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Alfred Hitchcock Presents Sories for Late at Night (1961) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock

Read Online Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night (1961) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock Sci-Fi Book

Overview: According to the American College Dictionary, terror “implies an intense fear which is somewhat prolonged and may refer to imagined or future dangers.” When Alfred Hitchcock chooses stories to arouse terror, he is meticulously faithful to this definition.


Read Online Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night (1961) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock Book Chapter One Free. Find Hear Best Sci-Fi Books And Novel For Reading And Download.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Sories for Late at Night (1961) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock

Read Online Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night (1961) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock Book Chapter One

 

DEATH IS A DREAM

Robert Arthur
You’re asleep now, David.
Yes, I’m asleep.
I want you to rest for a minute while I talk to your wife.
All right, Doctor, I’ll rest.
Your husband is under light hypnosis now, Mrs. Carpenter. We can talk without disturbing him.
I understand, Dr. Manson.
Now tell me about these nightmares he’s been having. You say they started the night you were married?
Yes, Doctor, a week ago. We came directly here to our new house after the ceremony. We had a small wedding supper here and didn’t retire until midnight. It was just dawn when David woke me by crying out in his sleep. He was twisting and struggling and saying something unintelligible. I woke him. He was pale and trembling and said he’d been having a nightmare.
But he couldn’t remember any of the details?
No, nothing. He took a seconal and went back to sleep. But the next night the same thing happened—and the next. It’s happened every night.
A recurrent nightmare. I see. But you mustn’t be alarmed. I’ve known David since he was a boy, and I think we can rid him of this nightmare without difficulty.
Oh, Doctor, I hope so!
Possibly Richard is trying to break through into his consciousness again.
Richard? Who’s Richard?
Richard is David’s other self, his other personality.
I don’t think I understand.
When David was twelve, he was in an automobile accident. This gave him a severe nervous shock and resulted in a form of schizophrenia in which he developed two distinct personalities. One personality was David’s normal self. The other, the second personality, was reckless and mischievous, completely uninhibited. David called this personality Richard and said it was his twin brother, who lived in his mind.
How strange!
There are many such cases in medical history. When David was tired or worried, Richard was able to take over control of his actions. Then Richard did things like making David walk in his sleep and setting fire to the bedclothes. David couldn’t help himself when Richard was in control. Sometimes he couldn’t remember what happened. Other times he thought it had been only a nightmare.
How upsetting!
I handled David’s case at the time and I thought we had made a complete cure and banished Richard for good. But it’s possible that—Well, I’ll question David now about this recurrent dream. The details will probably tell us what we need to know. . .David!
Yes, Doctor?
I want you to tell me about the dream that’s been bothering you. You can remember it now, can’t you?
The dream! Yes, yes, I can remember it now!
You mustn’t get excited. Just be perfectly calm and tell me all about the dream.
All right, I’ll be calm. I’ll be quite calm.
That’s fine. Now tell me about the first time you had this dream.
The first time—that was the night Ann and I were married. No, no, that’s wrong. It was the night before we were married.
You’re sure of that?
Yes. I’d spent the whole day arranging my law practice so I could take a few days off. In the evening I came out to this new house we’d bought here in Riverdale, to make sure everything was ready. I wanted everything to be perfect for Ann. It was nearly eleven before I got back downtown to my bachelor apartment. I was terribly tired.
I went to bed, but I was too tired, I couldn’t sleep. I took a seconal tablet. But I’d hardly fallen asleep before the dream began.
How did it begin, David?
I dreamed the telephone rang. The telephone actually was on the table beside my bed, and in my dream I sat up and answered it. For the moment, it seemed real to me—I thought I actually had answered the phone. Then I realized I was dreaming.
What made you realize that, David?
Because it was Louise who spoke to me, and even in my sleep I knew that Louise was dead.
When did Louise die, David?
A year ago. She was driving through the mountains of West Virginia to visit her parents when her car went off the road. She was burned to death.
So of course, when you heard her voice, you knew you were dreaming.
Yes, of course. She said, “David, this is Louise. . .David, what’s the matter, why don’t you answer?”
For a moment I couldn’t speak. Then in my dream I answered, “It can’t be Louise. Louise is dead.”
“I know, David.” Louise’s voice had the same mocking note I learned to know so well when she was alive. “Why, of course.”
“This is just a dream,” I told her. “In a minute I’m going to wake up.”
“Oh yes, indeed, darling,” Louise answered me. “I want you to be awake when I call on you. I’m leaving the cemetery now. I’ll be there soon.”
Then I suppose she hung up, I don’t know. Suddenly it changed the way dreams do and I was sitting up, fully dressed, smoking a cigarette, waiting. Waiting for Louise to leave the cemetery and come to my apartment. I knew she couldn’t, but as one accepts the impossible in a dream I sat waiting for her.
I had smoked two cigarettes when the apartment doorbell rang. Mechanically I crossed the room and opened the door. But it wasn’t Louise who stood there. It was Richard.
“Your twin brother, Richard?”
Yes, my twin brother, but taller than I, stronger, handsomer. He stood looking at me, smiling, self-assured, the old recklessness in his eyes.
“Well, David,” he asked, “aren’t you going to invite me in? And after we haven’t seen each other for fifteen years?”
“No, Richard!” I cried. “You can’t come back!”
“But I am back,” he said, and pushed past me into the room. “I’ve been planning to visit you for a long time, and tonight seemed like a good occasion.”
“Why have you come?” I demanded. “You’re dead. Dr. Manson and I killed you.”
“Louise is dead too,” Richard said. “But she’s coming back tonight. Why shouldn’t I?”
“What do you want?”
“Only to help you, David. You need somebody to stand by you tonight. You’re much too nervous to face a dead wife by yourself.”
“Go away, Richard,” I begged him.
“There’s someone at the door,” he answered. “It must be Louise. I’ll leave you alone to talk to her. But remember, I’m here if you need me.”
He strolled into the next room. The doorbell sounded again, impatiently, and I opened the door. Louise stood there. She was dressed all in white, just as I had buried her, and the veil, that had hidden the terribly burned face, made a little swirling movement about her head as she brushed past me silently into the room and settled, ever so slowly, into a chair.
For a long moment Louise said nothing. Then she said, “Why, David, you seem quite stricken dumb. Do shut the door. It’s causing a draft and I’m not used to drafts. I’ve been shut up in a stuffy coffin for almost a year, you know.”
I closed the door and words burst from me.
“What do you want here? Why have you come? You’re dead.”
She burst into laughter. “Why, David, you really believe that, don’t you? I’m not dead. I’ve been having a little fun with you.”
“Fun with me?” I repeated, and she laughed until I thought she was having hysterics.
“Yes, David,” she gibed. “You’ve always reacted to a crisis by getting jumpy, so I couldn’t resist playing the role of a ghost to see what you’d do.”
“You’re lying!” I shouted at her, “You are dead. I saw you buried.”
“For heaven’s sake, David.” She was annoyed now. “Do I look dead?”
She flung back her veil and showed me her face. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes bright, her teeth showing in a small, feline smile. “The body you buried was a girl I picked up and was giving a ride to. After the accident I saw she was dead, and on an impulse I put my rings on her fingers and slipped my handbag under her body. Then I set fire to the wreckage.”
“But why?” I groaned, sinking into another chair. “Why did you do it?”
“Because it amused me. I was more tired of you than you of me, and I liked the idea of living as another person. Besides, I knew that when I got tired of the game I could always come back. And now that I’ve run out of money, I’m back.”
“But I’m getting married tomorrow. To Ann.”
“I know, I read the papers. It occurred to me you might not want me to stay around. All right, David darling, I’ll go away and play dead some more. You can go ahead and marry the daughter of your best client. But of course I’ll need money.”
“No! I won’t give you any money. You’re dead.”
“I can just see the headlines tomorrow night,” Louise said. “Prominent Young Lawyer’s Wife Returns From Grave—Supposedly Dead Wife Interrupts Wedding.”
“No!” I shouted. “I won’t let you!”
“Really, all I need is ten thousand dollars. I’ll get a very quiet divorce and your new marriage can be legalized again later. You see, it’ll work out very simply.”
I could not answer. My mind was whirling. I felt weak, confused, uncertain. Only the deep-seated realization I was having a nightmare saved me from collapsing. Louise rose.
“Think it over. I’ll go powder my nose. I’ll give you five minutes—then I’ll expect a check.”
She walked out of the room. I covered my face in an agony of indecision, wishing I could wake up. When I looked up again, Richard, my twin brother, was standing before me.
“I must say you handled that rather badly, David. You let her scare you with her ridiculous joke about being dead. Now she knows she has you beaten.”
“But she is dead!” I cried. “This is all just a dream.”
“Who can say what’s a dream and what’s real? My advice to you is, don’t take any chances. If you give her the money, she’ll just come back for more.”
“But there’s nothing I can do,” I said in despair.
“Of course there is. Louise died once. She must die again.”
“No! I won’t listen to you.”
“Then I see I shall have to take matters into my own hands, as I did when we were boys. . .Look at me, David.”
“No!” I tried to turn my eyes away, but his gaze held me, brilliant, mesmeric.
“Look into my eyes, David.”
“I won’t. I won’t.”
But I could not turn away. I felt as I had, years ago when we were boys. Richard’s eyes grew bigger and bigger until they were pools of dark water in which I was about to be swallowed up.
“Now, David, I’m going to take charge of your body as I used to. And you’ll have to go where I’ve been all this time—deep down in our brain.”
I struggled for an instant longer. But his eyes, like enormous pools into which I was falling, came closer and closer. Then there was a wrenching feeling and Richard vanished. I knew he had won. He was real now—he controlled our body. And I was helpless. I could look and listen with our eyes and ears, but I could not interfere with anything he chose to do.
Louise reentered the room. Her eyes were bright and self-assured.
“Well, David,” she asked, “have you made up your mind yet?”
“Yes, Louise, I have.”
Richard spoke in a voice deeper than mine, stronger, more confident. Louise seemed puzzled by the change.
“Make the check to cash,” she said in a moment. “I’ll get the divorce in Las Vegas. No one will associate my name with yours. Carpenter is a fairly common name.”
“There will be no check and no divorce,” Richard told her.
“Then there will be publicity. Rather lurid and unpleasant. It will hardly do your career any good.”
“There will be no publicity either. And just for your information, I’m not David. I’m Richard.”
“Richard?” Louise’s face mirrored uncertainty. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“I’m David’s twin brother. The one who does the things David doesn’t dare do for himself.”
“You’re being ridiculous! Now I’m going. I’ll give you until nine tomorrow to change your mind about that check.”
“There will be no check. You have no intention of keeping any agreement, and I know it.”
Richard took a step forward. For the first time Louise seemed alarmed. She turned, as if to run. He caught her arm, spun her around, then with both hands seized her around the throat.
I had to watch, helpless, as his hands pressed more and more tightly into her throat, while her face changed color and her eyes became enormous. She struggled for perhaps thirty seconds, trying to kick and scratch. Then her struggles ceased. That was unconsciousness. Her face became livid. Saliva streamed from the corners of her slack mouth. Her eyes seemed to be forced from their sockets, glaring and open. Calmly Richard continued the pressure on her throat until she was unmistakably dead. Then he let her fall in a heap on my floor.
“All right, David,” he said, “you may speak now.”
“You’ve killed her!”
Richard wiped his lips with my handkerchief.
“An interesting point. Have I or haven’t I killed her? Was she alive, or was she really dead all the time?”
“You’re confusing me!” I complained. “Of course she was dead. This is only a dream. But—”
“But even in a dream we can’t leave a body lying on your apartment rug, can we? It seems we must take her back where she belongs. To Fairfield Cemetery.”
“But that’s impossible!”
“It would be impossible for you. Not for me. I’m simply going to carry Louise down in the elevator, get into a taxi, and drive to the cemetery. And now you are to be silent until I permit you to speak.”
Calmly he proceeded to carry out his insane scheme. First he put on my hat and gloves. Then he took Louise’s veil from her purse and he pinned it to her hat. He brushed her coat and smoothed back her hair, which had become disarranged in the struggle. Then he picked up her body in his arms, carrying her as if she were a sleepy child, and strode to the elevator.
He rang the bell and stood there, Louise’s dead body cradled in his arms, humming to himself. The elevator came after a moment and Jimmy, the night attendant, opened the door.
“A little trouble, Jimmy,” Richard said as he stepped in. He had to turn sideways to get Louise through the elevator door and the movement made her purse slip from her lap, where he had placed it. Jimmy stooped for it and put it back.
“The young lady”—Richard’s tone was man-to-man—“apparently started drinking before she got here. I gave her one cocktail and she was out like a light. Now I’ve got to get her back home. Can you get me a taxi at the side entrance?”
“Sure thing, Mr. Carpenter.” It was apparent that Jimmy understood perfectly.
I had expected detection, exposure, arrest. Instead Jimmy brought a taxi, Richard stepped into it with Louise, and we started off as if it were perfectly natural for a man to carry a dead woman about New York at midnight. But clever though Richard was, such a mad scheme could not go without a hitch. The hitch occurred when the taxi driver turned and asked the address.
“Fairfield Cemetery,” Richard answered.
“Fairfield Cemetery?” the driver said. “At this time of night? You’re kidding, mister.”
“Not at ah.” Richard always became annoyed when anyone wouldn’t take him seriously. “This lady is dead and I’m going to bury her.”
“Listen, mister!” The driver turned all the way around—a small, truculent little man whose face was red with anger. “I don’t like you society mugs and your funny stuff. Now tell me where you want to go or get out of my cab.”
Richard hesitated, then shrugged. “Sorry,” he said. “It wasn’t a very good joke, was it? Take us to Riverdale—937 West 235th Street.”
“Okay, that’s better.” A moment later we were threading our way through New York’s busy after-theatre traffic. Richard, still cradling Louise’s body in his arms as if she were a child, leaned back and hummed “Waltz me around again, Willie.”
The ride that followed could only have happened in a dream. Through Times Square we went, and the bright lights danced and flickered on Louise’s face beneath her veil. Sometimes we stopped for traffic fights and pedestrians surged about us, peering in and snickering. Traffic policemen stared briefly and were not interested. Through the busy heart of the world’s greatest city, Richard carried a corpse, and no flicker of suspicion passed through the mind of a single individual.
Presently we swung off onto the Henry Hudson Highway and sped along it to Riverdale, where we drew up at the address Richard had given—this house, the house I bought for Ann and me to five in. Cautiously Richard eased Louise out of the cab, managed to get his hand into his pocket and pull out a bill, paid off the driver and sent him away. The night was dark, the street was still. No one saw Richard as he unceremoniously dumped Louise on the cold stone steps, found the key and carried her inside.
He did not turn on the fights. Instead he dropped Louise onto a couch in the living room, then sat down opposite her and fit a cigarette.
“All right, David, you may speak now,” he said.
“Richard,” I said in anguish, “are you mad? Bringing Louise here is no better than leaving her in my apartment. Now what are we going to do?”
“I’m considering that point now.” Richard sounded petulant. He hated for obstacles to arise to balk his plans. “Too bad that silly driver wouldn’t go to the cemetery.”
And then Louise sat up.
She sat up, swaying like one who is ill. Her hand went to her throat and when she spoke, her voice was hoarse, her words thick.
“David,” she said, “you—you tried to kill me.”
Richard turned to look at her. In the darkness she was a blur, ghostly, remote.
“It seems I didn’t do a very complete job,” he remarked, and sounded annoyed.
“You tried to kill me,” she repeated, as if finding the fact impossible to believe. “You’ll go to jail for this, I promise you you will.”
“Nothing of the sort.” He rose to his feet and towered dangerously over her. “I merely have to do the job over again, that’s all.”
Louise shrank away from him.
“No, for God’s sake!” she cried out. “I’m sorry, David, I didn’t mean it. I shouldn’t have come back. I’ll go away again, really I will. I’ll never bother you again, David.”
“I’m Richard, not David,” he told her, his voice sulky. “You’re very hard to kill, aren’t you, Louise? You’ve died twice now and still you aren’t dead. Perhaps the third time will make it final.”
“Richard, stop!” I shouted at him. “Let her go. She means it. She’ll go away and never—”
“You don’t know much about women like Louise,” Richard sneered. “Anyway, this is between her and me now. You’re becoming a nuisance. Go to sleep, David. . .to sleep. . .”
I felt myself becoming faint. Darkness overwhelmed me. In my dream it happened as it happened those times when I was a boy—Richard banished me completely and was free to do just as he pleased. I knew nothing more until I found myself in my pajamas in my own bed. Richard stood in the center of the room, smiling at me.
“Well David, here you are, safe and sound again,” he said. “And I’m off. I’ll be back, though. You can count on that.”
“Louise!” I exclaimed. “What have you done with her?”
Richard yawned. “Forget Louise,” he said. “She won’t trouble you again. I persuaded her to see your point of view in the matter, David.”
“How? What did you do to her?”
Richard merely smiled. “Good night, David,” he said. “Oh, in the morning, I don’t want you to be distressed by anything. So remember, this has just been a dream. Just an interesting dream.”
With that he was gone. An instant later I opened my eyes to find it was nine in the morning and the alarm clock was ringing. And that’s what my dream was, Doctor.
Thank you, David. I understand now. I’m going to explain your dream to you and then you’ll never have it again.
Yes, Doctor.
Before your first wife, Louise, died, you wished her dead, didn’t you?
Yes. I wanted her to die.
Exactly. Then when she did die, you felt an unconscious sense of guilt as if you’d murdered her. On the eve of your marriage to Ann, that sense of guilt manifested itself as a nightmare in which Louise was alive again. Probably the ringing of your alarm clock made you think of a telephone and that started off the whole dream—Louise, Richard, everything. Do you understand?
Yes, Doctor. I understand.
Now you’re going to rest for a moment. When I next say wake up, you will do so. You’ll have forgotten the dream utterly. It’ll never trouble you again. Now rest, David.
Yes, Doctor.
Oh, Dr. Manson—
Yes, Mrs. Carpenter?
You’re sure he won’t ever have the dream again?
Quite sure. His unconscious guilt feeling has been brought to the surface, if I may put it that way, and so removed.
I’m so glad. Poor David was on the point of a breakdown. Oh, excuse me, there’s the doorbell.
Of course.
. . .It was the man with our blankets. A wedding present from David’s sister. I sent them to be monogrammed. Aren’t they lovely?
Very beautiful indeed.
I’ll put them right away. David had a cedar chest built in beneath this window seat. It’s airtight and completely moth-proof, the builder said. I certainly hope it is—I’d hate to have any moths get into blankets like these.
David, you may wake up now. . .Good. How do you feel?
I feel fine, Doctor. Only I’m Richard, not David. I’m surprised at you for thinking David was just telling you about a dream. You should know that’s only David’s way of hiding the truth from himself. That first time there really was a phone call and—Ann! Stay away from that cedar chest! I warn you, don’t open it!. . .All right, I warned you. But you had to go ahead and open it. Now, there’s no use in your standing there screaming, you know.

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