. For a moment, he watched the images on the screen without seeing anything interesting. He took a sip of his coffee, which had cooled during his eavesdropping.
Then he saw something that made his blood freeze in his veins and the tepid liquid stick in his throat. He coughed hard before he spit into a napkin. He gestured to the waitress behind the bar, who was looking at him with concern.
"Could you turn that up, please?"
She did, and to Gabriel's horror, he was watching the news coverage of the shocking murder in New York. It was everything that he'd overheard and more. He swayed in his chair as he struggled to listen to the broadcast.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we've found out the identity of the victim. We've just received the results of the dental record search, and his name was Travis Cooper, a billionaire oil tycoon from Lubbock, Texas. Sources say that Mr. Cooper was in New York to attend a business meeting of Anami Enterprises, which is one of the fastest-growing defense contractors in the country."
Since the beginning of the report, Gabriel felt himself experiencing an empathic overload. His skin felt as if it was melting, falling away from his bones.
He rested his cheek against the cool wood of the table, his chest pumping like bellows, his eyes still fixed on the screen. He couldn't look away from the images in front of him; the corpse, and the picture of how the victim had looked in life.
Two different sides of the same man. The live version was infinitely better than the dead.
"Rumor has it that Cooper had allegedly tried to instigate a hostile takeover of the business, with himself as the next recipient, but this and other allegations have been denied by David Anami, the founder and CEO."
Gabriel's vision had blurred during his fit, but his eyes focused intently on the man in charge of the corporation. He raised his head to get a better view.
He saw a robust, confident middle-aged man. Japanese, but with a British accent. He wore a gold wedding band. Tall, probably 6 foot 3 inches. Well-built, with an immaculate taste in clothes. Loaded with money.
Could he be involved in this somehow? According to the news, the body was found only a few blocks away from the company's headquarters.
The following clip showed Anami giving a statement to the press, his eyes making direct contact with the camera.
"It is true that Cooper and I didn't always see eye to eye, but he had a sixth sense when it came to business and was an invaluable part of my organization. He was a fine man, and he will be truly missed."
Gabriel's inspection stalled at Anami's face. He was very handsome, and he possessed a youthful air despite his age, which he estimated to be around 50. His hair was mostly black, with a bold streak of white on one side, and his eyes...
Anami's gray eyes were troubled, brimming with anguish. Gabriel's own eyes widened with realization.
God. Aside from the color, they're almost a mirror image of Grace's. They must be connected somehow. What is he to her? A relative? Close friend?
He stood up from his chair on shaky legs, left a tip for the waitress and began to leave at the same moment that Mosely arrived.
The years had been good to him; his strict training for the CIA had seriously trimmed him down and firmed him up, leaving him in top shape to catch the bad guys. He was still balding, though. Mosely smiled warmly at the sight of his old friend.
"Hey there, Bud! Sorry I'm late, but don't tell me that you were about to stand me up after all these years!"
Gabriel nodded in the direction of the television.
"Have you heard about this?"
Mosely glanced into the cafe just in time to hear the last of the report.
"Travis Cooper was 75 years old, and he leaves behind one son and a young granddaughter. The estimated worth of his estate is $1,500,000,000."
Mosely let out a low whistle. "Shoot, if I had that much money, I damn sure wouldn't go walking about without a bodyguard or at least a car parked nearby. Of course I've heard about it; the entire Agency is in an uproar. Despite the fact that it's only been a few hours since Cooper was discovered, the old man's son is apparently going apeshit about the supposed incompetence of the NYPD and how they don't know anything about what happened. As a result of this vigilante mentality, he - and his many powerful and rich friends - are breaking out the pitchforks and nooses to try and get everyone's asses in gear to find whoever did it. They're also planning to bring the FBI in as well. Langley is already bending over backwards for these bastards."
Gabriel let out a snort of disgust. "Christ Almighty. Never mind all the normal folks who get lost and murdered every day; as soon as a rich person bites the bullet, everybody in law enforcement suddenly rushes in to make sure that justice is done."
Mosely frowned at Gabriel's sarcasm. "What crawled up your butt? That's not fair, and you know it. We do want to solve every case that's put to us, but unfortunately that's the way things are. We're like puppets; someone high up pulls the strings and we must dance."
Gabriel sighed, rubbing his temple. His experience in the cafe had wiped him out.
"Damn, Mose, I'm sorry. I just have a lot on my mind and I'm a bit irritable right now."
Mosely smiled and lightly smacked him on the back. "Well, that's what I'm here for. You did want to talk, didn't you? Come on, let's walk a bit. You look like you need it."
They walked through the security checkpoint, and continued until they found an airport lounge near Gabriel's gate where they could sit and chat while they waited for his plane.
Mosely looked at his friend thoughtfully. Gabriel appeared to be very tense, and he was as white as a sheet. Mosely remembered that he had seen Gabriel's psychic abilities firsthand back in France, when they were scouting a crime scene.
He leaned forward, meeting Gabriel's eyes. "What did you see?"
Gabriel was startled by the question, having forgotten that his friend was trained to be observant to every detail.
He wet his suddenly dry lips. "It wasn't a matter of seeing this time, Mose. In the bar I felt as if I was being attacked, as if I was dying in the same way as Cooper."
Mosely felt sweat trickling down his neck, despite the mild weather.
"Christ! What the hell happened, Knight?"
Gabriel closed his eyes, trying to recall the sensation and put it into words.
"My body felt like the wax that drips from a burning candle; I was consumed by the heat. I felt tiny pinpricks on my skin at first, and then they got larger. Deeper. Drawing blood from my body, tearing apart my flesh, shattering my bones, racking my brain."
He opened his eyes to meet Mose's horrified stare.
A long moment passed before Mosely could think of another question. He was scared shitless, and he didn't enjoy the effect the vision had on his friend, either.
"Gabriel, could you tell what it was? Animal or human?"
Mosely released his breath explosively once he'd gotten out the words; he didn't even know that he'd been holding it.
Gabriel took out a handkerchief from his jacket and wiped his brow, breathing deeply as he recovered from the shock of the vision. His voice shook with the strain, the frustration that he felt.
"I'm not sure. Both. Neither. Damn it, I don't know!"
They fell silent again, and after a while Mosely glanced across the small lounge table at his companion. Gabriel appeared to have gotten over the whole vision thing, but clearly something else was going on; Mose could feel it. He knew that Gabriel wanted to ask something of him, but he sensed that his pal was reluctant to come out with it. He had a feeling that he wouldn't like what he was about to hear.
"Spit it out, Gabriel. What else did you want to discuss?"
Gabriel leaned forward with a sigh. "Mose, have you heard from Grace at all?"
Mosely shut his eyes with a sound of exasperation.
"God damn it, I knew it. Damn it, Knight! Hasn't she been through enough?"
Gabriel nodded, his expression grim. Yes, she has.
"It's not what you think, Mose. It's an emergency."
Mosely's eyes narrowed sharply on his friend. "Oh, sure. What could this little 'emergency' be? You suddenly got an itch in your crotch and you need someone to scratch it? Someone who you could use and then throw away afterwards, pretend that she doesn't exist? I won't let you hurt Grace again!"
Gabriel's patience, which was already wearing thin from what happened in the cafe, completely vanished. He slammed his fist onto the table top.
"I don't have time for this shit, Mose! You want to know why I'm asking? Here it is. Today I had not one, but two dreams concerning Gracie. Not the wet kind, you pervert, but the REAL kind that I told you about, the serious kind! And now I've found out about this killing in New York, and I am convinced that she's somehow involved, or is close to someone who is involved! She's in danger! God damn it, I want to help! For once, I want to help the woman I love instead of pushing her away, and I won't let you stop me!"
He sat back in his chair, his hands shaking with tension.
Mosely was silent for a time as he slowly digested this information. He searched Gabriel's face for a long moment before he finally gave a tense nod.
"What do you want me to do?"
Gabriel let out a sigh of relief, and relaxed in his chair.
"For starters, I need to know if you've heard from her since France."
Mosely's face looked stricken. "Not since the last night of the case, when we went into the underground caves. Not a peep."
Gabriel let his disappointment show in his face. He'd hoped that Grace had somehow remained in contact with Mosely. Instead, she had completely cut herself off from the entire gang.
"Damn. Mose, I need you to find her for me. Before I flew over, I wasn't sure about where she might be, but now I'm certain that she's in New York somewhere. I need to know what she's doing for a living, where she lives..."
He trailed off when he felt the hot tide of uncertainty and dread within him, and he fumbled with a loose thread on his jacket. He cleared his throat.
"She, um, she may be married by now. I need to know about the husband as well, if that's the case. Who he is, where he's from, what he does. I also want to know about this David Anami character if you can manage it. I'm sure that your people are going to be digging into that matter anyway, so it shouldn't be too much trouble."
Gabriel took out a pad of paper and pen from his duffel.
"I'm going to visit Gran for at least a few days, until I can figure out what to do next. You can contact me at this number. When you find something, let me know. Day or night, I mean it."
Mosely cleared his throat. "Will do."
Gabriel heard the announcement that his flight was boarding. He stood up from his chair, and reached his hand out to Mosely.
"Thanks a lot, Mose. I really appreciate you doing this for me."
Mosely took Gabriel's hand, shaking it firmly. "It's not just for you; it's also for Grace."
Gabriel smiled. "Of course it is. I'll see you around."
He was about to turn and leave, but Mosely didn't let go of his hand. Gabriel turned back to face his friend, a question in his eyes.
Mosely looked torn. "I just need to know if I'm doing the right thing, Bud. Did you mean what you said before? Do you really love Grace?"
Gabriel swallowed hard, then nodded. "I do love her, very much. I would cut off my right arm to see her again, to help her out of this mess."
Mosely sighed, and then gave Gabriel a smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"Well, then. I wish you the best of luck, and I'll do whatever I can to help."
Gabriel thanked him again, and Mosely stood up and gave his friend a big hug. He swatted Gabriel on the back when his flight was announced again.
"You'd better get going. I'll let you know as soon as I find something. Go on."
He boarded his plane moments before it left the gate. As it began its trip down the runway, Gabriel was confident that Mosely would find out everything that he could on Grace's whereabouts and her new life.
The question is, am I prepared for the answers that are coming my way? In order to give all the assistance to Grace that I can, I have to be.
The plane left the ground in a rush of heat and light; Gabriel stared out of his window, searching the clouds to see if they held any clues to what lay ahead on his quest.
A storm was brewing on the horizon.
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