The darkness of unconsciousness fades into the blurry darkness of the inside of the shed. As your surroundings blink back into focus, you notice Joe standing in front of you. His arms are crossed and he looks menacing, towering above you like a father preparing to scold a small child. Realizing that you are sitting down, you hazily attempt to stand. But, with a sudden jerk back to life and to the present, your ankles and wrists begin to feel the ropes tied tightly around them, binding them to the floor and the wall behind you.
“Who told you my name, Edward?!” demands Joe, who looks absolutely terrifying from your position tied to the floor. Shocked at this sudden intensity, you answer,
“What do you mean?... You did.”
“Nicolas Dias, Edward! Who told you that name?!”
The comprehension that Joe is in fact Nicolas Dias, as you had frequently considered, finally completes the process of waking you up. Your knowledge of what the hell is going on, though already very scarce, is now severely scrambled. Judging by Joe’s, or Nicolas’s face... you don’t have much time to think before answering his question. Hastily you run the events of today through your mind once again, trying to see them in a new light. Joe was Nicolas all along, but was surprised that you knew his name. He wanted you to think Nicolas was dead. He was further surprised that you had his address, but for some reason wanted to come here. He hid from you so that he could attack you when you weren’t looking, so that he could tie you down and ask you this question.
“Who was it?! I’m waiting. What is your friend’s name?”
Cal had told you not to give Dias too much information. But that letter... it sounded as if they knew each other already. Could Cal have been making the whole thing up, saying anything just to make you go to Dias? But it doesn’t matter now anyway. It’s pointless to refuse the man now glaring down at you with livid impatience.
A prolonged sigh escapes Dias. He seems a bit relieved, but you can't really be sure.
“Are you telling me the truth?” he probes. “You’re in no position to lie, you know.”
“Thank you for the reminder,” you reply sarcastically. “I am telling the truth. Cal told me your name and address, and asked me to find you.”
“And you don’t know why.”
It was not a question -- and for that, you are quite thankful. You sincerely hope to avoid mentioning the ludicrous idea that Cal is a werewolf and that you are here to seek a cure for him. Something else must be going on, it has to be.
“Do you know him?” you ask.
“No...” After a brief pause, he concludes, “but I know who he must be. What I don’t know is what he wants.”
“He wants help.”
“So you say.”
“I have a letter from him, to you. I found it on the floor of your house. That is, if you really are Nicolas Dias.” Then, as an afterthought, you add, “You’re not by any chance Radovan, are you?”
He reacts to this question the same way he reacted when you first mentioned the name Nicolas Dias, and again when you told him you had his address. Shocked, and blatantly afraid, he answers urgently.
“How do you know that name?”
“It’s in the letter.”
“Where is this letter?”
“In my pocket.” You nod your head toward the right hand pocket of your jeans. Dias abruptly reaches into your pocket and pulls out the letter. He unfolds it and turns away from you to read it.
You say nothing, but watch him carefully as he paces around the shed, clearly thinking hard. He keeps lowering the paper, looking away and deliberating for long moments, and then reading the letter again. After four or five reads he begins muttering to himself, barely loud enough for you to hear bits of it. “sorry... why... why would he say that... I’m sorry... not unless...”
Finally, with a defeated look on his face, he turns back to face you.
“Do you believe him yet?”
“No. But I want to. My greatest weakness, no doubt...” His eyes wander aimlessly around the shed before settling back on you. “Do you remember, when your friend was telling you about me, whether or not he was wearing a wristwatch?”
You stare at him in disbelief. What on earth could that possibly have to do with anything? He doesn’t laugh or give any indication that he isn’t perfectly serious.
“I don’t remember.” You answer honestly. “Why does that matter?”
“It matters.” He sighs again. “Well I guess I should try to do as I’ve been asked... It can’t hurt to tell you a few things, what with you being tied up in a shed where no one will ever look for you...”
Somehow you’re so intrigued by the possibility of finally learning what’s going on, that his last statement doesn’t even remotely scare you.
“I’m all ears.”
“Did you know, for instance... that your friend, Cal, is a murderer?”
At this point you might as well give up trying to protect Cal, you tell yourself. It’s his fault that you ended up here, forced to give away secrets about him. But from the sound of it, at least this much isn’t secret at all.
“Yes, as a matter of fact... That’s the one thing I do know.”