The Nightmares (Prologue to The Golden Wolf Stories)
Sleep was the enemy. The dreams had started again. No. Scratch that. They were nightmares. I couldn’t break free of them, and I couldn’t make them stop.
Every single one began the same way. I was back in Vegas and I was back in that room. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear the hyenas in the background. Their laughter, high-pitched and menacing, echoed all around me. They’d strapped me down. I couldn’t move. The table was cold metal except where the spikes dug into my back. I could feel the dripping of my blood with the distinct drip-drop-drip-drop sound of it splashing on the floor. To this day, I still wasn’t sure which was worse: the immobilization or pressing of those spikes.
And of course, there was the pain. It was a pain so rich that if I could have exchanged it for money, I would have been wealthier than Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg combined. Yet oddly enough there was no fear. At least not yet, for I knew I would not die at this moment. I was still useful to them. I was still a pawn in their game.
It was not until, through the haze of pain, I heard the footsteps coming down the hall that I panicked. That is when I started to pull and jerk at my bonds. The bed of nails ripped into my back causing more blood to gush and a fresh wash of agony, but I didn’t care. Even though I knew I could not get away, I had to try.
Soon he is there, looming over me and before I can take another breath, he has reached down that metaphysical corridor and yanked. Yanked is such a pretty word. A much safer word. No, he literally drew me from the inside out until a shaggy, golden wolf was laying where the tortured woman used to be…
And this is where I always woke up. Screaming.