Dreams of Destiny Pt. 05byKrenna Smart©
Destiny awakened at dawn after her night with Juan. She was surprised to find herself on her couch in front of her television in DC. She was hot and sticky, and was wearing her clothes from Court. She had slept soundly for nine and a half hours. The weather was already steaming hot. It’s going to be another lovely summer day in the swamp that passes for the nation’s capitol.
God, what a dream I had, Destiny thought. She tried to put the pieces together but it was too fractured. It seems like I went all over hell and back last night in my sleep. First Rodriguez on the island, she recalled, then her old junior high school boyfriend. God almighty, I’d forgotten about that! She shuddered at the memory. Then off to the amusement park where she got a new, revised and very interesting version of the serial killer’s murder. And what was that bit about her and Nathan having lived together for seventeen years? What would her subconscious dream up next? she wondered. I’ve got to get this on tape before my memory dims.
She went into her bedroom and pulled out the tape recorder. Well, at least there are no new surprises here she thought as she looked at the label. She plumped up a pillow and lay back in bed. She closed her eyes and switched on the tape recorder. Dreamily she tried to reconstruct her memories of the dream sequences she had experienced during the hours she spent sacked out in front of her television.
As she spoke the memories became more and more real to her. She remembered the interlude on the mountain top with the unknown stranger. She had a sick feeling she knew who the stranger was. Stephen, from the law firm, or Esteban. Maybe I should just think of him as ‘the demon’ from now on. As she spoke into the tape recorder she became more and more convinced that the dreams were real.
Her wrists were still bruised from yesterday. And there was the undeniable fact that John Rodgers from her dream of the amusement park was the John Rodgers she had met yesterday in Court. She became even more confused when she tried to sort out where and how Juan Rodriguez fit into the picture.
Had her fantasizing brought Rodriguez to life? Or had she made a trip to San Angeles Island in a parallel life two years ago? The first alternative made her feel very uncomfortable: All logic decried the possibility that her fantasy could be strong enough to bring Juan Rodriguez into being. Is there a Juan Rodriguez on San Angeles Island? I don’t even know if there is a San Angeles Island. The second alternative was almost unbearable disconcerting: Could there actually be a universe where Nathan and I stayed together and I had an entirely different career? If so, what was the result of my meeting Juan on the island two years ago.
She finished taping her memories and commentary, and added the label DL dream 4. Then, with a flash of paranoia, she decided to make a copy of the tape. She grabbed an extra tape from her office and used the tape deck in her living room to make the copy. She pulled out an old law school text book that she hadn’t opened in 18 years and grabbed an exacto knife out of her tool box. One thing dad was good about was making sure I was prepared for emergencies. I wonder how many single professional women in this city can put their hands on an exacto knife when they need one?
She carefully cut a square of pages out of the book, making room for one of the tapes. She put the original into the book and put the book back where it belonged, dust and all. She made a new label for the second tape and put it in the zipper compartment of the inside flap of her briefcase. I know I’m being paranoid, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful she told herself.
Her client that morning was one of the few who was actually in compliance with his Court orders. Actually, he was a pretty neat kid with a lot going for him. Probation had been a positive experience for him. He had a probation officer who had helped get him back on track with school. And he had gotten some drug and individual counseling out of the deal. I wish they would all work out so well.
She decided to double check her calendar before getting ready for Court and realized she had a 1:30 appointment with Dr. Phaeton. This will be a very interesting session. She was undecided as to whether she would share her tape with the doctor. She’d only seen him once before and wasn’t quite sure she trusted him. Suddenly she wished John were there to give her advice.
It’s amazing how quickly I came to trust John. Then she realized how much they had been through together and decided it wasn’t quite so surprising after all.
Destiny showered, shampooed and shaved her legs. She put her hair into a French braid without drying it. Her apartment didn’t have central air conditioning. The weather was too hot to put up with a blow dryer. Using it would evaporate all benefit from the nice cool shower she had just taken.
She dressed carefully that morning, wearing her favorite lavender cotton twill suit. The skirt was short and showed off her legs. The Jacket was short sleeved with a scooped neckline, nice and cool for the summer weather. She wore dressy white sandals with a low heel, and silk panties and bra.
She applied her best make up, using a little more than usual. She suddenly realized she was dressing provocatively in the hope of running into John. She wondered if he would be in the cafeteria when she got to Court. Officers with morning Court responsibilities often gathered in the cafeteria between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. Destiny decided she’d get to Court early and eat breakfast in the cafeteria. Maybe John’d be there and she could invite him to come with her to see Dr. Phaeton.
She fed Top Cat, picked up her briefcase and purse, and headed out the door. It was still relatively cool so she decided to walk. She snagged a white rose for her lapel on her way. She hummed the old Led Zeppelin tune “Stairway to Heaven” and if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last, when one is all and all is one, yeah, to be a rock and not to roll, under her breath as she walked.
John was just about to pack it in and call it a day when he saw Destiny skip into the Cafeteria. She looked wonderful to him.
Destiny had been looking for him he realized as she waved and headed in his direction. John’s table was only about 15 feet from the cafeteria door and John was facing outward. As Destiny approached, Stephen appeared out of nowhere. Destiny didn’t see him coming. He came up behind her and grabbed her by the arm. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” he said in her ear. She turned to face him and her mouth dropped open. “Stephen? What on earth are you doing here?.”
John was out of his seat in a flash, and practically jumped over his table to get to the pair. “Destiny, be careful,” he called out. Stephen used his left arm to open a fissure in the space beside him. He had a strong hold on Destiny. He side stepped and they disappeared into thin air. John made for the fissure with a cry and jumped in as it was closing. He didn’t make it but his astral self slid in just as the crack disappeared. John collapsed in the middle of the cafeteria floor.
Elaine, Judge Raven’s Clerk was the first to get to John when he fell. She turned him over onto his back, checked his mouth to be sure he wasn’t choking. She yelled for someone to get the Courthouse nurse and to call 911. She made sure that John didn’t need CPR Then she sat down to guard John’s body. Elaine had seen everything. The other cafeteria patrons had seen just a piece here or there of what happened. All was confusion. No one commented on the fact that two people had vanished. Each person has their own reality to contend with, Elaine realized.
The Courthouse nurse arrived, but there was nothing she could do. John appeared to be in a coma for no reason whatsoever. The emergency medical team came in to take John to George Washington Hospital. Elaine rode in the back of the ambulance with John, despite the fact that Judge Raven’s law clerk, Karen had arrived moments before the rescue team to order Elaine back to the Courtroom. As Elaine walked out of the cafeteria, Karen said bitchily. “Well, it’s your job Elaine. He could fire you for this you know?”
“Get a life,” Elaine said under her breath. It was her obligation to remain with John’s body until his spirit returned.
Destiny somehow managed to pull herself clear of Stephen’s arm during the reality twist in the fissure. She concentrated hard on the first place she thought of, bed, and almost made it there safe. Then everything twisted again and she landed on her ass in the snow on a distant plane. She was wearing ski gear. Her skis were tangled and half off. She was at the top of a murderous ski run. Destiny had taken a couple of down hill ski lessons over the years but nothing to prepare her for this descent. The scrape of a skier coming in fast brought her to her feet. She watched as the silhouette of a strikingly handsome man swished up to her and stopped at her feet.
“Destiny, I wouldn’t let you get away that easily.” Oh Christ, it was Stephen.
Destiny’s voice was as cold as the wintry wind blowing on the top of the mountain. “Go away Stephen. I have no use for you. I know all about you and Esteban and your evil tricks. You can chase me from here to hell and back but you won’t get me. I’m not your toy or your queen or whatever it is you want me to be. Leave me alone.”
With that she threw caution to the wind and pushed off down the mountain trail. The first descent came quickly. All was white and pristine on the track. She flew by the few lights which illuminated the darkening sunset. The panorama was austere. As frightened as she was of Stephen and the ski trail, Destiny was exhilarated. She skied like an expert. The snow flew out from under her skis as she took the twists and turns of the trail.
She heard Stephen cursing behind her. Her sudden descent had taken him by surprise. He had wanted to bring her down in front of him as he had before, with her scared and trusting, but excited. But he was also up for a hard chase. He knew he would win.
He took a straight line down the mountain for top speed. His skill was superior. He hit some moguls and a long jump. He gained quickly, and pressed on. He had to get to Destiny before she passed the mid-point of the run. There was a turn that wasn’t on the structured path that led to a cave. From there were tunnels where the fabric of the plane could be manipulated. It would be a good place to bring Destiny into his realm.
Stephen was tired of the games. He wanted Destiny now. She was the prize he had worked for and had earned over the years. He would not let his nemesis win.
He, Stephen, was the one who had discovered Destiny. He’d waited patiently for her to mature. She was coming into her full power and it was time that she turn to him. Good -- Evil: Who cares, Stephen thought. It was all one. There were an infinite number of sides, but only one coin. I kill. A spirit is released. Someone somewhere else goes less hungry. It balances out. This is what he has told himself over the years to ease his deeply buried and almost non existent conscience. Does good determine that the evil occur so the resulting counter good exceeds the bad, or is it the other way around. Who Cares?
Stephen leaned further into the wind, squatting and tucking . He gained on Destiny who was having trouble. She was losing her early confidence. The dark was confusing her. He dug his poles in and screamed to a halt in front of the woman. They both went down in a jumble.
Desperate, Destiny tried to force a dream shift, but Stephen held her too firmly. “I’m in control now. Stephen said. So stop wasting energy. I don’t want you to get hurt. That’s not part of the plan.”
“What do you want then. Stephen?” Destiny asked.
“I want you to come with me tonight. He looked at her hard with the glittery brown eyes that she had always hated. She shivered in the coldness of his gaze.
“You’re freezing,” he said to break the tension. I know a shortcut off the mountain. That’s why I stopped you here. We’re almost at the turnoff.”
“Why would I go anywhere with you? I’d rather take my changes on the main run. Why don’t you just slither away?”
Stephen gritted his teeth at her aspersion. “Desist in your jibes woman,” he said. You’re coming whether you like it or not. Do I have to restrain you?”
Destiny looked around anxiously for help. There was no one else on the mountain that she could see. She didn’t see the white spirit like figure flying down the mountain crest at break neck speed towards them. John’s aura had been following Stephen and Destiny.
Destiny tried to push off and head down the mountain again but Stephen was ready for her. He tripped her neatly and she went down hard. Her skis flew off this time. She struggled to get up but Stephen jabbed her rudely in the stomach with his ski pole. Stay down for a minute he ordered. He stood beside her and rid himself of his skis. Thus unencumbered, he released Destiny from her pin.
“You can get up now,” he said.
“God damn it, you have no right to man handle me. What the hell is wrong with you anyway?” she asked as she stood. “Why do you always have to be so fucking cruel?”
“You fight me, Destiny, and bring out my anger. I would court you and treat you like a princess if you would bend to my will.”
He took her arm. “Walk with me now.”
“I will not bend to you will.”
“Then I will force you.” He brushed her feeble attempts at self-defense off as if she were a child. With very little effort he pulled her off to the side of the trail and on to the secondary trail that had been hidden by the darkness. Before too long they arrived at the cave Stephen remembered from a prior visit to the mountain in another lifetime.
Stephen pushed Destiny into the cave. The air was surprisingly warm and smelled of sulfur. It was black as pitch in the cavern. The sound of underground hot springs broke the silence and added steamy humidity. Stephen pulled Destiny through the cave and into a passage way in back. The clearance was low, and they had to walk hunched over. Stephen never loosened his grip on Destiny. They traveled this way as the tunnel snaked downwards for about twenty minutes. Destiny tried to keep track of time and of the twists and turns of the tunnel in case she got free and could run back towards the cave. She knew, however, that the likelihood of her breaking loose was minimal.
Finally, they came to the matter gate Stephen had been looking for. Gates were similar to vortexes. Unlike vortexes, they were fixed in space, but not in time. One could come across a gate on Tuesday, and Friday it might be gone. Stephen had manipulated this trip to coincide with the appearance of a gate to his own cavern home. None but an adept at dream shaping could identify and use a gate.
Throughout the last half hour Stephen had been so intent upon forcing Destiny to come with him he hadn’t even checked to be sure he wasn’t followed. John’s spirit had no problem shadowing the pair once they entered the tunnel. He floated alone silently and bided his time.
Stephen stepped through the gate pulling Destiny with him, John followed.
There was a sickening twist and Destiny and Stephen arrived in a wide passageway about a mile from Stephen’s lair. John popped through as the pair were heading down the corridor
There was very little John could do in his spirit state to help Destiny. He kept a low profile as he followed Destiny and Stephen.
John started to recognize some of the landscape from some recognizance he’d done concerning Stephen’s life style over the years. Stephen’s taste in art was quite depraved. John shuddered at the question is his mind as to Stephen’s sexual proclivities. He realized he’d do whatever it took to save Destiny from Stephen’s perversions.
John suddenly received a sharp tug from the cord connecting him to his body back in DC. John ignored the call by strength of will alone. Let my body suffer. This is more important than my life. Suddenly he was furious at his impotence. Destiny’s very soul was at stake. He sensed that other, similar dreams had been rehearsals for this performance.
John saw Stephen speaking urgently to Destiny but couldn’t make out the words. He didn’t dare get close enough. He was afraid that Stephen could banish him with a mere look now that his body needed him back. He watched as Stephen manipulated matter and altered Destiny’s clothing and physical appearance to suit himself.
John realized that Destiny was weak here and would be vulnerable to Stephen’s machinations.
Destiny was very weak. She was suffering badly from disorientation as a result of the two rapid shifts through matter and space. Her natural fighting spirit was sorely hurt. She was scared to stay with Stephen although she mistakenly thought this Stephen seemed less dangerous than some of the others versions she’d encountered over the years.
Since she had entered Stephen’s realm she had tried again and again to make dream shifts in the reddish gloom to no avail. To her it seemed like they had been walking forever. Stephen held her tightly as they walked. Her feet seemed to know the pattern of the maze of tunnels they were traveling through. Destiny tried another shift. She was completely unable to change the scenario. She tried to make changes that needed less will. She had been unable to manipulate matter to cause Stephen to trip and lose hold or her. She had even been unable to shape a weapon to protect herself with, or kill myself if it becomes necessary.
Destiny felt naked. She knew she was no match for Stephen physically. She was slim and, although Stephen was only a couple of inches taller than Destiny, he outweighed her by at least forty pounds.
They finally arrived at Stephen’s cavern. Stephen forced a kiss upon Destiny. “Welcome to my home,” he said.
“Let me go before I tear you apart,” Destiny threatened. The strength of her voice belied her fear and her weakness..
Stephen laughed. “Always fighting. You never give up How are you going to tear me apart?”
“I’ll dream a more brutal death for you than you can imagine,” said Destiny.
“I don’t think so. Not here in my realm,” Stephen replied. Go ahead, try.”
Destiny tried. She imagined harpies coming down out of the air with dirty claws and gray tresses to rend him and carry him off. Nothing happened. She had known it would be futile. She’d had this dream before.
Destiny squeezed her eyes closed. She thought of home and her bed and tried to wake herself up. Her eyes wouldn’t open to that scene. She used all of her remaining will to open her eyes. She could see her bed. Feel its contours. But it slipped away as her eyes opened to Stephen’s lair. She tried again as Stephen watched, amused. Again, no result.
Destiny knew she was in deep trouble. She wondered if she still had free will or if that too had been taken from her. Yes, she realized, I still have my will. There is no way I will willingly become Stephen’s queen. I’ll find a way to kill myself first. Destiny knew Stephen was a demon of the worst sort. He killed for pleasure. She didn’t know why she had become his obsession. But over and over again they had played out versions of this scenario. Is this more ‘real’ than the others? She though so but she had no barometer by which to make a measurement.
Destiny decided to play along with Stephen just for a little while. She would play his game while she gained strength and gathered her forces. There had to be some sort of ally in this realm. Stephen couldn’t have total control. Not all of the entities Destiny saw drifting through Stephen’s cavern looked to be tools of Stephen and his master.