Theatre of Dreams

Author: G. Jefferies




Joseph Carmichael formed one third of a paranormal society. Nay, a fellowship. Not quite the same as the company of nine alighting from Rivendell. But nine was divisible by three and conclusive proof of deeper mysteries in numbers that defied rationale. The Fellowship of The Three sat well. Musketeers they were not.

The remaining thirds were his brothers, Allan and Conrad. Both equally weird, which was handy when it came to obsessive compulsions. In this case matters involving the arcane, supernatural and downright unexplainable. That did exclude the cat with powers of levitation some mad woman called in about one Friday afternoon. The trio concluded lodged up a tree was not evidence they could, hand on hearts, swear by. Although they had cursed a few times whilst feeling foolish gazing at a manx feline in a tree outside the local supermarket. They doubted it was stuck too. Probably saw the mad woman and legged it up so fast that levitation was indeed plausible. Prognosis, based on the small crowd smirking in the background, suggested otherwise. Par for the course in fringe societies where the average Joe had no idea how unsafe things were. What with causality being shrouded in mystery amidst a premise that monsters and ghosts are real.
Rolling with serendipity it was a Joe that Conrad was about to interview.

Joe Stringer sat in a chair that looked too small. Not that it was, but the girth of the incumbent man made it seem so. This chair was at a table in the local public house, The Royal Oak, and said table was being attended by a waitress called Rose. Joe knew she looked down on him. They all did. Nobody liked a fat man who wheezed when he moved. Then again Joe had a gift. They laughed at that too. But sure as pigs end up in sausages, similar to those within the breakfast before him, they would be laughing out of their asses by months end. Joes talent lay in dreams. Mostly they were despotic and censored. A painful reminder that he’d never had a girlfriend. A statistic on pornography search engines where his virgin dreams cost him large in self esteem. Every now and then though there was a genuine mother of all dreams. One that left him wide awake and staring at the ceiling covered in sweat. A lucid in your face booger of reality dipping into his slumbering. The worst ever had been a box covered in soil containing an insane creature screaming in the darkness. To Joe the interred demon knew he was there. The pleading went on and on.
‘Help me Joe, I’ll pay you well, whatever you want I can give you….what is it women? I can give you those Joe…and life eternal. Roll back the fat and make you one of those men fucking in your dreams.’
The bait of the Devil. Eternal life in Joe’s book was a crock of crap and demons lie. Except that one had been tempting; women and desirable. He stayed in that dream too long and rolled out of bed around midday. But boy, had it been tempting. By the end abuse was flying as he woke tangled in sheets with his head under a pillow.
‘Fuck you Joe, you’re a dead man walking…and I’m coming. Just you wait. Keep your fat ass alive and then we’ll dine together.’
Whatever that meant. He was under no delusions of being a corpse on legs. Every doctor he met said so, his bloods said so and no doubt if they asked his heart that would say any day now.

Of late dreams were more frequent. Not the lottery ticket numbers he’d been trying for, but ones featuring dead people. Not any old dead people. These were ones he knew of. Right here in Compton, still alive and kicking last he’d seen. But the dreams had proper scared him. People died all the time right? Folk long in years, terminally ill ones, junkies and those unlucky enough to be hit by trucks rolling past a pot hole. Joe remembered that in the local rag.

‘Man killed by lorry in tragic accident; driver and local authority found culpable.’

Joe thought nothing of it until he ambled out of breath to the scene a week later and the dream flashed back. The only change was the pothole. That had been fixed within two days of the collision. Town Council with their hands up. What could you do though?

‘Hey copper I had a dream. Next week someone will cycle down that road and get hit by a truck.’
They’d see the fat man and laugh him off as a crank.

The last two days changed things though. More dreams, more dead folk. Except right now they were alive but deep inside Joe knew, like the cyclist, death was coming. So far the demon was quiet. But this needed to end before his card turned up on top of the deck.
‘Joe, Joe Stringer?’
Joe wiped his forehead and refocused on reality noting somehow his plate was empty. Trance eating.
‘Yes and you must be Conrad Carmichael?’
He shook the hand of the man in front. Rose returned to clear the table and set down two bottles of lager. He nodded consent as she penned them onto his bill.
‘That I am,’ replied Conrad as he sat down opposite and took a swig from his bottle. ‘What’s got you so worked up you need a paranormal investigator to talk to?’
The fat man leaned back in his chair, decided it was uncomfortable and leaned forwards instead.
‘It’s death Mr Carmichael.’
‘Is it?’ Replied Conrad. ‘Anyone we know or do you actually mean Death himself?’
‘Somebody in this very bar as it happens.’ Joe was sweating again.
‘Really? And you know this how?’
‘I, Mr Carmichael, have the power of divination in dreams.’
A raised eyebrow opposite. They all look down on me Joe thought again.
There was a pause.
‘And, if I’m not being too presumptuous, might one disclose the unfortunate?’
Joe rested uneasily. ‘Yes Mr Carmichael, it’s you.’


© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.


  1. Oooo, another excellent one, Gary! I especially like how after establishing the Fellowship of the 3 as such a strong unit (making us think they’d be a big part of the story) you subtlety set us up to think the waitress would be the one to go, then you lower the boom in that last line. You’re an evil genius!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fellowship of the three has caused some distress amongst a reader or two who watched things start here with just two brothers. The book I’ve almost finished is this one. Earlier short stories are, chronologically, later in time and suggestive that as a result of this book the three became just two. The waitress, oddly enough, is the main character in a book I’ve finished lol. This one has loads of twists and I have extracts like this one here that introduce the characters briefly. I’ll put those into the group and see if people like them too. Bit scary really as they have now hit 65,000 words and some are no longer with us !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t live in Maine, but Canada is chilling too, on several levels lol This was great, Gary, I guess you don’t need to be reminded to write, I feel inspired! Thanks. Dropped by from Suzie’s #BigUpYourBlog #SocialSaturday but I’m always glad to be here.Hope this weekend treats you kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maine is very bad, King says so…so that’s done that one for me…although maybe a daylight excursion to say been there lol Not researched Canadian myths yet, but if you say there are some chilling things then I’m up for learning:) Actually, I often need reminding about writing. I have a terrible mind that fluxes between I can write and the opposite corner saying no you can’t. And yet all my comments here disprove the latter thoughts. Silly really; but recently I’ve become enthused about blogging again so I should start being about more! Thank you for dropping in too; I am loving that group by the way. Very inspiring. Lovely to see you again too. Will definitely be over to yours in a moment 🙂


    • I’ve a few that might need a reblog now. This is out of the book I’m working on now. My favourite so far is Rowena the Goth in another one. Check under the category The Bequest. I think I put a couple more snippets like this up a while back. These are their intro pieces. Each character then gets their own chapters as the plot progresses. Then theirs Dead Man walking too….extracts from a different book featuring Wayland and a misfortunate encounter with something…oh hang on..spoilers…. Really pleased you like Joe though. He’s got quite a talent !


  3. This was so worth the wait….I got home from work about 45 minutes ago….I just love how descriptive you are! I’m telling you, everything you write is a page turner….and, I am starting to make connections that are tying characters to common place and time…I love that Rose is the waitress…having learned something of her story, it is really intriguing to get peripheral glimpses of her when the focus is on another character…and, I really have a soft spot for Joe….what a sympathetic character….oh, Gary…your novel is going to be awesome…it already is, it is just a matter of it coming out all together….soooooooo fantastic 🙂 Congrats, and thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oooh I found where comments are stored and found out how to restore this. Sincere apologies for the temporary deletion !!

    Firstly thank you for taking the time to read this and for your feedback. In answer, yes there is more as this is part of my new book project. On hold at present owing to editing another one. However you can see two other characters out of this chapter by clicking The Bequest tab near the top right of this post. All three are excerpts from chapter two of the book and I’m working these as brief introductions to six people who will flesh out as their part in the take unravels. Here we are just learning a bit about their psychological profiles. None of the introductions are complete and each has a slightly different issue that allows my protagonist who inadvertantly becomes the antagonist to, shall we say, interact with them.

    On an aside my very first short story (The Room That Swallows People) features Joseph’s brothers. That one is further ahead in the timeline than this piece and is building into another book. It’s the first post I put up a year ago before my blog went dormant.

    Any questions please feel free to ask…contacts page has a link to my email and Facebook author page 😁


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