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  • R. L. Mosz

Tamara's Disturbing, Recurring Dream

In Soul Tie, Tamara Castellan exists in an unhappy marriage replete with emotional abuse. While she struggles to gather her last vestige of strength and plan an escape, Tamara wrangles with the guilt of leaving her young stepdaughter, Kateryna, who has already suffered the loss of her biological mother and Blaine's deceased first wife, Betty.

Blaine also has a son from his first marriage, seventeen-year-old Justin, who dislikes and rejects Tamara.

As Tamara gradually accepts the hopelessness of her situation, she dreams a recurring dream that eight-year-old Kateryna is dead, further increasing her unremitting distress.

In the following passage, Tamara argues in dreamland with Blaine and his robotic side-kick sister, Jansey.


In the dream, I grew upset and began to argue with Blaine.

“It’s too small,” I complained. “I can hardly find it in the cemetery.”

“Tamara, we’ve been over this,” he began with a patient, steady tone.

“The decision is already made,” Jansey interrupted gently. “Please, try not to make a scene.”

She and Blaine eyed me as if I were mentally unstable. “We need to move on to the next order of business.”

“No, I’m going to say this,” I insisted, growing more incensed. “It’s too small. And why is it so flat? The other stones are not as flat as that. The grass is already growing right over it!”

Almost imperceptibly, Blaine’s expression changed. A trace of malice flickered across his features. “It’s an appropriate headstone for an eight-year-old girl. Jansey and I took great care in making this decision.”

“And it’s right next to the sidewalk,” I continued. For some reason, the headstone’s placement adjacent to the grinding traffic that passed by endlessly on the street upset me greatly.

“Tamara, you’re needlessly upsetting yourself,” Jansey said. “It’s a perfect headstone for a girl, and the cemetery has limited space.”

“Why can’t either of you say her name?” I asked.

“Do you even have any idea of what a headstone costs?” Jansey asked, ignoring my question.

“Well, what about Betty’s headstone?” I cried, raising my voice and losing control. “It’s huge and in the nicest part of the cemetery!”

“That’s enough,” Blaine warned, embarrassed by my outburst. There were other people in our vicinity, and they turned to stare.

Jansey spoke it in a whisper. “If you felt so strongly about this, why weren’t you there when we planned the burial?”

I frowned in confusion, unable to formulate a response.

Blaine eyed me in annoyance. “You were too preoccupied shopping with Dr. Payne at Shop & Grab, remember?”

Trying to recall, I covered my face with my hands. Then I looked up and slapped Blaine across the face with all my strength.

Awakening with a start, the sound of the electric razor buzzing in the bathroom and a chorus of birds outside the bedroom window soothed my racing heart. Jumping out of bed, I raced down the hall and the stairs.

Justin and Kateryna looked up at me from the dining room table, where they sat stoically behind their cereal bowls.

“What?” Justin asked irritably.

I tried to catch my breath. “Just checking on you.”

He shook his head and scowled, and Kateryna studied me curiously.

“We’re fine. And no worries,” Justin added. “I’ll pick Kateryna up after school—and I promise not to dump her anywhere.”

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