Still, several more days passed before Calvin and Angela went to see Claudia again. This time Angela was prepared. She was given access to Cyndi’s possessions. And there was nothing from Joyce’s since the officials had made the mistake of handing them over to Nic two years ago. So from Cyndi’s possessions, Angela picked out a picture of Cyndi and Claudia taken together, and some drawings of Joyce from the pile. She didn’t understand why it was placed in Cyndi’s possessions but decided to go with what she had.

“Hi, Claudia,” Angela greeted her cheerfully as she entered.

No lashing out this time. No attacks either. That reassured Angela so she stepped closer toward where Claudia was. Claudia was sitting at a table today. She had looked up when she heard Angela’s voice.

“I have something for you today,” Angela said, sitting down next to Claudia.

Calvin was standing nearby. He was scanning the room, looking for traces of change since his last visit.

“Here,” Angela said, setting the picture down in front of Claudia.

Claudia had on a clueless look. It took several seconds before Claudia turned her attention to the picture. And that was when she reacted. Quite strongly in fact. She jumped up out of her seat, alarming both Angela and Calvin. Calvin had moved toward Angela at that point, ready to shield her from a possible attack. Yet Claudia wasn’t moving toward Angela. She was moving in the opposite direction–toward the wall behind her. She recoiled like a wounded animal, trying to shield herself from a possible attack.

“Claudia, you recognize her?” Angela said, her voice low as not to alarm Claudia even more.

Claudia shook her head pleadingly. It was like she was fighting with her own memory. And it was forcing itself back.

“Tell me,” Angela urged, picking up the picture from the table and walking toward Claudia with it.

“No…” Claudia spoke up at long last.

Yes, Claudia hadn’t spoken at all since Calvin found her and asked for the move to the protective area. She only wailed at times if she was frightened or stayed quiet if she felt she wasn’t threatened. It was the same when Angela came last time.

“No…” Claudia repeated.

Tears were forming on Claudia’s face by now. She was still shaking her head profusely.

“Tell me so I can help,” Angela said, her voice begging.

“No…” Claudia muttered.

Angela then remembered about the drawings. She put the picture aside and raised the drawings to eye level at that time. “Do you know her? What does she have to do with Cyndi?”

Claudia continued to shake her head. Angela had become braver now. At least where Claudia was concerned. She advanced–with the drawings still in her hand, and grabbed onto Claudia’s shoulders.

“If you won’t tell us, how could we help?” Angela said.

Claudia shook her head again, her head staring at the ground. Tears were still rushing down her cheeks. Angela was no longer fierce. She grabbed onto Claudia and pulled her into an embrace, trying to protect her. Claudia’s sob became louder by the minute. Angela let Claudia be, yet soon Claudia wasn’t making any noise at all. Even the sobbing had stopped. Angela finally let go of Claudia and realized Claudia had fainted. That was also when Calvin rushed over to help Angela lead Claudia back to bed. After that, Calvin went to alert the officials about the matter. A doctor was brought in to check on Claudia. There wasn’t anything they could do except wait for Claudia to recover from her trauma.

*****

Two days before the festival, Angela came to Calvin’s place for a visit. Or more like she wanted to talk to him about his upcoming plan without the others spying on them. It was actually in the afternoon after she got off work.

“Are you going to tell me your plan or what?” Angela urged, her patience definitely on the lacking side.

“I’m not going to involve you,” Calvin said.

“Come on now.”

“I mean it.”

“But I want to help.”

“I won’t let you be the victim of this festival.”

“It doesn’t have to end that way. You will catch him, right?”

“That’s the plan, but I can’t predict the future.”

“The more you need help.”

“The more I can’t risk it.”

Angela sighed out, frustrated. “Why won’t you let me help you?”

Calvin stared at Angela for a while before speaking up. “Because I care about you.”

Angela wrinkled her face up in confusion. “What?”

Calvin reached for her hand at that time. “I know we haven’t known each other for long. But I just realized I care more about you than I should be.”

That was when understanding kicked in for Angela. Her face was still wrinkled, but no longer confused. “But it can’t be…”

Just before either of them could speak up to convince the other, someone entered. Calvin quickly withdrew his hand from Angela’s and turned to address the stranger. Angela turned as well. That person was no stranger. He was wearing a uniform. He was from the headquarter.

“Come with me,” He said.

“What happened?” Calvin asked, getting up from his seat.

“It’s about Claudia.”

Calvin exchanged a look with Angela before turning back to the uniformed official. “Did something happen to Claudia?”

“She’s normal again.”

Upon hearing that, Angela’s worried expression turned into a smile. “You mean she’s not insane anymore?”

The uniformed official nodded.

Not wanting to waste any more time, both Calvin and Angela went with the uniformed official.

*****

When they got there, Claudia was different from the last few times they came to visit. She was dressed neatly and appropriately, not all sloppy like before. Her hair was also tied up in a neat knot.

“Hi, Claudia,” Angela said, her voice low–like whenever she visited.

“Hi,” Claudia returned. She looked up at Calvin and greeted him as well.

Calvin nodded before sitting down next to Angela. “We were told you wanted to see us?”

They were alone in the room like many times before. Yet Claudia still took a quick glance around the room before beginning.

“I was told that someone finally believes me,” Claudia began.

“Not just someone,” Calvin said. “You have citizens from both worlds believing your words.”

“No one wanted to believe me these past two years.”

“That’s because they didn’t know.”

“What can you tell us?” Angela asked, getting straight to the point. “I’m sorry, but it has been bugging me for the past few days. The drawings of Joyce, why are they in Cyndi’s possessions?”

“Cyndi drew ‘em years ago,” Claudia answered. “She used to have dreams about those three guys before they even appeared. She told me and we joked about it a lot. It wasn’t so funny after we realized those guys existed. I meant we joke about how it could be her future husbands or something. Then when the guys appeared, Cyndi was really freaked out. I was the one taking the initiative and trying to get to know the guys. I didn’t realize that it was a big mistake until later. It caused Cyndi’s life. Everything happened like how she described in her dreams.”

Calvin and Angela exchanged a look at this point. It wasn’t about the crimes, because that had already happened. But dreams?

“And Joyce?” Angela prompted after a moment of silence.

“Cyndi’s dream always repeated,” Claudia continued in that same haunting tone. “Always. But then one time, it changed. It was about Joyce. But it was only at that house. She only dreamed of Joyce that one time but was able to draw out Joyce’s features. We ended up going to the place and check it out. We even saw Joyce within the commotion. We tried to approach her but we lost her in the crowd. It wasn’t until several months later that I ended up meeting Joyce myself. And the inevitable happened.”

“Can you give us more details?” Calvin asked. “I mean I know the stories have been told many times. But it was always from some other sources and sometimes exaggerated. We want to hear it from someone who was there.” He paused at this time, sighing out. “I know this is hard for you, especially after you just recovered. But I need more information because I will be facing Wallace in the upcoming days. I want to know as much as I can.”

Claudia had on the alarmed look upon hearing Wallace’s name. “He’s still around?”

Both Calvin and Angela nodded at this point.

“I’m from the Universal Peace Corporation,” Calvin said then. “I was sent here from Earth to bring Wallace back for the trial and sentencing.”

Claudia seemed relieved hearing that. “So you’ll arrest him?”

Calvin nodded. “That’s the plan. That’s why I need more details. Anything is helpful, even if you might not think it’s important. I want to know everything since you met him.”

Claudia hesitated for a minute before beginning. This time, she was more thorough, pausing at times to organize her thoughts as not to confuse them. They both listened patiently, not interrupting nor rushing Claudia. They both knew too well what Claudia had been through. After she was done, Angela was the one to speak up first between the two of them.

“What I don’t get is, how could she dream of it?” Angela could see Claudia staring at her so she cleared her throat, trying to think of a way to patch the situation up. “I know you didn’t lie. But I’m just curious how it could be. I meant I heard those cases about déjà vu or whatever, with how you dream of something and it ended up coming true. But with all the vivid details and dreaming of those three whom, she had never met before. I meant maybe she could have met Wallace somehow since he does live around the area and she might have forgotten until she interacted with him more. But the other two?”

Calvin seemed to be deep in thoughts while Angela was trying to explain herself. Now, he looked at both girls. “I think Cyndi might be psychic.”

Angela wanted to laugh. The urge to laugh was right on the brink of her lips. Yet she resisted it. She opted for an amused look. “Seriously? I’m trying to analyze the situation here, not joke around.”

“No, I’m serious,” Calvin said. “I do know there are a lot of hoaxes around. I, myself, have encountered quite a few. But I’m saying that there are rare true psychics out there. Cyndi might be one of them.”

“But they say psychics have visions, these are dreams.”

“Those are often seen in those movies. There are other ways.”

“Even if she was one, it’s too late now,” Claudia said, looking down at the table surface.

Calvin and Angela exchanged another look. It was like they decided it wasn’t a good idea to argue over what might or might not be so.

“I know it’s hard for you,” Calvin said, looking at Claudia. “But right now, you’ll have to stay here. At least until I finally capture Wallace.”

Claudia nodded. “As long as they’re not treating me like a criminal, I’m willing to stay out of the way or help in any way I can.”

Calvin smiled. “You already did.”

“We should go,” Angela said. “You should rest.”

Claudia nodded again. “Thanks for coming to see me. All these times. And not giving up on me.”

Angela smiled. “It was the least I could have done.”

They exchanged a few more words before Calvin and Angela got up to leave.

*****

Back outside, Calvin and Angela were walking back to Angela’s side of town. Both their faces still had traces of worry from earlier. They were both lost in thoughts, still mulling over what Claudia just told them. Not that the majority of what she just told them wasn’t what they’d already known or heard previously. Yet what made it real was hearing it from someone who had been there, and had actually survived.

“I can’t believe that I’m here for almost two months now,” Calvin said. “If all goes well, I’ll leave in the next couple of days.”

Calvin’s tone wasn’t just heavy with uncertainties of what may come of the upcoming mission, but it was also filled with a sense of reluctance.

“You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to,” Angela said.

“I have a duty to carry out, you know.”

Angela turned to him. “What about afterward?”

Calvin wasn’t sure if he heard right. He turned to see her smiling at him. It was then that he realized that was her answer to his earlier confession. “You mean…”

“Unless you don’t want to.”

She had on a teasing smile and walked away. He smiled as well and followed.

© Friday, May 8th, 2015

Posted: Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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