Author's Note: For this week's Flicker of Inspiration prompt, we were to be inspired by The Dark of Night. We could go scary or not, and of course, being Goth Girl, I chose scary. What follows is a character sketch. I've written about a character called The Dreamkeeper for a long time. He's a creature that hands out dreams at night, keeping them all tucked away in boxes in the clouds, each with a neat label and ribbon to identify it. He's always a very pleasant character. The character below is his exact opposite, and trust me, he's no Mr. Sandman.
No Mister Sandman
In the dark of night, he waits. He waits for everything and for nothing all at once, hiding in the shadow in the corner of your room and waiting, always waiting. You’ll soon fall asleep, and then he’ll be at your bedside, leaning down at your sleeping face, stealing your thoughts as if they were the most precious of jewels.
And then, you sleep, and he waits no more.
In his limited amount of time, he snatches away your dreams. He eats them one by one, savoring each sumptuous bite. You won’t know he’s there, because in many ways he’s not. He’s just a figment of your imagination, a product of the darkness and too much spicy Thai. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
But we all know that he’s there, waiting in the darkness, eating up our dreams.
He replaces each dream with a nightmare, constructed with purpose, handmade just for you. In a few hours, you’ll wake with a start, eyes searching wildly in the darkness, mind desperately holding on to the last vestiges of memory from your nightmare.
Mercifully, he lets you forget most, but not all. Sadistically, he leaves threads of remembrance, a flash of the face of the man chasing you, a glimpse of the monster under your bed. These threads of memory are how you know he’s there. And though your gasping breath masks the sound of his frenetic giggles, you still know he’s there.
He’s always there, and when the lights go out, he appears, a soul with no purpose but to terrify you, to awaken your nightmares. He’s no Mr. Sandman, but he does bring you dreams, dark and terrifying dreams that will haunt you long after you wake.
He waits through the day and longs for the night, longs for that moment when your lids feel so heavy that you can’t fight sleep anymore. He lives for that moment, waits for it always.
In the dark of night, in the shadowy corner of your bedroom, he’s waiting. Won’t you go to sleep?
Do you still have nightmares?