November 9th post of Dead-Alive for NaNoWriMo08

The rest of the week was, well, painful. Keeping a straight face around my children proved to be a lot harder than planned, and – for what had to be the first time since Patrick had colics – I was happy when they would fall asleep or go to school.

“Don’t feel ashamed,” Talya would tell me. “It’s normal.”

“I know – but I still feel bad.”

I was taking the highest doses of pain medication that I could so I could spend some time playing with the kids, but I was happy they had plans the entire week-end and would probably be satisfied with a movie night on Saturday. Plus, we were expecting Connor, Reena and David on Saturday afternoon, to finish up what we had started a mere couple of days ago.

“Are you OK?” were the first words out of Reena’s mouth.

She seemed very upset, more so than I had ever seen her. “I’m fine. Banged up and bruised, but fine.”

“He was very lucky,” Talya said a little stiffly.

It always came as a shock to me that Talya was so unlike herself around Reena. It was too subtle for anyone else to notice; even I had taken awhile to figure it out. Talya had never told me why it was so, only saying that you can’t like everyone. Very odd coming form the woman who did like everyone she had ever met up to then.

David’s concern was less obvious, but just as big; I immediately sensed it in the swift look-over he gave me even before he had completely come into the house.

“I’m fine,” I reassured him, reaching out to hug him.

“Good, because not having a lab dummy would make things quite dumb,” he said, holding me a little too tight.

But I didn’t say anything, because this in itself showed just how upset he was.

“Connor is going to be a little late,” I told David and Reena, “so why don’t we settle down and start figuring things out.”

We settled back in the dining room, and I couldn’t help but wish for the fluffy comfort of my bed upstairs. I took a quick look at my watch; I could take my next dose of pain medication in less than an hour.

“So last time we went over all the cases, and found out that all 95 dreams you had were of actual events that had happened, more or less as you had described them,” Reena said.

“More or less?” Talya asked. “Did anyone note any major differenced between the dreams and the events as they were recorded?”

Everyone shook their head.

“OK then,” Reena said. “The dreams described the events accurately.”

“Even more so in some cases, I’m sure,” I said.

“Let’s stick to the facts for now, sweetie,” Talya said.

I nodded.

“It’s quite exciting that even the perpetrators were described to a tee,” Reena added.

“Although I think you are going to have to learn to describe them a little better than ‘tall’, ‘dark’, ‘with a crooked nose’,” David said with a little smirk.

“Not everyone is an artist,” I said with what I wanted to be an elegant rolling of the eyes.

“So,” Reena continued, “we have 65 dreams that accurately portray 65 actual crimes that have been committed. Consequently, the probability that the remaining 30 dreams describe actual events with the same accuracy is quite high.”

“We should take these to the nearest police station,” David said, “and the sooner, the better. We could help arrest thirty criminals.”

“Or more,” I thoughtfully said, remembering how some of these crimes had been committed by more than one person.

“I think we need to hold our horses a little bit here,” Talya said.

“You don’t think we should take these to the police?” Reena said, gesturing towards the 30 files piled up in the centre of the dining room table.

“Do you think I’m selfish enough to hide my husband’s ability at the cost of the greater good?” Talya said. Ouch, that hurt, since Talya was a tireless community worker and was known to have sacrificed a lot for the greater good. “While taking these files to the police isn’t a choice, we do have to make sure we do so in a way that alleviates the suspicions of the police. I think that Sean’s accident a few days ago is actually a good thing, in that it demonstrates that he really does sleepwalk.”

“There isn’t much else we can do though,” I said, “unless you want me to fake another accident?”

Talya rolled her eyes at me and gently cuffed me behind the head. “No you silly man. I’m talking about trying to find you alibis for the most recent events that happened.”

“Why are we calling them events, rather than crimes – which is what they are?” David asked.

The man didn’t talk a lot, but when he did, he really was straight to the point. “You’re right, they are crimes,” I said. “But… I like calling them events. You see, I have to face the possibility of seeing one tonight. Calling it an event helps decrease my anxiety.”

David nodded thoughtfully.

“What I would do before going to the police,” Talya continued, “is to take out Sean’s agendas and make sure that, for the most recent events that happened, we see what you were doing on those evenings. We have been pretty busy during the last couple of years, so the chance that you were busy with something else is high.”

We quickly agreed to do that, then proceeded to cross reference my online calendar, my PDA and my agenda with the dates the 95 events had taken place. Unfortunately, while the idea was a good one, the results were a lot less satisfactory.

“So out of the 95 events,” Reena summarized (since by then Connor had joined us), “you only have a solid alibi for 20.”

“That kind of sucks,” David said, proving yet again that it isn’t the quantity, but the quality and the timing that counts.

“Thank you Sherlock,” Connor said.

“So what do we do?” Reena said. She had been getting more and more fidgety, glancing at her watch. She probably had a date that evening and didn’t want to be late for it. Better go straight to the point.

“I don’t think we have much of a choice,” I said. “Let’s just call up the police station and ask for an appointment with an inspector. I’m sure that through our contacts, we can find someone who knows us well enough to give me the benefit of the doubt. OK Reena, what is going on?”

“What do you mean?” she said, eyes wide in her typical I-didn’t-do-anything expression.

We all glared at her – we knew that expression all too well.

Reena smiled, and I squirmed. I recognized that smile. It was the don’t-kill-me-I-did-something-I-shouldn’t-have smile.

“Reena?” I said.

She sighed. “So I have a cousin who’s married to a fantastic guy,” she started.

“The point?” Connor said.

“He’s an investigator, and has been investigating some of the events you saw,” she said, looking at me.

A cold feeling bloomed in my stomach, slowly traveling outward. “What did you tell him, Reena?”

She smiled – but it was a tight smile. I wasn’t going to like it. “He’s coming to pick me up in a couple of minutes, and I was hoping we could invite him in and tell him about this entire situation.”

For a few stunned moments, silence fell in the dining room.

“Should I kill her,” Connor said, very sweetly, “or will someone else go the favour?”

“I don’t want to seem like a suspect to all the other crimes by committing one,” I said through clenched teeth.

“OK then,” Connor said. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Guys, guys,” Talya said. “Calm down. Reena didn’t tell her cousin anything. She just created a situation that, were we interested, we could talk to him. Right?”

Maybe it was true, and maybe for once, Reena hadn’t overstepped her bounds… But, judging from the look on her face, this was quite improbable.

“Well I didn’t tell him anything, I just asked him, hypothetically, what would happen if someone were to have a knack at dreaming about things, and were that person to want to help the police, how would that happen and what might happen to the witness…”

“You told him?” Talya said, her voice icy cold.

Ah, the ice queen. Talya’s anger isn’t red-hot; it’s an icy cold artic blue, much more dignified and a lot harder to bear.

Reena fidgeted. “It was hypothetical.”

“You really think,” Talya’s voice had dropped a couple of extra degrees, “that someone trained to discern lies from the truth, wouldn’t have seen right through your so-called hypothetical situation?”

“Well someone had to go to the police!” Reena said, defensive.

Uh-oh; Talya had straightened her already ram-rod straight back. “Are you insinuating that we would have kept such vital information from the police out of some kind of selfish interest?”

It was a good thing the doorbell rang at that point.

“What are we going to do?” Connor asked.

“We are going to play it by ear, I guess,” I said, getting up from my chair with a slight since. Could I take my pain medication before meeting the police officer who would most probably take me to prison?

“I’ll go get the door,” Talya said. Reena, who had been standing up, sat down with a thump. “And I suggest you guys let David and I take care of the situation.”

I usually would have been annoyed at my wife’s typical take-control attitude, but with the pain’s throbbing increasing every second, I didn’t care anymore. “Sounds good,” I said before heading up to my room. I might take twice the dose; I would probably need it.