Something skittered across the top of his pillow. He jolted, lifting his face just high enough to the see the tail-end of a field mouse scampering to the edge of the mysteriously half-damp hotel mattress. It didn't take all that much to convince himself that it would not kill him to sleep on the rust-colored, musty sponge of bacteria for one night. He'd never been a real clean freak, nor was he known to be a picky person... even a stranger'd pick up on that by the looks of his choice in women. Laziness. A complete and utter lack of interest to make decisions, move, do things, meet people - to him, it was all equally exhausting and usually not a fruitful use of his time. It wasn't until he'd started having the daydreams that he felt the actual need to do anything. Whenever they came, it felt like a completely separate person outside himself reacting, more like jumping, back to life.
It had been a hot summer afternoon and he was laying out, drinking a beer and having a fresh Marlboro on his front porch when this pulsating migraine came over him. He never got headaches because, well, he did nothing to bring one on. Life back then was pretty stressless and restless. Not a lot going on until that afternoon that the pressure bore down on his brain- at least that's his theory; it's the pressure from the headache that caused permanent damage. His visions, nothing but a mere side effect of his new "condition". In the beginning he thought nothing of them. Sure, they were scary as shit- what he was actually seeing play out in his head. He actually thought he might have turned into some mastermind playwright or something....like he should write the visions down to sell as stories, but things changed when he saw one of them come true. Welp, he didn't see it happen in-person. Sluffing his bored ass down to the local gas station, he actually overheard a news story playing on their loud speaker. The media dude was telling a semi-local story about a little girl's body that'd been found out in the woods. She had markings all over her- drawn on with what appeared to be henna ink. No one had deciphered what the patterns meant, but the news announcer sounded excited to share that the police were working with local tattoo artists and carnival workers to try and translate them.
This, the little girl with long blonde hair, dull white skin, in a torn jumper and painted designs all over face and arms, was something he'd already seen. His eyes had been wide open when the vision came to him. But there was more than just that he saw. From the corner of his eye, there had been a man dressed in all black from head to toe. He was bald, probably mid-forties, and was crying. The man's hands scraped away at the tears that were spilling out. He looked sad and frightened by the sight of her, but he couldn't have been too surprised to find her that way because in his hands was a bottle with a needle attached to its top. By the looks of him, he would know how to give a good tattoo, or two thousand of them- the amount that appeared to cover the little exposed skin he'd seen. At the time, he remembered thinking the man was a monster- some douche-canoe that took a precious child off the planet. He hated having daymares about bad things happening to kids. He wished he had more control over the stories he was creating, but that was just it- the whole thing seemed completely out of his control.
Hearing the story of the little girl in the woods that day proved this exact notion- he wasn't drafting these horrific tales himself. He had absolutely no control over them because they weren't works of fiction. They were facts... ones that appeared to have already happened. That's what he thought at the start, but then he did a little experiment. That's right, the Couch Potato King felt motivated to do something outside and for someone else besides himself. It was like something was calling to him, beckoning him to take a look for himself. And that's exactly what he did with the next vision he had. After jotting down as many clues about the location and time he could gather from the vision playing on a loop in his mind's eye, he jumped on a Greyhound to go there. An hour and a half south to Las Vegas. He'd been there plenty of times before, but never to discover a dead body.
After the bus, he hitchhiked his way to the strip. There it was, the blinking blue lights of La Luna Nova. Without giving his feet permission to move that fast, they soon were operating at a full paced jog to the back alley of the nightclub and casino. Jutting out from the corner of the building was the row of lime green dumpsters he'd seen in his head just a few hours ago. He knew where he'd find her; two black high-heeled feet should have been sticking out between the last set of bins, but when he got there... nothing. He hurriedly checked between the previous set, and then the first. No heeled tootsies. A bunch of garbage covered the ground, so his next instinct was to sift through it, making sure they weren't tucked under the rubbish. He'd been about halfway through the second gooey pile of ground grime when he heard a car roll up behind him. Two different vehicle doors slammed shut. He ran to hide behind the concrete pillar of a parking ramp kitty-corner from the potential crime scene and watched. As he waited for the door bangers to come onto the scene, he could hear his own effort to stifle the sound of his wheezy, labored breaths. If he wasn't such a junk-person, that little jaunt wouldn't have set him over his daily exercise limit, he thought to himself. Suddenly, two tall burly men with black beards and capped heads came into his sightline. Between the pair of pure muscle was a young black woman being carried under her arms. She struggled silently, as if she knew that screaming or calling out would push them over the top. They'd kill her anyway, he was sure of it. Not knowing what to do, he fumbled around on his phone, trying to decide if he should trust his hunch enough to call in a crime that hadn't been committed yet to the police. By the looks of it, that woman was being brought there to be killed, but how dumb would he look if he was wrong? And how would he explain knowing ahead of time to the police?
He wouldn't have to tell them that part, he'd decided. He could just be someone passing by that saw some suspicious behavior. He could save a life here! That would make him a hero, not a loser, someone's savior. He tried to get his fingers working and steady enough to dial those infamous three digits, but paused when he heard a gunshot ring through the air.
Too fucking late.
Ever since that day when he learned that not all of his sixth -sense sights were the aftermath but a warning of something to come, he'd been traveling to follow them. Deep down there was so much regret, a remorseful burden burrowing into his heart. He knew he had to try and stop these heinous crimes from happening.
And that's exactly why he'd traveled all the way to Cleveland, Ohio. There was a woman following a semi that was about to go missing if he didn't find her first.