Bad Dreams: An Excerpt

The refrigerator thrummed its electrical song, unnaturally loud in the silence. Never before had the sound struck him as frightening; now it turned his bowels loose. That was the source of his apprehension: the refrigerator. A plain white box trimmed with chrome. His grimy fingerprints circled the handle.
The dust is gone but the fingerprints aren’t? I can’t imagine what that’s supposed to mean.
The clock above the fridge was gone as well. Instead, a sundial hung from the wall; only a tiny sliver of light was visible.
Another reference to time slipping away? Or maybe it means darkness taking over. Damn, I should get a 900 number for dream interpretation.
Uh huh. If I’m such a psychological genius, I should be able to wake myself up.
Because you’re dead, another part of his mind sneered.
Dead or not, these dreams aren’t coming from my subconscious. Someone’s behind them. Someone who really wants to get a point across.
He gritted his teeth and yanked the refrigerator door open.
His head was on the top shelf, on a plastic tray. His own glazed, sightless eyes stared back at him. The mouth gaped; his tongue was swollen and purple where the tip stuck out between cracked and bloody lips. The line of his neck was ragged, as if his head had been hacked off with a dull blade. Blood pooled on the platter, and overflowed to drip onto the crisper below.
It was grotesque, and disconcerting, yet it didn’t scare him as badly as he’d expected. In fact, a bottle of Coors was behind his left ear, and the incongruity of it made him smile.
He was in control. He could handle this. He could deal with this dream. Maybe that meant he was becoming more stable.
Frank felt inordinately proud of himself.
Ma used to bitch at me for having my head in the refrigerator all the time. Well, how ya like them apples, bitch?
He actually laughed out loud.
It was when the head laughed with him that terror returned with a visceral blow. It wasn’t his laugh, and there was no mirth in it.
It sounded like…Azzie?
Yes, Azzie. He’d only heard the Dharkyn laugh once or twice, and it was this exact sound: cold, throaty, and thick with malice. He would have laughed that way while tearing the wings off the fire lizard.
He’d probably laughed that way while murdering the Heighkyn girl.
Frank screamed and slammed the door shut.

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