The Web (chapter 3)
The story continues. We get more insight in to the dreams and ‘visions’.
He could feel the hard, cold rock pressing against his hands. There was a vague sense of unease inside him as he watched the two men stop on the rock-strewn path ahead of him. He could see them but could not be seen by them and that was important. He was not supposed to be here.
The younger man looked tired and very concerned, kept rubbing his forehead in a gesture that said very clearly that he was at his wits’ end and it scared him.
“You were right to come here, Michael.”
“I have never asked you for anything, papa. I have always tried to solve my own problems.”
The older man put his hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Michael, Michael,” he said softly.
“I come to you now on my knees. Help me, papa, help me to protect Franco, help me to save my son.”
The old man looked straight ahead in to the barren landscape. “Saving your son, Michael, might mean losing him. Franco may have to…”
“I should never have gone to the authorities. It was bad enough when they did not believe me, when they laughed in my face, but Jesus Christ I persisted didn’t I. I believed the kid, I… I thought that I had a duty to make them believe him. Why? Why? Why?” He covered his eyes with his hand and sobbed.
“Michael,” the old man said sternly. “You must listen to me and you must agree to do everything I say without question.
The younger man uncovered his eyes and looked at his father.
“If this thing is to be resolved Michael the boy has to die.”
He felt the shock of those words as a physical thing. For a few moments he could not breath at all and then he was running, and he didn’t care if they saw him. His only thought was to get as far away from them as his little legs would carry him. Vaguely he heard someone shouting ‘Franco! Franco!’ followed by something he couldn’t hear but he kept on running. The rough bushes tore at his legs, several times he stumbled and fell grazing his hands and knees against the sharp rocks and then suddenly there was no more ground to cover, He was flying!
Malcolm’s eyes looked haunted as he relayed the contents of the dream to Suzanne.
The doctor looked concerned, frowning a little and pouting. Eventually he asked; “Is that more or less standard?”
“I’m not sure,” Malcolm said softly. “I think so. I don’t usually remember that much detail.”
“How do you feel?”
“In a word, knackered.”
“It’s been a tough couple of days.”
“And are we any further forward?”
“You tell me.”
“Oh, don’t come on like a bloody analyst, please.”
“O.K. You really want to know what I think we should do next? I think we have to get beyond this block, we have to dig in to your memory. Whatever is hurting you lies in the time before you were eight years old, John. It has to. It is sitting there just waiting, festering and we have to get it out in the open.”
“And what if it’s something so awful that looking at it again will be worse for me than if I just let it be?”
“John, things that happen to us as children are very rarely as traumatic when we review them as adults.”
“I dunno. I’m not sure I…”
“I can’t help you John. If you won’t even try to help yourself there is nothing that I can do for you.”
“I’m frightened, Dr. Suzanne. I’m frightened that the genie won’t go back in to the bottle.”
“I understand that, I really do.”
“This facility you told me about, this lucid dreaming, could I learn that?”
“I could teach you, but we would only be treating the symptoms, John. Your problem goes much, much deeper than that.”
“For the moment can’t we just treat the symptoms?”
“Thank you, Dr. Suzanne.”
“You won’t thank me in the long run, John, that I do beg you to believe. Like the man said, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sometime, when you’re least expecting it….”
“My risk for the moment.”
“Yes, for the moment it is.”
“I wonder if I don’t know my own limitations a little better than some other people.”
“We’re not talking about limitations, John, we’re talking about facts. How much of the stuff that scared you as a kid still has you reaching for the comfort blanket?”
“I agree, very little but this is something very bad, doctor, I just know that. I just don’t think I’m ready to face something that feels that bad alone.”
“Hell, John, you wouldn’t be alone. That’s what we are here for to help you come to terms with whatever it is that is throwing your life out of kilter at the moment.”
“I really would sooner take this one move at a time.”
“Whatever you say, John.”
The technician had made sure that he was comfortable and for what was to be the last time at the clinic Malcolm prepared for sleep. After just five days it was something he was beginning to look forward to. Now he didn’t even need Suzanne to cue him on his breathing. He was getting very good at it.
He lay still, his eyes lightly closed and breathed in and out regularly. He felt himself begin to drift but there wasn’t the usual little prod that told him he was in R.E.M sleep.
He started to panic a little and then reassured himself. He knew what to do if he got in to real trouble, knew how to wake himself.
He was in a garden and he wasn’t asleep. Below the raised
terrace where he was standing he could hear voices coming up to his level. He began to panic even more and then he thought, this in your own head, you idiot. You control your own thoughts.
A young girl around sixteen and wearing a very revealing chiffon dress came out on to the terrace. He wanted to hide but she didn’t seem to see him so there didn’t seem much point.
The girl was followed by a man, probably as old as God but wearing well. He was dressed in a cream suit with a collarless shirt. He looked Italian, the whole scene looked Italian.
The man looked at the girl and she looked quite coyly at him. Gently he lowered his lips to her face, kissed her very softly and whispered something that made her blush very prettily.
“John,” the technician’s voice sounded distant and a little annoyed.
“Do we have a problem Mrs. Logan.”
“He seems to be in a hypnogogic trance.”
“Well get him the hell out of it.”
“I am trying but short of bursting a paper bag next to his ear….”
“That’s what it takes.”
“He seems to be coming out of it now.”
Malcolm looked at the woman.
“Thank goodness for that,” she said.
“I’m comin’ down,” Suzanne said over the intercom. “And somebody better have some good explanations.”
“You went off,” Mrs. Logan said quietly.
“Ah yes I remember.”
“He’s not pleased.”
Malcolm was grinning and only he knew why.
“Now will someone tell me what happened here?” Suzanne asked and could not disguise his annoyance.
“She smiled at me,” Malcolm said.
“Pardon me?” Suzanne came to his bedside and sat on the edge of the bed.
“The girl in my vision, she smiled at me.”
Suzanne waved his hand dismissively. “Nah, it’s me. I’m not sleeping would you believe.”
Malcolm gave one of his rare smiles. “Physician, heal thy self,” he said.
“It should be that easy,” Suzanne stretched his shoulders.
“Want to talk?”
“Not really, do you?”
“I want to sleep.”
“O.K.” Suzanne stood. “Night, John.”
“Good night, Dr. Suzanne.”