Classic Round Robin
you gonna tell me, or
shook her head, and with a grin too wide to hide her weakening resolve,
she flicked open the menu and hid her face behind it.
try, Chandler. But I know you better than that.” Jenny pulled the menu
down until Catherine could see her eyes over the top. “Now tell me
about this dream before I do something really embarrassing…”
collapsed to the table and Catherine rubbed her eyes. “You’re
was useless to avoid it. Jenny had known her too long. From the moment
Catherine had arrived at the diner, Jenny had been staring, reading her
with the efficiency of her editorial mind. And she’d seen past
Catherine’s professional mask, her false bravado, her exaggerated
smile, to the true discomfort that resided beneath.
when she allowed herself to dwell on the word, hardly came close to
describing the chaotic flood of emotion Catherine had experienced since
the night before. She’d assured Vincent – both last night and this
morning – that she was all right. And for awhile, she’d even believed
it. But the dream kept winding its way into her thoughts … the dark
haired woman appearing on the page of her brief, on the seat next to
her in Moreno’s office, even in her coffee mug, which despite the
ludicrous nature of such a hallucination, had left Catherine feeling
anything but amused.
truth was, she was…disconcerted. Alarmed. And the more she tried to
protect herself…and Vincent…from the strength of her feelings, the more
persistent they became. If only she knew what it meant!
sighed and began a long recounting of the dream, not deigning to hide
her exasperation from Jenny that her friend had, once again, managed to
extract the truth. It was becoming more and more difficult to keep
Jenny in the dark. But that was beside the point now, and Catherine
knew it. Jenny’s face was changing erratically, punctuated by her fear
and anxiety. It was obvious that Jenny was recalling her own disturbing
dream of some months ago, and its terrifying aftermath.
it’s nothing,” she finished.
“You were murdered,
Cathy. How can you say it’s
“Because it is
nothing!” The words burst forth more loudly than she intended, and
Catherine, seizing her frustration, pressed it down, deep into the pit
of her stomach, beyond reach. She gulped down her water and, finding
her control once again, offered an apologetic smile.
all dreams are prophetic, okay? I’m probably just wound up about work.
I’ve had some nasty cases cross my desk lately, and this latest…”
reached out and took her hand. “I know you think I’m crazy sometimes,
Cath. I know. But this dream…after
what happened last time…? You shouldn’t treat it so lightly.”
“I’m not. I
considered her a moment. “You promise?”
Catherine met Jenny’s eyes
with a plea in her own. “Don’t worry.”
snorted. “Yeah, right.”
she didn’t say more about it, graciously allowing Catherine to shift
the conversation to Jenny’s latest beau and her plans for the holidays.
later, long after the work day ended, Catherine found herself hunched
over her kitchen table, neck and shoulders tight. Her eyes were bleary,
and the words of the Brewster case swam in circles before her, as
though miniature wings lifted the letters from the page and cast them
about to flutter and float in the air.
gave up, and began clearing the papers strewn about the table like
scattered remnants of snow.
To her right, on the chair, was the file folder, filled with photos
she’d purposely set aside, avoided, erased from existence…if only for
tonight. Now, she
lifted the file gingerly
between two fingers, and gathering the stack of papers, slid everything
into her briefcase to be dealt with in the morning.
there it was. Inside the inner pocket, hiding…almost forgotten. She’d
picked it up on her way back from lunch, and now, her eyes grazing its
soft edges, she pulled it from the briefcase, the dream once again
foremost in her mind.
Symbolism: Understanding Nocturnal
Visions. She flipped through the
half-heartedly searching, unable to admit to herself that she really was
rattled…despite her assurances to
Jenny…and to Vincent…that she was fine.
What an odd word.
Odder still was the sense she had in repeating it, which she did
now…over and over. Fine. Fine. I’m fine.
was she? That dark haired woman haunted her thoughts, popping up when
she least expected it. She couldn’t deny it. If Jenny and Vincent had
both experienced dreams…nightmares that led to terrifying results for
Catherine herself…could this dream, too, be an omen?
her head. No. Dreams are merely answers to
questions we’re afraid to ask. She skimmed the pages until
her eyes fell on the word death.
Here, she stopped and read more carefully. To
dream of your own death indicates…
tapping at the window pulled her from her chair, the book momentarily
forgotten as weariness rushed through her limbs, propelled her forward,
pushed the doors wide, and pressed her into his arms.
“I felt your
unrest. Are you all right?”
were firm at her back, and she leaned into them to meet his eyes.
ironic chuckle loosed from her throat. Fine.
“Yes. Just tired.”
tilted his head, his features tightening as he searched her face. She
could see it – the concentration, the determination to read her as much
with his heart as with his eyes. He delved deeply, penetrating her
barriers with little effort.
sighed. It was impossible to keep anything from him. Why did she even
try? Her shoulders sagged and she laid her cheek to his chest. His
heart beat softly beneath her ear, its steady rhythm lulling her into a
nothing, I…” She pulled herself from his arms and moved to the balcony
wall, her palms flattening on the cool stone. “I had a rough day. And
that dream last night…”
“It was more
than a dream.”
him a quick glance and a smile. “Maybe. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
Vincent stepped closer and leaned against the wall. “I’m concerned for
you. The terror you felt…awakened me from the depths of sleep.”
“I know. I’m
sorry. I didn’t mean…”
his hand over hers, transmitting warmth through the center of his palm.
“You need not apologize.”
more about this dream.”
nodded, leading him to their favourite corner and curling into his
arms. She filled him in quickly, leaving nothing out…all too aware how
the images she conveyed affected him. It was almost too much, to see
the worry in his eyes.
“Could it be
this case you’re working on? Is it possible you’re in danger?” he
asked, unable to hide the fear from his voice.
think so. I’m just doing preliminary work. It’s all routine.”
sighed. She could hear…feel…his
concern, his shoulder tight, the muscle rigid beneath her cheek.
if it’s not about me at all? What if…”
didn’t continue, Vincent took her hand in his own. “What if…?”
“When I saw
Jenny today, I remembered the dream she told me about…when…when we were
being watched. And you…you had a
dream, too, when Stephen…”
She shuddered, unable to recall her response to his dream – his fear
for her – without a deep sense of shame…even now.
“What is it,
Catherine? What are you thinking?”
back and met his eyes. What was it Vincent had said then? You
must have known.
me…after Stephen…that I must have sensed I was in danger.”
if this dream…isn’t coming from me?” She felt it then, the faint
fluttering of alarm in her belly, and quashed it quickly. A
dream is an answer to a question you’re afraid to
Vincent whispered, “It’s coming from me?”
His own fear
tumbled over her own, and she hugged him tightly. “I don’t know. Maybe,
but it could mean nothing at all.”
The words of
the book came back to her then, and she stood quickly. “Wait here. I’ll
be right back.”
ran into her apartment and grabbed the book from the table, and rushed
quickly outside, kneeling beside him. “I bought this book today…” She
showed him the cover. “I think…I think it said something about death
glanced up at him quickly, then returned to the book, finding the page
and reading the passage aloud. “To dream of your own death indicates
that something in your life is about to change. You are entering a
She felt his
fear dissipate at the same moment she squelched her own, and a small,
tremulous smile crossed her lips. Transition.
Well, that wouldn’t be so far fetched. There had been so many changes
lately. In her own life. In his. In theirs.
Yes, she liked the sound of that.
pulled her to him and hugged her tightly. “Then I will hope your book
is right, Catherine.”
take it with you, if you like.”
the top of her head. “Perhaps. But now, it’s late. You should rest.”
I go, I …” He let go of her and shifted to his hip. Catherine caught a
flash of orange, and knew what it was long before he extracted it from
the folds of his cloak. “I brought you this…”
was as beautiful as the one he’d presented her the year before…the hues
of orange and gold bright and shocking against the darkness.
She reached her hand to touch it, one finger tracing from the tip of
the soft waxy wick, to the lower border of the gold, where Vincent’s
hand prevented her moving further. She allowed her finger to linger at
his, smiling when he accepted her touch and clasped his hand fully
Vincent stood and pulled her to her feet. “What happened…last
night…after your dream…”
paused then, unable to finish his thought. Catherine watched him,
waiting…though she knew what troubled him. How could she not? She’d
been so surprised at first, to feel that rush of his emotions as he
woke, and then suddenly to hear his voice in her head. Last night,
she’d accepted it gladly…welcomed it…found comfort in it. His voice had
been a beacon, and she sought it out, turning it over and over until
finally, she sank once more into sleep.
it had happened again this morning. She’d just replenished her coffee
after that terrible hallucination had sent her running to the kitchen
to purge her mug, when his voice sounded in her mind.
was bewildering…and breathtaking. And while she hoped it would last,
she embraced whatever gift it represented, accepting whatever may come.
She set her
Winterfest candle aside, and squeezed his hand lightly between both of
her own. “Does it trouble you?”
smile passed over his lips. “I…no.”
He shook his head. “Not trouble. Just…”
breathed deeply and stepped back, as though physical distance might
loosen the ethereal tendrils of the bond. “Do you…can you…hear me…now?”
questioned his, and he focused intently on her face.
Try as she might, Catherine felt only the faint flutterings of a
heartbeat not her own.
But there was nothing more.
her head. “No.”
“Nor can I.”
He returned to her side.
“It makes no sense.”
know what to say, Vincent. I wish I did.”
snaked around her shoulder. “It makes no difference. We will take what
hugged her to him, and for many long minutes they stood in
companionable silence. Finally, Vincent extracted himself from her
embrace. With a sad
smile and an expression of love and promise in his eyes, he disappeared
over the balcony wall.