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A Pretender Fan Fiction by Mareen
The moment he entered the building, he just knew something was definitely wrong.
It was just a feeling, like the one that tells you someone's watching you, although you can't see that someone. An instinct that survived from ancient times into the Today.
If he weren't on the run from the Centre, if he were just a usual person, someone with a normal job, a wife and 1.2 children, he'd just dismissed the feeling and went on with what he was about to do. But being the person he was made him frown and turn around in the big hall, looking for whatever was different than usual.
There was nothing, at least on first sight.
It was just a train station, a small one, but pretty crowded in spite of that, because it was seven a.m. and a lot of people were about to go to work using the train to get there.
He'd spent some time here over the last two weeks, watching the travelers, searching for this one specific crazy guy who seemed to pick his rape victims on this station. He knew most of the travelers by now, some of them just from recognizing their faces, others from talking to them.
There were strangers today. That was, what was different than usual.
And whoever they were, they were good. They vanished between the other travelers on first sight, though on second sight, they were easy to identify, because they were just too usual, too normal, too much looking into other directions than his. He saw at least five of them, spread on the station, taking care of the exits.
Jarod turned around and started to walk towards "Escape Plan 1", the vent in the gent's room. He walked slowly, trying to not make them realize that he had realized.
What gave him away, he couldn't say.
Loud shouting suddenly started and the five strangers plus seven others he hadn't made out in the short time he used to search for them, started to run towards him.
Jarod speeded up. There was no time for the vent now. He had to get out another way. He changed direction towards the track system, heading directly towards two of the people who were after him. But there wasn't another choice.
The moment he reached the first one of the two, he was able to knock him out before the man could even lay a hand on him, probably lead by the pure desperation that was flowding through is body.
The second man was harder to fight. Jarod was able to beat him one time, before he was hit by a blow into his stomach, that send him to the ground, groaning. He held onto the other man and took him down with him, straddling him under his own body. For a moment Jarod was distracted by the ridiculous thought that the man he was lying on was wearing a really terrible red yellowish tie.
Then, despite the pain he was in because of the hit into the stomach he'd caught, he was able to hit the other man a second time, this time into his side. That moment, he realized, the man was holding a gun, and he was holding it against his chest. Jarod could feel it press into his body. He grabbed it to push it away, when he heard the sound. A loud, crashing sound. One that made him wanting to hold his ears to not be able to hear it anymore.
The strange thing was, that he didn't feel any pain. He felt nothing at all. He only started to become very tired so suddenly. The wish to just close his eyes getting so overwhelming, that he finally did it. Suddenly resting sounded like a great idea. Just a moment...
When darkness settled around him, he realized at last that he wouldn't wake up again and for another one of the precious seconds left to him, he wondered how the Centre managed to find him here at all.
The moment he entered the building, he just knew something was definitely wrong.
It was one of those great basic instincts humans still have from good old times of living in dark holes that was telling him that.
It wasn't just the feeling of being watched. There was something else wrong here, something he couldn't exactly name. Something very strange.
He slowed down while walking through the hall of the train station, taking a good look around.
There were a lot of people there, all of them on their way to their jobs. Except of...yeah, except of this six men who where obviously watching the exits...and him.
His heart made this little jump, what frightened him more than everything else. His heart wasn't supposed to jump. It wasn't supposed to do anything. It couldn't do anything anymore, could it? And he didn't even know where that thought had come from and what it was supposed to mean. But it frightened him nonetheless.
Escape Plan A. The vent in the gent's room.
He turned around and walked towards it as slowly and innocent as he could.
Something gave him away in spite of that.
They started to run towards him from everywhere, all at the same second. He could see guns being pulled out and there were screams and shouts and he hadn't even realized that he'd started to run, too, towards the track system.
Two men were standing between him and the freedom. He knocked out one of them and then he just ran against the second one, a guy with a terrible red yellowish tie, who was pushed out of the way by that, fell against someone and got to the ground.
Jarod stumbled towards the track, which was suddenly free of everyone except of him and he realized that it was because of him, because he was being followed by a group of men with guns and everyone had went away from him as far as possible because of that. He was all alone on the track, free to being shot like an animal.
He could see the men aiming their guns at him and just jumped down right on the track. One of the men was moving his mouth and screamed something but Jarod couldn't understand what he was saying because there suddenly was this loud sound surrounding him and this panic pressing his inside together.
"Oh God", was the last thing that came out of his mouth the moment he saw the train coming towards him.
The next moment, it hit him.
The last thought that crossed his mind, was: "They didn't even look like sweepers."
The moment he entered the building, he just knew something was definitely wrong.
Basic instincts. They'd saved his life more than once, so Jarod frowned and had a good look around instead of just dismissing the feeling and go on as usual.
Something was very strange.
Not just the feeling of being watched. Something else.
The strange feeling of ... Deja-Vu?
But he dismissed that second feeling, because he realized that there were eight men who didn't belong there. Eight men (being the one's he saw) who were watching him pretty intently, if that's what you would call "desperately trying to look into another direction" today.
For a moment, he frowned again, because these men didn't look like sweepers. Their suits were just to cheap for that. And where was Miss Parker? He couldn't see her, leave alone Broots or Syd or even Lyle.
So there was something else strange here.
But there was also no time to get deeper into the subject.
He turned around to get to Escape Plan A, the gent's room and its vent. But he stopped, after taking the first step into that direction. Another frown showed up on his face.
Escape Plan B suddenly somehow seemed much more appealing. Because of whatever.
He changed direction again, this time turning towards Angela's shop, who sold magazines at the same place of the station for ten years now and was proud owner of a second exit.
Something gave him away.
Jarod could say because suddenly they all started to run towards him, while pulling guns and aiming them at him. There were shouts, too, but he couldn't understand what they were saying because all he did was trying to get towards Angela's second exit asap.
Still running, he turned his upper body half around to look at his followers ... and suddenly knew he'd made a big mistake.
To the men behind him, his body language must be threatening. He must look like he was about to pull a gun. And the men's training was supposed to teach them to shoot "them" first, because "they" could shoot you if you wouldn't first.
"That's what police academy's are for", Jarod thought with a last look at the badges being waved at him.
The next moment, one of the cops behind him really must have felt threatened by the way he'd turned towards them.
The shot was too loud for his ears. He wanted to close them from it. He didn't want to hear it.
Jarod didn't feel falling to the ground. He only realized that one moment he was running and the next moment he was lying on the ground of the train station and stared up at the roof of it.
There was someone looking down at him suddenly. A face, hovering over him, someone talking to him. But all he saw was the person's ugly red-yellowish tie.
"Oh", he whispered towards the tie, "it's you again."
Something was definitely strange that day and he couldn't name it, and he only knew that there was something strange because he just couldn't make himself use the main entrance to get into the station. When he'd tried, he'd suddenly felt this other strange feeling, the wish to close his ears with his hands, so he wouldn't need to hear it anymore.
What left him with the question of not hearing what anymore?
He shook off the strange feelings and turned towards the second entrance of the station. He already was late. It was ten minutes after his usual time of being at the station and he had to be there in time to get the man he was after for two weeks now.
There were two men now he considered the possible rapist, which had found his third victim only a few days ago. Both of them showed up at the station at around 7 am, strolled around a bit, didn't get into a train and left again after 9 am. On foot.
All of the rapes had happened right beside the train station, in the little wood on its right side. All of them had happened between 7 and 8 am and all three victims had been unable to identify their attacker.
The rapes had been a shock for the little town where they happened, Greensmile. Something like that happened in big towns, not small one's like Greensmile.
Jarod used to spend his days in the station for two weeks now. People there knew him by now. He was the strange guy who really tried to make money by cleaning other people's shoes. Things like that may be usual for big towns. But this was Greensmile!
He still was "alien". But he also was someone, everyone liked sooner or later. So it wasn't really a big deal to him to be the "new guy in town".
Jarod was just entering the station like he did every day, when he saw this man standing near to the tracking system. It wasn't really the man himself, that made him stop and stare at him. It was his tie, a really ugly red-yellowish one, and he suddenly had this really strong feeling of deja-vu, hitting him that hard, he stumbled a step backwards, frowning.
Suddenly, something made the man with the ugly tie turn his head towards him. His eyes fell on Jarod and he frowned, like Jarod did. For a moment, he looked surprised, he even seemed to be perplexed about something and shook his head, maybe to get rid of the feeling.
Then he seemed to talk to himself, but Jarod realized that he was talking into some kind of communication device, before starting to run into Jared's direction.
Jarod turned around and started to run, too. He had no idea how the Centre had found him... "Not the Centre", the strange feeling inside of him told him. "Not the Centre. Stop. Don't run"... But he ran nonetheless. He tried to get away. He won't let them lock him up again.
He ran away. Onto the street besides the station.
Onto the street. Without looking.
The car hit him with 45 Miles per hour, what's definitely enough to kill a human being.
The last strange thing crossing his mind was: "Oh damn! Not again!"
Waking up usually is pretty much the same.
You stir in your sleep, you feel like flowding from the Nowhere into the Here and Now, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and after some time of trying to stay in that comfortable state of half-awakeness, you open your eyes to start the new day.
It's always pretty much the same, but not exactly the same, because days just aren't always the same.
Except that waking up that day was like if he'd woken up like that a lot of times now. Woken up the exact way. The exact way like in the exact way.
What was definitely impossible.
But it happened to him nonetheless.
Waking up felt like it had happened exactly like that before. Brushing his teeth felt like it. Putting on his clothes. Drinking coffee did. Eating breakfast did.
His way towards the train station was like one big frightening Deja-Vu.
And entering the station was just impossible.
He just couldn't get inside.
He stumbled backwards, away from the station. He got back into the little town. He got into a little coffee shop, because he suddenly had this strange feeling of needing to celebrate...Whatever there was to celebrate... His getting-away from the station maybe?
He had two coffees again. And then he needed to pee.
And the coffee-shop`s toilets both were being used by other guys, but he just needed to pee, so he took the back door out off the coffee shop to get to its backside, besides the garbage bins.
He was just done with for what he came, when he felt a gun being pressed into his back.
"I want your money. Give it or I'll shoot you."
Jarod couldn't stop himself. He sighed. And, definitely against better knowledge, tried to turn around what the guy who wanted his money took as a threat.
When Jarod heard the shot, he sighed again.
He woke up long before it was time, very long before his alarm clock was supposed to wake him, but he was wide-awake in spite of that at four a.m. in the morning.
For a few minutes he was just lying there in his bed and was staring at the ceiling of his room. Thoughts were flowding through him, thoughts, that didn't make any sense if he tried to examine them on a logical basis, but made perfect sense on the basis of what his sub conscience was telling him.
Something was strange. Something was going very wrong here.
And he needed to change it, or he would just get crazy.
He could say that, because when he had a good look at his hands, he could see the slight trembling going through them, that hadn't been there before it had all started to get out of control. He could say it, because the need to close his ears from that sound was nearly overwhelming.
Very slowly, he got out of his bed. He didn't shower, he didn't brush his teeth, he didn't drink any coffee and when he opened his closet he resisted to put on the clothes lying on top of the pile and instead chose the one's that were buried under it. He probably looked like shit, but it felt all so good though. Different.
For another moment he thought about not going into the station. To just run away. But he knew he couldn't. It wouldn't work that way. And the thought alone made him have this strange realization, that he would never go for a pee behind a coffee shop... again? Whatever...
So he just took a taxi to get to the station, instead of taking the bus as he usual did, and went to the side entrance.
He just waited then. He didn't even know what he was waiting for to happen, but he did it though.
He stood at the entrance. He walked around a bit. Two hours of doing nothing, just waiting for something he couldn't name, even calling himself crazy now and then, but still waiting. And when he saw the man with the ugly tie, he knew, what he'd been waiting for.
He was early, too, today, because he was all alone, just walking around at the station, brooding about something, looking unshaved and unwashed.
When Jarod approached him, he stopped and they just stared at each other.
"Hi", Jarod said.
"Hi", the man answered.
"My name is Jarod."
"Gary. Irvine. Detective."
"Hi", Jarod said again and tried a grin. "What happened to your tooth-brush? Got lost?"
"What happened to yours?" Irvine answered. He dismissed the whole thing with a wave of his hand and then asked: "Do we know each other? I mean, I know who you are. But do we know each other?"
"I think so", Jarod answered. "But I'm not quite sure how it's possible."
"We will come today. To arrest you."
"I know. But it ..."
"Won't work", Irvine ended the section.
"Yes. - I didn't do it. I'm not the person you are searching for."
"I'm here to find him myself. - Why does the police think it's me?"
"I don't know. Maybe just because you are the new guy in town." He shrugged apologetically
"We have to change it."
"Yes. But how?"
Jarod sighed. "We have to find the real one. But I have no idea how. I made the list down to two men. But I need more time to find out which one of them is the one."
"None of this is making any kind of sense."
"To me neither."
"But it's real."
Irvine smiled at him, a sad smile. But then, the expression on his face suddenly changed.
"What is it?" Jarod said.
"Do you see that? Over there." He pointed at something behind Jarod. "That guy."
Jarod turned around and tried to figure out what Irvine was talking about. When he did, his face went blank. It was a man with long blonde hair, in a dark jacket, with a woman at his side. There wasn't anything strange about that, except of that he somehow was pulling the woman to wherever he was about to go. And that was the little wood beside the train station.
"Both men on my list have dark hair but you never know...", Jarod whispered. "Maybe we are lucky and that's him."
"Let's go!" Irvine said and started to run.
"Be careful! He may have a gun!"
Jarod shouted it while already following Irvine after the man and the woman.
"Hey!" Irvine screamed.
The man in the suit turned around. His face went white when he saw Jarod and Irvine running after him. For a moment he was distracted, and the woman at his side used that to grab his hair and pulling on it. To her surprise, the "hair", his wig!, ended up in her hand and she stared down at it with a dumbfounded face for a moment. Then she decided to just hit him in the stomach and then broke free and ran away.
"He has a gun!" she shouted at Irvine and Jarod.
"Well, why did I know that," Jarod suddenly thought and sighed again.
It wasn't a surprise at all either, when the rapist (who came out as being one of the men from Jarod's list after loosing his whig) suddenly had the gun in his hand and aimed it at both of them, Irvine and Jarod. When he pulled the trigger, it wasn't a surprise, too, that the bullet hit Jarod right into the chest.
The last thing coming from him was: "Yeah. Right."
He wasn't exactly in a good mood that morning and he didn't even know why. The moment he woke up at 4 a.m. in the morning, the first thing crossing his mind was: "This really sucks." The next thing was the picture of a really ugly red-yellowish tie - and the name of a man, Gary Irvine.
He got out of the bed with an annoyed groan. He brushed his teeth, wondering why he had this especially ugly taste in his mouth that morning, took a shower, put on his clothes (the ones on top of the pile) and had a look into the telephone book afterwards.
When he called him at home, Gary Irvine really seemed to be happy to talk to him, in spite of it only being 4.30 a.m..
They met in front of the station 15 Minutes later.
"You know, Jarod", Irvine said, "this really has to end. And I'm really starting to hate this tie."
He gave the ugly red-yellowish one around his neck a short annoyed look.
"Then let's just wait till that guy shows up, okay?" Jarod answered, looking just as annoyed as Irvine. "You will arrest him and everything will be okay. No little games. No pretend. I just want to get this all over. And survive it."
Irvine sighed. "Yeah. Best thing is, we'll wait in the little wood", he said. Jarod nodded.
Together, they slowly walked over to the wood, looking a bit pitiable because of their slumped shoulders and their somehow bitter errand. They were just sitting side by side in the wood's brushwood, when Irvine remembered something. He gave Jarod a short look and said: "Would you tell me something? What for heaven's sake is a pretend?"
Jarod just sighed.
They sat there for what seemed to be an eternity, but could have only been a bit over two hours. They were just bored to hell, when Irvine suddenly said:
"There he is! See him?"
Jarod`s eyes followed Irvine`s outstretched finger. There he was, the guy, wearing a dark jacket and a longhaired whig, and he was just about to reach the woman.
"Yes, I see him. And he's just trying to get the woman...Remember her?"
"Yeah! Let's go before someone's getting killed again!"
Jarod frowned, but didn't say anything about that.
Instead, they just stumbled out of the wood together and started to walk towards the man and the woman, their sudden approach from the brushwood being commented from a stroller with a loud: "Hey Guys! Get a room next time!"
Jarod just groaned.
This time, Gary didn't aimed his gun at the man and told him to stop. He just went to him as if he were just a usual guy and only when he and Jarod were standing right beside the man and the woman, suddenly pushed the woman aside and out off danger. Jarod took her aside and then turned back towards Gary and the man, who were just fighting. The man had a gun in his hand and Jarod hurried to help Irvine, when suddenly Irvine was able to grab the gun and hit the other man as hard as he could against the side. The man howled because of the pain and fell against Irvine. The police officer stumbled aside and suddenly let go of the gun in his hand.
With a groan, Jarod watched the gun fly through the air, then fall to the ground. It made a few nice little whirls, hitting the ground again and again and then, when it really happened, when the shot loosened at last, the only thing Jarod could do was giving Irvine one last unnerved look and watch Irvine give him a contrited frown.
When the bullet hit him at last, he only said: "Oh shit!"
He stirred in his sleep and slowly and carefully he flowded from the Nowhere into the Here and Now and he was already very annoyed because it had happened again and....
"Welcome back to the Real World, Sleeping Beauty."
Jarod`s eyes opened with nearly hearable "Plop!".
He was lying in a hospital bed and his shoulder was hurting terribly. Gary Irvine was sitting on a chair, right beside his bed, hands in his lap, grinning.
"What happened?" Jarod groaned.
"Well, you got shot into the shoulder."
He suddenly remembered! "You shot me!"
"I didn't. It was an a-c-c-i-d-e-n-t. And you are still alive, aren't you?"
"Well, thank you very much." He rolled his eyes.
"But it's over now, don't you think?"
"Yes", Jarod said, smiling a bit, "I think it's over now."
Gary came up from his chair and stood beside Jarod's bed.
"Now that this is all over, you know, I think this could be the start of a wonderful friendship."
He held his hand into Jarod's direction. "We haven't done this yet. At least not today... well, you know what I mean.... However. I'm Gary Irvine."
Jarod took the hand and shook it. "Jarod."
"Jarod? Just Jarod? You mean like in "Just Cher"?"
Jarod groaned. "Just don't shoot me anymore, okay? And please do me a favor."
He gave Gary a short look. Red and yellow colours made a little dance in front of his eyes.
"Get a new tie," he answered.