Stories By Other Writers
His Worst Night Mare
By Patsy Fagin
It was a beautiful clear night as Vincent exited the drainage tunnel. He stood for a moment taking in the view. It was exactly as the children had described it, and he gave a small smile as he remembered their descriptions. “It’s really neat Vincent,” Samantha had said, “Yeah Vincent, you oughta go see for yourself,” that was Jeffrey. So he had decided to “go see.” The park was covered in snow, and it looked truly beautiful in the moonlight. He stood for a moment, took a deep breath, and then exhaled slowly, his breath clearly visible in the cold frosty air. He wished Catherine was with him, but she had had to go to Vermont on a case. He sighed, missing her so much, but he knew that she would soon be back. He started forward, and because he was so distracted (which was unusual for him) by his thoughts of her, he failed to see the icy slide that the children had made not far from the tunnel, and his feet went from under him and he landed flat on his back. He lay for a moment, slightly stunned, wondering what on earth had happened, then sat up. He saw the glint of ice straight away, and realised what had happened. He had it in mind to reprimand those responsible, albeit mildly, then decided against it because he knew it was his own fault for not paying enough attention to where he was going, but he knew that he’d have to warn the others to be careful.
Turning over onto his knees, he got to his feet very carefully, thinking wryly that the children would have been amused if they had seen him flat on his back. That their usually “so cool” Vincent could be clumsy too sometimes. He had just stepped clear of the slide when he heard voices, and knew that whoever it was, was heading his way. He turned back towards the tunnel entrance, took one step, and landed on his back again because he had never dreamt that there would be a second slide. This time though he was not so lucky, as his head made contact with a small rock, and he was knocked out.
He could hear voices, quite close, and the candles seemed to be exceedingly bright in his chamber. The voices were getting closer, and he wondered who it was, as he didn’t seem to recognize any of them. He put his hand up to shield his eyes, then opened them slowly, and immediately closed them again, unable to believe what he had just seen. He took a deep breath and reopened them, to be faced with the shocking truth. He wasn’t in his chamber. He didn’t know where he was, but he was in a cage in a small room! And he had been stripped down to his shorts. Although his situation was dire he breathed a small sigh of relief, relief that he was wearing them, because usually he didn’t bother. It was only because the weather had turned so cold that he had decided to. He got to his feet, and luckily the cage was high enough for him to stand fully erect. Just as he was about to see how strong the bars were, he heard someone say,
“I’m telling you, you ain’t gonna believe your eyes, but it is real.”
And a second voice, “Well let’s see it then, but if you’re messin’ me about…”
“Honest Tony, he ain’t, I bet you’ve never seen anything like it in your life,” replied a third voice.
“Okay then, let’s see it,” the one Vincent assumed was Tony said, and the door opened.
Three men entered the room, two of them slightly behind the third man, who on seeing Vincent for the first time seemed to be rooted to the spot.
Then gathering his wits together, he approached the cage somewhat cautiously.
“What in God’s name is he, is he human or is he an animal?”
“We’re not sure,” one of the other men said, “but he sure is something ain’t he?” “I told you that you wouldn’t believe your eyes Tony.”
“Where did you find him, and how the hell did you manage to get him in that cage?”
“We found it, him, in the park, and he was unconscious,” he was told.
“Was he like that?” he asked, meaning Vincent’s state of undress.
“Nah, we took his clothes off so we could have a better looksee. You wouldn’t believe how many layers he had on, and all kinda weird too. Not regular stuff.”
“So why did you leave his shorts on?”
“Well we figured that even an animal, if that’s what he is, should have a bit of dignity.”
“Are you sure he’s an animal?”
“Well what else could he be, he’s pretty much covered in fur all over, and he has fangs and claws.”
Suddenly Tony asked,
“Are you sure that cage door is locked properly, and he can’t get out?”
“Yeah, positive,” he was assured.
Thus reassured he went a bit closer, but not too close, as he had caught sight of Vincent’s hands holding the bars and he had seen the claws on his thumbs. He resumed his scrutiny of Vincent, starting at his feet and working up. When he finally reached Vincent’s head and looked at his face, he took a step back. He turned back to the other two men and said,
“I may not know what he is, but I’m very sure of one thing.”
“What’s that Tony,” one of the others asked.
“He is very dangerous.”
“Nah, how dangerous can he be, when he’s in that cage?” was the reply.
“And just how do you propose to get him out of the cage, when we’ve decided what we’re going to do with him?” he asked sarcastically.
“Er, we hadn’t gotten to thinking that far ahead,” was the somewhat sheepish answer.
The man who so far hadn’t spoken asked, “So what are we gonna do with him?”
“We’ll have to think very carefully about that,” Tony replied. “Now come on.”
And with that they exited the room.
When Vincent was once more alone, he took stock of his surroundings. Then taking a firm grip on the door of the cage he rattled it, but it remained unyielding. For a moment he panicked, but only for a moment.
“Stay calm Vincent,” he admonished himself, “there has got to be a way out of this.”
Suddenly the solution came to him. Catherine! Closing his eyes he opened the Bond, and was stunned when he realised that somehow it had been broken. He could no longer feel her! So great was the wave of despair that washed over him it brought him to his knees. He remained that way for quite a while, and then he heard the men returning. He got to his feet, because he had no intention of letting them see him on his knees.
When the door opened again the first three men weren’t alone, there were four more people with them, and one of them was a woman.
As they entered the room Tony was saying,
“Well folks, here he is, I told you that you wouldn’t be disappointed.”
All four of the newcomers just stood simply looking at Vincent, and then the woman broke the silence.
“My God, he’s absolutely gorgeous. Any women’s magazine would pay a small fortune to have some photos of him.”
“You can just forget that, honey,” one of the other newcomers said, “I reckon we should sell him to a research laboratory, they’d have a field day.”
“Nah, if we did that nobody else would see him, I think we should sell him to a carnie for their freak show,” another one suggested.
At the word freak, Vincent flinched.
They continued arguing about what to do with him, when the woman suddenly said, “Hold on just a minute, we’ve forgotten one vital point.”
“And that is?” queried another man.
“Have any of you thought that he might be intelligent, might even be able to talk,” she replied.
“Of course he’s not intelligent, and of course he can’t talk. If he could, why hasn’t he spoken?”
She was unable to answer.
They continued making suggestions as to what should be done with him, and all the while Vincent stood silent.
Suddenly he decided that enough was enough, that he would tell them who he was, and he was just about to do so, when the door opened and someone else came into the room. At first he couldn’t see who it was, and then he did, and his hopes soared.
Catherine! But she was alone, how was she going to rescue him?
What happened next was beyond belief, as Tony spoke to her.
“Hi babe, how’re you doing?”
“I’m fine Tony.”
Vincent couldn’t believe his ears. His Catherine knowing a man like that? No, it wasn’t possible, was it?
Then she caught sight of him, and her words cut him to his very soul.
“What in God's name is that?”
He was stunned, but her next words were even crueller.
“You should sell him to a carnie.”
With an anguished cry of “Noooo…” he sank to his knees…
And woke up.
“Hello love, we were wondering when you’d come back to us. We were getting worried.”
“Where… what…? he stammered.
“You’re safe in your chamber. Kipper found you just outside the drainage tunnel. You must have slipped on the ice and banged your head.”
“Oh Catherine,” he sobbed, “I had such a terrible dream.”
“Tell me,” she asked, stroking his head.
So he did. When he’d finished she said,
“It was only a dream, you’re safe.”
“No Catherine, it was a nightmare. My worst nightmare.”