I am a professional novelist and screenwriter living in Los Angeles, CA.
How many times has one human being uttered to another the words, "Do you think we knew each other in another life?"Perhaps they are spoken by lovers in the heat of passion, or friends in jest, or when one meets another with whom an incredibly strong connection is made, one of such power that it defies explanation.
No one knows whether reincarnation exists as anything more than an interesting concept, however, through the years, many people have believed in it as a reality.
PrimalScream is a supernatural-thriller which explores the possibility that not only does reincarnation exist, but that former incarnations have the ability to play a decisive role in our present lives, and can forever alter our destinies.
While the story started long ago in a time before man thought he understood the nature of the universe, the setting is 1999. New York.On the dawn of the Millenium, bizarre events are about to bring together the lives of three people: Diana Gateway, an artist's rep; Peter Zeitman, a photographer, a former east Berlinner; Joseph Turner, a New York homicide detective.
Someone is brutally murdering blonde women and leaving cryptic messages written in blood on the walls of the crime scenes. When Dt. Joe Turner lands the case, the hunt is on, through the world of performance art in New York's fashionable upper-East Side galleries to the gin joints of the Bowery.
Only one man, regression therapist William Hunt, canconnect the dots of past events that will forever change the current lives of Joe, Peter and Diana.He will learn of the ancient love triangle that always leaves one of them searching, yearning for unrequited love... and revenge. Only Dr. Hunt will learn the curious truth... and he will never tell the story.
"I WATCH THE DEMONSTRATORS WITH AN OVERWHELMING sense of pride. It wells in me like love unexpressed until it spills out, frozen tears of joy. I know I am shivering with cold, but am unaware, so complete is my exhilaration that I, Katrina Uvolov, have been chosen to participate in this, the most noble event the world will ever see.
"After centuries of oppression, the people are throwing off the chains of slavery to take their rightful place. Nations will remember this day forever, and peoples all over the world will follow our example.
"Nothing, not even the freezing winter night, can stop us now.
"Rumors have it that the Czar will fall momentarily. Nicholas himself is at the front, but the Czarina Alexandra is here in the Winter Palace. All that is needed now is a bit more pressure from the people, the true power, and I am perfectly willing to do my part.
"I thread my arms through those of my comrades, near the front of the marchers, and join in songs of the revolution. Petrov is next to me, holding my hand, his dark eyes shining, the moonlight reflecting his pale face. I smile at him. So what if all he wants to do is fuck me? It doesn't matter now. Nothing matters now except that the revolution is at hand. He smiles back at me, frozen tears blinking like stars in his scraggly beard.
"I think half of Petrograd must be on hand to watch the event. Mostly we are striking University students and workers, but all around us people line the streets waving banners and shouting. Their voices fill the air, 'Down with the Czar! The people will rule! Lenin! Lenin! LENIN!'
"In the early afternoon, when the marchers met in an abandoned warehouse to prepare for the march, the organizers warned us that it might turn violent. The Czarina has threatened to send her most vicious Cossacks to meet us and teach a cruel lesson of Russian justice.
"But we have been walking for three miles, starting in the Alexksandr Nevsk district, and so far we have gone unchallenged. Our numbers swelled greatly when we passed the Nikolaevskii station and started up Neveskii Prospekt. Workers swarmed from the station, choosing to join our ranks rather than continue on to the warmth of their homes.
"As I look around, all I see are smiling faces, singing into the night, and with each block our numbers grow ever larger as the crowds that line the street give in to their emotions and join us.
"Some say the American, John Reed, is in Petrograd to show the support of the American people. And it is rumored that once we reach the palace, Lenin, who is meant to be in Switzerland, but is reported to secretly be here, will join us to deliver a rousing speech in Dvortsovy Square.
"I have been with the movement for six months and still have never seen the great man. The prospect of seeing him now excites me as much as Petrov’s meager groping ever could.
"But in all the elation there is one thing that still saddens me. Poor Nikki. Blinded by a family history of service to the Czar, he cannot see that the time is now, that the power is with the people. Instead, he believes that the Czar will prevail as he has always done.
“A lieutenant in the Czar's army, Nikki says that the people are not meant to rule, that it is a mistake to follow Lenin, whom he calls a madman. Perhaps it is his fate to be on the wrong side of history, just as it is to be the lover to whom I can never be truly devoted nor from whom happily apart.
"When last I saw him, to tell him it must be over, Nikki told me, 'Watch your madman closely, my love. If he should ever get to power, Petrograd will see blood run in the streets as it has never done.'
"Nikki ... even now I long for him, long to feel his strong arms around me. But I know there can be no turning back. Now it is the people; the revolution will be my lover.
"Ahead, the leaders turn the corner for the final leg of our journey. It is the entrance to Dvortsovy Square in which we will come before the Winter Palace of Czar Nicholas and the end of our journey. My heart races as I near the corner. I breathe deeply, for although I am not fatigued from the march, my breath is made short by excitement.
"But when I turn the corner the air is sucked from my lungs as if the wind has been knocked from me. One hundred yards ahead of us stands a line of the Czarina's finest cavalry. The moon glints off the Cossacks drawn swords like silvery crescents of death. They line the square as far as the eye can see, a protective barrier around the palace. Warm air from their horse's nostrils vaporizes in the cold, like smoke from the dragons that St. George vanquished.
"Behind me I hear the cries of deserters, the people who do not really believe in the cause, but whose passions have been aroused in the moment. When they see the Cossacks, they break and run.
"But our leaders never hesitate. Pursuing their dream to the very end, they lock arms tighter and march on. And for me… I am not afraid to die for freedom. I follow.
"The Cossacks wait only a moment, then lower their swords and charge. The square erupts with blood which streaks the white virgin snow, creating a moonlit landscape of red slashes on white snow. Our leaders fall, cut down like stalks of harvest wheat.
"A Cossack rides swiftly past me. Our eyes meet; his smile is deadly. I freeze not knowing what to do. He stops for a moment, his horse spinning as the Cossack watches me. Then the mount rears up and charges straight for me. I am transfixed, mesmerized like a mouse to a snake, knowing I should run, yet unable to control my feet.
"And as if by the hand of God, or a better horseman, the stallion jumps sideways and suddenly the Cossack is leering down at me. He is so close that I can see bits of his dinner stuck on his moustache.
"'Should have listened to Nikki, proletariat whore.'"
I stare at him, then tilt my head and bare my neck, ready to feel the slice of his sword, but he just laughs, kicks me down and rides off.
"I stand to see that when the first wave of Cossacks reaches the middle of the protesters, another appears from a side street and charges without hesitation. And then a third forms behind them, an unending sickle of death…"
Peter Zeitman awakened with a start. At first he thought it was his alarm clock. In a semi-consciousness stupor he reached out to turn it off. When it kept ringing, his hand swatted it across the room where it bit into the plaster wall, its plastic casing shattered.
But the bells persisted and finally he had to admit what a fool he was not to have recognized them immediately. The bells of St. Ansgar's Church down the street from his apartment.
Peter rose from his bed mentally organizing his mind for the day ahead. What appointments did he have today? Who was he to shoot? He couldn't remember.
A large man who believed in exercise as much as many others believed in God, Peter's eyes were a concentrated brown. His long hair had been dyed blond as was the fad now.
It wasn't until he was showered, shaved and sitting at the breakfast table with the newspaper open that the realization struck. Sunday! The only day he took off. He laughed heartily, fully enjoying his memory lapse. It is okay to play the fool once in a while, he thought, just don’t do it too often.
In his opinion the world was a vastly improved place since the fall of the Soviet Union eliminated its threat to Europe and opposition to the reunification of Germany. Peter had been one of the first to scale the old wall with a bottle of champagne and a sledge hammer to help tear it down.
As he sipped his coffee, he liked it strong like the Turks, Peter contemplated America. It had dominated his thoughts many times in the last few weeks. Like a song that one cannot clear from one's mind, it played over and over. America. He had a strong urge to go there and recreate the success he enjoyed, at the ripe old age of thirty-four, in Germany and other parts of Europe. America… that pot of gold across the Atlantic Ocean.
His rep had been trying to talk him out of it and had almost succeeded, but this morning, even before he awakened, the urge was as strong as it had ever been, as real as the recurring dreams he'd been having lately. He knew the time of decision was at hand and picked up the phone, making his choice instantly. He dialed Lufthansa for a reservation to New York at the end of the week. It would give him enough time to pack what he was taking, really only his clothes and photographic equipment, and sell the remainder of his belongings.
As he waited for the line to connect, Peter sat back in his chair and smiled, relieved to finally take the action that sooner or later he knew he must. It was time. The impulse to go was too strong to fight. And he would stop dying his hair. It was time for that as well.
The music was a sensual pulse that Diana recognized as an old Bowie song, the lyrics something about time crawling. The band was good; the singer sounded just like Bowie. Her eyes darted around the room to the throbbing beat, taking in everything as the voice joined with the guitar, crying into the gallery.
Devra Leasor and Gloria MacVane had outdone themselves this time, converting their gallery into a combination Disco/Theater. Neon sculptures hung from the walls, their intense colors defused in cigarette smoke floating over the people on the dance floor like a ghostly halo. A laser beam shot between the walls just below the ceiling. Propelled, as if by magic, from one point to another in a series of small mirrors, it created a geometric pattern and appeared to be suspended in time when finally it reflected off the last mirror and disappear into a black wall.
There were more people than she had ever seen at a performance, maybe over five hundred packed into the gallery. Diana wondered if it was due to Valentine's popularity or the effectiveness of the Leasor/MacVane publicity machine. And it didn’t hurt that New Years was only a few weeks away. And that wasn’t hurt by the fact that it was a turn of the century New Years. While there was all the Y2K scare mongering to deal with, – were all of our computers really going to shut down at the stroke of midnight?– saying goodbye to the twentieth century was a world-wide event and there were a lot of people in town who normally wouldn’t be. Whatever the cause, this show was now an event, a happening.
The crowd appeared to be from all walks of life with a strong showing of Goths, Technofreaks and New Wavers, who had become old boats on the sea of New York hip. They were mostly dressed in black and silver, bleached hair, spikes and patchwork makeup. Many were young and where they got the three hundred bucks to pop for a ticket was anyone's guess. Diana was only thankful that they had.
Those on the dance floor looked like shadow figures as they moved in slow motion to the Bowie beat. Diana fit right in with her ultra short blonde hair, long enough to spike if she wanted, but that was too passé for a world where success was based as much on image as talent. Her body was a landscape of provocative curves, trim crevices that looked almost poured into her black leather jeans. A black leather bustier suggestively contained her ample breasts. People were always amazed to learn that she was thirty-seven years old. With her pale skin and high cheekbones, she could have passed for twenty-two.
She checked her gold lady's Rolex. Twelve a.m. The performance was due to start in thirty minutes and Valentine still hadn't arrived. One of these days he would be the cause of her cardiac arrest.
* * * * * *
He lifted his pumping arm just long enough to see his watch. Twelve a.m. His pants were soaked and his shoes squished out a small lake with every stride, not so much from the rain that pounded in heavy sheets, as from the puddles that splashed up his legs as he ran. It was pouring too hard to properly drain.
Why the hell did this always happen to him? Right now he should be in some nice dry Soho bar tossing back a Dewars with a twist. Instead he was chasing only God knew who because as he was switching bars some lady screamed. And Judge Greenwald knew that scream. He'd heard it from a thousand different women in a thousand different places. He heard it when he informed them that their children were dead, or their husbands murdered, or their daughters raped. He knew it from their eyes, frozen in death's horror, or their mouths, paralyzed in silent terror.
Judge saw the perp splash around a corner ahead of him at full speed. For himself, he was ruining a new pair of Ballys, and thought they'd probably both catch pneumonia. At least the guy was getting as wet as he.
It was harder to breathe, the damp air coming to him through painful spasms in his chest and side. The diet he'd kept promising himself was long overdue.
Paying the price for it now. Probably die right here in the rain from a fuckin' coronary. Happy Fuckin’ New Year.
Running through the thick rain was like trying to crawl out of a spider web, every inch a challenge. When Judge reached the corner he leaned against the building. The pain that shot through his lungs was unbearable; he gasped for air.
Only for a second. Just gotta let the pounding in my chest ease a bit.
A flash of lightning lit the sky and made ghostly silhouettes of the old Soho buildings. A second later thunder erupted, a nuclear detonation in the sky.
Judge glanced cautiously around the corner just in time to see the suspect round the next corner a block down.
Shit! This guy think he's Carl Fuckin' Lewis or what?
* * * * * *
Diana stared at Simon Chandler, one of her competitors. He was drunk again and as abusive as ever. The man was so absorbed in his jealousy of Valentine's success, and her part in helping create it, that he was consumed. He took any opportunity to slight her and tonight was no exception.
"Reincarnation za crock of mezaphyscal bullshit," he said. Diana could barely understand through his slurred speech. "Nex' you'll tell us you shanneled John Lennon."
She glared at him, angry for allowing herself to be goaded into a discussion she neither initiated nor wanted. One was either a believer or not. There was no such thing as conversion when it came to the faith of reincarnation, and there was never any winning with Simon, especially when he was drunk. She checked her watch again trying to ignore him. Twelve-ten.
"Whaddaya waitin' for? He'sh late agin!" Simon turned to the small group of people that had gathered around them. "Valentine ish not gonna show!" He looked at Diana and smiled triumphantly. Something inside told him he'd succeeded once again in spoiling her moment in the spotlight. He tried to wave a finger at her and hold on to his drink at the same time, but the required concentration proved too much and he fainted dead away.
"Jesus," Diana said under her breath as she stared at Simond doing the plank on the floor, "Will somebody help me with him?"
It was Peter Zeitman, that new artist who had been pursuing her for representation, who came to her aid. She was amazed at how easily Peter lifted the dead weight of Simon and moved him off to a chair where he gently propped up the perennial drunk.
* * * * * *
He races around the corner hoping the fat mother-fucker behind him will grow tired of the chase. As he skids around the building he risks a glance back over his right shoulder, realizing it will slow him precious fractions of a second, the difference between winning and losing, but he needs to know. He sees the over-weight bastard back there, leaning against the building, heaving for air.
If only the bitch didn't start screaming. It would have been so neat, so easy. She was next to him. She had her hand on his dick. She was distracted. All he had to do was pull it from under his jacket and – bam – it would have been over.
He runs harder, splashing through the alley. Now, he thinks, someplace to hide while the little shit is still out of sight. His eyes roam the alley. Brick buildings tower above cobblestone… garbage cans along the walls… but they are too small for him. And they're the first place the bastard will look.
His eyes flick to the fire escapes. They are all over the alley, desperately clinging to the walls. He picks one, the highest from the ground. Will it hide his frame? He's not as small as he has been, but then he smiles. He knows a way. There's always a plan for him.
The ladder hangs out of a normal man's reach, but he knows he is not normal. Not your average Joe. He runs to it, eyes glued to the rungs as he gets closer and closer… timing… timing is everything. It is a lesson he's learned many times over the years. He keeps his eyes on the ladder – concentration… it is all– and
* * * * * *
Judge pushed off the building and ran as fast as he could to the next corner. It was an empty alley turning at the end, in a right angle, to another alley. He drew his gun and checked the load, then ran to the end of the first alley and, with his back flat against the building, his gun pointing toward God, quickly peeked around the corner.
An empty dead-end surrounded by tall buildings, probably built around the time Adam was in diapers. Lined with trash bins. Iron fire escapes hung on the buildings. Water, like the tears of an old lady, streaked down the aged brick and dripped onto the pavement. No broken windows but with the rain, he couldn't see the far end clearly. Could be anything there.
The perp couldn't escape from the alley, and he hasn't run back past me, so he has to be here somewhere, maybe hiding in one of the garbage cans.
"There's no way outta here," Judge shouted above the din of the rain. "I'm a police officer. Here, I'll show ya."
He pulled out his shield and held it around the corner, displaying it to the blank walls. "Why don't'cha make this easy on both of us?"
No response. "Okay. We do it the hard way."
Judge entered the alley slowly. He was cautious. A veteran of the New York Police department for over twenty-five years, caution was one of the traits that kept him alive.
One trash bin after another proved to be empty, but at each, Judge systematically threw open the lid, sticking in his gun first, looking second. If the perp was in one and so much as sneezed, he would find a hole in him the size of the Empire state. There was a scratching sound behind him and he spun quickly, the gun poised.
A cat screeched, leapt from a trash can and ran past him, brushing Judge's leg. The violent motion launched the lid and it clattered to the ground. The overweight Detective's heart jumped into his throat. He drew a bead, but at the last minute caught himself from blowing away half of his left foot.
The beating of his heart roaring in his ears, Judge went back to his search of the trash bins. Perhaps that's why he never noticed ten year old Johnny Haywood perched above him in a corner of one of the fire escapes, watching intently.
* * * * * *
The big man scares me, Johnny thinks, as he watches Judge, I don't like him. Why doesn't he leave me alone? I wasn't doin' nothin' bad. My mommy taught me better'n that.
* * * * * *
Devra Leasor ran her hands through her short gray-streaked hair and paced her office nervously. Her dark pantsuit, topped with a leather cape, couldn't quite mask her heavy-set body and she oozed out of it in odd places here and there. Knowing it didn’t quite fit made her uncomfortable. Valentine’s tardiness made her angry. She knew what she was getting into when she agreed to the show, and the promise of thousands in potential profit now seemed like a bad trade when compared to the nervous burn in her stomach. She snuffed the life of a cigarette in an ashtray on her desk while simultaneously birthing another, then smiled at Gloria MacVane, a lithe woman who's timidity was characterized in almost every movement of her body, especially her gentle face which was topped with a shock of short red hair.
"Sweetie... you think everything's okay out there?" Devra said to her, not wanting to appear to tell Gloria, who already owned more paranoia about who she was in the universe than a new-age groupie, what to do. But for all her timidity, Gloria was not a stupid woman. She nodded and went back into the gallery. Devra turned her attention to Diana.
"Well where the hell is he?"
Diana sat coolly in a chair and took in the familiar surroundings. She had been in this office many times, enjoying its black and white high-tech motif as she negotiated deals on behalf of her clients. The anxiety with which she faced each of Valentine's openings was a raging bull inside, but she would never let Devra know that. The man was unstable. Who knew when he would take it into his mind not to show at all? Up until now he always had, of course, but always at the last minute and just before Diana pulled out the last strands of her hair.
"His performances take a lot energy," she said in a smooth voice that concealed her apprehension,. "He has to psyche himself up. Don't worry, he'll be here."
"He better," Devra stabbed the air with her cigarette for effect. "Gloria and I laid out a lot of money for this show. As his representative I don't have to emphasize your exposure."
There. It was out, the boundaries drawn if Valentine didn't show. Diana resented Devra for the threat, but understood. Not for the first time, she rued the day she had ever met Valentine Parkinson. Until she remembered how much money she made from representing him last year. Valentine accounted for almost three quarters of her income. So she wasn't entirely disappointed that he had come along. As she watched Devra pace back and forth, Diana thought of how she and Valentine had met.
It wasn’t long after she moved out from California, determined to find her niche in the art world of New York. Her apartment was a small flat in Greenwich Village near a local café, Marti's, a place that no longer existed. Diana hung out there frequently and on one occasion had a chance meeting with Valentine Parkinson.
He was a local performance artist who was immediately attracted to her California-girl looks and tried to pick her up for a good time at his place. But when she held her own in a conversation about Abstract Expressionism, and even made a few points, the artist was more enchanted with her brains than her face and body. Upon learning that she wasn't an artist, her aspirations were in the business side of the industry, they became a team. Valentine's career flourished and Diana’s bank account grew in leaps and bounds.
* * * * * *
The rain was coming harder now. Judge wondered if in some part of lower Manhattan there was a little old man who had just built an ark. He continued to move carefully down the alley. The perp had to be here somewhere. The heavy-set detective wiped the rain from his eyes and moved on to the last of the battered bins where he threw open the cover and stuck in his gun. Empty.
Where the hell did Houdini disappear to?
As his eyes came away from the container, Judge noticed a stairwell at the end of the alley. It descended into a gaping black abyss, beckoning to him. He froze.
Maybe it was best to leave it be. After all, the perp hadn't actually committed a crime. Who knew what his intentions with that woman really were? Maybe they were completely innocent. Maybe the lady was a nut who cried rape every time some guy looked at her. In the course of duty, Judge had met some of that type. Hell, for all he knew the guy could be her husband and she was just pissed at him!
But the black pit at the bottom of the stairs continued to call. Come to me, baby. Everything's gonna be alright.
Judge felt its magnetism and once again checked the load of his gun. He knew he would climb down those stairs to find the secret of that fissure. He had to. He was the Judge.
* * * * * *
Diana stood on the street in the pouring rain listening to the high frequency tones of the pay phone as it sent the number though the optically fibrous lines. This was the last time Valentine would pull this kind of crap with her! From now on he could either be at a performance a full hour before show time or he could find himself another rep! Income or no income!
As it left her mouth, her breath vaporized. Springtime in New York! Early April and still as cold as the Antarctic with enough rain to float Wall Street. Perhaps she should move back to Los Angeles. It might be worth persevering that cultural wasteland for relief from the snow and rain.
"Hello?" Valentine's groggy voice came through the ear piece.
"God-damn it, Valentine, do you have any idea what time–”
“This is Valentine," the familiar voice continued. "Not here at the moment. Leave a message at the beep and I'll get back to you. Ta Ta." BEEP!
"Valentine, This is Diana. Remember me? The one who gets you work? The one who's freezing her ass off right now waiting for you at the Leasor/MacVane gallery? You better be on your way over here, Parkinson, or we're finished!"
She slammed the phone down, spun and walked back to the gallery. The phone hit its cradle so hard that it bounced off the hook and swung, hung by its cord. Diana was back in the gallery and involved in an intense discussion about neo-expressionist art by the time the phone stopped swinging and the line went dead.
* * * * * *
Johnny watches Judge pause at the top of the stairway in front of the open door and knows it's now or never. He looks around for some kind of weapon. In the corner of the balcony lies a rock, surrounded by chips of its own existence, like someone had been working at it, molding it to perfection. It's as if Johnny knows it will be there.
How did I know?
He creeps silently over the metal balcony and picks it up. It's almost too large for him to control, and the weight is wrong. But it has the little black and gray speckles of granite and the top and bottom are smooth. The sides are all rough and one of them has been chipped away, creating a jagged edge of dagger cunning. It will do really good.
He grabs the large rock and crawls back to the edge where he can look down on the big man who stands at the top of the stairway. Johnny climbs on the rail and flies from the fire escape.
His hand is in motion before he lands on the big man's back. He holds it high above him and smashes down! He knows the big man feels his weight as he lands on him, and even though he's young Johnny senses it's too late.
Sorry, man. You shunta scared me. Now it's time to die...
Although he is little and not as strong as the big man, Johnny instinctively knows he will prevail. He always does. He is special. His hand starts down a second time, slowly at first, but then the weight of the rock takes over and momentum builds…
Now it's time to die, you… big man… C'mon… Die, you… little… C'mon…mister… fall to your knees'n… DIE… you… you… YOU LITTLE MOTHER FUCKER!
The man's skull is beginning to cave now, crunching and crumbling beneath his rock. DIE YOU SHIT! YOU BASTARD! YOU LITTLE MOTHER FUCKER! DIE AND LEARN TO MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS!
The man – once so big, what could have happened? I know what happened – slips to his knees and goes limp in his hands as he unleashes his last blow. He breathes heavily, his lungs soaking up the air, the smell of victory filling his nostrils. He looks at the rock in his hand. Like the man at his feet it once seemed so big, now it barely covers his palm.
He drops the rock and walks away.
* * * * * *
Judge would never know what hit him. Before he could react, there was a weight on his back and something – What the hell? – slammed into his skull. Although Judge tried to stay on his feet, the wet pavement made it impossible. He slipped to his knees and took the second blow on his temple. He tried to scream for help, but the synapses between his brain and his vocal chords no longer worked.
Later, the coroner reported that it was the second blow that proved fatal. Judge didn't know that now as his jaw worked back and forth – please God, what's happening? Please, help me! – begging for sound.
But when that second blow hit he heard the loud crack. It echoed through his head like the sound a train makes as it races through a tunnel, the sound of destiny rushing to meet him. He fell forward and watched the blood bubble from his brain.
The rock dropped from the large hand and landed near Judge's wrist. Through the shattered crystal his watch read 12:17.
Somewhere in the distance a baby cried. Before its mother could lift it to her breast for an early morning feeding, Judge Greenwald was dead.