A while back I began sharing a story that I was writing monthly, however, I got sidetracked and never finished it. But recently, I picked the story back up and wanted to finish sharing it.
Just a reminder, for the ones who began reading it and never finished or the ones who haven’t began writing it. First Part, Second Part, Third Part, Fourth Part…
Here is the Fifth Part:
Zaire stared in disbelief at the front of a large house – almost mansion like, but not quite. It was painted a light maroon with large windows covered in black blinds. The sky was a bit darker than it normally was around six in the evening. A shiver crawled up his spine knowing this wasn’t going to end well for him. He knew he had two options: one, say no and be killed or two, do this and ultimately be killed. He took a deep breath and felt a sigh escape his lips. All he wanted to do was turn around and go home and pretend none of this happened. Forget he ever met Quinn.
Quinn – a growl escaped his lips.
His life would have been just fine if he had never run into her. The trip across the ocean to a tiny deserted island covered in Tesla Coils. He felt stupid thinking back to what the island looked like when he stood on the beach by the water. He knew everything seemed weird to him and now that he was standing in this spot – at this time – he knew everything was wrong. This isn’t how his life was supposed to end up.
He only agreed to this trip for the exposure. Something new that he hadn’t witnessed before. But this has turned into a complete nightmare. A nightmare that he cannot wake up from; something, no matter how hard he tried, he will not be able to come back from.
He had been dropped off and left to his own devices. They drove him to the middle of nowhere, pushed him out of a nearly moving vehicle, and left – like his life doesn’t matter; giving him the option to either kill or be killed.
The worse part?
He was facing death alone – still. No one wants to die alone – that’s half his issue with the disease. He has been facing death for years and has had no one around to face it with. Hand in hand – buddies. There is so many people in that compound, she could have sent one other person with him. Maybe, with two people, this could actually happen.
But no, he was facing this alone.
Zaire looked to his left and noticed a large tree and decided he wanted to take a brief sit down and do some writing. He had some thoughts he wanted to get down before his train of thought was taken away, leaving something behind in his wake. The leaves blew gently around him as he sat, getting comfortable, in the grass. He opened his knapsack and pulled out his tiny worn notebook and pulled the pen out of the binds. He leaned his back against the tree and began writing:
I’m going to die today and it’s not exactly what I had in mind. Death. I have given a lot of thought, lately, to how I would succumb to death and this was not what I had imagined. I never thought that I would be sitting underneath a tree in a complete stranger’s yard trying to decide how I will kill him. That’s it though; I’m not going to kill him. I refuse to kill someone when no one will tell me why they deserve to die. Does he deserve to die because he wants to be a dictator? Dictator for what – potato land? There isn’t anything around here to be the dictator of. We live in the United States of America – we have a president – and there is no way he is going to be able to overrun the White House and take America. It’s not possible; I’m not very versed in History, but I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere has already tried – and failed. What makes this man, of all men, think he is going to be any different than the rest?
I don’t want to die.
I want to live my life.
I want to write my stories.
I want to share them with the world.
But now, apparently, people have my life mapped out and I will not come out on top. It’s heartbreaking, really, to know that my life isn’t important enough for other people that they’d just throw me to the lions and hope for the best. But my life – to me – it’s perfect – it’s mine. No, it’s not what I thought my life would be at this point. But I can accomplish so much in the years to come.
But… here I sit. Preparing for my death.
He sighed to himself before closing the notebook. He glanced around the property. It was beautiful; so much green surrounded him. He had a line of weeping willow trees lined from his mailbox to his front door. Flower boxes lined every window with blooming yellow, orange, and red flowers. A pond, far off into the distance, had a large dock surrounding it. His yard was clean, almost too clean, and his house, itself, was almost too perfect.
Life of a fake dictator, he thought.
He knew, these last few days, he has spent enough time acting and feeling like what he would think a complete girl would feel. He decided to stomp on those feelings and he stuffed his notebook back into his knapsack and decided to storm into the house and take his life by the reigns.
“Man up, Zaire, if anything in your life is important I’m pretty sure this is.”
He began his walk up the side walk that lead to a large, red front door and pushed the doorbell which ran throughout the whole property. He chuckled to himself once he realized that it also rang outside. He would have to remember that when he finally gets to go home – if; his head dropped just as the door opened.
Yes, this is exactly how I will storm into this property.
A short stocky man with greying hair stood before him, “May I help you?”
“Uh, yes.” Zaire coughed slightly afraid, “I’m looking for someone who apparently looks like me?” He chose his words slowly, mostly because he was scared that this man was going to eat him.
The short guy titled his head to the side and chuckled darkly, “You do resemble Mr. Aguilar a little. Are you related to him?”
“Negative, but I need to speak with him, it’s urgent.”
The stocky guy lifted an eyebrow, questioning his motive, “Do you have an appointment with him?”
Zaire shook his head, “No, I do not, but if I don’t talk to him soon – something bad is going to happen.”
The stocky guy’s face fell, almost as if he knew why Zaire was standing there, “It’s always life or death. Please wait here, I will go get Master Aguilar.”
It felt like million or more years before the man reappeared escorting him inside the house and into a large, half decorated living room, “Please sit, Mr. Aguilar will be with you soon.”
Zaire sat but felt a little weird as he looked up above the mantle and finally saw his first glimpse of Josef Aguilar. There, attached to the rocks that decorated the wall above the fireplace, hung the largest self-portrait he had ever seen; he blinked a couple times trying to get his eyes to focus and realize that the portrait was in fact, not of himself. He stood up and took a few steps toward it, his eyes large with alarm.
He knows there is a saying that there is another person, somewhere, that looks like you. But his common sense told him that it’s not true. That there is no way there could be another person that would have his traits, his looks, or even his thoughts, unless he had a twin. However, staring up at the picture he can tell that Josef is much older than he is.
“So freaky,” He said out loud to no one in particular.”
“The resemblance is pretty uncanny. It’s… a little off putting, actually.”
Zaire jumped slightly, his heart racing, “Oh… hi, are you… Josef Aguilar?”
A man stood before Zaire, straight faced with a five o’clock shadow, his features were sad, “Unless there are three of us, I would assume so. So, let me guess, Quinn sent you here because we look an awful a lot like one another?”
“Quinn.” He repeated the words without taking his eyes off of Josef.
Zaire was confused. How does anyone here know about Quinn? His heart beat hard, trying to beat out of his chest – did he just walk into a position he didn’t want to be in?
“You’re not the first person who has showed up out of the blue attempting to kill me, however, you are the first person to knock on my front door.” A small chuckle rattled his chest. “Lots of courage, perhaps?”
Zaire didn’t say anything. If they didn’t knock, how’d they enter his house? Was he really this far out of the loop of things? And why would he think he has courage?
Josef walked calmly, with his hands clasped behind his back head down, into the living area and sat down in a large dark reclining chair. On the small table resting beside him sat a pack of cigarettes, the man grabbed it before Zaire had noticed slipping one out and between his lips. His eyes were determined; fixated on the lighter as it clicked to a small bright flame. Zaire watched, speechless, as he stuck the cigarette into the flame and inhaled deeply. He has known many people who smoke but no one seemed quite as passionate as Josef did. Almost as if he were a perfectionist when it came to smoking; as straight as Zaire is, he felt a small amount of attraction to the man sitting before him. What made it worse? The fact that the guy who sat in front of him could be his twin brother.
“Mental note, take up smoking if you get out of this alive,” Zaire said, moving his fingers like he was typing on a typewriter.
“Smoking is a horrible habit, you shouldn’t. Stick to writing – I’m sure one day you’ll get a big hit.”
Zaire’s forehead crinkled in confusion, “How do you know I am a writer?”
Josef smiled, “If I didn’t know things like that, I wouldn’t be who I am. There are reasons why I am who I am and why I do what I do.”
“Not to sound like an idiot, but why do you do what you do, that makes you who you are?”
“Power, my dear Zaire. Don’t you wish you had power and authority in life?”
Zaire chuckled, “I just wish I had the power to control my own destiny. Control when I die and how. Not like this.”
“She apparently didn’t know you too well, Zaire, when she chose you to do this.”
“Why do you say that?”
Josef stood up and waved his hands in the air, “I’m still standing here in one piece without any wounds.”
“Don’t you see Zaire, you’re the only person who has had the nerve to just walk up to my front door and ring the doorbell. I could have killed you in that moment but instead I wanted to bring you in.” He smiled, “Get to know you a little bit better.”
“Before you kill me?”
Josef laughed, “Who said anything about me killing you, not everyone is obsessed with killing. Just because I’m her Uncle doesn’t mean I’m anything like Quinn, or she’s anything like me. You see, Zaire, the biggest difference between her and me is that I have accepted what I want in life and I’ll tell people. She, on the other hand, won’t admit that the reason she wants me gone, is not because she’s afraid of what I may or may not do, but because she wants to be me.”
Zaire scratched his nose with the back of his hand. “I’m not sure I’m following. She wants to be a dictator?”
“You cannot honestly be that stupid. She has poisoned many people in hopes that they’ll do her dirty work and come after me because, why? You all think she has the cure for the disease that she has infected you with. No, Zaire, open your eyes. She doesn’t have the cure, that’s why all those men and women are still sick and dying.”
“Then why am I here?”
“You are doing her dirty work.”
“So, no matter what I do, I’m destined to die?”
Josef shrugged, “Zaire, my dear boy, I wish I had better news. But she is the one that infected you all, and I’m pretty sure she is the only one who can – uninfected all of you.”
Zaire has heard many people say sometimes one plus one doesn’t equal two, but until now he never really understood the saying. How can someone murder so many people just to find someone that will murder her Uncle? If she really wanted to be him, and have everything he has – then why doesn’t she just do it herself?
“You’re trying to figure out why she won’t do it herself, aren’t you?”
Zaire blinked, “I guess I just don’t understand why she needs lackeys if she is the one that is going to reap the rewards.”
“But that’s just it, Zaire, she isn’t going to reap any rewards. She is going to get nothing. When I die, my estate, money, and anything else that belongs to me will be given away. Sold to the highest buyer – she will get nothing.”
Zaire sat down, but more in a falling fashion on a large chair. He sighed and looked at Josef who was lighting up another cigarette, “So, what now? What do I do? Leave here and die?”
Josef inhaled his cigarette before putting it out in his ashtray. “I wish I could help you more than I have, but sadly Zaire, I cannot. I will say this, if her compound is still full of people, then she isn’t going to kill you herself.”
Zaire felt deflated and placed his face into his palms. His mind raced – another mental note for himself, don’t go on adventures with complete strangers.
Josef stood up, “You know, Zaire, you could probably just help yourself.”
“What do you mean?” His voice cracked.
“All you have to do is find the cure. I’m pretty sure, since she spends so much time in that compound, the cure is in it – if there is one. Don’t let me get your hopes up, she may not actually have it. But if she does, you can probably find it yourself before she ever figured out what you were up to.”
“How? She has it guarded like no other. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a prison but guarded better. How am I supposed to snoop around if I can’t leave my room?”
Josef smiled, “I guess that’s something you’ll have to figure out.”
Zaire stood up and threw his arms up in the air. “It isn’t going to matter anyway! It’s not like she isn’t going to kill me when I return.”
“Then don’t return. If I’m still alive, that means you failed, and probably means you’re dead. Zaire – be dead. Go get your cure and live your life. Write that book that is inside of you, publish it and please, when it happens, send me a signed copy.”
Zaire didn’t move for a couple minutes as he watched Josef exit the room, almost floating out; way too perfect to be human. He thought about what he was told and wondered if it was possible. Could he possibly fake his own death and no one realize it? Could he sneak into that building and snoop around without Quinn ever finding out? The biggest question he had, of course, does she actually have the cure stored inside of that building and could he figure out how to replicate it and save all of those people?
He shrugged before letting himself out.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?