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"The Dream Had Been Haunting Him," by Brent Farrell

Gary Miller

It was the hand, the hand with the ring on it reaching out to interrupt his dreams. Always showing up in the oddest of places. As a foot or a leg on a table, the side view mirror on a car, a brooch on a woman’s chest. That damned hand was haunting him nightly. But why? Why, dammit, today it popped up in his erotic daydream in a mood-killing place.

What was the meaning of it, he wondered. He decided to draw the hand, draw it as clealy as he could. Lord knows, it was imprinted on his psyche!

He took his time, remembering small details: age spots, flat topsails on an almost paper thin skin. It was the ring that he drew the easiest: big ruby, diamond encrusted, it was as familiar as if he himself were wearing it.

Hopefully by drawing it, it would stop haunting his sleep. He had a life to live, after all. He had to go to the post office, the bank, the grocery store and pickup his dry cleaning.

It was on his way into the bank that something clicked. It was the branch manager. But what about her? Irritating to have thoughts without answers.

And then, there she was, coming to talk to him. She held out her hand to take his and there was the ring on her hand. Not the hand from the dream; a much younger hand. Hmm he thought, that is the ring. I’d know it anywhere. I’ve been seeing it nightly for four weeks.

“What a lovely ring,” he said.

“Thank you, it’s been in my family for generations.”

That’s when it hit him. He saw her wearing it at a Chamber of Commerce meeting a month ago, and it had struck a nerve. But he had forgotten about it with all the back-slapping and cocktails.

That ring had been buried with the wife of the founding father of this down. She’d died in 1906 and the picture of her in the Who’s Who showed the ring and the significance of it.

How did the bank manager come to possess it? What should he do? Who should he talk to…