Half Way Through A Nightmare

Listen to this story as told by master story teller Otis Jiry.

They were coming. Redd Hart jumped up from the soft desert sand and ran towards a parked truck fifty yards away. He had to get away. To warn the others.

Letting out a sigh of relief when he reached the truck, he turned the key that was still in the ignition to the right. The three-quarter ton Army surplus truck coughed and came to life. Slipping it into gear, he let out the clutch, and the truck lurched forward.

Hart found a paved road and fought to keep the truck on the narrow two-lane highway. The shifting sands sounded sinister as they slashed the truck’s rear canvas top. Strips of canvas flapped and snapped as the truck struggled along in the growing darkness.

Suddenly he was blinded by a bright light that filled the sky!

“Time to get up Mr. Hart. You’ll sleep your day away,” the male nurse said with a cheery smile.

Redd Hart’s mouth was dry. It happened again. He got half way through the nightmare and was woke up by one of the staff. At first, he was relieved when someone woke him up during his nightmare about being stranded in a strange desert.

But as the nights came, so did more chapters for the nightmare. The same nightmare. Alone in a hostile desert with enemies everywhere. He had to keep running. If he didn’t run something bad was going to happen.

He spent his days trying to get as much exercise as possible. He walked around in big circles because they wouldn’t let him run in this place. Once a day, he visited with the doctor.

The doctor meant well. Hart knew this, and took it into account when answering his questions. Lately though, the doctor seemed to be getting a little impatient with his continuous nightmare revelations.

“How did you sleep last night Redd?

“I was running for my life! The truck broke down…”

“Hold on! Take it easy….take a deep breath.” In a soothing voice he said, “So, you were having the same nightmare again. What happened next?”

“Before abandoning the truck, I searched it and found a bolt-action rifle and ammunition. I know all about rifles. Did I tell you that I use to be…?

“Please try to stay focused Redd.”

“Yeah…okay.  I took off running with the rifle. At one point I looked back and saw two men in full space suits pursuing me! I stopped, sighted the rifle in at 300 yards, and fired! One of the space suits fell down. The other stopped and raised a clenched fist…

“That’ll be all for today Redd. See you tomorrow at the same time,” the doctor said.

An hour later at the doctor’s lounge.

“So how was Mr. Hart today Douglas?”

“The same. It’s been two weeks, and he keeps having that same nightmare about being in a desert. He runs, and as of today, he is also a crack shot that shot a guy in a space suit. The nightmare keeps evolving,” Dr. Douglas Harding replied.

“Does Mr. Hart know where he’s at?”

“No. Like the rest of the PTSD patients, he only sees what we want him too. The yard with grass in the back has a 15-foot wall around it like the rest of this compound. None of these men know they’re living in Death Valley, California, in climate controlled rooms.” 

“Time to go Douglas. Keep me appraised on Mr. Hart. His nightmares fascinate me.”

Major Douglas Harding’s Office

“I trust you had a good night’s sleep with that new medication I gave you?” the doctor asked.

“I’ll get right to the point doc…remember the guys in space suits I told you about?”

“Yes, of course,” the doctor replied while sifting through his notes.

“They aren’t humans! They’re aliens! After I shot the second one, I went over and checked them out. When I finally got the helmet off one of them, I was greeted by the ugliest mug I’ve ever seen! It looked like a slug with saucer eyes and a narrow slit for a mouth!”

“Was everything okay after that?” the doctor asked.

“Hell no! I saw a ship land and….someone woke me up.

“You’re going to have to forgive me Redd,” the doctor said when his phone rang.

“I just got an important call. We’ll meet again tomorrow at the same time.”

The doctor closed the door after Hart left.

“Say again, general?”

“This is not a drill! You need to get your staff and patients out of the compound ASAP! Your unit will meet up with the 113th Light Armor at 18:30 hours at the national guard armory in Reno, Nevada”

“Please general! Tell me what’s going on!”

“A space ship has landed northeast of Death Valley! There’s already been skirmishes between state troopers and aliens. It doesn’t look good. There’s reports coming in from all over the world of alien invasions. Now get your ass in gear Major!”

When the entire medical staff and patients were loaded up on old Army surplus trucks, the convoy moved out in the growing darkness towards Reno.

The convoy arrived at dawn. As staff and patients unloaded, Doctor Harding searched around for Redd Hart. He found him rubbing his eyes in the sunlight. In spite of himself, he took Hart to one side and asked, with a touch of tension, “Did your nightmare continue last night?”

Hart looked like a beaten man as he pulled his jacket around himself tighter against the morning chill. “You don’t want to know doc…”

As It Stands, prophets can be found in the most unlikely places.

Meth Man and the Serial Killer

Here’s the YouTude audio with Otis Jury narrating this story 

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned…

I’ve been doing meth so long, I forgot my real name. My street name is Meth Man, because I’m addicted to the stuff.

I’ve been in and out of jail all of my adult life. I’ve failed at all of the rehab centers that I was sent to by the courts. I’m not crazy. Just a hopeless addict with no motivation.

Thanks to my contacts on the street, I’m able to feed my habit and myself, by trading and selling things. Found things. Sometimes stolen things.

When I’m not locked up, I live in the streets. I know all of the back alleys and where your church and the mission for the poor is. I spend a lot of my time dumpster diving, and discovering treasures that were tossed into the trash.

You’d be surprised. People throw away the damnest things.

One day, while going through a row of dumpsters behind the strip mall on 5th Street, I found a human head! It was wrapped up in a black plastic bag that I just opened. Between smelling the rank thing and the horror (eyes were sewn open), I panicked and scrambled out of the dumpster like a cat with its tail on fire!

My heart was beating so fast I thought all of my bad living had caught up to me, and I was having a heart attack. I slumped down to the ground with my back to the dumpster feeling faint and dizzy.

An hour passed, and two street people I knew stopped by and talked for a little bit. When they saw I wasn’t going to get up and go with them to hunt for food they left. I pulled a plastic baggie out of my jacket pocket and poured some of the powdered meth into the flat silver case I always carry. It was once used as a cigarette holder.

Within five minutes of snorting it, I got a nice buzz. Crazy ideas darted around my head like birds in a cage. Was there a murderer stalking the streets that I called home? Maybe it was a one-time thing. An oddity.

Suddenly I got the urge to move, and stood up. Glancing at the dumpster, I resisted the urge to open the lid again. Then I went on with my day. That night there was no news about a head being discovered in a dumpster.

Three days later I’d almost forgotten about the bloody head when I came upon the dumpsters behind the strip mall again. In spite of myself, I opened the one that had the head in it. I don’t know what I was expecting.

There wasn’t a head in there this time. Instead there were two arms, with the hands cut off, in a see-through plastic wrap! I whimpered in fear. This horror was too much for my addled mind.

Reporting the grisly find to the police was not an option. I’d end up in jail again. Meth heads were easy targets and seldom believed. It almost felt like a home invasion. Some monster was killing and dismembering people in my neighborhood. On my turf.

The pickings were too good to just leave the area. So I snorted a line and waited for inspiration to hit me. I came up with a plan. There was a row of birch trees in the field separating the alley from a row of homes.

I climbed halfway up one of the trees, and situated myself to see the dumpsters clearly. I pulled out a pack of corn nuts and began munching. My high had long since worn off and I was thirsty soon after it became dark. Like an idiot, I didn’t plan very well.

I started carefully climbing down the tree when I heard a car pull up behind the alley. I stopped where I was and twisted around to get a better look. A black SUV was next to the dumpsters. The driver door opened. The hatchback automatically opened as the driver walked around to the rear of the vehicle.

He pulled out a long package wrapped in trash bags. The nearby street light cast an eerie glow onto the man’s face. I knew that face. It was the mission’s regular handyman! Panic gripped me, and I almost lost my hold on the tree.

I watched him toss the package into the dumpster and get back into the SUV. When I reached the ground my legs almost gave out on me. I’d never been so scared in all of my life.

That’s why I came to you Father. I knew you’d listen to me when I warned you about that handyman…

“His name is Alfred…”

Well, Alfred is a serial killer. He’s dumping his victim’s body parts into the dumpster behind the strip mall on 5th Street! Last night he tossed a couple of legs, without the feet attached, into the second dumpster to the left.

Just leave me out of the whole thing when you tell the cops okay?

“Don’t worry, my son. I won’t mention you at all.” 

Thank you father. I have to go now.

The priest waited until Meth Man went out the front door of the church. Sighing, he pulled out his cell phone. “Hello…I have more work for you tonight Alfred.”

As It Stands, no heroes here, just lost souls.