A Dreamer’s dilemmaIt is really dark tonight perhaps it is a new moon, I should have gone the other way home, oh well it won’t take long. Everything seems so eerie I am dreading going down the alleyway along the back edge of the park. Shall I just walk across the park tonight? Don’t be so daft it’s just a bit darker than normal and you are a big girl now, she thought to herself.She turned right onto the alleyway along the back of the park, the black metal railings along one side of the path and the trees and shrubbery along the other made her feel like she was in a cage tunnel, she picked up her walking pace and was looking at her feet as the tarmac raced by. The wind gusted rustling the leaves; a twig snapped the sound seemed really loud due to her heightened senses, the trees swayed to and fro furiously. One of the street lights was out further up the path and it looked even more dark and creepy. She picked up pace even more and kept repeating in her mind I will soon be at the other end of the path. There will be lots of people on the main road and good street lighting, I will be fine then.Just then a sharp pain in her head made her fall to the ground, there was a great weight on top of her, she was dumb struck she tried to scream but no sound came out, a hand went over her mouth and she tried desperately to breath, a horrible earthy smell hit her nostrils as she hit the ground then there was the smell of stale sweat and alcohol from the heated breath which she could feel down the back of her neck. She was thrown over on to her back, she then realised the full horror of what was happening but still nothing would come out from her mouth, no sound at all. He was wearing black, just black and had a really pointed nose, his teeth were all crooked his eyes were blue and laced with evil, his hair was a mousey colour and lank from grease, he said nothing, he just hit her around the head, again and again, she could stand no more pain and she was screaming inside but no one could hear her.“It’s alright love, calm down, it’s OK, come on now calm down.” said a warm and familiar voice.“No you must stop him please stop him.” She shouted at the top of her voice.“Come on Susie open your eyes, it’s OK, and it’s just a dream.” The familiar voice said again. She felt warm cuddling arms wrap her up as if wrapping her into cotton wool, her fear and her pain started to fall away, as if she was being released from the evil grasps of this cruel and vicious man. She opened her eyes to see her beloved husband Pete looking down at her with compassion and worry.“You were having a horrible dream you are safe now from whatever it was.” Pete said.She sobbed uncontrollably “It was horrible Pete he was on top of me and....”“It’s OK it was just a dream my love let it go”. He cradled her in his arms until she fell back to sleep.Several weeks later............Susie heard the front door close.“Hi my babe your tea is nearly ready, where do you want to eat, at the table or on your lap?” She said as she turned around to kiss Pete.“Hi my gorgeous can I have my tea on my lap please I have had a hard day and I just want to chill out and watch the news if that’s alright?” “That’s fine my babe we can chill out together, I’m not at work tonight my shifts been changed to Friday next week. We’re apparently having one of those big screens fitted at the nightclub and Jack wants me to be there that night because there’ll be more customers than usual.”“Does that mean I have got you all to myself this evening then? “ He asked as he grabbed her around the waist and swung her round to kiss her passionately on the lips.“Hey you sexy beast that will have to wait until later, tea is ready let’s go and chill out.” Susie grabbed the cutlery and the dinner and playfully booted Pete up the bum and gently shoved him towards the lounge.Pete turned on the television just as the news was coming on. Susie handed him his dinner and they sat and watched the news together.“How’s your day been, have you been busy?” Pete asked“Oh god yes, I just seem to have been chasing my tail all day I have done loads but it doesn’t look like I have done .............” Susie dropped her knife and fork and the colour drained from her face. “A woman has been found dead at the edge of the Western park in the city, she was walking along this path at around midnight last night. An eye witness said they had seen her walking very quickly from the centre of the park to the pathway on the edge of the park. So if you were in this area and saw anything at all please call the police incident room on the number at the bottom of the screen.” The reporter said as she was walking the path towards the blue and white police tape that was cordoning off the area where they had found the body.“What on earth is the matter Susie, are you alright you look like you have seen a ghost?” Pete asked as he moved towards her.Susie was trembling from head to foot, she tried to answer Pete but nothing would come out, tears were rolling down her cheeks and she was sobbing uncontrollably.“There, there, Susie, come on, what is it my love what has happened?” He picked up the dinner tray and put it on the table, he then put his arms around her and she laid her head into his chest and continued to sob.“Come on Babe what is it?”“The path I walked, I ran, it was me...” She stuttered“Don’t be silly it wasn’t you, you didn’t murder that woman.” He stroked her head “What do you mean it was you?”“No, it was me he killed, he killed me Pete.”“Don’t be daft you are alive you are here with me.”“No, my dream I walked that... path, that path Pete he was behind me he hit me... he...” She stuttered and sobbed uncontrollably“Come on Susie that was just a dream it didn’t really happen, calm down my babe.” He cuddled her and stroked her head.“No Pete, I have never seen that path before except in my dream, I couldn’t work out where it was I just thought I had made it up in my mind and it was just a really bad dream up to now. What if I dreamt a prediction of what happened to that poor woman, what if I could have stopped it?”“Don’t be daft what would you have done, gone to the police and told them you had a dream?” He giggled a little to lighten the mood.Susie jumped up in a rage and said”I know that but this is really, really... I don’t know, so frightening what if I did dream her murder before it happened, what if I know who the murderer is? I saw his face Pete as plain as day and his evil blue eyes; I will never forget his eyes.”“Alright calm down even if you have seen a face in a dream and you think he could be the murderer what are you going to do, tell the police you have had this dream and you think you know who the murderer is, they are not going to listen to you they want hard evidence not dreams.” “I know, I know but what do I do Pete, I know who he is.”“No, you have seen a face of a man in a bad dream and you don’t know who he is, you have never really met him and I am sure you wouldn’t want to meet him either. So come on let’s just have a cuddle and I will get you a lovely glass of wine.” He kissed her and went to the kitchen to get some wine.“You are right as usual but it was so horrible.”Pete handed her the wine and said.”I know but just let it go I will turn the telly over to something a bit lighter.” He put his feet up on the coffee table and put his arm around Susie.A week later.........The Taxi driver tooted his horn“I’m off now babe I’ll see you later.” Susie pecked Pete on the cheek as she was leaving for work.“Bye my gorgeous, I won’t see you later I am out early tomorrow.”“OK I love you.” Susie got into the taxi.It pulled up at the nightclub where she worked and she paid the driver. “Am I booked in for tonight, whoops sorry I mean tomorrow morning at 3?”“Yes love, it’ll be me, I have got the night shift today.”“Snap, so have I, oh well beggar’s can’t be choosers, see you later.” “Hi Steve I didn’t know you were on tonight, I thought it was Trish.”“It was, but she called in sick so Jack asked me to come in.”“It’s nice being manager and not knowing who is on.” She said chuckling to herself.“Well you know what Jack is like, he says he’ll ring you if there are any changes and then the thought gets blown out of his head when he goes off in his Ferrari.”“Yeah your right all he thinks about these days is his Ferrari, mind you can’t blame him he has worked hard for it and I think I would be the same.”“Me too.” Steve said as he opened the door for Susie and bowed “There you go Madame.”“Why thank you kind sir.” She chuckled “Hi Terry you’re in early.” “Yeah that big screen is going to get a lot more customers in, or so his majesty says.” “I know, he changed my shifts too and moved me across from the restaurant bar to be here for that. Let’s hope it doesn’t let him down or he will be a right mardy so and so. I hope you have been working out in case you have to throw any punters out.”“Yeah I have shifted 200 bales of hay today and delivered them to 4 of my regulars. Cor you should see some of them horsey women they make me...” “I know what they make you thank you.” said Susie “Ahhh! Come here and give us a kiss.”“No you little devil you; get back on the door. I am going to check that ice machine is working and have my lesson on this new lighting system they have just put in. But come here first your Dicky Bow isn’t straight” She walked over to him and straightened it with a cheeky smile on her face and then ran behind the bar.“OK bossy boots is it straight now? I am going to the door, I will see you later.”“Yes of course it is and you sure will see me later.”“Susie have you seen the new screen?” Jack asked as he floated into the room like royalty.“Well Jack unless I have developed blindness since arriving this evening I will have to say yes. You can’t miss it; it is enormous have you got eyesight problems now you are getting old?”“You cheeky little devil, just remember who pays your wages.”“Yes boss. “ She said with a cheeky grin“Right come on then Madame Butterfly let’s show you how to use this lighting system.”“OK, have they fixed the ice machine yet Jack?”“Yes they came at some ungodly hour this morning and the cleaner didn’t hear them so I had to get up.”“That’s good; at least the customers should stop moaning then. Have you advertised this new fangled big screen of yours?”“Yes and it has worked out brilliantly because Michael Jackson has just released his new video Thriller and apparently it is out of this world.” Jack burst out laughing and said “Do you get it out of this world?”“Ha ha very funny smarty pants, have you got it then?”“Have I got it what do you think? Yes of course I have and in the advertising I did state that we are one of the first night clubs to get the big screen and one of the first to play the new Michael Jackson video. I have also put on the posters that we will play it at 10pm so we can nick some of the business from the town.”“You canny old fox you.”“They don’t call me the boss for nothing you know. Right then let’s show you how to use this new lighting system.”“OK boss!”“Hi Dave have you checked the barrels only Jack reckons we are going to be busy tonight?” Susie asked as she went behind the bar.“Yes and I have topped up all the bottled beer and soft drinks and Lynne has gone to get some crisps and nuts from the store cupboard.”“That’s great all we need now are some punters.” “Testing, testing one two three testing, Susie can you drop the lights please and let the show begin. Jimmy Johnson here to make your night go with a swing so come on people here’s Let’s Dance by David Bowie.” ‘Let’s dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues’. The music blasted out at full volume and the lights dimmed and the mirrored ball came on which threw star lights on the ceiling and all over the dance floor. Then Jimmy switched on the new strobe lighting machine and wow what a sight. The whole room took on a different dimension the people on the dance floor seemed to judder as they danced and then the ultra violet lights came on and all the girls who were wearing white bras and knickers were wolf whistled because you could see them through their clothing.“Cor I like this, look at that bird over there isn’t much to her knickers they are what you might call briefs ha do you get it?” Dave said as he handed a pint to a customer “and what else do you want mate?”“Two white wines and a vodka and lime.”“There you go that’ll be four pounds eighty five please.” “It is beginning to fill up now Dave, yes please what would you like?” Susie asked. “Yeah and it’s getting louder too, I don’t know about you but I like it when it’s busy it’s a great atmosphere, yes please love what would you like?”“Yeah it is and the time goes a lot quicker not long now to the big screen and that new Michael Jackson’s thriller video I am quite looking forward to it that is if I manage to see it.”“You have to be kidding if you can’t see that screen you need your eyes testing Susie.” “Right people let’s have some sexual healing from Marvin Gaye and coming up in just fifteen minutes is a real treat Michael Jackson’s Thriller live on our big screen so get your drinks in now folks.” “And when I get that feeling I want sexual healing” The bar seemed to get swamped by a sea of people all wanting to be served at once, it looked like a lot of eager children putting their hands up to answer a question the teacher had asked, except they all had different denominations of money in their hands.“OK we are doing are best here you know, I only have one pair of hands.” Susie shouted over the music to a very impatient customer.“Come on love he will be playing the Thriller video in a minute.”“I said we are doing our best and we will serve everyone we can, anyway we are not closing, and you can get a drink after it finishes you know” “Your joking aren’t you love, the video is nearly fifteen minutes long I would have died of thirst by then.” Susie turned to Dave and said with a wry smile “I’m tempted not to serve him if that is the case he is getting on my tip cat.” “Yeah he thinks he is the only one who wants a drink, but looking at this lot I think he must be joking.” “Next please.” Shouted Susie as she finished serving the last chap it just seemed to have no let up at all for at least ten minutes, the customers were almost in rugby scrum to get to the bar, jostling and pushing each other to get there first before the video started.“Right, the moment you have all been waiting for, dim the lights please Susie.” Jimmy asked whilst he dropped the music to a really eerie silence.Everyone in the room waited with anticipation and pure silence just looking at the big screen on the far wall. Susie dimmed the lights and the room took on a whole new dimension. The screen came to life and Michael Jackson was larger than life he was talking to his girlfriend as they were walking from his car that had broken down. He proposes to her and she says yes. The next thing you know he turns into a werewolf and she screams the place down. Everyone in the club is gripped and shocked; the girls in the audience grab hold of their partner’s hand with sheer panic.The camera pans to Michael and his girlfriend who are in a cinema watching a film about a werewolf, his girl friend asks to leave and they start walking home. The music starts. Michael starts singing "It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark"Then whole nightclub gasps as the screen fills with dead zombies rising from the grave and out of manhole covers. Vincent Price's sinister voice says,"Darkness falls across the land, the midnite hour Is close at handCreatures crawl In search of blood, to terrorize Y'awl's Neighbourhood”The screen fills with dead zombies that are coming towards them and Michael turns away to face them; his girlfriend screams and runs off. Then Michael Jackson turns and the zombies turn with him, now he is a zombie too. The sound of hundreds of footsteps engulf the room, all of the people in it just gasp in shock and amazement. Michael and all of the zombies start to dance in unison; the video takes over the whole building and draws the audience into it. There isn’t a sound from anyone as they stand and watch in amazement. They all stand and watch in the same trancelike state as the rest of the night club.It was absolutely brilliant and had everyone awestruck right until the end when all of a sudden it went really quiet and pitch black and everyone screamed.Susie went and put the lights back to how they were but still no one moved.“That was Michael Jackson showing how it is done now come on folks let’s have some sweet dreams are made of this with the Eurythmics.” The people in the room seemed to wake up from a deep entranced sleep and they started to chat frantically about the video.“Just brilliant.” “Fantastic it just consumed you.”Everyone babbled on about how good it was.“Yeah it was out of this world.”Then a sea of people started to flow towards the bar but with no real focus on getting a drink because they were still in a mesmerized state.“Here we go again folks are you all ready?” Susie asked“Yeah let’s go people.” Steve said as he rubbed his hands together with glee.The bar became engulfed by people all wanting a drink as they all seemed to wake from the trance the video had put them. Susie turned to get an orange juice from the back of the bar and went to pour it into a glass for a customer as she turned to face the sea of customers waiting to be served a horrible familiar smell hit her nostrils of sweat and alcohol and a cold shiver ran down her spine as if someone had just walked over her grave.She shook herself and lent forward to give the customer her orange juice and as she did the smell got stronger, she turned to see the dank and greasy mousey coloured hair dangling all down the back of a person who stood with their back to her at the bar. She let out a small gasp of fear and trepidation as the person turned to face her, the trepidation consumed her whole being as she looked straight into those evil blue eyes. She dropped the glass of orange juice and it hit the bar with a crash as if it was in slow motion he opened his mouth and smiled at her his crooked teeth showing to the entire world he was here, and he was happy, her heart began to pound as though it wanted to escape from her chest. It was him, he was here, and did he know she knew he killed that woman? How did he know? What would he do? Had he come for her? He must have, the fear and memories of this man engulfed her, the room began to spin her temperature went sky high and then blackness and silence.She awoke to a clean clinical smell and lots of background noise of people chattering she went to move and felt a sharp pain in the back of her hand where she had a drip fixed in and then another in her head. She yelped like a puppy in pain and this caused a chain reaction of people coming to her aid, first nurses then doctors followed by Pete trying to jump up so she could see him through the crowd.“Please let us do our job sir, your wife will need our attention now and we will call you when you can see her.” a pretty little nurse said.The other nurse placed a cuff around her arm and said “Hello there, we have been very worried about you, how are you feeling? I have just got to take your blood pressure and check your temperature.”The surgeon walked to the other side of her bed and introduced himself “Hello I am Mr Franklin, you have had quite a nasty fall in a very enclosed space, you have done a lot of damage to your head when you hit it on the counter at the back of the bar.”Susie tried to speak but her throat was really sore, she struggled, it just came out as a croak and a wheeze.“Now don’t try to speak, your throat will be sore because of the tubes you had down it whilst we were operating on you. Unfortunately you also broke several glasses and the shards and splinters got embedded into your skull. We have managed to remove them all and we have patched up your skull too. You seem to have come out of the other side of your operation very well. We will keep an eye on you for the next week or so.”“Right, let this lady have some rest now.” He said to the nurses. “I am sure your husband would like to see you alone for a while. I will be back tomorrow to check on you. ” He left the room followed by the nurses who smiled as they left. Susie felt her heart sink at the thought of what the surgeon had said. She was racking her brains on how she had got there, but nothing would come to her mind. She relaxed a little when she saw the warm and familiar face of her beloved husband coming into the room; he looked at her with a loving smile which masked his concern for how ill she was looking. He kissed her very gently on her cheek “Hello my gorgeous I love you so much I am so glad they have finally let me see you. How are you feeling? The surgeon said you were very lucky that they got you here when they did, because of how you fell and where you fell there was so much glass embedded in your head? Oh I am so happy you have woken up, they said it was touch and go until you did. “He took hold of her hand and squeezed it to let her know how much he loved her, and the relief he was feeling to be able to hold her. “Is there anything you want, a drink of water, a kiss, the TV on, anything at all?”Susie tried to speak and it really hurt so she pointed at the water jug and Pete took the hint, he poured her a glass of water and got the remote control for the bed and raised her to a sitting position. He then gently tipped the glass for her whilst she drank in small sips. “Is that better, I bet you feel like you have swallowed razor blades?” Susie spluttered as she asked. ”What happened?” “Apparently you just collapsed behind the bar and you hit your head on the beer pump first, then the back of the bar and the glasses all just shattered as you fell, the broken glass got embedded into your head, neck and back. Steve said there was blood everywhere, the whole nightclub came to a complete stand still and good old Terry made everyone stand back for the ambulance crew, he just kept saying you all keep away from my Susie or you will get some of this. ” Susie managed a smile and said”Good old Terry he is such a gentle giant.”“Anyway at least you have got a private room, Jack insisted on it, you have got all mod cons, TV, your own phone line, the works. Do you want the TV on to pass the time a little or do you want a rest and some peace and quiet?”“I don’t mind you can put the TV on if you like?”Pete switched on the TV and fiddled about with channels flicking from one to the other. He finally stopped on the local news channel where a news reporter was saying.“They have arrested a man in connection with the murder of the young lady who was murdered in City Western Park on 24th November. “All of a sudden all of the monitors attached to Susie screamed out in alarm, a flurry of people came running to her aid. Susie started to panic and she was re-living the night she was behind the bar and the night of the dream, her blood pressure went sky high and she was finding it more and more difficult to breath. She started to shout “Pete it was him, it was him he.....he was at the bar what did he do to me Pete did he rape me did he hit me how did he know I knew about him how Pete how?” She was thrashing about and trying to run but she was attached to lots of monitors and machines, she pulled out the catheter from her arm and fell to the floor with blood pouring from her arm. Pete ran to her but was pushed aside by the nurses who lifted her back into bed “Now now Susie calm down, just calm down.”One nurse continued to calm her down whilst the other tried desperately to get the catheter back into her arm; the surgeon arrived and took control by putting the catheter back into her and switching all of the alarms off. Then he gently stroked her forehead and said “Come on now Miss we will have less of that.” Pete just stood back and looked on with horror, with fear on his face he felt as if he was in a bubble, he then heard in the back ground.“He was arrested at a nightclub in the City, the police said he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, they matched his finger prints to the ones they found on the stick at the crime scene. This all came about because a young lady was rushed to hospital after apparently collapsing behind the bar. The ambulance men noticed him passed out outside of the nightclub and contacted the police. We believe he has no connection to the incident in the nightclub it was just pure luck he was caught.” It suddenly dawned on Pete why Susie was panicking and he pushed aside the surgeon and the nurses and knelt at Susie’s bedside and said “It’s alright Susie, they have got him, they have arrested him and he had nothing to do with what happened to you behind the bar nothing at all.”Susie felt the inner calm return to her sole and relief just washed all over her body, an inner peace had returned and she struggled to reach up and give Pete a gentle loving kiss on his cheek. The whole room became peaceful and the staff meandered away and left them alone to love each other. Finally the nightmare was over.
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