Tell me your dreams, p.26
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       Tell Me Your Dreams, p.26

           Sidney Sheldon
Chapter Twenty-Six

  THE hypnotherapy session had begun. Once Ashley was under. Dr. Keller said, "Ashley, tell me about Jim Cleary. "

  "I loved Jim. We were going to run away together and get married. "

  "Yes. . . ?"

  "At the graduation party, Jim asked me if I would go to his house with him, and I. . . I said no. When he brought me home, my father was waiting up for us. He was furious. He told Jim to get out and stay out. "

  "What happened then?"

  "I decided to go to Jim. I packed a suitcase and I started toward his house. " She hesitated. "Halfway to his house, I changed my mind and I went back home. I-"

  Ashley's expression started to change. She began to relax in her chair, and it was Toni sitting there. "Like hell she did. She went to his house, Dockie. "

  When she reached Jim Cleary's house, it was dark. "My folks will be away for the weekend. " Ashley rang the doorbell. A few minutes later, Jim Cleary opened the door. He was in his pajamas.

  "Ashley. " His face lit up in a grin. "You decided to come. " He pulled her inside. "I came because I - "

  "I don't care why you came. You're here. " He put his arms around her and kissed her. "How about a drink?"

  "No. Maybe some water. " She was suddenly apprehensive.

  "Sure. Come on. " He took her hand and led her into the kitchen. He poured a glass of water for her and watched her drink it. "You look nervous. "

  "I - I am. "

  "There's nothing to be nervous about. There's no chance that my folks will come back. Let's go upstairs. "

  "Jim, I don't think we should. "

  He came up behind her, his arms reaching for her breasts. She turned. "Jim. . . "

  His lips were on hers, and he was forcing her against the kitchen counter.

  "I'm going to make you happy, honey. " It was her father saying, "I'm going to make you happy, honey. "

  She froze. She felt him pulling her clothes off and entering her as she stood there naked, silently screaming.

  And the feral rage took over.

  She saw the large butcher knife sticking out of a wooden block. She picked it up and began stabbing him in the chest, screaming, "Stop it, Father. . . . Stop it. . . Stop it. . . Stop it. . . "

  She looked down, and Jim was tying on the floor, blood spurting out of him.

  "You animal," she screamed. "You won't do this to anyone again. " She reached down and plunged the knife into his testicles.

  At six o'clock in the morning, Ashley went to the railroad station to wait for Jim. There was no sign of him.

  She was beginning to panic. What could have happened? Ashley heard the train whistle in the distance. She looked at her watch: 7:00. The train was pulling into the station. Ashley rose to her feet and looked around frantically. Something terrible has happened to him. A few minutes later, she stood there watching the train pull out of the station, taking her dreams with it.

  She waited another half hour and then slowly headed home. That noon, Ashley and her father were on a plane to London. . . .

  The session was ending. Dr. Keller counted, ". . . four. . . five. You're awake now. "

  Ashley opened her eyes. "What happened?"

  "Toni told me how she killed Jim Cleary. He was attacking you. " Ashley's face went white. "I want to go to my room. "

  * * *

  Dr. Keller reported to Otto Lewison. "We're really beginning to make some advances, Otto. Up to now, it's been a logjam, with each one of them afraid to make the first move. But they're getting more relaxed. We're going in the right direction, but Ashley is still afraid to face reality. "

  Dr. Lewison said, "She has no idea how these murders took place?"

  "Absolutely none. She's completely blanked it out. Toni took over. "

  It was two days later. "Are you comfortable, Ashley?"

  "Yes. " Her voice sounded far away.

  "I want us to talk about Dennis Tibble. Was he a friend of yours?"

  "Dennis and I worked for the same company. We weren't really friends. "

  "The police report says that your fingerprints were found at his apartment. "

  "That's right. I went there because he wanted me to give him some advice. "

  "And what happened?"

  "We talked for a few minutes, and he gave me a glass of wine with a drug in it. "

  "What's the next thing you remember?"

  "I - I woke up in Chicago. "

  Ashley's expression began to change. In an instant, it was Toni talking to him. "Do you want to know what really happened. . . ?"

  "Tell me, Toni. "

  Dennis Tibble picked up the bottle of wine and said, "Let's get comfortable. " He started leading her toward the bedroom. "Dennis, I don't want to - "

  And they were in the bedroom, and he was taking off her clothes.

  "I know what you want, baby. You want me to screw you. That's why you come up here. "

  She was fighting to get free. "Stop it, Dennis!"

  "Not until I give you what you came here for. You're going to love it, baby. "

  He pushed her onto the bed, holding her tightly, his hands moving down to her groin, it was her father's voice. "You're going to love it, baby. " And he was forcing himself into her, again and again, and she was silently screaming, "No, Father. Stop" And then the unspeakable fury took over. She saw the wine bottle. She reached for it, smashed it against the edge of the table and jammed the ragged edge of the bottle into his back. He screamed and tried to get up, but she held him tightly while she kept ramming the broken bottle into him. She watched him roll onto the floor.

  "Stop it," he whimpered.

  "Do you promise to never do that again? Well, we'll make sure. " She picked up the broken glass and reached for his groin. "

  Dr. Keller let a moment of silence pass. "What did you do after that, Toni?"

  "I decided I'd better get out of there before the police came. I have to admit I was pretty excited. I wanted to get away from Ashley's boring life for a while, and I had a friend in Chicago, so I decided to go there. It turned out he wasn't home, so I did a little shopping, hit some of the bars and bad a good time. "

  "And what happened next?"

  "I checked into a hotel and fell asleep. " She shrugged. "From then on it was Ashley's party. "

  She awakened slowly, knowing something was wrong, terribly wrong. She felt as though she had been drugged. Ashley looked around the room and began to panic. She was tying in bed, naked, in some cheap hotel room. She had no idea where she was or how she had gotten there. She managed to sit up, and her head started to pound.

  She got out of bed, walked into the tiny bathroom and stepped into the shower. She let the stream of hot water pound against her body, trying to wash away whatever terrible, dirty things had happened to her. What if he had gotten her pregnant? The thought of having his child was sickening. Ashley got out of the shower, dried herself and walked over to the closet. Her clothes were missing. The only things inside the closet were a black leather miniskirt, a cheap-looking tube top and a pair of spiked high-heeled shoes. She was repelled by the thought of putting the clothes on, but she had no choice. She dressed quickly and glanced in the mirror. She looked like a prostitute.

  "Father. I - "

  "What's wrong?"

  "I'm in Chicago and - "

  "What are you doing in Chicago?"

  "I can't go into it now. I need on airline ticket to San Jose. I don't have any money with me. Can you help me?"

  "Of course. Hold on. . . . There's an American Airlines plane leaving 0'Hare at ten-forty AM. . Flight 407. There will be a ticket waiting for you at the check-in counter. "

  "Alette, can you hear me? Alette. "

  "I'm here. Dr. Keller. "

  "I want us to talk about Richard Melton. He was a friend of yours, wasn't he?"

  "Yes. He was very. . . simp'atico. I was in love with him. "

  "Was he in
love with you?"

  "I think so, yes. He was an artist. We would go to museums together and look at all of the wonderful paintings. When I was with Richard I felt. . . alive. I think if someone had not killed him, then one day we would have been married. "

  "Tell me about the last time you were together. "

  "When we were walking out of a museum, Richard said, 'My roommate is at a party tonight. Why don't we stop at my place? I have some paintings I'd like to show you. ' "

  " 'Not yet, Richard. ' "

  " 'Whatever you say. I'll see you next weekend?' "

  " 'Yes' "

  "I drove away," Alette said. "And that was the last time I - "

  Dr. Keller watched her face begin to take on Toni's animation.

  "That's what she wants to think," Toni said. "That's not what happened. "

  "What did happen?" Dr. Keller asked.

  She went to his apartment on Fell Street. It was small, but Richard's paintings made it look beautiful.

  "It makes the room come alive, Richard. "

  "Thank you, Alette. "He took her in his arms. "I want to make love to you. You're beautiful. "

  "You're beautiful," her father said. And she froze. Because she knew the terrible thing that was going to happen. She was tying on the bed, naked, feeling the familiar pain of him entering her, tearing her apart.

  And she was screaming, "No! Stop it, Father! Stop it!" And then the manic-depressive frenzy took over. She had no recollection of where she got the knife, but she was stabbing his body over and over, yelling at him, "I told you to stop it! Stop it!"

  Ashley was writhing in her chair, screaming.

  "It's all right, Ashley," Dr. Keller said. "You're safe. You're going to wake up now, at the count of five. "

  Ashley awoke, trembling. "Is everything all right?"

  "Toni told me about Richard Melton. He made love to you. You thought it was your father, so you - "

  She put her hands over her ears. "I don't want to hear any more!"

  * * *

  Dr. Keller went to see Otto Lewison.

  "I think we're finally making the breakthrough. It's very traumatic for Ashley, but we're nearing the end. We still have two murders to retrieve. "

  "And then?"

  "I'm going to bring Ashley, Toni and Alette together. "

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