The Child Dreamer:
A Dead Dreamer Prequel
I was only nine when I began my ᚺᚢᛝᛏ. None of the ᚺᚢᛗᚨᛝᛋ knew what I was doing. Every ᛝᛁᚷᚺᛏ on the full ᛗᛟᛟᛝ, I would fall asleep within the ᛒᛁᚨᚲᚲᛋᛗᛁᛏᚺᛋ’s home and look for them. Seek out those ᚲᚱᛖᚨᛏᚢᚱᛖᛋ who ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛖᛞ those to ᛞᛁᛖ.
They reminded me of the ᛋᚺᚨᛞᛟᚹᛖᛞ ᚲᚱᛖᚨᛏᚢᚱᛖ that had escaped the barn before the ᚠᛁᚱᛖ had been lit. Something flew from my ᚠᚨᛏᚺᛖᚱ’s body when he ᛞᛁᛖᛞ. It was the cause of his rage. Of his suicide. I hated them.
Hidden in the ᛋᚺᚨᛞᛟᚹᛋ, I would stalk them. Follow them to their next target. In fascination, I would watch as they played their pranks and ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛖᛞ their prey. Each time they laid their cursed touch onto the ᚺᚢᛗᚨᛝᛋ, the ᚠᛁᚱᛖ would spark. Their screams fed my desire to destroy. It would start within the ᚲᚱᛖᚨᛏᚢᚱᛖ before it ᛒᚢᚱᛝᛖᛞ from the inside out. Once it was ᛞᛖᚨᛞ, it would fall to the ground, lighting the surroundings in flames. None of the ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛖᛞ ᚺᚢᛗᚨᛝᛋ survived.
The town began to notice the strange ᚠᛁᚱᛖᛋ that occurred every ᛝᛁᚷᚺᛏ during the full ᛗᛟᛟᛝ. The ᛒᛚᚨᚲᚲᛋᛗᛁᛏᚺ’s family was cautious around me, wondering if it was I who set the ᚠᛁᚱᛖᛋ. Though their suspicions were correct, it could never be proven. Proof of my innocence lied with my sleeping body each night. Only the full ᛗᛟᛟᛝ before my tenth birthday did they feel the truth.
The grotesque ᚲᚱᛖᚨᛏᚢᚱᛖ was in their house that ᛝᛁᚷᚺᛏ. It ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛖᛞ everyone in the house. The ᛒᛚᚨᚲᚲᛋᛗᛁᛏᚺ, his wife, and the children. When it came upon my body, it froze and hesitated before ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛁᛝᚷ me. Before it could lay its disgusting claw onto my sleeping body, I emerged from the ᛋᚺᚨᛞᛟᚹᛋ.
It didn’t move as I approached it, screaming in a rage. It only matched my screams as it began to ᛒᚢᚱᛝ. Before it could hit the ground, the ᛒᛚᚨᚲᚲᛋᛗᛁᛏᚺ’s wife ran into the room. She took in the scene quickly. Her eyes met my soul as I killed the ᚲᚱᛖᚨᛏᚢᚱᛖ. The flames began to engulf the house as she whispered, “It was you.”
She had seen me. Seen me outside of my body. But she had already been ᛗᚨᚱᚲᛖᛞ. Nothing could have saved her. To my surprise, the house had erupted into flames faster than the previous houses. Returning to my body, I had made my escape before the house suddenly blew up, as if a large cannon had hit it. To this day, I can still remember their screams as the flames consumed them.
I could have stayed. Pretended I was the frightened child, scarred by another ᛞᛖᚨᛞᛚᛇ experience. Instead, I ᚱᚨᛝ. I ᚱᚨᛝ into the forest, and never looked back. My lungs ᛒᚢᚱᛝᛖᛞ as I ᚱᚨᛝ from the world I had once known. From the village, I had worked so hard to protect.
I didn’t make it far before I was lured to another ᚠᛁᚱᛖ. There was a tribe of what my ᚠᚨᛏᚺᛖᚱ had called “savages” who lived nearby and who traded with the village from time to time. My ᚠᚨᛏᚺᛖᚱ 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 ᚠᛁᚱᛖ 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. Nature.
One of them noticed me hiding in the ᛋᚺᚨᛞᛟᚹᛋ. Adorned with feathers, beads, and paint, he approached me, holding a 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 and took a closer look at me. Instinctively, my face fell to fear. He spoke in a language I couldn’t understand as he looked at 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 harsh tones, while others tried to stay calm. My arm was handed off to another, a woman covered in paint. She walked me to the river behind the tribe, speaking calmly. Her voice 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 ᛞᚨᚱᚲ, 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 ᛗᚨᚱᚲᚲᛁᛝᚷᛋ 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. My body would feel raw from the cleaning for a week. But once cleaned, she dressed me in the clothes of her people. They felt light, but warm against the night chill.
Standing, she assessed how I looked 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 continued dancing. Before we reached the others, she stopped and knelt before me, holding my shoulders. She spoke one of English so I would understand.
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