Even though the past two weeks have been rough, battling a kidney infection and running a high fever, I've managed to escape somewhat unscathed. Of course, today was the day I'd planned to do a "soft" release of my ebook, Sebastian's Spell, but the edits never were completed due to the aforementioned bout of ick. So instead I'll have to settle for telling ya'll about one of my more feverish dreams, one that will never make it into a romance, but might one day be a short story Sci-Fi or horror notation under a pen name. lol. I call it, The Ghoul Of Your Dreams.
The Ghoul Of Your Dreams
by Cass Curtis
I'm an inspector for the transit authority. I like my job because it's pretty idiot proof, so it's easy. Since all the rails in the States changed to maglift technology, it's been smooth. The system has a redundant fail safe and everything is run by computers and small robots no bigger than a human finger. But the public likes knowing there is a human inspecting the operations and making sure the robots don't suddenly become self aware or some other weirdness.
Today I'm cruising the lanes on the flagship, MagRunner Conglom's DreamSpinner. Travels from Vancouver to Montreal, then on to New York City and points south, before heading west and completing the circuit.
I got on in Atlanta and had planned to go only as far as Miami, since I'd been on meds the last week, battling the flu, but when I heard that the entire DreamSpinner was booked from Dallas to Los Angeles for the CEO's birthday party, I knew I had to stay.
I'd seen digitals of the celebration in years past and no way did I plan to miss out on having one of the wildest times of my adult life. The theme was Steampunk revival and though I hadn't come prepared, I suspected the organizers would have extra clothing and gear for unexpected guests—even party crashers like me.
I used my clout and got an extended pass to L.A., counting the hours until we hit Dallas. My mouth was sudden dry so I ordered my usual scotch and soda and sat back, taking sips in between looking out at the blur of palm trees soon become oaks then eventually Texas pine.
Sweat beaded my forehead and upper lip, heart beating faster than usual, and my mouth cottony again, I punched in my keycode and ordered another drink. Lines of travelers disembarked the maglift bullet, but I only saw a handful come aboard. Surely that can't be it? My drink dispensed from the mini door of the beverage and food cycler and I grabbed it in appreciation, letting the cold heat of alcohol burn down my throat.
At some point, I must have fallen asleep, because I woke to the sound of high octane partying coming from the mag bullet ahead of mine. I got up to check it out. About fifteen men and women all dressed in Steampunk, dancing and laughing. Someone pulled me to the side and told me to go into the next bullet and change clothes. I did as I was told. Within twenty minutes I was a bustle and corset wearing lady adventurer complete with a frilly little fascinator on top of my red gold curls.
The costume made me sweat, and before long, my legs were shaky, and my mind went for a swim. The first thing that hit me when I sat up was I'd been lying on the floor. On the heels of that realization, was—what was that sickening smell? The room was empty. Where had everyone gone?
A thick red string slid down from the ceiling to plop onto the floor beside me. I glanced around, seeing the same stuff on all the walls, too. What the hell? I got to my feet amid the slippery, sticky yuck and walked to the adjoining bullet. Had some type of mold or fungus gotten into the ventilator systems?
Whatever it was, it covered my costume. I stripped off the bulky material, all the way down to pantaloons and chemise, before going any further. The bullet lurched, tossing me against the forward door. With a press of my hand, it opened and I saw the CEO of the conglom, staggering, a look of abject fear and horror on his handsome face. I followed his eyes and saw a nightmare vision leaning back in one of the luxury seats, a woman covered in strips of red and goo, a bony hand reaching toward him, her lips gone, revealing teeth gnashing, sliding back and forth, taunting him.
"Holy shite," I gasp, unintentionaly drawing her gaze.
The man takes that precious opportunity to rip one of the emergency panels from the wall and grab the heavy flash mag from the recessed box. What's he going to do? Shine the light in the thing's eyes and blind her? But no, he uses the flash as a weapon, bashing it's head in. He opens the door to the next bullet and waves me on.
"What the hell is going on?" I ask, hoping he knows more than I do.
"No clue, but I'm hoping I'm still sick in bed and dreaming this. I just killed my date to my own birthday party, with a flashlight."
"Maybe we are. Sick in bed I mean. I've been ill the last week or so and on meds, but thought I was well enough to go back to work. Sorry about your date."
It happened in the blink of an eye, but my senses went into slo-motion. The lumbering thing behind me, reaching out with skeletal fingers, jagged teeth taking a huge chunk outta my neck like some ghoul. I could see the open mouth, the wide eyed shock on the man in front of me, but no sound, no screams, not even my own. I faded, my consciousness leaving on angel wings only to wake in my bed. I touched my neck, feeling for a raw gouge and lay back in relief.
Just a dream. I suddenly wondered if somewhere, maybe in Dallas, there was another person, a man waking from a nightmare, a flashlight clutched in his hand.