Man of Iron

Jeremy Stevens put the microwave dinner in the oven and set it for five minutes. He lived alone and sometimes felt left out, but he preferred to be alone. A loner, he had few friends, but dealt with people mostly through his job. He worked in the mailroom of a mid-sized business. Most of his co-workers thought he was a bit odd, but basically a good guy.

One day he started to have bad dreams about himself. Most of them he couldn’t remember. For that he was glad. But one day he had a dream that he did remember. It started with him knocking down a door and climbing inside over it. There were two men inside the room and they attack him when he enters. One man swings some kind of pipe or rod at him and misses. The pipe slips out of his hand and clangs against the wall to his left. He runs over to pick it up again.

The other man claws at his coat for a gun but because he is so terrified, he couldn’t get it out in time. The man who broke down the door opens his mouth and a beam of light like a blue laser burns the man with the gun in half, the two pieces falling to the floor. The burned pieces smoked as they fell. The strange ray that emanated from his mouth didn’t do any damage to the room, just the flesh of the two men.

The man with the pipe ogles his dead partner and drops the pipe to run. The big man burns him in half too. There is little mess on the floor because the heat of the weapon in his mouth cauterized the separate pieces of bodies as they burned through.

The big man picked up the pieces of bodies and put them in the small closet. At that point, the man wakes up in a cold sweat. The nightmare seemed so real. He got out of bed and walked over to the TV and turned it on. Over a hundred channels and nothing on, he thought. That’s cable for you. After a few minutes, he gave up and went back to bed.

He began to have the same dream over and over again. It was beginning to affect his work. He couldn’t concentrate on the names and mailboxes without mixing up a few. His new boss called him to the office after a week of his mixing up the mail. With a shock, the man recognizes his new boss as one of the two men he kills in his dream. He said nothing about it but made up a story about not being able to sleep because of a light across from his apartment. It shown into his bedroom at night. He told him that he was going to put up a new, thicker curtain on the window. That should take care of the problem. His new boss thought that would be a good idea. He sent him back to work.

At the end of the day, the man went to a bar near his apartment and got drunk.He staggered back to his place and went to bed. But getting drunk didn’t help him. When he went to sleep this time, he had the same dream. But this time, after he broke down the door, the man with the pipe hit him on the arm. There was a clack as the pipe hit his arm. It was a metallic sound that had been muted by something softer, like flesh. In the dream, he must have had a metallic skeleton or something like it. The dream continued as usual with the death of the two men and their bodies being put in the closet. But something was different this time. When he woke up in his usual sweat, this time his arm hurt. As he rubbed it, he felt a welt of some kind. He got up and went to the mirror in the bathroom. There was a mark about three inches long on his arm. It was sore but there was no serious damage. He stayed up for a while before falling asleep in a chair.

In the morning, his alarm went off and he awoke in the chair he fell asleep in. His body was stiff and sore from sleeping upright in the chair. He showered and got dressed for work just like always. He was surprised to see that the mark on his arm was gone, along with the soreness. It was as if he had just dreamed it happening.

When he got to work and began sorting the mail, one of his co-workers told him that the boss had had a problem last night at his home. His plumbing had failed and flooded his kitchen. He had to arrange for a plumber to tear out the kitchen wall and replace some of the pipes. He’d be gone all day, so his friend could relax a little. The man was torn with the news. Was it just a coincidence, or did it have something to do with his dream? After a while, the man just stopped worrying and concentrated on his work. He was on notice and he wanted to do a good job putting up the mail.

Without having to worry about the boss, the man had a good day. He got a lot done and didn’t mix up any of the mail. When he got home, he felt a lot better. He could use a few more days like that, he thought. He put his frozen dinner in the microwave and watched TV for a while. At the end of his day, he went to bed and fell right to sleep.

The dream started again, but once again, it was different. The man broke down the door and stepped inside. The man with the pipe swung it at him and missed. The other man, his boss, struggled to get the gun out of his pocket. He burned him in half, just like before and turned toward the man with the pipe. This man was a plumber. He had missed the intruder with the pipe on his first attempt, but on his second try, as the intruder turned to him, he hit him solidly on the side of his head. The intruder who broke into the room, fell to the floor after the powerful blow to his head knocked him down.

The man never awoke from the dream this time. When he didn’t show up for work, one of his friends went to check on him. He was found dead in his bed. When the Medical Examiner did an autopsy, he was found to have died of a hemorrhage in his brain, on the side of his head. No obvious cause of the hemorrhage was ever found. It was ruled an accidental death.

Man of Iron

Jim Hall

Fayetteville, United States

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Artist's Description

In the rich world of dreams, anything can happen. Sometimes, it relates to what we do in real life, sometimes not. Do you remember your dreams?

Artwork Comments

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