Chapter 24:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

Their house was as they left it all those years ago. Technically Reohn owned the house, but he didn’t do anything with it, nor did he feel like selling it, so it sat practically abandoned. It seemed as if Reohn was hiring someone for the upkeep at a bare minimum. They walked up the driveway and opened the garage to the aged car still parked there. Fehram took something out of his pocket and threw it at Kothur. It was the set of car keys.

“You drive.”

“What? I can’t drive!” Kothur said pointing to his eyepatch.

“You can’t legally drive, but I know you can drive. You got your license when you were younger, so I’m sure you can manage. Just like how I’m now legally blind, but I can still understand what I can make out. There won’t be any cops on our way, I promise. If you’re worried about the car, don’t worry. It runs. I checked it out beforehand.” Fehram explained as he got in the passenger side.

Kothur grimaced. I guess my one good eye is better than both of his, he thought as he opened the driver side door. He adjusted the mirror and reached to turn the key.

“Oh, wait a second before I forget.” Fehram reached into his coat and pulled out a switchblade to open it. He suddenly pointed the sharp blade towards Kothur’s throat, scarring him. He put his hands up instinctively. “Hand over that gun you got from Reohn. Where you’re going, it’ll just get you in trouble.” Fehram said with a smug grin.

Kothur, without looking away from the blade, took out the gun from his coat pocket and slowly handed it to Fehram. His eyes were wide and his poor heart was racing once again. What the hell was wrong with him? Why didn’t he just ask for it normally? Did he think he would try to shoot him in the back for being a traitor?

“Good boy. Now shake.” Fehram quickly took the gun out of his hand along with his glove and gave him a tight handshake.

Ah. The scenery around Kothur changed. He saw the school’s dael research room. Fehram was there along with a few other men. Some were wearing lab coats like Fehram, while others had military uniforms. Kothur felt the tension in the air.

“What’s this I hear about you experimenting on yourself and not on a freshman? You are a man of the government. You aren’t allowed to turn down orders.”

“I already told my boss what I was going to do before I did it; looks like news just made it up to you though. I did what I was told and researched using dael for enhancing the brain’s potential. Aren’t you interested in the results? Dael is scary stuff. It’s not worth messing up people’s lives, and definitely not safe to dispose in the water. There’s evidence to suggest more exposure relates to brain damage.” Fehram said to the man in uniform.

“Nonsense. Humans have been using it for years. The Romans used dael to line their aqueducts.”

“The Roman empire fell and it’s looking like this country will too, isn’t it?” He said with a smirk.

The men were put on edge with that statement. Fehram shrugged and continued. “But I already know there’s nothing I can say to convince you and by the look on your face it seems I might be fired as soon as you say the word. I’m really not comfortable leaving this research here. So, I’m going to do the only thing I can do.” He pulled out a bottle from his coat pocket. The other scientists looked in worry. They already knew the substance and what kind of person Fehram was.

“What is that?”

Fehram smiled. “Acetone. Did you know it has one of the lowest flash points? It can easily ignite in room temperature. Would be such a shame if these delicate pieces of equipment and papers were to catch fire, wouldn’t you say?”

Kothur returned to his senses and looked at Fehram. He was feeling many emotions at once, but he just smiled at his brother. He was proud of him and glad he moved Reohn’s arm when he did. He wished he could have been more like him throughout his life.

“Well, I hoped you learned something.” Fehram put his hand up and curled his fingers. “To get a reaction like that from a handshake for you, both parties have to be feeling strong emotion. That’s why I pretended to rob you. It was pretty fun.”

Kothur thought about it as he put his glove back on. I see. Those parents were probably feeling really stressed and I just wanted to be done as soon as possible. Hm? Then what about that time with Mylise?

“Wait. How did you know about that? I thought only Reohn knew about it.”

Fehram pointed to his eyes. “You saw that I experimented on myself, right? Seems that you need high exposure to dael and a high stress event to get symptoms like this, if you’re lucky. You got yours through holding onto that bullet everywhere and then poked yourself in the brain. I was messing with my eyes too since they are so close to the brain. I got some bad cataracts, but I see a bit of the future. If I concentrate hard enough, I can see another person’s future as well. I bet if you learned how to do the same, you could see anyone’s past. It’s how I’ve managed to stay hidden for so long. Well, that and being able to live with others traitors like me. Seems the world's not as scary as they lead you to believe if you go far outside of the big cities.”

It was hard to believe, even coming from a man that can see a bit of people’s past. He guessed that Fehram must have known everything. When they were coming, that he would move the gun in time, and that he would follow him. “Why didn’t you show up earlier?”

“Sorry I couldn’t show up sooner, but you know what girls say. If a man needs one thing, it’s good timing. That fire thing was pretty brash of me. Even though I did that, I couldn't stamp out their interest in dael. I had to wait until they got my research back up to speed. It’ll help us get to the ending. Now just drive. I’ll give you directions.”

Kothur followed Fehram’s directions down a long empty road while he thought about the memory he saw earlier. More exposure leads to more brain damage. For years now, people have been using more and more dael in their daily lives. At the same, violent crime has been going up. Was it responsible for what he did to himself? What about his mom? It was a depressing thought. “This is all so crazy, about dael. At what point is dael exposure responsible for a person’s personality? How many people wouldn’t be dead?”

“Isn’t that a question for the ages, Kothur. But you know what? You worry too much. It’s not your responsibility to worry about the world. A man’s responsibility is to his morals. If he protects that, everything else will fall in place.”