The Bequest
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Theatre of Dreams

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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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.

This entry was posted in: The Bequest

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Former research scientist the became the primary stay at home Dad for two children. Writing has always been factual in the previous life but always had a fascination with fiction but never been brave enough to develop it further. A comfort zone thing. Science writing is familiar, fiction is not. Hopefully the blog will provide more confidence and lead to a change in career writing from home around children!

37 Comments

  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!

    • 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 !

  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.

    • 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 🙂

      • We’re chilling, chilled, and chillin’. 😉
        Off to write, unless I get distracted… 😉

        • I heard it was cold over there at present 😳 And I must say the last part was written like a true writer in search of something to inspire procrastination lol

  3. I just had a chill reading this and it’s not because it is a cold April day in Maine, Gary. Great read. Best to you as you endure the editing phase of your work and get this published.

    • you live in Maine??? and this gave you a cold chill??? Thanks to Stephen King that’s one place not on my bucket list lol Thank you so much for the kind words. Greatly appreciated 🙂

        • You are the second person from that group I’ve met living in Maine! Maybe I will bucket list it after all !!

              • Not really. That is, only from October to June. LOL. This has been a tough winter for us and March was unrelenting. The first week of April appears to not be much better with temps barely making it above freezing and snow on and off. I actually enjoy most of winter, love snow and the four seasons. Summer and fall are glorious. It’s ‘spring’ that is hard for me. Or as I call it, ‘late winter.’

                • Best not visit in spring then lol. Its been pretty naff over winter here too; very grey since November; not overly cold as such, but no snow and lots of winds that drag the temperature down. It seems long because its been the same most days until the last two weeks when hedgerows have just burst into green again.

    • Thank you Phil, currently it’s four chapters away from the first draft. Hoping to publish it after copious drediting! I’ve a few more snippets that I’ll put up on the blog group as tasters and once I’ve revamped my blog (imminent) my writing should be easier to locate 🙂

  4. noellekelly says

    I loved the imagery in this and the flow of the story. Nice and creepy too, just like I like it! Brilliant twist in the end!

    • Thanks Noelle; after seeing your blog I figured we might have a touch of synchronicity in taste lol. I tend to hover over horror, supernatural and psychological mind play in my wordcraft 🙂

    • Thank you Shelley; very generous indeed. I sat on this project for a year before getting it into novel form. First draft is very nearly done now though. I kind of actually like it too lol

  5. I can’t believe I missed this. What a great group of characters you have with Joe & the three brothers. I think Joe Stringer is my favorite. Hope he gets pumped up in the story.

    • 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 !

  6. 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 🙂

    • Wow, thanks you for that. I always wondered if things grabbed enough to make readers want to turn the pages. Speaking of Rose…go back over Half a Twin and find her in that too 🙂

      Joe is in something entitled The Bequest; Rose’s story is The Assent of Rose Marie Gray and the paranormal brothers are from another title that I’ve not settled on yet.

      Thank you so much for the feedback and pep talk. It gives me inspiration to continue 🙂

      • Somehow I missed this comment until just now…it is 6:35am on Sunday morning, so I am going to go back to sleep for a bit (love these chances to sleep in)….but, will follow up with reading suggested experts later 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  7. 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 😁

  8. Gary, It seems my comment was not deleted after all. Btw, I am still waiting for more details on this story and Patience is not really my best quality. Kidding!!! Again, Superb Work! All praises to you. This is my Favorite so Far!!

    • Yes.. Between posting on yours and panicking…I found the admin comments database and in the trash can was the first one. I restored it and was replying when you checked back….big DOH moment here !!!!

        • Probably means that in many countries…but it’s the stock phrase of Homer Simpson (The Simpsons cartoon) when he makes a blunder. YouTube it and you are bound to hear it 😁

  9. Definitely kept me at the edge of my seat. Is there a chapter 2 of this posted here? I feel like I need to know more!!! Superb Work, Gary!

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