8      Not a dream but still a nightmare

 Waking up from a dream Jack sees the tramp in his room. 

He thinks it is a nightmare until he hears the thump of boots on the carpet.

“There’s nothing there!”  Jack spoke out loud for courage

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Jack woke confused, looking uncertainly around his room. Unable to understand how he could see in the dark, he realised the bedside lamp was on. Reaching to turn it off, something moved in the corner of his eye. His head shot round but there was nothing there. Thinking it was imagination, he pressed the light switch. As the room was plunged into blackness, it moved again.

Lying in the dark, ears straining for the tiniest sound, Jack flinched at every creak.

“There’s nothing there!” he cried, speaking aloud for courage and turned the lamp back on.

The tramp from old Gibson’s front garden wall was on his desk, staring at him with mad, dead eyes. Jack was relieved to see him. It was a nightmare. Spooked by the tramp, he was dreaming about him. It felt good to be having a normal nightmare after all the other weird dreams.

The tramp slipped off the desk. Jack heard a creak and then the muffled thump of boots on the carpet. It did not seem so much like a dream now, but it was still a nightmare. The tramp walked over with Jack hearing every sound, every breath. Wanting to scream, unable to move; all he could do was lie helpless as the tramp bent over him to whisper…

“Jack, oh Jack, you were there. Now you’re back. Does she miss me, did she say, in her tower far away?”

Reaching for the lamp, the man flicked off the light, leaving Jack staring wide-eyed into the dark. His cold hand brushed Jack’s forehead as his strong fingers closed his eyes.

“Goodnight sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy dream, and when you see her once again, tell her who you’ve seen.”

The man’s fingers left his face.

All was quiet.

Lying in the silence, with eyes squeezed tight, Jack wondered what the tramp would do next. He started counting as if he could work out when it was safe to look. Once or twice, he lost count and had to start over. Then he stopped counting altogether.


from Chapter 3     An Inspector Calls

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Jack and the tramp

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Thomas the Rhymer