Chapter Five – Neuromodulation
Part I – We Can't Stay Here Forever
There are no second chances.
“You know where they are?” Jack voiced the question like it was an undeniable fact, which supposedly it was according to the video his uncle had left behind.
“Mad Uncle Madison! It comes back to me in little pieces, like recognising this house.”
“That means you're getting your memory back,” Jack smiled, pleased that something might be happening.
“Does it?” Was all Joel could say.
“Fuck! We can't stay here forever, you need to remember where they went.”
“Even if I could. Why the hell do we need to follow them?”
Joel’s voice was edgy with the frustration of not knowing. Not knowing what the next move was, not knowing the location his uncle had moved to.
“If we just stick around here then sometime, someone is gonna show up.”
“Yeah, I mean maybe, but that might not be good.”
Jack had no idea what they should do, but he was up for moving on. Getting away from the club in the city was an escape, but having two guys from X-Corp show up looking for Joel, felt like they were being pursued. He couldn't up and leave. Not on his own, where the hell would he go, he asked himself. They were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by desolation. If he left, it would be to return to the city, it was the only choice. If he left?
The lights flickered. The noise of the storm outside was growing louder. Joel felt an urge to retreat to his bedroom, crawl under the sheets and sleep until the weather got better. He knew that would not happen. The rain only seemed to get worse and the wind to get stronger. Ever since they got here. Like it was some divine scheme to push them out of the house.
Yes, he thought, we're being chased by the bad guys and chased by the rain.
“Grif, are you listening to me?”
He looked up, snapped out of his thoughts, realising Kado had been talking to him.
“Yeah, I hear you.”
“Good, because there have been too many fuck ups.”
Griffin wasn't really sure what Kado was going on about. If he was referring to Marek getting picked up, well that wasn't anything to do with him.
He just nodded, but didn't answer.
Kado was a funny sort of guy, very hard to read. Pretty damned difficult to please as well, and that applied to everything. He'd fucked all the boys at the club, but just once, with probably one exception, Jack. Although Grif wasn't absolutely certain on that count, except Jack hadn't been here more than five minutes.
“Before the idiot got himself pulled in. He fixed up three cars, the boys took the first, but the second is for you.”
Grif was finding it very difficult to concentrate. Maybe it was the drugs he took with Henry? That session was hot and debauched. Where he got those other two kids from Grif had no idea, but they were both really cute.
“So you got it?” Kado looked a bit uptight as he starred at him.
Grif realised he’d drifted and only caught the last bit of the conversation.
“Yeah, got it,” he answered, with no idea again about what Kado had just told him.
“So what you waiting for? Get your stuff, get in the car and get going. It won't be difficult to find the house. Move it, we don't have forever.”
That's exactly what he did. Picked up a backpack, stuffed some things in it, mostly clothes, and got into the car.
As the vehicle purred into life, the dulcet tones of a young woman's voice addressed him. “Continue navigation?” the voice demanded.
“Confirmed! Continue navigation.”
He threw his backpack on the seat in front and spread himself out on the opposite side, lying down.
The garage door opened, the car lifted off and smoothly exited the building. With no windows to look out of, even if he’d wanted to, he was propelled forwards in a hermetic bubble with hardly any physical sense of motion.
Grif drifted off to sleep, it was warm, comfortable, and he hoped safe. As he was falling asleep , a thought travelled through his mind, had Kado said he was closing the club? He wasn't sure he had heard it, but he must have, he wouldn’t invent that scenario. So there was no going back, and with that final realisation he dreamed.
The session with Henry played through his head, contorted by his unconscious mind, disjointed and split up. It was like someone had taken the sequence of events and cut it up, then pasted everything together, but rearranging the order. That made it hard to examine what had taken place. It was also sinister and dark, with an air of foreboding and the unreality of being on a journey to a place he would never arrive at. Somewhere out of reach.
“You have reached your destination!”
It was her voice that woke him up. Being jarred from his sleep like that allowed Grif to remember a chunk of his dream, at least the immediate bit. But what stuck in his memory was the raunchy sex with the two boys Henry had introduced.
Not surprisingly, Grif was hard recalling that part of his dream. The odd thing though was that Henry had told him to find Mark and Steven. He remembered their names, but not why he had to find them. They were twins, not identical, but almost, the only distinguishing feature being a tiny irregular shaped brown coloured birthmark. Of course you would never see the mark unless Steven was practically naked. It was on his right, at the top, on the outer side of his leg and if not naked he'd have to be wearing Speedos or skimpy underpants.
The door flipped open as if the vehicle was showing him the way. The car had landed, the motor cut, and the only sound was the wind and torrential rain. It was dark, cold, and the dim blue light from the interior of the car was the only thing providing any semblance of civilisation.
The sleep had done him good, cleared his head, now he could think straight. He reached across for his backpack and pulled out a torch. Then from one of the little pockets on the outside he took out the watch Kado had given him, or was it Henry who had given him the watch. Whoever, it didn't matter.
He strapped it around his wrist and touched the button. It lit up and indicated the direction to follow. It must have been Kado, the watch, he said the house would be easy to find.
“Energy levels are low. Entering battery conservation mode.”
The dim blue lighting went out and the heating went off. He heard the fan cease to blow warm air.
The last twenty four hours had been a mixed up jumble, but for now he had no choice but to follow the GPS tracker and hope it led to the house.
“I definitely heard someone outside,” Jack told him.
“How the fuck could you? It's kicking up a storm. It's just the wood creaking.”
“I'm gonna take a look.”
“Oh for Christ's sake, you know you can be a real a pain in the arse!”
Joel was comfortable in the armchair in the lounge, listening to some relaxing music on the sound system and toking on a rather long joint he'd found from the stash he kept hidden in his bedroom.
“You're being paranoid Jack. It's the weed. Chill out man.”
He could be right, Jack thought, but he was still convinced someone was out there, trying to get in.
“No, maybe they came back. Or sent others!” Jack's voice had a shrill urgency to it.
“You're losing it. Come here. Relax.”
Bang. There was a load thud. Suddenly the sound of the wind and rain got very much louder. Jack moved out through the lounge door into the large hall. There was someone, he was right. A figure hunched over, soaking wet, stood just inside the wide open front door.
When he looked up, Jack immediately recognised who it was.
Breathing a huge sigh of relief he called back to Joel. “Joel, get your stoned arse out here. You ain't gonna believe this.”
Grif smiled, slung off his backpack and reached around to close the large and heavy front door.
“Fuck me!” Joel exclaimed from behind Jack. “Look what the fucking cat dragged in.”
Grif moved towards them and stood looking first at Jack, then Joel.
“You haven't lost that foul mouth of yours then. And shit, you both look out of it.”
“That's down to Joel, and the stash he kept hidden away in his bedroom.”
Grif just smiled. “Figures,” he said, and moved back to take off his soaking wet hoody.
“You got any towels? A bathroom?”
“Follow me,” Joel replied, and led the way up the grand staircase, past the bedrooms, and along to one of the bathrooms.
Then he stood there gesturing Grif to enter. Jack was right there behind him.
“Is there hot water?” Grif asked, not really knowing how anything could possibly work in this weird old mansion house in the middle of nowhere, and off grid.
“Sure,” Joel laughed. “You think we don’t have all mod cons out here in the sticks.”
“In the sticks? It's in the middle of bloody nowhere. The last house standing!” Grif joked.
“You're probably right there,” Joel was grinning.
“But we got hot water!” Jack confirmed.
Joel grabbed Jack with one arm around his neck, pulled his head down and tousled his hair.
“Cut it out,” Jack protested when Joel released him. “You see I was right.”
“You two just gonna stand there and watch?” Grif looked up as he pulled off his sweat shirt.
“Maybe,” Joel replied feeling just a little bit horny.
“Definitely,” Jack added.
“Clear off the two of you. No wait. Can you find me any dry clothes?”
“Look in the bedroom, second door back down the hall. See you downstairs when you've finished.”