13. Growth: part one

I was flipping through the channels the next morning when I came across something of the most interest. It was news coverage of the incident at the Convention Centre. Nonetheless, this was expected. What I found intriguing though, was hearing the eye witness accounts of what had happened.

“As you may have already heard,” said the field reporter, “there had been another urban-pirate attack last night, this time at the MCC. Several armed men had forced themselves into the Lexington Arts Charity Ball last night, and robbed over fifty-thousand dollars from the guests in cash and jewellery. They  continued their rampage on to the state finals of the Engineering Expo held here annually, and carried out their onslaught there. Overall, the death toll was six security guards, and a total of thirty-nine guests were wounded.

“However, the strangest thing about this incident is that when authorities arrived on scene all of the perpetrators were either found unconscious or paralyzed, while one was found dead. Authorities have not yet disclosed the cause of that individual’s death. A few hostages claimed to have seen one person who might have stopped the crooks in action. This event has only spurred rumours of a mysterious vigilante believed to be quelling criminal activity throughout the city, a rumour sparked when the bodies of two alleged rapists showed up in front of Precinct 17 earlier this week.

“While police are still investigating what transpired at the convention centre, the remaining criminals are now in police custody awaiting trial. Officials will also announce when they will start returning all of the stolen items to their rightful owners. For Channel 12 News, I’m Timothy Santiago.”

I was not surprised at this turn of events actually, and I was glad, for I had grown sick and tired of surprises, believe me. What I didn’t expect were the rumours of this vigilante. Had there been other occasions where Id highjacked my body for late night escapades that I didn’t know about? Shit. It’s only a matter of time before some loser with a cell phone gets us on video, I thought, using the plural us instead of the singular, as I knew I was no longer one person.

Now after experiencing an episode such as what happened at the Convention Centre, most people would stay home the next day to settle their nerves. Two months ago I would have done the same thing. However, my nerves had since become stone so I decided to go to school. On the way I gave Beverly a call to check how she was doing, and I asked about Andrea as well. She said they were fine and were still recovering from the event, emotionally. I was just happy no one laid a hand on them.

School was a tedious day as usual, and I was thankful to be out of there. But all day the only thing I could think of was my father. I thought so hard about him that I feared that my mind would become sore. I knew that I wouldn’t be able focus during basketball practice that day, so I decided to skip. Nevertheless, I didn’t go straight home. No. Instead I went straight to the source of my mental torment– the head office building of Apollo Endeavours.

Sky Towers as it’s called, were three skyscrapers over one hundred stories tall, sometimes called the Triplet Towers. Each building was fashioned in the shape of vertical triangular prisms, positioned together to form a larger prism out of the three of them, or a Triforce for those of you familiar with old Nintendo games. One of the buildings was taller by twelve stories, and each roof had a 45° angled slope, creating three slanted faces. Nine suspended causeways linked the three buildings together, while large tuned mass dampers built underneath each building provided structural support from swaying or earthquakes. Everything about the towers had something to do with the number three. Three buildings, three bridges connecting one to the next, and the total number of floors was divisible by three. In fact, it’s said that the architect, Pelli Matagotzu, had an unhealthy obsession with the number three.

Sky Towers was located on Park Ave. on the Under Story, the financial district. This place was more than just the head office of Apollo Endeavours. It had government connections, hence my father’s campaign. Also, it was an integral figure in the financial market, playing a key role in world commerce and trade. It was even considered to be a substitute for the absence of the World Trade Centers some time after the attack. If there was ever a symbol of the alliance between Corporate America and his Government, Sky Towers would be it.

Building C had its own bus and maglev terminal, but I decided to take a cab instead. I walked into the building’s vast cathedral of a lobby, not knowing exactly what I was doing. I strolled my way across the glossy marble floor that was so well polished I thought I’d slip on it. The place had that grand central station feel with people walking by at a fast pace. All I could hear was the distant echoing of footsteps and chatter. I stood for a moment not knowing what to do next, still joggling with the knowledge that I now held. Sunlight shone through the large pane glass windows giving the lobby a soft golden hue. I’ve been in this place before a long time ago, it hadn’t changed much since. It still had that same feeling, still had that same smell.

Building C was the tallest of the three, a little over a hundred and twelve stories, and was where my father’s office could be found, on the very top executive floor. I didn’t bother going to the reception desk at the centre of the lobby. I went directly to the elevators and straight to the top floor. The elevator ride was long, cool, and relaxing as it made several stops on the way up. I was surprised to see how many gorgeous young interns worked here. I was tempted to collected a number or two. But by the time I reached my destination, the elevator was pretty much empty. I stepped out into a short hallway designated for elevators. As I walked out of the hall, I was greeted by an awesome view of the city. Instead of a wall, there was nothing but glass, slightly tinted to make the brightness easier on the eyes. There were two rooms on either side of the wall. From here I could see almost everything. Miles and miles of cityscape stretched as far as the eye could see. I stepped right up to the glass and looked at the Canopy below. I had a temporary feeling a vertigo as I looked down, but that quickly passed. It seemed so peaceful up here, on the roof tops, like an escape from the turbulent streets below. The sky had become a fluorescent shade of peach as the faint, scattered clouds became a gentle pink. I looked off into the distance, the setting sun was a brilliant ball of deep orange, casting its last light upon the city.

The rooftops.

They seemed like a different world to me, a new domain.

Suddenly, a voice broke me out of my trance. “Can I help you, sir?”

I turned around and saw a small woman looking at me through a pair of thick glasses. “Actually I was–”

“Wait, I know you,” interrupted the woman. “You’re Mr. Apollo’s boy, right?”

“Uh, yeah. I am,”  I was about to say I wasn’t for some reason, but I figured that I could use my relationship with this corporate giant to my advantage.

“Did you wish to see him?” asked the women.

“Well I–”

“Right this way. . .”

This was all happening so fast I didn’t know what to do. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know what I was doing here. She led me away from the window and around the elevators. This floor was in the shape of one big triangle, and neatly decorated with Van Goph-style paintings on the walls and potted trees in every corner. “Your father’s in a meeting right now,” said the woman. “Would you like me to tell him you’re here?”

“Nah, that’s okay,” I said. “I’ll just wait right here.”

“Okay then,” said the woman. “Hmm. You look like him. Your father.” She walked off, leaving me alone.

I seated myself on a bench and waited for about twenty minutes. What the hell am I doing here? I thought. Screw this, am out of here. As I got up and walked passed the boardroom, I eased to a halt. There was something about the room that was arousing me. I slowly turned around and went back to the boardroom door. I didn’t know what it was, but something seemed to be calling to me from the inside. I couldn’t resist. I opened to door and crept in. I found myself in a short hallway. The wall to my right was solid, with pictures of executives, CEOs and what not, but the wall to my left was glass that was tinted white to give it a cloudy, opaque appearance. The boardroom was on the other side, and I could hear the suits discussing their various concerns about Mr. Apollo’s campaign and the company itself. But whatever it was summoning me was not coming from there; it was coming from down the hall, behind a door.

I walked right on by and up to the door. On it read Michael Apollo. It was his office no doubt, and something from within was calling out to me, luring me in. I placed my hand on the knob and gave it a twist. The door opened with ease. I peeked inside. An air conditioned atmosphere welcomed me. I noticed the office was dead empty, so with the coast being clear I invited myself in. The massive room was freezing and very dim. The only light seeped through the edges of the sealed curtains. Immediately, my eyes were drawn the centre of this grand office, where a desk stood with a laptop on it. In front of it, the curtains were illuminated with an iridescent blue light. Slowly, I walked over and studied it. Next to it was an open container of ox tale and rice. My father has a taste for West Indian food. On the monitor was a screen saver of a tropical aquarium. Moving the wireless mouse, a window popped up requesting a password. Silly me didn’t even see that coming. Not knowing what to do, I punched in the first word that came to my head: Cupid. This was a nick name that my dad gave Jonathan. When Jonathan was a baby, my dad found that he looked a lot like the cherub god of love, and gave him that title. And with a press of the enter button, I was granted access. I didn’t know how I guessed that, but I figured that would be an obvious choice for his password.

Some kind of database seemed to be running. I had a look at it and examined its content. There was a list of various categories: Competitive Intel, Finance, Accounts, Production, Distribution, Resources, Human Resources, Foreign Policies and Over sea Assets, Global Market, Subsidiaries, Executive Branch, Research, and Research Facilities. The last one grabbed my attention. I had a feeling that whatever I was looking for was within this file. I double clicked it and a whole new list of specific locations popped up. I began to scroll down instinctively, searching for one particular place that I didn’t even know. But I felt that I would know it when I saw it. And there it was, almost at the bottom of the list. A place that I had never even heard of before; department 910-A, a research facility out in the rural New Jersey mainland. Its exact location was given. This was why I came here. This was what was calling to me from outside, this piece of information that held the key to the answers I was searching for. What was it that killed my brother? What was my father’s company working on?

This was my second, complete, clairvoyant experience. Andrea’s seizure being the first.

I thought the answer was just a click away, when suddenly I heard footsteps coming to the door. In a frantic moment I debated on what to do, but seconds later the door burst open and the lights exploded on. My father along with three other men came storming in. But they didn’t see me, for I could not be seen.

Id had instantly took possession of my body and sublimated me back to that ghost like state, that phantom state. Ergo, no one was able to detect my presence. But to me I was once again whisked back to that spectral plain of cyan air and auras. I saw many things in that aura state that I didn’t notice before, many things became visible to me. And I could see three men, aflame with an ominous yellow-green light that was menacing to me, along with my father‘s orange fire that seemed to over power theirs. I watched as my father circled around the desk and looked at his laptop. I had returned back to the main menu, but somehow he still smelled a rat.

“Who was in here?” he demanded, his voice was like a deep echo.

“No one, Sir,” said one of the men. “Everyone was in the meeting with you.”

“Indeed,” said my father, a troubled look on his face. He seemed to be pondering a question. “Very well then. Let’s go.”

As soon as he walked in he was out the door, coat and all, the three men following after. The lights went out as the door thud shut. And soon the sensation of weightlessness ended and I felt the clothes on my skin again, my solid feet on the ground, and my heart beat, it was racing. Returning to the physical and from the possession of Id feels like waking up from a long dream. There is a moment when I can’t tell which world is mine and which is Id’s.

My mind returned to the situation and I remembered what I came for. I could still remember the location of that facility. I wondered what was so important about this place that it had me searching for it. The only way for me to know for sure would be to go there myself. How the hell would I do that? I thought. Then I remembered what Id had shown me that night, and it all became clear to me. I made my way out of the office without being noticed. My father was long gone. I returned to that glass wall that overlooked the city, and I looked off toward the harbour where the Star Pass Bridge could be seen. My destination laid beyond that. I had decided to pay this department 910-A a visit.

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