LuckSon woke up with the full sun in his eyes. It was late morning; he must have dozed off. He rolled out of Stacy’s bed, and crouched down on all fours. Even though he doubted he would be seen, he didn’t want to risk anything. He reached for his pack, and pulled out his knife from where he had left it the night before. The hunting knife looked small to him now. It was only four inches long. How would he be able to fight off one of those things with this, he wondered?
He slowly crawled from the room and into the kitchen. The sun was shining in the windows. He made his way to the big glass window by the kitchen table and peeked out from the corner. Nothing looked amiss. The back yard was still there, small and overgrown with weeds and tall grass. Ok. Good. Nothing exciting to see here. Perfect.
He then crawled towards the front room. He noticed his own tracks in the dusty floor and the broken bottle from the night before. “Yes Stacy,” he whispered. “You really have to talk to your maid. This place is a mess.”
He slowly approached the front window and went to the far corner. He hoped that the tattered curtains would hide him as he slowly raised his head to look outside. Even though he didn’t think the slow mutie could see him while he was well hidden in the yellow house, he didn’t want to take any chances. He looked right and then left. Nothing. It looked like the monster must have given up and gone back to wherever it sleeps for the night, or the day, or whatever.
He was about to stand up when movement caught his eye. About five houses down and across the street, standing in the front yard by a tree was the slow mutie. It seemed to be just staring at the front door of the far house. LuckSon swore under his breath. Isn’t there another perfectly good neighborhood that thing could haunt? Ok, well, no sense trying to go out the front.
He crawled back to the safety of Stacy’s bedroom and sat with his back to the dresser, facing the bed. Taking stock of his situation, he thought he had enough water to last two more days. If he drank the juice that the peaches he had found were canned in, he could maybe make it three. He had plenty of food thanks to the cans he had found, but water was going to start being an issue if he couldn’t get out of there. Maybe if he waited till the afternoon, the brain dead thing would leave.
He glanced over, and saw the girl’s diary laying on the ground. It must have fallen out of his pack when he was fumbling for his knife the night before. He reached for it and picked it up. With the slow mutie out there, he didn’t have much choice but to stay hidden, which meant he had a long boring day ahead of him. Maybe he could read just a little.
The diary was about halfway filled. It looked like she had been pretty good at writing once a week. Glancing through the old yellowed pages, he scanned entries about going to college and finding a job as a waitress. Typical things for what a normal life used to be like.
At times LuckSon wished he had lived back then. He had never had a normal life. For as long as he could remember he had been on the run avoiding the slow muties. He could still remember his mother. She had been normal. They had run together from town to town, searching for food. She had always told him he was lucky to be alive and normal. In fact, that was why she had nick named him LuckSon. His real name was Brian Kingfisher, but that name was almost forgotten now. Now he just thought of himself as LuckSon, or The Last.
Then one day, his mom had told him to wait while she went out looking for water or food or something. He had been maybe sixteen. He waited and waited for her. She never came back. The slow muties must have got her. He had hated them for it, and feared them.
After about three days, he had run out of water and had gone out to try and find her. He found water and he found food, but he never found her. As he thought about it, he could feel the old bitter anger building inside himself. He was angry at the slow muties because he was pretty sure they had killed her. He was mad at her for leaving him alone in this crazy husk of a world. And deep inside, he was angry at himself.
It should have been him that day. He should have gone out and let her stay home. Then maybe they would both still be alive. Instead, he found himself alone, in a yellow house, scared to death of the slow mutie outside, and wondering what on earth to do next.
He flipped to the end of the written part of the diary and froze. His hands started to shake as he read the last entry.
November 12 – Last night I had the strangest dream. I can’t remember much about it, except this really scary sense of doom and dread. And there was a feeling of urgency, like time was running out. There was also this guy. I’ve dreamed about him the past two nights in a row. He had the coolest blue eyes. In my dream his name was Luck Some. What a strange name. Oh wait, he also told me he was the Last. Then there was this loud crash and I woke up scared to death. What a crazy dream!
Anyways, I better get working on my essay. It’s due today.
Wait a second. He read it over and over again. How could his name be there on the page? He remembered the dreams of the past two nights. Was he going crazy? Was it all his imagination? And yet, there it was, in the girl’s own handwriting right in front of his eyes. It even included the nick name he had given himself: The Last. Had he told her that last night?
Yes, the more he thought about it, the more certain he was. What in the name of the Dark Death’s Maker was going on? How was this even possible?
LuckSon slammed the diary’s cover closed and threw it on the floor. It slid across the room and came to rest against the wall beneath the window.
Ok. Breathe. He looked up at the picture of the young woman in the red dress. She was smiling away like everything was normal. “Miss Stacy, I am going to count to three. Then I am going to open that diary, and turn to the last written page, and it’s going to talk about school, or work, or something, and then I am going to close it and never ever look at it again.”
He reached out with trembling fingers, retrieved the book, and opened to the last entry. It still read the same. It was still about him and the dream he had the night before. “What is going on?” he whispered. “This isn’t possible.”
He looked back up at the smiling picture, and almost could hear her say “Don’t worry. It doesn’t bother me that you are reading my diary. I’m long dead, remember?”
It was late, almost time to close for the night and Stacy was exhausted. What a day! She had finished her essay draft and turned it in on time only to have to race back to work for a six hour shift. On top of that the dinner rush had been extremely heavy so now she found herself feeling exhausted and dead on her feet.
Thankfully it was almost ten, the diner was practically deserted and she would be able to head home soon. She only had one table left. The guy seemed preoccupied and was barely even eating his burger. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t place him. She decided to give him a gentle nudge and see if she could help speed up his departure.
She walked over to his table. “How was everything?”
“Great. Everything was great,” the man said. “So, is Tony behaving today?”
Stacy smiled as she remembered the man from the night before. He was the guy with the scars and pocked face. “Of course. Tony is a sweetheart.” She laid the check down in front of the man. “Just let me know when you are ready.”
“Oh, I was born ready Stacy” he replied with just a touch of menace to his words. “I’m always ready.”
The way he said it while he stared into her eyes sent a chill down her spine. She quickly turned away and went towards the back grill and counter. She could almost feel the stranger’s eyes on her as she went through the swinging door and into the kitchen. Tony was in the back cleaning the grill.
She took a deep breath. “You are just jumpy and tired,” she told herself. She grabbed a broom and swept the floor for a few minutes to allow herself time to catch her breath. “Ok, stop being such a sissy,” she quietly said to herself. “Go out there and get the guy’s check.”
When she went back into the dining area, the man was gone. He had left twenty dollars on top of the bill which was more than enough to cover the cost of dinner and to leave a good size tip. Maybe she had misjudged the man.
After clearing the table, she finished cleaning up and closing down the dining room, then yelled back at Tony. “I’m heading out!”
“Hold a sec!” Tony hollered back. The light in back turned off and he came out through the swinging door. “I’m done too. Let me set the alarm and we can head out together.”
“Sounds good.” Stacy didn’t want to admit it, but after waiting on the strange man, she felt a little nervous walking out to the dark parking lot by herself. Tony quickly punched in the code for the alarm, and they both left through the front door. He turned to lock the door, and Stacy headed for the parking lot.
As she approached her bug, she looked around. Tony had just finished locking the door with his key and was heading towards her. The only cars in the parking lot were her VW bug and his old mustang. Everything looked normal. Sure it was dark back here, but it was just like it had been every other night she had closed the diner. She eyed the dark woods at the edge of the parking lot and got a creepy feeling. Was there someone back there?
She quickly said goodbye to her boss, then got in her car and revved the engine. Waving to him as she put it in gear, she took off in a spray of gravel and headed back to the yellow house.
By the time she pulled up, she had forgotten all about the diner. The porch light was on when she walked up to the door. While mounting the stairs, a thought occurred to her: I wonder if I will see him in my dreams again tonight. “That is the corniest thing I have ever thought,” she said out loud.
She unlocked the door and went inside. Sitting at the kitchen table was Mrs. Whitting. She looked up and then went back to her bible studies.
“Hey Mrs. Whitting. How are you doing?”
“Right. Well, I’m exhausted and heading to bed. See you tomorrow.”
Ok, she thought. She walked through the kitchen and headed for her room. As she got ready for bed, she kept yawning. Man, she was tired. Lying down on her bed, she felt her bed envelope her and welcome her into its warm blankets. She fell asleep almost immediately.
She was sitting at an outside café somewhere in a big city. There was a jar of lemonade sitting on the small round table in front of her. Looking around, the streets were deserted. It was strangely quiet. She could hear the wind as it slowly blew through the streets. There were no other people. She felt very alone.
“Stacy!” a voice called to her. It echoed on the empty streets around her. She turned around and saw LuckSon running up to her panting and flushed with excitement. He was wearing the same grey shirt and dark trousers from the previous night’s dreams. As he ran up, his footsteps echoed strangely off the empty buildings.
“Hi there,” she smiled. “You have a strange way of showing up in my dreams lately.”
LuckSon sat down in the chair across from her and stared at her. She couldn’t help but think he was very handsome.
“Yeah. That is kind of weird huh. To tell you the truth, you keep showing up in my dreams too.” He reached around for his pack, and pulled out a steel water container. He untwisted the cap and took a small sip. “This is much better than the last dream. No monsters. No scary premonitions. Just hanging out in…empty-ville.”
She looked him in the eyes. “So, who are you Luck Some? And why do you keep showing up in my dreams? Am I going crazy?”
“No, you are not going crazy. At least, if you are, then we both are.” He looked away and was quiet for a moment, then he said, “I don’t know how to tell you in a way that you will believe me. I’m not sure I believe it myself.”
He glanced around nervously at the empty city street. He was looking for something.
“Ok, well, I am the last human alive as far as I know.”
“This dream is so screwed up.”
“Seriously. I am the last person alive. I’ve been on my own now for the past five years. I haven’t seen another soul for two years or so, I guess.”
“I’m alive, and I know lots of people who are alive.”
He looked sadly at her. “They are alive in your now, but when I come from, everyone is dead. It’s just me and the slow muties.” LuckSon looked around again.
“What are you looking for?” she asked him.
“The muties. I recognize this street now. This is where I first saw the slow muties kill a man. I don’t think we are in your dreams tonight. I think you are in mine. This is a place I’ve had nightmares about before, but I think we are safe for a bit. Let me tell you what I think is happening.
“Somehow I am finding my way into your dreams, and you into mine. It started a few days ago. I was looking for food, and came across this yellow house. I went inside because I liked the color. I found your room, and I saw a picture of you on a fridge. I fell asleep in a pink room with ‘Stacy’s Sanctuary’ written on the wall above the bed. That was the first night I saw you in my dream in a forest. Then the next night you were there to warn me about the slow mutie outside. Turns out it is hunting me, so I’ve been hiding in your room ever since.”
“Wait a second,” she interrupted. “This doesn’t make any sense. I haven’t seen you in my room.”
“I know. Look, I live in a year long after you are dead. I don’t know the exact year, but I think it is around 2050 or so. All I know is that everyone is either dead, or they’ve changed into those mindless monsters. It’s all because of a disease called the ‘Dark Death’. It has killed everyone, or turned them into slow muties. That’s what I call them, although honestly, they aren’t that slow at all. They are pretty damn fast to tell you the truth. And if they catch me, they will kill me.”
“Wait, what is a slow mutie? What are you talking about?”
“They are serious bad news. Like man made zombies. The Dark Death has eaten away large parts of their brains, the parts that made it so they could think and feel. They used to be human, but now they-”
A noise sounded off in the distance. It sounded like a falling rock. LuckSon looked up and around.
“This is the weirdest dream I have had yet.” Stacy said to herself. “So what is the Dark Death?”
“It’s a type of virus or disease. It kills everyone. Well, almost everyone. The few who survive are either left as slow muties, or are immune to diseases like I am. I’m the last whole survivor, as far as I know. Stacy, I’m telling you, it kills everyone in the world!”
LuckSon paused for a moment as Stacy looked at him, not sure what to think. “Look, I don’t think this is an ordinary dream.” LuckSon began to speak louder. “I mean, I have your diary Stacy. I read about how you moved into the yellow house in your last summer because it was cheap rent, and how you got a job at some diner. And in the last entry you wrote about me and how you were dreaming about me two nights in a row.” He hesitated, and then almost to himself he added, “That’s a strange place to end your diary by the way. I wonder why you don’t write anything else?”
“Look, if you are just a figment of my imagination, you would know all about what I have written,” she replied.
“I told you it was hard to believe, but it’s true. I’m not just your imagination. Somehow I am seeing you in your dreams in the past.” There was another noise a little closer. LuckSon started to stand up, but then sat down again. He was getting even more nervous and he could feel his heart beginning to race. This wasn’t good.
“So, where are you now?” she asked. “In real life that is.”
LuckSon blushed. “I’m hiding in your bedroom in your future. Like I said, there is one of those slow muties outside and I think it’s hunting for me. So I can’t get out. I used up all my ammo a few days ago, so now all I have is this.” He pulled out a hunting knife. “I don’t think it will be enough to kill it. So I am kind of trapped.”
There was a crash down the street. LuckSon jumped to his feet and swore. He reached out and grabbed her hand pulling her out of her chair. “Remember how before you felt like we were in danger and needed to run?”
“Well, that was nothing.”
A long mournful howl sounded in the distance. It seemed to echo off the buildings of the city. The sound filled her with a deep sense of fear.
“By the Maker of the Dark Death!” LuckSon cursed. He began pulling on her arm.
Stacy looked behind her, and saw it. It was a block away. It looked like a huge lumbering man. It was wearing torn jeans, but no shoes or other clothing. Its neck was bigger than its bald head, its broad shoulders making the top of it look almost like a flattened triangle. The thing lifted its nose and seemed to be sniffing. Then it started stumbling towards them. It howled again, and there was an answering howl off to their right.
“You have to believe me, Stacy.” LuckSon begged as he spun her around to look at him. “The world ends as you know it. Life ends as you know it. The Dark Death takes everyone! All that is left is a bunch of canned food and those things and me.”
LuckSon wasn’t trying to run anymore. He was just standing there.
“Shouldn’t we run?” she cried.
“It’s too late. I’ve had this nightmare over and over again. No matter where I run, I am soon surrounded. Then I wake up right as they get me.”
She frantically looked around and saw more and more of the monstrous things. Some were big, some were small, all of them wore scraps of clothing. They were all howling now, and getting closer.
“Forgive me!” shouted LuckSon over the noise of their howls. Then he drew his hand back and slapped her across the face.
Stacy woke up with a start and sat up straight in bed for the second morning in a row. Her sheets were soaked in sweat and her heart was racing. That had been the worst nightmare she had ever had. What in the world was going on with her? What were those things? Was she going completely crazy? She turned on the light by her bed and looked in the mirror. It was then that she saw the right side of her face. It was bright red and still stung from where the man from her dream had slapped her.
She felt the hair on the back of her neck and arms stand up. Her fingers slowly went up and touched her face. “That’s not possible” she whispered. “That wasn’t real.”Again she looked in the mirror. The right side of her face stung. It was bright red and her right eye was tearing up a little. “He slapped me awake, and I can still feel it. How can that even be possible? Who was that guy?”
Dream Walker Novels