To die, to sleep; to sleep! Perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub..The words from Hamlet's soliloquy resounded in a maelstrom of thoughts that were not solely her own. The chorused voices, the disembodied thoughts of another and their victims were seeking her.
....She lay sprawled in a pool of rising water. Fed by the driving rain the abandoned alley was becoming inundated as the water exceeded the capacity of the drains. Flotsam consisting of empty nip bottles and cigarette butts drifted near her face which was partly submerged in the turgid water.
....She struggled to empty her brain of all thoughts. Her eyes closed tight, she tried to shield all imagery to her mind's eye. Had she the power, she would have willed herself into a catatonic state thinking that it might render her invisible, and thus undetectable to her stalker.
....She tensed in terror. Something, no, some things were crawling across the backs of her legs. It was her worst nightmare - rats! Her body had inexplicably become higher ground for the frantic rodents. Tears in her eyes, she fought back the screams welling in her throat.
....She nearly fainted and in that reverie a bizarre scene unfolded in her mind. She lay naked upon an altar of stone, a living sacrifice to two charging great cats while a floating gun played upon her. There was a great fish leaping from the water devouring one of the cats. The image was vaguely familiar.
....Suddenly she could see herself in a surreal dreamlike image, not generated by her own senses, but as a projected and shared thought from another. She had been discovered. Then, as if from the perspective of the onlooker, the barrel of a pistol appeared. It was aimed at her helpless prone body. She could even feel the pressure in her own fingers as the trigger was being squeezed.
Within our dreams and aspirations we find our opportunities.Since they were conducting studies and experiments on dreams, a quotation by Sue Atchley Ebaugh had been chosen as the research team's motto. Under the tutelage of Dr. F. Rheinberg, four students from different backgrounds had been awarded a grant funded by the American Psychiatry Association.
....Independent of the others, they had all been working on projects concerning dreams as the subjects of their individual theses. It was Rheinberg who had suggested they pool their research. He noted that while their individual methods were different, a partnering of their results could lead to new discoveries in the field of dream studies. The beauty of such a partnership was that it would still allow them to pursue divergent paths and submit separate theses without fear of plagiarism charges.
....Mae Lee Tan brought her interest in dream interpretation and hypnosis to the project. The other distaff member of the team, Rhonda Fisher concentrated her work on the effects of the excess and deprivation of sleep on dreams. What effects mind altering substances might have on dreams was the guiding force behind the endeavors of Herbert Jennings. The youngest member of the quartet, Milton Sinclair was certain that electronic stimuli could unlock many of the mysteries and unanswered questions about dreams.
....While their combined works would not produce any significant breakthroughs in the field of dreams, their hard work and diligence paid off and the four of them graduated with honors. Both women would ultimately parlay their studies into careers as Psychiatrists. Sinclair was said to be overseeing some top-secret electronics project for the military. Little was known about the whereabouts of Jennings, although it had been rumored that he'd been in some drug-related troubles.
Their college and post-graduate days behind them, they could not know that inexorably they were about to be reunited. Drawn together into a web of intrigue, deceit and murder, they would soon be combining resources just to survive. They were about to learn that a dream can become a nightmare.
He whose soul is pure is never deceived by his dreams, whereas he whose soul is blemished is continually deluded. - Arabic sayingTo be continued... Chapter 2.