Home > Tell Me Your Dreams(9)

Tell Me Your Dreams(9)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

She refused to keep a gun in the apartment because she hated violence. But I need some protection now, Ashley thought. She went into the kitchen, picked up a steak knife, carried it to her bedroom and put it in the dresser drawer next to her bed.

It's possible that I mixed my lingerie up myself. That's probably what happened. Or is it wishful thinking?

*   *   *

There was an envelope in her mailbox in the downstairs entrance hall. The return address read "Bedford Area High School, Bedford, Pennsylvania."

Ashley read the invitation twice.

Ten-Year Class Reunion!

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. Have you often wondered how your classmates have fared during the last ten years? Here's your chance to find out. The weekend of June 15th we're going to have a spectacular get-together. Food, drinks, a great orchestra and dancing. Join the fun.

Just mail the enclosed acceptance card so we'll know you're coming. Everyone looks forward to seeing you.

Driving to work, Ashley thought about the invitation. "Everyone looks forward to seeing you." Everyone except Jim Cleary, she thought bitterly.

"I want to marry you. My uncle offered me a realty good job in Chicago with his advertising agency.... There's a train leaving for Chicago at seven AM. Will you come with me?"

And she remembered the pain of desperately waiting at the station for Jim, believing in him, trusting him. He had changed his mind, and he had not been man enough to come and tell her. Instead, he had left her sitting in a train station, alone. Forget the invitation. I'm not going.

Ashley had lunch with Shane Miller at TGI Friday's. They sat in a booth, eating in silence.

"You seem preoccupied," Shane said.

"Sorry." Ashley hesitated a moment. She was tempted to tell him about the lingerie, but it would sound stupid. Someone got into your drawers? Instead, she said, "I got an invitation to my ten-year high school reunion."

"Are you going?"

"Certainly not." It came out stronger than Ashley had intended.

Shane Miller looked at her curiously. "Why not?  Those things can be fun."

Would Jim Cleary be there? Would he have a wife and children? What would he say to her? "Sorry I wasn't able to meet you at the train station. Sorry I lied to you about marrying you?"

"I'm not going."

But Ashley was unable to get the invitation out of her mind. It would be nice to see some of my old classmates, she thought. There were a few she had been close to. One in particular was Florence Schiffer. I wonder what's become of her? And she wondered whether the town of Bedford had changed.

Ashley Patterson had grown up in Bedford, Pennsylvania, a small town two hours east of Pittsburgh, deep in the Allegheny Mountains. Her father had been head of the Memorial Hospital of Bedford County, one of the top one hundred hospitals in the country.

Bedford had been a wonderful town to grow up in. There were parks for picnics, rivers to fish in and social events that-went on all year. Ashley enjoyed visiting Big

Valley, where there was an Amish colony. It was a common sight to see horses pulling Amish buggies with different colored tops, colors that depended on the degree of orthodoxy of the owners.

There were Mystery Village evenings and live theater and the Great Pumpkin Festival. Ashley smiled at the thought of the good times she had had there. Maybe I will go back, she thought. Jim Cleary won't have the nerve to show up.

Ashley told Shane Miller of her decision. "It's a week I from Friday," she said. "I'll be back Sunday night."

"Great. Let me know what time you're getting back. I'll pick you up at the airport."

"Thank you, Shane."

When Ashley returned from lunch, she walked into her work cubicle and turned her computer on. To her surprise, a sudden hail of pixels began rolling down the screen, creating an image. She stared at it, bewildered. The dots were forming a picture of her. As Ashley watched, horrified, a hand holding a butcher knife appeared at the top of the screen. The hand was racing toward her image, ready to plunge the knife into her chest.

Ashley screamed, "No!"

She snapped off the monitor and jumped to her feet. Shane Miller had hurried to her side. "Ashley! What is it?"

She was trembling. "On the... the screen - "

Shane turned on the computer. A picture of a kitten chasing a ball of yarn across a green lawn appeared.

Shane turned to look at Ashley, bewildered. What - ?"

"It's - it's gone," she whispered.

"What's gone?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. I - I've been under a of stress lately, Shane. I'm sorry."

"Why don't you go have a talk with Dr. Speakman?", Ashley had seen Dr. Speakman before. He was the company psychologist hired to counsel stressed-out computer whizzes. He was not a medical doctor, but he is intelligent and understanding, and it was helpful to be able to talk to someone.

"I'll go," Ashley said.

Dr. Ben Speakman was in his fifties, a patriarch at the fountain of youth. His office was a quiet oasis at the far end of the building, relaxed and comfortable.

"I had a terrible dream last night," Ashley said. She closed her eyes, reliving it. "I was running. I was in a huge garden filled with flowers... They had weird, ugly faces... They were screaming at me... I couldn't hear what they were saying. I just kept running toward something... I don't know what...." She stopped and opened her eyes.

"Could you have been running away from something? Was something chasing you?"

"I don't know. I - I think I'm being followed. Dr. Speakman. It sounds crazy, but - I think someone wants to kill me."

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