Abruptly the investigator awakes. Something is burning, there is smoke in the air. The house is on fire!
Opening the bedroom door reveals and angry orange hell. The fire rages fiercely in the hall, the walls and floors are blazing and impassable.
With flames licking at the door, there appears to be only one way out of the house: through the bedroom window. Outside, the street it quiet, nobody has yet noticed that the house is burning merrily. There is nothing to climb down that is not already burning. The only option is to jump.
The investigator leaps out, towards a cold, hard safety. Landing is a sudden shock, a searing pain, and unconsciousness.
1 The investigator wakes up in hospital. There he is recovering from injuries sustained from having leapt from his bedroom window. Returning to the house, it is untouched.
The nightmare is the work of a protective spell in a forbidden book the investigator is translating. Into one of the pages the author has worked a fiendish spell to prey on the fears of those who should not be reading the book.
Each time any investigator studies that book, there is a chance that he will glance at that page, so triggering the spell. Next time the investigator takes a flying leap from his bedroom window he might not be so lucky: he might be on the twentieth floor.
2 The investigator wakes up to find himself in the dreamlands. He has been summoned, ripped out of normal slumber to appear in the dreamlands. Whether friendly allies or dangerous enemies have summoned the investigator is not yet known.
In the waking world, the investigator appears to have fallen into a coma having leapt from his bedroom window for no apparent reason. He also has a broken ankle and is currently in hospital.
3 The investigator sits bolt upright in bed. It is night, the bed covers are twisted and drenched in sweat. It was only a dream.
Copyright (c) 1993 Steve Hatherley.