LuckSon - A Dream Walker Novel

Chapter 3


LuckSon opened his eyes.  The morning sun filtered through the dust caked window of the pink bedroom.  He hadn’t realized how tired he was.  He must have slept since the previous afternoon.  He sat up and wondered where he was.  The smiling picture of the young woman in her red dress caught his glance. She seemed to greet him as he awoke.

“Well, good morning, Sunshine” he said remembering his dream from the night before.  “I guess I was more tired than I thought.  Thank you for sharing your bed with me and it was most pleasant to make your acquaintance last night.  You are quite the runner,” he laughed. 

Realizing he was talking to a picture, he sadly shook his head and said to himself, “Have I been alone for so long now that I am talking to long dead women?  Get a hold of yourself, LuckSon.” 

He reached down to his pack and pulled out his canteen of water.  Removing the top he took a careful sip.  Clean water was precious.  He hadn’t seen a spring in a few days, and he was running low.  He put the canteen on the floor next to his pack and stood up stretching.  His muscles felt stiff and tired.  “Funny,” he said out loud, “I would have thought that sleeping in a bed would make me more rested when I awoke.”

As he reached down for his pack, he accidentally knocked his canteen over and it rolled underneath the bed and out of view.  He quietly swore to himself as he knelt down to look for it.   It was dark but he could make out his canteen a few feet away from the edge.  It had rolled to a stop against a book.  He reached under the bed and pulled both the canteen and the book from their dark hiding place and stood up. Taking the book to the window, he examined it in the early morning sun.

It was a diary.

“Well Miss Stacy, looks like I found your diary” he sheepishly said. Part of him was curious and wanted to open it and read it. He looked over at the girl’s picture.  “I guess it wouldn’t be right to read this.”

The picture of Stacy looked back at him smiling.  Once again he imagined he could hear her voice chiding him.  Don’t be silly LuckSon. I’m long dead, remember?  If you don’t read it, then who ever will?

He felt a small pang of guilt as he looked at the book in his hands.  It was a simple diary with a pink cover.  He flipped it open and saw that the writing stopped about halfway through the book.  Closing it, he felt like an intruder in this girl’s life, but her imagined response had a good point.  There really wasn’t anyone else who would ever read it.  “Well, maybe I will read it as I travel.  In any event, I need to get going.  Thanks again for the hospitality, Miss Stacy. You have been a wonderful host.”

Placing the diary in his pack, he crossed the room and headed out through the doorway.  He walked down the hall to the kitchen, and turned left towards the front of the house.  As he approached the front door, something inside him warned him to be cautious.  That little voice had saved his life many times in the past, and he had grown to trust it.  So he froze, and listened.

Nothing.  He slowly lowered himself to all fours, and crawled through the dust to the front room.  Carefully he edged around the couch and looked out of the corner of the window. 

There he saw it.  Standing at the curb staring at the house was a slow mutie.  It was about six and a half feet tall and looked like a lobotomized mountain of a thing. All it was wearing was a pair of old blue overalls.  It wasn’t wearing any shoes and there was no shirt covering its broad shoulders or thick neck.  It just stood there facing the house. If he had walked out of that front door, that thing would have been howling and attacking him before he knew what was happening. 

Slow muties were like big lumbering humans without brains.  They wandered around eating whatever they could catch or scavenge.  They were deadly if they caught you.  LuckSon didn’t think he would be able to take one on.  They were so strong.  The bad thing was that when they saw you they would howl.  If there were any others around, they would all come running.  Suddenly, there could be a whole hoard of those things, each one with a murderous desire to kill and eat. 

A couple of years ago he had seen a mob of slow muties tear apart an old man in a large city.  LuckSon had been hiding in an apartment building when he heard the howls.  He had been too far away to do anything to save the poor soul.  All he could do was watch from his perch high above the street as dozens of slow muties swarmed all over the man.  It didn’t take them long and thankfully his death was quick; however LuckSon had seen enough to convince him he didn’t want anything to do with the monsters.

Seeing one standing outside the house scared him.  How had it found him?  Did it know he was inside?  What should he do?  Should he try and run out the back?  What if there were more? 

As he wondered what he should do, the slow mutie turned and shuffled off down the street.  It seemed to have made up whatever was left of its mind and determined that there was no one of interest in the house.

Well, that settled it.  LuckSon wasn’t going anywhere that day.  He decided it would be best to lay low and hide.  He crept back into the kitchen and retrieved a chair and a bottle.  Going back to the front room, he bolted the door, and then he placed the chair under the door handle to wedge the door closed.  Next he carefully balanced the bottle on the door handle itself.  If anything tried to come through that door, hopefully the chair would slow It down.  If not, at least the bottle would fall and break, alerting him. 

He carefully made his way back to the kitchen.  There was another door there that led into the back yard.  It had a window in the top half of the door that was covered by a thin lace curtain. He bolted this door, and then did the same thing with another chair and bottle.  That was as safe as he could make the doors. Then he decided he needed to hide somewhere.  He went back to Stacy’s room.  Ok, he thought, I guess this will have to do for a while.

He laid down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.  Great.  He was trapped in the yellow house, but surprisingly he felt safe.  “Well Miss Stacy” he whispered, “looks like I may be staying here for a while.”  He looked over at the smiling picture again.  “So tell me, am I safe here in Stacy’s Sanctuary?”

The smiling picture looked back at him.  Again he imagined her voice, just like she had sounded in his dream the night before. “You can stay here for a little while, but no place is truly safe forever.  Still, you don’t really have a choice, now, do you?”

“I guess not” he replied.  He reached for his pack and pulled out a can of beans.  At least he wasn’t going to go hungry.

 


“Stacy.  Stacy! Yo, wake up!”

Stacy blinked and looked up at Tony.  He was a short man with greasy blonde hair and a good sized belly.  His work attire consisted of jeans, a white stained shirt, and an even more stained apron.  Tony was the manager at the Burger & Fries Diner where she worked evenings.  “Sorry,” she said as she broke out of the trance she had slipped into. 

“Table four’s order is up. How about getting it to them while it’s still hot?  If they send it back, I’m taking it out of your pay!”

Stacy knew Tony wouldn’t really do that.  He was all talk.  Still, she hustled over and grabbed the plate from the window between the counter and the grill and hurried over to table four.  The guy sitting there gave her a smile and a wink as she placed the food on the table. 

“You want me to teach that guy some manners?” he asked.

Stacy smiled.  “Nah.  Tony is fine.  He’s all bluff.”

“Ok.  Just let me know,” he replied.  The man sitting there had a face that was scarred and pocked from what looked like a childhood of extremely bad acne.  If it wasn’t for the fact that his eyes seemed irresistibly pulled by gravity down to look over the rest of her, she would have thought he was being sweet, but she knew better.  This guy had more on his mind than chivalry.  It was sad that she had grown to accept that pretty much all men were jerks.  She knew she wasn’t bad to look at.  After all the male patrons she had waited on, and all the pick-up lines she had endured, their advances just seemed tedious to her at this point.

“Thanks,” she said politely and moved off to check on her other tables.  She tried to remain focused as she went about her work, but she was tired.  It was almost nine and she still hadn’t finished her English paper draft.  Well, at least she would be getting off work soon and could head back to the yellow house.

The last hour of her shift seemed to crawl by as she went through the normal routine of cleaning the dining room and preparing it for the next day.  Slowly the customers filtered out and soon she was alone wiping down tables and sweeping the floors.  As she cleaned, she would put the chairs upside down on the tables to mark her progress through the open dining area.

Finally, her shift ended at ten.  After finishing cleaning the dining room, she yelled goodbye to Tony who grunted at her and told her not to be late the next day.  Then she ran out to her VW Bug and fired up the engine.  She knew she had to move quickly to get home and study so she threw the car in gear and hit the gas.  She left the gravel parking lot in a spray of rocks, not noticing the man standing in the shadows by the large trash bin watching her leave.  After she had left, he waited a few minutes and then disappeared into the darkness of the woods behind the diner.

It wasn’t a long drive back to the yellow house.  She parked outside at the curb and raced up the sidewalk.  The porch light was on as always.  Mrs. Whitting left the light on for her so she wouldn’t have to stumble with her keys in the dark.  Ok. For a weird old crazy woman, Stacy thought to herself, she wasn’t that bad.

Turning her key in the lock, she opened the door and entered the house.  Once inside, she carefully locked the door behind her and walked to the kitchen in the back.  There she saw Mrs. Whitting sitting at the table and studying her bible as usual.

“Hey, Mrs. Whitting, how are you tonight?” she asked as she dropped her book bag down by the wall and went to get a mason jar and some lemonade.

“Humph” grunted Mrs. Whitting.  She was wearing her black robe over a T-shirt that read “Don’t mess with Texas.”

“Thanks for waiting up for me, but you know I am just fine coming home alone.”

The old woman looked up at her with a concerned look on her face.  “Oh, I know.  I know.  I was up studying anyways.  So, did anything odd happen last night?” she asked.

“Nope.  Just homework.”

“Strange” she whispered.  “It’s gettin’ closer.”

“What’s getting closer?” Stacy asked.

“Huh?  Oh nothin’ dear.  I just had a funny feeling late last night.  Must have been that cheap Mexican taco joint I ate at.”

Stacy smiled at her.  Mrs. Whitting only ate fast food tacos and canned food.  “Ok.  Whatever you say.  Anyways, I have to work on a paper tonight so I am heading to bed.  See you in the morning.”

Mrs. Whitting seemed lost in her own thoughts, so Stacy retrieved her book bag from the floor and made her way to her bedroom.  She could work on her paper in bed.

Soon she found herself sitting in bed with her laptop open.  She kept trying to write her paper, but her eyes seemed so heavy.  Maybe she should have gotten a coke instead of a lemonade.  Finally she gave up. She closed her laptop and curled up under her quilt.  Hopefully a few hours of sleep would help her feel awake enough to finish writing this evil paper, she thought.

She closed her eyes and was soon sleeping deeply.

 

Stacy dreamed.

She was back in the field from her dream the night before.  Again she felt this over whelming sense of dread and fear gathering around her.  The wind moaned and the tall grass seemed to beckon her towards the woods.  There was safety in the woods, she was sure of it.  Once again she began running towards the trees.  This time though, she remembered the face she had seen hiding behind the tree she was heading for.

When she saw the young man glance around the tree, she recognized the steel blue eyes and dark hair.   

“Hey, are you Stacy?” he asked as she raced up.

“Never mind,” she cried out.  “We have to run!”  She didn’t know why they had to run.  She just felt this incredible sense of urgency.  The danger was right behind her. She ran up to him and grabbed his arm and pulled. 

LuckSon didn’t know what to think.  He knew he was dreaming, but it felt so real.  The dream had started just like his dream from the night before. He was standing in the woods. He could hear the sounds of the leaves in the wind rustling.  The air was clear and cool where he stood in the shade.  He heard a noise coming from the field at the edge of the trees.  Somehow, he knew when he looked around the tree he was standing behind that he would see the young woman running at him.  He knew it would be the girl from the pictures in the pink room, but when she grabbed him and started pulling him, he was unprepared for how real it felt.  This is just a dream he told himself.

They both began running down a narrow path through the trees.  As her hand slipped from his arm to holding his hand, he suddenly became aware of the fear and sense of urgency pressing against them. 

“Who are you?” he asked as they raced through the woods.

“My name is Stacy, Stacy Torrence.  Who are you?” 

“My name is LuckSon.  I’m The Last, at least I thought I was The Last till I saw you.”

Stacy glanced over at him as they ran.  “The last?  What do you mean the last?”

“The Last.  The last man.  The last human.  The Last.”

“Well, you obviously aren’t ‘The Last’ if I’m here.”

They ran and didn’t grow tired.  They raced along the wooded path and burst out of the forest into a clearing.  In the clearing there were twelve tall stones all forming a circle. It reminded Stacy of a picture she had seen of Stonehenge only on a smaller scale.  They ran to the center of the stones and stopped.  The feeling of dread and urgency diminished.  It was still there, but it seemed to have been left behind in the woods.

Now that they weren’t running for their lives, Stacy had a moment to examine the man.  He was tall and skinny to the point where he looked like he could use to gain a few pounds. He was wearing dark trousers and a grey shirt.  His hair was a mess, and he looked like he could use a shave, but what struck her the most was his eyes.  He had the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen.

“This is the strangest dream” she said as she looked around.

LuckSon was beginning to think the same thing.  He looked at the girl in front of him. She looked just like the girl in the picture from the pink room.  She wore jeans and a yellow shirt.  He noticed that her brown hair had been cut and was now only shoulder length.  She was a lot shorter than he thought she would be.  He wondered if this crazy dream was being caused by that last can of beans he’d eaten.  It must have been a little too old.

“I agree, this is one strange dream. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that last can of beans.”

She looked up at him.  “Sure as gas follows beans” she whispered remembering the words of Mrs. Whitting.

“What?” he asked.

“Oh nothing.”  She looked at the tall stones that surrounded them.  “This place kind of reminds me of Stonehenge.  Look at these stones.”

Stacy walked over to one of the stones.  It was smooth to the touch and was colored grey like a winter cloud.  Now that she was closer, she saw that there was some kind of writing engraved into the face of it.  It was in some strange language that she couldn’t understand. The black letters spelled out the word: nibaa. Beneath the word was a single dot.

“Hey, do you know what this means?” 

LuckSon walked over and looked at it.  “No Idea.”  He walked to the next stone.  On its face was written the word bawaajige and beneath it was two dots. “Looks like there is a word engraved on each of these stones.” 

They slowly walked around the ring of stones looking at the strange words.  Bimose, Niibaashkaa, Onjibaa, mawadishiwe, Naniizaanad, Babaamaanimizi, Wiisagendam, Bimaadizi, Bimaaji, Giiwe. Beneath each word was an increasing number of dots until they got to the last stone.  The last stone had twelve dots beneath it.

“What do you think they mean?” the young woman asked him.

“Some kind of foreign language?”

“I’ve never dreamed in another language.  This is really cool” she said.

The man looked at the girl. She looked young.  He couldn’t help but think that she was absolutely beautiful. 

“There is something odd about this dream,” he said to himself.  It seemed almost real to him.  He turned away from the girl and examined the stone in front of him again.  When he reached out to touch the engraved writing, he could feel the smooth cold surface.  His fingers could trace the outline of the letters that had been engraved on its face.  It felt so real, he could have sworn that he was actually standing in the center of a ring of tall stones.

“Yeah,” she replied. “It almost feels too real.”

Suddenly there was a crash from the woods.  They both turned to see a tree coming to rest near the edge of the forest.  Whatever had pushed it over was coming towards them. The sense of fear and danger washed over them in a massive wave.  They both looked at each other in desperation. 

“What in the name of the Dark Death’s Maker was that?” he asked.

Stacy had no idea what he was talking about, but every instinct inside her told her they weren’t safe there.  There was another crash like the sound of glass breaking and they both turned to run.