Please help me welcome Stephen B. King with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series, Thirteen Past Midnight…
Can dreams foretell the future? Every night Jonathon returns to the same nightmare…where a cat that seems spawned from hell is always waiting for him. The dreams began at the stroke of midnight, but the following dreams happen one minute later than the night before.
A sense of dread looms over him as the clock ticks ever closer to 13 past midnight. Will he realize they’re nothing more than frightening dreams…or will he die in his sleep?
I have always been fascinated by dreams, and in my much younger, impressionable days made a bit of a study of all things occult. It started with watching a movie, called, The Devil Rides Out, which I loved and wanted to learn more. I discovered it was based on a book by Dennis Wheatley, so I read it and while by today’s standards it is tame, to an impressionable youth it beckoned its crooked finger. From there I made a trip to the British Museum and spent a few days studying Witchcraft and black magic. I don’t think, looking back, I was ever drawn to trying to be a participant, it was more a deep-seated fascination and thirst to know more.
It was a natural step, after reading more of Mr. Wheatley’s books, to study dreams and in particular Astral Travel, which is the ability of a practitioner to direct their dreams, and even to meet other people on the plane and have different experiences not possible in ‘the real world.’
Of more recent times I saw the movie Inception, and while I accept this is a remarkable work of fiction, scriptwriting and cinematic spectacle, designed to entertain, here again was a concept about directing dreams to achieve an end. Ever since I saw the movie, I think for the fifth time, I wanted to write a story about dreams.
Who knows where random thoughts of inspiration come from? I certainly have no idea where mine originate from. They seem to just hit me from out of the blue. Once I have an idea, I must explore it, and can only do so by writing it chronologically from that point forward and seeing where it takes me. So, while I wanted to write a story about dreams, I still need a spark to get the fire going and it came from Alicia Dean, asking if I would like to contribute a story to the second volume of Friday the 13th and I literally jumped at the chance. My first foray was a lot of fun to write, a tale featuring my favorite character from the Deadly Glimpses Series I’ve written, a criminal psychologist, Patricia Holmes, turned cop, and having her attend a murder-mystery dinner party with other psychologists, but there is an uninvited guest intent on murdering them all for real.
So, when asked to come back for round 2 by Alicia and agreeing obviously meant I had to come up with a story that would suit the theme. That’s when I recalled wanting to pen something around dreams. I love the symbolism of Alicia’s charter: thirteen authors, thirteen chapters etc, and so – yeah shock horror here’s that inspiration I thought of a clock telling the time of 13 past midnight. And so began my favorite question; what if…..
What if someone has a recurring dream, not just recurring, but a continuing dream staggered exactly one minute apart, starting at midnight? The dream appears to be warning of an impending danger a threat of death not to continue, and each night the horror grows. What would happen at the appointed time, death, or worse?
Jonathon is a troubled young man. He hates his job, is engaged to a wonderful woman who works with lots of incredibly fit Olympic swimmers as a physiotherapist and deep down, he worries. He fears she doesn’t really love him, that she is so much better than he is, and that the baby she carries isn’t his. Then, a woman, who in some lights reminds Jonathon of an evil looking grey cat, wants to commission him to renovate an old house. This house has a history of black magic ceremonies, murder, and suicide. As each nightmare gets closer to 13 past midnight, Jonathon gets better at controlling his dreams, and tries to fight the evil that is coming relentlessly nearer.
Many thanks to Alicia for inviting me to write this tale, I had so much fun writing it, and I think, though of course I am terribly biased this could be the most interesting story I’ve ever written. What do you think, dear reader?
I knew I was dreaming when I peered around the trunk of an ancient Red Gum tree in the park to see if I could spot the cat before he saw me. He, or she, I had not been able to discern the sex, was prancing back and forth across the path. It was waiting for me, and it looked pissed. Suddenly it stopped and jerked its head around, and I ducked back behind the trunk, my heart pounding.
The thing has seen me. How the hell did it know I was here? Now what do I do? My mind raged in overdrive.
Why not just wake up? I replied, then closed my eyes, shook my head, and opened them again.
Nope, not working, I’m still here. Any other bright ideas?
Look, dummy, it’s just a cat, what are you so scared of? Just walk up, kick it out of the way, and get to…to…where the fuck am I going in a hurry?
I took a long, slow, calming breath and stuck my head around the tree again.
HISSSSSSSSSSS. The cat had crept up on my hiding place and launched itself at me, claws out. In a second, it would be on my face biting and scratching.
I woke, sweating, frantic rubbing my face, while the alarm clock glowed and flashed three minutes past midnight.
Me – just some bits and pieces about – ME!
(Or as my wife often says: “It’s all just about you Steve isn’t it?”)
I’ve said, more than once, life is about the journey, and not the destination, and what a journey my life has been. We are the sum total of our experiences, and not what we eat, in my humble opinion, and when I start talking about my life to people – just before their eyes glaze over – they often say: “You should write a book.” So I have, several in fact.
Thrillers and crime genres have always fascinated me, and in particular, the dark world of serial killers, and while my beginnings were in the ‘Make love not war’ sentiment, I love a good, unputdownable, thriller. You know, the kind you just want to read one more chapter of, and then another, and then you realise you are late for work. Have I succeeded in creating stories that can take people to that place? Boy I hope so.
Drop me an email, and let me know if I have.