Danny had never heard the term ‘lucid dream’, so whenever he had one, his private term for it was ‘one of those dreams’. That was the kind of dream he drifted into now, as he gazed out the passenger window at the telephone poles rushing by in a blur.
In the dream, he was back in the open doorway of the tavern, looking in through the screen. This was a dream all right – could he control the dream? Move objects around, make them disappear, make them fly? Make himself fly - ? These dreams were always fun when he could make himself fly….
But no such luck, not this time in this dream.
Around the cobweb-shrouded jukebox, its once colorful neon front now dusty and faded, stepped a young man about Brydie’s age. His hair and beard were shaggy and unkempt like Christian’s, but jet black like Will’s. And he had Will’s eyes, blue all the way across the dimly lit and smoky room.
“I could answer your questions,” the strange young man said, “if you’d care to step inside. I’ll answer a lot of things for you, just as soon as you step inside. I won’t come out there where you are, though.” And then the young man’s face and voice changed to those of Greg Cowan. “It’s a bad world out there, where you are.”
The boy awoke so violently in the seat beside him, that it made Will jump.
“What is it, lad! What’s the matter! I’m tryin’ to drive here, so spit it out!”
“Nothin’. I was dreamin’. “
“No shite ya were ! But that wasn’t my question!”
Instantly Will regretted his tone – but he thought better of correcting it.
Danny turned and looked long and hard at his sleeping mother.
“Well – ?” Will urged, fighting the mounting irritation that made it increasingly difficult to concentrate on driving the right side of the road.
“Out with it lad!” he finally exploded. “Christ I can’t hear it rattlin’ around in your head ya know!”
“I think the dream was about David,” Danny said. “I saw him. He looked like Christian, only dark like you, with blue eyes like you. An’ he was almost as young as Brydie. Does that sound right…?”
Will nodded - and found it harder and harder to maintain the road. “It sounds exactly right. But what did he say then! For God’s sake would you speak!”
“I don’t remember his words exactly. I was standin’ outside the screen door of the tavern. He said he wouldn’t come outside, because outside it’s a bad world.”
Will steered to the side of the highway and slammed the car into park, jabbed his middle finger into the air at a horn-blaring trucker.
“Well I can’t hardly argue that point with him.”
“But then he changed, an’ all of a sudden he was that guy Cowan, that you got your new body from.”
Will grunted. “That guy Cowan, is the proof that it’s a bad world. I don’t think you ever knew how bad….” his voice trailed off now, or wanted to, tried to. But this time, just this once, the notorious Will O’Graidy forced out the words.
“….leastways I hope ya didn’t, because I sure as the hell never wanted ya to.”
Before things could get all sentimental, he switched off the ignition and pocketed the key. “But listen. I want you to stay right here in the car for now, d’you understand ? Both of you. I’m goin’ to walk around a bit an’ try to think. An’ I don’t want to be disturbed! Christ,” he added then, more to himself than to Danny, “this must be what I get for tryin’ to grow a conscience after all those years of bein’ a stone cold bastard.”