Pre-Release Part Seven:
You arrive at Sunny Park just before eight. It is twilight and not many people are around. You wonder which one is Chloe, if any of them. You take a seat next to the water feature. The fountain is off; either due to the season or the time of day.
An over-dressed-for-the-weather dog walker passes you. From the other way, a young couple approach, hand-in-hand. They don’t stop and pass as well.
As you ponder how long you should stay, a voice from behind startles you.
“Let’s go,” says the resolute, feminine voice.
You stand and turn to see the dog walker, a middle-aged woman wearing a hooded top. She has already turned and started walking towards the park exit. You hurry behind.
The woman, Chloe, you presume, moves temporarily out of sight as she exits the park before you. When you round the corner, you are momentarily disorientated. The woman has gone! There is a lady entering a car, a man walking towards the park from the other side of the road. But no over-dressed woman with a dog.
“Get in,” says the lady. A hint of recognition and you realise she is the same woman. She has somehow discarded the dog and heavy hood. You quickly get into the car and are driven away.
It’s not long before you are driving along a highway through heavy traffic. The pace has slowed as the evening commuters make their way home.
You look at the driver. She has short, dark hair. Her nose has a crook in the middle, accentuated by the off-lighting from the streetlights outside. You can’t tell her eye-colour in the dim lighting but they are dark. And driven.
“Chloe?” You ask. She nods, eyes remaining on the road.
Silence again. You give her time to compose herself.
“I need you to publish my story. You’re not going to like it though. You probably won’t even believe it at first. I didn’t, but… I have the evidence,” she says, eyes still on the road.
You tap above your right eye and access your ACD; a compulsory advanced computer device, implanted into you at birth. You use it to record the conversation unbeknownst to Chloe.
“Go on,” you say.
“The government have a secret. The people deserve to know. They’ve found an asteroid. I’ve seen it. The coordinates. It’s heading…”
You are forced back into your seat as the car speeds forwards. You have been hit hard from behind. Chloe tries to maintain the course, but the car swerves wildly. You hit the highway side-railing and come to a harsh stop off to the right.
You are vaguely aware of other cars and horns beeping. You are disorientated but otherwise okay. You turn to Chloe, who looks a little worse. Her forehead is bleeding but she is conscious.
Amid the horns, you hear footsteps approaching. You reach an arm out the window, to signal for help. Chloe tries, and fails, to open her car door. The mechanism has jammed. A man reaches her door and peers inside the window. He is clean shaven with short dark hair. He wears rectangular wire-frame glasses and has a slight smile.
“You should’ve stayed quiet, Chloe. Now your friend has to die as well,” he says calmly.
Before either of you can react, the man reaches into the car and injects Chloe with something.
She looks at you but can’t speak. Her pupils dilate and her expression holds in place. Water wells in her eyes and her faces visibly pales.
Not waiting to see more, you open your door and stumble out of the vehicle.
“Help!” You shout.
“Help!” You hear the man say. “We need an ambulance!”
You fall to the ground, still shaken from the crash. You inch forwards one step. Then another.
The man is behind you. He catches your arm as you fall. You hear other people close by.
“What happened?” says a new voice. Then you feel it. Just a small pinprick in the side of your neck. You have been injected as well. Your body feels warm. No, hot. The heat quickly surges through you and you feel your muscles stiffen.
You try to call out, but can’t speak. Whatever happened to Chloe is now happening to you.
“Are they dead?” You hear the new voice ask?
“I think so,” says your killer. He is still holding you although you have lost all sense of feeling.
“Tragic,” says the new voice.
Paralysed, you are physically unable to do anything. Then you remember! Your ACD is still active. As it is thought controlled, you try to dial for police assistance. Something goes awry, however and you instead find yourself contacting someone with the ID 11820-1015814191514. Your ACD connects.
“Yes, tragic,” you hear your killer say, both through your ears and through the ACD.
“This one called out to me before dying. Wanted the police but got just me,” he says.
Your final realisation before you slip out of consciousness is that your call to the police was intercepted by this man. Your death will go down as an accident. Your killer will be free. You have died; all because of someone else’s story. Tragic indeed.
Yet one final hope remains. Your ACD connected with your killer. His ID was unusual but had a pattern. It might not happen, but maybe. If your ACD could be checked after you are gone… perhaps someone could identify your killer. The ID is already enough information.
What is your killers name?