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Not all fields are pleasant, especially when you hate.

He hated his boss, ‘hated’ her. He always felt oppressed in his job, psychologically bullied because she simply took a dislike to him. He seemed to be the type of person whom, to her, was instantly dislikeable. It was not her who had hired him, so she had no choice but to accept him as an employee. He wondered if she was trying to find a way to dismiss him but then thought that perhaps she enjoyed tormenting him because he let her get away with it. He had to he supposed, or she probably would sack him. Maybe she was frustrated because he never gave her a reason to dismiss him.

As a health records clerk, his job did not warrant excitement. In fact, nodding an acknowledgement to the student nurses who he came by was as exciting as it got. He hated it, and he hated Miss Barbara Deacon. Miss. 57 years old, and married to her job. He knew that she had never had a man in her life. Probably just as well he thought. Any poor wretch who had been caught in her web was bound to have ended up as her slave, or prisoner. Yes love, sorry love, I won’t do it again.

Yet, tempting as it was to simply walk out of the job, he stayed because it was a kind of safety net. Knowing how hard it was to find work in the current climate, he stayed because it was financially secure, and at one point in his life he had spent three years signing on. Never again, he had thought, so the job stayed as long as he had it, within his comfort zone which included his wife and three-year-old daughter, and as he lay in the darkness, staring up at the ceiling, he still couldn’t help but think of Miss Deacon, hoping she would simply leave, or leave him alone.

Maybe, he thought, she held a secret desire for him, and that was why she kept hassling him. Was it her way of finding a partner? Annoy those you fancy in some convoluted plan to catch them on a hook and reel them in. Some people had strange ways of going about it. So by keeping him the centre of her attention, he was popular only with her it seemed, and he didn’t know what to read into that. Yet she epitomised the word ‘battle-axe,’ and the thought of her fancying him appalled him, and he turned in his bed to look at the closed curtains.

A muted shaft of blue blended into the darkness on the ceiling, and he closed his eyes, and there she was, in his mind’s eye, watching him, but eventually she faded away to give rise to other thoughts that concerned him, but soon they gave way to the warm grip of sleep that enclosed his consciousness and took him to oblivion.

It wasn’t long before he began to dream. He was standing in a field that he did not recognise. A few trees were scattered around, and across to his right at around a hundred metres was a forest. The grass was mostly of ankle length, and the sky held no clouds on what seemed to be a sunny day. He began to drift across the pasture, but not through his own will. He wasn’t concerned. He didn’t know it was a dream. The rules of reality and physics in dreamworlds are instantly shattered, but this seemed normal enough, considering.

In the distance, he noticed somebody coming or drifting towards him. He saw that it was Miss Deacon. She looked at him curiously as they passed. They turned to look at each other as the distance between them grew, but eventually, both drifted out of sight. The field was huge and expansive, and his drifting began to speed up. Soon, everything melded into white, and it surrounded him like a fog. The white became muted, and grey tinted its shade, until it became black, unconsciousness returning him for the rest of the night into a dreamless void.

Waking up, throwing the duvet cover back and swivelling to sit upright, it became immediate that something was wrong. Not only was he in unfamiliar surroundings, but he was also in an unfamiliar body. Standing up and looking in a dressing table mirror, he looked into the face of Miss Deacon. Elsewhere, her mind had entered his body, and she was in a similar predicament. He realised as he stared at him-herself, that he had become that which he hated.


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