The police cars, the ambulances, the twirling beams of blue and red light.
This can’t be happening. It isn’t possible. . . . But there it is anyway. Plus an awful smell in the air — like something burning!
The crowd gathered in front of the same hotel and the gurneys being wheeled out the entrance.
Can’t be! Cannot!
But it is.
My dream . . . it’s happening!
Everything just as I saw it. Every person too — the pin-striped businessman, the bike messenger, the mother with her stroller — all watching the murder scene.
And that smell — that’s new — but what is it?
I close my eyes, squeezing them tight as if to reboot my brain. Am I really seeing this?
Yes. I am seeing this, every insane detail.
My eyes blink open, and I’m still standing on the corner of 68th and Madison, in front of the Fálcon Hotel. The Fálcon, of all places.
I want to run away. I know I should bolt while the bolting’s good. Instead, I reach for my camera.
Don’t think, just shoot.
But I am thinking.
As my finger clicks madly away, I’m thinking that this is impossible, that it can’t be real, and the more I think this, the more I know I have to keep shooting.
I need proof.
The same powerful undertow as the one in my dream grabs hold of me as I inch closer to the entrance of the Fálcon. I look up at the windows of the surrounding brownstones and see the woman in curlers taking a bite out of her bagel.
Click, click, click.
My heart is pounding, pounding, pounding, as if there’s a big bass drum inside my chest.
I look at my hands. Then at my arms. There’s a rash all over me — or maybe it’s hives.
Suddenly, I can’t breathe. The final body is being wheeled out of the hotel, and this is the last chance for me to run away.
I don’t run.
My feet don’t move, and my camera lens is fixed on the four gurneys gathered on the sidewalk. I’m gasping for air, drowning in my own fear, just about to lose it big-time.
Because I know what happens next.
“Help!” I yell out.
The mere thought of the zipper moving on that body bag is enough. I don’t need to wait to see it happen. Once was plenty.
I lower my camera and frantically wave my arms.
“Help!” I yell again, much louder this time. “Please, help!”
I’m shaking as I start to cry, the tears streaming down my cheeks. The rash, the hives — it’s getting worse.
This is unbearable.
“Please, someone, listen to me.”
And that’s when someone does.
Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson
Ilyana Kadushin's numerous credits include narration for The Discover Channel, Nickelodeon, and BBC America. She is a singer and songwriter for the duo Lythion, who currently scores music for film and television. Ilyana has also recently appeared in productions for Amnesty International and The Culture Project.
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