“Tell me about the dream,” the doctor said.

The woman fussed with an imaginary speck of lint on her skirt. FBI agents weren’t supposed to need this. (More)

Although Tuesday’s Tale has become a weekly Midday Matinee feature where we collaborate to write a comic story, it began as a collective attempt to help Winter B find a plot for a novel. Recent Tuesday’s Tales include Little Plow and Komatsu and The Lion Doesn’t Sleep Tonight, but for this special edition we’ll return to the feature’s roots, as Winter B is again stalled with only a snippet of an idea. She may use our ideas – as she did with the story about Haley – or they may spark another idea that she can use. Please jump in and play along!

We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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The doctor smiled, as if reading the woman’s mind. “The Bureau has me on staff for a reason, Special Agent Ward.”

Ward nodded. “I hate this. I mean … I don’t mean you.”

The doctor gave a grandmotherly shrug. “You wouldn’t be the first patient to hate me, or the last. It comes with the territory.” She smiled calmly. “Your dream?”

Ward took a deep breath. When she first began wearing a shoulder holster, she had felt the slight constriction when she inhaled fully. After a few days she stopped noticing it. Now she noticed its absence.

“It’s funny,” Ward said. The doctor’s eyebrows rose and Ward shook her head. “Not ha-ha funny. Weird funny. I mean, I wake up in a cold sweat but I can’t remember details. There’s just a black pit. I think it’s a pit. It feels like one, but I can’t see any sides or a top or a bottom. I just know I’m falling.”

“Dreams of falling are common,” the doctor said.

“I hit the bottom before I wake up, I’ll die, right?” Ward asked.

The doctor smiled. “That’s a common myth, but it’s not true. For some people, the dream turns into a soft landing, like they’re in an airplane. Or they fall onto a pillow. Or they find stairs near the bottom and walk down.”

“What if there is no bottom?” Ward asked. “Like there’s no top, in my dream. I don’t slip off an edge or get pushed or anything. Or if I do, I don’t remember it when I wake up. I’m just … falling.”

“Dreams of falling typically indicate anxiety,” the doctor said. “For some people, there’s a sense of failure.”

Ward winced. “I guess that fits.”

“Does it?” the doctor asked. She pointed to the file. “Did you fail?”

Ward looked at her. “He’s still out there, doc. So yeah, I call that failure.”

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Happy Wednesday!