I suppose this is worse, isn't it? They just couldn't let him rest in peace. If they had, maybe I wouldn't have this lingering hope that won't go away.
They wouldn't leave him alone.
Night after night I keep having the same dream. It's been the same since the day that Paul brought his body back from Mars. I'm walking through a field, scattered with little clumps of daisies. I'm looking for Conrad. He's lost, and I have to find him.
Suddenly I see him, sitting on the grass. He's wearing his black spectrum uniform, staring at something on the ground in front of him. He's right there, but he still seems miles away. I call out to him, but he doesn't reply. He still stares at something on the ground. I decide to come a little closer and call out his name again. There is still no response, and I start to get scared so I run straight towards him. Then, when I am standing behind him I can see what he is looking at and I stop. A tomb stone lies broken at his feet. On the shattered stone I can just about see traces of a name:
2036 – 2068
Killed in action"
Conrad stands still with his back to me, and then turns to face me. His eyes are ablaze with that hideous green light, which has masked his kind brown iris. Then I know that it's not Conrad, but something else. I reach for my gun, only realising that I don't have it. I try to run, but my legs don't seem to be working anymore. I can't take my eyes from his, and he reaches out to me. I take a step backwards but it's too late. His fingers close on my neck and squeeze tightly. I gasp for breath, feeling like I'm drowning in that green light. I plead with him to let me go, but I know that it's going to do no good. I know that he won't let me go. He doesn't care about me anymore. Once he would have done anything to help me, but now he would rather see me dead, or worse...
He'd turn me into something like him...
That's usually the point I wake up. On more than one occasion I've woken up screaming, and Harmony, Symphony or one of the other girls has run in with their gun out, thinking something was in here with me. Sometimes I've thought that, in the moment half way between sleeping and waking I've been alone in the darkness of my own room, drenched in cold sweat and gulping down air as if something really had been trying to squeeze the life out of me. I put on a brave face around the others, or at least I try to, but there's still this tiny glimmer of hope that I can still save him.
Paul came back to us. The Mysterons made him, but he turned back to us. Conrad's just like him, so there's always a chance, despite most of me knows that the man I loved is gone forever. That hurts really I suppose. When I see him in person, it feels like he really is choking me (just like in my dreams). That Mysteron looks like him, sound like him, even remembers his life but it's not him. Paul has told me that both he and Conrad died on Mars, but there is still something left inside them of the person they once were. Paul managed to shake off the Mysteron Consciousness. I don't want to think that it could only be a one off.
I'd like to believe he could come back.
He knows what I'm thinking somehow though. The Mysteron taunts me for my loss, but whenever I look into his eyes it makes me scared. I can remember before all this started, I'd look into his brown eyes and feel safe and happy; but now his eyes are cold and empty (almost corpse like, but with something living inside him). Now if I look into his eyes, all that looks back at me is a Mysteron: and it scares me.
When I see those eyes I am so scared. Something in him is still part of Conrad. There's still a part that loves me, and that's the most terrifying thing of all. The man I loved is gone, and this thing that replaced him, makes me feel cold and frozen inside.
Conrad, what have you made me?
He loves me still, perhaps; but whatever it is he doesn't love me in a human sense of the word. "Obsession" may be more the word I'm thinking of. I'm human, and he's a Mysteron now. He hates anything to do with humans and more so anything to do with Spectrum (and being the Spectrum's Angel Leader doesn't exactly help). He won't kill me and let me stay dead. He is their agent on Earth. He has power over who will stay dead and who won't. He is linked to the green rings. If it ever came down to that, I'd prefer to stay in my grave, thank you. He once told me (the Mysteron, not the real Conrad) that he would make me his slave, to stay with him for all eternity. It made me feel afraid, but somehow not sickened (as I expected). I still remained hopeful really. Conrad was in there somewhere and I could bring him back if only we could try. That's the fairy-tale ending though. The chances it would happen are slimmer than the chances of winning this war. We are fighting an enemy that we cannot see or even understand. Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it, then Paul tells me we have to keep fighting, and I soldier on.
It still doesn't mean I don't miss him though.
Harmony's really the only person I've told about my nightmares. I haven't even told Paul. He would just worry. Harmony's my best friend. I would trust her with silence on anything, and it helps to tell someone how you feel. I don't think it's ever going to stop hurting.
"Time can heal," Harmony said to me once. "But some cuts take longer than others."
"But some cuts never really disappear," I said. "Some cuts leave scars, and won't let time heal."
"Pessimistic much, Destiny," Harmony smiled, and that was all she said. Unfortunately my "cut" as Harmony put it didn't feel like it would heal, or would leave a scar. It felt like it was full of poison and wouldn't heal at all. I felt like I was slowly bleeding to death, and nothing could ever have stopped it. Looking back, maybe I could have lived and been happy if Conrad had died. That cut would have made a scar, but at least it would finally close. Hunting him, every second of every minute of every day, makes sure the wound is still bleeding.
This war really has been a test on my duty. I wanted to resign after I first saw him again. I could have shot him, but I had let my emotions get in the way.
"Destiny, sweetheart; it's me: Conrad."
"Oh, how I'd like to believe that."
There's something therapeutic in flying though. Ever since I've been a little girl, I had loved flying, and I'd wanted to be a pilot. When I'm flying I feel free, like I can do anything. Maybe that's why I work overtime now. It's not because of the war effort. It's because it's my escape from this nightmare that haunts me always.
I can feel his presence somehow, even if he isn't here. It's almost as if he's watching me somehow, as if he knows everything I'm doing. Maybe it's just that part of my brain which still clings to hope (the part that feels guilty when I think about Paul), but I somehow get the feeling he's still there, haunting me. It's like that feeling when you see someone out of the corner of your eye and turn around and they're not there. You begin to wonder if they were ever there at all. I worry about him despite myself. I know my duty. I know our mission. I know that this world is doomed if we let him live. I've punched him, kicked him, hit him with blunt instruments, and even shot him. It never makes it easier. He still means so much to me. If it comes down to it and the fate of the world rested in my hands, could I kill him?
I don't know.
I hope it never comes to that.
I wish I could save him.