The Last Dreamer

By: Nicholas Erik

1 | A Strange Dream

Devin Travis entered the stranger’s mind with a jump and a thud. Neither person understood what had just transpired, but both felt a violent spasm as Devin seized control of the man’s body. Far away in Texas, Devin turned and stirred in his sleep, trying to shake off the bad dream.

Meanwhile, however, while his body rested, Devin’s mind had been transported a thousand miles west, to this man standing in front of an Arizona bank vault.

“Bob,” a husky voice behind him said, “Bob, you listening? You here, buddy?”

Devin wheeled around slow, his breathing labored. His eyes fell upon a tall man—unshaven stubble visible even though a ski mask covered most of his face—with a thin frame, smelling of cheap aftershave and even cheaper cologne.

The tall man was looking right at him, mouth open, expecting an answer. Devin squinted at him, searching for a name to go with the face. Something leapt into his mind—Jacky.

“Lay off it, Jacky,” Devin said, the voice rough, unfamiliar.

Devin’s hands shook; he glanced down, and saw that they were thick and swollen.

Jacky didn’t seem to notice his nervousness.

Devin brushed his fingers against the stainless steel vault, eying its giant opening mechanism that looked like a pirate ship’s navigation wheel. Above it sat an electronic key pad.

 “I’m beginning to think you don’t know the combo,” Jacky said. “Now, I’m a nice guy, but Roger and Andy, they can be some mean sons of bitches, catch my drift.”

“I’m catching all of it,” Devin said, beneath his breath, “the whole damn wave.”

“What’d you say?”

“I’m working through the numbers. Give me a second.”

“Seven minutes. We don’t get the whole haul, it’s coming out of your cut.”

“You’ll get it.”

“A lot of confidence for someone who’s oh-fer-two.”

Devin ignored him and closed his eyes. The hell was he doing here? He skimmed through Bob’s thoughts and memories. Caught a glimpse of the man’s sweaty fingers messing up the combination a minute or two before. A flash of all the customers upstairs, face down on the cracked, dirty floor.

Devin shook it all off and tried to visualize the numbers turning, the motions, the spins, from all those times Bob had come down here as a bank employee.

Devin opened his eyes. Reached toward the dial. Spun it round and round.

Then tried the handle.

The vault creaked open, and Devin heaved against the heavy metal before devolving into a fit of coughing.

“I got it, buddy,” Jacky said. “You just rest. You did good.”

Devin watched on one knee, straddling the line between in and out of the vault as Jacky went inside and began rifling through the cash.

“Hey.” Jacky paused for a moment to get on the radio. “Andy, you come down here and help. Roger, make sure no one doesn’t try to pull no shit.”

“You got it open?” A voice crackled on the other end. Young, naïve, full of energy, but not too smart.

“He got it open,” Jacky said, and winked at Devin. “Known him for forty years and never doubted him once.”

A pallet lay in the corner, covered with a canvas tarp.

Jacky stopped stuffing the duffel with cash and walked over to the corner. Pulled off the cover.

“Well damn,” he said. “You didn’t tell us this was here.”

Devin, with much effort, got to his feet and limped over to the middle of the vault for a better look. Andy just about knocked him over, dashing in all excited, ready to get rich.

But the kid almost fainted when he saw what was in the corner.

“Is that…?”

“Gold,” Jacky said with smug satisfaction. “It’s gold, boys.”

“Must be holding it for someone,” Devin said. “The bank does it when a safety deposit box isn’t big enough.”

“How much is here, you think?” Jacky said. “Ten, fifteen million?”

Devin glanced at his watch. “Whatever’s there, we don’t have enough time to get it all out.”

“I’m not leaving a score like this,” Jacky said. “No way, Bobby boy.”

“We got half a million in cash right here that we can run with. A hundred twenty-five each, profit. That’s good.” Devin reached towards the shelf and started putting the banded bills inside the bag.

“That’s a salary,” Jacky said. “But this, this is retirement.”

Devin ignored him, and kept putting bills in the bag. “Andy, come on, get the other side. The hundreds and fifties first.”

“Fifteen million,” Andy said. His eyes hadn’t left the corner. “That’s over a million each.”

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