A Story by Jenny Leigh

Have you ever had a dream within a dream? When you wake up for real you're not sure if you're really awake. What if you couldn't wake up from your nightmarish world?

     Thomas Bradshaw was your typical blue collar family man. He thought he had the perfect life. A great banking job, a lovely wife, two beautiful daughters, a house, two cars, and a cat named "Miss Penny Whiskers". That was his youngest daughter, Melonie's, doing. She had stated that the Persian cat looked like a royal cat. His other daughter was Doris, and she was more of a tom-boy. She would rather be out climbing trees and catching bugs than playing with the cat and her sister. Candace, his wife, just loved being a stay at home wife and mother. What more could Thomas have asked for? Then as if fate had heard him ask that question, it answered him in the most unexpected way possible. He was on his way home when out of nowhere, an eighteen-wheeler ran a red light and t-boned Thomas' car. He didn't even remember it happening.
     He awakened with a fright, it was dark, and he didn't recognize the room he was in. He could hear faint beeping noises. "Was it and alarm clock going off?", he thought. As he listened he realized the sound didn't quite sound like an alarm clock. It was more rhythmic and higher pitched. Eventually it dawned on him that the sound was that of a heart monitor. "I must be in a hospital", he whispered. Then from somewhere in the darkness another voice sounded. It was more raspy and deep, it only said one word "Tom." Thomas thought to himself, "How does this person know my name?" Then he answered the voice and replied "Yes. I'm Tom." Again the voice only said "Tom." Thomas didn't know what to think or how to react. So he sat up on the bed and searched desperately for a light switch. While searching he thought he heard something rustling within the room. Squinting as hard as he could to try and see any kind of movement, he still couldn't make out anything but pitch black darkness.
    Suddenly, and as if from right next to his left ear, the raspy voice with a breath as warm as a humid summer night boomed his full name. "Thomas Anthony Bradshaw." With a screech, a jump from the bed, and a slight sprint, Thomas found the bathroom door. Quick as lightning he tore it open, flicked on the light switch, and the fluorescent lights blinded him to begin with. He thought he had seen something by the bed. As his vision began to clear the image was moving closer to him. It was grotesque. It's right leg was backward, the left arm was amputated almost to the shoulder, it was wearing what looked like a half ripped apart hospital gown, it was scared badly with cuts and what looked like burns all over its face and chest, the eyes were almost squinted shut, and the nose...dear God there was no nose just a hole in the face where the nose should have been. That's when Thomas realized that what he was looking at couldn't be what he thought it was. "NOOOOOO!!", he began yelling as he realized that IT wasn't moving closer to him. He was moving closer to a mirror.
     Thomas sat straight up in bed screaming "NO!" and grabbing at his head and face. Candace reached over and asked him if he'd had another bad dream. Looking around and seeing that he was in his own house, his own bed, and with his wife made him feel better. He laid down, kissed Candace gently on the forehead and simply said "Yes, but it's over now." He then got out of bed and went to check on the girls. Both of the girls were sleeping soundly as it was only two in the morning. Thomas then went down stairs to get a drink of water and calm himself before returning back to bed. He was also trying to remember how he had even gotten home that day, or what day it was. As he got to the bottom of the stairs he noticed something wasn't right. The front door was opened slightly. He quietly eased over to the front door and closed it, locked it, and then listened closely for any suspicious sounds. Hearing nothing, he then began to search around the house to see if anything was missing. Nothing seemed to be missing from the living room, the den, or the dining room. When he got to the kitchen, he noticed that in the knife block, the big chef's knife was missing. He opened the dishwasher thinking maybe it might be in there. It wasn't. So then he searched the kitchen drawers, without any luck as well. Grabbing the big boning knife, he hurried up stairs and started to quietly look through the rooms again to make sure someone hadn't sneaked up there. When he opened Doris' door she appeared to be sleeping. He eased over, checked her, and she was just fine. The same scenario in his other daughters room. He checked the hall closet, the guest room, the girls bathroom, and the playroom. 
     Finally he returned to his room where he found a dark figure standing over his wife, repeatedly plunging the chef's knife into her body. The room had been blood spattered on every wall, both lamps, the floor, and even the ceiling. Thomas yelled at the dark figure, and the man didn't even seem to notice Thomas was there. Thomas ran to tackle the killer and wound up falling straight on top of his dead wife's body. When he looked down, he was holding both knives and both were covered in blood. He turned around because he heard a noise, and both of his daughters standing there looking at him. He started to weep bitterly into his hands as he heard their tiny voices cry out "Why daddy?"
     The sound of the Train whistle made him jerk his head upright out of his hands. The tears were still running down his cheeks. "How did I get on this train?" Thomas thought, as he looked around the empty train car. It looked like one of those old fashioned train cars you'd see in the eighteen-hundreds. Thomas dried his eyes with the sleeve of his suit jacket, that he was now some how mysteriously wearing. He stood up and began to walk towards the front of the train, looking for any sign of another human being. Just as Thomas got to the front of the car, he heard a loud crash come from the front of the train. The sound of splintering wood and it roared down the side of the train as it clattered along. He rushed as fast as he could to the front of the train to see if he could find the conductor. To his surprise, there was no conductor and the train was barreling straight for the unfinished portion of a bridge over looking a very deep gorge. There was no escape from the front of the train, so he ran back to the car he had just been in, ran all the way to the rear of the car, opened the back door as he felt the train begin to topple over the end of the bridge, he  jumped with all his might, closed his eyes, reached out and felt for anything to grab.
     In his hand he felt what felt like a thread or a weed of some sort, so he pulled it. Suddenly there was a jerk to his entire body, which caused his eyes to snap open. He was floating down through the air with a parachute on. There were others around him as well with parachutes and army gear. Thomas looked down and to his shock, he too was wearing army gear. To make matters worse, he was floating down over a jungle below. The next thing he knew he was on the ground and along with the other military guys, they were walking through all kinds of mud and muck as quietly as possible. Suddenly one of the guys held up his arm with a closed fist. All the other guys stopped in their tracks. Then the guy with his arm up, made another motion and everyone dropped flat of their stomachs and began to crawl through the mud. Then he saw why. Just ahead, maybe seventy-five yards was the enemy. There was maybe twenty of them standing around three jeeps and armed with all kinds of guns and weapons. Then without warning, Thomas sneezed. There was no way to suppress it, or silence it. He didn't even realize it was going to happen until it came out. The next thing he knew, they were being shot at. 
     Bullets whizzed by his head. Grenades went off just a few yards from where he was laying. Thomas didn't know what to do. He had never shot a gun in his life. All the men that were with him were being killed or wounded. The enemy was now coming straight toward him in the jeeps and on foot. Thomas stood up, lifted the gun, squeezed the trigger, and the gun fired so violently it knocked him to the ground. He through the gun down, got to his feet, and started to run away from the fighting. Then there was a hot, sharp, burning pain in his chest. He looked down and to his horror realized, he had been shot. There was pain, then numbness, then he can see fire and hear screams. But he doesn't see the jungle any more. Is this another nightmare? "DEAR GOD, LET ME WAKE UP!!" Thomas screams.
     The doctor pronounced the time of death for Thomas Bradshaw at 4:45 p.m. He said that he had done all he could but with no living family members to keep him on life support, there was no reason to resuscitate Mr. Bradshaw. The nurse asked what had happened to such a young man? The doctor said he was brought in after a car accident, when an eighteen wheeler hit him. Noone knows for sure the exact reasons why he did what he did. He was speeding and ran the red light which caused the accident that put him in his coma. The reason for his speeding was he had just murdered his entire family. The police found out about the murders after the accident when they went to inform his wife. The front door was opened slightly. Apparently he strangled his daughters and then stabbed his wife to death with two different knives. A chef's knife and a boning knife. The doctor then looks at the nurse and says "Well at least he's in a better place now".  

© 2016 Jenny Leigh

Author's Note

Jenny Leigh
I am deliberately vague in my description of characters. I like for readers to be able to decide what the characters look like in their own minds.

My Review

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The first half of your story I fell in love with. That's exactly how you write a horror story when you only have so much to work with. Thank God that I didn't read the hospital scene in the dark. That's how creepy I found it to be, so amazing job. I literally shivered with the mirror part.

The second 'dream' with the knives also gave me goosebumps. It made my heart pound as he was searching all of the rooms. When he trips over the body and looks down at his hands I thought, "Wow, this person knows how to write a good thriller."

The ending itself wasn't all that surprising, but at the same time it was. Let me explain. It didn't surprise me one bit that that's what was occurring, but, because I was so engrossed in the story, it never really crossed my mind until I arrived at it.

I do have one question, though. I pretty much understand every "dream" of his up until the final one: was that his own personal hell after dying in the hospital?

Overall, I'm a total sucker for horror stories, so I loved it. I didn't think I would enjoy it so much, but I did.
If you write anything else in the horror genre (or even mystery, psychological, or thriller genre), then feel free to let me know and I will check them out.

Keep up the good work!

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Oh, it was my absolute pleasure!
Cool, I would love to read more of your horror/thriller stor.. read more
Jenny Leigh

4 Years Ago

Working on one right now. Should be ready hopefully by the end of the week.

4 Years Ago

Sounds wonderful! Take your time.
Let me know when it's posted and I'll be happy to check it .. read more
Jenny, wow. Heart-pounding tension and an unexpected ending. I really enjoyed the story. And I agree with you about describing characters. Novels/stories that go on and on about clothing and hairstyle bore me. If the clothing doesn't give me a clue as to the character's essence I don't need to know it.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Jenny Leigh

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much Stanley. In the past, I have made the mistake of rambling on way too much on detai.. read more

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2 Reviews
Added on August 26, 2016
Last Updated on September 28, 2016
Tags: Dark


Jenny Leigh
Jenny Leigh


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