The Ghost of Tom (The Dream Factory)

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See “The Dream Factory” for a full list of my shared dreams.

In this dream, I was set to get a private tour of an old, abandoned prison. The place was being mothballed and only a handful of maintenance staff, as well as a few security guards (not corrections officers since there were no inmates, but security guards. It was a private company contracted to keep vandals off the campus), still worked there. I work for a consulting nonprofit group that supports public facilities, so it isn’t far-fetched that I’d be getting a private tour of a prison—I’ve had several before.

This prison was a little different than any I’d seen, but that’s not really what’s relevant. What was relevant was the story the security guard told me as we approached the building from the parking lot. The complex came with a legend about a former inmate who died here, or at least that was what was assumed. Nobody ever found his body and there was no indication that he had escaped. The inmate’s name was Tom, and Tom had always loved to play poker.

Over the years, many had claimed that if you were to set up a table and cards in his old cell and then waited afterhours, Tom’s ghost would appear and possibly tell you how he died and what happened to his body. In the dream, I remember saying something like, “If that’s true, how come nobody’s found it yet?” The guard simply smiled and took off his shades (it was sunny, but cold outside) as we entered the building, and said, “I don’t know, but a few of my guys have claimed to have seen someone wandering the halls that match his description. One of them won’t even go down certain corridors where he’s seen him. That’s Jerry…he’s on shift now, in fact, so if you see him feel free to ask him about it. God knows he likes talking about it.”

Before heading on our tour, I go to the restroom. I’m in a stall, but there are no doors on the stall, which is kind of a result of being confused in the dream. Behind the bars, where the prisoners stay, there are no stalls because the inmates can’t be seen when they’re in a stall. However, out in the waiting area where we were, there should have been doors to the stalls, but I digress…

…I was in the stall, facing a long row of sinks and then a clouded window with sunlight lighting the room. The overhead lights were all turned off. Suddenly, another man, shorter than the security guard but who was also wearing sunglasses walked into view and started washing his hands. The man matched the description the guard provided of Tom’s ghost.

Holy crap! I thought. It’s the ghost!

It took a second for the man/ghost to notice I was there. Once he did, he slowly turned in order to face me. Gasping, his hand went to his belt where a gun rested in a black harness. A second or two later, the man/ghost chuckled and left the room, shaking his head.

Now, remember that it was a dream. I probably should have recognized that this man had a gun and inmates wouldn’t have carried guns (he wasn’t in any kind of uniform). However, at this point I was still convinced that what I had seen was in fact the ghost of Tom, so I went back down the hall to the waiting room and mentioned to the guard that I might have seen the ghost he was talking about. The security guard looked stunned and then asked what the ghost looked like. I described him and the security guard laughed.

“That’s Jerry,” he said, and then he started leading me down the hall to begin the tour.

Then I woke up. At any rate, I thought it was a pretty cool concept, and have actually worked it into some stories I’ve written or drafted.


About authorphilpartington

Phil is a writing enthusiast of many years, having been published in numerous online and national print trade and sports publications over the past decade. He has spent the past five years delving back into the world of fiction writing, focussing on the fantasy, horror and suspense genres. Deshay of the Woods is his first novel.
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