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Chapter 18: She’s Not Crazy, but Mad
1974. Days after Paul’s death.
Before the tragedy, Amy Maxwell was happy. Paul gave her everything she needed: Love. She liked the flowers he brought back for her everyday; she enjoyed the little chit-chats through walkie-talkie with him. He would say “I love you” at least 3 times a day. Every evening she would prepare some new dishes from recipes she just learned. Sometimes they were delicious; sometimes they were hard to eat. Paul always ate them all.
Amy always talked about Paul in the Flame station, where she monitored the Electric-Magnetic energy and radiation, but her mind usually was on what she should cook that night. She kept her progress of research, but she was not the previous workaholic anymore.
Their house was the cleanest and neatest one in the DI. Amy spent a lot of time with Paul to clean the house and mow the lawn every weekend. To them, those chores were actually pleasures.
They went to the bamboos after the house chores were done. There they could see Amy’s parents from time to time. If they met, they would sit down and talk for a long time. The topics were usually about Amy: how she built her automatic house, how she got 5 invitations for the high school prom, how she studied like crazy in college … Paul would listen with his full attention, even though he had heard them a hundred times. He would also talk about his life as an orphan, how he joined the army, and later how he tried to survive in the street. Some stories make them laugh, some make them sad. Through the talking they knew each other more. Amy’s parents said they like Paul, and they were glad Amy married him.
Amy was really happy. That’s why Paul’s death hit her extremely hard.
After that day, for a long time she couldn’t think things straight. She wept all day long. Every night she dreamt of her deceased husband. She could see him kissed her for the first time back in the Hydra 42 station. She could see him followed her all around the world as her bodyguard. She remembered how fierce he looked when he fought off 3 mean guys in Tunisia. She remembered how he took a bullet for her just before she was about to give a speech about the island in the Hanso Adward. Every little detail came back in her dreams, just like they were actually happening in the real life. She tried to hug him in the dreams but he always disappeared into the thin air. The moment she woke up, all the memories, the sadness and the emptiness mounted on her like Everest. There was nothing left to do but crying. When the tears were all out, she could only stare blankly at the walls. Paul’s death took away all her joy in a swift moment and turned her into a zombie.
Just when she was mourning deeply, along came “Paul”.
Still wearing the “Head of security” jumpsuit, he had the same caring and affecting smile, just like the way he looked that morning.
“Hi, sweetie, don’t be such a sleeping head.” He said it in a very gentle way, “You need to wake up. Now.”
“Paul?!” Amy couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Yes, honey, please don’t be surprised.” Paul got close and touched her cheeks, “I am always here for you. I will take care of you, just like before.”
“Paul……” Amy reached out to him, trying to hug him, but he stepped back and avoided it.
“Now, honey, I know you are very upset, and I am sorry for that.” Paul said in a firm way, “But they need you. The whole DI is counting on you. Dr. Chang can’t do this job alone. You know how unorganized he is, right?”
“Paul…” Amy was begging, “I need you. Come back here.”
“No, my dear Amy.” Paul stepped back more, “You and I will meet again in the afterlife. We will have all the time we need, but now the most important thing is getting up and doing your job.”
“I will.” Amy’s tears came out again, “But I miss you, I miss you so much.”
“I miss you too.” Paul said sincerely, “I will come back from time to time, just to make sure you are okay.” Then he disappeared.
The house was empty again. For a long while Amy couldn’t tell she was hallucinating or really seeing a ghost. Only one thing was sure, that she was not dreaming. She did see him.
Paul, I will wait for you right here. I won’t go anywhere. Come back, I am right here.
She waited and waited. Paul would come back from time to time. He talked to her about all the happy moments they both shared. He would talk about how nerdy she looked back in the Hydra station, and she would tell him how tense he was when he was her bodyguard. They both laughed and laughed in tears. Amy felt much better when he was around, and felt ultimately lost after he left. Her emotion went up and down in those three months.
One night she grew really tired of talking, she missed the feeling of huddling in Paul’s big arms. So she took of all her clothes and jumped on Paul from behind. The moment her naked skin touched against Paul’s body, she was so excited to actually be able to hug him tight, feeling his strong muscle in the back, and listening to his breathing, like she did many times before.
Except, there was no breathing at all, nor did she hear any heart-beats.
It only last a short moment, the fake Paul got out of the surprise of being ambushed from his back, struggled out of her arms and gave her a slap in the face, then he disappeared.
It was exactly that slap which finally shook her out of her daydreaming: It was not Paul, but a ghost. No matter how similar that ghost resembled him, it was not him. The cold fact that Paul was really dead, and there was no way she could bring him back suddenly sunk into Amy’s mind. It made her body shivering uncontrollably, but at the same time her brain suddenly was clear and worked like an engine being jump started. It was fueled by pure anger.
How dare you use my husband like this? He’s already dead and you still used his image to seduce me and try to achieve your agenda? I don’t care what the hell you are or what the hell you want from me, I will make you pay for toying with my deepest feelings!
It was about time to wake up and do the math. After all, she had been in a cloud of misery and confusion for 3 months already.
First was to list all the facts that she had learned so far.
Fact #1: There was an intelligent being on the island. It oversaw everything and constantly trying to get rid of ‘bad’ people by creating various accidents. For ‘good’ people like her, it would give them a chance to see their love ones. Judging by the energy pockets which scattering around, this being was very likely to be the island itself.
Fact #2: The island could collect souls, and somehow manipulated them back into human life forms. It made them looked, act and talked exactly the same way as if they were alive. She believed Jacob had this ability as well. With her own experience, the island must have brought a lot of souls with him all the time, thus she would always hear strange whispers first, then see her husband or her parents later.
Fact #3: There was also that smoky monster. He seemed to be able to do the same trick, because sometimes right after the smoke monster disappeared, a manipulated soul would appear. It should not be a coincidence. In addition, because the smoke monster sometimes killed hostiles, he was not a friend of Jacob.
Fact #4: The hostiles couldn’t be killed in the normal way. They were all protected somehow by their god Jacob. There were only 2 ways to kill them. One, by the smoky monster, or two, by some special guys like James and Juliet who showed up from nowhere. Jacob himself cannot be killed, but a guy from the future showed her a way. It was a knife that somehow could do the trick.
Fact #5: The island was extremely sensitive to a certain series of numbers. Broadcasting the numbers was the way she blackmailed Jacob into allowing them to come here. There must be special meaning of the numbers.
Based on the facts, she started to draw some conclusions:
Conclusion #1: Based on Fact #1, Paul was killed by the island. There was no accident in this island, so Paul’s death was an act of ‘eliminating the bad guys’ process by the island. Dr. Chang warned her before about Paul’s background. It seemed that he was right all along. Paul’s death was just a matter of time.
(It was very ironic that, because the island had been using ‘accidents’ to kill people too many times, now even if he had nothing to do with Paul’s death, and it was a ‘real accident’, Amy would not believe it.)
Conclusion #2: Based on Fact #2 and #3, the island, Jacob and the smoke monster all had similar powers. There must be connections among them. They might know each other, and they must be long time enemies.
Conclusion #3: To revenge Paul, I need to kill the island. To kill the island, first I have to kill all the hostiles. To kill all the hostiles, I need to do the following things.
1. Take over the Dharma Initiative and conduct a complete research on the island and the hostiles. Find out the relationship between the island and Egypt.
2. Establish a station to monitor the hostiles’ activities, a station filled with toxic gas to kill all the hostiles, a station to do test broadcasting the numbers, and a surveillance station to find out what will happen in the testing station.
3. Find out who James and Juliet really are. Find the reason why they can kill the hostiles. Perhaps I can use them to activate the toxic gas station.
4. Find a way to contact the smoke monster and find out if he is a friend or a foe of the island. Make a portable sonic gun to protect myself before meeting him. A sonic gun will also be useful to disable the hostiles because it is not lethal.
5. Research on the unique properties of the energy pockets, find out a way to build a shield against the “accidents” as soon as possible. Without such a shield I will be utterly defenseless when meeting the island or Jacob.
After her own research paper was done, she got a big plan in her mind already, a plan so vicious that it would have made all the others on the island feel the winter chill again.
The constructions of six new Dharma stations began. The plan was so bold that no one except Amy considered them possible. So far they only built two stations and already lost more than a hundred men. How many more would die in that kind of aggressive plan? Most of them didn’t even dare to think about it.
However, to all DI staff’s surprise, things turned out to be completely the opposite. The constructions of other stations were surprisingly smooth. The Arrow Station was built without any hostiles notice. The Tempest Station was up and running in a short time. Amy and Pierre held the opening ceremonies of two stations. Both were embarrassing events. They seized every opportunity to denounce each other. The celebrations became debating competitions from then on. Neither one of the ceremonies had a pleasant ending.
At the same time, Lara Chang discovered a vaccine that could help human bodies resist the electro-magnetic radiations which existed throughout the island, while it only had a minimum side effect on the brain: it would cause minor nose breeding. After the Staff Station finished, she started to manufacture the vaccine in it. Soon, it became a mandatory periodical injection for every member of DI. Sometimes the Air Cargo from Paik Enterprise would add more of the same vaccine to the cabinet, so before long they had more than they needed.
The plunged casualty rate puzzled everyone in the DI except Amy. Since the new constructions began, the monster’s activities were at a minimum. They could still hear him roaming around in the jungle, but he never came out. At the same time, the bad lucks were reduced almost to none. The change didn’t happen overnight, but everyone had a feeling that “the island of death” suddenly turned into a “paradise of Hawaii” in a very short time.
With the monster and bad lucks gone (at least temporarily), DI guys became active explorers. They cut down trees, paved roads, built golf courses, football fields and an airport strip out in the open. They drove the little blue van everywhere except the dark jungle and the hostile territories. They don’t need to be scared just passing a pool, or checked a hammer twice before using it. For the first time in the island, they truly felt safe.
All DI guys loved the freedom. Because it happened during the Amy ruling days, they called Amy a new nick name: “the island’s bitch”, for a popular rumor saying that she somehow had screwed the island. In a sense, it was quite true.
Dr. Chang still worked as an overseer of all the constructions, while he spent more time in his lab in the Orchid Station. Some DI guys called him “Father of the DI”, but others called him “Bad Luck Chang”. They believed that if he was the director again, the bad lucks would come back and haunt them. Dr. Chang basically didn’t really care what they think of him. He tightened up the security, made sure there was some fail-safe mechanism in each of the stations, and always scolded workers loudly about not wearing a helmet. He would lead an evacuation training routine every month, even though no one but him considered it necessary.
James, Juliet, Jin and Miles were doing their jobs well. James was indispensable in every security aspect. He could almost smell a hostile from 5 miles away. He was extremely good at negotiating deals that favored Dharma Initiatives. Richard was often being tricked into agreeing something he shouldn’t have. With his help, Horace’s workload was reduced to almost zero. Juliet was clumsy in the auto pool at first, but she picked up things really fast. After just a few months of learning, she was able to dissemble a blue van to parts and put them all back in 2 hours. Since then nobody could find car problems faster than her. She became the number 1 in the auto pool department. James and Juliet went together many times. They got closer and closer. One day James openly proposed to Juliet, and everyone in DI gave him some support. Juliet didn’t say “yes” but she moved in his house soon after. They were a happy couple that people envied ever since. No one liked Miles for his weird behavior, but he turned out to be helpful in the security department, for he could tell things only a dead man would know. Jin kept his silence all the time, but DI guys knew he was a nice man in heart. He offered unconditional help when people most need it. Children called him “Uncle Jin” for his Samaritan deeds. Horace started to trust them and forgot about their origin.
To Horace, there was only one thing that bothered him deeply: Amy was pregnant.
Though Amy finally moved in his house, Horace never slept with her. Nobody else in the DI dared to touch her after seeing the scary scar of Horace’s chest. She was busy all the time, and nobody had seen her stepped outside of DI perimeters. How in the world did she get pregnant? Horace was very upset about it.
Sometimes when he indirectly asked the question, Amy would say, “This is the Paul’s baby.”
“But he died 3 years ago.”
“Well, you choose what to believe, Officer Goodspeed.” Her voice turned cold.
“Come on, Amy. You can tell me the truth. I really don’t mind.”
“Horace.” Amy’s voice became soft and almost begging, “You are the only friend that I had left in this island. I really don’t want to lose you. So please don’t ask me again, OK?”
Horace’s heart melted by her pleading, no matter what others had said about her, in his mind she was always the beautiful fragile girl who needed his protection. He didn’t raise the question since then.
It doesn’t matter whose father it belongs. As long as Amy is still with me, I am happy. He decided. I will adopt the baby. If that’s a boy, I will name him Ethan. I will give him the best education, and make him a doctor.
In the Orchid station, Dr. Chang made a major progress with the help of his wife, Lara. After extensive experiments with many different kinds of animals, Lara’s gene-modified polar bears successfully jumped to another space and time in one piece. The good news was very encouraging: At least one bear survived the jump unharmed, and he ended up somewhere in Tunisia 3000 years ago. The excavation of an ancient Tunisia archeology spot confirmed their success. The bear’s carcass was still wearing the DI’s metal belt when it was unearthed. The moment they got the message from Tunisia, they hugged each other tight in tears. The days of human race entering space-time-traveling era were near, and they both would be the most famous scientists of the brand new age. They would be labeled as the founding father and mother of the space-jumping. It was only a matter of time that they could figure out how to space-jump the polar bears to the present time in order to show it to the world. All the scientists around the world would be all gasping in awe when they saw a polar bear beamed to the other side of the Earth in a blink of eyes.
For a short period, it seemed that everyone was happy, until the day of the incident.
April 1st, 1977. Three months before the incident.
Amy’s baby was delivered by Juliet. It was a happy day for Juliet because she finally successfully delivered a baby on the island safely, but obviously Amy didn’t share the joy.
She held the baby close, looked at his cute little hands and toes, but she didn’t smile at all. Something was in her mind bothering her since the baby was born. She was very nervous at night, even when she was sleeping, a little bit of noise would have waked her up.
DI guys came in and congratulated her with gifts for the baby. She always seemed distracted and ignored them. It made Horace and the visitors quite embarrassing. Finally Juliet told everyone that Amy might get something called PPD, “Postpartum Depression”. She should get a lot of rest, and nobody should bother her for at least several days, so that she and her baby would get some peace.
3 days later, Amy showed up in Sayid’s trail with her baby. Her impassioned speech about not able to sleep while Sayid was around made everyone realized how angry she actually was. For the time being, they wouldn’t pay a visit to bother her any more.
7 days passed, it was mid-night. Amy still wasn’t asleep. She held her baby tight and looked around with an intensive caution.
Jacob suddenly appeared in front of her bed, “It’s time. Amy.”
Amy’s tears dropped down uncontrollably, “Can I hold him for one more minute?”
“A deal is a deal.” Jacob said, “Now it has been 7 days already. Don’t make it harder than the way it already is.”
“My baby!” Amy said, “His name is Ethan. Horace gave him the name, and he wants him to be a doctor.”
Jacob nodded, “We will see what we can do. Now hand me the baby.”
Amy put her face against the baby’s tiny face and said, “Baby, I am so sorry that mommy is leaving you. You’ll be strong, OK?”
Jacob shook his head impatiently.
“I want you to know. No matter what happens, mommy always loves you. No matter what...”
“Have you quite finished?”
“It’s done.” Amy was back to her icy personality, “Take him.”
Jacob disappeared with the baby.
Feeling weak and fragile, Amy slowly stood up and made sure Horace in the next room was sleeping soundly. She opened her closet, pushed open a secret door, and a hidden stone gateway with mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphs appeared.
She walked down the granite stairs and reached to the end, where she turned a stone, and the water flushed down.
“It’s time for me too.” She said it in a plain voice. Her face was as grave as a priest in a funeral.
Outside Dharma Initiative territories, inside the dark jungle, Amy trekked slowly through the woods. She fell a few times, bruises showed up in her arms, but she just kept walking like she felt no pain.
A noisy tumbling sound spread around. Amy stopped and took out her sonic gun.
A column of black smoke appeared. It circled around Amy, taking some flashes, then it concentrated into a man.
The man said, “Hello, Amy.”
Amy replied, “Hello, Samuel.”
Horace woke up by a nightmare. The first thing he checked was Amy’s bedroom. Somehow he knew bad things were happening. It was too quiet.
Not surprisingly, Amy was gone, so was the baby.
He found a note on the night table and read it.
“Dear Horace. I can’t thank you enough for taking care of me when I needed it the most. You’re the kindest man I had ever known. But I have a secret I never told you, that my baby’s father is a hostile. Now I am going to their side, and I will never come back. Goodbye, dear friend. Thank you sincerely!”
The note dropped down to the ground. Horace stood still and couldn’t move. He was frozen there for a very long time.
Amy asked, “How’s the new cabin? Do you find it comfortable?”
Samuel replied, “Yes, it is very nice. Thank you! Horace did a great job. Now I bring it everywhere I go.”
“If he knew he was building a cabin for you, he wouldn’t have started it at all.” Amy said with a tired smile, “But he never asked me any questions. He is such a sweet man!”
“I have to agree. You don’t really deserve him.” Samuel said a little taunt, “Well, now let me ask you, did you give them the baby?”
Amy replied, “Yes, I did.” Her face was pale as paper.
“Sometimes I am really amazed by the will power of human beings like you.” Samuel said, “I cannot imagine how you felt when it happened. You must have gone through hell!”
“Thanks. It was all planned, so it was not that bad.” Amy said, “Now I felt better.”
“That’s comforting.” Samuel said, “If you don’t mind, I am just curious who the father is.”
“Richard gave me some yellow water, I drank it, and I got pregnant.”
“Oh, I see.” Samuel nodded, “I wonder why they don’t drink it themselves.”
“They are slaves. Slaves’ children are still slaves.” Amy said, “Isn’t that the first rule of the slavery?”
“I don’t think this is the case. Anyway, now they took your baby, what are you getting in return?”
“Nothing?” Samuel was surprised, “You gave out your baby for nothing?”
“No. Jacob already did something for me.” Amy said, “He made the island fall asleep.”
Samuel understood, “Oh, that’s the price for the baby! It seems he wants a replacement so bad, that he will do anything just to achieve the goal.”
“That’s how we built the stations without the island’s interference, and the hostiles’ detection.” She said, “I paid a high price for that.”
“It’s hell of a price, Amy.” Samuel had to applause, “I couldn’t imagine anyone could think of such a plan like that. You are too smart for a scientist.”
“Thanks! You brother said that too.” Amy bitterly smiled, “More than once.”
“He’s not my brother!”
“Relax, big guy.” Amy said, “You will kill him one day, and kill the island too. I will help you.”
“That’s right! I almost forgot to ask that. Did you find a way to kill Jacob?”
“Yes, I did.” Amy said like a revenging angel, “You know. I have been researching Egyptian history in the last two years. The answer did not come easily.”
“I know, and I have kept my promise not to kill your men. Now it’s your turn to give me the answer.”
“OK, here it is. Ancient Egyptian believed that pharaohs were immortal. Nobody could kill a pharaoh. This island has a lot of connection with Egypt. According to the hieroglyph we found here, the island was enslaved by the pharaohs for a long time, so it must be the island who was protecting the pharaohs.”
“Yes, and your point is...”
“Do you know about King Tut?”
“Never mind. There is new evidence which shows that he was killed by his general Tutankhamun, which should have been impossible. How could the general killed the famous pharaoh under the island’s watch?”
“Maybe the island fell asleep, like now?”
“He was not. The Egyptians were building pyramids. It was impossible to build it without the island’s help. So he must be wild awake. Normally nobody could even get close to the king, let alone killing him.”
“OK, I am all ears.”
“I did a thorough research of the general, and found out that at some point of the time he was blessed by the island as well. He said in his dreams he would see things which told him what to do next. Does it sound like the typical island magic to you?”
“That’s right.” Samuel remembered it well, “I used to have dreams too.”
“My guess is correct after all.” Amy said, “He was an undercover assassin sent by the island. So the island gave him special blessing and a special knife.”
“OK, I see…” Samuel started to understand her point, “What kind of knife is that?”
“According to the Egyptian archives, this knife was supposedly belonged to ‘the protector of the island’.” Amy said slowly, “It is a knife that can kill immortals.” She took out a picture and handed it to him, “This picture was taken inside of the King Tut’s tomb. Do you see that a general was holding a knife?”
Samuel’s iris enlarged, “That knife! I saw it before! I think it used to belong to my fake mother. Probably it is still near her dead body. You mean I just need to get this knife and give it to someone, then whoever owns the knife can kill Jacob?”
“Not exactly. The pharaoh was killed by his general. So it must be someone similar to this status, or maybe someone who was blessed by the island before, so he could wield the true power of the knife.”
“You mean Richard, his second in command?”
“That little dog is too loyal to betray him, left alone killing him. I offered him a deal to see his wife but he never accepted it.”
“Then you should find someone else who will, maybe a future leader of them. When the time is right, you give him the knife and persuade him to kill Jacob.”
“That’s impossible. If the leader is on his side, why will he kill him at all?”
“Well, from I know about men, if you give him enough motivation, he will do anything for you. It depends only on how well you can manipulate him.”
“Hm... you really got a point. This must be the loophole I have been looking for.” Samuel understood completely, “Great job, Amy!”
“Thank you. It’s quite a compliment coming from you.” Amy smile weakly, “One more thing, though. If you managed to kill Jacob, tell me about it. I will use my code to turn on the toxic gas tanks in the Tempest Station. This way it will eliminate everyone in the village.”
“And why you want to do such a horrible thing?”
“Because Jacob is also planning to kill you. If I do that, his plan will fail and you will win.”
“But that will kill your baby too, right?”
Amy bit her low lip. Her eyes were red, “In the beginning, he was already a sacrifice to me.”
Samuel looked at her eyes deeply, “You know. Sometimes it’s not necessary to go that far.”
“But it will guarantee your victory.” Amy said, “Don’t you worry about your brother already found a way to kill you? If every hostile died in this island, there is no way that he can strike back.”
“I appreciate your concern, and all your effort to build the stations, but I have to pass. Now please tell me how to kill the island.”
“Well. This is the part that I am still trying to figure out.” Amy said, “In order to do that, I need to know your story, how you became a smokey like this. With your story, maybe I can find the way.”
“It’s a long story.”
“I got all the time of the world.” Amy said, “I am not going anywhere. Now I am your slave.”
“What? Since when?” Samuel was surprised.
“Since tonight. I burnt all the bridges. Now I will only help you to achieve your goals. They are the same goals of mine, anyway.”
“Woman, I think you are making a big mistake. I don’t need slaves. In fact, I hate enslaving people.”
“Really? How about an assistant? Does it sound better?”
“No, you have no value to me here.”
“Do you know that I still have all the access passwords for the Dharma Initiatives? I can turn off the sonic fence for you.”
“That’s called cheating and I don’t want it. You need to go back no matter what.”
Amy looked at him for a long time. Since she met the smokey monster, he turned out to be a different person than she expected. Sometimes she was not sure whether she should kill him to avenge Karen and Gerald or not.
Eventually she sighed and said, “OK, then. Now, at least for the better service of you, I need to know your story, boss.”
“Again, don’t call me boss. I hate the name.”
“Alright, my story began a long long time ago, when my mother was pregnant and she was on a ship to the America ...”
The story continued.
The morning came.
Under the dim sunlight, Horace felt so relieved to see Amy outside the sonic fence. He turned off the fence, ran to her, held her shoulder and asked, “What happened?”
Amy cried and hugged him, “They took the baby. They want only the baby.”
Horace was angry but at the same time relaxed, “It’s OK, dear. I promised you one day those bastards will pay. But now it’s OK. I won’t leave you. We will have many babies together...”
Amy cried even harder.