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MATURE: The Metropolis (Borderline T-M; Needs Mod Judgement)

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One of the few works I'll be posting here; this story is based off of the progressive album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. I'm unsure about whether this should be considered T or M at the moment, as there is a lot of things that could be considered both in this story. If a moderator could look over it and specify what it would be, that would help out a lot. I'll keep it as mature for now until I get any further knowledge, just to make sure I'm not making any mistakes.

...:::Introduction: Images and Words:::...

...

"Please, save me...

"You can't do this alone..."

Nicholas woke up with a startling thunder out of the sky. As he stared at the wall in which he was facing, he managed to rip his glued eyes off the wall to look around. He had experienced another one of his recurring dreams. He knew it wouldn't be long before he were to go insane. As Nicholas slowly got up to get a glass of water, he noticed that his house seemed different, in a sense.

He turned on the cold water from his sink, his glass slowly began to fill. He looked behind him for a brief moment, and noticed the television on. He turned off the sink and walked over to the couch where he had always rested after his day at work. Instead of turning the television off, he decided to watch for a little while. The paid programming was nothing but advertisements, but he figured something interesting would come up eventually.

A few minutes later, he noticed a girl on the screen. She looked strikingly similar to that of the girl in his dreams, and he was startled by the sight. She spoke through the television, and the words that came from her lips startled him even more.

"Nicholas."

The first word nearly gave Nicholas a heart attack. He figure he must have been dreaming again, but he didn't know how, since he had already woken up.

"You're in grave danger."

He decided to pick up the phone to call a therapist, but the next words stopped him in his tracks.

"Don't go to him. It'll only make the situation worse."

Nicholas wondered if she was talking about the therapist he was about to call. He walked over to the kitchen counter and picked up the card that his co-worker had given to him a couple days ago for his troubles with his dreams. It read nothing but "the Hypnotherapist - 0 (000) 000-0000." Now that he stared at it for a while, it made no sense. What phone number would have nothing but the number zero in it? It was impossible.

He picked up the phone and dialed the number, and another message blared through the television, but it was fuzzy compared to the last messages.

"You're...aking a mi...take..."

The phone rang, but with an ominous tone, rather than the regular tone. The other line almost instantly picked up, and a man with an average, middle aged voice answered the phone. Another startling voice came to Nicholas, but he managed to see it coming this time around.

"Ah, Nicholas. I've been expecting you to call me sooner or later. It's good that you've finally come to your senses."

Nicholas was intrigued by how so many people he didn't know somehow knew his name, but it didn't matter, he had to do something about his dreams. Before he had the chance to respond, the man interrupted.

"Meet me in the Huntsville Cemetary at 4:00 in the afternoon tomorrow. I'll be waiting."

"But, wai-"

Nicholas had no time to respond before the man hung up. He figured he had no choice but to meet this man at the cemetary, even if he didn't know who he was. Nicholas desperately wanted to stop these dreams. Sometimes he would even call them nightmares, despite the calm nature to ehm.

3:30 PM, and Nicholas was on his way to the cemetary. It was across town, so he had to leave early to be able to get there on time. As his truck slowly started, he began to pull out of his driveway. As he continued to exit his property out onto the open road, he noticed a girl in the way. He instantly hit the emergency brake, knowing he was too close to her. He got out of his truck and walked around to the back. Nobody was there.

"Ah, get out of my head!" Nicholas was infuriated. He continued into his truck and backed out of his driveway, but this time, the girl appeared again. This time, she was in the middle of the street. Nicholas swerved, as he didn't want to take any chances that the girl was real. He nearly ran into a telephone pole, but he managed to get back on the road.

A few minutes later, Nicholas began to hear a soothing whisper in his ear. He didn't know where it came from, but he figure it must have been from his hallucinations, which he now called them.

"Please...turn back..."

Nicholas ignored the voice and continued down the highway. He tried to drive as fast as possible without going over the speed limit; he knew he would be late if he didn't. Unfortunately for him, the speed limit was only 50 miles an hour.

4:15 PM, and Nicholas finally managed to get to the Huntsville Cemetary. He saw a man on the other side, opposite of where he entered. Nicholas figured he should walk down there, rather than trying to get over there with his truck. It took another 5 minutes, but he was finally there.

"Who are you?" Nicholas instantly asked the man who he was, as he never managed to find out on the phone.

"That is no worry to you. Don't call my anything; my name is a mystery."

"But, if I don't know your name..."

"Please, don't worry about it. There is nothing to worry about, I am here to help you."

Nicholas was confused. If the man were to help him, he thought that he'd at least give his name. What made the situation worse to Nicholas was the fact that the man knew his name already.

"Now, are we going to fix these dreams or not? Please lay on the table I've provided, and we can get started."

Nicholas was hesitant about the offer, but he knew that if the hallucinations were going to stop, this was the first step. He continued to hesitate as he thought about the situation.

"What's the matter? Are you nervous?"

"Well, yeah...I'm about to undergo hypnotherapy with someone I've never met in my life...I don't even know your name. How am I supposed to trust you?"

"Do not worry, I can help you..."

The man's hypnotic gaze seemed to stare straight into Nicholas's soul. He felt it was worse than the hallucinations themselves, and he was finally forced to lay on the table.

"Now, then, shall we begin?"

...:::Scene 1: Regression:::...

"Now, please hold as still as possible, this will take a while..."

As the man began to prepare for the therapy, Nicholas had no clue what was happening. All he did was lay perfectly still, and nothing happened for a solid 5 minutes. All of a sudden, the man began to speak again, and Nicholas was once again startled. Nicholas noticed that he seemed to be a lot more easily startled that he was a couple weeks ago.

"Close your eyes and begin to relax."

Nicholas followed the man's instructions, regardless of if he knew the man or not.

"Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly."

Nicholas continued to follow his instructions, yet it didn't seem to be doing anything.

"Concentrate on your breathing; with each breat you will become more relaxed."

Nicholas felt what the man meant; he seemed to be in a much more peaceful state of mind with each breath he took. He was continually becoming entranced from the hypnotic therapy.

"Imagine a brilliant white light above you; focus on this light as it flows through your body."

Nicholas saw the light, and he felt the soothing warmth permeate his body. His breathing began to slow as he began to drift from the present.

"Allow yourself to drift off as you fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of mind."

Nicholas had already gone ahead of the man's instructions. Nicholas was ready to completely pass out, when he heard the man begin to speak once more.

"Now, as I count backward from ten to one, you will feel more peaceful...more calm..."

Nicholas felt as if he were already calm enough. He wasn't hallucinating, and he was almost asleep. While he had been tired from the previous night, he felt as if he was completely awake, yet asleep at the same time.

"...ten...nine...eight..."

It was surreal to Nicholas. He felt as if he were even more calm than he was before the man started counting. Nicholas began to wonder if this would actually work, or if it was just a scheme to get him to fall asleep. He wondered if he was being robbed before his bery eyes...

"...seven...six...you will enter a safe place where nothing can harm you..."

Nicholas began to see a screen-like image in front of him. All of a sudden, his eyes began to open instantaniously, and he saw the scattered images in front of him.

"...five...four..."

The man's voice began to fade, and he was seemingly in a completely diferent dimension. The Huntsville Cemetary was now gone, replaced with a bright void with nothing but picture. Nicholas didn't know what the pictures were, but they seemed familiar for some strange reason. He walked up to one of them, wondering what was going to happen. As he stepped forward, he could hear the last of the man's voice.

"...three...two...if at any time you need to come back, all you must do is open your eyes..."

The man's voice was but a whisper now, as the images became even more clear than they ever were in front of Nicholas. He was amazed at how much he could see through this.

"...one..."

The man's voice was gone, and a girl stood in front of Nicholas. It was the same girl that he had seen in his hallucinations. He wondered if this was all part of the therapy, but she just seemed to stand there. Nicholas stepped forward once more, walking to her. She seemed very similar to him in every possible aspect.

"Hello, Victoria."

Nicholas was dumbfounded. He had never seen this girl before, and he somehow managed to get a name out with ease. She waved back at Nicholas with a smile, but afterward, she seemed to mutter something.

"You shouldn't have come here..."

It was the same thing Nicholas had heard from the warnings back at his house. Was this some sort of trick? Nicholas knew not whether it was fact or fiction.

"All you can do is progress, now."

The girl seemed to disappear into the void, and Nicholas felt the need to chase after her.

"Victoria, wait!"

Nicholas kept running, but she had disappeared completely. Nicholas was scared; was it a mistake to come here? What would happen if he woke up? There were dozens of thoughts going through his head; even that seemed impossible to him, as he was asleep through the therapy.

He looked around at all the images. Some of them looked like self portraits, while others seemed like completely abstract paintings. Some of these images even seemed to express scenes from Nicholas's own life, which seemed abnormal. Nicholas knew that he was trying to get rid of his hallucinations, but how would this represent his own life? His own misfortune hasn't done anything, and he knew it wasn't bad enough to scar him for life. It had been 7 years since his last nightmare; how would all of this appear now?

He realized that he was doing nothing but wandering about, but he figured it would be necessary. It was a new place that he was unfamiliar with; he had to do something. While he was confused as to where exactly he was, a house began to form from outside of the aura-like void, and Nicholas seemed to know the house. It had been in his dreams in the past, and it was as if he was experiencing deja vu...

...:::Scene 2: Strange Deja Vu:::...

The house was a marvel for Nicholas to look at, but he knew he had a job to do. As he walked the path up to the house, he realized that more figures were forming around him. The gardens forming around him in just seconds were absolutely beautiful; the combination of Lavender and Hydrangeas was the centerpiece of the garden to the right. To the left, an explosion of blood red Rhododendrons seemed to make the scene seem...agonizing, according to Nicholas's thought perception. As he continued up the walkway, he realized that the house wasn't just familiar, but he finally realized that it was a newer, younger version of his own house.

The realization was mind blowing for Nicholas. He never realized that the house in his dreams was his own, let alone in a newer state. As he walked up to the door, he noticed the same driveway he drove out of from his own house. It may have been a mere dirt, but it was definitely the same driveway, regardless of the material used. Walked up the stairs to the porch -- his porch...? Nicholas noticed that the door was a carbon copy of his own. Every aspect was exactly the same. The gash through the right side of the door seemed much more crisp, but it was the same as the gash in his own door.

He slowly opened the door into the house...he was questioning if this was even in the past in the first place. As he opened the door, he noticed a quiet, yet noticable creak in the door; it was the same creak that his own door made. He closed the door and heard a voice. It seemed to be ethereal, and he finally realized that the Hypnotherapist was talking to him. How he ccould hear him was indifferent to Nicholas, but what he said was startling.

"Nicholas...I want you to know that you are roaming about the town. I cannot control you, but I presume you are headed back to your own home. Please, I urge you to finish what you are doing and wake up as soon as you can. We don't want you causing havoc throughout the town, now do we?"

We...? Nicholoas was confused. The second part of his words made sense, but saying "we" in the first part waved a red flag for Nicholas. Maybe he should stay asleep...

"Nicholas, whatever you do...please do not wake up. I have something very important I need to tell you. I'm upstairs..."

Victoria's voice overtook the Hypnotherapist's as Nicholas was confused as to what to do. Did he listen to the Hypnotherapist, who he barely knew in the first place -- all he knew about him was that he was a Hypnotherapist -- and wake up? Did he trust Victoria, who had been haunting his dreams for months, and stay asleep to hear what she has to say? Nicholas was at a complete loss. He decided to listen to Victoria; he seemed to trust her more, regardless of how she haunted him so. The labyrinth that was the house took Nicholas a whole 5 minutes to get to the upstairs; it was the same layout that his own home used, but his home had a bunch of extra passages that allowed for easier access.

Before Nicholas even got to the stairs, he knew the upstairs was going to be trashed. Not only was it this way when he first bought the house, but it was never this bad. There were blood stains all over the carpet, and broken glass flooded the floor. Nicholas was wearing sandals, so he was somewhat glad this was a dream. As he struggled to walk through the seemingly infinite amount of glass shards, he questioned why he was even meant to be in the first palce. He felt as if his life was in grave danger, and by the time he got to the end of the room and to the stairs, he stopped dead in his tracks. He realized what Victoria was trying to tell him.

He connected Victoria's preachings of Nicholas's impending danger with his life in present day. He realized that if he didn't wake up, he would be killed by his sleep driving. As he tried to wake up, he heard Victoria's voice once again. She sounded more violent this time.

"Nicholas. This isn't what I mean. The impending danger you face is much more complicated than a simple car crash. Get thet out of your head."

Nicholas seemed to wonder if Victoria was even telling the truth anyway; she seemed to be scattered...different from when she started to haunt him. Although he wanted to wake up, he listened to her and kept going. He traversed up the stairs into the second floor. Little did he know that he had an attic...

"You'll need to go up again, Nicholas. Another long walk is at hand."

"Wait, what? this house is the same as my own; how is there another story? I don't understand..."

"You don't realize that you have an attic. Go to the 8th room, and there should be a trapdoor in the ceiling. Open it, and you'll find me. Please, hurry."

Victoria was beginning to sound a little more desperate than ever before, so Nicholas began to run through the rooms. He counted each room as he ran through; some were much bigger than others, but he knew that each room in his house was a different size, so it was obvious that he would be travesring through 8 completely different rooms.

The 8th room approached, and Nicholas immediately noticed the string hanging from the ceiling. There was a ring tied to the end of the string, where he instantaneously pulled with all his might. the ladder shot down and almost hit him in the face. He barely dodged the incoming ladder and immediately shot up into the attic. He noticed a dresser and a mirror, which was lit up with a series of lights. It was a lot like a dresser you'd see in a Hollywood dressing room.

"Please, do sit. We have a lot to talk about." Victoria beckoned Nicholas to sit down, and he followed her instruction. Nicholas sat down in front of the mirror, but what he saw wasn't his own reflection. It was a girl with long, blonde hair, and a similar complexion to his own. He was staring Victoria in the face.

He had never seen her this close before. He figured it had something to do with her not wanting to be near him, but with the intention to tell him something at the same time, but this blew his theory out of the water.

"Shall we begin? I have a lot I need to tell you..."

...:::Scene 3: The Mirror:::...

There he was, stating into Victoria's eyes through the mirror, and there was nowhere to hide from her. Nicholas knew he had to face her eventually, but he never expected it to be like this. He listened tentatively as Victoria began to speak.

"You know, there is more to the picture...I began to haunt you for a reason, but you never listened. I guess I should explain myself now. This may take a while, so you may as well get comfortable."

Nicholas heeded her words and began to position himself in the chair.

"As you have probably already guessed, I am a dead woman, but a ghost. I am not real. I am only a remnant of Earth...lost in the souls of the damned. I'm not sure what happened, but here I am, talking to you right now.

"Let's cut to the chase, now. What I want you to know out of all of this...I am you. Your soul was transcended from my death...which is still a mystery to the real world. What I mean by this is that we share the same soul, and your life has had many similarities to mine. You were abused as a child...threatening suicide at the age of 12. Later on, at about 15, you finally find a suitable partner. You, on the other hand, stray off at that point. You proceed to marry her, and ultimately proceed to have a child. A couple months back, you two divorced, and your once partner gained custody of your child..."

It was insane. Nicholas knew that Victoria couldn't know that much about his life, but he was beginning to piece information together.

"So what you're saying is that I have the same life span as you, and the end result is always the same?"

"Exactly, but here's the twist. I died on my 26th birthday."

Nicholas was startled. Did that mean he would die in a couple weeks? He didn't have a clue what to think.

"Your 26th birthday is coming up in a couple weeks, but it seems there is a man trying to accelerate the cycle. The man you met in the cemetery is the exact reason I began to haunt you. He is the one who is trying to shorten your lifespan. The reason he called you here is to put you to sleep in order to murder you peacefully, but I made sure he would fail. I, being the same soul, took control of your body and drove you to the scene of my murder. What I want you to do is reveal the truth about it."

It made no sense. What did solving Victoria's murder have to do with the fact that he was in grave danger? Nicholas pondered the thought for a bit until Victoria interrupted him.

"I know what you're thinking: how does my murder have to do with yours? The answer is simple: the exact crime scene will turn out exactly the same as my own. Solve the mystery of my murder, and you know how to prevent your own. It's as simple as that."

"So...what happens if I prevent my death?"

"Right now, I'm not completely sure. I tried to do it myself from Rudy's teachings, but a turn of events caused it to fail...the downside is that I don't remember exactly how it happened."

Rudy was a new name to Nicholas. He had never heard of him in his life, but he figured it had something to do with Victoria.

"So, is this Rudy your past life, and thus he is also linked to me?"

"Exactly. You cannot get any contact with him; you can only communicate with your past and future life. The only possible way is cross communication, which will take a lot longer. He is very wise, though, and it may be worth the time. He could tell you a few things I don't yet understand."

"So...we have the time now, so why not try it now? We have time to communicate."

"That can't happen right now. You're almost at the house where I was murdered, so you'll be finding yourself awake sooner or later. I'll keep in contact with you as best I can while you are awake."

"You're saying you can't get to me while I'm awake?"

"It's possible, but it takes such a tremendous amount of energy that you would essentially die if I tried. That is something we definitely don't want."

"Then how have you been talking to me...haunting me?"

"That is an encrypted message. The meaning behind it is that of the knowledge of our oldest ancestor, who remains unnamed to this day. It would take me an easy forty lifetimes to figure out the meaning of it, but for some reason, his words are the only ones that can be directly transmitted to our future lives."

"So do our ancestors have something to do with this mystery?"

"Not in the slightest, but the more you find out about my murder - our murders - the more direct communication you may undergo with us.

"It's time you awoke now; I'll be transmitting messages as best as I can to you, and hopefully you'll be able to solve them. Good luck, Nicholas...do be careful...your future depends on it."

~~~

Nicholas began to wake in his truck, where he found himself in the driveway of a seemingly abandoned home. There was an older man sitting on the porch. He was seemingly waiting for Nicholas to do something. Right before Nicholas got out of his truck, he got a phone call. The number read 0 (000) 000-0000. The Hypnotherapist. Nicholas eagerly answered it, waiting to see if the man would slip up with his intentions.

"Hello?"

"Nicholas, where the hell did you go? I'm at your home, and you aren't there. All I see in your driveway is a dresser with a broken mirror..."

The mirror Nicholas had been looking at Victoria with was shattered in front of his house. It was marvelous to think that Victoria had such control of actions relating to him, but it was awkward that only his farthest tracked ancestor could make contact with him in the real world.

"You know, you should go back to the cemetery. I should be back over there soon...I have to check something out."

"No. You have to come back to me immediately. We have important matters to finish."

"What kind of matters? How the hell am I supposed to trust you? If you want me to trust you, then at least tell me your name."

"..."

"No response? Fine."

Nicholas immediately hung up, and on the other line, the Hypnotherapist was waiting for it.

"I...am...Edward...? Am I? I don't...even know anymore..."

Nicholas got out of his truck and approached the man. He didn't know whether to trust him or not.

...:::Scene 4: Fatal Tragedy:::...

Nicholas stepped out of his truck to see if the old man would have any reaction. Nicholas felt an overwhelming amount of trust from this man, even if he was unsure of his trust or not. He slowly stepped forward, and the man just stayed there. He seemed lifeless in the rocking chair he was sitting in. Nicholas began to step forward, when he heard Victoria's voice.

"Nicholas. You can trust this man. Victoria has known him herself. Do not have any worries for him."

The words of his 7th ancestor shocked him. Victoria knew this man? He seemed too old for Victoria to have known him. He continued to walk forward, when the old man stood up. He was holding a shotgun.

"Take another step and I'll blow you into more pieces than what's in your truck."

"Woah now...no need for such threats. I'm here to investigate a murder.

"...a murder? The last time someone was murdered in this area was 71 years ago. I was 26 at the time..."

26 years old...that was how old Victoria was when she died...how old Nicholas would be when he died. He was worried that all of this information tied together somehow.

The man continued to explain what he knew to Nicholas, seemingly mindless about the amount of trust that spiked within him.

About twenty minutes later, the man was getting ready to finish. His last words shocked Nicholas.

"The true plot still remains a mystery today...nobody knows how the murder happened, what caused it, or who committed it. It's the biggest mystery the US has ever seen..."

"That's...insane! How is that even possi-"

Nicholas stopped in his tracks. The old man wasn't looking at Nicholas. He noticed the man's gaze went beyond Nicholas. He turned around to find the Hypnotherapist standing with the shotgun owned by the old man.

"Nicholas, it's been too long since you were at therapy last. You don't want it all to go to waste, now do you? Get in the van, and we can get back to your therapy."

The old man seemed to scramble for his gun, but it was nowhere to be found. He hadn't realized that the gun the Hypnotherapist was holding was that of his own.

Nicholas hesitated, when the Hypnotherapist cocked the gun and shot the old man in the chest. The blast blew him back to the wall of the house. The man was knocked out cold...Nicholas assumed he had been killed by the shot alone.

"Don't think I won't do the same to you, Nicholas."

"There's a problem with that: you can't. It's too early."

Nicholas saw the opportunity to mess with the Hypnotherapist's head.

"What...what are you talking about? How did you..."

"Easy. I paid a visit to Victoria while I was asleep. Thanks to you, I know exactly when I'm supposed to die."

"Not possible...I can kill you right now!"

The Hypnotherapist shot the gun again, aiming at Nicholas. The pellets that flew out of the shell seemed to do nothing to Nicholas...he was immune in some sort of aspect.

"...what...how...?"

"Easy. I'm not to be killed yet. You can't hasten my death, but I can extenmd my lifespan."

"...impossible..."

"Let's cut to the chase. First off, I don't even know your name. If I knew your name, maybe I'd trust you a little more."

"...fine. You win...my name is Edward Anunziota. I have been studying Hypnotherapy and regression therapy for as long as I can remember."

"Why do you have so much interest in my life?"

"When I met you, I felt an awkward energy coming from you. I wanted to see if it would benefit mankind in any way by studying this energy."

"So I'm basically an experiment to you? That's real enlightening."

"Look, if you just let me try and go through your thoughts again...maybe I can stop this energy from consuming your body."

"I'm not sure why I'd want that now. Earlier today I found Victoria as a damned soul haunting my life...now I know that she is in my soul...she is my soul..."

It suddenly hit Nicholas like a bird hitting a window. Nicholas was torn into Victoria's life for one specific reason: exposing the truth about her murder. His expression immediately changed as the Hypnotherapist put the shotgun down.

"Now...Edward, I think I may have to trust you with this...I have to go back into your therapy to find something for Victoria. Will you do this favor for me?"

Edward immediately perked up as he heard the remark. He practically jumped for joy.

"Y-y-yes! Of course I can do that for you; you won't regret this one bit!"

Nicholas walked closer to Edward, completely forgetting about the old man Edward had shot and killed. Nicholas was wondering if his soul would travel to another, like Victoria's did his.

Nicholas saw a bed inside the van, and Edward directed him to lay down. As Nicholas climbed onto the bed, Edward seemed to prepare some sort of liquid. Nicholas braced himself for Edwards hypnotic regression therapy.

"Now we are going to see how you died. Remember that death is not the end, but only a transition."

"Ten...nine...eight..."

Nicholas closed his eyes and began to imagine the white light permeate his body, just like the first time.

"...seven...six...five...four...three...two..."

Nicholas began to see a vision of Victoria in front of him. He raised his hand to wave, but realized she wasn't completely there yet.


...one."

"Nicholas, what the hell are you doing? It was damn stupid coming back here. Edward is going to damage you more as you sleep."

"Victoria...I know why I'm so torn into your life now...I'm going to have to trust him for the time being...especially if I want to live in peace and harmony again."

"I don't think you understand, Nicholas...the scene is going to get a lot worse from here on out."

...:::Scene 5: Scene of the Crime:::...

"Worse? But...how? I have to find out and expose your murder if either of us are going to be happy!"

Nicholas was confused. Victoria had seemed to completely change her perspective on the situation, and he didn't like the sudden shift of tension. Victoria continued to respond in ways she usually did.

"You don't understand, Nicholas. You-"

"You always say that, Victoria. I get it. I don't understand anything you do. I'm in danger, and I should be scared. There's nothing new there."

Victoria hesitated for a minute. She didn't expect Nicholas to interrupt her and take the words right out of her mouth. She didn't think she would be so predictable. She figured it was time for a different approach.

"Nicholas, I want you to read this. This should explain everything."

Victoria handed Nicholas a newspaper. It was a lot thicker than the newspaper they had in the present, and Nicholas didn't understand. He figured he'd get his curiosities out of the way first.

"Why is this newspaper so thick? It's never this thick in the present."

"This is the newspaper from the special 1928 edition. It was considered the greatest year for the press, and so they made a special edition every day. Every paper was different, and this one just happened to be thicker than the rest."

Nicholas turned to the page Victoria directed him to, and he saw that the headline on that page was that of a murder. He skimmed through the article before finally reading the headline, which caught him off guard.

"WOMAN AND BOYFRIEND MURDERED. SUSPECT COMMITS SUICIDE."

As he read through the article for real, he noticed that there was a new name that he was unfamiliar with. He looked around to see if there was anyone that seemed like the person that was mentioned, but he couldn't find anybody. All he saw was the same house where he had been at when Edward had come for him. Before reading the rest of the newspaper, he set it down and walked into the house. the back of the front door was splattered with blood, and a few feet in front of him lay a dead man. In the next room, a dead girl. It was Victoria.

"I still can't remember this day all that well...Julian and I were so young..."

Julian. It was the same name Nicholas saw in the newspaper. He ran outside and looked at the newspaper, and read it as thoroughly as possible.

"Victoria Page was found murdered in her home today, and the suspect, Julian Baynes, was found dead with her. The Huntsville county Coroner has ruled the death of Victoria a homicide by shooting, and the death of Julian a suicide.

""I can't help but feel...empty. Julian and Victoria were both close...I don't understand how this could have happened." Julian's brother, Edward exclaims in an interview with the Huntsville press. "There was a horrifying sound coming from inside when I went to pick up a few of my things...I ran inside as fast as I could to find them both dead. I tried to help...it was too late." Edward mentioned a "sad close to a broken love affair," which caught the attention of local authorities. Further investigation has yet to be made."

Nicholas was dumbfounded. He was unsure Victoria was telling the truth, but this revelation made him completely sure she was. The 1928 murder had crushed Edward, and he had nothing left, according to the report. Nicholas wondered if the murder was premeditated; it seemed like it, but Julian's suicide afterward didn't match up with the murder, from Nicholas's perspective. He walked back inside to check out the scene once again. He found a switchblade on the ground.

It made no sense. The newspaper article mentioned Victoria dying from a gunshot to the chest. Nicholas wondered if the switchblade had something to do with it. He found a note inside Julian's back pocket after a few more seconds of staring at the switchblade. He immediately opened the note to find a suicide letter. As he skimmed through it, it seemed completely illegible, but it had no mention of premeditation or intentions. Nicholas was clueless as to the situation at hand. He knew that this information was completely inconsistent with the article Victoria showed him, which made him skeptical of the evidence he found as compared to what the article said.

He walked over to Victoria, who had been mourning her own death, as well as Julian's. He tried to get near her, but she was crying. Nicholas knew from past experiences that a girl crying was never a good sign, but he knew that it was because of her own death. She probably hadn't seen her crime scene for over 70 years, and this was her first chance to relive the tragedy for a long time.

Nicholas approached Victoria with caution, and she turned around, hugging him.

"Nicholas...I'm sorry you have to see me like this. I just...can't take the gore."

It made perfect sense to Nicholas. The blood was spilled all over the floor. The dried blood on the door made it seem even worse, and the fact that there was her boyfriend laying ther as well probably crushed her.

"We should get out of here...I don't want to see you like this." Nicholas escorted Victoria out of the house, and she was immediately done with her little episode.

"I'm sorry...it's just that I'm not used to seeing my own dead body. Anyway, I want to cut to the chase."

"What chase? There's little to no information here. How are we supposed to do anything?"

"Ah, this is where the Edward of the present is helping us. I didn't know of this before you came around, and I'm finally reliving my own death. I'm starting to remember bits and pieces as we go deeper into this mystery."

"Wait, so now Edward is helping us? Make up your mind, Victoria! I can't just be stuck here with someone who can't decide on something. that will get us absolutely nowhere."

"You don't get it, Nicholas. You see, the more yuo find about about my death, the more I remember about it. I'm always one step ahead of you in the situation. We're very close to the truth about the murder; we just need to get through a few more obstacles that I don't think you'll like."

"What obstacles...?"

"You're going back to the Cemetery. It's the only way to fully understand every part of my murder."

Nicholas was ready to refuse. The Huntsville Cemetery had enough bad memories for him. The original encounter with Edward was enough to send chills down his spine.

"So am I going to be awake for this? I can't go there now; the Cemetery was established right after your murder."

"You'll be awake for this part. Don't worry; I'll be sure to protect you from death again. I'm not sure how much I can take, though. The first blast you took took a lot of energy out of me..."

Nicholas made sense of his death defying moment after Victoria had said that. He was a little bit confused at first, but now it made sense.

"So you were protecting me when you said that?"

"That's correct, Nicholas. I saw the perfect time whenever you said you couldn't die yet, and sure enough, Edward took his chance."

"That's pretty cool. How much more can you take?"

"I'm not sure...you'll have to go back into the present for me to find out for sure. There isn't much time left."

Nicholas was ready to wake up, when Victoria stopped him one last time.

"Oh, and...one last thing, Nicholas."

"What is it?"

"Happy birthday."

...:::Scene 6: The Life in Death:::...

It couldn't have come quicker. Nicholas had no idea that it was his birthday, despite having prior notice of it dozens of times. He had little time to spare, and he didn't know what to do next. As he began to wake, Edward began to notice quicker than Nicholas could notice him, and Edward immediately pulled a knife from a nearby cabinet. Before Nicholas had any time to wake up, he was already being held at knifepoint.

"Don't you make a single move. I know what you're trying to pull, and I can end your plans with a flick of the wrist." Edward had a fire in his eyes, as if he was about ready to pounce at any moment.

"Edward, what are you doing? You seem excited to do your research one moment, and now you're trying to get me killed again! It isn't going to happen, even if you tried."

"Ah, that's where you're wrong, Nicholas. I have the technology to see exactly what you see in your hypnotic trances, and you're trying to avoid death. I assure you that you will not get away with what you are attempting."

"If I don't, then you're done too, Edward. You can't kill me until I'm exactly 26. You've still over 10 hours to wait." Nicholas remembered that his birth certificate stated he was born at 3:20 PM. It was 12:21 according to the clock in the van. Nicholas knew he was running out of time, but his diversion worked. Edward hesitated, and slowly pulled the knife away. Nicholas took the chance to strike in the heart of weakness.

Nicholas lunged at Edward, knocking the knife that was in his hand. He swiftly grabbed the knife, and now the tables were turned in Nicholas's favor. That was when Nicholas heard a faint voice that seemed to come directly from his head.

"Nicholas, you have to do this. A swift shot to the knee should be enough to give you time."

He was clueless, but he obeyed the voice. He plunged the knife into the edge of Edward's theigh. As Edward let out a howl of pain and terror, Nicholas left the van, and began to head back to the Cemetery. He got into his truck and instantly stepped on the gas. He knew that the faster he got to the cemetery, the more time he would have to prevent his own death.

Fifteen minutes later, Nicholas had finally reached the Huntsville Cemetery, nut there was something different about it that he couldn't put his finger on. It didn't seem like anything was physically different, but at the same time he wondered if this was some of Victoria's doing.

"Nicholas, I have a message from Victoria."

Nicholas was caught off guard from the voice that had told him to stab Edward talking to him again. He had no clue what was happening, or what it had to do with Victoria. He decided to keep going. He had an instinct that he was to go to the back of the cemetery, which was a whole mile away. It would waste a lot of time that Nicholas didn't have. On even worse terms, he could barely run in the first place, so he was already at somewhat of a disadvantage.

A while later, he had finally reached the back of the cemetery. He looked at his phone, which showed 1:02. It took him a half hour for him to get to where he was supposed to be, and he was beginning to become paranoid that Edward had gotten back on his feet.

"This is Victoria's way of communicating with you, Nicholas. I am not Victoria. I am her ancestor. Your ancestor."

Nicholas was speechless. There was more than just Victoria and Rudy? He stood before a tombstone that seemed to hold signifigant importance. It looked a lot like a small scale version of the Washington Monument in the capital. He stared at it for a long time until he felt a sharp pain in his knee. He fell to the ground, and he saw a faint vision of someone walking above him. Before he had any chance to say anything, he had already passed out from the pain.

Nicholas woke up to an empty room, but little did he know that he was asleep once again. He stood up to see Victoria standing in front of him.

"You need to be more careful, Nicholas. You're wasting time."

"Wha..."

"You were shot in the leg, Nicholas. You're being taken somewhere...I'm not sure where, but it's been two hours."

Nicholas checked his phone again. It was 3:09, and he stood there, stunned. He didn't think it would take that long for him to finally wake up where he was.

"There is an upside to it, though. What you saw at the cemetery was my grave. I needed you to be able to get there so I can remember...remember my own death. I can see it clearly now, and it's all thanks to you."

"You're saying there's still time to stop this?"

"Of course; you've plenty of chances left, and plenty of time. We still have a little more than 12 hours to be able to get you to safety."

Victoria began to pace around Nicholas, and he didn't know why. She began to close in on Nicholas. Closer and closer she got, and she eventually was right in front of him.

"I think my knowledge will allow us to gain greater contact, Nicholas. We can't finish this alone, and I can't delve into my own memories for some odd reason. You'll have to go in with someone you know."

"Someone I know? I don't think I know anybody in my head besides you, Victoria."

"Are you sure about that?"

Victoria turned around, and a mirror stood before her. She slowly paced to that mirror, and an image reflected upon her, but it was not what Nicholas had expected. A tall, lean man was on the other side; it was someone Nicholas had never seen in his life. The man stepped out of the mirror, to Nicholas's surprise, and walked straight to him. He was even taller up close.

"Well, it's nice to finally meet you, Nicholas. Victoria has told me so many things about you."

"Wha...who are you?"

"As if she hasn't told you about me. Do you remember when you first encountered Victoria at the mirror? I was there as well, looking through to my ancestor. She never saw you, it was only me. Now we finally meet in person, away from our own rules."

In the same instant, Nicholas remembered Rudy. He felt stupid for not remembering him in the most needed time.

"...Rudy? But I thought..."

"You thought we could never meet? Correct, but our origin has made an exception after he found out Victoria's plans to keep our legacy alive. I've been given permission to finally meet you. Allow me to formally introduce myself."

"No need to do that; we don't have enough time to mess around."

Rudy ignored Nicholas and introduced himself anyway, despite the lack of time they faced.

"The name's Molischi. Rudy Molischi is here to help. Now, shall we begin?"

"Nicholas was right, Rudy. We don't have the time to be able to mess around. See the door next to the mirror? If you walk through there, you'll go straight to my past memory. It'll have everything you need to know about my death, and we'll be able to continue our plans. Now go; we've 10 hours left."\

Nicholas checked his phone again, and to his disbelief, it was already 5:30. He was clueless as to how the time passed so quickly, but he wasn't about to ask about it, just like he was holding back the urge to ask why he was able to see Rudy at all.

"Now, if you two need to get out, all you need to do is go through the front door, and you'll be back here. If you're worried that people will see you, don't worry about it. This is only a memory, and it'll play out exactly how it should, and you two won't interfere with any part of it. You can't even physically touch anything other than the floor and the front door." Victoria was extremely explicit with her guidelines, but it was worth it. Nicholas was going to ask questions she already gave the answers to in her briefing, which would have wasted more time.

"Alright, Victoria. We'll be back soon. How long do we need to be in there? And is it anything bad? I remember my murder fluently through you, and it's too much for me to handle." Rudy seemed a bit nervous to go through to Victoria's memory; it seemed as if he were worried about the way the murder was committed a little much.

"As soon as Julian hits the ground, it'll be time for you to go. My murder isn't near as gruesome as yours, so you don't have to worry about it."

Nicholas wasn't paying attention to their conversation; he had been fixated on the door, waiting to go through to see the memory Victoria had been talking about.

"Rudy, let's go; we've no time to lose."

Rudy listened to him, and they stood before the door. Nicholas held his arm out and grasped the knob, and slowly opened the door. In front of them lay the same house Nicholas had already seen twice before. One by one, Rudy and Nicholas stepped into the house.

...:::Scene 7: Their Final Affair:::...

Into the house Nicholas and Rudy went, and it was exactly the same as what Nicholas had seen when he first encountered Victoria. The labyrinth of a house was the final memory of Victoria's; it was sad to see that her journey was coming to an abrupt end, but Nicholas knew he had to stay on task. He had to go find Victoria.

"Nicholas, it may be a good idea to split up to find her faster. That way we don't waste as we would if we stuck together. We won't be seen either way, so it's easier." Rudy walked through the wall, and Nicholas was, for a second, very confused. Then he remembered that they could only physically touch the floor and the front door.

"Yeah, I'll call you when I find them. You do the same if you find them, Rudy." Nicholas went the opposite direction, but wasn't content with walking through the walls. He took the doorways instead, and yet it didn't seem to take a very long time to traverse through the rooms.

There was a faint yelling in the upstairs, and Rudy instantly heard it. "Hey, Nicholas, I think I hear them upstairs. Come up with me."

Nicholas ran and went to the staircase, and went up the stairs faster than he ever had before. He could now hear the yelling Rudy was talking about, but it was only faint. He got closer, and he could eventually hear what they were saying.

"Edward, you aren't the one who makes the decisions all the time! We've been over for months now, and you can't stop me from having another relationship!" It was Victoria's voice. Both Rudy and Nicholas alike recognized it. They listened more as they began to head into the room Victoria was in.

"You don't understand my feelings right now. I feel betrayed. This bastard over here doesn't deserve you. I'm the one you should want! That addict isn't worth your time, and neither are you."

"Don't talk to Julian like that, Edward! He's changed...I know he has..." Julian was a new name to Nicholas. He had heard the name once before, but didn't know exactly who he was. He seemed to stand there without anything to say, and as Nicholas walked into the room, he found himself wronged.

"Edward, you don't understand us. You're just jealous of the fact that you don't have the chance to be with Victoria. You won't have the chance again if you keep acting like this."

"Oh, shut up, Julian." Edward pulled a gun from his jacket, and Victoria let out a scream of terror.

"If you're going to try and best me with your changed ways, you're dead wrong. Victoria, you're going to regret your decision to leave me. You will not get that chance again." Edward pointed the gun at Victoria, and a split second later, he pulled the trigger. Victoria ended up shot in the heart, killing her instantly. Blood stained the floor, and the window behind her shattered from the remains of the bullet. Julian lunged at Edward out of pure spite, but it wasn't enough to stop him. Edward broke free of Julian's grasp and pointed the gun at him, and instantly fired. A swift shot to the head killed Julian instantly. Before Nicholas could see anything else, he felt Rudy pulling at the back of his shirt.

"Alright, Nicholas. It's time for us to go. We don't want to waste any more time."

Nicholas had thoughts racing through his head. If Edward was Victoria's killer, then is the Edward he knows the same person as the Edward that Victoria knew? If that was the case, what ever happened to Julian? Nicholas was clueless, but he wondered if any of his questions would be answered in the future.

Out the door they went, and soon enough, they were back where they started. Victoria stood before them, and she noticed that Nicholas seemed confused.

"I know what you're wondering about Julian. I'll explain everything when we're finished. Right now we have bigger problems. Edward has planned to kill you exactly at 3:20. He's locked you in your home, and there's no way out. We have to find a way to get through this obstacle and get to the cemetery before your time comes."

"So I'm basically trapped in my own home?"

"Exactly correct, but we have a bigger problem. We have less than an hour to get you out and back to the cemetery. That is not going to be easy."

"So what happens after I get to the cemetery?"

"I'm figuring that Edward isn't going to plan against your going to the cemetery, so it's the only way for you to survive past your time."

"So how am I going to get out?"

"I can't help you there. You'll have to find that out yourself. Rudy cannot help you, either, but there is one person that can help you...I cannot mention him right now, but you'll know who he is soon enough. Now, it's time for you to wake. We have no time to lose."

Victoria turned around and walked toward the mirror, and Rudy followed. As Nicholas's sight began to blur, he saw a faint vision of a screen in front of him.

The blurry sight of a pendulum swung in front of him.

...:::Scene 8: Home:::...

...

"Please save me..."

"I can't do this alone..."

Nicholas once again woke up in his bed, this time fully clothed. He awoke from his dream -- he no longer saw Victoria as a nightmare -- and was ready to get out of his home. He knew Edward would be watching him wherever he went, but he didn't care. He looked over at the clock at his dresser. 2:30 PM. He had less than an hour to get to the cemetery and get to wherever Victoria wants him to go, but there wasn't enough time. His truck was running out of fuel, and he was tired, nonetheless.

He got up, and to his surprise, he was fully clothed. He instantly ran to his door to try and get out, but he was stopped by a smashing surprise. The door had been bolted shut, and therewas no way he could get out with brute force. He knew he had to find another way to get out of his home. He looked around and remembered that he had a tool set in his closet. Over to the master bedroom he went, where he kept all of his storage, and he was dumbstruck when everything was ransacked -- likely Edward's going...the power of the Hypnotherapist had gone too far.

He rummaged around through the mess, looking for the missing tools, when he finally found a single screwdriver on the ground, underneath a set of hunting knives. He grabbed the screwdriver, and he grabbed the biggest knife in the set as well; he knew he would have to defend himself if Edward were to attack him in his own home. Back to his bedroom door, and he began to unscrew the hinges, which were connected to the inside of the door, rather than the side of the door. He had wondered why it was that way for a long time, but he wasn't complaining now.

It took him a good five minutes to unscrew the hinges, and after he did so, he managed to kick the door down; less support meant less force to break it down, so he took advantage of the situation. The door made a loud crash, and he instantly began to head downstairs to get out. Little did he know about what was lurking in the shadows...

Another man was hiding in the master bedroom, and he emerged from the nearby closet. He slowly walked out of the room, knowing Nicholas wouldn't have the time to get out of the house before he was killed. Through the master bedroom he went, and out Nicholas's room. It was a scene taken straight out of a horror movie. Down the stairs as quietly as possible, he noticed that Nicholas had been stuck at the front door, trying to unscrew the hinges once again. Each and every step was a greater sense of urgency that Nicholas didn't know about, and at the landing, Nicholas finally heard the man through a loud creak that had always been at the foot of the stairs.

Nicholas instantly turned around, knife in hand. He went into the dining room, through the kitchen, and to his staircase. He saw the man, and he instantly held out his knife, ready to attack.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Mr. Paige. You'll regret what you do."

"What are you talking about? I have no clue what you're talking about."

"Ha, surely you've heard of Julian already! You don't know who I am, but you're about to find out. I am Julian's further being. The Second Awakening of Julian Kopona."

"What do you have to do with any of this? Who are you...?"

"How rude of me...let me introduce myself. I am Lucas Konim. I'm here under the command of Edw-"

Before Lucas had any other time to react, Nicholas had stabbed him in the leg. A scream of terror and pain had sent Lucas to the ground, and Nicholas back to the door to finish the hinges. Another five minutes went by before Nicholas could kick down the door and get out of his hosue. He ran outside to see at least fifteen people holding him at gunpoint.

"Don't even bother trying to make a move, Nicholas. We know what you're trying to do, and we're here to make sure you fail."

Nicholas was worried that he wouldn't be able to make it to the cemetery in time, but then he realized that he was completely immune to their threats.

"You're going to stop me? Ha, Edward couldn't even stop me right now even if he tried. I've still 35 minutes to live before my death is imminent."

Nicholas began to walk by them, and each and every one of them began to open fire on Nicholas. Like a force field, bullets sprang off his body and began to hit the men instead. He was surprised that Victoria had so much power to be able to do this, but he wasn't worried about it at the moment. He had to get to the cemetery as fast as possible. He was running out of time.

He got to his truck as fast as possible, and immediately realized that he was out of fuel. The men had stabbed the fuel tank, leaking every last drop of fuel out of the truck and onto the ground. He had to get there on foot, or he would have no chance of getting there. The cemetery was in city traffic, so he figured it wouldn't take that much longer to get there, but he wasn't taking any chances. He had to move quickly, or he would be dead before he even got there.

Through the street he ran, and the cars around him were furious. He didn't care, and he continued to run. He knew he wouldn't be able to run forever, but he had to go as far as possible so he could get there in time. Into city traffic he went, and he knew the traffic light he was at was always one to take a long time to change, so he ran through without a problem.

He was at least five minutes ahead of a vehicular ride, and he was closing in on ther cemetery. Little did he know that there were many of Edward's men closing in on him while he ran. The Huntsville Cemetery was in sight, and Nicholas found a sense of hope until he was beaten to the ground by one of the men. A gun pointed to Nicholas's head, the guard was about to shoot, but said something first.

"You have no chance of survival, whether I shoot you or not."

The man let go of Nicholas and picked him up, and Nicholas began to run once more. He finally got to the gates of the cemetery, and he found Edward a long distance away from him. Nicholas began sprinting as fast as he could so he could stab Edward as hard as he possibly could. He neglected to check the time, and it was going to haunt him forever.

Nicholas closed in on Edward, and he realized that behind him, over the hill, was a clock. He focused on the clock for a split second. It read 3:20 PM. Before he had the chance to focus on Edward again, he got a knife to the abdomen. As he sank to the ground, Edward stared over him, and smiled.

"You're just a tad late, my friend. My research has paid off, but unfortunately, you cannot die until Lucas has died. He did tell you about his ancestry, correct?"

Nicholas managed to stand up, in pain, and nodded.

"Good. Then you'll be glad to hear that as soon as he dies, you die as well. Look down, and you'll notice your stomach is bleeding through your body. It'll only be a matter of time before you cease to exist."

"No...I will kill you...Lucas will live...it's over!" Nicholas pulled the blade out of his stomach and began to swing at Edward. Four misses, and he finally connected. The blade sliced right through Edward's hand, cutting it clean off. Nicholas was used to hearing the screams of pain, but this was something he had never heard before. Edward pulled out a radio and began to talk through it.

"...Lucas...we have a problem...come to the cemetery at once..." Edward was in major pain. He passed out afterward, and Nicholas saw the opportunity to get to where Victoria needed him. He noticed that a light shone in the sky; it was on the opposite side of the cemetery. He figured it must have been a beacon for him to follow to get to the point where Victoria needed him. The sky blackened, and the beacon brightened. Nicholas couldn't see ten feet in front of him, and he was confused as to why the sky got so dark. He ignored it after a few seconds, and began to run to the beacon once again. His running was slowed from his wound, but he knew he could survive it as long as Lucas lived.

Twenty minutes later, Nicholas finally closed in on the beacon. It shone even brighter than it did before, and yet the sky continued to darken, despite it already being pitch black. He ran into the light, and he instantly felt rejuvinated. It seemed like his wound had completely disappeared, but he had sooner passed out just as he felt the sense of extasy. He began to close his eyes, and the same screen was shining in front of him.

The pendulum was moving slower than before.

...:::Scene 9: Eternal Night:::...

"Open your eyes, Nicholas! We haven't any time to lose!"

Nicholas was startled by a sudden awakening from Victoria, who had been standing right in front of him. He had taken a second to look around, and noticed that a series of screens hovering around him. Each screen, much like a movie theater, shone in complete blackness. Each screen shone with a different image, and yet they all seemed strikingly similar to things that Nicholas had seen in the past.

"Quite staring at the cinemas and get up! You're about to die, and you aren't even doing anything about it!" Victoria scolded Nicholas, and it instantly knocked him out of his trance. He got up instantaneously, and ended up falling again from getting up too fast.

"Lucky for you, Rudy has a greater power than I. The black sky you saw in the light before we took you was his doing. He calls it 'Eternal Night,' but it seems a little too strange to be within our power in general. I'm not complaining right now, though."

"So what does this have to do with me? Does it help me survive or something?"

"Exactly. The Eternal Night will protect you for about 20 minutes. We've about 5 minutes here from the dialation of time, so we have to make this quick. Now, since you've already surpassed your time of reckoning, it shouldn't be that hard to survive from here on out. All you have to do now is defend yourself until midnight tonight, and it'll become impossible to kill you...at least, according to Rudy. I'm unsure if this will work or not."

Victoria seemed nervous, and Nicholas could see it. He noticed she was constantly staring at him as if something was wrong, and yet he didn't understand why she would be so nervous. She had been in much more nerve wrecking situations in the past, so what would cause her to break now? He was confused, but he knew he had to set it aside for the time being.

"So, I just have to survive until midnight? That's a little less than 9 hours...that shouldn't be too hard...right?"

"Don't be too confident, Nicholas. Edward is obviously going to prepare to kill you as soon as he can. It's safe to assume that he has an entire arsenal waiting for you as soon as you come out of your trance, so it'll be difficult to get around it. There is a way, though..."

"Well, if there's a way to get around it, then tell me! You don't want me to die as soon as I get out there, now do you?"

"Well, there's a slight problem...I'm completely clueless from this point on. Not even Rudy or anybody else knows what goes on from this point...none of us have survived longer than you have."

"So I'm basically on my own, and if I fail, there's nothing any of us can do?"

"Exactly, but no worries; if you can get out of the arsenal, then it will likely be a lot easier to evade him."

Nicholas was confused. If Victoria didn't know what was going to happen beyond Edward's arsenal, then how could she know that it would be smooth sailing after he got out of it? Nicholas walked off on his own to try and figure something out, but nothing came to mind. He knew Victoria's veracity was beginning to dwindle, and yet he felt she was the only person that would know what to do.

"Nicholas. It's about time for you to go now."

Victoria held her hand out to give Nicholas a handshake, but Nicholas refused. Nicholas walked through the light that had begun to shine before him, assimung it would lead back to the real world. Sure enough, it did, and Nicholas was ready to face what was coming to him.

The world began to materialize around Nicholas, and as he slowly descended from the skies in which he came, he noticed that the "arsenal" Victoria spoke of wasn't one that was going to work against him. Dozens of police cars surrounded him, and he felt a sense of security as he touched down on the ground.

As he looked up, he noticed that the cops outside the cars had their guns drawn. Nicholas's security quickly faded into nervousness and the desire to be gone from the world he knew. He looked around, and the cops stood before him, ready to shoot. Their faces showed no expression. Nicholas felt like he was standing between a group of droids, but he realized that one of them was speaking to him.

"Edward Paige. Put your hands behind your head, or lethal force will be used!"

Nicholas saw the opportunity to get away from the punishment, and he quickly yelled out to the cops.

"Please! Edward is the one that is trying to kill me! My name is Nicholas!"

"Don't try to lie to us, Edward. You've been trying to kill a lot of people for a long time, and you aren't going to try and get yourself out of this."

Nicholas realized quickly that the cops weren't there to help him. None of them were wearing a proper uniform, and none of the cars were legitimate police cars -- not even undercover vehicles. Nicholas didn't know what to do, so he slowly went to his knees and put his hands behind his head. Maybe it would help him survive.

One of the men walked up to Nicholas, gun still drawn. He pointed the gun at Nicholas, and whispered something in his ear.

"You have no chance to survive this-"

Nicholas took the opportunity to headbutt the man, and he took his gun immediately. Hiding behind the man, who was now out cold, he began shooting at the surrounding forces. One by one, the men fell to their imminent death, and Nicholas soon cleared the circle from any hostile forces. Not knowing what else to do, he began to run to the entrance of the cemetery.

...:::Scene 10: One Last Time:::...

Nicholas was quickly stopped by another squad of men that were quickly closing in on him. Not knowing what else to do, Nicholas began to shoot at them, and sure enough, they all fell to the ground. Nicholas checked his phone while he ran through the graveyard. It was 5:00. There were only 7 hours left before Nicholas was free...at last. He focused again on running, when he noticed something strange about the cemetery. What used to be the tombstones of those who passed had become nothing but empty space. Each grave defaced, and Nicholas knew it was likely Edward's doing. He forced himself to ignore it, but he couldn't get over it.

He never realized that he was heading straight for the center of the cemetery. The place where he had first met the Hypnotherapist. The place where his life had completely changed. He felt a surge of sadness as he got closer and closer to the place where Edward was waiting for him in the beginning.

Edward was now in the same place he had been in the beginning of it all. Nicholas noticed that the same bed he had first used to communicate with Victoria was also there, and he didn't know what to think. He stopped, knowing that Edward had the power to end him right there. He raised the gun and shot countless times. He hit Edward four times, and he let out a terrifying yell that brought chills down Nicholas's spine. Nicholas slowly walked closer to Edward, and he noticed that he was muttering something as he bled.

"...ha...ha ha...Nicholas, you fool. You know what this is like. I couldn't kill you before it is your time, and it is my job to kill you personally. You know what that means, correct?"

To Nicholas's surprise, Edward managed to get up, which Nicholas knew was not a good sign. He immediately turned around and ran as fast as he could; he didn't care where he was going; he knew he just had to avoid Edward long enough to save his own life.

On he went, but Nicholas realized that Edward was keeping up with him. It was unreal to think that he had been shot four times...Nicholas was nervous to think about what would happen if Edward caught him.

Nicholas thought that he could stop and ram into Edward, and so he tried. Luckily, it ended up working, and Edward was knocked down onto his face. Nicholas continued to run, but he thought about Victoria's expression before. Her nervousness seemed to intrigue Nicholas more than ever, and then he realized what it was for. Nicholas realized that no matter what happened, the cycle was going to continue. It would turn out to be an infinite loop of death from this line of ancestry, and Nicholas knew it. The fact that no matter what, the spirit of life would carry on forever. Everything that happens in his life will definitely happen in the next, and then more. Nicholas grinned as he ran, and he realized that he was helping his next life survive, whether he was to die or not.

Not completely focusing on what he was trying to get away from the nightmare that plagued everything behind him. He noticed that the grass was beginning to wither around him, and Edward began to catch up once again. Before he knew it, he had a knife in the back.

It was too late.

...:::Scene 11: The Spirit Carries On:::...

Nicholas hit the ground with astonishing force as he felt his blod drip through his shirt. The withered grass was stained by the blood he had spilled, and Edward stood over the puddle. He had a grin on his face, and he walked away, leaving Nicholas for dead. Nicholas inched toward the single tombstone that lay in front of him, somehow spared in the wreckage of the rest of the cemetery. As he crawled toward the stone, more and more blood poured out of him. As his vision blurred, he could barely read what the stone read. He noticed only the name that was on the tombstone.

"Kri Ilos - 2000-2026"

Nicholas touched the tombstone, knowing exactly what it was. His next life was staring him in the face, and yet it was still a year from now that she would be born. Nicholas noticed that the tombstone began to glow, and it soon vanished into thin air, to his surprise. He turned around, ready to face the death he had been trying to avoid.

Nicholas shut his eyes.

A smile was on his face.

...

...

"Nicholas! What were you thinking...you were so close!"

Victoria was furious. She knew that all of her work had led to nothing. She had tried harder than anybody else to let Nicholas survive, and yet he didn't go through with it.

"Victoria, I'm so glad to see you. I have questions, and you're going to give me answers." Nicholas was determined to find something that Victoria hadn't told him. He knew what she was thinking, and she couldn't deny it.

"Nicholas...ask anything you want...on one condition."

"And that is?"

"Tell me why you led yourself to this. Why did you die after everything we've done?"

Nicholas expected that to come along at some point, and he had already prepared an answer.

"Victoria, when I was on the brink of death, I saw a tombstone...Kri Ilos."

"Kri Ilos? Are you sure that was the name?"

"I saw it with my own two eyes. Her lifespan is 2000-2026, according to the tombstone."

"This is perfect. It's just what we've been waiting for."

"What do you mean?"

"Kri Ilos is the aincent prophet spoken of in the years before civilization. Kri Ilos is the name of our earliest ancestor. The rebirth of the name surely means something."

Victoria stormed off to try and figure out what it means, but Nicholas quickly stopped her.

"Woah woah woah, we aren't done here, Victoria. You haven't answered any of my questions."

"You're right, and you haven't finished mine."

"You're right, but the only thing I can say is that I know that my spirit can carry on in an infinite loop. No matter what happens, each one of us will live longer and longer until we outlast the one who is Edward in the future lives. It proves that if we keep trying to save those who we precede, we will eventually reach the ultimate goal you wanted to achieve. They can survive and live the rest of their life in happiness."

Victoria was dumbstruck. She obviously had never thought of her actions that way, and Nicholas could see it through her facial expression. "We just have to wait for Kri to come to us, and we'll be perfectly fine. Now, it's my turn."

"I believe it is. Go ahead and ask anything you want."

Nicholas was ready to deliver the questions, but he was unsure of how Victoria would react. "How come there's such a big gap between us? You died in 1928, and I wasn't born until 1973. Why the huge gap? What happened in between those years?"

Victoria instantly looked down to the ground after he had finished the question. She was unsure of how to answer the question, but she managed to find the best possible way she could explain it.

"It's as simple as this: Julian's lifeline is prevelant to ours. He is going to have more ancestors that we have, and this is the first time both have occured at the same time since myself. Since Edward and Julian were brothers, it makes the bloodline very hard to break, meaning it is less likely for us to have a prevelance. The only thing that is guaranteed is that Edward always has a bloodline."

"So it's basically a toss-up between which one of us and them ends up in the world? And we're just now beginning to become more prevelant?"

"Exactly. I'm unsure how it was, though. When we met in the Eternal Night, I was pondering the idea that we were becoming a more prevelant bloodline for the longest time, but figured it was pure coincidence that you are here. It seems like it's true now though...Kri being born will be great for us."

"How are we going to wait 26 years to get to her, though?"

"It's simple. Our time is sped up in the world. It should already be about the time when she is born by now. You're the only one who can currently see her. Go...find her. Make sure she is well."

"What...how do I see her?"

"You'll find out eventually. Now, I have to spread the news for everyone to find out. We'll talk more later."

Victoria walked away to a door that hadn't been there before. Nicholas was surprised that it appeared out of thin air, but he realized that he wasn't in the real world anymore. He knew it would take some getting used to.

"...how do I do this...? Should I just think about it...?"

Nicholas was completely clueless. He had unreal powers that Victoria neglected to explain to him, and yet he felt that it was easier than it seemed. He thought about Kri, and instantly saw her through a screen that shone before him. He immediately saw a hospital with a mother giving birth.

Kri was being born before his eyes.

As the baby was delivered, Nicholas quickly lost sight of it. Victoria was once again behind him, and she seemed a little more sympathetic than before. Nicholas was used to her abrupt personality changes, so he wasn't confused like he was before.

"I've talked to Rudy, and we'll be able to get you to see our origin."

Nicholas's face lit up at the opportunity to be able to have such an opportunity, but Victoria had more to say.

"Unfortunately, you'll have to see all of our other ancestors, and it will not be fun for you...Rudy's told me of the history of some of our ancestors. One of them killed their Edward before they died themselves, and they have much more blood on their hands aside from that. You'll have to convince them that you aren't there for harm or any form of fight, which won't be easy."

Nicholas went blank. If Victoria was worried about these people, then there was no telling how violent they actually are from his own perspective.

"So you're basically saying I'll have to get my way through cold blooded murderers just to see our first ancestor? What kind of game is this?" Nicholas was angered at the fact that his life was getting more dangerous, even after death.

"You have to do what's necessary to save us all, Nicholas, and sadly, you're the only one that can do this. The modern Kri Ilos, according to Rudy's sources, is the last ancestor of our bloodline that will ever live, and while linked closer to the aincent Kri than any of us, she doesn't have ny direct ties with us. Aincent Kri is the only one that can communicate with Modern Kri, unless you do this."

"So me getting to Aincent Kri will allow me to communicate with Modern Kri?"

"Exactly, and you'll also gain the ability to communicate with any of us at once, strengthening our links between each other. You're the head of this operation now, Nicholas."

"Then explain something to me...why were you mad whenever I died in the first place if we're now in a better position to stop Edward than ever? It doesn't make sense."

...

Victoria remained silent for a few seconds, hesitating to come up with an answer, and she finally decided to respond, but not the way Nicholas had hoped.

"You'll have to be going soon, Nicholas. We can't afford to waste any time. In about a day, Kri will be a year old, and we'll have lost an entire year to carry out our operation."

"Victoria, you didn't answer my question. I'm not moving an inch until you give me an answer to my question."

"I'll gladly give you answers, Nicholas, but we need to get to Kri first. Get to Kri, and I'll give you the answers you desire."

"I'm not accepting blackmail. Give me an answer, or you can say goodbye to this redemption."

"Nicholas, there is no time to fool around! The more you focus on these minor flaws, the less time we have to beat-"

"I don't care about beating Edward and saving Kri right now, I want answers!"

"But we have no time, Nicholas."

"I don't care! If it's answers I want, then I'll get the answers. It isn't going to take all the time in the world!"

Nicholas was beginning to become a little suspicious of Victoria's behavior; she seemed a lot more irritable than before, but he ignored it. He was more focused on the answers he desired more than trying to save someone else's life. Thoughts soared through his head as he argued on with Victoria. What was the point of saving someone that wasn't even tangible to himself? He didn't see a need to have to do such a large task at his own risk for no gain.

"Look, if you give me an explanation, I'll gladly go and do whatever it is you want me to do, but your persistence is getting a little redundant!"

Victoria hesitated once more, and finally responded, this time in a tone Nicholas had never heard before. She sounded demanding, yet sincere at the same time.

"Alright, fine. You win, Nicholas. I was originally unaware of the advantages we get now when you died in the first place, along with the mixture of the frustration that I failed because of what you did-"

"But what if Kri does the same thing for me? What if something happens that none of us can control?"

"I answered your question, so it's time to fill your end of the deal. I'll answer any other questions you have when you're done. Now, we must hurry, as Kri is already nearing 3 years of age."

Nicholas realized that Victoria was right, and he reluctantly turned to face the task ahead of him. A mirror stood before him, and he walked through with much hesitation.

"Nicholas, it's great to finally see you in person! I've been looking forward to this day for a long time now!"

...:::Scene 12: Prophet (Coming Soon!):::...

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