Portland, Oregon, 1/24/14
Michael sat on his recliner, still in his work clothes. It had been a long and strenuous day, and he was eager to unwind and relax. He turned on his television and attempted to whittle down the hours of shows he had stuck on his DVR. Michael's eyelids grew heavy, and he was pretty sure he was going to fall asleep before the first commercial break. Nevertheless, he kept his eyes open, trying desperately not to doze off. Meanwhile, REM was waiting for Michael, waiting for him to fall asleep. REM watched like a hawk, waiting for just the slightest sign of weakness. Michael was getting ever closer to the breaking point. Just one more second of closed eyes and he would be out like a light.
Portland, Oregon, 1/24/14
Officer Brown was working the night shift at the Portland Police Department. The typical night guards had all gotten sick with the flu, and that left poor Officer Brown down at the station from 10 to 8 for the next week. Officer Brown's eyelids were getting heavier by the second.
He thought to himself, "It couldn't hurt anyone. Nobody would try to break into the department this late at night."
Just as he closed his eyes for a nap, he heard a noise from outside. A car had just driven up, and Officer Brown was not happy about that. He walked to the door to see someone shuffling towards him at a slow, steady pace. As the man grew closer, Brown could see some odd things about him.
His face was twitching in strange directions, almost as though only half of it was functioning properly and the other half was having a seizure. He was dragging his left leg behind him, and upon further inspection, was leaving a thin trail of bloody scuff marks where he walked. His right arm had its sleeve torn off, and there was a large cut down the middle of it. His right hand was hanging limp at the bottom of his arm, swinging side to side as the man ambled closer.
Brown backed up quickly once he noticed the gun in the man's hands, but he wasn't quick enough. The man shot through the glass door, shattering it, and struck Brown in the shoulder.
Brown fell to the ground, writhing in pain, as the man shambled through the broken door and sat on his legs. The man started to giggle as he brought his face down to Brown's.
The man whispered into his ear, "I got you."
He laughed, as Brown cried. "What do you want with me? Who are you? I can give you all the cash you'd ever need! I can-"
The man put his gun to the side of Officer Brown's jaw, and shot him through the mouth. As the bottom half of his jaw fell to the floor, Brown screeched in pain, sounding like an animal.
"You've called me REM before, so that will do," the man stated.
The officer was paralyzed with fear. REM rose and said, "This was my first amputation. How did you think it went?"
Brown looked towards REM's leg and saw that the foot had been hastily severed off. REM put his head beside the officer's and held the gun to his own head. REM laughed as he pulled the trigger, ending both of their lives. The last thing that Brown heard before he died, was someone softly crying.
Portland, Oregon, 1/25/14
"We need to set up a team of investigators to get to the bottom of all this," said Detective Wallace.
"Wallace, how the hell do you expect to find a killer that we don't even know exists?" Chief Mitchell replied.
"Whoever said that REM was a killer? Have you ever heard of the Pont-Saint-Esprit poisonings?"
"In short, a whole town in France goes ape-shit. Half of the town tries to kill each other and the other half hides from them. All because of some tainted bread, or LSD if you believe that kind of crap."
"I doubt that all 10 of those dead bodies dropped acid and went on a homicidal spree."
"As do I, but it's a possibility. What's a few patrolmen anyway? So what if some jaywalker gets to live another day? We've got lives on the line every night."
Mitchell snorted, "I'd rather have my men trying to keep my morgue from overflowing than trying to catch some bogeyman who makes people go insane."
"It would just be the nights; that's the only time that REM is active."
"How do you know that?"
"He's called REM for a reason, Chief. All of the people that went insane were in a dream-like state at the time they died. Their muscles were relaxed at the time of their death. He preys upon sleeping people and, aside from a nap here and there, people sleep at night."
"How exactly are you going to find this 'REM'? From what you tell me, he sounds like a god, driving people to madness while they sleep."
"That's where the bread theory comes into play."
"Wallace, he's coming after us now, whatever he is. Brown wasn't just another random killing, he's trying to take out the police. If this isn't just some bizarre suicide chain, it's someone that could very easily kill every single world leader tonight and throw us all into anarchy. Do you really-"
"Chief, that's just one of many possibilities. If that's the case, I think I know how we could still come out on top."
The Chief put his head in his hands. "Fine, you and two officers can hunt down your bogeyman. No more than that until I see reason to believe that REM is any more than a fairy tale."
"You won't be disappointed," with that Wallace was gone, leaving the Chief to marvel at his own insanity.
Sarah had stopped playing in her backyard. The wind blew her hair out of her eyes as it beckoned to her. Sarah had walked past the forest and had seen a bulb. The bulb was growing so slowly, it begged her to help it on. She wanted to see the flower bloom.
Portland, Oregon, 1/27/14
Five people - three men and two women - sat around a table in a dimly lit room. Detective Wallace stood up and said, "So I guess this is everyone that wanted to be here. My name is Wallace and I'm the head of this investigation. I've brought with me two officers today to help us in our endeavors. This one here is Officer Flint, the soon to be fiancé of one of the victims, Officer Jared Brown. When she heard about the task force being set up, she told me that she had to be on it. The other one is Officer Johnson, who has been following these suicides since they began. He's the one that proposed the idea of a task force to me in the first place. The reason you three are here is because you are the only people to have contact with all 3 killers."
An elderly woman spoke, "You mean the ones who were infected?"
Wallace replied, "Infected?"
"People around here have been theorizing as to what all has been going on as of late. There's some kind of virus that's been infecting these people is what we think."
Johnson said, "It's a possibility, but if that's the case we can't do much before the CDC gets involved. We only have to consider two possibilities: The first being a contamination of the food or water supply."
Wallace interjected, "Now this is where you all come in. Mr. Cooper, you had lunch with the first victim, Frank Pierce, on the day of his death, right?"
A thin man in business attire replied, "Yes sir, at Jason's Deli. We were meeting to discuss- wait, are you trying to say I poisoned him?"
"No, you didn't poison him. I've already had a search of your apartment and we found no indication that you had ever had poison in your possession. I simply want to know what he ordered."
"He had a club, it's a croissant sandwich with-"
"I know what a club sandwich has on it. Now how about you, Ms. Enkov? You were married to the second victim, Mr. Vladimir Enkov. What did your husband fix himself for dinner the night of the incident?"
An elderly woman said, "He had some soup from a can. I don't remember the brand. He only ate soup that day because he had a cold."
Mr. Cooper interjected, "Enkov used to work in the position that I'm in now. He was head of human resources at the company I work for. I saw him walking around the company grounds the day of his death."
Wallace said, "Mr. Cooper, it may come as a surprise to you to hear that everyone in this room knew all of the victims, some even personally. Another surprise may be that Mr. Enkov here has now sufficiently ruled out any type of food poisoning."
Officer Johnson said, "The cans that were found in her house were of a special brand designed to help bone strength. Each batch is carefully tested before being packaged. Since it was packaged in a can, there is no way the soup could have been tampered with without damaging the can."
Wallace said, "That leaves only one possibility."
After a period of silence Officer Flint said, "What is it then?"
Wallace said, "God hates Portland."
As she walked along the rows of minds, Sarah felt uneasy. The flower was blooming. These minds would soon become as their original forms were. The minds will be dust again.
Portland, Oregon, 1/28/14
Officer Johnson and the others had been tied up for hours now. The pain of the amputations had subsided, and led way to feelings of nausea. He couldn't get the sounds out of his head. People screaming in pain and fear. He knew nothing of them, as none of them could speak after their tongues were cut out. The madman had taken the liberty of removing their blindfolds before beginning his 'operations'. One by one he removed their eyes, tongues, hands, and finally arms before leaving the room they were held in. Johnson perhaps had the worst experience of them all. He watched, and heard, all 17 of the ones before him go from human to animal before he did the same.
The madman had returned. Johnson heard his footsteps come closer and closer. "Let's start with the other side now. We wouldn't want to give Johnson here a bad time now, would we?"
Johnson's mouth was forced open as gasoline was forced inside and down his throat. He felt his insides writhing from the poison that he had been given, before feeling warmth. The madman struck a match and lit Johnson's body on fire, burning him from the inside out.
As he died, he let out moans and chokes. He no longer sounded human to any of the others in the room.
The madman smiled and said, "Now you all will finally become the dogs you were meant to be."
Location Unknown, 4/12/14
Former Detective Wallace emerged from an abandoned house with the former Officer Flint by his side. It had been months since Portland, and much of the west coast, had fallen into chaos.
Wallace said, "Where do you think we're going to find the pills?"
Flint replied, "You're still going on about that? We're too deep into follower territory for there to be pills."
Wallace had used the last sleeping pill that morning. Flint would fall asleep in two hours if they didn't find more.
"We still need to look. You're life's on the line."
"I know damn well what's on the line."
Portland, Oregon, 1/29/14
On the roof of the Portland Police Station.
"Well, it looks like you were right. Congrats, Wallace."
"Thanks, I think. To be honest, I'm not really happy about it."
"I'd be more concerned if you were."
"As would I, Chief. You know if I weren't part of the force, I would probably be running with them."
"It would probably be a smart move. Only a dumbass would stay here after that mass execution."
"From what I heard, the killer only broadcast the amputations. The broadcast was intercepted before the actual deaths."
"Still, the entire city saw 18 people get chopped to bits. This REM is a demon."
"Or, maybe he's just a piece of bread. In all actuality, I never believed we would figure out the truth behind REM. There's no way that we could ever find out who he really is, or even defeat him. It was just a part of me that wanted to believe, I guess."
"Or maybe you're REM, and we're all just being fooled."
"I would have killed you a long time ago, Chief."
"Look at them down there, like ants. All scurrying to leave the city as fast as possible, like that would actually keep them safe."
"Maybe it will."
"Chief, REM is a child. If you take away his toys, he'll just find something else to play with. This is just encouraging him to go global with his killings."
"How can you say that?"
"I know REM is a child, because he kills for fun. His abilities simply remove the consequences of his actions. He can never be caught, so he doesn't have to abide by any rules."
"By that logic, REM could be everyone. A collective consciousness that fools itself into believing it is separate."
"Or he could just be a thought. He could be a thought that corrupts our minds, or perhaps an enlightening one."
"Maybe REM is a part of us all."
"That sounds real deep and all, but we have work to do."
"Yeah, you should continue your investigation."
"It's going to be tough with a mass exodus in my way."
The flower had finally completed its life. It had bloomed and died, and now it had been enlightened. It was beautiful to Sarah. She wanted to share the knowledge with everyone, especially all the somber minds. They wouldn't stop crying until they were enlightened.