That night, I dreamed. Fragmented dreams. A crude patchwork of half-forgotten memories and deep-rooted secrets, held together with a loose thread of questionable logic only believable in dreams.

I dreamt of the office, of the endless meetings. The proposals and takeovers. Company solicitors line one side of the boardroom table as they haggled, cajoled and browbeat desperate CEOs into parting with their accounts for the pittance we offered.

The images shifted, reformed into the firm’s latest potential acquisition. It was a subject that regularly occupied my waking thoughts, so why not my sleeping ones? The methods we’d used were…questionable.

I dreamt of my assistant, of our late-night discussions. The tactics and conspiracies. He’s feeding page after page of false invoices into the shredder, obliterating any trace of evidence that we’d driven a business to near bankruptcy. The whirring of the machine and the gnashing of metal teeth. The only copy locked in my wall safe until the takeover was complete.

We’d shared a beer and laughed as we plotted to destroy a family’s livelihood. Who needs another new age shop anyway? The real estate they occupied was worth millions to the right investor. It’s not our fault the stubborn, old sod wouldn’t sell up. He’d brought it on himself. If only he knew.

I dreamt of my wife, of the designer dresses and the new cars. The arguments and hiding of assets. She’s using the word ‘divorce’ like she understands its implications. She thought she was clever with her clandestine meetings with the divorce lawyer. She forgets who pays the bills (not to mention who knows every member of the local legal offices).

My solicitor had already moved the money off-shore. He’d done a pretty good job too. If it wasn’t for the documents lodged safely at the bank, I wouldn’t know where it all was. She was going to be livid when she finds out she’ll get nothing.

I dreamt of my secretary, of her naked body writhing on the hotel sheets. The moans and breathless whispers. In our post-coital embrace, she’s asking me when I’ll leave my wife. She does it every time. If she wasn’t the only woman in the office with a half-decent body, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Wrapped in stained and sweat-soaked bedding with tears running down her face, she tells me she won’t do this again. Next week, she’ll be back. If only my wife knew.

I dreamt of my bonus, of that pat on the back. The fat pay packet and—

I woke with a sharp pain in the back of my skull as though I’d been laying on something hard. Underneath my pillow, my hand brushed something smooth and round. I picked it up. It was a stone, icy cold with a highly polished shell. It was amazingly light, like it were hollow. I tossed it overhand into the bin in the corner, wondering how it ended up in my bed and cursing the bruise it would likely leave.

Q is for Quirin Stone

A Quirin or Traitor’s Stone is a stone that, when placed under a person’s pillow, will reveal all of their innermost secrets. They are rare objects, found in the nests of Lapwings, and are prized and heavily protected by those who come to possess one.

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