Soul Collectors Episode 03, Waking up to a Nightmare

Updated on January 29, 2019
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DW, an Army vet, has published 7 novels. His day job is teaching elementary school. In his spare time, he camps with his wife of 30+ years.


The Nightmare Begins

Mort and Lori were cleaning up after the party celebrating Mort’s promotion to detective sergeant. Shannon had been tucked away in bed. She’d been exhausted by all the excitement of the celebration. Mort stuffed the last of the red Solo cups into a big green Hefty bag and tied off the top.

“That looks like the last of it, honey,” he said to Lori. “I’ll just carry this out to the trash can, and we can call it a night.”

“Okay, sweetie,” Lori said, kissing him on the cheek. “I’ll head upstairs and get ready for bed. Don’t take too long. I still haven’t given you my present.”

The come-hither look Lori gave him added a spring to Mort’s step as he went through the back door and out to the side of the garage where the trash barrels were. He closed the trash can lid and started back to the house when a sound by the corner of his garage made him spin around. There was a roar, a flash of light, and burning pain in Mort’s chest; then his world went black.


Another inch and Mort would have been on a morgue slab and not an operating table.

Waking up in the Nightmare

Black became light gray and then filtered white. Mort opened his eyes just a slit only to close them again quickly against the harsh fluorescent glare of an overhead light. The last thing he remembered was hearing a sound near the back corner of his garage. He attempted to move his arms but stopped as an unholy pain coursed through his upper body. Mort’s whole chest hurt from his collarbone to his belly. A groan escaped his lips. As if through several layers of cotton, he heard someone say, “I think he’s coming to. Go get the doctor.”

Mort forced his eyes open against the glare and tried to look around. Moving his head caused too much pain so he settled for shifting his eyes to take in as much as he could. Mort vaguely identified shapes near him as people, but his eyes would not focus enough for him to determine who the people were. He judged from the scents and sites he could discern that he was in a hospital room.

What am I doing here? Where are Lori and Shannon? What’s going on? These questions followed one another through Mort’s befuddled brain until a moment of clarity struck.

I remember a sound by the corner of the garage. Then there was a flash and a roar. Oh! My! God! I’ve been shot. I’m not dead, but I’ve been shot. What about Lori and Shannon? I’ve got to find out if they’re okay.


Mort Can't Breathe

Mort struggled to speak but couldn’t. The breathing tube in his throat prevented speech. Mort tried to reach up and pull the breathing tube out but as soon as he moved his arms the pain overrode his desire to talk. He fell back, defeated, into his pillow.

“I think he’s trying to talk,” someone said — someone female by the voice.

A tenor male voice answered, “He seems to be stable enough to breathe on his own. Let’s get that breathing tube out of there.”

Mort's eyes darted from one to the other of the masked faces hovering over him.

“This will only take a moment,” the tenor male voice assured him. Mort decided he must be the doctor. “It’ll feel a little uncomfortable, and don’t try to speak right away. You need to give your throat time to relax from having the tube in.”

Closing his eyes and daring one slight nod, Mort readied himself for the removal of the breathing tube.

The doctor hadn’t misled him. The feeling of having the tube removed was uncomfortable, but it was over quickly. Mort coughed a few times, which made the pain in his chest flare. When the pain subsided enough, Mort tried to ask about his wife and daughter. It came out as a series of guttural croaks.

The Nightmare is Real

“Please wait a few minutes before you try to speak, Detective,” the doctor cautioned. “You’ve had that tube in there for a good while. Your throat needs a chance to adjust to its absence. I imagine it is also quite dry. I’ll have the nurse’s aide bring you something for that.”

The something for his dry throat turned out to be a small sponge attached to the end of a long lollipop stick. The water wasn’t cold, but it did moisten his mouth, and a small measure of it did trickle down his throat. After sucking what he could from a second sponge full, Mort tried again to speak.

“Where are my wife and daughter?”

The nurse’s aide’s brow wrinkled. “I’m afraid I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the doctor or the nurse about that. They should be right back in.”

When the nurse came back in and the aide went out, Mort caught a glance of a blue uniform outside the door to his room.

“Am I under guard?” Mort asked the nurse.

“Police protection,” the nurse replied. “There’s been a cop outside your door twenty-four, seven since they brought you in.”

“What about my wife and daughter?” Mort insisted. “Where are they? Are they all right?”

The nurse didn’t answer, but the look on her face told Mort all he needed to know. As he felt the tears begin to roll off his cheeks, Mort swore silently to himself that he’d find out who and take his vengeance.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 DW Davis


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