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DAYTIME NIGHTMARES


Around three-thirty in the morning Dr. Svetsky left. He told Tom to get some rest. Tom knew the dream wouldn't come back so he went to bed.

At six-thirty his alarm went off. "Ugh!" was the best Tom could manage to say. He got up to shut off the alarm and get in the shower. "Wait a minute! This is Sunday. What am I doing?" He turned off the alarm and went back to bed. "Man, I hate when I do that."

What seemed like fifteen minutes later the phone rang. "Crap!" Tom grabbed the phone. "What?" he said, not too kindly.

"Well, somebody's crabby this morning," said Jenny, "Tough night?"

"Yeah. Why are you calling me so early?"

"Early? It's 11:15. You're supposed to pick me up for Matt's bar-be-que, if you're up for it."

Tom looked at the clock. It was indeed 11:15 and the bar-be-que was at noon. "Can we leave from here? I'll take a shower while you head over."

"Well, I promised to let my mom use my car today. Here's is in the shop. She could probably drop me off, though."

"That's all right, I'll be over in half an hour. Wear some jeans and bring your swimsuit." Tom rolled out of bed and got in the shower. Ten minutes later he getting dressed. Jeans, boots, and black tee shirt from the Rush concert; he was ready to meet anybody's mom. 'Mom's dig the biker look. I'm sure Mrs. Waled will be happy to let her daughter go with me. Yeah, right.' He grabbed his swimsuit, two helmets and his leather jacket and went out to his motorcycle.

Ten minutes to twelve he pulled up to the Waled's house. He'd never been here before, but recognized Jenny's Mustang. He parked his Harley Sportster behind it. He was reaching up to knock when the door opened. A short brunette lady opened the door. "Can I help you?"

"I'm Tom Victor. Is Jenny ready?" Tom reached out to shake Mrs. Waled's hand.

She looked at the hand with obvious disgust and maybe a little fear. "Jenny, there's a biker thug at the door for you," shouted Mrs. Waled up the stairs.

"I heard. I'll be down in a minute."

"Please come in, I guess."

"Thanks, Mrs. Waled. I'm really not a biker gang member, I just dress like one on the weekends."

"I'm sure you're a very nice young man. It's just not every day someone looking like you pulls up at my house."

"Tommy's very nice, mom. Just weird." She walked over and kissed him on the cheek. "I like him that way. We'll be back after dinner." She grabbed her jacket from the couch.

"Good-bye Mrs. Waled."

"'Bye. Take care of my daughter," said Mrs. Waled from the front porch.

"We'll be fine mom. See, he even brought me a helmet. Most guys don't even bring flowers." Tom backed the Sportster out into the street and Jenny climbed on behind him. She waved at her mom. Tom told her to hang on before he took off, taking care not to leave any rubber behind; he didn't want to freak out Mrs. Waled any more.

Tom was in heaven. He was riding his 1200 on a perfect day with a beautiful lady holding on to him. He was almost sorry to pull up at Matt's house. Several cars were already there.

He parked the bike and they dismounted. "I wish I would have worn a golf shirt or something to meet your mom."

"She'll get used to you. Just natural mom-instincts about new boyfriends and bikers." They could hear the music coming from behind the house and walked around the side.

A big dog was waiting at the gate. She barked at Jenny in a friendly way. Then she saw Tom and began to growl menacingly. Matt came from the back yard. "Down, down, Artie. Quiet!" The dog quieted down and backed away. Jenny and Tom came in through the gate.

"I don't think he likes me," said Tom.

"SHE likes everybody. You're the exception. Or that bike of your's is too noisy."

"'Artie' is a she?" asked Jenny as she knelt down to the dog. The dog came over but stayed away from Tom.

"Artie is short for Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt," explained Matt.

"Well, Artemis," said Jenny, "why don't you like Tommy? He's good, he doesn't even bite, much." Matt raised an eyebrow. Tom punched him in the arm.

"I didn't even say anything," said Matt while rubbing his arm.

"You didn't have to, I know how you think," replied Tom.

"Come on. The pool's warm and the beers are cold."

"We need to change."

"Don't you go changing just for me, Tom. I like you just the way you are," said Matt. "Go ahead, inside. I'm getting back in the pool."

Tom and Jenny went inside. Matt had a nice house, just the right size for a single guy in his late twenties. Tom found the bathroom. "You want to change first?" He turned to look at Jenny. She was wearing a black bikini. Tom's mind took a short vacation while he looked at her; she was so sexy it practically stunned him.

"Silly, I wore mine underneath. See you outside." She bounced out the patio door, grabbed two beers out of the cooler and headed for the pool.

"Wow!" was the only thing Tom could say. Then he went into the bathroom and changed into his swimsuit. He left through the patio door.

He went over to the pool and hopped in. He took the beer from Jenny. Six people were in there, counting Matt, Tom and Jenny. "This is Joyce, my fiance," said Matt, "and these two are Wendy and Derek Hershel. Wendy works in Design."

"Hi, pleased to meet you. This beautiful woman is Jenny and I'm Tom." Hands were shaken and toasts made to just about everything.

"Hey, Matt. Get this dog off of me before I drown in slobber." Everyone looked over to see Hank, Matt's neighbor, get assaulted, in a friendly way, by Artemis.

"See, told you. You're the only person she doesn't like," said Matt. "Hank, roll that grill in here so we can start cooking."

The day was great. People came and went. Matt and Hank were true suburban warriors, manning the grills with skill. Michelle, Hank's wife, brought over her potato salad and other food. Hours passed like minutes and too soon the sun was going down.


Tom left the house after going to the bathroom to change for the ride home. Artemis charged at him, barking. Matt leaned over the side of the pool and shouted, "Artemis, stop that! Right now!"

Tom crouched down, not quite sure of what he was doing. He looked at the dog, and started to growl. He was angry with this dog, it might try to hurt him. He growled louder and his teeth started to show. Artemis stopped. She looked at him, frightened.

He heard someone say something. "Tommy, stop that. You're going to scare the dog even more." Jenny was a little scared herself, she knew Tom hadn't been himself recently and she hoped this party would take his mind off some of his troubles.

"Come on, Artie. Let's go in the house." Matt pushed the dog towards the patio. "Damn, Tom. Lighten up, it's just a dog."

Tom shook his head to clear it. Jenny and the other three or four people still at the party were looking at him. "I was just messing with her a little," he said. He walked over to the pool, thinking, 'What the hell was I doing?' He looked up. It was still a little light in the west. In the eastern sky, the full moon was rising.

Matt came back from the house. "Sorry about that, man. I don't know what that dog's problem is about you."

"Nah, no problem. I shouldn't have antagonized her like that. I'm sorry." Tom looked at Jenny. "Ready?"

"Yes." She didn't sound happy. As they walked out of the yard, towards the bike she said, "What were you just doing?"

"I really don't know. It's like I wasn't me, just for a second."

"Well, it was really scary. And you weren't even asleep."

'I know,' thought Tom as they rode off, 'I know."


Tom rode home from the Waled's house. He had dropped Jenny off there. The cooling night air rushed past him, a soothing yet strangely invigorating feeling. He decided to take a long way home. There was a good road out there needing to be ridden.

After eleven Tom pulled into his apartment complex, feathering the engine to avoid waking the neighbors. He parked the Harley and climbed the stairs to the second floor. He wasn't really tired, just kind of mellow.

He grabbed a beer from the refrigerator. He twisted the top off and went over to the stereo. He looked over the CDs in the changer: Metallica, Ozzy, Seger, Neil Young. None suited his mood so he grabbed Brave and Crazy by Melissa Etheridge and put it in the last slot. He looked over at his answering machine as the CD started; one message.

"Tom, this is Dr. Svetsky. Please call me at home before you go to bed tonight. Thank you." Tom dialed the number Dr. Svetsky had left.

"Hello?"

"What's up, doc?" said Tom, "Sorry, had to say that."

"Hello, Tom. I called to remind you that this is the best night to try to take control of your dream. And provide some advice, if I can."

"Are you planning on coming over?"

"I don't think it's necessary or even advisable. Anything I could do would be too little or perhaps even counter-productive. I can monitor your dream more easily from here. I have certain," he paused, briefly, "resources here that are not easy to transport."

"Um, OK. What do I have to do?"

"Just remember, the wolf is part of you. It is a natural thing as well as supernatural. Do not try to destroy it. Instead join with it. Use your intellect to control its passion and instinct. In a dream, will is the ultimate power. Anything you can visualize can happen."

"So what should I visualize? What do I want to happen?"

"You want to join with the wolf archetype. Any way you can imagine that happening should work."

"And if something goes wrong?"

"I don't know what can 'go wrong.' I don't think the archetype has a will to dominate you with, it's only a manifestation."

"It could kill me. What happens when you die in a dream, doctor?"

"Don't let that happen. It hasn't yet. Good night, Thomas and good luck."

"Yeah, thanks doc. See you on the other side."

The Etheridge album ran out and Tom heard the familiar sound of "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. He knew exactly what song he needed to hear: song number nine on that same album. He set the CD player on repeat. His neighbors would think he was crazy for listening to "Of Wolf and Man" all night but it would help him visualize what he wanted to happen. He sat in the darkened living room to finish his beer and prepare.


The plain glowed argent under the full moon. A few clouds scuttled through the sky, so thin they would barely obscure the moon as they passed. Familiar scents passed in the wind. The pack was here, Tom-wolf could smell and hear them. Raw animal passion flooded him. The chase begins again.

Tom-man stood. He could hear the night world around him. It chirped and rustled. The moon was so bright he could see everything as if it were day. Its silvery light washed it all clean and clear and cold. He heard the pack howl in the distance. They were coming. He was ready.

The prey did not run. It stood naked, washed in quicksilver. The pack surrounded it carefully; prey that did not run was to be respected. If it did not flee, it would fight. Tom-wolf entered the circle cautiously.

The familiar scene replayed itself in front of Tom-man. Tom-wolf separated itself from the pack to face him as the others surrounded him. From nowhere he heard or thought:

Bright is the moon high in starlight. Chill is the air cold as steel tonight. We shift. Call of the wild.

The lyrics of the song ran through him as he saw what he wanted to happen.

The wolf sprang, teeth bared, aiming for the man's throat.

Tom caught the beast and embraced it. It writhed and twisted and clawed to free itself. Tom exerted all his willpower to hold it, even as part of him fought for freedom. 'Join,' he thought. He imagined himself and the wolf melting, running together into one being. He felt its passion, the powerful desire for freedom. Its hunger was nearly overwhelming. He slid to his knees and nearly lost his hold. The wolf tried to break free. He gripped it tighter and willed it to be part of himself. He absorbed its need to run, to be free. He recognized it as the sensation he felt on the back of a motorcycle late at night. He contained it and heard "So seek the wolf in thyself."

As he tried to absorb the wolf Tom felt he was being overcome as well. He could not contain all the wolf. He had to join it, he could not force it only to join him. They were flip sides, passion and intellect. He quit trying to consume it. He began to shape it, and himself.

From the battle arose a new being, containing the passion and formed by the intellect. The werewolf stood partially erect and looked around at the pack. Tom could see and smell the ones that were only part of the dream. He willed them away. A few remained. "Who are you?" he howled.

"We are wildsouls like you. All of us are brothers and sisters of the wolf spirit," howled back an old one, the leader. "You will find us or we will find you. But now, we run." The leader turned and the pack followed. Tom shaped himself into a wolf and followed, running free.


NEXT ISSUE: The Quest Begins

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