Tanya was writing in her journal.
Today wasn't an ordinary day at all for her.
In her profession, she had seen more weird and horrifying things than any person ever sees in their lifetime,
But, today was just unusual of all.
She works as a psychiatrist in her private clinic.
In a small town like this, where people still hesitate to come out to talk about mental health and where people have
more faith in religion than in science, it was a very difficult profession to have for any person.
She rarely gets any new patients. Most of the patients are chronic cases while few arrive, almost at a time, when there is very little that can be done.
But, today when she arrived at her clinic expecting the usual routine, She was astonished to see that the whole waiting room was full.
The patients came in, one by one, narrated their story and left.
Seeing for the first time in her professional carrier, so many patients at once, she dismissed all of this as just a farce first.
The reason being all the patients that came in that day, narrated her a story which seems very similar to each other. A story about a dream.
But, then when her assistant informed that her friend is waiting outside in the waiting room, she hesitated.
Her friend never visits her in the clinic. She is an avid churchgoer and like most of the people of this town,
believed science as an opposition to faith, something on which they usually debate every day or another.
But unlike the others, she respected her friend for what she does for a living.
"Bring her in" she told her assistant.
Jo entered her room.
"Hi Tanya. You seem very busy today." She smiled.
"Oh, you seem jealous of my popularity now!" Tanya teased her friend.
But there was something not quite right with her. Jo who usually is a very bright, confident girl was today sitting on the chair as if she is just too scared to be here.
"Are you alright?" Tanya enquired.
"No." Jo looked behind her as if she was expecting someone to be standing there.
"There is something I want to tell you. Something which I can't understand on my own as much as I try. I need your help Tanya!" Jo was trying her best to calm herself.
"Whatever it is, tell me and don't worry about the rest" Tanya assured her friend.
"I...I have been seeing a dream. The same one, every night. Initially it doesn't concerned me but when it started happening regularly, I started freaking out." She somehow managed to complete her sentence.
"There is nothing to worry about. Dreams are usually manifest of the subconscious mind and it's not at all related to reality." Tanya explained.
Jo drank a glass of water. She felt more in peace now, in presence of her friend.
"Tell me about this dream of yours." Tanya asked.
Jo hesitated but continued, "In these dreams, I always see a man. A strange looking man. The locations keep changing though. Sometimes I am on my way to the church, sometimes I am in my house."
"Why do you say this man is strange looking?" Tanya asked.
"Well He...He doesn't have any teeth even though he seem young." Jo felt scared again.
"Since the day I saw him in my dream, I have been trying to recall if I ever saw him before, but unfortunately, I cannot recall anything." Jo smacked her forehead in frustration.
"Jo, It is not necessary for you to have actually met this man in real life for this to happen in your dream." Tanya suggested.
But Tanya had questions. She asked "But, this man, what exactly he does when you see him in your dream?"
"He just laughs whenever he sees me". Jo was trembling now.
Tanya held her hand. "It will be alright now. You did the right thing by telling me all this."
As Jo was about to leave, she saw a portrait at Tanya's desk.
A portrait which was left there by one of Tanya's previous patients who also visited today. She picked it up. But once she saw the picture, her face turned white as a sheet.
It was the portrait of a man laughing.
He had no teeth.
To be continued...