By Jonathan Urban

Copyright March 28, 2000

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"My God--NO!" Steve woke up with a cold sweat. It was just a dream he told himself as reassuringly as he could. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and lied back down, unable to fall asleep. Steve kept having the same dream night after night. It drove him crazy and alarmed him even more. Was there meaning behind it--or just a meaningless dream? Dream? He laughed--it was more of a damn nightmare.

He looked over at the alarm clock. Twenty minutes before it would go off and another day would begin. He got up and took a shower. The nightmare was always the same he thought, as he lathered himself with the soap. He was rock climbing and then his line broke, sending him falling down the side of the cliff. He always woke up before he hit the ground. That was good he thought--for he had heard of people actually experiencing the impact and they died of cardiac arrest because in their mind it was such a traumatic experience, not to mention seeming so real.

Steve sat at his desk--it was a mess as usual. Papers stacked all over, files lying here and there. He sighed and began sorting through them. His secretary, Phyllis, walked in and sat more files on his desk. She was tall, long blond hair, blue eyes, and a slender body. Steve always admired her from a far. He wasn't bad looking himself. He was around six feet tall, muscular, short dark hair, eyes and skin tone. His mind wasn't on the work in front of him though--

Maybe he should make an appointment to see a doctor. The very thought made him cringe. What was he to say to a doctor? Oh, I'm having nightmares every night. He reassured himself they would go away by themselves. He turned his attention back to his work--it was going to be a long day.

It was nearing five o' clock and his secretary walked in, "Steve, you look stressed...why don't you join me for a drink downstairs at the bar? Phyllis smiled.

"That would be nice actually...give me five minutes to organize this for tomorrow and I'll join you downstairs."

She smiled and left his office. Steve organized some remaining files and wrote a few notes for him to do things in the morning. He got his sport coat and went to the elevator. A funny sensation came over him as the elevator made its initial plunge. He feel to the floor, then got up. That was weird he thought.

Steve met Phyllis at the bar and ordered a drink for himself. Phyllis had already ordered hers. "So how was your day Steve?"

"You know Phyllis, I haven't been sleeping that well lately...then all the work piling's rather exhausting," Steve managed a smile.

"Are you coming down with a cold, you look pale," Phyllis inquired.

Steve frowned, "Not that I know of," He paused. Should he confide in her about his dream?

"I've been having a recurring dream or more like a nightmare," Steve waited for a response.

"Tell me about it," She smiled as she took a sip of her drink.

"Well, it always starts the same. I'm climbing a rock face, and then my line snaps and I keep falling, and falling--but wake up before I hit the ground."

She smiled, "That's a good thing...I heard if a person doesn't wake up before they hit, they can literally die."

"Yes, I've heard the same. So enough about that, how are you children doing?"

"They are growing up, doing well in school. I'm very proud of them."

"That's good, you should be...and of yourself. It can't be easy being a single parent."

Phyllis smiled, "It's not, but we manage. Afterall I have the best employer!"

Steve smiled.

Another night, the same nightmare. Steve saw himself smiling as he climbed the face of the rock. Even heard himself talking to his friend several yards from him. He felt the rush of the wind blast past him. It felt good, as it was a hot day. Then the inevitable happened. He felt his line snap and he dropped--falling, falling to his death. The speed was exhilarating as he fell. He knew he was dreaming and that he would soon wake in a cold sweat. He kept falling, past the level at which he usually awoke. This was odd he thought. He saw the ground becoming closer and closer. He impacted on it, and everything went black.

"Doctor, you better get in here. Steve Ralston just flat lined and the nurses are trying to revive him."

The Doctor walked in and saw the nurses coding Steve. He was dead. "Poor guy, he's been in a coma for years since his rock climbing accident. Well, I hope he is at peace now. Nurse Phyllis, please get the death kit, and prepare his body...and notify his family that he has past away...I'm sure they will want to make arrangements."

"Yes Doctor," She turned one last time and smiled at Steve. Her favorite patient had gone on to a better place.