Short Story #22: Death Is a Dream by Robert Arthur

Title:  Death Is a Dream

Author:  Robert Arthur

Short Story #22 out of 365

Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read: 1/13/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.


Summary

Book cover:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert ArthurDavid and his new wife visit his therapist because he's been having nightmares all week.  His therapist puts him under hypnosis to explore the dream that's causing so much trouble.  The dream started the night before he got married to his wife.  He dreams of hearing from his last wife, Louise, who died a year ago.  She has visited him and explained that she faked her death and now, wants money from him.  At this point, Richard, David's repressed schiztophrenic inner "twin" emerges to convince him to do something about Louise because she will keep coming back for money and ruin his new life with his new wife.  David refuses to do anything and so Richard takes over and eventually blinds David to his actions.  At this point, the therapist calls upon David to recognize the dream as guilt and fear about having wished his past wife dead and the dreams are a manifestation of that fear and guilt coming to a boil now that he has just remarried.  It's at this point that the new wife goes to fetch something in one of David's chests that Richard emerges and warns not to open the chest because that's where he stuffed Louise, but the warning is too late and he's left with needing to do away with the evidence.

Reflection

This is a fun story in part because it reminded me so much of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in that it feels like a slightly modernized version with the presents of the therapist.  Maybe it's because I'm such a fan of Stevenson or just because we're attuned to such plot devices in modern culture, but I knew once Richard was mentioned, it wasn't going to be a dream but that Richard would return to the present scene.  However, Arthur still kept a good narrative flow that pulled the reader in.  
  
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.





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