The dream, or is it real? Read on to find out.

James Lesalle shifted restlessly beneath pale silk sheets. The soft fabric worming its way into his subconscious as sinister scenes of death and murder danced before his eyes. They felt so real. Almost as if he was there, holding the slick blade as the target died. In every one, a dark figure stood tall with a worn Stetson pulled low. Only the man’s fiery blue eyes were visible amongst the shadows.
From somewhere in the vast beyond, he heard indistinct voices muttering about a man lying prone in a room. The more he tried to make out what they were saying, the more garbled the voices became. Everywhere he looked there were either targets or enemies, the only constant was the mysterious cowboy watching his every move. Somehow he knew the man for a judge. His every action being scrutinized for right or wrong. For James, the man’s presence was both comfort and dread rolled into one.
The glowing green blade shimmering in his hands, brought a swift end to all those around him. He never thought of himself as a killer. Despite what the rest of his family did, he wanted to be different. Yet something inside always prodded him onward. To prove himself to a father who seemed to care less. Nothing he did was good enough. It was the sole reason he’d chosen to venture out on the ill fated raid in the first place. Making an uncaring father proud the only reward he sought.
Deep in the recesses of his mind he knew his father sought vengeance. For what he wasn’t sure. Every time he sought to ask, the ghostly figure refused to speak. Soon James’ tears began to pour from already red eyes. He wanted to hug the man, to tell him how much he loved him. Every step closer sent the man further away. Eventually he gave up despite the pain tearing at his heart.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, he found himself staring down two lonely roads. One light and full of peace while the other dark and twisted with nothing but misery awaiting him at its end. It was it was at the start of that lonely path where the ghostly form stopped. The man’s pale lifeless eyes seeming to peer into his soul. Gone too was the glowing, blood hungry blade. In its place a single ancient skull. For some reason he couldn’t quite explain it felt familiar, as if he should have known its importance.
James stood at the fork in the road the pounding of his heart the only thing to break the silence. His head swiveled left to right. Looking for a woman who wasn’t to be found among budding trees or too puffed clouds. He turned to look his father in the eyes. In them he found only a cold acceptance of what was to be. Where before the man’s haunting voice begged him to follow in his steps. Now there was nothing save for a lonesome, howling breeze. Despite the presence of his father, he felt truly alone for the first time in his life.
“Which one father?” said James reaching for the man who’d raised him among the stars. The further he stretched, the more his father retreated into the darkness. Past the fork and into the twisted path lined with the bones of long dead trees.
James wiped the tears from his eyes as long skeletal fingers wrapped over his shoulder. He glanced at the fingers while a shiver raced down his spine. Instinctively he sprinted forward only to turn around a few paces later. Behind him a headless skeleton stood statuesque in the road. Tattered bits of cloth and skin clung precariously from bleached white bones. Icy shivers coursed down his spine. The skeleton started towards him. Fear took hold. Leadened legs stumbled back in a vain attempt to flee.
He spun around to seek the help of the only one who could rescue him. His mouth opened in silent plea only to see his father retreat further down the dark, death filled path. James’ legs refused to follow. Deep inside he loathed the despair following his father would bring to others. Yet behind him still strode the skeletal being intent on catching him. The agonizing decision more than his fragile psyche could handle. With grim resolve plastered on his face, he rushed forward, intent on trying once more to hold the man who had raised him. In his hand the skull rotated. James stopped. Lifeless, hollow sockets exploded to life in a rush of blue flames.
“Hold boy. Think of what your decision will cost those closest to you. In the end, the choice is yours alone to make. Just a warning though. Chasing the past, is a sure way to repeat the mistakes of those who came before you,” said the skull before lifting from his tight grip. He stared unbelieving as it floated across the distance separating him from the skeletal pursuer. In a rush of wind and smoke both disappeared.
With large tears forming a puddle beneath him, he turned to scream; “Father! Don’t leave me father.” Still his father walked on, seemingly unphased by the pleading of his son. James felt his heart shatter into a thousand pieces. Cradling his head in open palms, he felt the strength to go on seep from every pore of his grief-stricken body.
“Time to wake, son,” said his father, in a voice so foreign it took him a few seconds to realize the man he admired most had spoken at last.
“I don’t want to lose you!” said James, looking up in time to see his father fade into a gathering mist.
James found himself without the strength to even move. For longer than he thought possible, he knelt at the fork of the road, allowing grief to wash over him in waves of uncontrollable sobbing. Every few minutes his father command him to awaken once more. In time, the woman’s voice arrived to join his father’s in pleading for his eyes to open. With his mind muddled in agonizing sadness, he couldn’t understand why his father and the woman wanted him to leave.
Slowly the world began to spin. Silk sheets fell from the sky to cover his exhausted body. No longer willing to fight the urge, he lay on the muddy, pebble strewn road. From far overhead a giant hand descended through fast moving grey clouds. James grabbed for the silken sheet. With his courage at an end, he rushed to cover his head in the hopes the hand wouldn’t be able to grab him.
Fear induced shivers raced through his body as he felt the hand grab firmly onto his shoulder. Panic surged through his veins as the hand forced his shoulder violently front to back. Unable to even struggle against it, he gave in. He lay there prone. Wishing the nightmare would end. Between the grief and fear every ounce of strength was long since used up. Once more he heard his father and the woman beg for him to wake. This time though, he heard another woman, an older one by the soothing tone of her voice, telling him everything was ok, that he was among friends.

4 thoughts on “The dream, or is it real? Read on to find out.

  1. OMG! What a read! I could feel the chills of what was happening to James… especially about chasing the past. Excellent, Charles!!

    Like

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