She was standing at the edge of a cliff in the middle of night.
She looked around but there was no one there except her.
She had no clue as to how she ended up here.
And then she felt a tap on her shoulder.
As she turned around she saw all the town people standing there, with the torches in their hands breathing fire and the same fire glowing in their eyes.
Slowly they started advancing towards her.
She felt scared, helpless.
Jo was there among the crowd too. She slowly made her way ahead in the line.
"Sorry my friend!" and with that she pushed her over the cliff.
With a sudden jolt, Tanya opened her eyes. She was sweating profusely.
This was the third time in a week she was seeing this dream.
"You can't take the stress of this on yourself" Peter, her assistant, was speaking to her next day in the clinic.
"The whole town has a secret Peter. A secret only I know!" Tanya was sitting on her chair hiding her face in her hands.
"But you are not alone in this" Peter sat opposite her. He gently pushed her hand aside and spoke looking directly at her now, "We will figure this out together".
Tanya felt relieved. She knew she can't do this on her own. The mystery of this dream was drowning her into madness and she needed all the help that she could find.
But unfortunately since hearing about this dream from the people of this town, she still had no clue as to what this dream actually signifies.
She went over all the books on dream interpretation which she could find but still nothing.
She was losing a battle where she doesn't even know who the real enemy was.
"Mr Smith is here, again" Peter informed her, looking exhausted.
"I'll deal with him. Bring him in." Tanya knew the reason Mr Smith has visited again.
It was almost a week since Mr Smith first came to her complaining about a dream. And so like almost everyone in this town, he wants answers now.
Mr Smith was a wealthy businessman. Although he was in his early forties but still he kept a grey beard and and a walking stick like it was some sort of tradition.
As he came into the room, Tanya expected the usual salutation where Mr Smith usually explain in detail about the wealth and power he and his family had over this town.
But today he was unusually quiet which felt very odd in Tanya's eyes.
"Can I ask you something?" Mr Smith said finally.
"Please go ahead" Tanya replied.
"This man which I kept seeing in my dreams, could it be possible that he.." he stopped mid sentence,
as if trying to figure out in his mind whether to say what he wants to say next or not, "that he...".
Tanya encouraged him to go ahead.
Mr Smith looked around to check if anyone else is listening to this or not.
Then he lowered his voice and said, "That he is the Devil?".
"Mr Smith, I can assure you that there will be a scientific explanation to all of this" Tanya assured.
"I know he is. He knows the things I have done in the past and he is coming after me!" Mr Smith wasn't paying attention to anything Tanya said before.
He was lost in his own thoughts while he stood facing the window overlooking the street.
Tanya went near him.
"I thought you were a man of reason Mr Smith." Tanya said.
"I was. But...But now I am not so sure. After seeing these dreams and then hearing at the confessional also, I don't know anymore." Mr Smith explained.
"What about the confessional?" Tanya asked.
Mr Smith realised that he had accidentally blurted out something which he shouldn't have mentioned but now there weren't any other means to escape other than to speak the truth.
"I felt guilty of what I did in the past so one day I went to church to make a confession." Mr Smith confessed.
"Was this before you start seeing these dreams?" Tanya enquired.
Mr Smith tried to recall this, "I think Yes, that was before all this" he finally answered.
Before leaving, Mr Smith stopped for a moment to look back at Tanya and said, "You should also try to visit sometimes."
But Tanya wasn't paying any attention now because in her mind, a new train of thoughts started from something which Mr Smith mentioned just now
and something which she read previously but dismissed instantly at that time because it didn't seem possible to her.
She teared out a page from a book on dream interpretation and read out a passage again.
"Although dreams are usually formed in the subconscious part of one's brain but studies have shown that it may be possible to influence someone else's dream also".
Tanya now realised that like everyone in this town, she too was seeing a dream, while the reality was always hidden in plain sight.
To be continued...