The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Quis

Curious Dream Beginnings

A conversation with a philosophy professor about a repeating dream beginning prompts a revelation. 


For the past three months, my dreams began with waking up in my own room with a man in a white suit with pink accents on the end of my bed. He would encourage me to go through my bedroom door where I would be in some alternative reality for the rest of the dream. Regardless of what happened, I woke up refreshed. Still, with the way the dreams always started the same, it began to bother me.

I considered taking a psychological or a dream interruption class, but while doing some research I stumbled upon an online philosophy class taught by a fellow journalist, Hank Williams. In the sample lesson, he spoke with such wisdom and insight one would gain from interviewing numerous people. I was hooked.

Eventually after several classes, I got to have a one-on-one videoconference session with my professor. I started out by asking him course related questions, but the conversation drifted over to the subject of dreams and I solicited him for his thoughts on mine. He asked me questions I never considered and he seemed particularly interested in the man and the door I would go though.

“Do you recall seeing this man in your life before you started to have these dreams with him?” Hank asked.

“I don’t believe so,” I replied.

“Is this man always alone or is someone with him? A woman perhaps?”

“No, it’s just him.”

“Have you ever tried to touch this man to make sure he was there?”

“No, I never thought to do that.”

“This door you would go through, are you sure it was your door? Did the weight and movement of the door feel different from your real door?”

“I didn’t really notice anything…”

“How curious.”

Our conversation ended with him saying he would like to discuss the subject further tomorrow. He was curious if our chat would alter my dream. I didn’t think it would, but I said I would be glad to talk to him again tomorrow. 

Upon waking up in the dream, my philosophy professor sat at the end of my bed. He wore a dark brown suit under a light brown overcoat, being a stark difference between the man in the white suit who would normally sit there.

“Strange, isn’t it?” Hank commented.

I took a moment to startup my brain to process some words. “Hank?”

“Please, call me Quis.” He walked over to my door. “This isn’t really a dream and neither were those dreams you had.”

With those words, everything suddenly felt so real. It was like a fog had been lifted from my brain. My face got red with awkwardness, but Quis wasn’t paying any attention to me as he turned the door knob. On the other side was a sunny forest. He closed the door like a person who had gotten what they needed out of a fridge.

“When did you get this door replaced?” Quis asked, like he knew it was new. 

“About a few months ago, actually,” I said, shocked. 

“Then the dreams started, didn’t they?”

My jaw dropped. “Yes, they did.”

“Do you remember what the person looked like who installed it?”

“I do. I only remember her because she wore a red dress, which I thought was unusual, but I hate fashion criticisms myself.”

“Black hair, right?”

“Yes!”

“That would be Raven.” Quis gripped the door knob and yanked it out from the door. “That should put an end to their work. If you do run into my siblings, send them my regards.”

He tossed the broken pieces on the floor and left my apartment. I knew I wasn’t dreaming because I didn’t fall back asleep.


The final weekly short story for the year was inspired by the writing prompt: “You wake up from one of those dreams again. It starts in your own bed, in your real room, only outside the door is an alternate reality every time. The man you see in every dream was your Philosophy teacher this time. Who is he? ‘Strange, isn’t it?’ He says from the end of your bed.”

I thought this prompt would be a fun way to feature Quis again as I only wrote one story, Interview Spoilers, about the end-timer. I got to show a different side of him as previously he was portrayed as just a journalist, but like all the other end-timers, he does take on other roles. 

I hope you all have been enjoying the weekly stories this year! For the most part, I did keep up with my goal of releasing a new story every week with the exception being around A Killer Among the Spaceship Game Show, which took me two weeks to write part one and another week to finish it with part two.

I’ll talk more about my plans for 2021 later, but fun fact: The total word count of all my short stories this year (at the time I’m writing this) was 47,518 words. I do plan to revisit all of my stories, send them to an editor, and publish them as a book. 

If you’re on Reddit, I have a forum for my fictional universe so join the community today!

Thank you for reading!

Interview Spoilers

A time traveler’s interview goes sideways when the interviewee accuses him of having met in the past.


The name on his fake press badge clipped to his unremarkable black suit identified him as “Hank Williams.” The name was phony, too, of course. However, Quis had grown accustomed to the alias, regularly using it for interviews. The audio recorder was real but was fake in the sense that Quis disguised it to match Earth’s technology in the 2010s.

For each interview, Quis carefully constructed a different identity, usually working for a local publication. Big names tended to be open to talking to local nobody journalists Quis had discovered. Plus, it helped with his forgettable persona so people wouldn’t follow up with someone who didn’t exist.

“Mr. Praevalens will see you now,” the secretary informed him.

From the photos on her desk, Hank bet she was a grandmother. She had that kind, grandmotherly vibe. She happily led the way to the office of John Praevalens, the CEO of Close Ground. The technology company dabbled in a variety of avenues, focusing on catering to security for governments and businesses. 

The golden doors to John’s office were a statement. They weren’t massive–they were standard size for French doors, but with a pocket design. The doors depicted a battle in an Aztec influenced art style. Quis made a note to ask John about the doors as the secretary separated them open. 

Upon entering, Quis felt a slight buzzing sensation. He almost didn’t notice it, but he recognized it.

Why would they have anti-teleportation security? Quis thought. This planet doesn’t have that at this time. It must be something else I’m sensing. 

“Hey, old sport,” John greeted with genuine kindness as he firmly shook hands with Quis.

The spry, 30-something John wore his trademark black pinstriped suit. Around his neck was a gold medallion that depicted the sun in the same style as his door. The flat medallion was palm-sized. Quis had read an article about John’s devotion to the family heirloom.

The secretary softly closed the doors behind her as she left the room.

John led Quis to a modernism lounge area with an artistic golden coffee table and curvy, white leather sofas.

“Feel free to set your equipment on the table,” John offered as he took a seat on the couch. “Anything I can get you? A drink?”

Quis sat his audio recorder on the table and took a seat in a matching armchair. “I’m good, thank you. We can get started right away. I know your time is valuable, so I appreciate you chatting with me.”

“You know, you remind me of someone. Have we met before, Hank?”

“No, I would remember you.”

John shifted around on his couch. “Odd. I’m pretty good at remembering people. Anyway, carry on.”

Quis pushed the record button. “I want to start by talking about your passions. What are some of the projects at Close Ground that excite you the most?”

“Starting deep, are we?”

“The best way to warm up is to jump in.”

John laughed. “You know, this one is going to surprise you, but I have to say, Exploring Earth.”

“The travel site?” Quis questioned.

“Yes, that’s the one.”

“Why?”

“I believe if people traveled more, spoke with people from around the world, so much of our animosity would be gone. We got some fantastic contributors too. Amber Way showcases places with such enthusiasm that I swear, I want to visit every place she writes about.”

“There are countless stories to be collected,” Quis commented.

“Are you certain we hadn’t met before?” John asked, almost accusing him of lying. 

“People tell me I have a familiar, but forgetting face,” Quis joked.

John didn’t laugh. He leaned forward. “Everything about you seems familiar.”

“This is my first time interviewing you, sir,” Quis calmly reaffirmed, trying not to be annoyed. 

“Yes, but I tend to remember everyone I’ve met. What are you?”

“I’m Hank,” Quis responded, unsure how to answer that.

“I asked, what are you? You haven’t aged since you saved my life.”

Quis was now confused. “I beg your pardon?”

“Command Blackout,” John shouted into the room.

The window blinds dropped close. The buzz Quis had first felt when he entered intensified. All the lights went out except for the lamp that stood beside John. Hank’s recorder was still on.

“Your recording device should’ve lost power, which means it’s not from this world. Care to explain?”

“I-I don’t know what to tell you,” Quis stumbled. “Maybe you can tell me who you think I am, and we can figure this out.”

John took a deep breath and relaxed back into the couch. “You saved my life a hundred years ago, Quis.”

Quis’ jaw dropped. “Wait. You know my real name and a hundred years ago?”

John revealed his fangs. “Vampire.” 

“Of course, that makes sense,” Quis said as he leaned back into his chair. “But how do we know each other?”

“You rescued me from that theatre fire in New Orleans and then helped me fake my death there. Don’t you remember?”

“I’m a time-traveler,” Quis confessed. “For me, I haven’t saved your life yet.” 

“Oh.” John was silent for a moment. “I hope I didn’t ruin anything by spoiling that for you.”

Quis chuckled. “It’s probably good that you told me because unlike my others, I don’t interfere with the past. I only interview people for prosperity and to understand the life of the universe.”

“Well, shall we continue with the interview?”

“I’d like that,” Quis replied. 

With the interview over, Quis returned to the alleyway where he left his time machine, a plain brown wooden door in a wood frame. Next to his door was a familiar green door and a familiar face inspecting a flame-thrower. 

“Gia!” Quis warmly called out to his fellow end-timer. “Good evening.”

Gia put away the flame-thrower in her black leather jacket pocket, which was much larger on the inside. She shouted his name and ran up to him with a big hug. Quis returned the hug.

“Who were you interviewing this time?” Gia asked as she let go.

“John Praevalens. Did you know he was a vampire?”

“I didn’t know that. Fascinating.”

“What was that device you were toying with?”

“Just a flame-thrower. I borrowed it from the labs at Close Ground. I need it for my play tonight. Want to come along and watch?”

Quis shrugged. “I’m up for a show. When and where?”

“New Orleans, 1919.”


This week’s short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “You are the world’s only time-travelling journalist. You use carefully constructed false identities to secretly record your conversations with famous historical figures, and are sworn never to alter the past. However, when you meet with your latest unsuspecting interviewee, they recognise you.”

I took the basic premise of a time-traveling journalist and fitted it in my 16th Phoenix Universe, getting to introduce a new end-timer character, Quis. Quis (which is Latin for “who”) is one of a dozen people from the end of time, along with Gia, Slayer, Loki, Raven, and Kojack, who I’ve also written stories about. More to come as I explore and expand the universe. 

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