The Child Dreamer:
A Dead Dreamer Prequel
The beasts of the full moon reminded me of the shadowed creature that had escaped the barn the night my father ended his miserable existence. I watched as it escaped into the night before I set the barn ablaze. Remembering the creature and seeing these beasts now, I was almost certain of one thing: They were the cause of my father’s rage and insanity and I despised them.
Having watched them for over a year, it was enough to give me my purpose. At every opportunity, I stalked their every move; Following them to their next target. In fascination, I would watch as they played their pranks and mark their prey. Each time they laid their cursed touch onto the humans, the fire would spark.
The beasts would return to the flames of hell they came from. Their screams fed my desire to seek out and destroy every single one of them. It would start within the monsters before it burned them from the inside out. Once it was dead, the disgusting body would fall to the ground, lighting anything nearby in bright, white flames. Neither beast nor human would survive.
It wasn’t long before the town began to notice the strange fires that occurred every night during the full moon. The blacksmith and his family were cautious around me, wondering if it was I who set the fires. Though their suspicions were correct, it could never be proven. Proof of my innocence lied with my sleeping body each night. Only the full moon before my tenth birthday did they finally feel the heat of the truth.
The night the sky was falling with heavy rains, striking the ground with hostile lightening was when the truth was revealed. One of the beasts manifested in the dark home as I left my body. It marked everyone in the house. The blacksmith, his wife, and the children. When it came upon my body, it froze and hesitated with it’s disgusting hand hovering over my face. Emerging from the shadows, my fingers snapped and it burst into flames.
The sound its screams were nearly drowned out by the thunder from the Almighty above, clapping at my success. Chuckling at the scene before me, I sighed in relief, glad I stopped it before it could touch me. But it wasn’t long before I felt the sensation of eyes upon me.
The woman who had tried so hard to be a mother to be stood at the entrance to my room. Her eyes were wide in horror as she watched the flames beginning to engulf her home. But they quickly shifted over to me. Her jaw slackened in shock as she stared at my spirit.
But she had already been marked. Nothing could have saved her. To my surprise, the house had erupted into flames faster than the previous homes. Giving her one last smile, I quickly returned to my body, waking up to escape the flames. I made my escape before the house suddenly erupted, as if a large cannon had hit it. As if the Lord himself were making a statement, lightening struck the home as it burned, turning it into a bomb. To this day, I still remember the glorious sight.
I could have stayed. Pretended I was the frightened child, scarred by another tragic incident. Instead, I chose to run. I ran into the forest, and never looked back. My lungs burned as I ran from the world I had once known. From the village, I had worked so hard to protect from the beasts of the other side.
I didn’t make it far before I was lured to another bright light in the night. There was a tribe, of what my father had once called “savages,” who lived nearby and traded with the village from time to time. My father always told me to stay away from them.
“Don’t let them touch you. If they touch you, you’re cursed,” he would say. Which was odd for him to say. He had called me a cursed child for as long as I could remember.
Their fire burned high as they danced around it, singing songs that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Their movements were that of animals. Birds flocking around the flames, attempting to appease their gods. It felt magical, yet wrong at the same time.
One of them noticed me hiding in the shadows. Adorned with feathers, beads, and paint, he approached me, holding a kind of spear to my face. When he looked me over and realized I was only a child, alone in the woods, he lowered his weapon. Yanking me by the arm, he pulled me from the brush, inspecting me in the light.
Instinctively, my face fell to fear. It felt wrong, but I knew it was my best option for survival. He spoke in a language I couldn’t understand as he examined my face covered in soot, clothes tattered from the flames. He moved his hand to hold my wrist, as he walked me over to the rest of the tribe.
The dancing stopped as I approached. Many spoke in hushed tones, while others tried to stay calm. My arm was handed off to another, a woman covered in paint. She guided me to the river behind the tribe, speaking calmly. Her voice was like velvet as it soothed me, even though I couldn’t understand the words. She took a piece of cloth she had been holding and dipped it into the water as she began to clean my face.
I watched her carefully. In the dark, away from the fire, I could barely see her features. Her long onyx hair laid across her shoulders and covered her chest, while her face was covered in strange markings from the paint. She looked different than the ones who had visited the village before. Wilder. I liked her.
She removed my clothes and washed the soot from my skin. I remembered how my skin felt raw from the cleaning for a week. But once cleaned, she dressed me in the clothes of her people. They were light, but warm against the night chill.
Standing, she assessed my appearance before nodding. My eyes narrowed, trying to understand what was happening. She noticed and smiled. Her hand reached for mine as we walked back to the fires and the others continued dancing. Before we reached them, she stopped and knelt before me, holding my shoulders. She spoke one of English so I would understand.
To be continued…
Catch up on The Child Dreamer in Previous Chapters: