Short Story: Runaway Night Mare

Night mares are misunderstood. He’s had his herd for centuries and he’ll trust them with his favourite mug any day. Unlike those disastrous dreamwalkers who don’t know how to keep their sticky hands to themselves.

It’s not the mares’ fault that bad dreams cling to them like a drowned cat, but people like to confuse cause with correlation. So when one of his mares escape their pen, he starts his search immediately.

He finds the runaway a few hours to dawn in a child’s dream garden. Four hooves planted on the cotton candy grass while dark teeth chomp at a large marshmallow hanging from a candy cane tree. A line of charred and writhing dots shows the path the mare took to get the sweet snack.

A gentle touch against the long neck is enough to guide the mare away from the tree. A little skip and both of them are airborne. But the dots remain, little scary shadows in an otherwise happy childish dream. He reaches into his sack and sprinkles slivery gold dust into the landscape.

The dark patches lighten into iridescent butterflies. The beat of their wings tinkle like windchimes as they dance in the garden.

His night mares can’t control the bad dreams that follow them, but he hopes the good dreams he brings will supersede any night terrors.

Sweet dreams, little one.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

July stories: 21/21

Short Story: Campfire Night

Every Saturday after dinner, without any prompting, the kids scampered upstairs to brush their teeth and change into their pyjamas. And if they were feeling extra impatient, they would even help wash the dishes and clean up so that the adults could get ready for bed sooner. Because Saturday night was campfire night, and there was no time to lose.

Once the whole family was ready, they snuggled into their nest of blankets. Instead of a real campfire, they set a torchlight under their special brazier, so that when the light shone through, the whole room turned red like a real campfire.

And then it was story time.

“Once upon a time, there was a house made out of cheese…”

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Things that go bump in the night

 

I am currently reading a Chinese series that’s a mix of mystery and supernatural. I’ve been keeping a pace of one book a day rather than pull all-nighters to sprint through the series.

Excellent decision.

During the… sixth book (I think), I had a particularly busy day so I was only halfway through the book after dinner. I didn’t want to leave myself hanging (and I allowed myself one book a day, so of course I’m going to fill up that quota), so I kept reading even when it turned dark outside.

I think I chose the creepiest book of the series to read at night.

So here I am, alone, at night, reading about a bunch of people disappearing in thin air, and the protagonist, in the middle of looking for his disappeared friends, eventually disappears as well.

It would be pretty creepy during the day, but now I’m reading it at night, alone in my room.

The problem with night time is that it’s dark, which means it’s hard to see well. And when our eyes can’t see what’s in front of us, our minds gleefully take every sound and movement and fills in the blank to create all kinds of scary things. During daytime, we can see that there’s nothing there.

At night, anything is possible.

And I still had to brush my teeth, in a bathroom that’s pretty much at the other end of the house.

Fortunately, I heard my dad come out of his room because he needed to do some extra work, so I came out at the same time to soak in the presence of another human being and bath myself in the corridor lights, wash up for bed, then rush back in to finish the rest of the story.

And some people actually like scaring themselves with horror movies.

Under the bed
Maybe monsters like to hide under the bed because you have to get out of bed to get help or run away.

So yes, excellent choice to stop at one book a day, while the sun’s still shining and it’s easier to dismiss ghosts and serial killers as things that happen to other people.

Moral of the story? If there’s one, it’ll probably be: don’t underestimate how creepy things can become at night.

Sweet dreams 🙂