Whisper by J. Matthew Root Digital Image 2021

These were all dreamt in the same night and in this order. It was a rare experience that I remembered all four dreams. Also I’m not sure if dream 4 is a continuation of dream 2 or not. Could be.

How did I get here?

A deep dull green sky writhed low over a sea that shouldn’t be calm. Miniature crests lapped and hissed over the dark pebbly sand. I looked at my boots as the water ran gently over them. Hands in my pockets. Breath a faint ghost of winter in morning air hinting only slightly at a hot day to come. The orange polyester vest was a welcome comfort- a gift from my unlikely benefactors. They argued behind me- a map laid out on the hood of their old Jeep. I could hear their voices but not the words. It amazed me that anyone could argue in tones that pleasant.

Coffee would be so nice right now.

An old rotting wharf stretched out like an incomplete bridge to a sunken island. The water caressed its feet too.

The tunnel was crowded. The arched ceiling barely visible behind the hanging, flickering fluorescent lights. Covered in dry ancient tar the walls peaked out from behind the piles of stuff. Not just any stuff. The corridor had become a makeshift museum of second-rate kitsch. Lamps with strings of plastic crystal beads and ornamentation that could only be impressive if viewed from the other room, or possibly the other house. Poorly made pine chests badly disguised as old oak. A ballerina danced on a cushion of bobbing and swaying lights- colors shifting slowly. A million plastic things all trying their best not to look plastic. All of them failing. A monument to materialism built by people to poor to be materialistic. It was hard to believe the lack of a black velvet painting of Elvis or a pair of staring panther eyes.

Carlos pushed through the mess quickly- urging us on.

I wasn’t so much paralyzed as fascinated. It was impossible to believe most of the things I had seen over the last few weeks- but this pushed the limits. The camouflage disguised the grisly pile on the back of the truck. If you didn’t let yourself focus on it you could think it was just a pile of mulch or cut grass. Branches- garbage- anything but bodies.

I watched as tiny auburn rivers ran down the lowered black wood tailgate until a quick motion caught my eye. Marc ripped his knife out of the last of them. Breathing hard through his rictus grin. Relishing the moment as his last victim went limp and gave up the ghost. Then all I saw was the blade. Deep blackened red on shining stainless steel. It was a short fat blade protruding from his fist. Fresh blood was everywhere on him- turning his dark striped hunting camos black but somehow still looking just like blood.

I didn’t see his eyes- but suddenly I was aware he was looking at me. The beginnings of panic just starting to suggest themselves as a flash flew past my head. And Marc fell.

Gripping his stomach as he slowly became one with his nightmarish work.

Just another body now.

The sun was up there somewhere- behind the clouds- but you couldn’t tell where. Empty branches reached up to a gray ceiling. Perfect water droplets fell onto the dirty wet gravel.

It was over- and nothing had changed.


February? February 8th? Maybe.

I looked down at my watch and read the date.


Had to go a few hundred miles west before crossing the channel.

Why Glasgow? Why me? Why anything?

But I still couldn’t shake the feeling. This was urgent. This had to be. Like an interrupted message from an old friend giving you a time and place that you MUST be- but not getting the chance to say why. It was important. You could hear it in his voice before he was cut off. Deadly serious. This had to be. Otherwise I was just another nutcase.

But no friend had called. Unless God was my friend.



Everything pointed there. Every coded hint. I still wasn’t sure that “2-8” was a date- but it seemed a little too perfect that the date was February sixth.

I climbed into the jeep and closed the squeaky door.

“Well- if we’re going to do this we’d better get going.”

Jorge nodded at me and threw it in drive as I felt Sara’s hand on my shoulder. Unsure herself but still trying to reassure me that I wasn’t crazy. Why were they helping me?

The engine roared as the suspension complained about the rough dirt road. The sea behind us, for now.

“You think we could find a place for some coffee?”