Publication date: November 2015
Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?
Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.
But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.
I closed my eyes and looked into Larry’s dreams.
I was expecting to find a tortured psyche, an aspect of his subconscious manifesting itself there. Daddy or mummy issues, arachnophobia, anxiety, even garden-variety stress: I’d seen them all at one point or another. I couldn’t fix his psychological issues, but I could put a temporary block on his dreams until his doctor’s referral came good.
That was what it usually was.
What I found was a thing.
The creature was an amorphous black cloud about the size of my torso. Greasy as a burger shop floor, it had yellowing eyes and writhing tentacles … if tentacles could be covered with fine hair and worm into your skin like something from a bad horror movie.
I’d seen manifestations of people’s nightmares before, more times than I could count. But this wasn’t part of Larry. It was an interloper. A blight.
“Hello,” I said.
The blight hissed like a feral cat over a broken-backed lizard that wasn’t quite dead. Around us, the dreamscape resolved into a rolling hillside, distinctly Australian in its gentle undulations. No sharp-edged peaks here. The grass underfoot was withered, not by the summer sun but by the blight’s corruption. A single eucalypt wept tears of black sap. Clouds loomed, obscuring the vast sky.
I wouldn’t have picked Larry for the rural landscape type. You can never tell. “You’re an ugly little grease-ball, aren’t you?”
The blight’s eyes were flat, uncomprehending and angry. I wasn’t going to be able to goad it into letting go. And I didn’t want to attack it while those tentacles were embedded in the reddish dirt beneath the tree. What if one of them tore off? That could result in residual badness for Larry, like leaving a bee sting under the skin to spit toxins long after the bee has died.
Still, the blight was only small. I could take it.
About the author:
She lives in Canberra, Australia's bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat -- despite being allergic to cats.
She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres -- although urban fantasy is her favourite.
When she's not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?