The Dream Detective by Doug McGovern
What exactly are dreams?
What strange and mysterious fibers connect dreams to reality? Where do dreams begin and end? And can dreams possibly alter reality?
One man is about to find out.
When a sleep experiment suddenly leaves Able with the power to enter others’ dreams, he initially marvels at his newfound ability. Then he learns the truth: he is not alone as he explores the land of the sleepers. For reasons unknown to him, a deadly adversary is eagerly pursuing him, determined to close the distance before Able can escape to the waking world.
Soon Able finds himself being chased through one horrific nightmare after another in a fight for his life. And, as he runs, he searches for answers to the questions that constantly plague his thoughts…
Who is after me? How can I stop him? What if I can’t?
And perhaps the most intriguing question of all…
What if this is all a dream?
Targeted Age Group:: General mystery, any age
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 1 – G Rated Clean Read
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Nothing intrigues me more than a good mystery, especially one set in the strange world of dreams!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of my characters are based upon people I meet in my real life. Then I tweak them by adding just enough backstory and depth to tell a complete story.
Dr. Sarah Russel walked into the stainless steel room smelling of roses and midnight rain. Her sharp, brilliant face, glowing with a beauty that could cut a man in half at ten paces, was serious and upset. She stormed up to the steel table I was sitting on holding a gray clipboard in her angry hands. I wanted to tell her how beautiful she looked in her white lab coat. I wanted to admit that the way she kept her silk black hair in tight ponytail drove me crazy. But I didn't. I kept my mouth shut.
“You are resisting,” Sarah snapped at me in a thick Spanish accent laced with bitterness and impatience.
I kept my eyes low and slowly began kicking my heels against the bottom of the steel table. I felt vulnerable and exposed in the silly, gray medical gown I was wearing. Even though I looked tough with short, blond, messy hair and a fighter's face that didn't back down from any one, on the inside I felt silly and weak sitting in a dumb room being fussed at by a woman I was in love with.
“It takes time,” I finally said in a controlled voice.
Sarah tapped the clipboard in her angry hands. I looked up. The first thing I noticed was that she had painted her fingernails a dark green. Dark green meant serious business.
“The readings from your EEG indicate that you are rejecting the serum. You are not transferring your mind into the Delta waves zone and entering into a deep sleep and—”
“I don't need a scientific lecture about sleep,” I interrupted in a voice littered with irritability. “Sarah, the brain and the mind are two separate worlds. Believe it or not, I can put my brain into a deep sleep and yet remain fully awake in my mind.”
My interruption didn't please her. She tapped the clipboard again; this time even harder.
“You are toying with the research!” she snapped. “Able, you are costing time and money. You are also, quite frankly, acting like a jerk.”
I continued to kick the steel table with my heels. I focused on Sarah's clipboard. “I'm sitting in this room against my will,” I reminded her. “I came to this center because I was having trouble sleeping. You people began using me as a lab rat, injecting me with that serum of yours and busting my…” I took a deep breath. “And now you're upset because I'm not moving my pawns into the spaces you want me to.” I waited for her to come at me again. When she remained silent I continued. “I want to go home.”
Sarah glanced over her shoulder and then lowered the clipboard.
“You have been given a special gift, Able,” she replied in a voice that was suddenly caring and full of compassion. “You were…you have the ability to travel into the dreams of sleeping people. All the Center for Sleep and Dream Research and Development wants to know is how?”
Sarah shook her head no.
“If only the serum was the key,” she said, glancing over her shoulder again. I guess she was expecting Dr. Taylor Redwood. “The serum I administered into your system as you slept was designed as a hypnotic formula. I programmed sleep commands onto a liquid metal data disk. The disk was then bathed with a potent nerve growth factor developed to aid the cerebral cortex. It’s science, not magic.”
“Somehow you must have altered my neurotransmitters.”
“I was focusing on your modifiable synapses,” Sarah explained with a hint of regret in her voice. “I wanted to implant the sleep commands into your subconscious memory. My intent was to make your unconscious mind as aware as possible while temporarily altering the state of your brain by injecting the hypnotic commands into your subconscious memory that would assist in your battle against insomnia.”
“Thanks a lot,” I said and stopped kicking my heels against the steel table. “So, dinner is off tonight?”
Sarah let out a disappointed sigh. “I am very angry with you, Able.”
“Because you have a gift and you are making a mockery of it,” she told me, her voice slowly becoming bitter and angry again.
I lifted my hands and aggressively rubbed my unshaven face. “I want a shower and a hot meal. I could care less about my so-called gift, Sarah. Before I came to this center, before I met you, I was just a simple street cop living in a crummy apartment. Now I'm this 'prodigy' that you and your staff of weirdos can't seem to get enough of.”
“We will try the experiment again,” Sarah said in a stern voice, losing her compassion. “Dr. Redwood is not pleased. He will not let you leave this room until you infiltrate the dreams of the person sleeping in the room next to you. Period.”
I simply nodded my head. “Looks like I'm going to go to bed hungry tonight,” I told her and leaned back on the table. I shoved a white pillow under my head. “Too bad. I was looking forward to a greasy cheeseburger and a milkshake.”
“Jerk,” Sarah snapped at me and marched out of the room like the androids marching around the city I called home, recording every citizen under the guise of 'National Security'.
“Love you, too, sweetheart,” I said in a cheesy, 1950's voice even though the year was 2051. I closed my eyes and thought of what it would have been like to live back then…drive-in's, malt shops, jukeboxes, hot rods, drag races, rebels wearing leather jackets, pretty girls, and mom's meatloaf every Tuesday night. But I was stuck in a year filled with robots, flying cars, hologram rooms, space travel and a world nearly entirely controlled by computers. Real science fiction stuff to the folks back in the 1950's but normal, every day stuff to the zombies living in 2051.
“The technician will be in to inject the serum in five minutes,” a hard, male voice said through an overhead speaker. “I advise you, Mr. Fleishman, to go to sleep and do as you are asked.”
“Hey Dr, Redwood, can you ask Jack to bring me a strawberry shake? I'm kinda getting hungry,” I called out and then grinned. Annoying Dr. Redwood soothed my need to seek revenge against the center that was currently holding me hostage. “It's going to be a long night and I need some fuel.”
Dr. Redwood didn't answer me. But I knew that the tall, thin, man that reminded me of a creepy mortician was standing in a sterile control room gritting his teeth; a control room filled with computers, monitors and other lab equipment that confused the living daylights out of me. I was a simple street cop that barely understood how to operate a design a program for a hologram room. I wasn't “Collective Minded”, as the younger kids would say. I was still thinking like a “Radical”, who believe that independent thought actually allowed intellectual growth. The type who didn’t like the idea of having an “Intelligence Chip” injected into my brain. There were already too many robots in my city.
I left my eyes closed and walked my mind outside into the night. A heavy rain was falling over a gray, overpopulated city lined with endless skyscrapers lit up with bright lights that dropped down onto crowded streets filled with robotic, hovercraft taxi cabs carrying the good and the bad, mostly the bad, through the rain to their various destinations. The city I called home had no soul. For some reason, tears began falling from my eyes. “I can't live like this,” I whispered, “I have to change…what is.”
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