There's this dream I keep having. It's real.
Years ago, when I was just a crazy kid, there was this girl.
Lots of stories start that way, I know. Let me start over.
Years ago, when i was young and stupid, I fell in love with a figment of my imagination. How's that?
See, there was this house. You know that one abandoned house that seems to sit brooding on a hill on the edges of every good neighborhood? The one that all the kids say is haunted? That house. Yeah. And remember how all the kids used to dare each other to go in? It was just like that. I was the new kid on the block, the tall awkward kid with the glasses who always got picked last because you could tell he'd rather be nose first in a book than knees first on a baseball field… That kid. And just like it always does, fate showed up to kick my ass…
So when the dare came, inevitably, I had something to prove. You were a kid once, you understand. So I climbed the fence, and wriggled through the broken first floor window. What choice did I have?
The inside of the house was completely quiet.
Not a single mote of dust drifted in the air, and I marveled at the stillness.
Suddenly, I heard a footstep on the stairs.
Thinking it was the other kids trying to frighten me, I held my ground. And then, I saw… Her.
She was, hands down, the single most beautiful thing in the world. I'd never seen her before in my life, and it felt like I had never lived. I was instantly, irreparably, completely in love. As she drifted- drifted, not stepped down the stairs, I knew that from that moment on I would belong to her, and when she met my gaze, I knew she felt the same.
"Who are you?"
We must have both asked. We must have both answered. I… Don't remember.
All these years, years of searching, and I don't remember. I know that we spoke. I know that we talked, long into the night, but I don't remember a word…
All I remember is waking up in the rough grip of a policeman, apparently days later. See, when I never came out, the other kids panicked, and called the police. The house was searched, and found empty. I was declared missing. Dogs were brought out, and found nothing. Nearly a week later, a neighbor complained of strange noises coming from the abandoned house on Court street, and a police car was dispatched to check it out. They found me huddled in a corner, mumbling to myself. I have no idea where those missing days went. I'll probably never know.
Anyway, when I told them about the girl, the police told me that it had all been in my head. They said that I had probably gotten trapped in a closet or something and was missed by the search team, that she was a hallucination brought on by fear and stress, and not to worry. The house was declared unsafe and condemned, and a few days later it was demolished. I could hear her screaming as it fell.
I still love her.
Anyway, long story short, everyone in town thought I'd been seeing things. They didn't think I was crazy, in fact, everyone talked about how well I was doing, all things considered, and wished their kids were as brave as you, young man, etcetera. But they didn't believe me. In fact, after a while, a rumor got started that I had been hiding from the search teams the whole time, that I had made up this crazy story just to get attention. That I was lying.
So I got good at lying. I practiced my smile, and my walk, and my speech, and I crossed and double crossed untill I had everyone wrapped around my little finger, and still, no matter how I tried, no one would believe me about that. So I left. I just walked away and made up a new name and a new self to go with it, and never looked back, no not at all ever, except to think about her… And I found a new life, and it was good.
People are stupid. It's how I made my living. It's a damn nice way to live, too. See, people are always so dishonest it's predictable. Find an honest man, and he's a sucker every time, right? So the trick is to be the only honest man who knows what's going on, and then start lying. People actually thought they were taking advantage of me. They'd actually believe that a man in a hurry would mistake a ten for a twenty, or that sure, I'd trade them a hundred dollars for sixty just to break the large bill. They believed it. And with that belief, I could be anyone.
But one thing was still missing. Her. I hadn't spoken of her to a single soul since I'd left my old life behind, and she was the one thing I regretted losing. I had to find out who she was. I had to. So I started asking around.
Now, a man in my profession meets a lot of interesting people. There was the guy who printed all my papers, for one. Wierd man. Only had one eye… Well, mostly only one. But that isn't the point. Point is, if I really wanted to know something, then that forbidden knowledge was only a few lies away. So when I started asking about the inexplicable, I got a lot more information than your average man-on-the-street. And one thing just kept coming up. Something called the Foundation. Seemed like some kind of government coverup, a group that studied this sort of thing. So I dug deeper.
After a lot of looking, I was able to find something. Just a location, and a name. Site 17.
So, here I am. In just a moment, I'm going to enter the Foundation, and pose as one of its agents. And if I can pull it off, and I know that i can, I'll be able to learn. I'll steal, I'll lie, I'll kill. Whatever it takes.
I'll find her.