Posts from the ‘Dreams Series’ Category

Undercover (pt. 4, final)

This is the conclusion to the four part Dreams Come True series.

Catch up on the previous installments here:

Part 1 Dreams Come True

Part 2 Integrity International

Part 3 Express Lane to Danger

 

“It’s pay day,” Skylar announced as I strode into the office. She did a little dance around her desk. I joined in.

“Finally,” I said. The time had come. “I know what I’m going to do this weekend.”

“What? Party your paycheck away? I never pegged you as a partier…”

I chuckled and settled down at my own desk. “I’m going apartment shopping.”

“What’s wrong with your current apartment?”

“Um, my childhood bedroom just isn’t cutting it. This job requires general privacy, and I just don’t have that.”

“Ugh, you still live with your parents? What are you doing there? You’re a grown woman.” Skylar perched herself on the edge of my desk. “You need an intervention. I’m going with you to find an apartment.”

“You are?” I asked.

“Yes. There’s no question.”

Adam strode out from his office. “Gather around, gather around,” Adam called to us all. He picked a desk to sit on.  The forty-some of us circled around.

“Emergency meeting?” I mused. Skylar shrugged.  We knew something was up.

Jacob Stiller, a non-dreamer co-worker that I’d barely noticed before, took the floor.  “I’ve been working the case downtown,” he started. “There’s a drug ring we’ve been keeping an eye on – they call themselves Nexus. This case just became our priority. A few months ago, my eyes on the street told me a Nexus customer dropped dead. It happens, we know, with drugs, but this seemed different. The PD told us that toxicology showed the girl had a non-lethal dosage in her system. There was no reason for her to die. Last week, another customer turned up dead.”

Heads shook around the circle. For sounding so intelligent, I was surprised at how young Jacob really looked.

“We think they’re making bad batches for specific targets. We’ve been keeping an eye on them from a far, but the stakes are higher and we need to get closer. We’ve received information about a transfer taking place this morning. We don’t know if the customer is targeted, but either way we will bust them. We will be there, along with the PD.”

“Are the two dead customers linked?” Skylar asked.

“Both victims were children of former 14th Street Gang members. In the 90’s, Nexus rose into power and fought 14th Street for their turf. Nexus won.”

Adam added, “Jacob can’t go, since he’s already undercover acting as a Nexus costumer. If he was caught loitering, it’d be suspicious. Cammie and I will go.”

My heart stopped. Did he really say that? Did he know I had absolutely no field experience?

Regardless of my qualms, I was brought into the undercover resource room. Adam was given a shabby overcoat and facial hair, and I had a makeover to give me freckles and a birth mark on my neck. Anyone who knew me in real life would not recognize me now.

“A member of our homeless network was fortunate enough to hear vital information. The exchange between Nexus and a buyer will happen at Goldberg Pier, next to the seventh lamppost in from the Jamba Juice kiosk. We will loiter, a natural looking loiter. Jacob and the police will be standing by. Our word is magazine.”

“Word for what?”

“When we see the exchange happen.”

“And our goal is…?”

“Stop the transaction. If the drug batch is bad, we’ve saved a life. At the very least, we’ll catch another dealer.”

He made it sound so simple. “Can I ask – why would you have me go?”

He shrugged. “Everyone has their opportunity to go undercover. Yours is right now.”

I continued to stare at him.

“What? I told you you’d be part of a special operation. What I meant was you’d be the next one to go undercover.”

“College did not prepare me for this,” I mumbled.

Adam chuckled. “No college ever does.”

“But I was a criminal justice major,” I protested.

“Don’t worry. I have a camera attacked to the button on my shirt, and we’ll both be wired.” He handed me a tiny ear piece. “Jacob will be in our heads the whole time.”

 

It was windy out on the pier. I was grateful for the hat that I wore. It kept my hair down over my ears, hiding my ear piece.

Adam and I strode down the walkway, as if we’re just two old friends out for a stroll. “Nice day, huh?”

I nodded. “Windy, though. I’m glad I have this hat on. I don’t want my ears to show.”

Adam gave me a small grin, but sent me a look with his eyes, wondering if I was about announce that I was wearing an earpiece. An elderly couple walked beside us, and secretly I knew they were listening.

“I don’t like my ears showing,” I covered. “I’m very self-conscious. Did I ever tell you that my nickname in 3rd grade was Dumbo?”

Adam burst out laughing, and I could tell he wasn’t acting. “You never mentioned that.”

A voice crackled in my ear. “Your 2 o’clock – don’t look, Cammie.  That’s him. Brown hood pulled over his face. His shoes are exactly how the homeless witness described..”

“Hm, thought I told you that,” I said to Adam, trying to keep the conversation moving. “Remembering to tell people things like that aren’t my gift.”

“Adam, I’m losing visibility,” Jacob said in my ear. “Keep an eye out for the buyer.”

“How about we sit down for a bit?” Adam motioned towards a bench close to Jamba Juice.

“There’s still a crowd blocking the camera. You have visibility?” Jacob continued.

“Yes,” said Adam to the both of us, “I think this date will be a success, what do you think?”

“It already has been,” I said, grinning. “I’m so glad you took me here. The view is great.”

“Hm, getting late,” Adam said. “Want me to buy you smoothie?”

I shook my head, playing along with Adam’s clever reply to Jacob. “That’s alright. I’m not very hungry.”

“Ugh, where is the buyer?” Jacob groaned loudly in my ear. I winced. “These people usually want their fix. They’re never late.”

“Actually, I’m getting hungry now,” I said after a moment. From across the wide pier, I could see a young man approaching the brown-hooded dealer.

“Okay, I’ll go buy something for you.” Adam stood up.

I heard Jacob in my ear, telling the police to be ready.

The young man, in an oversized red t-shirt, turned to the dealer. The Nexus member pulled a brown paper bag. That was our evidence. That was our cue.

I stared at Adam. The next two seconds took a lifetime. Magazine. How to say magazine? Two girls sat on the bench beside to us, obviously people watching and picking us to watch. We had to act natural.

Adam was leaning closer to me. “Cammie, you’re a novel in a sea of magazines.”

“Baby, you’re too kind,” I said, staring into his alluring eyes. I may have reacted promptly, but my mind was spinning. Those were the exact lines that had happened in my dream weeks ago. The dream were I thought Adam had flirted with me. Now I saw it wasn’t a flirtatious line, but a line that proved we had accomplished something together.

All chaos erupted in my ear as the police officers rushed out of the unmarked van.

 

“The scans came back on the drugs,” Adam announced at the end of the afternoon. “That batch contained rat poison. Also, it has been confirmed that the buyer’s dad had been a member of 14th Street. Nexus had been targeting buyers that have ties with 14th street. Not anymore”

The room erupted in cheers and applause.

“Have a great weekend everyone, and pick up your paychecks on the way out.”

Skylar stopped me in the parking lot. “Hey, so I saw Jacob making eyes at you today. He’s a really sweet guy.”

“Oh? I hadn’t noticed.”

“Haven’t you?”

That hadn’t exactly been my priority today. “After the thrill I got today, I realized how much I love this job. I think I’ll stay married to it for a while.”

—–

“This one looks nice,” Skylar commented.

It was Saturday, and we were touring the fourth apartment.

“Location’s nice. Close to work, farther away from your family’s house.”

I chuckled, but said nothing.

“What you are thinking?”

“The bathroom’s spacious,” I commented. I truly loved this apartment – it would offer the privacy and independence I truly needed.

“But your mind isn’t here,” Skylar inferred. “What else are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking this is better than I thought it’d be.”

“I get the feeling you’re not talking about the apartment.”

I shrugged, smirking, and turned from the window. I couldn’t get my mind off going undercover at the pier. Despite my original qualms about my first undercover assignment, I now had the overwhelming desire to do it again. The shivers I got when I saw the Nexus dealer being taken away from handcuffs. That was why I was there. That was why I was a dreamer. I accomplished my duty today, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.

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The Express Lane to Danger (pt. 3)

The following is third of four installments in the series. Stay tuned for part four, coming out in March!

Read Part 1: Dreams Come True

Read Part 2: Integrity International

 

“I had two dreams this weekend,” I said when my turn came. “First, Seymour found out about us.”

“Is Seymour the manager of Express?” A girl whispered to another.

“Yes, Seymour was my boss,” I replied. “I don’t know how he found out, but he did. His face was as red as an apple That dream was on Friday night. By now, he most likely knows we exist and that we’re are after him. Second dream was last night. There was this guy. Red shirt with the Express logo on it, blue jeans, and a Cubs baseball cap. He was walking out with a package…”

“A special delivery package? With a fatal message inside?” Someone interrupted.

I nodded. “The address label was printed in red ink, and I learned when I worked there that red denotes a special delivery. The guy had a widow’s peak, slicked back almost-black hair, and a freckle below his left eye. We need to find him.”

The room sat in wait. Finally the silence was broken.

“I’m so jealous,” cried one girl.

I could only stare in surprise.

“I’ve never had a dream so clear before,” she continued.

“Me either,” complained a man sitting across from me. “Do you know how many dreams I’ve had of special deliveries tacking place? Two hundred and six. I could never see the face. Never got an ID.” He shook his head and his frown deepened. “And I’ve worked here for 12 years.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Now Bob,” Skylar jumped in. “Give the girl a break. She may be new, but if she’s helped us get solid evidence on this case, then we all owe her one.”

Bob rolled his eyes. I swallowed. I wasn’t anticipating the hard feelings.

“You may want to know where the package was addressed to.”

Bob threw his hands in the air. “She can even see the writing on the package?”

“It was addressed here.” A solemn silence set in. “I’m only saying that because it ought to make us feel grateful. At least we know we can catch him before the package gets here.”

“Cammie’s right.” Skylar nodded and put a hand on my back. “We’ll catch this guy for sure. We have to.”

Things happened fast at Integrity International. I sat down with a sketch artist and we identified and found the man in my dream within minutes. By lunch time, the man in my dream was brought into custody.  We had some of our agents as well as FBI agents interrogating him as to where the package contents were. It took six hours, but our suspect broke. He told us where the package was, and he took a deal. A chance of probation if he pled guilty and told us everything he knew. He was looking at a hefty sentence, and we had enough to know he was guilty of conspiracy and attempted murder, so the odds were in his favor to spill the story.

Before the day was over, the FBI investigated the Express building and hundreds of unshipped poisons, explosives, and booby-trapped, knife-filled packages. Every case that had been suspected to be done by Express had never had solid evidence. They cleaned up their crime scenes well. At last we had more than heresy.

And so, Express Shipping – the worst shipping company in all of history – would be no more. I knew I should be ecstatic. I’d been there one week and already we’d cracked the biggest case our company had ever seen. Still, I could help but feel a sense of foreboding. We’d only solved one of the world’s problems.

That evening Adam called me into his office. My mind had cleared a bit and the dream from last week was on my mind. I had to be proactive about this. Just as I’d learned with the dreams of crimes that would take place, the dream didn’t mean the action would take place. If nothing changed, then the dream would happen. I needed to change this course of action. I took a deep breath and walked into his office.

“I’ve just bought this shirt, what do you think of it?”

“Excuse me?” The shirt was a striped button down; it was bright and blue and brought out his eyes perfectly.

“I’m the young one here, you know. I keep trying to look professional but can’t seem to get it right. What do you think?”

“It looks… fine. Professional, I guess.”

“But?”

“But I… I hate blue.” Maybe if I was mean to him, he wouldn’t want to flirt with me. I would change the current course of things and the dream of him flirting with me would mean nothing.

He frowned. “What? How can you hate blue?”

“Well, I do. It’s just not a very… pretty color at all. Sorry.” I wanted to punch myself. I’d always been terrible at being mean.

“Well. To each his own, right?” He sighed and shrugged. “I really called you in to say congratulations. You performed wonderfully today.”

“Thanks.”

Suddenly a thought came to me. When I first met Adam, he knew I was a dreamer, and he knew what I dreamt about. I leaned forward and looked him in the eyes. “So, do you still know what I’ve dreamt about?” I asked, looked him in the eye. “What did I dream about last night?”

“What?” He chuckled.

I eased back a bit. “Sorry. I just had a hunch that you could tell what my dreams are. I mean, when you met me, you told me everything I had dreamt about so far. If you can do that, you don’t need me here.”

He shook his head, still chuckling. “You’ve got it all wrong. When mentors are assigned to a budding dreamer, they discover their first couple dreams. It helps with credibility, you know, if a mentor can tell the dreamer that they know they have dreams.” He shrugs. “You’re no longer a mentor, so I’m no lover privy to that information. Does that clear things up?”

I nodded, slowly taking this in. “Thanks.”

He looked at me with an amused gleam in his eye. “Are you dreaming things you don’t want me to know about?”

“Not at all,” I said coolly.  “I better go. I need to regroup with… my group.” One question was answered. I still didn’t know why I had that dream in the first place. I certainly had no feelings for him now.  I had too many other things to worry about.

Integrity International (pt. 2)

This is the second installment of a previously posted story, Dreams Come True. The third installment will be published in February.

—–

On my first day at my new job, I approached my company’s building. It was small portion of an strip mall with darkened windows and a sign smaller than the building’s address label announced the building was called “Integrity.” Squinting at the sign, I knew I was in the right place. Before I could reach the door, a guard in sunglasses appeared from around the corner. “Miss Camille Kenrick?”

“Yes. Call me Cammie.” I stuck out my hand, but he didn’t even bother shaking it.

“I will escort you inside to Mr. Adam and the rest of the team.” He ushered me through one set of darkened glass doors. “Finger, please.”

“What?”

“Your fingerprint is your key to get in. Press your index finger here.”

I did so, the keypad beeped and the door buzzed open. I opened the door to see another dimly lit foyer, with another set of doors in front of me. “You will need to create an eleven digit code. It will serve as your second pass code to get in.”

“Eleven?”

“Yes.”

“Right, of course. How am I to remember that?”

My escort rolled his eyes. “Find a way.”

After coming up with that code, and two more, I was finally able to get on an elevator and head to the right floor. The elevator’s doors dinged open. A sea of heads turned to stare at me. I picked out Adam’s face among them.

“You’re late,” he said with a wry grin.

“I would have been on time, but you failed to mention that security clearance takes almost half an hour,” I said sourly, yet with a smile on my face.

“I didn’t mention that?” Adam shrugged. “Remembering things like that isn’t my gift. You’re just in time for our meeting.” He turned to his room of employees. “Our newest member, Cammie Kenrick.”

The room erupted in vigorous, genuine applause. I made a little, anxious wave at all my new co-workers.

“She came to us from the inside – from Express itself. She’ll be a great asset here.”

The guard pointed me towards an empty chair and then disappeared into the elevator. I sat down slowly, next to a brunette girl with pin straight hair down to her waist. She smiled at me. I smiled too, but crossed my arms and gripped them tightly across my chest. I knew we were all supposed to be on the same side, but how was I really supposed to know who to trust?

“In the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on mentoring the new dreamers and on any cases that might come up. With all that, Express went down, down in our priorities. Now it’s back up, right were it should be at number one. We need to shut that place down. Group 1, you will go undercover to Express, and pose as costumers shipping a package. Cammie will be available to answer any questions that she can about how they operate, and we want even more of us to know what it’s like inside that building. Group 2, contact the Integrity group in Korea and see if they have any hits on that bomb case. Groups 3, you’re our dreamers.  Be hypersensitive to your visions this week, alright? Write every dream down, tell each other what you know. We need all the information we can get.”

The room broke up into soft conversations. The blonde girl grabbed my elbow. “I’m Skylar. You’re with us, in group three.”

I frowned. “How’d you know?”

“That you’re a dreamer?” She grinned. “You act like you have something to hide and something to lose. I used to act like that too, but I learned to open up.”

“Oh. Right.”

Suddenly Adam was beside us. “Thanks for taking her under your wing, Skylar, but I need to steal her away.”

He pulled gently aside and into his office. “You find our place okay?” He asked, rearranging files on his desk.

“Sure. I was looking for a bigger sign, though.”

“Yeah, yeah that’s the thing. We don’t want to advertise that we’re Integrity International:  an Agency Dedicated to Stopping Hit Men and Hit Agencies.”

I shrugged. “Makes sense.”

“I just wanted to tell you how happy we are to have you.”

That was not what I expected. “Thank you.” Suddenly I noticed how beautiful blue his eyes were. I hadn’t noticed that the first two times I’d met him. He looked so young to be in such an important job like this.

“… if you ever need anything, know that we are all here to help.” He paused, thinking. “I’m  going to be double assigning you. You’re in Group 3, with the other dreamers, but you’ll also be on the special task force that I’m creating as we speak.”

I nodded. “And what will that entail?”

“We’ll have to see, won’t we?” He answered.

The day passed by in a blur, as first days often do. I returned home that evening and collapsed on the couch. My brain was overwhelmed with operation plans and confidentiality agreements and undercover protocol. I must have fallen asleep – not a restful kind of sleep, but sleep nonetheless. Just like I did during most sleep, I had a dream. This one was odd.

Adam was leaning closer to me. His beautiful sea blue eyes watching me with sincerity and care. “Cammie, you’re a novel in a sea of magazines.”

“Baby, you’re too kind,” I said, staring into his alluring eyes.

And I woke up with a start. That tiny snapshot of the future gave me reason to pace around my living room for the rest of the evening. The way his eyes looked. “No, no,” I yelled to the empty room. “This can’t happen.” Already my dreams were diverging. I was supposed to dream about what those on my side wanted. Those on my side. My eyes grew wide. Adam was on my side. He wanted that dream to happen? He wanted that? I shook my head. There had to be a margin of error when it came to a dreamer’s dreams. This one had to be a fluke.

I was lost in my thoughts and did not realize someone else had entered the room.

“Where’ve you been?” It was my mother.

“I fell asleep.”

A pouting child, my younger brother, trailed behind my mother. “You didn’t remember you had to help your brother with homework tonight?”

“Mom, I can’t…”

“Well, it’s his bed time now. See if you can take off work early tomorrow. He wants you to help him with his math.”

My mom shepherded Austin up the stairs to send him off to bed.

I exhaled slowly. I loved my second grade brother dearly, but I was eager to have my own life. Eager to rent my own apartment. Eager to earn my first paycheck so I could do just that.

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