Every week, I write a short story for all to read here on my blog. I hold weekly votes for the writing prompt of these shorts in my VIP Facebook Group. The story from last week was so popular, that everyone who voted wanted to read part 2. Here’s the original prompt:
A girl steps into the mind of other people as she sleeps. She sees and experiences what they do.
And here’s the link to Part 1 if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet: Night Chaser #1
NOTE: These are just for fun and therefore aren’t professionally edited. I did self-edit, but please excuse any errors. If I do officially publish these stories, errors will be fixed.
Night Chaser #2 | Dream
“Yep. It’s broken,” Lydia said as she examined my foot. “Your second metatarsal is broken and your third may be fractured. You wanna tell me how this happened and why you couldn’t go to the hospital?”
I looked away. I didn’t want to lie to her. She was my best friend and I’d pushed her away in the last few months. She deserved to know the truth and if I was going to continue doing this, I might need her help again.
“I got stabbed in the foot by a guy that was robbing a diner,” I said.
“I still don’t understand why you couldn’t go to the hospital,” she replied.
“Well, the thing is, I wasn’t exactly there as a patron. More as a vigilante.”
Lydia sat back in the armchair near my bed and looked at me. She was waiting for the rest of the story.
“A few months ago, I had a dream. It was more like a nightmare, actually. I was behind the counter of a convenience store and three guys were robbing it. I didn’t have any control in the dream. As the clerk, my actions followed the words of the men in the store. All I could do was feel the terror. I thought it would be okay when they got the money, but one of the guys shot me on the way out. That’s when I woke up from the dream.
“The next morning, I watched the news and the exact scene from my dream came on. They showed video footage and it matched my dream move for move. The man who ran the store—the one I had been in my dream—was dead.”
Matilda interrupted with a meow. I pet her head and continued.
“Since then, I’ve had more dreams where I’m in someone else’s shoes at a traumatic moment. It happens every night and I don’t get much sleep, so I decided to help these people. They all seemed to be in the neighborhood, so I brushed up on my training. You remember the classes we used to take in college because we thought we were badasses. And I go to sleep, get a glimpse of the situation through their eyes and try to figure out where they are before I hop on my bike and go to help.”
“You’ve been in the news. I didn’t know it was you, but I’ve been following your stories. How did this happen? How can you see what people see while you’re asleep?”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t seem possible, but it is. You believe me?”
“I don’t know if I believe you or not, but I guess it explains how you’re able to get to all these crime scenes before anyone else. Why not just call the police and tell them when you see something?” Lydia asked.
“Police response times are horrible. I’m already in the neighborhood, so it takes me less time to get there. Plus, sometimes the way police do things just isn’t right for the situation. I’ve saved lives and sent tons of criminals to jail.”
“It’s dangerous and probably illegal. What happens if something goes wrong? Like tonight. It could have been much worse.”
“That’s why I’ve had to push people away. I know the risk, but I can’t not do this. You don’t feel the fear and horror that I do when I’m in their shoes. I have to do something.”
Lydia shook her head.
“Well, I guess maybe you made the right choice pushing me away because I don’t think I can watch you do this. I’ll do what I can for your foot. It’s too swollen right now, so I’ll have to look at it again in the morning. For now, we need to ice it and elevate it. Most likely you need to keep it in a rigid flat-bottom shoe and keep weight off it for at least a few weeks.”
Lydia stood from her seat and then helped me prop my foot up on a pillow.
“I can’t do that,” I said as I leaned back.
“Well you can’t walk on it and you certainly shouldn’t be riding your motorcycle with it.”
“I can’t just leave these people out there when they’re being terrorized.”
“You mean you can’t take time away from this obsession,” Lydia said as she crossed her arms.
“It’s not an obsession. It’s what I have to do.”
“What about your work?”
“I’m still a graphic designer during the day. I’m keeping up with my clients. I have to support myself, but I can’t just pretend this isn’t happening to me.”
“Maybe you should see someone. It’s gotta have something to do with your brain. I know a good neurologist,” Lydia said.
“No. I don’t want to be a science project, I want to help people. I’ve given this a lot of thought over the months. If I have this ability, then I need to use it to do some good.”
Lydia picked up the bloody towel from the floor and looked at me. “I’m going to throw this away. I’m sure it’s ruined. Then I’ll bring up some ice.”
“Do you want to stay in the guest room tonight?” I asked.
“Yes, but as soon as I get you set up to heal, I’m gonna have to leave. What you’re doing will break my heart. I can’t be part of it.”
With those words, she left my room. Her footsteps descended the stairs as a tear fought its way to the surface and slowly jumped off the rim of my eyelid. She returned a few moments later with a ziplock bag full of ice.
“Good-night,” she said.
“Good-night,” I replied.
Her footsteps continued down the short hall to the guest room. The switch turned on for a moment, then off. Then there was silence and a dread washed over me as I realized I wouldn’t be able to do anything if I had another dream in someone’s mind tonight.
The next morning, I woke up after having the kind of dream I hadn’t had in months—a normal one. I also realized that my foot wasn’t in much pain. It seemed to feel a lot better. I sat up and removed the makeshift icepack. Then, I unwrapped the bandage Lydia had applied.
To my surprise, there was nothing left but a bruise. I knew I’d been healing quickly since these strange powers started, but I’d never healed that quick.
“Lydia! Are you still here?” I called out. I heard some rustling in the other room and then her reply.
“Yeah. Coming. Just a sec.”
Footsteps approached and she came into view. She looked down at my foot and gasped.
“What? How? Where’s the big gash?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Has this ever happened before?” she asked.
“I haven’t been injured this badly since this weird stuff started, but the bumps and bruises I’ve gotten have gone away faster than normal—just not this fast.”
Lydia examined my foot again. Her fingers gently ran along the bone that was broken just hours ago.
“I think it’s still fractured, but it’s mostly healed. What on earth set all this off? Can you remember anything out of the ordinary that may have happened before these dreams and abilities?”
“No, I’ve gone over it a million times. Nothing. And another weird thing happened last night. I had a normal dream. I haven’t had a normal dream in months. I was in your hospital, helping patients. People were running around and I was flying through them, helping people faster than any other doctor or nurse there. After my shift, I was in a restaurant where they served food, but it was really colorful food. Like pink rolls and blue steak. It was weird, but a nice change—”
I noticed the worried expression on Lydia’s face.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I had that same dream,” Lydia said.
It made sense, now. “So, I didn’t dream, I somehow fell into your dream from your perspective.”
“You were in my mind as I slept. Has that ever happened before?”
“No, it hasn’t. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months, though. So I guess I should thank you,” I smiled at her.
“Maybe your mind felt comfortable and safe going into mine. We’ve known each other so long. With the trauma you experienced last night, maybe it needed a reprieve to help you heal.”
What she said seemed reasonable, but there was no way to prove it. “You might be right. I still don’t know everything there is to know about whatever is happening to me.”
Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass came from downstairs. Lydia heard it too and looked to me for answers. I didn’t have any.
I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and slowly stood up to test my foot. I could walk on it, but it was still sending a throbbing pain up my leg.
“Stay here with Matilda,” I said. Lydia nodded quietly.
As I walked out, I removed a candle from a heavy candlestick that sat on my dresser and grabbed the blunt object to use as a weapon. I stepped softly into the hall. My foot was screaming in pain, but I remained silent.
I came to the top of the stairs just as an intruder came into view at the bottom. He looked up immediately. The tall, toned man wore jeans and a black t-shirt. What stood out to me was his rather large nose.
“So you’re the one I’ve been tracking all morning. You left quite a trail of blood from the diner. Not a visible one, but—” he stopped mid-sentence and breathed deeply through his nose. His eyes rolled back into his head with pleasure.
“Mmm. Yep, it’s definitely your scent I’ve been tracking. My boss’ll be so happy to hear that I found the girl who’s been putting all our associates behind bars.”
The man grinned and glared. He was waiting for me to make a move.
“Get out of my house,” I said.
“Sorry. My orders are to take you to see the boss,” he replied as he put his foot on the first step. I didn’t want him to get much further, and from this position I had the upper hand. I gripped the candlestick and took my first step. He took another and so did I.
One more step from him. A plan formulated and I acted on it without hesitation. As I neared him, I threw the candlestick at his head. He blocked it with his arm, but before he could fully recover, I landed a punch to his chest that knocked him back. He stumbled down the stairs and I followed.
Once he regained his footing, he tried to throw a punch at me, but I was ready. I blocked it and stepped in to land a blow to his head with my elbow followed by a punch to his gut that didn’t land. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me into a knee kick to my stomach. I fell sideways to the floor with my hands on my lower ribs.
I struggled to take in a breath.
The man in my living room took out a set of zip-ties from his pocket. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything if he got those on me. I scrambled backward on the floor and looked for something I could use as a weapon.
He stepped closer and began to kneel down. I kicked at his legs, but he avoided them easily. My hand landed on something. The remote.
Not great, but I chucked it at his head anyway. It missed, but something else didn’t.
His eyes went a blank for a moment as blue and green shards of pottery rained down his head and shoulders. I looked past him to see Lydia, who had come down and thrown an old vase at his head. He fell forward and almost landed on me, but I got out of the way just before he fell to the floor with a groan.
I stood up and ran over to Lydia.
“I called the police,” she said.
“Good. Thank you for intervening. I was struggling there for a minute,” I said.
Another groan came from the guy. He fumbled to a standing position and I pushed Lydia behind me. Sirens neared and he knew he’d run out of time. He took off through the kitchen and to the back door he came in. He was gone in a flash.
“Someone knows about me,” I said.
“Then maybe you should come stay with me for a while,” Lydia said.
“What about my nightly habits?”
“We’ll figure something out,” she replied.
I didn’t know what that meant, but I did need a place to stay while I had my house bad-guy-proofed. I couldn’t stay with her long or she’d be in danger too. Hell, she might already be in danger. He saw her face and mine.
Matilda came bounding down the stairs and a pounding knock came at my front door.
Time to tell the police about our random home invasion.
Did you like this short? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.
Also, make sure you vote for your favorite prompt in the poll this week. Voting happens only in my VIP Facebook Group, so join and cast your vote in the current poll by Friday at 3pm Central.
Any prompts that don’t win will be in the vote the following week. Any prompt that gets zero votes for three consecutive weeks will be pulled and replaced. Some prompts, like this one, may have the potential to be a series, and therefore will be eligible to be chosen again for the next installment of the series.
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