“Jesus Christ , Bob, what the hell happened?!”
Dr. Jenson starred out at his patient, who now stood on his doorstep covered head to toe in dirt. Even through the 8-inch gap allowed by the chain lock, he could tell his night was going to be getting much worse. It was bad enough to hear that someone he just had committed to a mental institution had broken loose, but to then find that same person standing in front of his house…
“I… had to know… I had to know for sure. This was the only way…”
Yes, things were about to get much, much worse.
There was a fabric-covered button on the couch and it was embedding itself into his back. Why the hell would they pick such an uncomfortable couch to put in a therapist’s office, anyway? And what was with that painting of the sailboat above the couch? It was absolutely…
“Bob? Did you hear me?” Dr. Jenson seemed a bit irritated. Had he asked a question? “The dreams, are they still occurring every time you go to sleep?”
Oh right, the dreams.
“Yeah… I mean, they’re… different now.”
“Well, for one thing… she’s actually dead now.”
“I don’t get how you can take that crap so seriously, Bob. Look, I’m not saying it’s completely ridiculous, but you put way too much weight on it. It seems to be like ghost sightings, some could possibly be real, but most are just stupid hoaxes. You really are strange sometimes.”
Even when she was picking on him, she still had a warm expression on her face. Maybe she found charm in the quirks other women found awkward. It’s also quite possible she just enjoyed making fun of him a bit too much. Whichever it was, if it put that beautiful smile on her face, it was fine by him.
“Look, Kate, all I’m saying is I think psychic communication is a possibility. And your brain is probably much more open to certain channels when you’re asleep. So sometimes it would make sense for dreams to be psychic communications? Some kind of message sent out that can only be picked up when your brain is in a certain state? It’s so much easier to transmit messages visually, so the brain projects it out as images. Dreams.”
Kate rubbed the underside of her upper lip with the side of a finger as her eyes rolled up into her eyelids, as if she was deep in thought. After about a minute or so, she glanced back at her fiancé and said…
“Are you going to finish that!”
“Son of a… fine, take the stupid sandwich!”
“Oh come on, Bob, I’m just giving you shit. Don’t pout. I love you, even if you’re a bit out there. I will take that sandwich though…”
It had been easy enough to escape the institution. Drug addicts will do almost anything for pills. And that anything includes lighting a potted plant on fire and watching it spread to the musty old chairs in the commons room.
Getting a shovel was another story. He had figured he was pretty much already going to be caught and locked up soon, why not steal one. All his life, he’d wondered what it would be like to throw a brick through a window. It was quite thrilling, actually. He’d have to write a letter of apology to Home Depot about the window and the stolen merchandise.
“She’s no longer been buried alive in the dreams?”
The scratching of the pen on cheap yellow note pad paper was really starting to get annoying. Not to mention, it reminded him of that sound from his dreams. That sound that kept him awake at night, fearing that he had allowed for a horrible mistake to happen.
“She was, but not anymore. I dig up the coffin like in the other dreams, but when I pry open the lid, it’s just her lifeless body, but…”
The thought of it hurt him too much to even say aloud.
“Her nails… they were all bloody, and torn off… like she… had been…”
“Clawing at the coffin lid?”
“…yes. Like she was down there all that time, clawing…”
He never cried much before he lost her. Now he rarely ever wasn’t.
“Do you remember why I had you put in that institution?”
“You… you said I was a danger to myself and others. That my… obsession with her being buried alive was going to lead to bad events…”
“Yes, digging up a fuckin’ casket counts as a bad event!”
Dr. Jenson refused to unchain the door. He didn’t want to even be associated with a crime such as defacing someone’s grave. He was moments from shutting the door and calling the police when…
“She was alive.”
Dr. Jenson pivoted his head around on his shoulders, avoiding letting Bob see the look of surprise on his face. This was all probably a delusion created by the sick mind of someone who was mourning. But what if…
“I don’t… please… don’t leave me…”
The doctors attempted to pull him away from the bed, trying to get him out of the room, away from the love of his life who now lay in a bloody heap on the stretcher. A bloody hunk of hanging flesh where her left arm once was. A large piece of glass left hanging in what used to be her beautiful eye. Her free arm, the one she still had, reached desperately for him as he was pulled from the room.
“I’m so sorry, Kate! I’m sorry this happened to you and not me…”
Just before the door closed, he could hear her yell out…
“It’s not your fault”
“She’s alive, you say?”
“Well… not anymore. She… she was dead…”
“Then why did you say she was alive?”
“Because… on the casket… she had clawed out the words…”
It’s not your fault.