Alex sighed. Next to him laid the mental patient. A sort of unusual man, though dreadfully primitive, indulged in the night’s dreams. They came as flashes on the screen. He spumed from the mouth, reminding Alex of a rabid dog.
That’s how the job went, an ever-growing sea of degenerates, the mad, the vain, the incompetent. A seasoned vet, Alex handled them all with the care only his MD could provide, a degree of sanity.
In a strange way, Alex felt bad for these people. They were the victims of their own frail minds, trying to navigate the world through invalid eyes. What curiosities could they share?
Most of the people Alex waited on were malformed in cliches. They dreamed of boogeymen and monsters. Of course, these came by the course of their own design and demise. They could not face their sleeping fears, trapped in a cycle of pathetic minds, handling all life so horribly.
Coming out of his thoughts, Alex observed as Mr. Barron slept and snored. Alex turned on the machine. The screen flickered yet again, and then turned into a demonic scene. Mr. Barron’s heartrate increased, he began to sweat and made strange noises with his mouth.
This certainly isn’t a blue dream, Alex thought. Blue dreams were the goal, to keep people sane and on peaceful quests, not dragged down by the demons of the frail mind. The devil tried to guile them, but he could be defeated.
The monster came out of a grave named “Lucy.” Alex scanned Mr. Barron’s mind for the lead to the reference. Soon, it popped up as his aunt. He saw a figure of a woman rise from Mr. Barron’s mind, saw the childhood torture he’d been through.
A set of characteristics Lucy had alarmed Alex. A tall, slender woman appeared. She had a switch in her hand.
“Now I told you, Barry, you aren’t to eat dessert until after dinner!” The voice yelled at Mr. Barron, and he tensed up. The dream, of course, had changed due to Alex’s interference.
How petty these people are, Alex thought, crying about events that had happened years before, never growing up to accept reality. Infantile wimps.
Lucy changed to another form. This time, the summer zephyr caressed Mr. Barron. He let out a breath, seeing the beautiful garden around him. Pink roses blushed, green grass reached towards the heavens, and a weed stuck out.
I’ll fix that, Mr. Barron thought, going to the edge of Alex’s screen.
Mr. Barron went to the plant and pulled it up.
“BARRY!” Lucy yelled with her hair pulled back into a tight bun. The salted blonde hair stuck out at him, making her take a supernatural appearance. A tear ran down his face as she neared. Her long dress shifted back and forth with her movement.
Alex rolled his eyes. Another childhood memory that meant nothing and yet managed to still haunt Mr. Barron at thirty.
For a minute, Alex observed Mr. Barron. He had a weak mind and a quick smile. His long, blonde hair, now peppered to a washy brown and grey, sprayed out of a pony tail. As a child, he’d wanted long hair, but apparently, as Alex saw, his aunt Lucy wouldn’t allow him to, wouldn’t allow him to do anything. She had such power over him.
Grow up, Alex thought.
Lucy began to walk quickly towards Mr. Barren. His blood pressure and heartrate increased.
That could be a bad sign, Alex observed. If Alex caused one more person to have a heart-attack, he could be pulled from the program. He’d recently gotten his girlfriend, future wife, pregnant and needed the money for the child. Babies like Mr. Barren were his only source of income.
Alex tuned the dream, making it light and happy.
I’ll give you a few good thoughts, you piece of shit, Alex thought.
Mr. Barren splashed in the river. He delighted in the memory, pushing his body further and further into river. The current remained nice and steady. He made his way to a hole above his head. He looked at the fronds and fish. They swam here and there, flitting to safety when Mr. Barren got too close.
He put out a hand and then grabbed the limb of a tree. It steadied him, kept Mr. Barren from floating down the river like the dry leaves, the ones the sun had given too much attention to.
Alex flipped the screen, annoyed by the boring side visions. Then again, that was what the boss wanted, nice and sweet dreams, not Lucy.
Here we go: The monster of Lucy chased Mr. Barren. Once again, his heartrate and blood pressure hit the sky. Mr. Barren cried out for help. Rough skin, claws and teeth threatened his being. He pushed against the wind, but the monster kept coming, yelling and screaming words from so long ago.
I’m coming, Alex thought. He began to cut the connections in Mr. Barren’s brain.
One, two, three, four…. Alex counted. He pulled the ray out and Mr. Barren passed out to a blank screen. He’d need a few hours to recover, Alex figured. They all did this.
A dark voice began speaking to Alex through the dream, however.
“What?” Alex hit the restart button, refreshing the machine. Damn piece of junk.
“You will not get rid of me so easily,” the voice said. Alex hit restart once again in vain. The screen showed a shadow. It developed from a small, black orb.
“I am the One Who Cannot Be Killed,” the demonic being said.
Sure, whatever, Alex began to cut more connections in Mr. Barren’s brain. While he’d never had anything like this happen before, Alex’s mind knew the possibilities were endless with the infirm.
“I am the One Who Cannot Be Killed,” the voice repeated. It chuckled.
“What are you?” Alex asked, perplexed. This night had gotten interesting. Alex wanted to shake off the shock but couldn’t.
“I am a black dwarf from the outer-worlds,” the voice said darkly. Alex wondered if it was a man or a being he couldn’t place.
“A black dwarf? Old stars can’t talk,” Alex said.
“You only know of the light. Now you will know of the night!” The voice roared into Alex’s head. He grabbed his ears, but the sound crept closer and closer within him. Alex could hear Mr. Barren breathe in and out, sucking precious air.
“You are a malefaction, and now you will know the blank space between our dreams!” Alex screamed before his heart exploded, leaving him a rotting carcass on the floor.
The black dwarf laughed.