Saturday, December 3, 2022
“When Evil Chooses You” is now available on Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle
Welcome back to the Teagan Zone. This “Shorts for the Weekend” series has taken a turn from reader provided photos to songs from readers. Sometimes serendipity jumps in, and causes me to share more than I ordinarily might. When Dan Antion offered Steve Winwood’s Can’t Find My Way Home in response to my request for songs that I could use as story inspiration, several things came together.
Firstly, Dan has just published the third book in his Dreamer’s Alliance series, When Evil Chooses You. Naturally I wanted to share that news. As you could deduce from the series title, dreaming plays an important part in these stories. That was the second thing that prompted me to use a song Dan offered. Third, that song, Can’t Find My Way Home is a song that has particular significance for me.
I love the song, not just because it’s beautiful, but because I can’t find my way home. You see, for as long as I can remember I’ve had two kinds of recurring dreams. The details vary, but the themes are always the same. (A third theme started this year, but the first two have been part of my nightly sojourns for decades.)
When all these connecting points presented themselves, I decided to make a Twilight Zone-ish story of a dream. Don’t analyze the dream. I already know what the dreams mean. As I said, take it as a story.
Forgive the terrible production of this little sound snippet. I decided that the poor quality actually went with the surreal nature of this story.
And here it begins…
♦ ♦ ♦
Revised. I’m not a professional. I removed my audio clip. Nobody wants to hear that. Eye Roll.
Can’t Find My Way Home
After decades of these dreams, a part of my mind realizes when one is beginning. Although, that doesn’t mean I can do anything about it.
Having left the office for lunch, I drove my car, looking for my usual restaurant. However, the familiar building wasn’t where I expected it to be. I drove around searching. Eventually I spotted the shortcut I used to get to the drive-through. The road was blocked.
Circling around, I managed to get into the parking lot. Bits of trash littered the pitted asphalt pavement. The speaker setup was scratched, dented, and inoperable. The building was empty and long abandoned. Confusion settled onto me.
I maneuvered the car back onto the street to go back to work. It was too late for lunch. Actually, I realized it was too late to go back to work at all. The office would be closed. I started toward home. Suddenly, I couldn’t remember how to get home.
“Just start driving,” I told myself. “You’ll remember once you get started. Just follow your nose. You’ll get there eventually,” I added, when after some distance I still had no idea where I was.
Brown leaves littered the sides of the two-lane road. It would be dark soon, making it even harder for me to find my way home.
I came to a cross street. It seemed familiar. I turned there, sure that home was near. To my frustration, the street let into a hilly little community. Somehow, I knew home was somewhere just beyond sight… yet utterly out of reach.
The dream shifted and I was walking, my car forgotten. I continued down the sidewalk looking at the old but quaint houses on either side of the road. Every home was on an embankment or hill, which was higher than the street. Grass was vibrant, colors were all around. People worked in their yards or moved around doing ordinary things. It might have seemed like a nice place if I had been able to figure out how to get home.
The comfort of the scene evaporated when I saw something farther up the hillside on the right side of the road. An area was enclosed. A once brightly painted carved entrance was faded and chipped. Thin wire fencing was the only boundary — for a group of adult lions.
Some lions milled about restlessly. One in particular sat atop a little flat-roofed shelter, intently watching everything that moved in the neighborhood. He was large with a long mane and bright intelligent eyes.
“It’s alright,” a woman stopped and told me.
Skeptically I returned her gaze. I was worried about any other animals, dogs and cats that might be in the community. They would be in danger from the lions.
The woman was a little older than my dream-self. She had dark medium-length hair and a prominent nose. She wore semi-boho clothes, like someone who had once been a hippie.
“The lions can’t leave their enclosure,” she said and then started talking to me, though I’ve no idea what she said.
Without questioning it in the dream, I turned the opposite direction from the way I was headed, and I went with her toward her house. She could help me find the way home. There would be a phonebook and I could look up the number of someone to help me.
Then, the lions… you know, the ones who couldn’t get out of that haphazard shabby looking enclosure? They got out. Chaos ensued as the lions ranged the streets. It didn’t seem to bother the woman, but just the same, we were quick to get inside her house.
There was a lot of disorganized stuff in her house. A carved wooden chair was stacked full of magazines and books, but none were a phone book. In fact, on the crowded table where the telephone should have been, there was no phone.
“It must be in here,” she said offhandedly and led me down a very narrow hall.
My need to get home was intense. I thought about the hilly view I saw when I first entered that neighborhood.
There was nothing on the other side of the hill from the community. All the roads that led home were gone. Everything dead-ended there. In the distance I had seen trees and other houses, but they were far away, with no way to reach them. And home… I had no memory of how to get home or even of where it should be.
And the lions… Distantly I heard them roar and people scream.
Smiling encouragingly, the woman opened a dull gray door.
I stepped inside. Steep narrow stairs extended downward into darkness. A basement. I sensed movement in that impenetrable black. Something much more dangerous than the lions waited in that dark windowless room. Something utterly evil.
The door clicked closed behind me.
♦ ♦ ♦
♦ ♦ ♦
Thanks to Dan Antion for letting me use his photos again. I hope you’ll visit him and wish him well with his new book. Friendly comments here are encouraged. Hugs!
♦ ♦ ♦
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.