by David Solomon
Yesterday in my dream, I trudged down a path. It was narrow and lonely. Fencing it —on the left and right — were lines of tall trees with thick bushes. In the sky, a full round moon hung without stars. I barely saw ahead from the darkness that hovered. Chirps of crickets and soft Susurrus filled the atmosphere, along with the crunching sound of my feet as I stepped on dried up leaves and broke some twigs on the ground.
It had been a very long day at work and my Boss, Mr. Daniels didn’t make it any better with his shouting and condemnation of everything I did. Just once, I’d like him to say “Good Job, Frank”, but I think it would kill him or cause him an epileptic ictus in the least.
It wasn’t my fault his wife left him. She might have just been fed up to the neck with his pontifical hooey and sanctimonious balderdash. Poor lady. Last time she was at that office she couldn’t even look us in the eyes. Leaving the sut was the best decision she ever made. He probably hit her at home too.
The best part of my job is getting home and cursing at that son of a dog.
But even at home, there’s Mrs Murphy, The harridan. My next door neighbor, she had no friends, at least none I ever saw. Sometimes, at night smoke would ooze out of her front doors, following indistinct chattering. But she was alone, how could I keep hearing more than one voice? People said she was a witch, none of my business though.
Except for last week, when the smoke from her door filled the whole house. I had kept rapping on her door till it squeaked open. Darkness would be an understatement in defining the room. It was ominous, with the ambience feel of death. I felt myself choking, stifling, slumping down. Till I was on the floor, half in and half out of her room. Kicking with my hands on my neck…
After a little walk down the silent path, not knowing where I was, there was another sound: the rustling of leaves from behind me. I wasn’t alone. Every part of my body shook with fright, curiosity got the better of caution. “Hello! Is somebody there?”
The leaves on a particular tree shook, following a thumping sound as if it had been dived into. I felt a cold rush of blood up my spine to my head then down again. My legs stiffened, my face dried up and my heart hit my chest as if wanting to run to safety.
The second sound was a howl. It brought back the life in me and I began to run. Stumbling on bulging roots. As I ran, I fell again and felt gelid, bony fingers on my ankle. It felt like an ice pack wrapped around my foot. I felt a chill down my spine. I tried to scream but couldn’t let out a sound. My throat felt like a tied tube with not enough space for air. I couldn’t breathe. I wrenched, trying to free myself from the cold grip, while gasping for air. One hand on my ankle and the other on my neck. Suddenly, the fingers released me.
Standing up, I fell down again. My ankle was fully rotten. The icy bony fingers were of a dead woman, with smoke oozing from her black dress, sprawled on the floor. I quailed. Still unable to shout, I tried to drag myself away.
Something was moving up and down my legs. Biting. Slimy black worms crawled on top of me. I finally yelled, a shrieking shout.
When they reached my mouth, I jerked up. Realizing it was a bad dream, I gasped for breath and swung my feet off the bed. As I knelt to pray, I felt cold hands on my ankle and slimy slithering on my leg. I was in my neighbor’s room. I had passed out there.
She looked like the same woman in my dream. Mr. Daniels stood there too, with a knife in his hands.