He woke up suddenly, his body drenched in sweat, his heart pounding in his chest. The dream was still fresh in his mind but the details were already fading, lost in the swirling clouds of his fogged memory.
Nothing was going to wipe out the last grim detail of what he’d seen while he slept. In his dream he had died. He had gone out of his house, got into his car for the short drive to work and as he pulled out onto the road, a truck had hit him, killing him and plunging him into endless darkness.
The darkness had shattered painfully and he’d found himself sitting up in bed, his breathing ragged and his heart beating like a drum.
He tried to calm himself down and a body stirred next to him. His wife’s voice called out softly, “Morning. Are you alright?”
Somehow the familiar sound of her voice anchored him back to reality and he smiled at his foolishness. It was just a dream. “I’m fine. I’m getting up for a coffee before I head out.”
Her reply was just a mumble.
He sat in the kitchen, perched on a wooden stool and sipped at a very mediocre mug of coffee. By now the dream had faded to almost nothing, he could barely recall the slightest detail. As the dark, bitter liquid washed over his senses he felt like he remembered, just for a moment, that this had happened in the dream.
He frowned and sipped again. It had all seemed so real at the time, it had felt like he was actually there but the memory had faded now and only fragments remained, imposing themselves on him as things reminded him of them. It seemed so ridiculous for a grown man to be scared by a dream.
His wife walked into the kitchen to join him. She was still half lost in the midst of sleep herself and dragged her feet with the obvious effort of walking.
“Are you alright?” she asked with a frown.
He must have seemed more shaken than he realised for her to have picked up on it. He sighed to himself and told her, “I’m absolutely fine. Just a little tired.”
“Are you sure?” she said. “You don’t seem fine. Why don’t you take a day off work today? Just call in sick and rest.”
He frowned as, once again, this all seemed familiar. It had happened exactly that way before and the cold fingers of dread traced up his spine. He shook his head, trying to dismiss all this childishness and scolding himself for letting his mind dwell on it.
“It’s fine.” he assured her. He got up, snatched his keys from the counter and headed out for work. He wasn’t going to let all this nonsense get to him and he certainly wasn’t going to drag her into it.
He kissed her on the cheek and said, “Goodbye, darling. I’ll see you tonight.”
She watched, frowning as he made his way out to his car. As he swung open the door she mumbled to herself, “No! Don’t go…”
She stood for just a moment and then quickly made her way to the front of the house and peered out the window as his car made its way backwards out of the drive.
She heard a blood-curdling crash, an explosive smash of something huge and metal tearing into his car.
She awoke suddenly with her heart thumping in her chest, her body drenched in sweat. Her eyes snapped open and she peered quietly out into the darkness, assuring herself it was just a dream.
Beside her she heard the sound of her husband. He was sitting up straight, breathing heavily. It wasn’t like him, he was usually so calm. “Morning. Are you alright?”
There was a long pause while he seemed to be thinking about the question carefully. He said, sounding unsure of himself, “I’m fine. I’m getting up for a coffee before I head out.”
She stayed still while he moved to the side to step out of bed. The dream had felt so real but it was fading now. Still she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. She mumbled to herself, “No! Don’t go…”