Category Archives: Dreamwalkers
What do you do when you’re asleep? Most people dream. These people travel.
That her fever in the real world managed to seep into her dreamscape was just another sign of her continued deterioration. One day, she wouldn’t even be able to hide from the pain in her dreams.
Her lips pressed together at the beautiful but unwanted reminder. She shook the leafy tendrils off her limbs and stepped into the sky.
Her family was working on the antidote for the poison burning through her body. All she needed to do was endure.
She left familiar wings unfold from her back. Flame-blue, just like the flowers. She frowned. With just a thought, her wings shifted into amethyst-purple. Abandoning every reminder of the real world, she dove into the dream world.
This trip, she would like to find someone dreaming about a cold winter’s day.
Genre: fantasy, speculative fiction
The nature of night terrors was that despite the intense fear it caused in the sleeper, the details were often forgotten once the sleeper awoke. Which was a problem for her clients, who needed the information in the night terror.
That was where she came in.
As a dreamwalker, she could enter the night terror and take the information out into reality. All they needed to do was wait, and once the night terror began, so did her role.
Going to sleep in a stranger’s place didn’t get easier, but it got less weird. With practised discipline, she slipped from reality into the dreaming world. From there, it was a hop, skip, and a jump away to the night terror of interest. She would go in, get the information her clients were after, get out, get some moolah, and go home happy with another success under her belt.
Then she saw the secret hidden inside the night terror, and she knew she wouldn’t be allowed to waltz out of this job so easily.
Time to pay her favourite bodyguard a visit. She hope he was still asleep.
If you’re interest, check out other stories about dreamwalkers here.
Teeth: brushed. Pyjamas: on. Schoolbag: packed. Homework: done. She was ready for bed!
She scampered to the living room. Mummy was still talking to their guests. Daddy wasn’t talking. She went to Daddy and tugged his hand.
“Bedtime!” she said.
“If you say so,” Daddy said and let her pull him out of his chair.
“Oh, that’s precious,” the guest said, “Mine will never go to bed if I don’t tell him to.”
She bounded up the stairs to her room and clambered into her bed. Daddy tucked the blanket around her, then ran a hand through her hair as he said a prayer over her of peace and protection.
“Goodnight, love.” Daddy kissed her forehead. “See you in the morning.”
She closed her eyes and let herself sink into the familiar floating cloud of sleep. Then, like walking through a door she walked into her dream.
When she opened her eyes again, it was to a familiar street. She skipped to the house as familiar as her own and knocked. One-two, one-two-three, one-two, one-two.
Behind the door came the answering knock. One-two, one-two-three, one-two, one-two. Then the door opened and there stood her best friend.
In her dreams, she was always a cloud.
She floated without effort or direction through the larger dreamscape. As a cloud, she watched dreamwalkers travel and trespass, dreamscapes rise and fall, and dreamers lose themselves in their own fantasies.
It was interesting, but lonely. No one talked to a cloud, and a cloud didn’t do much other than float or rain.
“Hey there. It’s you again.”
A man stood in the air beside her with his hands in his pockets. He waited, then continued.
“Come join us. We have uneven numbers so we need one more person for a complete team.”
She realised too late that he had been waiting for her to respond. But clouds didn’t speak.
“If you’re interested, touch my hand.” The man freed one of his hands from his pocket and reach out, stopping just before he touched her.
She didn’t know what game he was talking about, or what he expected from her, but it was the first time anyone had talked to her. She closed the distance between them.
His hand closed around hers (she had a hand?) and pulled her down with him. The cloud peeled away to reveal human arms, and when she looked down she saw a body and legs. Her body and legs.
There were more people on the ground, already divided into two groups. They joined the smaller one.
“We’re ready,” the man said.
For the first time, she felt present. The faces around her smiled, and she felt her own face move to match them.
As a dreamer, he had complete control over his dream.
Should have complete control.
Yet here he was, tied to a chair in a windowless room as three masked thugs tried to threaten him into creating what they wanted.
It was definitely a dream, he had checked discreetly by creating a sparrow earlier, but other than that, everything was as solid and unmovable as it would be in real life. The metal bands over his wrists didn’t drop just because he willed it to, no gaping hole appeared for him to toss the intruders out when he thought about it, and he didn’t even get a spark when he tried to set the men on fire.
This was his dream. His thoughts were reality. He refused to be cowed in his own domain where his will was absolute.
He started with the attempt that worked – the sparrow. Without drawing attention to his plan, he changed the sparrow into a hawk, which swooped down on the thugs. With a beat of its wings, one hawk grew into three and attacked the thugs.
He turned his attention to his chair once more. This time, it responded to his thoughts and released him. His will was absolute once more, and the windowless room that was his prison now became the intruders’.
The hawks turned into griffins and pinned the intruders to the floor. With a gesture, he removed the masks.
His own face looked back at him in triplicate.
With the sudden clarity of a dreamer, he realised his three doppelgangers were actually his own doubts, stress, and pressure from his real life that had seeped into his dreams.
He watched them and they watched him, all wearing the same face.
“I think,” he said slowly, “It’s time for a holiday.”
In a dream, anything was possible. Most nights, she spent her dreams crafting the perfect room.
Tonight, she wanted height. Towering bookshelves appeared with a thought, scattered all over the room like a maze. She added smaller shelves on the sides to serve as footholds, spaced just right for climbing. With her hands clasped behind her back, she hopped, light as a feather, to the top.
Carved into one wall, high above even the giant bookshelves, was her favourite staple of every room. An alcove beside a large window with the biggest, fluffiest pillows to curl herself in and the perfect view of the whole room.
She dove into the heavenly nest of pillows as the rest of the room continued to shift to her desire.
Bouncy floors, so soft and perfect that she could belly flop from the ceiling and not feel a thing. Bridges connected the top of the shelves to one another in fancy loops that created paths that looked more complicated than they actually were, as a maze should be.
And somewhere in the room, she hid a box.
“The floor is so soft.”
Right on time.
“Hello.” She waved to the dreamwalkers.
“Did you hide it?” the children asked.
“Yup. Go find it.”
The children dashed straight in.
Their guardian followed at a more leisurely pace. With a gentle leap, he rose above the shelves and touched down in her alcove. He pulled out a cake box. She created a low table with a wave of her hand.
“As always, thank you for opening your dream to us,” he said and opened the box, revealing a pie that could only exist in a dream.
“No worries. It’s fun when all of you visit,” she said as plates and forks snapped into existence, “So what new stories have you brought me this time?”
As the children happily explored her room down below, she had her own adventure, up in her comfortable alcove, through the dreamwalker’s stories of the dreams beyond her own.
In the real world, a dream was just a dream. They could be hyper realistic or extraordinarily fantastic, but they couldn’t hurt anyone.
In the dreamscape, a dream was a world, governed by the rules of its creator. Dreams couldn’t hurt their creator, but a dreamwalker was fair game.
This dream world was known as the opposite world. Inside, every intention manifested as the opposite action.
Want to say “Go left”? What actually came out could be:
Don’t go left.
And if someone wanted to trick the world by saying “Go left” with the intention of having it twisted into the opposite “Go right”, that only presented the world with more options. The world could twist the words to say “Go right”, or twist the intention and say “Go left”.
Needless to say, it was a confusing world to live in. The dreamer was protected by the dream logic that made everything mysteriously make sense. The dreamwalkers who accidentally wandered in, however, were trapped in a nightmare where their desire to leave the world only dragged them in deeper.
Rescue parties weren’t only useless, but dangerous, as the intention to save someone would, at best, cause them to never find their target, and at worst, destroy their target instead.
The only thing that stopped the opposite world from being a complete nightmare was that, like other dreams, it disappeared once the dreamer woke up and naturally released the trapped dreamwalkers within.
That didn’t stop the dreamwalkers from setting up a safety barrier around the world. There were as many worlds as there were dreamers. Why visit this one when there were other less traumatic ones out there?
The dream world is very much like an alternate reality. Where the real world is bound by laws natural and man-made, dreams have no such limits. As long as it can be imagined, it can exist.
Dreamers have no problems with this. In a dream, everything makes sense, and even the most random piffle falls perfectly into place.
It is the dreamwalkers, who are still constrained by their expectations from the real world, who have to constantly rearrange their perception of ‘normal’ and ‘impossible’. Every dreamscape runs on its own every changing rules, and a dreamwalker who clings tightly to their ideals of ‘how the world works’ will have a difficult time ahead.
Like this young one.
Even the real world lacks the order she craves. Dreamwalking, despite its great potential, may be more of a curse than a blessing for her.
In the real world, she is the little miss of the estate, and he is just a struggling student working during his summer break. He does not have the ability to dreamwalk, but he is a lucid dreamer, and now he has a permanent job for the foreseeable future.
Where the rest of the dream world is chaotic and unpredictable, his dreamscape is carefully controlled so that the little miss is never unpleasantly surprised. It is to be a safe haven for the little miss, not just from the chaos, but other malicious dreamwalkers.
On one hand, he gets paid a lot for something he literally does in his sleep.
On the other hand, in providing a safe haven for the little miss, he lost his own. Can’t let his dreams unfold naturally and run wild when he has to watch out for the little miss.
Maybe he’ll get used to it, or maybe a time will come when the little miss no longer needs to hide in his dreams. Either way, this is paying his fees, so regardless of his personal feelings, he’ll create the best haven the little miss will ever find.
Related to Making Bars.
A young man knocked on the wall of her glass room.
“I’m looking for something that can save my parents’ marriage,” he said.
The young lady turned her sightless eyes to him. “I have a few options. What exactly do you think your parents need?”
“Love,” he said immediately.
“Isn’t love all they need?”
Her white hair moved in a mirthful dance. “Marriage is more than just love. Tell me more about your parents.”
As the dreamwalker talked, she walked around the glass room, considering the bars she had made for one that would be good fit.
Finally, she settled on a orange bar with love, patience, openness, grit, and forgiveness.
“Half the bar to each person,” she instructed, “Crumble them and sprinkle it in their dream. Allow time for it to seep through. Be warned that this is not a miracle cure. It is still up to your parents to work things out.”
“Now, let’s discuss your payment.” A table and two chairs twisted into view. “Take a seat. You won’t want to be standing for this.”
She met her doppelgänger in the market at the fruit stall. For a few moments, she could only stare at this person who looked identical to her, down to the lock of hair that could never stay out of her eye.
Then her doppelgänger grabbed a fruit and dashed.
She ran too, not wanting to be mistaken as the thief by a well-meaning helper. In fact, to protect her innocence, she would catch the thief herself.
Her doppelgänger slipped through the crowd like an eel, but she was a hound on a scent. They ran past stall after stall until they left the crowded market for the quiet neighbourhood to the empty field. With a burst of speed, she closed the distance between them and grabbed her doppelgänger by the arm.
“Caught you,” she said.
“Finally,” the doppelgänger said and changed into her new intimidating teacher. She released his arm with a startled jump. Her teacher twisted to catch her arm instead.
“You have been asleep for long enough. Wake up.”
She opened her eyes to a familiar ceiling and worried faces crowded around her bed.
Her memories rushed back and she remembered her plan to take a ‘quick look’ at her newly discovered dreamwalking ability. Needless to say, she had been gone longer than she planned.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“Never do that again.”
They smothered her with desperate hugs, and she wondered why she never noticed how insubstantial the dreaming world had been. There had been other warning signs too, but it was only now that she was awake that the alarm bells started to ring. For the first time, dreamwalking wasn’t just fun and games.
So when her teacher instructed her not to dreamwalk unsupervised until he deemed her ready, she was determined to do exactly that, but what if she dreamwalked without realising it?
“Then I will find you and bring you back. That is my promise to you as your teacher. Now put dreamwalking aside and continue with your day. I have moved our first lesson forward to tonight.”
Knowing she wouldn’t dream alone chased away her lingering fear.