Nightmare

Posted: April 5, 2013 in Mystery
Tags: ,
a dark alley

a dark alley…

Rachel ran down a dark alley.  Her heels’ staccato echoed her heartbeat.  The rain had stopped and the asphalt steamed.  She was soaked through and tried desperately to remember where she had parked her car.  The sound of her follower’s footsteps approached unbearably fast.  She could already hear his breath – way too close for her taste, still getting closer.  A hand grabbed her shoulder and…

‘Wake up, Rachel!  Coffee time!’

She moaned, rolled to the other side and tried to read the alarm clock.  8:27 a.m.  She struggled out of the sheets and tried to get up.  She felt drained.  Five nights in a row – facing the same nightmare over and over again.  She heaved herself off the bed and trudged to the bathroom.  The shower made her feel human again, admittedly, a rather exhausted human being.  Towelling herself and getting dressed was a matter of minutes.  The delicious odours of freshly brewed coffee, bacon and eggs, and pancakes wafted through the flat.  She longed for the coffee, eating did not appeal to her, though.  When she entered the kitchen, Ben looked up and smiled.  Taking in her still tousled hair and all too pale face he asked ‘What about some coffee and a pancake, hon?’  –  ‘Just coffee, please.’

‘Wanna talk about your dream again, hon?’  Rachel shook her head.  ‘I know that you abhor psychologists, Rachel.  Why not talk to Ron?’  Ron and Rachel grew up in the same neighbourhood, shared kindergarten experiences, school, first love, etc.  Fair-haired Ron coloured his hair black and went to business school, whereas Rachel had her auburn hair cut and went to university to study plant engineering.  Five years later, Ron got his degree as medical hypnotist and Rachel designed administrative buildings.

Somewhere along the way they met green-eyed, dark-haired, freckled Ben.  The dedicated marine biologist was immediately drawn to the gifted architect.

‘Ron already knows everything about me.’  –  ‘What about a previous life?’  Rachel wanted to laugh.  She felt more like crying, though.  ‘I really don’t believe in all this, Ben!’  –  ‘Ron does.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have changed his vocation, hon.’

They finished breakfast and/or coffee in silence.  Ben collected the dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher, Rachel put the food back in the fridge.

Five minutes later they were ready to leave.  Grabbing their respective laptops and keys, getting to the bus station was a matter of seconds.  Rachel’s bus arrived first.  ‘Halfpenny at 12:30?’  Rachel nodded.  Meeting halfway on the Halfpenny Bridge had become a favourite ritual for Tuesday lunches.  This often included Ron whenever his schedule allowed it.

This morning at her office near St. Stephens Green passed in a blur.  When it was time to leave for the Halfpenny Bridge she could not really remember what she had done all morning.  Ben and Ron were already waiting for her.   They ordered lattes and omelets and settled at a table in a quiet corner of The Lemon Jelly Café.  Ben had already briefed Ron about the recurring nightmare.  Sipping his latte Ron asked ‘What are you wearing in this dream?’  Rachel hesitated.  ‘A linen trouser suit.’ – ‘You don’t wear linen trouser suits!’  –  ‘Which alley is it?  And what car are you searching?’  –  ‘I don’t know?!’  Ron heaved a sigh.  ‘What about your hair?’  –  ‘Long, curly – and heavy, thanks to the rain.’ – ‘Your haven’t had long hair for ages, Rachel.’

Ron got up to place a new order.  He returned and asked ‘By the way – have you watched the news, lately?’  –  ‘No!  Why?!’  A serial killer is currently held in custody here – awaiting trial in the US.  He killed seven young women in the US, managed to flee to Ireland.  He was identified thanks to a traffic control.  He is in jail, scheduled to be handed over to the US authorities.  There is one complication, though.  Veronica O’Reilly disappeared six days ago.  She was wearing a black linen trouser suit, black high-heeled shoes, and a purple purse when she was last seen.  She was reported missing five days ago.  She is this killer’s typical victim.  If the Irish authorities can prove that he killed her…’

‘Hot whiskey!’ the waitress announced.  Rachel was thunderstruck.  Even eloquent Ben was at a loss for words.  The hot whiskey warmed away the chill that had engulfed them for a moment.  ‘Rachel, apparently Veronica somehow shares part of her last minutes with you.  You want to get rid of that nightmare; Veronica just wants justice.’  Ron’s words hung in the air.  ‘What do you want Rachel to do?’ Ben asked in a hoarse voice.  ‘Come with me to the practice, meet my police contact who is going to observe our session.  As soon as Veronica’s remains are found – your nightmare will be over.  And Veronica can finally get justice.  He will be put on trial here…’

Rachel decided to be brave.  ‘Let’s do it.’ – ‘All right.  I’ll get in touch.’  Ron paid the bill and they returned to their jobs.

That evening they met at Ron’s practice.  Ron made the introductions.  ‘You know my assistant, Lee.  And this is detective James Hart, my police contact.’  They settled in the consulting room.  The hypnosis was successful.  Detective Hart immediately sent a team to the indicated location.  The medical examiner confirmed the modus operandi and detected skin fragments belonging to the killer.  The killer was convicted appropriately.  Rachel does no longer have nightmares.  And Veronica finally rests in peace.

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