Dream A Little Dream For Me
"Another challenge for the Green Hornet, his aide Kato, and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty. On Police records a wanted criminal, Green Hornet is really Britt Reid, owner-publisher of the Daily Sentinel, his dual identity known only to his secretary and to the district attorney. And now, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, rides THE GREEN HORNET."
The Green Hornet stood to one side of her, his silent partner to the other. The shadows of the open building swallowed the edges, obscuring the figure whom they were confronting. His mouth moved, forming words. They were soundless yet she understood the meanings all the same.
Then there was movement. This figure's gestures grew agitated, aggressive. A barrel of a gun appeared, aimed at her. Yet she didn't shrink away. Her mouth worked without thought, daring him over and over to fire.
She stepped toward the shadows, opening herself up to the weapon. Suddenly the Hornet was pulling her behind him. Covering her with his body. The first bullet hit him low, in the side. She felt his body absorb the impact. Blanching, she wrapped her arms around his waist, trying to hold him up.
But he pushed her away, into the arms of his partner. She reached for him again. The Hornet shouted for the partner to get out. The figure from the shadows moved to block their path. The Hornet intercepted first.
She staggered backwards, the partner pulling her toward the exit. Another shot, her hair whipped about her face at the sound. The Hornet stumbled forward, the smoking gun to his back; urged them on as he attempted to follow. She planted her feet.
No! She had to go back!
Her mouth rounded to shout "No!". She tugged back on the smaller man's arm.
Her cry of "Stop!" fell sloppily from her mouth. The partner swung her into him, hugging tightly to keep her from going back. Suddenly the exit behind the wounded Hornet flew open and a shorter, heavier man ran in. His movements were choppy, almost in slow motion.
Impending doom burned her stomach. She pulled harder.
"Please!" she screamed in his ear. "Go back! Help him!"
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw this short man slide to a halt behind the Hornet. They were just feet apart.
Her heart fell at the sight of his face.
"Mike! Mike Axford! NO!"
Mike Axford's arm raised. His gun hand trembled. Her efforts redoubled. She scratched and clawed at the partner's face. But he simply picked her off the ground, cradling her body. And then the shots.
Her breath caught in her throat and all struggling ceased. The partner's grip loosened at the thud of the Green Hornet's lifeless body hitting the cement floor. She tried to turn, only to have the grip on her upper arms re-tighten.
"Don't." She started at the ragged tone of the partner's voice. She stared into his eyes-tears gathered behind the mask, but they wouldn't fall.
The doors banged open again and a mass of police flooded the floor. They broke into three groups: one tore her from the partner's arms, the other beat him to the ground and the last surrounded the Hornet. She screamed for them to stop their beating, but the pleas went unheeded. Nor did the usually resilient partner fight back. He took their blows without a sound.
His mask and cap fell off, leaving him exposed. Kato's head lifted up, blood dripping to his uniform front. His eyes never strayed from his friend's body. Those tears fell now. Silent drops, mixing with blood.
Mike Axford stared blankly at Kato's face then whirled to her as she sat beside the Hornet's body. He demanded she move aside-tried to reach around her.
Crying, her head brushed the Green Hornet's chest, his neck, his cheek. Still warm. She gently lifted the mask. Removed his hat.
And let Mike Axford see the man under that mask. Those unseeing aqua eyes, the parted lips-in pain or shock? The tanned face, already paling.
She picked up her chin and felt a small amount of satisfaction at the look of dismay and pain contorting the older man's features. The gun clattered from his grasp.
"Britt! Britt! My god, Britt!"
"Yes!" she screamed. "Yes!"
Axford grabbed wildly for her.
"No! Casey, no! I'm sorry! Casey…Casey! Casey, please! Casey!"
He shook her body, but she was a rag doll. Through this, the figure in the shadows watched in glee. Threw back his head and bellowed in laughter. Loud…nerve-shattering laughter.
"Casey! Casey! Casey…Casey!"
…asey! …asey! Casey! Casey! Casey, wake up!"
Mike Axford's voice cut through the webs and threw her back to the present. Her breath came out as a gasp and her voice a small cry. Eyes snapped open and hurriedly searched her apartment's surroundings for any surprises. The laughter rang in her ears.
Axford stepped back and put his hands on his hips. "Well! Welcome back."
Casey took a deep breath to stop her voice from fall apart in her throat and sat up.
"Mike. Oh my God. I'm…I'm sorry…."
She eased up out of her couch and tested her legs. Her shoes were kicked off to the side. She steadied herself and self-consciously patted her hair; wiped her eyes free of smeared mascara.
"What time is it?"
"1:30 in the afternoon."
Casey rubbed her forehead. "1:30? It's that late?"
"When you didn't come back from lunch on time, Britt sent me out to look for ya. I looked in your usual spots but you weren't at any of them, so…! I figured ya were here."
She brushed past him to the bathroom. "I see..."
He craned his neck when the light came open. Her movements suggested primping and fixing.
So real. It was so real.
"M-Mr. Reid wasn't upset, was he?"
The gunshots…the smoking barrel. The pain in Britt's eyes after the first shot. That figure. That figure in the shadows…..
"No! Not at all. In fact, he said that if you weren't feeling up to snuff when I found you… to take the rest of the day off."
…A dream, Casey. A nightmare, that's all. Sometimes they're vivid. Very vivid. Nothing else. You're stressed, girl!
The light flipped off. Casey came out, pulling her dress smooth. "How thoughtful of him."
She slipped her feet into the pumps and grabbed her clutch.
"So you're coming back?"
Casey swallowed and smiled weakly. "Of course! Why wouldn't I? A little cat nap goes a long way."
And what a way to go.
Axford was at her door, pulling it open, but she had not followed. Instead she was still standing in the middle of her small apartment, looking about uneasily. The laughter had returned to her ears and an icy breeze slid down her spine.
"Casey, are ya sure ya alright? Ya look like somebody's just walked over yer grave!"
"Of-of course. I…just keep thinking I forget something. Let's go."
She shoved past him rather roughly and he peered, steely-eyed, after her.
"Uh-huh…. Well, I'm driving. That's for sure!"