The Mystic Adventures of Tabitha Race
We were sitting in the number 17 bus. Apart, but then you caught my eye. You smiled at me, and invited me in. The door in the middle of your head opened and I walked through.
I do that. Sometimes. It’s not always voluntary. But I’m always invited. You smiled. And I entered.
Most people store their memories in order of importance. There isn’t always a great deal of relevance there. Just pictures. Mothers. Fathers. Beaches. Snowmen. Children feature a great deal.
But not you. Your head was like a cavernous library. And alphabetical. How weird was that?
M was for murder, and it was cross referenced with w, for women.
And you had them all there, in glorious technicolour. Still memories from grotesque events. I saw them all, the way you had seen them. I watched them die, the way you killed them. I saw the stranglings. I saw the butchering with the knife. I saw the hot blood spill and bubble as it came through the hole you bored in the chest wall. I was astonished, and horrified. I’d never walked through a mind like yours before.
I slammed the drawer shut, the one marked M. And I realised I’d made a mistake. You had heard that slam – and you were looking at me. Maybe into me. I pulled back, slamming the door behind me. I was back in the bus, minding my own business, an ordinary young woman, flat woolly boots, jacket cinched at the waist. Bobble hat. A nobody. I looked down at my feet. I picked a hankie out of my pocket and blew my nose. I could feel your eyes on me. And I knew you weren’t smiling anymore.
Tabitha sat bolt upright in her bed, sweat glistening in the low light from the bedside lamp. She’d been leaving it on at night since the encounter on the bus the week before. She’d been shaken up, badly.
The dream was coming so often now that she was becoming frightened to sleep.