TITLE: The Accidental Alien
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Madison Wells dreamed it was hiding under the car again. When she pressed her face against the driver’s side window, she could see its thick shadow on the ground.
Her heart raced. She struggled to shout, to form words, to get a single sound out. It’s a dream, she realized, and beat her dream-fists against the window glass. It’s a dream. Wake up. The shadow was still there. Wake up, wake up. Suddenly she did, clutching the hotel bedspread, her heart still beating a staccato in her chest. Feeling for the lamp, she found the switch.
Plush red armchairs. Soothing artwork on the walls. An antique writing desk with an ordinary phone, an LA Times, and a room service menu. Her briefcase sat on the floor where she’d left it hours ago. No bogeymen hiding under the bed or anywhere else.
“Enough of this,” she said. She got up, crossed the carpet in her bare feet, and parted the drapes. As she stared down at the hard glitter of the Los Angeles streets, the details of the nightmare faded away. Twice this week, and every week for a month. It was making her crazy.
Maybe I need sleeping pills, she thought the next day on the flight home to D.C. While the plane flew into the twilight, she tucked a strand of short blond hair behind her ear and stared at her reflection in the window. Froggy. Bulging green eyes, a wide mouth, strong cheekbones: a face on track to make partner in a few years.