Word Factory

Excerpt from Prologue of Dreamcast

From the beginning I was an unwilling witness of the horror.

Jenny alone in the darkness, crossing the playground where we had played as kids, where she ought to have been safe. Because of the familiarity she was confident, taking the shortcut home in the dark, having done so hundreds of times before. The lights of passing cars on the freeway stabbed into the darkness, rushed by, fading, leaving the darkness even deeper. Jenny squinted into the blinding glare and the dance of shadows casting the familiar into a play of confusion. Still, she was unafraid.

Yet evil lurked behind a sycamore, waiting for her to pass, then lunged, the weight bearing her to the ground. Like an enraged beast, the assailant struck her hard on the back of the head, pressing her face into the ground, stifling her screams. His arms flailed at her to beat her into submission. Helpless, pinned down with a rain of blows striking her, she tried to resist, but she was tiring, her energy soon spent. Her mind was in shock, not wanting to believe, incapacitated by the ferocity of the attack. Out of instinct, she fought on.

The predator grabbed a fistful of hair... She tried to scream. He kneed her and bit her lips, effectively smothering her cries. She clawed at him, tried bucking off his crushing weight. It had dawned on her that she was fighting for her life so she redoubled her efforts. But his violence was relentless. He laughed...

Something silver glinted in his hand, came down, piercing, cutting flesh, deflecting off a bone, severing the innards. The pain struck again, making a fresh entry into her torso. A headlight lit up the macabre scene. The knife poised above her; a sneering face scowled down at her; the mouth cruelly twisted in the pure pleasure of the kill. The eyes were blazing with violence. The predator had the victim in his uncontested power, and she awaited the final blow, the coup de grace. The knife came down sharply and the last remnant of her resistance collapsed. He howled, in triumph, in satisfaction, in defiance of all human feelings.

He wiped the blade on a shred of her clothes and cast the bloodied mess aside. He looked around in the darkness, waiting for a few cars to pass. The quiet reassured him...

In conclusion he howled again, quietly, a confident wail, pleased with himself. Then he slashed her throat. Blood drained from the gaping cut, painting the ground crimson.

“Jenny!” I screamed and startled myself awake. I stared into the darkness of my bedroom, listening to my own ragged breathing. It was a dream, wasn’t it? It had to be! Sweat was pouring down my face, and I was gasping for air. A cramp sat in my stomach, its claws twisting in my guts. “Jenny!” The anguish would not let me go. I tried to ease my breathing, taking regular sips of air. My every muscle ached as I tried to hold off the horror. “It was only a dream!” I insisted, trying to ease back into some normalcy.

Ever so slowly the knot in my stomach unwound, and the tension of my body let up. I could breathe again. Thank God, it was only a dream! But so vivid and detailed, I shuddered. Not something I wanted to remember. I wondered where I could bury the memory. Someplace where I would never stumble over it again. Deep in the subconscious, with all memory tracks that could lead me to it erased. Thank God, it was only a dream!

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