It's so hard deciding what exactly to go over first. I guess a description of our weekend will make a nice introduction.
R.F. seemed to be sleeping less for a while but lapsed back into a comatose-like state soon enough. He seemed to be having nightmares or very vivid dreams, as he mumbled and jerked around quite often. He also seemed to be sweating a lot in his sleep. I wanted to take his temperature but decided against it. I did not want to disturb him improperly. I also felt uncomfortable at the prospects of sleeping around him. I did not want a repeat of the previous incident, and I still didn't feel entirely safe with him. This led to me staying up for hours at a time, exhausting myself to the point of collapse.
When I was finally unable to battle off slumber any longer, I left a scribbled note for R.F. and slept in a guest room at the other end of the house. In the note, I explicitly told him not to come looking for me if he awoke before I did. He heeded my advice, but that did not make my nap any more enjoyable. I constantly awoke feeling sickeningly warm with a migraine that made me feel as if a brick had been dropped on my head. Each time I woke, I'd glance at a clock, and it'd be hours since the last time I'd woken up. It only felt like minutes. I did not feel rested at all.
The dreams came later, when my fever and headache had settled down. I was spending the day with two friends. We were somewhere tropical. It was a warm but breezy place. The sky seemed blue the entire time. Beyond the sand stretched a beauitful, green ocean. Friendly and familiar people walked by us. Gulls flew overhead. From a countertop of a local boardwalk store, a little electric fan could be heard whirring to itself softly. I've never felt more content in real life than I felt int he dream. Not only that, but I have recent memories that are less vivid than my memories of the dream.
Somehow, I became separated from one of my friends. As panic crept into my scenic dream, I scoured the entire boardwalk for him. Finally, I spotted a large group of tourists standing in a circle. Someone had been hurt. Pushing my way to the center, I was confused and horrified by what I found. He was dead. My missing friend lay on the ground like a ragdoll. I could see no wounds of any kind, but a small black puddle was pooling around him. As I stared at his lifeless body, a strange coldness seemed to collectively seized the crowd. Everyone aside from me instinctively turn to the sky. A small, dark dot could be seen miles away in the sky. Something was coming.
I then realized I was missing my other friend. I scrambled through the crowd in an attempt to find her and get out of there. She was nowhere to be seen. I looked for her for what seemed like minutes. Eventually, I spotted a figure standing on a small peninsula. She had spotted the dark spot too. She gazed fixedly at the strange object in the sky. Drawing near her, I realized she was not alone. A small boy held her hand. He was not watching the dark spot in the sky; instead, he focused a dark glare on me. I move towards them. I just wanted to get away. The darkness ahd grown larger. It was covering the sky.
They refused to come with me. In the end, they were swallowed by the darkness. The woman turned and looked at me once. I've never seen her in my life, but in my dream I felt as if I had known her for a lifetime.
Details grow vague, though I know things quickly became hectic after that. When I awoke, I was sad in a way I don't think I'll ever be able to explain. I cared about these fictional people, and now a little part of me somehow misses them.
R.F.'s dreams were much worse, but I'll let him tell you about those himself.
Now on to the phone call.
Early Monday morning, I heard the phone ringing. Expecting it to be one of our families or perhaps even Samuel, I answered it. It was not Samuel, but it was his girlfriend. She seemed to think we were responsible for his disappearance and was quite irate with me. Once again, a phone conversation (with some unnecessary lines omitted):
SG: I don't know what you people did to him. He was such a sweet and happy person when I met him. I mean, he had some problems. He went through a rough divorce and he lost a baby, but he always seemed to handle himself well emotionally. But that project thing... I wasn't there in the beginning, but I know towards the end it was absolutely draining him.
Me: I know what it's like.
SG: I doubt that. He went from being this playful and upbeat guy to someone who would just come home at night on the verge of tears and do nothing but lay around and sleep in like, a matter of months.
Me: Did he ever tell you what was wrong?
SG: Sometimes he would come close to mentioning things. Sometimes he would just lie and say that it was typical work-related stress. I didn't fall for that. I may not be educated like you people, but I know when something's not right.
Me: Look I'm very sorry about what's happening to you, but he's not alone.
SG: Leave him alone.
Me: It's not as simple as that. You see, you're - you're just not involved like us.
SG: He gets worse when he speaks to you people.
Me: We've only spoken over the phone a handful of times.
SG: Don't bullshit me. Albert makes it a habit to call at least twice a week.
SG: Uh... Rose-something. He was another one of those scientists.
SG: Yeah, that's it.
Me: Uh, do you know what they talk about?
SG: No. I doubt I ever will. You see, Sam hasn't been home for days. He's made a couple of phone calls to me, but that's it. As if he wasn't already acting distant towards me.
Me: Samuel may not make the best significant other at this point in his life.
SG: I can't... I can't walk out on him. Especially since we're going to be having a baby.
Me: I... see.
SG: He doesn't know yet. I don't know how I'm going to tell him. He's been acting so weird. I don't know how he'd react to this. The other week he yelled at me for ten minutes when I asked if having a night out with me would ease his mind. When he's not jumping down my throat, he practically ignores me.
Me: I don't know what to say in all honesty.
SG: I don't think there's anything I have left to say to you, myself. Please don't speak with Sammy anymore, unless you're telling him to head back home.
I didn't know how to respond to that. Telling her what I'm sure will become a lie, I agreed to leave him alone and hung up. I figured his girlfriend was some sort of illusion or something up to this point, but she played a very convincing character if that's so. The fact that she's pregnant adds even more confusion to the details surrounding his lost child.
You'll also recall that we received an email with an image taken from the Red King machine that we had not seen before. R.F. contacted the sender long ago, but we did not get a response until yesterday. He seemed as tied up as we have been, but he was able to give us some small details.
"I was a fellow employee on the Red King Project. Specifically, I worked in the archives. Any test footage [GREG: test footage was not footage of dreams/the subconscious itself but images manually created to test out the machine's visual capabilities], candidate information, subject information, etc. came straight to me. I analyzed the information given to me and wrote up reports meant to be sent to other members of staff. I was not directly exposed to any of the Red King effects myself, but I've been lied to and kept in the dark so much about certain things that I am vulnerable much like you.
Nevertheless, I had access to a number of files that pointed towards anomalies. Since my evidence is based on tangible objects and not strange dreams and hallucinations, I imagine it would be useful having me help you when possible. I have not taken the Red King Project personally, but I think of it as a fun little mystery meant to be solved. It's amusing to me, though I intend no offense in saying this. I'd also like to spite our old employers, as they abused my trust and goodwill with lies and other forms of manipulation.
I'm often busy but send me a message whenever you feel like it. As of now, I don't feel entirely comfortable having contact information handed out. That may change as trust grows between us. If you'd like to accept my help, just drop me a line sooner than later, please.
This is the bulk of my experience over the weekend, though R.F. should be active soon enough to give away his dreams and an experience he had with a neighbor.