Night After Night by Henry Bladon

So, what seems to be the problem, Joe?’

‘I have this recurring dream about killing Doug.’

‘Doug?’

‘He’s my neighbor.’`

‘I see.’

‘I dream about killing him and burying him under the floorboards of my dining room.’

Dr Harrison nods. ‘That’s naturally upsetting. Recurring dreams are pesky at best, but in your case, I would say somewhat disturbing.’

‘Yeah, disturbing. That’s a good way of putting it, Doc.’

‘How long have these dreams been troubling you?’

Joe looks around the room before answering, taking in the diplomas and family portraits. ‘Well, I would say about two months now.’

‘Well,’ starts the psychiatrist. ‘Dream analysis often provides us with insight into the anxieties causing the issue. In many cases, once we remove the source of the anxiety, the problem disappears. In psychoanalytic terms, certain symbolic elements can represent real-world worries because the subconscious draws on totems for metaphorical use. An example might be that you dream about your teeth falling out, which would be representative of losing control over a situation.’ Dr Harrison removes a book from his bookshelf and flips to a dog-eared page. ‘In this book you’ll find many examples of similar dream problems. I can lend it you for a read. It might reassure you before we do some more serious interpretation.’

‘Not exactly what I had in mind, Doc.’

‘Do you not think that may be of use, Joe?’

‘Probably not. It’s all very nice, Doc, it really is, but I can’t see it helping.’

‘What makes you so certain?’

‘I’m pretty sure I know what the problem is.’

‘You do?’

‘Yeah, the bastard has been having sex with my wife.’

Dr Harrison pauses and then clears his throat. ‘Ah, I see. That doesn’t need much interpretation, then. Still, it’s good in one respect because a clear course of action is evident. This psychic dissonance is clearly the cause of your emotional distress. Once the matter is addressed and dealt with, then you will have resolved the internal conflict and you can mentally move on, so to speak.’

‘Sounds real fancy, Doc, but I’m not sure that’s gonna do it.’

‘You keep making these confident statements, Joe.’ Dr Harrison sighs, takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes before speaking again. ‘I’d be interested to know why you think that.’

‘Well, Doc, Doug’s been under my floorboards for a week now, and the dreams haven’t gone away.’

Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. His work can be seen in Poetica Review, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, Flash Frontier, and O:JA&L, among other places.

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