© 2021, Michael William Clark. All rights reserved.

Did you miss part of the story? Find it here!

Stella has a bad dream

From last time…

“I’m sorry. Really…” she began.

Louis saw that she meant it. He felt like a creep. I’m overreacting because she’s so threateningly lovely, he mused silently.

* * * * *

Can’t face it so I push it away, his thoughts quickened like mercury. He assumed they were his alone but Stella picked them up. She was smart and uncannily insightful. Some might say psychic.

“The reason I’m here…” she continued apologetically.

“No no. It’s fine…” Louis said. “I’ve just been having an off day.”

 Another awkward pause. Louis was getting on in years, Stella was still quite young. 

“I’ve forgotten my manners,” he said, hoping his apology would save the situation.

“No, I understand,” she said. “I can’t stand people bursting into my place when I don’t feel like seeing anyone. I really am sorry.” She drew a tissue. “It’s just that I had an extremely vivid dream last night…” She paused, feeling out the psychological terrain while working the tissue between her fingers.

“Well, I’m not a psychiatrist..!” he joked. But Stella wasn’t amused. “Sorry, bad humor,” he muttered. “Tell me about it… What was your dream?”

Sensing his newfound ease, she continued.

“Well, it’s pretty weird…”

“OK… ready,” he grinned faintly.

The vid-display beeped. Priscilla’s perfunctory voice interrupted.

“Sir, the Mayor says he can’t come today but he’ll send someone else if you like.”

Alone with Stella, Louis thought.

“No, it’s ok,” Louis replied. “Miss Superstring is here. She’ll do just fine.”

“Yes sir.” The screen went blank.

“You don’t mind?” He asked Stella. “I should have asked you first.”

 “No that’s fine. Any idiot can cut a ribbon and smile.” 

Louis laughed. 

“Politicians! Never there when you want them. Always there when you don’t,” he said ruefully.

Stella shook her head with an affected frown, confirming his sentiments.

“So,” he continued, “On with your dream!”

“Right. Well, I was sitting in Fairview Mall.”

“In your dream?” He asked.

“Yes. And it was an intense, vivid dream. Well, it seems a bit silly in the light of day. But you were murdered!  It was all over the news. Stella looked off into space and read from memory:

Noted Historian Dr. Louis Brandon Slain in Apparent Act of Random Violence. Police Suspect Underworld Ties.

“Great.  Just what I need,” Louis said half amused. Did your dream tell you when this would happen?” he added lightly.

“Today at 5.72.  During the ribbon-cutting.” Her face conveyed genuine concern.  “I wouldn’t have bothered you but this isn’t the first time I’ve had a disaster dream.  And to be honest, some of my dreams came true.”

“Really?”  Suddenly Louis wasn’t amused. He reached for his coffee without thinking to offer Stella any. “Do tell..”

Ignoring his impoliteness, she replied, “I had a friend who died in a transport crash, and I dreamt of it the night before his trip.  He was going to Zyopa, that health spa on Mars.  I told him about the dream but we thought it was just fear… something symbolic. Anyhow. He’s dead Mr. Brandon.

“Doctor,” Louis corrected grimly.

“Doctor.”  She said with an earnest, pleading look. “I just can’t handle it if this happens again.  And you seem like a nice guy, which would make it even worse.”

“Thanks!” Louis laughed.

“You’re not in the mob are you?” She asked somewhat recklessly. “You seem too honest to be caught up in that cheap crap.”

“No.  I am not.”  He responded soberly. 

“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but those creeps are destroying democracy,” she said with emotion.  

Louis instantly fell in love. It was as if she was speaking his own thoughts.

“Excuse me, she added, “but organized crime in the entertainment industry really is awful.” 

“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Louis said. “Look, thanks a lot for coming in to give me the heads up.  I’ll keep my eyes open.  There are a lot of jerks in the museum who don’t like me. Who knows what could happen…” Then he asked as if he didn’t hear what she just said, “How does a sweet, young person like you know about organized crime?”

“As I said, I’m a vid-star. Things happen when you get to my level. Also, my dad was the CEO of Fintack Mines. He had a lot of enemies.” She answered.

Louis noted that she spoke in the past tense about her father. He didn’t press. Stella’s dad might have passed on or even been killed by his enemies.

“Look” Louis tried to change the topic. “A thought just entered my mind.” Stella sensed what was coming and averted her gaze. “Do you want to grab a bite?” he asked, hoping to sound casual. She managed to conceal her recoil. Louis was handsome. But he was 48 and she was just 24.

“I think I need to be alone for a while” she responded slowly. “But I’ll definitely be here at 5.5”

“Okay, no problem.”  Louis could cope with rejection. “Listen Stella, do you mind if I call you Stella?”

“Well…” she faltered. “Actually… I do have a boyfriend. Maybe we should keep this professional.” 

“Of course of course,” Louis interjected with a thin smile, his spirits plummeting. “Miss Superstring.  Thanks so much for coming in to tell me this,” he said with formality, masking his dismay while rising from his chair.

“You’re most welcome Doctor Brandon,” she replied cordially, and then added with a smile, “See you at 5.5!”

“Thanks again,” Louis said as her supple young body slid through the door.

Alone again in his office, Louis slunk back into his chair. Just great! he thought. The good ones are always taken. And murder. This is really shaping up to be a five-star day. He shook his head and smiled. Good thing I have a sense of humor!

To be continued….

© 2021, Michael William Clark. All rights reserved.

Did you miss part of the story? Find it here!