That is the Question

That is the Question by David Macfie

I’ve been having weird dreams. I don’t know where they came from, but everything in them has had something to do with ghosts and demons and sometimes angels. I’ve even dreamt about Satan. The dreams are frantic, scary and incomprehensible. They all end with me lurching awake with my heart fluttering in my chest like a trapped bird. It takes me forever to get back to sleep and I’m feeling frazzled and worn out.

During the day random dream images run through my mind. So, even when I’m awake I cannot escape. I feel as if I’m possessed by some malignant being that is trying to torture me. Or, perhaps it’s trying to tell me something. I don’t know and I don’t care, I just wish whatever it is would go away. It’s so bad, I’m even considering going to a shrink. Me, a lifetime sceptic, going to a shrink. Isn’t that ludicrous? It shows how freaked out I am. I’m staying up later and later to avoid going to sleep – it’s got to stop, and very soon at that. I can’t take much more.

Apart from this bizarre situation, I thought my life was going OK. I’ve got a good job and just been promoted. I’ve met a girl I really like. I’ve bought a nice apartment not far from my office and I’m going on an overseas trip to the USA in the summer. All that is great. I’d be really happy if it wasn’t for the crazy dreams.

* * * * *

Nothing has changed, so I’m at the shrink. I’ve told him everything and I’m waiting for him to speak. He’s staring into space with a frown on his face. That’s not a good sign. He looks as if this situation is out of his ordinary. OH, oh! He’s stirring. Maybe now there will be some words of wisdom.

“Garry, I must be honest with you. Your dreams don’t seem to be related to anything in your day to day life. That means that there is something in your subconscious that you haven’t shared with me that is behind this phenomenon. Can you think of anything from your past that was related to the types of characters in these dreams?”

He caught me off guard. I had to think deeply. Finally, I came up with only one thing.

“My mother was very religious. When she thought I was good, she’d say the angels would look after me and I’d go to God when I died. Of course, on the other hand, when she thought I was bad, she’d threaten me with demons and told me the devil would get me if I didn’t shape up. Is that the sort of thing you meant?”

“How long ago did you last experience the bad side from your mother?”

“When I left home five years ago. She wasn’t happy about it.”

“And has she brought that up again recently?”

“No, she hardly speaks to me any longer.”

That was the end of the consultation. The guy told me he couldn’t help me and my cynicism was restored.

Two weeks later, just after nightfall, there was a knock at my door. When I opened I saw a guy out of a Halloween party. Black shiny hair tied back to emphasize the widow’s peak. Chalk white complexion on his waxy looking skin. Coal black eyes with the narrowest white surround. Dressed all in black with a black cape to round off his ensemble. I choked back my instinctive snort of laughter.

“Who the hell are you?” I snapped, peevishly, not in the mood for practical jokes.

“Hello Garry. Did you like the dreams I sent you? Your reference to hell is singularly appropriate,” he replied in a voice that dripped scorn and derision. “I am Satan and I came for a little chat.”

I felt my jaw drop, lost for words.

“I hear you don’t believe in me and my more boring colleague,” he continued in a voice now laced with menace. So here’s my proposition. You may sell me your soul and reap rewards you cannot imagine in this world and the next or you can buy more trouble than you can imagine from now to eternity.”

I stared at him in shock and horror, with my vocal chords frozen. He impatiently prompted me.

Buy or sell? That is the question.”