FFF #26……A Bad Dream.

 Its Friday Flash Fiction time again and thanks to Cormac Brown for hosting this, week in, week out.

This week, Cormac gave us the starter sentence and I came up with a few ideas to go with it but I decided on the following one.  It’s slightly longer than my susal ‘flash’ pieces, and a bit different but please don’t let that put you off reading it.  The starter sentence is in blue.  Hope you enjoy…

A Bad Dream.

“What do you see when you close your eyes?”


Robert Wellman looked at his friend across the small table. He’d seen him stressed before after seeing a client, but he’d never seen him this bad. Simon Calderwood looked up from the whiskey glass he was nursing and spoke.

“That’s what I asked her. What do you see when you close your eyes? Her initial answer was the usual smart one, the inside of my eyelids, but then she started telling me what she actually saw,” Simon lifted his whiskey glass to his mouth and drained it, motioning to the barman for another couple of drinks.

“Not for me, Simon. I’m meeting the wife in an hour.” Robert said.

“What I’m going to tell you, you’ll need another drink.”

The barman brought the two double whiskeys and Simon began.

* * *

“Mr Calderwood, your two o’clock client has arrived.”

“Okay, Jenny,” Simon said, pressing the intercom, “You can send her in now.”

Simon Calderwood was a shrink and had been practicing for the past twelve years. His office, or his surgery as he called it, was plush and stereotypical of any psychiatrist’s office in the city. A large mahogany desk, photos of his wife and two children, reminding him what a normal and functional life he led, facing him on the polished surface. Book shelves covering a whole wall, filled with medical encyclopaedias, leather bound medical journals along with classics from Twain to Hemmingway and Shakespeare to Poe. And, the biggest cliché of them all was his black leather ‘shrink’s couch’, a matching black leather chair positioned at the foot of it. Behind his desk, a replica of Van Gogh’s Irises hung on the wall.

Simon rose from his chair as he heard the knock on the door, adjusted the painting as he turned and made his way to let his client in.

“Hello, I’m…” the words got caught in Simons throat as he looked at the woman standing before him.  Her make-up was subtle yet perfect in the way that it accentuated her cheek bones and brought out the dazzling blue of her eyes. Her long blonde hair had a gentle wave to it and it hung onto her shoulders. Her matching black skirt and jacket were immaculate and her white blouse unbuttoned enough to reveal the swell of her breasts.

“I’m Simon Calderwood,” he said extending his hand.

The woman shook his hand and introduced herself.

“Hi, I’m Valerie Johnson. Thank you for seeing me.”

“No problem at all. Why don’t you take a seat and we can get started.”

Valerie took the seat in front of the desk and Simon walked round to his chair. He took out his notebook and pen and wrote down her name. When he looked up at her, she was staring right at him, almost taking him by surprise. Her eyes were intense.

“Err, Mrs Johnson…”

“It’s Miss, and please, call me Valerie.”

“Ok, Valerie. How can I help you today?”

Valerie was still staring right into Simon’s eyes and he was becoming uncomfortable but then she lowered her gaze and spoke.

“Well,” she started, crossing her legs and brushing the material of her skirt, “I keep having this recurring dream.”

Simon averted his eyes from her legs and spoke.

“And what is this dream about, Valerie? Could you explain it?”

“Well I can remember bits of it but…”

“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you move over to the couch,” Simon got up and walked over to the dimmer switch and turned down the light. He watched Valerie get up and walk over to the couch. Her movement so graceful like that of a swaying lily being brushed by a gentle breeze.

“Could I remove my jacket?” she asked.

“Make yourself as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable you are the freer your mind will be.”

Valerie slowly removed her jacket. Simon took it from her and hung it on the coat stand. He turned and watched her sit and then raise her legs onto the couch. He walked over and sat on the chair at the foot of the couch, his favourite chair in his office when he had a female client wearing a skirt. Simon eyed her from her immaculate black heels, up her legs and then let his eyes come to rest on her breasts.

Jesus, she is perfect, he thought to himself.

“Are you comfortable, Valerie?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Okay. Now, let your mind be free, Valerie and close your eyes. Now, what do you see when you close your eyes?” Simon asked lowering his gaze to the hem of her skirt.

“The backs of my eyelids,” Valerie replied, a nervous laugh escaping from her perfect mouth.

“Ha ha. Please, Valerie, you must relax and clear you mind. Tell me what you remember from your dream.”

Valerie took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, her chest rising and falling. Simon looked on, and then his eyes went to her face as she began talking.  He started taking notes.

“Well, I’m in a house, but…it’s not my house. It’s a house that’s strange to me. I feel like I’ve been there before but I’m not sure. I’m walking down a long, dark hallway and there’s a light on in the room at the end. I make my way down the hallway. In the gloom, I can just make out paintings on the walls, and doors that lead off into…other rooms, I imagine.  I can hear a voice and its calling a name, but I don’t think it’s mine. I can’t quite make out the name being called but I know it’s certainly not Valerie.”

“Carry on, Valerie. Just keep telling me what you see,” Simon urged.

“I’m getting closer to room at the end of the hallway now and I can hear music and a man’s voice singing along to it. I reach the door and look into the room.”

Valerie opened her eyes.

“Are you okay, Valerie?”

“Yes…sorry, I just needed a break.”

“Do you want to carry on?” Simon asked.

“Yes, I’m ready now,” Valerie said, taking a deep breath and exhaling. She closed her eyes, composed herself and carried on.

“I reach the door and look into the room.”

“And what’s in the room, Valerie? What can you see?”

“The lights are subdued and there’s a…err…a…seductive…feel within the room. There’s a man in front of the bed and he’s dancing with a bottle of champagne in his hand, singing along to the music. He’s wearing a pair of dark trousers and a vest. His jacket and shirt and tie are thrown on the floor.”

“What does the room look like, Valerie?” Simon asks, scribbling in his notepad.

“The bed is a four-poster with white linen bedding. All the bedroom furniture is antique and free standing and the walls are all white. There are expensive paintings on the walls.”

Simon stopped writing, got up and silently walked round the back of the couch to get a clearer look at her.  There was now something familiar about her face, but Simon couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

“I walk into the room and he walks up to me but he has no face, yet the strange thing is, when he puts his head to mine and kisses me I can feel his lips.  Then, he pushes me onto the bed and he starts ripping at my clothes,” her hands move to the collar of her blouse and pull it together under her chin. “He’s making these, almost animal grunts as he’s pulling at my dress, kissing and biting at my neck and ears and face as he’s getting more excited.”

“Then what happens, Valerie?” Simon asks the woman who he’s sure he now knows from somewhere, but where?

“He turns me over and throws me onto my front, ripping my dress all the way down the back. He starts kissing down my back and then rips my panties off.” Valerie’s gasping now, like she’s struggling for breath.

“Take a moment, Valerie.”

“No, I need to tell you. He gets off me briefly and then I feel his weight on me again. I can feel his nakedness and then he’s forcing my legs apart and I can feel him forcing himself into me. It starts off gentle like he’s become a sensitive lover, but then it changes and he pulling me up and thrusting himself into me…like he wants to really hurt me. And it’s at that moment that I feel it.”

Studying her features, he asks what she feels.

“The cold tip of the blade being dragged down my back, along my spine and all the time he is still thrusting into me.” Tears are running from her eyes now.

“Valerie, do you want to leave it there? We can reschedule if…”

“NO! I want to finish,” she takes a breath, “The blade reaches the bottom of my spine and then moves across to the right and then there is searing pain as it is pushed up below my rib cage. I scream, but only briefly as he pushes my face into the bed linen, my screams muffled to almost nothing. He pulls the blade out and thrusts it in again and again and again,” Valerie is crying now.

“Okay Valerie. I think we should stop there. I’ll reschedule you for Friday and we can carry on then.”

Simon walks back to the door, turns the light back up and gets her coat from the stand. His hands are shaking as he hands Valerie her jacket.

“Thank…you,” Valerie says wiping her eyes with a tissue from her jacket pocket. “Are you okay, Simon? You look like you’ve seen a…”

“What? No, no, I’m fine. That’s some dream you’re having. I’ve got some reading up to do before we meet on Friday. What time would you like to come back?”

“Same as today, if that’s ok.”

“That’ll be fine. I’ll book you in and see you then.”

He walks her to the door, opening it for her. Valerie turns to him.

“Thank you for listening, Simon. You know, I have another dream that’s similar, only the roles are reversed and it’s me with the knife. But…”

“We’ll talk about that on Friday.”

* * *

“Wow. That was some dream, Simon. Fuck!” Robert said, drinking his whiskey.

“Yes, it was. The only thing is…”

* * *

Outside the pub, looking in through the window, Valerie is standing in the darkness.

“You didn’t let me finish, Simon Calderwood, or is it Johnson?” She said to herself, “But…I’ve not had that dream yet, was what I was going to tell you, but I can tell you on Friday. You see, I met a man in Purgatory and he offered me a deal in exchange for my soul. I’ll see you on Friday,” She smile and walked away from the pub.

* * *

“…it wasn’t a dream. After she had gone her face was still in my mind. But then her surname brought it all back to me. It came back to me, in all its bloody glory.”

“What, Simon? What came back? Are…are you okay, mate?”

Looking his friend straight in the eyes, he smiled and a tear ran from his left eye.

“Robert…I killed her four years ago.”

The End.

Hope you liked it.  If you did please leave a comment, but if you didn’t leave a comment anyway and tell me why.  Thanks…



Filed under a bad dream, david barber, david barber's fiction world, friday flash fiction

23 responses to “FFF #26……A Bad Dream.

  1. Neat twist! I like the way you described her moving like a lily in the breeze.

  2. Spooky! A salutory remindere that our past may well catch up with us! Very atmospheric, David!(you talented devil – I might as well give up now…..!)

  3. Doc

    I have to say I liked it. It was sexy. It was spooky, and had a great zinger ending. Your characters are vivid and believeable, and the setting is well fleshed out.But as a suggestion, maybe a little editing might tighten this up and give it more punch, like when he goes back to get his paper and pen. This guy is a professional and isn't likely to forget his most basic tools of his trade. This could be left out. There are several interuptions to the dream that could be shortened or left out, for example: "He got up and silently walked round the back of the couch looking down at her face." He gets up and walks around and I, as the reader, don't know why? He could see her face from the chair at her feet. Maybe I have the wrong end of the stick, which happens more often than not, but are these here to instill tension or to set the mood a little better? I think the mood and tension are established pretty early on and don't need any padding.Please don't get the impression that I'm knocking your tale. It is a first rate story all the way, but maybe a little nip and tuck would give you a tighter story, a faster pace and a shorter read. It is easy for me to say this as I am my own worst editor. If it wasn't for Flannery, I'd write nothing but clumsy, poorly worded epics that went no where.Cheers,Doc

  4. Flannery and Sue – Thanks, glad you liked it.Doc – All comments taken onboard. It was a bit of a rush to get it up so I probably rushed it a bit. He got up to get a better look at her face while she was talking because it was kicking in that he thought he knew her. maybe needed wording better. I'll work on it. This kind of comment I like though Doc so I don't take them personally. We're all out to improve. Thanks mate.

  5. Dave – I liked the slow realisation of what was in store for Simon!!!!(and thanks for the comments re.my 'maiden' offering to FFF. The jury's still out on whether or not I should still stick pins in your wax effigy ;-p – nah, just joshin'!!) See you Wednesday!

  6. Sue – Thanks againG – Thanks…I think?

  7. David, absolutely loved this story. So many good things about it. The descriptions, the images, the dialogue…absolutely first rate.I have to say I agree with Doc about the mood/tension but otherwise – top job.One thing I would like to add is during the appt, Valerie gets upset and asks for a break. Simon immediately asks her if she wants to continue and she says yes. I think maybe a pause there, Simon describing conflicting emotions on her face, Valerie sobbing, just to draw the reader into her emotions just a little more and actually feel like she has had a "moment"…But what would I know, right? 🙂

  8. Dave,Some good constuctive feedback above and I know you'll take it on board even though deep down the sensitive part of you momentarily feels a tad hurt that your 'baby' is being smacked! Speaking from experience, mate: about 18 months ago one of mine was ripped to shreds by an experienced writer and it did me the world of good in the long run.On my part – if you're after constructive feedback – I thought the bit at the end when Valerie reveals the soul exchange lark was a little contrived and needed to be weaved in more subtley. There are a couple of tyops… sorry… typos too, but I realise this was a rushed job.So what did I do with that story that got slated? I rewrote it and received much better feedback! But there's not much to improve on your story in comparison (mine was poo) and I think your writing is beautifully crafted, bud, and your future looks bright. Respect,Col

  9. These are the comments I like. Friendly, yet constructive. This story has provoked the most constructive comments so I'm going to do a re-write and see how it turns out. Thanks guys.Regards, David.

  10. Hey DavidI knew Simon was slimy when he took that seat at the foot of the couch. I was there — and wasn't expecting the twist of the woman coming back from deadOnly comment I have is the end seemed rushed — by breaking it up it broke up the tale — chad

  11. Chad, cheers mate. I have some work to do on it. It's good to get some consructive feedback though. It's quite interesting that one of the stories that I have come up with that I really like, its the one that I'm getting the most "critique" on. Appreciate your feedback, Chad.Regards, David.

  12. I can tell you liked this story. Most of it was very tight and well done. The end bothered me, but you have already been made aware of that. The paragraph of her standing outside the pub seems as if it might be better placed after he tells his bud he killed her. Maybe not. Just my thoughts.

  13. Doc

    Now that is tight! It fits, it flows, hell, it even howls! The smile and the tear at the end sealed the deal for me. Forgive my bluntness, but this kicks ass!The only thing I noticed was: "I can hear a voice and its calling a name, but I don’t think it’s my mine" maybe lose the "my" or change it to "my own".I know that often I reread my own story so many times, looking for typos, grammer, and just general mistakes, that often I miss something that on the face of it should be obvious. The only thing that really helps me hone a story is to have someone else read it out loud to me. When I hear the story told in someone else's voice rather than the voice in my head, it is much easier to spot the weak points and the flubs. Flannery, bless her heart, often saves a tale from being crap to being pretty good. Perhaps this will work for you. Maybe your wife could do the same for you.First rate tale mate. Top notch,Doc

  14. Great flow. Great story. Great twist. Like the others said, a little spit and polish and this one's a real winner.

  15. Excellent stuff. I'm sort of back and forth on Valerie's final appearance. I tend to side with MRMacrum on this, but then I imagine this tale as a short film and can visualize her misty form peering through exactly when he spills the beans.

  16. Wow! After a week or so away I'm very glad to be back reading stuff like this!

  17. Ahaha! Proper twisty turny stuff. Yep, kick it about a bit and I'm sure it will go nicely over at The Journal.

  18. Great story David. I started out hesitant … another "spooky psych patient" yarn … but you manage the form wonderfully. The build is superb, and the final twist works well, I'd even say "classically."One point related to the end though, that's similar but a little different from above. You don't need the POV change. The whole story is his observation, to get a sudden flash from her just to help the reveal is jarring. But definitely top form on the rest.

  19. Now I didn't see that one coming David, and You were right, we were thinking kind of along the same lines – your story however, put mine to shame and at least had a neat ending… mine – not so much!A great piece!

  20. Well done. One hell of a twist at the end.

  21. I'm sorry. Blogger was acting up and it didn't look like my comment was accepted. That's why I came back. I did not mean to leave three comments.

  22. Great twist, loved it..more! more!

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