Mark woke up with his scream still in his ear, his body covered in sweat.


The place next to him was empty.

He walked down the stairs.  A light was on in the kitchen and he could make out the sounds of someone digging through the cupboards.


“In here, dear.  I couldn’t sleep so I’m doing a bit of cleaning.  I’ll be back up soon.  You should go back to bed.”

“I can’t,” Mark said.  He sat down at the dining room table and watched the shadows dance across the floor outside of the kitchen.  “I had a nightmare, can’t sleep.”

“Uhm.”  He couldn’t tell if she was really listening, but had to talk it out, if only for his own sake.

“These creatures, I don’t know what they were, like aliens or demons or something, came and took you away.  You were screaming but there was nothing I could do.  I was helpless.”


“Yes, it was awful.  Anyway, the scene shifted a few times, the way things do in dreams, but of course it seemed natural to me.”

“Of course.”

“Anyway, I was finally back in the house and you were there.  I was so relieved.”

“I bet.”

“But when I looked at you I could tell it wasn’t you.”

“Who was it?  Audrey?  I know how much you like her, don’t deny it, but I hope you’re not dreaming about her.”

“Huh?  Audrey?  I never… anyway, no, the person looked like you but, well, I said person but it wasn’t, it was one of the demons trying to trick me into thinking it was you.”


“Yeah, strange. I screamed, ‘what did you do with Val?’ and it changed, no longer trying to disguise itself.  As it came up to me to rip me apart the dream shifted, as dreams do.  You were there, but again I could tell it wasn’t you.  Anyway, the whole thing repeated several times, but each time the monster looked more and more like you and each time it took longer to tell.  But could tell.”

Val appeared in the doorway, silhouetted by the kitchen light.

“And how could you tell?  What gave the alien or demon or whatever it was away?”

There was a strange gleam in her eye.

“Uhm, well, you know when a man has been married to a woman for 10 years he can tell those things, you know?”  He laughed nervously.  “Anyway, it was just a dream and it’s fading now.”

“Just a dream, but I believe it says something about our relationship,” Val said.  “You know, something Freudian.  Understanding how you could tell it wasn’t me might say a lot about our relationship.”

“Like I said, it’s fading, so I can’t really tell, it was a feeling, you know, one of those dream things,” Mark said.

“Yeah, yeah, OK.  If it’s fading you should be able to go back to sleep now.  Why don’t you go to bed?”

“Sure, you’re right.”

Mark got up and walked to Val.  He had planned on giving her a light kiss, but something about the lingering dream had made him feel a little friskier and he kissed her more solidly.  Val, seemed a little surprised at first, but then returned the kiss even deeper.  But something was wrong.

Mark jerked back and stared into Val’s face.  Now that he was closer and could see her in the light instead of just a shadow he noticed something.  He dropped her out of his arms and took a step back.

“No, no, it can’t be.  It was just a dream.  This can’t be real.”

“What’s wrong honey?” the thing that wasn’t Val asked.

“You, you, you aren’t Val.  Who are you?  What have you done with her?”

“You must still be tired and that awful dream still in your brain.  What would make you think I’m not me?  Please, tell me.  What is it that makes you believe it?  Be specific.”

Mark turned to run but felt the claw on his shoulder.  He tried to pull away but it painfully sunk in.  He screamed.

Mark woke up with his scream still in his ear, his body covered in sweat.


“I’m here dear.  What’s wrong, dear?  Bad dream?”

“Yeah, yeah.  Just strange.”

“it was just a dream, everything is fine.  Just go back to sleep, OK?”

“Sure, sure.”

Mark rolled over a few times but soon grew still, his breathing became the slow sighs of sleep.

The being that wasn’t Val smiled and got up to prepare for the morning.  If it could convince him for two more days then things would be able to proceed as planned.  The creature still needed to know what tipped him off every time, but it would find the secret, it was sure of that, it would find him out sooner than later.


3 thoughts on “Val

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the 23rd of July, 2016 | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yep, more questions than answers… But then again, if you’ve been with someone a long time perhaps you could tell. Or perhaps you could tell that it isn’t human because you are….



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