The Vampire Girl Next Door
Dave pointed at the window and said, “There’s a girl staring at you.”
“Really? Who?” I asked. He nodded at the large windowed front of Gold’s Gym that faced the street. Although sometimes people passing by stopped and stared at the weightlifters and bodybuilders, tonight not a single person stood out in front on the sidewalk.
“Where?” I scanned the front of the gym.
“That’s funny. There was this girl staring at you, Mark. She must have left just a second before you looked up.”
I couldn’t tell whether he was pulling my leg or if it was true. With my lousy social life recently, I hoped to meet a new and different woman. Though I had dramatically improved my body in the past three years, from a slim 145 pounds to a more muscular 175, the number and quality of women in my life had not risen proportionately. In fact, I was meeting fewer. I attributed this to my lack of time, caused partly by my four-day-a- week schedule in the gym, Wing Chun kung-fu lessons, taking two film classes at San Francisco State University, and partly from working thirty hours per week selling advertising for a weekly newspaper. My social problems had gotten even worse when my six-month rollercoaster relationship with my girlfriend, Mary, ended with a split just a month earlier.
I decided to test Dave to see if he was joking or serious. I asked him what the mysterious girl at the window had looked like. He frowned. “She was pretty in a strange way, but...”
“But what?” I asked. “Why are you making a face if she was pretty?”
“I don’t know, but there was something weird about the way she looked at you.” His expression and tone of voice were quite ominous and foreboding. This was a complete reversal of Dave’s normally joking demeanor. Half the time, he grinned after any remark, implying that what he just said was only a joke, so I sometimes never knew what he really meant. He might tell me something just to see my reaction, then a minute later tell me that he was only kidding. This trait really annoyed me since I was always more serious.
Yet I could tell he wasn’t kidding this time; something he had seen still disturbed him.
“What was it about the way she looked that was so weird?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Dave shrugged his shoulders. “Something about her eyes.”
“God damn it!” yelled Ron. “It’s five to ten. If you guys aren’t out of here in five minutes, I’m locking you both in.”
Fifteen minutes later, we were leaving. Dave told me he’d see me there “tomorrow night, same time.” Ron told us both to come earlier so we could leave on time. This said, we parted company. Dave left for home, Ron for his hot date, and I for the bus.
It struck me then that I should have brought my car, as I needed two buses to get home, and I would have to walk through one of the worst sections of the Mission District to catch the first one. I tried to reassure myself that no muggers would try to take me on when they could just as easily pick
someone older and weaker. True, at five feet, seven inches tall, I didn’t appear too formidable, but I did look strong for my height. The muggers could choose other victims, provided they were looking for money, rather than someone challenging to beat up. With this cheery thought in mind, I sauntered down Valencia Street, trying to exude confidence. Evidently, my attempt at false confidence only appeared to others as arrogance in that particular neighborhood.
“Hey you! What you doing on our street?” a rough voice challenged. “Yeah, you. You heard me.”
I turned around and saw three guys, around eighteen or nineteen years old, drinking beer and glaring at me. They appeared to be from the housing project in the same block as the gym. Though the project had a quaint name, Valencia Gardens, it was ruled by young thugs in gangs who sold crack and had little use for outsiders who stepped into their territory.
I had the distinct and uneasy feeling they would make me their scapegoat. Dealing with them in an intelligent manner would have been as useless as trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to a barking dog, so I simply ignored them and walked a little faster. I just hoped that they would ignore me.
They didn’t. As I turned away from them, a beer bottle suddenly crashed on the sidewalk just inches from my feet. I quickened my pace, and tried to consider my options. I could run, but they would probably catch me since I couldn’t run that quickly. I tried thinking of other alternatives as I heard their footsteps approaching rapidly from behind. Perhaps running wasn’t a good solution, but I already ruled out talking, as they certainly weren’t in the mood for friendly conversation.
The only alternative was to fight. I didn’t relish the idea of fighting three guys, especially since they could have been carrying knives, or worse—guns. Now, I realized, all my Wing Chun kung-fu drills that I’d spent years learning, but had never used, would be needed on the street in the next minute.
These various thoughts only played through my mind for a few seconds, when I felt a hand grab my shoulder. I swung my full weight around, so that my left arm knocked his hand away and created a clear path for a right hook with my full 175 pounds behind it. It was a wonderful punch; it knocked him flat onto the pavement. I was so satisfied with the result, I wished to stand back and survey the damage, but his friends had other ideas for me.
They backed me into an alley. One of them stood closer to me than the other, so I shot off a front thrust kick to his knee, then hit him in the face with four or five centerline punches in less than a second. Suddenly, a fist smashed me in the nose. The punch came from the other thug I had forgotten about. Blood ran out of my nose and down to my lips. In a fury, I turned to my new attacker and slammed him against the wall of the building, then kicked him in the stomach as hard as possible. When he lurched forward, I kicked him in the face with my other foot, which knocked him back against the wall.
Behind me, someone screamed. The shriek lasted only a second, then stopped immediately—as if it had been cut short by a hand clapped over the victim’s mouth. I had no chance to speculate about this, however, until I finished with my opponent. So, I punched him once more, and watched him drop unconscious to the cement.
Satisfied that he would trouble me no longer, I spun around to see what had caused the scream.
When I looked, I experienced a strange sensation. Somehow time seemed to have jumped forward several seconds—or a minute—I couldn’t really be sure. It was as if I were watching a movie and several seconds had been spliced out and the movie jumped ahead slightly in time.
Just as some people experience a blackout for several hours, this sensation felt similar, but lasted only seconds. I stood in the same place, but something had happened in front of me without my seeing it.
The alley was empty. Looking back toward the street, I recognized the form of my first assailant on the sidewalk. He still lay face down on the pavement, right next to his friend. One of them had his head completely turned around, facing backwards, just like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Someone had snapped his neck. The one who screamed behind me had apparently disappeared. This puzzled me since I blocked his exit, and I knew he hadn’t gone by me.
And then I saw it. Near my feet lay a .45 automatic, unfired. Several drops of blood dotted the area around it, and leading toward the back of the alley, the drops grew larger and formed a crimson trail. I clenched my fists and cautiously stepped further into the alley. Just a few yards away stood several trashcans. I approached warily, and then stopped when I saw his feet sticking out behind a pile of garbage.
As I bent forward for a better look, a panic seized me. His whole throat was ripped open, and blood spattered his face and clothes. His lifeless eyes stared up at the sky, and his expression portrayed his final seconds of horror. I glanced back at his gun lying in the middle of the alley. Why didn’t he use it? Who killed him? Why?
As these thoughts rushed into my mind, another idea entered as well—I had better get out of there as swiftly as possible. If the police discovered me there under these circumstances, I could be charged with murder, and the one who might have survived would probably testify that I killed his friends.
Slowly, quietly, I made my way out of the alley and onto the deserted sidewalk. I knew if I could just reach the bus stop without being seen I would be safe.
I made it about half a block when I saw the police car. They drove towards me, but on the other side of the street. It moved along the street slowly, and I hoped that it wouldn’t stop. The few seconds it took for the police car to pass me by seemed excruciatingly long. I breathed deeply and felt thankful it kept going. My relief was short-lived.
Just as I reached the corner of Sixteenth Street, the police car screeched to a stop at the entrance of the alley. The police immediately pointed their spotlight at the two guys I had knocked out on the sidewalk. It would only be a matter of seconds before they discovered that two of the three men were dead and the other one could identify me.
I was now in a good position to run without being seen by the police, so I quickly sprinted down Sixteenth Street for one short block and ducked into the BART station on Sixteenth and Mission Street. A train pulled up just as I reached the bottom of the escalator. I rushed into it along with a small crowd of passengers, and in just a few seconds it whisked me away from any worries about the police.
Yet I couldn’t help but be concerned that someone might have witnessed the incident in the alley. To be absolutely certain that no one followed me, I walked through several cars of the train before settling down in a seat. I shifted my gaze behind my shoulder, and noticed that several passengers seemed to be eying me suspiciously. I turned away from them and towards the window, which looked out onto a black tunnel, and thus functioned as a mirror. In its reflection, I saw what the other passengers had been staring at—it was my nose, which had blood all over it from the fight. I tried wiping off the blood, but it had already dried, so I licked my hand and then rubbed part of it away. By repeating this procedure several times, I removed the blood from my nose and upper lip, though in the process, I was forced to taste the blood. I found this to be disgusting and nauseating, since the blood only reminded me of the boy in the alley with his throat ripped open.
When the train reached the Financial District, I took the California Street bus, which brought me all the way out to my apartment in the Richmond District. I left the bus three blocks from my own apartment so I could see if anyone was following me. This would have been highly unlikely, though, considering the precautions I had taken on the train, and I didn’t see how anyone could have followed me on the bus. While I may have been unduly cautious, I did not consider my actions to be overly paranoid under the bizarre circumstances. I couldn’t explain the murders in the alley to the police. They would never have believed me. I can’t say that I would have blamed them, either. After all, I had no reasonable explanation of what really happened back in the alley. It still remained a mystery to me how anyone could move fast enough to kill someone armed with a gun in his hand and also kill the other man and leave without allowing me to see or hear a thing. As for a possible motive, my mind drew a blank.
The fog of the Richmond District was thick, and little droplets of mist hung by the streetlights, giving the air a soft quality, as in an impressionistic painting. In the distance, I could hear the sound of foghorns warning ships of danger lurking in the darkness.
The Richmond District sprawled along the northwest corner of San Francisco, just north of Golden Gate Park, stretching along its entire length to the Pacific Ocean. The neighborhood was mostly residential, initially settled by Chinese and Russian immigrants, and now solidly middle class. While not as trendsetting or as famous as the Haight-Ashbury, the Richmond had some fine Edwardian homes, an active nightlife scene, and a wide assortment of restaurants along Clement Street, just a couple blocks from my apartment building.
Yet, in this very ordinary neighborhood, once stood an all-black house, its windows always shuttered, at 6114 California Street—the Church of Satan. Founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, it had many famous visitors, including sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield, later decapitated in a freakish car accident. LaVey kept a pet lion on his property, and one of the topless dancers in his “Witches Sabbath” show was none other than Susan Atkins. Three years later, in 1969, she and the other disciples of Charles Manson would shock the world with their murders.
Sometimes, you just never completely know the person next door.
And so, as I walked from the bus, just one block from my apartment, came another sound—the light, but distinct tap of footsteps behind me, which seemed to step in unison to my own. I stopped and listened, but heard only the wind, and the foghorn blaring out its warning.
I started walking again, and the footsteps started right along with me, as if a dancer were trying to keep in step with me. I could stand it no longer, and spun around to see who was following me.
It was a girl, a block behind me. The second I stopped and stared at her, she stopped too. I suddenly felt embarrassed by my unfounded fears, and turned around and resumed walking to my apartment. After all, she probably worried more about being out late at night than I; she was certainly more vulnerable. She had to fear, not only the types of lunatics I just survived, but also rapists. She had far more threats to her security than I had to mine, and she didn’t have my weightlifting and martial arts skills to help her deal with these problems. Yes, she had far more reason to worry than I did, and it was best that if the punks on Valencia Street had to attack someone, that it was me—not her. What might have happened if she had been in my place?
When I reached my apartment and checked the mailbox, I noticed that the girl was now across the street and walking by rather slowly as she regarded me with great curiosity. In the dense fog under the streetlight, she reminded me of a figure in an impressionistic painting. I stopped and glanced back at her, but in the fog and the dim light, I could only see her as a silhouette. Even as I opened the door to my building, she didn’t turn to walk away.
George, the manager of the building, was in the lobby, checking the well-worn carpeting. “I think we may be getting some new carpet in here,” he said to me, as he looked up.
“That would be nice. But what we really need is soundproofing.”
“Soundproofing?” he asked, as something else caught his attention. “For Christ’s sake, what happened to your nose?”
I felt my nose and realized that it had started bleeding again, so I quickly made up a story about talking to a girl in a singles bar and getting punched by her boyfriend. George asked who got in the last punch, and I assured him that I had. He’d been a boxer himself in his twenties and always liked to hear about a good fight. Too bad I was unable to tell him what had really happened. He would have enjoyed hearing a punch-by-punch description.
“Now, what were you saying about soundproofing?” he asked again.
“Well, you know Harry, my next-door neighbor?” George nodded. He knew.
“That bastard plays his stereo all night,” I said. “He has friends over at two in the morning. They all make a racket while I try to sleep.”
“You may not have to worry about him much longer,” George answered. “He told me he might move in with one of his girlfriends in a month or two.”
This was certainly welcome news. I had reached the end of my patience with the jerk. I had tried friendly discussions, threats, and finally, calling the police. None of these worked. The police even warned me not to threaten Harry, since they pointed out that assault was a far more serious crime than merely disturbing the peace.
I trudged up the four flights of stairs to my floor, and as I made my way to the end of the hall, several of my neighbor’s friends came out of his apartment. The smell of marijuana wafted out to the hall, and the departing guests seemed to be in good spirits, cheerfully yelling back and forth like monkeys in a zoo. I looked at my watch. It was 11 p.m. His friends had left earlier than usual. What a relief, I thought to myself. Now, maybe I could get a good night’s sleep. It would be difficult enough after the events of the evening, but important nonetheless. I had to be up at eight and at work by ten.
By the time I crawled into bed, the noise from next-door stopped, and I thought I might be able to sleep undisturbed.
I was wrong.
I had a dream that night. The memory of it was so fuzzy, I couldn’t recall everything, only that someone was trying to get me—the paranoia that nightmares are made of. I remember the sound of fingernails scratching glass. I was certain of that.
But there was more to it than that—another part— perhaps a second dream. It wasn’t a nightmare at all, but rather quite pleasant. I dreamed of a woman in my bed with me. I somehow knew her as she had been in my dreams for many years. Her beautiful face and her long black hair I had seen over and over in my dreams. And as clearly as I could picture her, she apparently was only a figment of my imagination and not anyone I had actually met in real life.
The nightmare could only be heard, and the pleasant dream could only be felt. In the nightmare, an unearthly female voice, like a whisper, but magnified, repeated the words, “Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.” The voice soothed and terrified simultaneously because I felt powerless to resist its command. One feature I distinctly remembered was the velvety smoothness of the woman’s skin. This sensation was so vivid, that when I awoke, the sheets of my bed felt as rough as burlap in comparison.
The clock said 3:33 a.m. I dragged myself out of bed and noticed a draft in the room. By the window, the drapes rustled slightly as if a breeze were blowing through. Of course, that would have been impossible, since the window would have to be open for wind to be moving the drapes. I always kept the window closed at night. Out of curiosity, I walked over and pulled the cord.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The window was wide open and the lock on the inside had been snapped right off! I bent over and picked it up off the carpet, examining both the lock and the window. It looked like someone tried to open the window, and upon feeling the lock, just pushed until it broke. I wondered how I had slept through this and how it happened, but could think of nothing to explain it away.
And then I realized—maybe my dream wasn’t a dream at all.
The sun began to set around six, and not long afterwards I heard the door to the apartment next to mine open and close. There was the sound of boxes being lifted and pushed around. She had finally arrived and I was anxious to see what she looked like.
It seemed almost in response to my wish to meet her that my doorbell rang. I rushed to open my door.
Instead of a beautiful young girl in front of me, there stood two elderly women. One of them leaned towards me with a smile plastered on her face that didn’t look quite genuine to me. The other one positioned herself back a few feet, smiling, but her nervousness showed through more.
“Hello,” said the one closer to me.
“Hi,” I answered.
“It certainly has been a nice day, hasn’t it?” she asked.
My face must have registered my confusion, since she quickly added, “The weather, I mean. It’s been a lovely day.” She smiled weakly.
“Yes, I guess so.” I wondered what she wanted. The answer to that came quickly enough.
“You know,” she went on, “we’re hoping that there are better days ahead. Wouldn’t you like to see better times?”
I thought of the past few days—the murders on the street and the apartment, my declining social life, the pressure at work and school. “Yes, I’m all for better times.”
She smiled at the little bit of encouragement I showed her.
“Well, good,” she said, opening up a Bible. “God says that there are better days ahead. I’d like to read you something.”
The situation clearly was spinning out of control. Once they started reading, they would never stop. I had to do something quick, yet tactful and effective. I wanted to meet my new neighbor—not carry on a religious discussion. I had never been particularly religious. An idea materialized where I could get rid of them and meet my neighbor at the same time.
“I agree with you one hundred percent.” I nodded my head to show that I was on her side. Then, cutting her off before she had a chance to read the entire New Testament to me, I added, “The thing is, I’ve already been saved, praise the Lord.”
“Praise the Lord!” they both echoed in unison.
“My neighbor, though, hasn’t yet seen the light.” I shook my head sadly at this revelation. “If you were to talk to her and explain your story to her, I’m sure she’d be grateful.” Then, taking one step out into the hall, I extended my left hand to the side and said, “Here, I’ll even press the doorbell for you.”
It rang, and the two ladies stood facing my neighbor’s door as I peeped my head out of my own door to see her answer.
The door opened and a slender, but curvy girl with long black hair stepped forward just a few inches. She wore a short, skin-tight purple dress that revealed shapely legs like those of an ice-skater. I couldn’t see her face, as she wasn’t turned in my direction, but rather, towards the two women.
“Yes?” she asked. Her voice was soft and smooth.
“It certainly has been a nice day, hasn’t it?” asked the old woman, with her partner nodding nervously in the background.
“I really wouldn’t know,” the girl answered. “I’ve been sleeping all day.”
This answer struck me as odd, since she couldn’t have slept in the apartment with all the noise and the furniture being moved in and out. I assumed she meant she had slept somewhere else during the day, or perhaps she was only joking with the old woman.
Yet nothing in her tone suggested she was. Her voice, though soft, was rather emotionless and conveyed a sense of fatigue.
“Well,” the old woman continued, “what I meant was it’s been great weather we’ve been having.”
“I really don’t know. I haven’t been out and about.” The girl had a strong British accent, which I found charming.
“You know,” said the old woman, “we’re hoping for better days ahead—”
“I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you,” the girl interrupted.
The woman’s smile started to crack and her partner nervously fingered her Bible. “Wouldn’t you like to see better times?”
“Better than what? The only time we have is the present. The past is gone and the future never comes.”
The old woman saw her opening and pointed to a passage in the Bible. “It says here that God has a plan for your life.”
“No.” The girl shook her head, her black silky hair swaying back and forth. “It’s not God who has a plan for my life.”
“Who does?” the old woman asked.
In answer, the girl opened the top button of her dress and pointed at something around her neck. Though I couldn’t see what it was, the nervous woman in the background stared at it in horror, and then whispered something in the other woman’s ear. Upon hearing the whispered secret, she let out a screech and they both hobbled away and down the stairs as quickly as their feeble legs would carry them.
The girl’s head moved only slightly, then her eyes slowly scanned the scene till they came into contact with mine. There was something unsettling about the gaze of her eyes. They moved independently of her head as if they had a mind of their own. The way her eyes moved so smoothly and then clicked into place jarred me. I now realized she had been aware of me from the moment she opened the door, though that seemed impossible since she hadn’t looked in my direction and I had made no sound.
I don’t know how long we just stood there, staring at each other before we spoke, as we observed each other in silence, unblinking.
She was, quite simply, the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life. Her eyes were large and dark, and shaped in a most unusual manner—they flared upwards at the edges, so that the outside corners were higher than the inside. Her lashes were exquisitely long and thick, and black, just like the long hair of hers that framed her delicate face with soft bangs. That silky hair tumbled over the smooth bare skin of her narrow shoulders. Her figure tapered to her waist—a waist so tiny, it made her hips flare out provocatively. Her long legs gave her the same height as me, but accentuated her daintiness. She stood as still as a statue of a goddess, and I stood as still as an idiot who could think of nothing to say.
Something in her stare mesmerized me. I felt powerless to look away, just as I couldn’t speak. A similar problem had always plagued me when confronted with a girl of exceptional beauty. I sometimes found myself unable to articulate as well as with a woman of average appearance, yet it had never been so serious as right then. I couldn’t speak. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, there came an almost imperceptible movement of her lips into what might have become a smile—only her full, sensuous lips never parted. The smile originated in her eyes as much as in her lips, as if she didn’t want to open her mouth into a big smile.
She took two steps toward me so that we were close enough to be within one arm’s distance, and still without breaking that stare that had begun when she first turned her eyes at the door, she said, “I’m Sylvia Martin. You must be my next-door neighbor.”
“I’m Mark Sheridan,” I said, but I could say no more. Something strange was going on that I couldn’t explain, and it went beyond mere shyness. Something physical, a sort of magnetic energy emanated from her body out to mine. This drew me to her even as my heart beat faster and faster.
I felt my entire body being drained and absorbed by her and we were blending into one person, with one mind. I didn’t have to say anything at this point because I sensed that she could see right into me and that no matter how clumsily I would phrase any attempt at communication, she would understand what I meant, even if I were to say the wrong thing.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Her face looked at me questioningly, her large eyes like one of the sad children in a Margaret Keane painting.
“Yes. Come in. Come in. I’m sorry. Forgive my lack of manners. It’s just that I...”
“Yes?” she questioned in her soft voice.
“It’s just that I have never in my life seen a girl as beautiful as you. Never. And I just couldn’t think of anything to say.”
“You’re doing just fine.” She entered my apartment and looked at me, waiting while I closed the door.
She turned her gaze away from me and surveyed the apartment. I hoped it looked clean enough, and that there would be something in it to spark a conversation and keep it going. I had amazed myself with the frankness I had shown towards her from the very beginning and hoped that she would appreciate my candor, rather than perceive it as a possible sign of weakness or desperation.
“You must be from England,” I said, noting her accent.
“Yes. London. Have you ever been there?”
“Yes. I went there as a tourist. I’d love to go back. Have you been here long?”
“Oh no. Just about a week.”
“A week! You certainly are lucky to find an apartment in a week. Sometimes it takes months to find what you’re looking for in San Francisco.”
“I’m a lucky person,” she nodded in agreement. “This flat already had a tenant when I called here a few days ago and then it became empty just when I needed it.”
“Actually, it was more than just luck in this case.” I stopped, wondering why I had said that. Even though she knew about the murder, perhaps it would have been as well to save such a subject for a later date.
“You mean what happened to your neighbor? But that is still a matter of luck. Bad luck for him—good luck for me.” She shrugged her shoulders.
Her nonchalance astounded me under the circumstances. It was great to see that she wasn’t disturbed by the murder, but her attitude didn’t match her look of innocence.
“Then it doesn’t bother you?” I inquired.
“Why should it? I didn’t know him, so why should I care about him? And I’m not worried about myself. After all, lightning rarely strikes twice in the same spot.”
I could have told her that it did—that three strangely related murders had taken place within twenty-four hours of each other, and that both murder scenes had happened within close distance of me.
There would have been no purpose in frightening her with such stories or in revealing what only I knew about these murders.
Apparently, my surprise to her statement must have shown, for her face immediately changed to a more solemn expression. She touched me gently on the shoulder with her delicate hand and said, “I’m sorry. I hope I haven’t offended you in some way. Was he a friend of yours?”
“Harry? Oh no,” I reassured her. “He and I hated each other, if you must know the truth. Of course, it’s terrible when anyone dies the way he did, even if he’s not a friend.”
She asked me how he died and I told her the whole story because of her obvious interest. Yet, the way she looked at me, I sensed that she somehow was more interested in how I felt about it than the actual facts, which I’m sure she had read in the newspaper anyway. She quickly got off the subject, though, and began looking around my apartment, as if trying to think of something to say.
I became aware of a certain vulnerability that had escaped my immediate impression of her. When our conversation about the murder ended abruptly and she looked around, for a moment she seemed as if she were lost and frightened. I realized then that she was every bit as nervous talking to me as I was trying to talk to her.
After casually inspecting my living room, she cast her gaze back towards me, and fixed those wonderfully large eyes of hers on mine, as she observed me with an intense fondness that I found peculiar. Such an unblinking stare from anyone else would have prompted me to look away, but she had such a beautiful face; it was a joy to be able to look upon it so freely. Yet, I found myself puzzled as to why she stared at me in such an unusual manner. She smiled strangely, as if in recognition.
“Somehow, I almost feel like we’ve met before,” I told her. “But I know we haven’t. If we had, I’m sure I wouldn’t have forgotten your face.”
“Nor I, yours.” Her full lips drew back slightly as her smile widened, but they still covered most of her teeth.
Suddenly it hit me. “You’re the girl of my dreams!”
She smiled wider this time. “What a nice thing to say.”
“No, you don’t understand,” I explained. “I just realized you’re the one I’ve been dreaming of—when I sleep at night.”
“And in this dream of yours, were we in bed?” Her eyes twinkled.
“How did you know?” I wondered if she read my mind.
“Tell me about your dream.” She sat down in a chair, crossed her legs and pantomimed as if she was a psychiatrist writing about me in a notebook.
I blurted it all out—how I had dreamed for years about a beautiful girl in bed with me and how I was often aware that I was dreaming at the same time.
“I’m afraid your dreams just make you normal,” she said.
“But it was you in the dream!”
“Why do you think it was me?”
“I recognize you.”
“Freud would call this wish fulfillment,” she pointed out. “Be careful what you wish for.”
(End of reading sample.)