Red and a few of his close guards strolled with Johnny back to Johnny’s home. Now and then he’d look over his small shoulders. “I’ve got to warn ya, laddie. Ya need to be careful when ya wander about the streets, especially at night,” Red quietly stated.
“Why is that?” Johnny replied.
“There could be informants, spies, and others lurkin’ ‘round. Some could be workin’ for the local leaders, or for the agency.” Said Red as he leaped tree branch to tree branch.
Johnny snickered. “You know that…sounds a little paranoid.”
Red spat on the ground, glaring angrily at Johnny. “Just keep it in mind.”
At last, the squirrels and Johnny made it back to Johnny’s home. Red stood up on his hind legs as he bid farewell to Johnny.
“Stay safe, lad and remember what I told ya. My lads will keep watch over ya from afar.” Said Red as he scurried up a nearby tree on the sidewalk.
Johnny waved back lazily, as to not gain any attention from the nearby passersby.
That night, Johnny went to sleep with questions abound. His mind running rampant over so many lies he had been told, his false memories. What was real? What was a lie? What was his real purpose?
He then dreamt of Jerry. Jerry materialized before him in his dream state.
“It’s good to see you, Johnny.” Jerry’s disembodied voice resounded in the vast depths of Johnny’s mind.
“Jerry…” Johnny spoke with sadness in his voice.
“Johnny, you’re on a dangerous path. I hope you know that.” Jerry said.
Johnny nodded. “I do.”
Jerry smiled. “However, you will succeed. You will become the one to bring the balance needed for Nature and Humanity.”
Johnny stared on at his departed friend. “Why didn’t you—why couldn’t you confide in me?”
Jerry sighed. “I was torn. I wanted to believe in the memories I was given; to be the good kid I thought I was to be. Not some creation that was destined to become an instrument of death and destruction for our government.” Jerry’s eyes turned down. “I was coerced into killing myself…”
Johnny replied, “Who?”
“He was a Handler, known as P.B.J.,” Jerry said. It seemed like he was withholding some information, but Johnny dismissed it. To be able to see, let alone talk to his dear dead friend was comfort enough.
“I’ll get them…and when I do, I’ll make them pay. All of them.” Johnny said.
“Be careful, Johnny. There are others around you that cannot be trusted. Some closest to home, others right under your nose.” Jerry said before disappearing into the void of darkness.