"I see you're still playing that song," Josh said as he came down the stairs.
I looked up just as he was coming into the music room. "What can I say, I love Stephen Foster. I find Beautiful Dreamer to be very comforting, like ice-cream."
"It's a parlour song," he said, bemused, as he came to the piano. He sat and looked at me, imploring for an explanation.
"Oh well, I love it either way."
For a moment we both sat there, neither of us saying anything. I wanted to keep on playing the song but I had come to the end of it and I didn't feel like starting all over again. I sat there, waiting for him to say something. I could feel that there was something on his mind. I watched as he sighed and started playing Berkovich's Variations of Paganini. He was a master at the playing the piano, after all, it was he that taught me how to play. I watched as his fingers skillfully moved along the keys, graciously bringing forth that all so melodious sound. He played on for about five minutes before stopping abruptly. He turned to look at me, dead straight in the eyes. "You talk in your sleep," he said.
I was taken aback for a minute or so. I had no idea that I talked in my sleep. He continued playing, picking up from where he had stopped, at a higher tempo. "I don't think Variations is that long," I said. He switched up to Penguin's Game.
"I don't know, who is he?"
He stopped playing and got up. "You tell me," he said.
"I'm guessing you said something about an Edward in my sleep?"
"No. You screamed something about an Edward in your sleep." Silence. "You're having the dreams again, aren't you?"
I sighed. I didn't want to tell him the truth, but I didn't want to lie to him either. "I was heading to the washroom that was someplace upstairs when I saw two guys kill another guy and cut him up into little pieces and then one of the killer guys killed his partner and then he turned and saw me but there was also this other guy, a watchman or something, who saw it happen and he started running and the killer guy got distracted so I ran away to the washroom downstairs and there were other girls in there..." he stopped me.
I took a deep breath. "It's always better to say it all at go," I said.
"Just go a little bit slower," he said.
I stood to go get some water from the water dispenser in the room. I filled a cup, took a sip and stood there, silent, before continuing, "Well, there were other girls there. I didn't want to alarm them so I just did my business. Then the watchman came by the door as I was deciding whether to go outside or just stay there and he started whispering. 'We need to tell someone,' he said. I could see he wanted to say more, but before he could, the killer guy appeared and slit his throat. The other girls saw it and they started screaming and I just stood there, too scared to scream. He shushed us and told us that if any of us tried to do anything other than what he said, he would kill all of us. So we all did nothing but exactly what he said. He kept us there for what I imagined was days or weeks, we had no way to tell the time because he took all our watches and phones...anything electronic really. Finally, he let us out to go get some food, for some twisted reason that I don't know. We went to some sort of outdoor cafeteria and stood there in a single file, waiting to get some food and water. Some of the girls were so famished, they passed out. I saw some paper towels and a pen on the table where the food was and I tried writing an SOS on one but my hands were shaking so badly that I smudged it and so I took another, but I smudged that one too. Then I saw this guy that I knew, somehow, standing by the same table; it was a long table. I turned around and saw that the killer guy was harassing some girls at the end of the line and I took the chance to ask for help from this other guy that I apparently knew. I sneaked up behind him and tugged on his sleeves and he turned around, looking very relieved to see me but also scared. 'Someone is trying to kill me,' he whispered to me. He was in a hurry, like he was going somewhere. He grabbed my hand and led me past a wall to a dirt road."
"What happened?" Josh asked, looking very concerned.
I laughed. "You look scared. Relax, it was only a nightmare, people have those all the time."
"Do they also kick and scream and sweat profusely in their sleep?"
"You'd be surprised! Have you never had a nightmare?"
"You know you they're never nightmares for you."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Anyway, there was a bus outside, yellow, looked a lot like an old school bus and some of his buddies were inside. He lifted me onto the bus and followed me on and told the driver to step on it. Then the killer guy came running after us and happened to hold on to the bus door before it closed and we all, started screaming and I was really scared. The killer guy was super strong, so strong that when he leaned on one side, he swayed the bus to that side, so we all had to lean to the other side...you know, physics. But then came this not-so-big roundabout and the bus toppled while going around it and the killer guy stood there looking really angry and then I woke up because there was a cockroach jogging on my arm."
"So who is Edward?"
"I don't know! The killer, maybe?"
"Let's see," he said as he searched through the federal database. "Aha! Right here. A case that is exactly the way your dream was. No Edward though."
"Well, now you have a name."
"Well yes, but it did happened two decades ago." He started moving towards the stairs. I could see there was something he wasn't telling me.
"You always solve these cases," I said as I watched him leave. I followed him closely. He stopped. I bumped into him.
"They all died."
I just stood there, unable to move. Josh headed on to the situation room without me. I later joined him, sitting quietly, trying to go unnoticed by the roomful of agents that were being briefed. No one seemed particularly hopeful. After all, all they had was a name. A name that could be referring to anyone. I felt a lump in my throat, a feeling that occurs every time I feel like I have let someone down. I stealthily left the room. I gave the artist the description of everyone I saw in my dream, but I couldn't help feeling like it wasn't enough. Deep down I could feel that the manhunt was about to be a wild goose chase.