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Gerald’s Nightmare

Gerald was violently torn from his dream world and thrown scared, confused, and sweating into the “real world”—for the fourth time this week. This was an ongoing occurrence. Every few days he would wake with a start, covered in cold sweat, but he never could remember what he was dreaming about, or why it had terrified him so much. Up until today, it was always the same. He would cup his head in hands, eyes wrung shut, and ruffle his hair, then he would stare into the quiet, dark night until his thoughts caught up with him.

Today, there was a new element. A woman in a business suit was sitting at the end of his bed. She had long dirty blonde hair, her face half cast in the other-worldly blue-white light of the full moon, The other shaded in darkness. Before any other thoughts could find their way into his conscious mind, he noticed her eyes. They were eerily familiar. The glint in them marked an edge to her that he knew somehow, an intelligence, a wisdom that he knew but couldn’t quite put his finger on.

Almost instantaneously, a dark thought flitted across his mind, faster than he fully realized.

“Gerald, you’re very sick. You need to get help.”

Gerald leveled an accusatory gaze at her, “Who are you, and how the hell did you get in here?”

The stranger responded in an oddly calm manner, “I’ve been with you for many years, Gerald. We know each other quite well. I’m sure if you give it some real thought you would know.”

Gerald was not in a mood to play this kind of game. He had, afterall, just begun to grasp that he was in fact, no longer dreaming. “We aren’t going to do this,” he snarled before getting up, “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my home?!”

The woman got up at the same time, taking a somewhat defensive stance, one hand moving to her hip, “Gerald, there is no need for this. I’m Joan Bailey. You know who I am.”

Confusion was still racking Gerald’s brain when it finally caught something familiar, Joan…Bailey…Bailey…Joan…no…

“You’re fucking with me. Who are you?” Gerald tried to bark, but there was a panic in his voice that took the bite out of his attempt.

“No, Gerald, I am Joan Bailey. I work for the FBI in the Investigative Support Unit. I’m exactly who you think I am, I am a serial killer profiler. Now listen, I know you are very confused, and frankly, so am I, but we know each other Gerald. We can work through this together.” There was some panic in Joan’s voice as well.

This isn’t possible thought Gerald. I’ve been writing about this character for years, and this woman is telling me that she is the character in my stories? It’s impossible. I don’t know who she actually is, but I really am going to kill her. This woman thinks she can come here and—his thought was interrupted by Joan, “Gerald, I am the character from your stories, and you aren’t going to kill me. For whatever reason, we share some sort of telepathic link. Perhaps it’s because I am part of you. The part that doesn’t want to do this anymore.”

Gerald was taken aback. He knew that his life wasn’t…normal, but he also knew that he wasn’t psychotic. He did not normally see things that weren’t there, hear conversations that weren’t happening; no, aside from his little…projects, he was as sane as anyone else.

“Gerald, those projects that you’re thinking of have to stop. I know that you want to stop Gerald. That’s why you created me. There is a side of you that doesn’t want to keep doing this. Maybe it’s the last shred of a human conscience that you have, or maybe it’s boredom. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that this has to stop, Gerald.”

She was right. He had been wanting to stop. He was tired of hunting. He had obtained the trophy that he had really wanted just three days ago, and that excursion had taken a lot out of him. Two and a half days without sleep will do that. He had been prepared for this, though. He knew the solution.

He pulled his pistol from under the bed, held it to his head, and told Joan, “I know you know what I’m thinking, I know you know that I will not surrender, and I know you know that I don’t regret what I did. You will never catch me, Joan.”

Gerald fell immediately back into his nightmare, never to be awoken again.

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