My…his eyes adjusted to the dark. I was only conscious when my host slept. He was a light sleeper. If I put on the light, he would wake and I would be asleep…gone again. I paused to reflect. I couldn’t do that three times in a row.
We had been alerted to a con man using his near death experience to stay in Limbo City long enough to convince some of the passing that he was an angel sensitive and if they gave him passwords or bank details, he would pass them to their nearest and dearest. Of course, he wasn’t, came back to life and was conning them and word was spreading that one of us was doing this. Not good for business.
We were given one specific order if we had time in Limbo City, to spot and grab him before he returned to life. How to grab someone insubstantial no one had explored. Unfortunately for me, it was I, Suku Renay, who spotted and touched him as he returned to life and I lost consciousness.
The next I knew, it was dark. I reached for a light and then it was night again. This time, I had time to think. Somehow, I was sharing his body. I knew he was male. He had a pee-pee. I doubt if he realised he’d brought a passenger with him but he didn’t go to sleep until the next night. I was on timeshare. A very small timeshare. For all I knew, he might see me as a dream. I certainly didn’t feel his life but then I wasn’t in my own body. I could only hope that my body had been found and had been put on life support. Would they know what happened or think I died and check my living will? That would not be so good. How long would my body last without life support?
Would he be aware that I was also here? I couldn’t sense him so maybe the same was true for him. That seemed less likely as I couldn’t remember anything like this happening before. Even so, it wouldn’t be sensible to not change things around him too much that he would notice.
I gently got out of bed. There was no telling what else might rouse him and if he did, would he think his sleepwalking was anything but a guilty conscious? I gently pulled the curtain back to let in some moonlight and surveyed his table.
What kind of man has so many mobile phones? Someone with multiple identities. On the back of each one, a name and a password. Clearly, he didn’t commit them all to memory. This would make things easier keying in the Angel number.
‘I know this doesn’t sound like me, but this is Suku Renay, ID number 45977551 alpha lemur romeo. I touched the con artist in limbo and got carried into his body when he returned to Earth. Can you track where I am please.’
‘Is that really you, Suku?’
‘Is that you, Florence? I don’t believe it myself. Whoever he is, his room is full of fake IDs and phones. He’s a light sleeper. If I turned on the light or stepped outside, he’ll wake again and I’d be asleep. Is my body safe?’
‘On life support. We thought you died but no one’s seen a sensitive die before or leave through Limbo.’
‘Your phone signal is going all around the globe still.’
‘He must be used to avoiding surveillance. Tricky bastard.’
‘Does that phone have a camera?’
I felt around the camera and turned on a menu. I suddenly saw Florence looking back at me.
‘He’s handsome, isn’t he?’
‘I have no idea.’
‘Hold it back and I’ll record a photograph.’
‘Don’t use the flash, it might wake him up.’
‘It’s a shame the screen can’t record fingerprints.’
I held my hand facing the camera before dabbing my…his fingertips on the screen. ‘See what you can do with that.’
‘OK, but no promises.’
‘I ought to go. He might spot a long distance phone call if he looks at this phone. I’ll ring again tomorrow night.’
I hung up before she could protest and put the phone back in the pile and crept back into bed. Florence would have enough to do in the next twenty-four hours. I also realised I had to be a lot more careful and got up to close the curtain, briefly looking outside. Other than the moon, there was little detail. I could only hope that he might have a nap during the day. At least the light wouldn’t wake him.
It was night again. At least he had a longer sleep than the night before. He didn’t appear to sleep during the day. Did that mean wherever he lived wasn’t in the tropics or he had enough sleep at night? Who knew what the effect of having two minds in the same body was having? Maybe I should go out and find a local hospital by avoiding the light. Find someone dying and use that as the means back to Limbo City. Assuming that would work but it would also mean letting this con man loose again. What would happen when he used near death again to get into Limbo again? The result might be the same with someone else.
Was it worth working my way through all his mobile phones just in case one was in his real name or not bouncing all around the satellite stations? Maybe it would be easier to ring home. What would happen if he brought someone home with him?
I pulled a different phone from the dresser and dialled.
‘This is still Suku Renay, ID number 45977551 alpha lemur romeo. Is that you, Florence?’
‘I’m using a different phone. One of them might be easier to track.’
‘How long do you intend to stay on-line?’
‘Not too long. What have you found out?’
‘He’s not in any criminal records but that just means he was never caught.’
‘The good ones never are. I’m going to check his room out a bit more thoroughly. Find out what he’s using to flatline and then get him back.’
‘Damaging it might not be a good idea. Getting both of you into Limbo City doesn’t mean you’ll get back to your own body. I’ve talked with some of the other sensitives and no one has any idea of what might happen the longer you’re separated from your own body.’
‘I don’t particularly like the idea of leaving him free to keep conning people neither. It’s not quite the Harry Shea problem. I do have a body to return to.’
‘Can you use those phones to drain his accounts? Force him to work his scam again. Get you back to Limbo the way you got out?’
I looked around but shook my head. ‘If he thinks he’s rumbled, he might not visit again. The way he keeps everything individual is to stall any pursuit. Was there any pattern in his times in the City. He might just be recovering from his near death experience. He seems to sleep awfully light.’
‘That, Suku, is something I’ll have to come back to you about. Call again tomorrow?’
‘Do I have any option?’
‘Hang loose, baby.’
Hang loose shit. I’m staying calm because there is nothing else I can do. Maybe I should just try to break out and fight him waking up. Playing it gently was getting me down. Maybe it was me just missing eating. He must do it or the body would be starving. No late night loo calls so his prostate must be tight. No wet dreams. The enigmatic con man. Why doesn’t he sleep in the day? He would be less likely to wake.
‘Hello Florence. What have you found out?’
‘He follows two patterns in the City. One is after the 20th of each month. Don’t know why.’
‘It’s after monthly bank statements. Even the recently dead have to wait a month.’
‘He’s a smart cookie.’
‘I can’t wait that long. What’s the other pattern?’
‘Occasionally some rich target but I think he’s still learning how to do that. He probably has the same problem as we do. He needs them comatose so they don’t have any recent info before dying. We tend to lose them in the crowd when they reach the City. Don’t know where we’re going to appear in Limbo.’
‘That might be the way. Can you see if any rich family with a dying comatose member wants to help and spread it in the news. Give him some bait.’
‘You’ve been thinking a lot.’
‘Not a lot else I can do. It looks like I can only get out when he’s in deep rem sleep. Are you going to tell them what happened?’
‘I don’t think so. Think what would happen if it was known that a personality could be transferred into another body.’
‘We don’t know if that would happen. It’s not as though he’s dead first.’
‘Even a timeshare would be seen as better than dead.’
‘Even in the hands of a con man. Time to hang up.’
‘Before you go, Suku, see if you can find how he does it. The death part isn’t difficult but getting back without any help is.’
‘Hello Florence. I found a drug and an electrical stimulator attached to a stopwatch. Brings him back after six minutes. I could pull one of the wires so it’s a one way trip.’
‘That would be murder, Suki.’
‘So is kidnapping. At least we can wave him goodbye.’
‘If he knew he was doing it, timesharing with you. Legal wouldn’t like it.’
‘So much for the easy option. How’s my body doing?’
‘In a coma. Don’t worry, we’re looking after it. Sorry, I don’t know what else to call your body when you’re on the phone.’
‘I’d do the same in your place. Any luck with some volunteers to go to the press.’
‘Didn’t even have to ask. There are several dying. The media is doing it themselves. Saves one problem.’
‘Let’s hope he watches when he’s awake.’
‘He’s bought some more mobile phones, Florence. He must set them up to make them non-traceable before he goes on the con.’
‘They aren’t all on the same continent.’
‘Maybe he is a sensitive. One did that didn’t sign up.’
‘He would have to be something different. Even we don’t know how to leap without being connected to someone who is dying. He must also be a good lip-reader.’
‘He must have a system.’
‘Maybe next time you’ll be free.’
‘Let’s hope so. I’d scream my top off but that would only wake him.’
‘We’ve talked to the police to watch for him but not to interfere until caught in the act and that should be when he gets into their bank accounts. He can’t leave it too long after he gets back. That’s the only thing we’ve asked these families to do for us.’
‘Hello Florence. Why am I still here?’
‘Can you see the date?’
‘Oh shit! He’s been awake three days. Some sort of amphetamine. Deep enough not to let you out. That’s means how many has he tried or conned?
‘Three so far. They were in comas so we think he convinced them he was representing their lawyers, taking any last message. He’s gone before anyone can get to him.’
‘He has to be near enough to see it happen. If not in the hospital, somewhere with a view. Where was he?’
‘Europe. He must have a secondary bolt-hole to sleep it off.’
‘Give me a second.’
I gingerly opened the curtain and looked out. Pitch black. Not even a moon this time.
‘It’s night. Still can’t trace the phone?’
‘No. But send me a photo. There aren’t that many left that fits his MO.’
‘Thanks. Damn he’s good. Didn’t even keep his disguise on.’
‘So what happened? Did anyone see him in Limbo? What he alone?’
‘Was I there but asleep.’
‘That means I could be trapped here.’
‘Perhaps he wasn’t dead long enough.’
‘How long was he there?’
‘Not long. Maybe he’s tiring. If he really zonks out, you’d have complete control, light or no light.’
‘If his heart can stand it. I can hardly wait until he dies for real.’
‘He got back early. Maybe he’s changed his clock revival settings. More like moving to a different time zone.’
‘Do you think he suspects anything?’
‘He might be suspecting his health. If he doesn’t jump, I might never get home.’
‘Suku, if he goes back to normal life, you might be able to find out where he lives and we can get the police to pounce.’
‘How long will that take? Look, I’ll see if I can keep him under longer and see if that will allow me to jump.’
‘Good luck with that.’
‘It’s better than nothing.’
‘Goddamit, Florence. Another three days and another two cons. He must be used to this amphetamine he uses if he can wake out of it so easy but keep me asleep most of the time. Didn’t anyone spot him? He must have had line of sight at some point.’
‘We know he’s good. They found a surveillance hook-up this time. He doesn’t use the same MO each time. He might be in the next room, building or watching through a telescopic lens. All the victims are still comatose so we can’t warn them.’
‘That’s given me an idea. Someone pass a message to Harry to keep an eye open for me when we reach Limbo.’
‘You’ve figured it out.’
‘Yeah. I’ll tell you if it works.’
There was a white flash and the steeples of Limbo City towered over me. By my side was the con man. He wasn’t looking my way, just lip-talking to an old man in front of us. I lashed out and hit him under the chin. I don’t think anyone has ever hit anyone here before but I knew he was still under and not ready to go back. He fell. Not hurt but definitely surprised. Well not unless Cain and Abel met up here. I shooed the old man away. Confused, he walked into the distance and then…well, wherever next they went.
The con man looked at me and then strobbing. Dead or alive. Dead or alive. His soul was going back but I wasn’t.
I mouthed at Harry. Want to take his place? Even a timeshare?
Harry looked around and then reached down and touched the con man and both were gone.
Then, so was I.
I winced as I opened my eyes.
‘Can someone close the curtains please.’
The light went out instead.
‘Thanks. I don’t really know what time of day is it.’
‘How do you feel, Suku?’
‘Not in the flesh. Vid-line.’
I looked around and saw the screen and Florence grinning like a Cheshire cat.
‘Welcome home, honey. How did you do it?’
Someone handed me a glass of something and I sipped gingerly as my pulse was taken. There was a feed in my arm. My diet for the past couple weeks.
I upped the amount of drug he was going to use for his last con by a grain. Made sure he was really out of it. A little longer than 6 minutes. It was enough. Both sides of his brain died…sort of. We both came back.’
Florence turned away. ‘Biro says you clocked him. The first assault in Limbo City.’
‘Didn’t want him running away. Has Harry rang in?’
‘He took my offer for a timeshare. He might be in ascension. If not, he’ll ring when our hustler sleeps which can’t be long. He must be figuring the game is up. When he’s not taking the drug, maybe his sleep pattern will normalise and give Harry time to act.’
‘You want to rest?’
‘Yeah, but not sleep. I’ve been doing enough of that lately. I want to eat something.’
‘Welcome home, Suku.’
‘You, too, Florence. Thanks for the faith.’
(c) GF Willmetts 2017
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