NOW I'VE GOT YOU...
Keith M. Kitchen
In some cultures, it is believed that dreaming is not simply an overworked mind seeking release in a fantasy of the mind, it is believed that the dream is actually a window to an alternate reality, another life. In these cultures, it is considered dangerous, even potentially fatal to disturb someone who is dreaming.
For some people, dreaming is a powerful drug, so powerful that they employ drugs to enter a dreamlike state, even when waking, simply because life is too terrible to live without some sort of chemical aid.
Some people and cultures believe that dreaming is a warning from God or the gods and consider them divine communications. Many believed dreams were communications from demons.
Ray Cook didn't know or care about any of this. All he knew was he had been running for his life and if he stopped he would be dead or worse. Finally, he saw somewhere he could take refuge...
The restaurant was dark but his flight had been fearful and long and he desperately needed some food or a drink. Anything. He had lost his pursuer and had left no trail, so believing himself safe, he rested.
The waitress, who welcomed him and identified herself as Cindy, took his order cheerfully and brought him coffee to tide him over until his food arrived.
His wait wasn't long and he feasted on his first meal in what seemed to have been days, perhaps longer. As long as He didn't find him, Ray mused, he would be safe.
Then the realization struck him that he didn't even know from whom he was fleeing. It was a frightening sensation. He surely must be decidedly evil to produce the fear which he felt. Like in many dreams, this realization didn't bring clarity, it only brought only confusion which crowded in on him as he also realized he didn't even know who he was much less where he was.
It was at this precise moment that he heard the crash of breaking glass and a terrified scream tear from the throat of his cheerful waitress. He jumped from his seat and as he turned he saw her body crumple lifelessly to the floor. Standing above her was his nemesis.
Fear began to course through his veins but it was inexplicably replaced by a sense of grim duty. Words of power issued from his mouth, words he could not and did not understand, yet he felt overwhelming strength begin to flow through him.
The creature was tall, nearly seven feet in height and was red from foot to head. It was unclothed rather than naked and sported a small, seemingly useless tail from its buttocks. Erupting from its flattened head were two horns that looked remarkably like two bent lances from the days of ancient England. The creature turned to face him and laughed, exclaiming, "The little monkey stands his ground, does he? Run, run, run, then stand ground, eh? So afraid, my little one. You don't need to fight or run. All I want from you is your soul."
At the creature's words, he cried out, anger in his voice, "Never shall you have my soul, you wretched beast! Your only reward shall be the fires of Hell!"
"Oh, no, my little monkey, but you forget... I rule the fires of Hell!" It stood by the door laughing with clenched fists at his sides.
As the creature laughed sadistically at his plight, Ray reached behind him to the table at which he had been sitting and grabbed a table knife.