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 time was so popular, that everyone who voted wanted to read part 5. 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 earlier parts of the story if you haven’t read them yet:
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 #6 | Research
Lydia had packed her bags and left. She told me she was going to catch some sleep at a hotel before leaving town and that she would be turning her phone off but checking messages through a land line. Her words had been cold and I only nodded. Words would have opened up a flood of emotion and I couldn’t do that.
The quiet house was just as cold as her words. Loneliness didn’t begin to describe what I was feeling. Matilda was now my only friend, but the only thing she wanted from me was breakfast. I filled her bowl and laid on the couch and dozed off for a while without glimpses of terror to interrupt.
I woke around noon and looked around. Matilda had found a ray of sunlight coming in from the bay window and curled up in the warmth for her own nap.
Suddenly, anger took over. Logan was to blame for this. I needed to put an end to his operation, but I couldn’t go off half-cocked.
My laptop sat in a case across the room. I stood and walked toward it with purpose. Matilda stirred. She watched me retrieve it and bring it back to the coffee table. I plugged it in knowing I’d be busy for hours. Once I had grabbed a glass of water and a snack, I set a couch pillow on the floor and got to work.
First, I Googled him.
I found out that he had been a corporate heir, but left his father’s company to make it on his own. Several night clubs popped up under his name. All of them registered to L. Wingate Corporation.
Nothing indicated that he was a criminal or involved in criminal activity. I did find an internet troll who had left negative Yelp reviews on every club Logan owned. The screen name was Rodney R. and the picture was of a nondescript office building. He’d only reviewed businesses in the city and the only 1-star ratings were given to Logan’s clubs.
His complaints on Logan’s clubs were based on “bad-looking dudes dressed like bouncers that weren’t afraid to rough someone up for the smallest infraction.” A lot of his language made it seem like he knew more than what he wrote but didn’t want to give too much away for fear of retaliation.
As I dug deeper, I found a review Rodney R. had left on a local coffee shop. “I love this place. I come here every day for my morning coffee.”
I knew it would come in handy so I wrote down the name and address of the shop. If anyone was more obsessed with taking Logan Wingate down than I was, it would be Rodney R. and he may know Logan’s weakness.
Before I could take advantage of Logan’s weakness—if he had one—I would need to find a way to neutralize his strength. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but a bulletproof vest might stop his power from getting through. If it was a temporary fix, I hoped it would at least give me time to react next time I faced him and his truth serum touch.
If the vest didn’t work, or even if it did, I still needed something more than my fists to protect myself next time I faced Logan or his goons. It had come time for me to get a weapon. I didn’t want anything lethal—just something to stun or incapacitate.
I poured over lists and images of non-lethal weapons until something caught my eye. The chain whip. I found that there were a few different types of chain whips. Ultimately, I decided to make my own shorter version which would be more practical in enclosed areas and close quarters. After watching a few Youtube videos on the subject, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
I tapped Matilda’s head on my way out. The hardware store was my destination.
The store had different kinds of chains. I looked through until I found a strong but slender chain.
“Is this chain magnetic?” I asked a female clerk.
“Let’s see,” she said. She disappeared into another aisle and came back with a flat rectangular magnet. As she held it up to the chain, it pulled and stuck with a click.
“I’ll take eight feet of this,” I said. I’d only need about 32 inches for one, but I wanted to have backups.
“How many of those magnets do you have?” I asked as the clerk began to unwind the chain.
“There are quite a few over there.”
I nodded and went to find them.
By the time I got to the checkout, I had a very heavy load that consisted of magnets, chain, some tools to work with the chain, canvas, a few cylindrical weights that looked like they’d work for handles, a bundle of rope, and a container of tennis balls. The clerk must have thought I was into some weird stuff.
“Any idea where I could find something like a heavy pendulum?” I asked the woman.
“You could try one of those woo-woo stores, or maybe a science equipment place,” she suggested.
“Thanks. I’ll check it out,” I replied. With heavy bags in hand, I hailed a cab and used my phone to look up a store that might sell a metal pendulum. Once I found an address, I told the driver where to go.
Luckily, my next stop was my last stop. It was a store called “Mystical Things” but they had exactly what I needed.
With everything on my list checked, I headed back to Lydia’s apartment.
My first order of business was practice. I cut a length of rope and attached it to one of the tennis balls. Lydia’s large living room seemed to be the perfect place to practice, so I pushed the furniture out of the way and got to work.
First, I swung the rope forward until it whistled and hummed. I stopped it with my other arm and swung it backward until it hummed again. I tried a maneuver and failed. The tennis ball hit me in the shoulder.
“That’s why I didn’t start with the real thing,” I said to the curious Matilda who watched from a distance as I rubbed my shoulder and tried again. This time it worked. I tried another and another. It was going well until I hit myself again.
Hours passed as I practiced. Welts and bruises had formed on every limb, plus on my stomach, chest, and back. I had yet to hit myself in the head, so I had one thing going for me.
I was nowhere near ready to use the real thing.
The windows grew darker along with my mood. Frustrated, I decided to take a shower after the sun had set. Once the sweat was washed off and my aching muscles were relaxed, I heated up a frozen dinner. Matilda scavenged some food off my plate as I thought over my next steps.
I didn’t know whether I could go out tonight. The thought of being on the streets again with Logan’s thugs after me had me weary, but I didn’t want to ignore anyone in danger. My decision was a compromise between my fears and my conscience. I decided I’d call the police if someone was in danger. They’d get help and I’d stay out of the grasp of Logan until I was ready.
My goal for the following day would be to put together my weapon and the magnetic belt I’d keep it on. Then practice with the tennis ball some more until I was confident I wouldn’t knock myself out with my own weapon.
With my thoughts settled, I turned on the television and set my cell phone on the coffee table. As I laid down, Matilda joined me. An episode of some adult cartoon came on and I fell asleep to bright colors, flashing lights, and crass jokes.
My consciousness drifted and landed in the mind of someone preparing a late-night meal. There was no terror. No fear. Just mundane chopping of a tomato and stacking of a sandwich. I expected something to happen—a burglar to burst in, or a brick to crash through the window. Nothing happened. I gathered that the person I inhabited was a man. His home was tidy and minimalist.
For a moment, I wondered if it was Logan Wingate. My thoughts had been focused on him all day. Finally, a glimpse in a hanging chrome pot showed a man very different from Logan. His dark hair was messy, his brown eyes were kind, and his expression was soft.
Still, nothing happened. Just a man making a sandwich in his kitchen. I tried to wake up thinking I’d gotten stuck in a mind that didn’t need me and worrying that I was needed elsewhere.
I pulled myself out and woke up. The tv was now on an infomercial. I shut it off and went back to sleep.
Again, I ended up in the mind of this man who was now eating his sandwich. I waited again, but nothing happened to him.
I pulled myself out again.
I woke for a moment and shook my head thinking I needed more time to break the connection.
A few minutes passed and I drifted off again only to find myself back in this man’s head. He was putting his empty plate in the sink now. He turned off the kitchen light and approached a set of stairs. He walked up them and then down a short hallway to a bedroom. No one waited for him there.
Confused and frustrated, I wished something would happen. Anything. I tried to pull myself out again. It was difficult this time. I wasn’t waking up.
The man was now brushing his teeth in the bathroom connected to his bedroom.
Thoughts of all my other experiences popped into my head. I’d never had such mundane view before. Although this did remind me of certain scenes in horror movies, I doubted anything was going to pop out and scare him.
Apparently, my doubts came too soon. A darkness settled behind him in the mirror. He noticed it immediately and I saw The Hound’s face start to form. I knew it was impossible. He turned and it disappeared. He had been shaken a little, but his fear disappeared as well.
“Must be tired,” he muttered.
I woke from the experience and sat up on the couch. What had happened?
Matilda shifted next to me.
I fell asleep again, but did not fall back into his mind. Instead, I just slept.
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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