The light rain pattered against the walls of the hollowed tree as Toussaint sat cross-legged in the middle of the small living quarters, with his eyes closed.
Toussaint was six foot, 160 pounds. He was a chestnut hue, with dark brown eyes, a full beard, and a nimble frame. His arms were defined due to training. On his right arm, a long scar ran from his middle finger to his elbow.
“The key to meditating is to try to clear the mind of noise,” Elijah advised.
Elijah was mature-looking, about early fifties with graying black hair and a silvery-white beard. His clothing exposed his muscular physique.
He was in optimal physique for his age. He stood about six feet two and roughly two hundred twenty pounds.
The deep scars on his exposed arms told stories of the hardships of surviving gruesome encounters. His eyes were a light brown, giving the impression of birchwood. He wore an expression of internal discipline; one could look at the mature man and expect orders to follow.
“I have so many questions about Nathanial that I can’t concentrate.”
“I understand how you feel. Learning that I knew your brother generated more questions than answers, and I give you my word, I will answer all that I am free to. After you finish your training.”
Toussaint nodded and focused on his breathing with newfound interest. Toussaint’s brother, Nathanial, was killed in a car accident about thirteen years ago.
Toussaint had been one of the three occupants, which had cost him most of his memories until recently. Toussaint had regained them with the help of Elijah’s drink “Green Nectar.” “I want you to recall one of your episodes,” Elijah announced, standing.
“I thought I was learning to meditate?” Toussaint asked, confused. Elijah rarely changed the training exercise before it was completed.
“I told you, your body was trying to tell you something with the episodes. If you can recall them, you can decipher them and learn more about yourself,” Elijah said.
Toussaint’s shoulders slumped. He was hoping this was one of the ten lessons he needed to complete Elijah’s training. Then he remembered it took Harriet twelve years to finish. Toussaint closed his eyes. A thought came to mind, a memory, one that had him and his best friend Mark in it. The memory took over his mind exactly the way his episodes did. The scene in his mind burst into his vision as if he were watching a movie.
The duo were outside on the side of his high school. Hmmm. This has to be when Mark and I were sophomores.
“Hey, Toussaint.” An elderly man waved. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine,” Toussaint said, not knowing the man. “How do you know my name?”
“I’m Mr. Schultz, the janitor. I knew your brother Nathanial. God rest his soul,” the man said.
Toussaint studied him. Mr. Schultz was a middle-aged man of about fifty. He was thin, his hair was cut short and graying. His green eyes gave the impression of emeralds.
“I think we should leave.” Mark pulled at his sleeve. “This dude gives me the creeps.”
“You knew my brother?” Toussaint asked, curious.
“Yeah,” he said, looking around the area. “I have some photos of us together in my oﬃce.”
“Why do you have photos of my brother?”
“I was the assistant coach of the basketball team.” He shrugged. “They didn’t have the budget to hire someone else.”
“Let’s go, Mark.” Toussaint turned to his friend. “I want to see my brother’s pictures.”
“You can see them at home,” Mark said.
“You know my mom don’t show me any pictures of him.” Toussaint punched him in the arm. “She doesn’t want to talk about Nathan.”
“So you want to follow some old-ass dude down to his dungeon to see some pictures?” Mark laughed. “Sounds like some shit that happens in horror movies.”
“I was only trying to be friendly.” Mr. Schultz said, backing up. “I’m not some sicko. Nathanial was a good guy. That’s all.”
“Wait,” Toussaint said, stepping closer. “I’ll go with you.” “No, it’s fine,” Mr. Schultz said as he left.
“Why’d you do that?” Toussaint demanded.
“You were going to be that guy’s sex slave if it wasn’t for me.” He laughed. “Have you ever heard of stranger danger?”
“He wasn’t a stranger. He knew my brother.”
“You don’t know that.” Mark slapped his head. “Weirdos say anything to get you.”
“I could’ve taken him.”
“He would’ve taken you to his basement and made you wear girl clothes.” Mark laughed.
“Let’s go before it starts raining.”
Toussaint startled from the episode. He sat up, noticing that he was on his back. He waited to be reoriented. His visions always left him unbalanced.
“What did you get from your episode?”
“That I was gullible and was about to get abducted,” Toussaint replied, rubbing his temples.
A year ago, his episodes had been debilitating, leaving him helpless. Once he would regain consciousness, blood would have been caked his face and his temples pulsating.
“The reason for this exercise is for you to look at some- thing and decipher it. How do you know Mr. Schultz wasn’t trying to give you a message from me?”
“How did you know his name…”
“You describe everything you see in your visions. Remember?” He smiled.
Toussaint rubbed the back of his neck. How could I forget Master Elijah can hear everything? “I don’t know.” Toussaint looked up to his teacher. “Did you try to reach me through him?”
“I met him briefly, some years ago. I gave him a message to give to you, and then he disappeared. I left shortly after.”
“You mean I could’ve trained with you thirteen years ago?”
“Possibly. I don’t know how your mother would have reacted to it. Also, I’m sure they were watching you.”
“Why would they watch me?”
“They killed your brother and imprisoned Robert. They were trying to get me.”
“And they would use a teenager to get to you?”
“They would kill you to get to me,” Elijah said solemnly.
Toussaint was at a loss for words. Now it was making sense.
“I thought Alex Copeland was after me.”
“He is.” Elijah laughed. “But he wants me. I killed his father and was close to killing his boss, but he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. So, he survived. They want me. It was never about you.”
Though the words sounded harsh, they brought peace to Toussaint’s mind.
“I expected this to go smoother, Alexander,” Mr. Beason, an elderly man, said through the conference phone.
“Mr. Beason,” Alex said, starting with a hint of nervous- ness. “I assure you, sir, that all is going according to plan.”
Alexander Copeland was short, standing at five foot eight inches, and stocky. His pale gray eyes were chilling, and his tight lips rarely pulled back for a smile. He wore his hair short, cut an inch to the scalp. He never sported facial hair. One would think he was in his late twenties if it wasn’t for the slow-forming winkles.
“The only reason I allowed Charles to secede from the United States is because I thought we could implement these Universal Identity Chips to all United States citizens. If you’re telling me this insignificant Resistance force is too much for you, I can bring in someone who can handle it more to my taste.”
“Sir,” Alex said, a gasp escaping him. “We worked too hard to allow someone who isn’t familiar with the situation to come in and take over.”
“Alexander.” He sighed, as if losing his patience. “The only thing you have been successful with is killing Charles and causing chaos.”
“Sir, I don’t know what…”
“I know you had Charles killed.” He chuckled. “I’d be stupid if I didn’t.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s fine,” Mr. Beason replied. “Give me results in the next six months or you will meet the same fate.”
The conference call ended. Alex did not dare talk to him like he had his old mentor. Mr. Beason was not one to take or give threats lightly.