Local news was calling it a rain train. The city had been assaulted with consecutive thunderstorms for almost a full week soaking New York in what seemed like an eternal dampness. Dom’s Diner sat tucked and isolated under the elevated N train, an oasis in an urban jungle beckoning with it’s blue and red neon piping resting atop It’s grime filmed metal frame. Inside it was a slow night in Queens save for the few regulars who filled the vinyl booths good enough for business.
Kevin sat in his raincoat drinking bad coffee and eyeing the door. The greasy spoon’s sign outside reflected in every rain drop sliding down the windows against an urban night. His hands weren’t shaking but his insides were. He had been scared for so long now that jitters were so two weeks ago. He gripped the mug with more force than needed and he felt a trickle of sweat run down his temple.
Help me, the woman in the dream had said. This was the place. It had taken him a day or so but he hoped he found it in time. He needed to calm himself. He knew that coffee wasn’t going to help his nerves but he needed to stay awake. Kevin hadn’t slept more than ten hours in the last week but he needed to be here, needed to know if he was supposed to do something. If he could just find that out then maybe the dreams would stop. Maybe the dark man in the tall grass would go away. They were dreams, he kept telling himself, nothing more. Even though they didn't move like dreams. Not any more. His mind had become used these (night journeys?) Nightmares and whatever was getting through had numbed whatever receptors caused his normal dreams. That was how he saw it. Or at least told himself to see it. Normal dreams? It seemed like years ago since he had one of those.
Rain attacked the diner’s exhaust-aged windows in waving sheets. He took a moment to look around. To see if anything was happening that he could recognize. This was the Diner alright. He remembered the waitress. That strut, that rushed, New York gate, always running behind, especially when she drops the coffee mug on the floor, she is so quick to…
There it was. The coffee mug. As Kevin was thinking this, the waitress skipped a rushed step catching herself but losing the mug. It shattered on the worn linoleum floor and with a whispered curse she ran to get a mop. She will mop it, he thought, and sweep it up with impressive speed and then…
The rest didn’t matter. It was all just confirmation that this was absolutely from the dream. The dark man showed this to me, he thought, and shivers spread through his organs at the memory of those eyes. They stared into you, the color of solid gold. It was always night.
Eyes veined dark pink, temples throbbing deep aches against his brain, Kevin tried as best he could to focus. Damn it was hard.
“What do you expect?” He talked into his mug of coffee, “You won’t let me sleep.”
He looked up realizing he had just said this out loud and a sting of paranoia bolted through him.
But, it was more than paranoia. He was nervous and scared. He didn’t know how but he knew the dark man was watching. Or sensing...or...ah shit, whatever it was. He just knew that dirty golden gaze was following his every move. What did this girl have that he needed. What the fuck was he? It?
The dream would start filled with detail, rooms, environments, he could hear every sound as if he was there. People would even look right at him as if it weren’t a picture his brain was projecting. Also, every where his dreams took were places had never been before. The desert, a random Manhattan hotel, the inside of an ambulance, they had to be more than dreams. Right before the end of each dream everything would go blurry like a home video of a camera tumbling and going out of focus. There were always screams and the scent of hot iron. Blood. He knew her face. He didn’t know if she is what caused the screaming and the sprays of blood but that snarled confused and terrified face was burned into his brain.
He looked around again trying to get a fix on the situation. His eyes were so bloodshot and he felt his body begin to visibly shake. He was scared out of his mind. Kevin had no idea how this was going to play out and hoped he was alive when it was over.