Reading Sundays: HAUNTED BY DREAMS (Part 4) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Helena had met Dr. Vanderzanden in a Statistics class she’d had to take for her Business degree. She’d been number-phobic and miserable, but wanting to be a good role model for her daughters, she forced herself to attend Dr. Vanderzanden’s office hours. And somehow, she managed to learn enough to pass the course and graduate.

Helena left university one week and took a job in the doctor’s office the next, throwing herself into the busyness of a popular practice, working overtime to pay back her college debts. But that is when the dreams started. Sleepless nights are hide to hard from a spouse, and Helena’s restlessness irritated Jake, perhaps because they impinged on his night-owl habits. Helena would slump in a corner of the couch, knocking back cheap red wine in the hopes that it would get her to sleep, while Jake glowered not ten feet away from her, chain-smoking in front of his computer, as he ground out his thesis.

“What is it this time?”

Helena paused in mid-sip. “I don’t know.”

“How can you not know?” he growled in a whisper.

What could she say? This time, the dream had been vague, dark. She’d been with Jake and two other couples, business colleagues. She didn’t know who these other people were, but she sensed that they were her colleagues rather than Jake’s. They must have been Mary Beth and Nancy Anne from the doctor’s office with their husbands or boyfriends. They were in his garden, the professor’s garden, that surrounded his palatial house on top of a hill. Gnarled trees surrounded them and the undergrowth hid a rushing stream that went down a slope into an artificial pool that everyone called “the tank”. The professor’s pool was murky, dark and sinister.

What could she say?