Author's Note: Welcome to Legacy! This story has been in the works for more than a decade, and I'm so excited that you can finally join me on this journey here on Tapas! The chapters are long, so I've split them up into parts. (I also wanted to share the most appropriate mood music for each part, so that also meant splitting them up.) Hope that's not too distracting. Writers live for feedback, so please leave comments. I would love to hear from you. And now, let's begin our story...
Suggested soundtrack: True Love Waits by Radiohead
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
She is facing a wall of glowing green light. It’s beautiful and it shimmers and it hypnotizes her. Swirls like oil in an old psychedelic music video. She hears her name and she turns around.
And there he is. Close-cropped black hair, caramel skin, almond-shaped eyes. He’s wearing that black leather jacket, as always, and that same look of concern on his handsome face. Something about that look squeezes her heart and makes her desperate to reassure him. To ease his apprehension. He’s wrong. There is nothing to worry about. If only he knew that everything would be okay.
“Don’t worry, silly,” she says. “I’ll be back before you know it.” But that look he gives her causes the anxiety to rise within her. What does he know that she doesn’t?
She turns and passes through the shimmering green glaze...
And then she woke up. Colleen Ryan sat up in bed, breathless, her stomach tight. Lightning flashed outside the window, followed by a rumble of thunder.
What time was it?
She checked the analog clock on her bedside table, pressing the glow button. Half past one. The dream came early tonight. She had been having this recurring dream for five years, which is as long as she could remember, but it usually happened in the early morning hours right before the alarm went off.
She pulled the chain on her bedside lamp and sat on the edge of her bed, and then stopped. She could hear Aunt Hillary’s voice downstairs. Who was she talking to at this time of night? Was she on the phone, or was someone here? Her desire for a cup of tea to help her get back to sleep would have to be put on hold if her aunt had some sort of nighttime visitor. She didn’t want to go down in her pajamas and interrupt anything. But who could possibly be here at one in the morning? Did Hillary have some secret boyfriend?
The thought made her smile. Aunt Hillary with a boyfriend was not something she had ever experienced before, since she moved in with her five years ago, after the death of her parents in a car accident. Colleen had always felt like her aunt had put her life on hold for Colleen, what with the retrograde amnesia from the accident and all. She felt she had to take care of Colleen, which Colleen understood, but she was doing fine. She was a high school graduate with a semester of college behind her now. She had friends. Maybe an admirer of her own. Maybe. She wasn’t really sure yet on that front. It was complicated. But Aunt Hillary deserved a life too.
Colleen looked to the phone on her bedside table, next to the alarm clock. She could just check. Not eavesdrop. Just check before going downstairs.
She eased the receiver off the cradle, immediately sliding her hand over the mouthpiece to muffle any sound, and placed the receiver to her ear.
“It’s just a feeling,” she heard her aunt say. “Hard to explain.”
“I see,” a man responded. He sounded oddly familiar, like Colleen had met him before. But where? “I respect these feelings you have, Hillary, and I know not to ignore them.” Awkward.
Afraid to hear any more, Colleen held her breath and hung the phone up as silently as possible.
Well. Don’t want to interrupt any of that.
She crawled back into bed and turned off the light. She closed her eyes and listened to the rain pelting the roof above her. So, a boyfriend. One with a really formal way of talking. Maybe he was wealthy or something. High society. Old money. A sugar daddy? The store could use a remodel.
She drifted off to sleep to thoughts of new, gash-free hardwood flooring and bookcases that didn’t sag in the middle.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As Colleen put out the lights on the North side of Mancel City, miles away, on the South side, someone was turning lights on. Lights unused for five years, deep in the bowels of an old estate.
His name was Aldo Vincent. He was a man on his own, divorced, with children he never saw. He blamed his time behind bars for that. But did he really regret it? He had built around himself a family of his own since then, of people like himself. And for the last five years, he had stood watch over the body of his boss. His friend. They had gone through so much together, and like the father figure he was, his boss had taken care of him. Aldo had wanted for nothing, and he diligently maintained his boss’s affairs in the man’s absence. But tonight was the night. Or at least, he hoped it was. He was taking a big step, and he couldn’t help but be nervous about that.
Vincent looked over the controls as the medical team continued to set up behind him. They were trusted professionals, who knew, by loyalty or perhaps threat of death, never to reveal what they saw here.
When they were ready, Vincent studied the controls one last time, and looked to the face behind the glass for reassurance. Then he keyed in the proper sequence. The coffin-like pod began to whir. Cold air shot out from vents along its sides. Lights flashed. Alarms went off. The medical staff stood back, but Vincent stood his ground, determined to be the first face his boss saw when he awoke.
The seal on the glass lid released with a hiss, and the lid opened. Inside, the color slowly returning to his face, was his boss. The man in the pod blinked his eyes slowly and then rapidly, and then decided to keep them closed.
“You were wounded, Boss. You put yourself in cryo-sleep. But we are here to help you now.”
“Yes, Boss, it’s me.”
The man tried to reach for Vincent’s hand, but couldn’t get his limbs to cooperate. Vincent obliged him and took his hand. “What year is it?”
“It’s 1995, Boss. It’s time. It’s finally time.”