A raging fireball races towards me. I close my eyes anticipating the end.
I wake from the nightmare, sweat dribbles down my face to my naked torso and onto the sheet covering the bed. My body shivers, shaken by the unseen hormonal force of adrenaline. I look about, reaffirming that I still lay on the bed I share with my wife. She is right there, her red hair covering her face in a beautiful mess.
Vibration. I spin to the distraction. My phone. The contact reads "Boss". I rise from my bed grudgingly, grasping at the phone and walking towards the balcony. I swing my bathrobe on and slide the door open, sunlight pours in. A beautiful sunrise.
"Morning boss." I say into the phone.
"Dr. John, hope I didn't wake you."
"I was already up." I lie. He is a nice guy but possess no concept of time.
"Good man. I called with some good news. You don't need to go on the flight."
"Oh." My interest piqued. "What changed?"
"The company representatives were able to close the deal."
"Ah! I see. That is very good news."
"All thanks to Jack. He led the transactions in your stead."
Jack, of course. Climbing the corporate ladder. "No worries boss. I still want to complete the journey. I will take the chopper instead and meet up with the delegates. And besides, I will be taking my son to the airport."
"Oh, for his school field trip right?"
"To China, indeed."
"You are truly a good man John. I will tell your secretary to do the necessary preparations."
"Thank you boss." I drop the call. The day is starting and so must I.
I head to the bathroom to begin my morning rituals. The radio switches on as it detects my presence.
"Good Morning Atlanta. Another beautiful day forecasted." The host drowns on.
I turn on the shower. Horrid images from the nightmare flashes through my mind. The vividity of it all, mind blowing. I stood in the midst of the busy airport whilst a fireball raced towards me. Zack, my son, seemed to lead the charge of flames as he propelled towards me.
I snap back to reality, stepping underneath the shower head. The pulsating water rejuvenates my mind in preparation for the long day ahead. For a short while I am alone with my thoughts.
The bathroom door creaks, alerting me to a disturbance of my presence.
"Honey, what would you like for breakfast?" My wife, Danaka, asks.
"Eggs hun." I reply.
"Yes. What about Zack?"
"Already up. He beat you to the breakfast table. He is very excited about the school trip."
"One week away from parents will do that for any child."
"We can hire a babysitter for Haley. Have some alone time for ourselves."
"I love the sound of that."
"Of course you do." She responded. She shut the door, I imagine, smiling.
Once more alone with my thoughts. My memory runs backwards, replaying a previous phone call conversion I had with a military higher up.
"Dr. John, think about what we are asking."
"I am. The production of new weapons of mass destruction as an excuse for a secret war. It is all too similar to the last project you asked me to undertake."
"The Iraq war was different."
"In what way? You claim some low life terrorist possess weapons of mass destruction and yet have no proof."
"The bombings of the embassies..."
"Tragic, yes. However, gives no reason to want to retaliate and reignite war in the region."
"This conversation is over Major Colin. Don't call me back, my response remains unchanged."
I snap back to reality, turn off the shower and head out.
The bed is already made and my clothes lays in an organized heap on top of the sheets. The perks of marrying a doctor, they were always neat. All of a sudden it dawns on me, the clothes on the bed are the exact same in my nightmare. Deja Vu.
"Danaka, what about my other clothes?" I shout.
"In the laundry John." She replies.
Damn it. I stare at the strange assortment of clothes. It freaks me out until I realize that it's illogical for me to fear wearing the same clothing that, by mere coincide, appeared in my nightmare.
Ready. My clothes packed neatly into my travel bag. The same bag I saw in my nightmare. This is getting weird.
"Here comes Mr latey pants." Danaka shouted.
"Not late yet, still on schedule." I retort.
I freeze. Across the dining table sits my son. He is wearing the exact same clothes as in my dream, even did his hair the same.
"Did I spill something on my shirt again Dad?" Zack asks, puzzling over his shirt.
I snap back to reality. "What?"
"Honey, are you feeling well?" Danaka says, placing her hand on my forehead.
"No Zack and I am fine honey. I just remembered something..." I say. Although my head is still running through loops, attempting to process what is going on. Things are getting bizarre.
"The food is yummy mommy. So so yummy." says Haley, my three year old daughter.
"It smells great." I say, giving Danaka a quick kiss to re-assure her that I'm fine.
"Let me take a picture." Zack says. He already has his smart phone up and positioned.
"No phones on the table young man." Danaka says.
I smile as I sit down.
"Here you go hun." Danaka says, laying a steaming plate of bacon and omelets.
"Yum." I say. Cutlery at the ready, I dig in.
"So Zack, who's all going on your trip?" I ask.
"About a dozen of us." Zack responds.
"Is Mandy going?" Danaka asks, tauntingly.
"I don't like her Mom." Zack says, stuffing his mouth with more food.
I chuckle. "Do you have everything?" I ask.
"Passport, money, clothes, etc all packed." Danaka says.
"Make sure to give the money directly to your teacher." I say.
"Ms. Hollie and Mr. Bill are coming with us." Zack says in an excited tone.
The clock struck nine and released a resounding sound.
"It's nine. Three hours till your flight sweetheart. Hurry your breakfast up or you'll be late." Danaka says.
"I know Mom." Zack says.
"I'm finished. Delicious hun, thanks." I say, getting up.
"Daddy daddy!" Haley shouts in joy, waving her hands excitedly. I pick her up from her chair.
"Hello Haley, how was your night?" I say.
"Good. Grover kept waking me." Haley responds. Grover, the family pup, was a very energetic dog.
I smile at Haley.
"I'm ready." Says Zack.
"Have fun Zack. Call me when you land in Chicago." Danaka says, hugging him.
"Bye Zack." Haley says. I pass over Haley to Danaka.
"Grab your bags and we will be off." I say to Zack.
Eleven o'clock. Morning traffic was slow.
"Will I miss my flight?" Zack asks, anxiously. His favorite song, run boy run, plays on the radio.
"No Zack. We are pretty close. Ten minutes tops, plenty of time." I respond.
11.30am - Half an hour later.
"You made it young man." Ms. Hollie, Zack's teacher says.
"Close call." I say. Zack and I are both out of breath.
"Thank you Dr. John." Ms. Hollie says, smiling.
"Now Zack. I want you to have fun but listen to your teachers." I say.
"Don't worry Dad, I will call you when we land." Zack says. He was trying to look cool in front of his teacher.
"Alright champ." I say, giving him a hug.
"Let's go catch up with Mr. Bill and the others." Ms. Hollie says.
They walked off into the chaos of the airport.
I stand for five minutes, tracking their movements until I couldn't anymore. No explosion. The nightmare was just that, a bad dream.
I return to my car.
The highway was less congested but still slow. A phone call rang throughout the car, I answered it with Bluetooth speakers activated.
"Did he make it to his flight?" A concerned Danaka asked.
"Have some faith." I respond, my voice echoing into the car.
"I do." Danaka says.
"I am driving to the heliport now. Traffic is slow."
"Mommy Mommy, the bad man is on TV again!" I hear Haley's voice.
"What bad... oh no." Danaka says.
"Honey, talk to me."
"It's him. It's Avenger. He's on TV again."
I switch on my radio and I hear his voice...
"Your power pales to our justice. Your wings, we will cripple. Brick by brick, we will tear your infrastructure down."
"Oh god. Honey, it's the Airport. The Airport is on TV!"
"What?!" I shout. My heart sinks. No...
Another call is coming through, Zack's number.
"Zack's calling, I will combine the calls."
"Your mom and I, we are here Zack."
"I love you all..." Zack says, cut by a boom and static.
I witness the explosion in my rearview mirror, the shockwave rattles all the cars violently.
All cars stop, I step out to witness a fireball replacing where the airport, with my son, once stood. I hear sobbing, Danaka is sobbing badly into the phone. I end the call. I punch in a sequence of numbers rapidly, tears streaming down my face as I do so and make the call. The last images of my son flash through my mind.
"This is Major Colin."
"I will do it." I say, sobbing silently. "They must pay."