MartinAndrew Weaver / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
By Andrew Weaver
Copyright Andrew Weaver 2012
Table of Contents
This is the first, and no doubt will be the last book to be written by Martin Chalfont. It is very deliberately written as fiction, although everything within these pages is based on actual events. To avoid identification, all names and places have been changed. This includes the name of Martin Chalfont and also the country these events took place in.
Delve deeper, and you will begin to understand why. This has been done not only to protect the author, but also to protect others. Protect them from what? That question remains unanswered. Even now, some two years after Martin regained his freedom, it is still unclear from whom he is running and hiding.
Is it a large organisation attempting to conceal evidence after carrying out some very strange and dubious experiments? Is it a government organisation? Suspicion it would seem, points to them both. There is a third possibility remaining, without doubt the most disturbing. I will not go into detail here however; understanding will come as you read into the story. The facts will gradually unfold.
I first met Martin about six weeks after he managed to escape. At the time he was going through the motions of desperately trying to drop out of society, attempting to evade those who continue to pursue him to this day. Martin began to believe and trust in me a few weeks after our initial meeting, and it was only then that he began to tell me his fantastic story. Many enjoyable and rather surrealistic hours were spent together as he told me the things that had happened, and were continuing to happen to him. I queried everything, recording all our conversations, and many of the passages in the book remain unchanged from those recordings.
I have in my possession Martin’s secret dossier – without which I would not have believed a word. Martin’s story is supported by much of the dossier, which makes the rest much more credible. No part of this dossier will be made public, unless Martin or myself are targeted. If that were to happen, arrangements have been made and the dossier will be published.
Martin wants his story told in the hope that people will begin to question those strange inexplicable events that seem to happen to most people from time to time. In so doing, it is his hope that demands will be made, questions asked. Who or what is really behind these events? Perhaps then the truth will be learned.
I became aware that it had suddenly got much brighter and I could feel myself gradually waking up. I opened my eyes and stretched myself to find the sun streaming in through the window into the bedroom. Bedroom, what bedroom? Where the hell was I? I was expecting to awake in the lab, but I was here, in this bed, in this room that I did not know.
I pulled myself up, resting my head on a couple of large pillows; I could now take in my surroundings a lot better, which did not help and only seemed to make things worse. This was all very frightening and try as I might, I did not recognise anything at all. I was, however, now able to make out some of the noises around me. From outside there was the sound of traffic, and in the background I could just make out that there was very definitely somebody else in this house, but who? I did not know what the hell was going on. I had been fully awake for a good two or three minutes now and still I had no idea of where I was. Whoever else was in the house was now coming up the stairs and I really did not know what to do, or what to expect. I was starting to get myself into a real panic and I could feel my heart racing. I felt completely lost. Who was it that was now coming up the stairs, and just what was going to happen?
A woman purposefully strode into the bedroom. She was about my age, tall with short brown hair. Looking at me through her gold rimmed glasses she then addressed me ‘I know it’s your day off Martin, but don’t think that you are going to stay in bed all day!’ She then came over to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek ‘I’m running late darling so I really must dash. Oh I nearly forgot, your mother just phoned, your parents are coming over on Monday for a couple of days.’ She looked at me quizzically before asking ‘Everything all right? You seem very quiet?’
Damn right I was quiet, just what do you say to a total stranger that addresses you as though she was your wife? Hang on; now that she had been talking to me for a minute or two, there was some sort of familiarity. ‘I’m just a little tired, don’t you worry about me, you have a good day,’ was the only thing I could think of saying in reply.
‘I keep telling you Martin that you work too hard, you know that? Anyway, be good and I’ll see you tonight,’ and then she was gone from the room. I heard her go down the stairs, followed by the front door closing shut. She then got into a car, started the engine and then drove off, whoever she was.
That had got to be one of the strangest experiences that had ever happened to me. I lay there for another minute or two and then it just seemed to get even stranger. For that woman that I didn’t know a moment ago was none other than my wife of seventeen years, and her name is Caroline. I looked around the room once again, and I now realised that I was actually in my own bedroom. Bloody hell, what was happening to me? Was I going mad? I decided that I really must get out of bed and get myself ready for the day.
I headed straight for the bathroom and a hot shower to get myself out of my strange slumber. As I showered, I slowly came to realise that everything around me was now completely familiar. It was as if I had only just now fully woken up from what felt like a very deep sleep. I also remembered that it was Friday and I had a long weekend to myself. I was still very perplexed at how odd I had felt when I first awoke. It was almost as though I had become somebody completely different. That was some bloody dream; I must have been so tired. Caroline must have been right when she had said that I was working too hard, but not to recognise her for a couple of minutes, now that was scary.
With my shower finished, I got dressed and went downstairs to have my breakfast. Sitting at the dining table I started to read the newspaper whilst tucking into my toast. I had been reading for only a minute or two and then something struck me. What was it Caroline had said to me this morning? That’s right, my mother had phoned to say that they would be coming over on Monday. My mother? But isn’t my mother…dead? What could have possibly possessed her to say that? No, that’s not right…what on earth could I have been thinking? I don’t know why, but for a few moments I had somehow convinced myself that my mother had actually died a couple of years ago - in some sort of a boating accident. How strange, I could not begin to understand where I got that idea, especially as she doesn’t even like boats!
I sat there munching on my toast thinking about it all. I wake up, not knowing where I am and not even recognising my own wife, and then I get it into my head that my mother had died two years ago. Was that all part of the dream that I had had last night? It was, without doubt, the most dramatic and extraordinary dream that I ever had. However, in spite of how vivid it had all been when I first awoke, I could now barely remember any of it, except that every now and then I was feeling a little unreal, if not a little detached.
I returned to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I glanced at myself in the mirror and started to move away. However, once again something struck me as odd, and so I returned to the mirror. I was right; there above my right eyebrow was a slight scar. I looked hard at it and then ran my finger over it. I was bemused. Where had it come from? I could feel myself suddenly getting hot as I again I struggled to come to terms with what was happening to me.
I returned to finish the newspaper and after reading for only a minute or two, it all came back to me. I had got the scar from the skiing accident three years ago in Austria. How could I have forgotten such an event? I had been in hospital overnight, and I can clearly recall how horrible the whole thing was.
I was now beginning to seriously question my sanity. This problem had never happened to me before, and I had been just fine only yesterday. So what the hell was happening to my memory today? Tired from working too hard is one thing, but to start to lose entire chunks of your past life for a few minutes every now and then is definitely not normal. I was now feeling a bit freaked out - and a little scared.
I glanced at my watch: half past eight. As it was Friday Caroline should be home at about four today. I now remembered what I had planned for my morning. It was Caroline’s birthday in a couple of weeks and I really should get myself off to the shops to get her something. I also have to phone Colin to meet up for lunch somewhere. I would then do a spot of gardening in the afternoon, and that should keep me pretty much occupied until Caroline got home.
I called Colin at work and had to get him out of an important meeting, which did not seem to really please him. However, Colin knows very well that I place a great deal of importance in arranging lunch on my day off, and so we agreed to meet up at one o’clock at the ‘The Cobblers.’ Perfect. I would leave the house for the shops in a couple of hours and meet up with Colin a little later.
As my mind went back to reading the newspaper, I had this rather odd feeling that many of the people, not to mention a large number of world events, seemed to be completely new to me. It was as though much that had been going on recently had simply passed me by. I again started to question my own memory but then concluded that it was probably just down to the fact that I simply had not followed events as much as I used to. After all, I had been very busy these last few months, as Caroline liked to keep reminding me every other day.
I decided there was plenty of time before I left for the shops to give my car a well-deserved wash. It had not been cleaned for a good couple of months, and so I might as well make the most of the glorious weather.
I finished hosing the car down and now went to work with the sponge. The car had been absolutely filthy. I really should not let it get in such a state. As I sponged the bonnet an odd thought crossed my mind. I stood upright and took a couple of steps back and keenly looked at the car. For a moment there I thought I was washing a different car altogether. It was some sort of a flash sports car - like a classic car. How strange was that? I’ve never owned or washed a classic car in my life. What a surreal thought! Mind you, it did get me to thinking. Maybe a classic car isn’t so fanciful after all. Yes, I could just picture one in the driveway. I had never really thought about sports or classic cars before. I returned to the cleaning of the car. However the idea of owning some sort of sports car did somehow now appeal to me.
With the car now glinting in the sunlight, I decided that rather than driving as I usually did, just for a change I would walk myself into town as I still had plenty of time on my hands. The walk took me around fifty minutes and it felt good in this wonderful weather. My first day off in around five weeks! It was only now that I fully appreciated that I really did need some time off - this did feel good.
Unfortunately, now that I was at the shops, I sadly had the unenviable task of finding something that would genuinely surprise Caroline on her birthday, but what? I really hated shopping, and trying to find something that she would really like and appreciate just drove me up the wall.
After going round the shops for around an hour or so, I finally managed to find the perfect present. I would treat her to a rafting weekend! It’s funny, I don’t remember her ever saying that she wanted to try rafting, but I was pretty sure that she would like it. Anyway, if nothing else, it would certainly surprise her!
I checked the time, half past twelve, plenty of time - that gave me some thirty minutes before I was to meet up with Colin. One thing that I did want to get for myself before we did meet up was a classic car magazine. I had never bought one of these magazines before, and yet for some odd reason I found myself desperate to find out more about classic cars. It was as though deep down I had been somehow missing out on something that I really should be interested in.
So having bought myself a couple of magazines, I made my way to the The Cobblers. I ordered our agreed meals and some drinks and found us both a table. As soon as I was seated I wasted no time and quickly got out one of the magazines to read. However, the very moment I opened one of the covers, Colin arrived and joined me at the table.
‘Martin, good to see you’, he said before noticing the magazine that I was now closing. ‘Not interrupting anything I hope?’
‘Not at all Colin, nope – just killing time. How are you doing? Haven’t seen you for oh, a good six, or seven weeks.’
‘Yeah and tell me, just who’s fault is that eh? When was the last time we had a good evening in with Angela and Caroline? Speaking of Caroline, how is she? I bet she doesn’t stop complaining to you about your workload - cos she sure as hell moans about it to Angela on the phone, constantly I can tell you,’ he answered as he sat down opposite me.
‘I know,’ I replied holding my hand up ‘Guilty as charged. The last few weeks have been bloody hellish at work, but I suppose it was worth it, I finally got the contract – thank God, and now I can start to relax a little.’
‘Well, in that case I reckon that it will be you who will be buying us lunch today, just think of all that l-o-v-e-l-y commission. Any ideas what you might spend it on? No, don’t tell me…you’re thinking about one of those fancy cars, aren’t you?’
‘I don’t know yet. Anyway, I need to actually get paid first. It’s okay though, you don’t need to worry, lunch is on me, especially as you and poor Angela have had to put up with all the sob stories from Caroline over the past few weeks. And, to answer your earlier question Colin, yes Caroline is just fine, thanks for asking. Apart from the moaning, the lectures, do this, don’t do that, you know, just the usual!’ I finished off with a laugh and emptied the remains of my glass.
‘Yeah, you and me both Martin, you and me both! So what’s with the sudden interest in classic cars? I thought that the only thing that you knew about cars was that you’ve got a red one with a distinctive rusting dent that’s been there for at least two years, and that Caroline’s got a silver one, which is newer than yours - am I right?’
‘I still don’t know anything about cars, probably never will.’
I thought about the very surreal day that I had experienced so far and quickly decided to not say anything to Colin. I was convinced he would probably think I was starting to lose it. Nevertheless, I saw no harm in telling him about the strange feeling I had when washing my car earlier this morning.
‘I’ll tell you what was a bit weird though, when I was washing my car I just had this urge to get myself one of those sports or classic cars. Don’t know why really, anyway, that’s why I got myself a couple of car magazines and, because you interrupted me when you came in - I’m still none the wiser as I haven’t read a single word.’
Colin just laughed before asking, ‘So what sort of car are you looking for? Any ideas yet? Not one of those bloody foreign jobs I hope!’
‘Nope, haven’t a clue, don’t know the first thing about them. Anyway, why are we talking about cars? What have you been up to?’
‘Loads, as always, but before I start to talk about what we’ve been doing, I think I should tell you what Caroline was saying to Angela this morning.’
I looked at Colin. He was looking very relaxed, but serious, and I had absolutely no idea what was coming next. I now waited with some trepidation for what he was about to say. Just what the hell had Caroline said this time?
Our meals arrived along with another round of drinks. We thanked the girl for our food then he continued, ‘Now I know that you know, that they are always on the phone to each other, never off the bloody phone, God knows what they talk about for so long!’ Colin paused for a moment. I could see that he was not really sure what to say next ‘Martin, I digress. You see, Angela gives me a call just before I left the office, as she knew that we were going to meet for lunch. I don’t know what you said or did this morning, but it sure as hell upset Caroline. According to Angela, I know this sounds a bit strange, but anyway, Caroline was saying that when she looked into your eyes this morning, she didn’t know who you were. It was like you were somebody completely different.’
I could feel myself suddenly getting very angry. Just what was all this about? This bizarre situation was now starting to take on a life of its own. I could clearly remember how I felt when I first woke this morning, and yes Caroline was right; I didn’t know who she was for a few minutes. But for her to say that she did not know me when she looked into my eyes, just what was that all about? And to go and bloody phone Angela who then gets my friend to mention it over lunch, now that really did piss me off. Just how the hell was I supposed to answer that?
I shook my head a little before I answered ‘I upset her? Well if I did, I had no idea that I had, and I thought it was me that had been working too hard! So, do tell me Colin, what’s your role in all this and…and, what else has Caroline been saying to you about me via Angela?’
‘Martin, now don’t get me wrong. I knew as soon as I said anything that you would immediately get defensive - and I don’t blame you. No, it’s nothing like that at all. Yes, it’s true that they are always on the phone to each other; we both know that, and I’m pretty damn sure that they are discussing and moaning about us both to each other. No, what happened this morning was a one off, and even though it was Angela’s idea that I mention to you how Caroline was this morning, she nevertheless does not want Caroline to realise that we both now know what she said. Don’t want to upset their relationship; you know - girl’s talk and all that. Angela was just concerned that Caroline was upset, that’s all, and that’s how I got dragged in.’ Colin paused, then looked directly at me, smiled and then added, ‘Nothing sinister at all. So I’ve done my duty, as per my instructions. Just please don’t say anything about this to Caroline.’
I was still a bit pissed off with the whole situation, if not at all of them. However, we had been friends for a good few years, and all said and done, I did trust Colin. ‘Don’t worry, I won’t say anything tonight. Your secret is safe with me. I suppose I will just have to stop looking at her in a funny way first thing in the morning. And there I was thinking that I always looked my best at first light!’
He let out a laugh before saying, ‘I’m not even going to go there, no definitely not. I think it’s best that we just change the subject, don’t you?’
‘Without doubt Colin, without a doubt,’ I quickly answered. ‘So what about you, what have you been up to? Anything new at work?’
‘It’s still busy, but it’s pretty much the same as before. Nothing has really changed since you left, when was it now? Of course, December, bloody hell, I hadn’t realised that it’s been six months since you left. If I had known that, then we could have celebrated, with you buying the drinks!’
‘I keep telling you Colin, come and join me. It’s good fun working for yourself, you’ll enjoy it – take it from me.’
‘I might just take you up on your offer - one day, but as you know there are the downsides. Just look at all the hours you keep putting in, and when was the last time that you took a holiday? I’m not sure if I, or Angela for that matter, could really live with that.’
Colin glanced at his watch and then said, ‘Nearly two, I had better start to make tracks or I will end up late. You want a lift home, or are you just walking back?’
I decided to take up his offer. I knew that if I didn’t, I would end up by not getting anything done this afternoon. On the way back to my house, we arranged for the four of us to have an evening together at their place the following night. Pulling up outside my house, Colin turned to me and said, ‘Clean car? What’s this, you feeling all right? Ooh, I simply can’t wait to see Caroline’s face when she comes home from work one day to find a beat up rusty old banger, sorry, what I meant to say was a classic car, sitting in the driveway.’ I could still hear his laughter as he drove away.
With less than two hours to go before Caroline got home, I decided to keep myself going with a spot of gardening as the weather was definitely encouraging me to stay outdoors.
The time just flew by, and for once I was actually enjoying myself pottering around in the garden. I decided to call it a day as Caroline was about to get home. Sitting in the recliner in the sun, I was now feeling totally relaxed. At last I came to realise that I had indeed been working too hard recently. It was wonderful not to worry about contract negotiations, or worse.
As I began to ponder my day, it was beginning to feel just a little unreal; it was almost as if I were slightly disconnected in a way that I really could not understand. I awoke to find that I did not know where I was and did not recognise Caroline, and according to Colin, she did not know me when she looked into my eyes. I then found that I had inexplicably convinced myself that my own mother had been dead for two years. Then I started to imagine that I was washing a different car to my own, and I’m now left feeling desperate to look at classic car magazines. To top it all off, I find myself relaxing after enjoying myself in the garden. I have always hated gardening – with a passion. That has always been Caroline’s domain, not mine. The more I thought about it, the more bewildered I felt. I was also convinced that it had absolutely nothing to do with all the hours I had been putting in recently. I again started to question my own sanity, just as I had done earlier this morning.
I heard the sound of a car pulling up in the driveway that I knew could only be Caroline. That rescued me from all of the strange and weird thoughts I was having. I felt quite relieved, and that was in spite of what Colin had said about Caroline over lunch. I came to the decision that it would be far wiser for me to act as though I knew nothing of what Colin had said to me earlier. As far as I was concerned, if I began to even mention this morning, it would probably just get us both into a very surreal and meaningless discussion that would end up going nowhere.
Caroline was now starting to empty the boot of her car with the weekly supermarket run. We greeted each other over some shopping bags and together we took everything into the kitchen.
‘So how was your day?’ I enquired.
‘It was okay. Nothing to speak of really. I’m just glad that it’s the weekend,’ she smiled at me before asking excitedly, ‘Well, come on, what do you think?’
I had no idea what she wanted me to say, and the only thing I could do was to return her questioning look with a blank stare.
I could immediately see in her face that I was in trouble. ‘My hair Martin, my hair – God, I don’t think that you listen to anything that I say, or do for that matter. I really don’t know why I bother sometimes!’
I don’t remember any discussion about her bloody hair at all, but it was more than apparent that I had to rescue myself somehow. The odd thing was that try as I might, I simply could not picture her hair other than the way it was now looking. ‘Of course you’ve done your hair, and no, I had not forgotten. Your hair is looking just lovely, it really does suit you. You know what I’m like; I thought you were talking about something else. So, who was it that cut your hair?’
Caroline just looked at me. I could tell that she was not sure if my response was genuine, or if I was just simply trying to cover up the large hole that I had just dug for myself.
‘It was Barbara.’ Her answer was a little less frosty than her previous statement and I decided that now would be a good time to move things on.
‘I’ve arranged with Colin for all of us to meet up at their place tomorrow. Not only that, but Colin has promised that he will do the honours in the kitchen.’
I could see in her face that I had now managed to steer us onto a better subject. ‘Oh that will be nice. It feels that we haven’t seen them for ages.’
For the next two or three hours we idled our time way just generally chatting about this and that, as together we both pottered around the house and garden. It felt like we had not really spoken to each other for so many weeks, and this was all rather pleasant. I was glad to have a long weekend, for I had begun to realise that through my work I had indeed been neglecting Caroline. No wonder she was always moaning about me to Angela.
At Caroline’s suggestion we got ourselves a Chinese takeaway meal delivered as the two of us could not really be bothered to cook now that we were both so relaxed. With the weather still very pleasant and warm we decided to take our food outside, accompanied by the obligatory bottle of wine. Finishing my first sip of wine I now turned my attention to my meal that looked very appetising. As I started to twirl my food around my fork, a thought suddenly entered my mind. Was that egg-fried rice in my plate? I thought I was allergic to eggs, so why did I order this?
I could see that Caroline had noticed me pondering my plate. ‘What’s wrong with your food Martin?’
‘I’ve got egg-fried rice.’
‘Didn’t you want that? I thought that’s what you always have, isn’t it?’
Caroline had her puzzled ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ face on, and it was directed at me.
She was right. I always had egg-fried rice. In fact, now that I had a few moments to think about it, I was not allergic to any foods, whatsoever. What was wrong with me? Where on earth did that idea come from? However, I quickly realised that once again I had to rescue the situation with Caroline, and fast. ‘Good, yes, egg-fried rice. Don’t know why, but for a moment there I thought it had been forgotten. This all looks rather good doesn’t it?’
‘You have been acting funny from the moment you woke up this morning, you know that? Don’t know what’s got into you Martin, I really don’t.’ She shook her head at me and then the two of us returned to eating our meal, in silence.
Once more I started to question my own memory, not to mention my sanity. I really could not work out where all these strange notions that repeatedly popped into my head were coming from. As for my memory lapses, which by any standards had been pretty severe all day, well they were without doubt beginning to frighten me.
There were only a few hours of the evening left now that we had finished our meal. We both decided to spend the time by reading - which I thought was rather pleasant, more so for me as I hadn’t picked up a book in ages. A couple of hours later, as we put our books down, I started to think about what we were to do tomorrow. I knew that we are going to Angela’s and Colin’s in the evening, but I really could not remember if we had decided on anything for the day itself. Caroline must have read my mind as she then asked me, ‘You have remembered that I’m going out about half ten tomorrow, haven’t you?’
No I had not. It was the first that I knew about it. Again I felt that I was fumbling around in the dark for something sensible and coherent to say. ‘Of course I have. When do you think you’ll be back?’
‘Not sure, sometime in the afternoon though. You made up your mind what you’re doing yet Martin?’
‘No, I’m not planning anything for tomorrow. I’m just going to relax and take it as it comes, taking your advice – you see, I do listen to you!’
So that was tomorrow sorted out. I had no idea where Caroline was going, but it was more than obvious that she had at some time told me of her plans. Once again, very disturbingly, it was very apparent that there was yet another gaping hole in my memory.
We both retired for the day and went to bed. As I now lay with my head upon the pillow, the only thing that I really wanted was for a good night’s sleep and no more of those weird and strange dreams. I had been in bed for no more than five minutes and I could now feel myself quickly dozing off.