Tag Archives: sleep

Ritual, Part II

Continued from Part I…

Steadying his breath, Freddie threw a roll of paper with a sharp wrist flick. The missile struck the unwanted visitor dead-centre of the iris. The eye blinked and shook, the tentacles retracted, and the monster fell to the floor in a puff of violet smoke.

A splash as the stow-away, cutlass in gut, squealed in anger and was launched over the side of the ship. It hit the water and sunk into the depths without struggle.

Peace returned. Freddie grabbed a second roll of paper and stood back against the wall.

Now a sound, a whine, high-pitched and penetrating, nerve-shattering, reverberating, from above. A tiny speck, dancing in the purple, flittered by the ceiling, shadow-boxing in some incomprehensible game.

A bat flapped around the mast, dodging a sail that billowed gently in the breeze. The bat settled on the ship’s wheel, parchment in its mouth.

Freddie took careful aim with his roll of paper.

“Please don’t.”

He stopped. The speck floated down in front of his nose.

“I will show you the way,” it said. “I will guide your sleep.”

The bat dropped the parchment on the deck and unrolled it – a map. Here be shoals, here be dragons.

Freddie blew out the candle, lay down on his bed and closed his eyes. “Set sail,” he whispered.

Captain and bat let the ship slip its moorings. The sails unfurled and the vessel headed out to sea.

The End

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Ritual, Part I

Freddie sat in the corner of his bedroom. It was time to sleep. The only way he could fall asleep was by performing the nightly ritual. Arranged on the carpet before him were several sheets of paper tightly rolled together, a box of matches and a large purple candle.

There were monsters to catch. They lived between the lines of existence, hidden to all but the unlucky few. To let them catch you was to lose the freedom of your own thoughts. To keep them out required mental construction and physical prowess.

To begin the ritual, Freddie pictured in his mind’s eye a moored ship, like that of a pirate, with masts, sails and cannons.

He struck a match and held the flame to the candle wick. The candle burst into life and sprayed a purple tint upon the walls. In this light alone could any monster be seen, unnatural forms fluorescing in unearthly flickering. Freddie grabbed the roll of paper, scrambled to his feet and placed his back against the wall, peering carefully at each corner of the room in turn, looking for sign of movement.

In his head, the moored ship swayed gently in the wind. He sat on the deck, listening for the creaking of wood and rope. There! At the far end!

From behind the wardrobe came tentacles. They stuck to the wall and pulled along a large, quivering body, crowned with a yellow eye that swivelled in all directions.

To be continued…

Ruse, Part I

Harper sneezed himself awake at four in the morning. He lay still, but sleep seemed unwilling to return. He saw rain decorating the windows, causing the nascent sunlight to flicker across the carpet. He lifted his head and looked over to where Beautiful lay curled up in her basket. Her golden fur ruffled gently to and fro and her tail twitched. She was probably dreaming about chasing rabbits again.

A strange scent caught his nose, some unusual tint that seemed unfamiliar and unwelcome. Harper felt suddenly alert, senses straining, ears flicking round for any hint of noise. Yes, there was something. It was coming from the kitchen, masked by the rumble of the refrigerator and the odour of last night’s food. Something that did not belong here. Harper stood up and padded towards the kitchen door. He pushed it open with his nose, and peered in.

A string was hanging over the edge of the countertop, and climbing down it was… what? It looked like a human, although much smaller, about equal in size to the carrot that it clutched underneath its arm. It was wearing clothes, a red checked shirt, blue dungarees and a conical green hat. It reached the bottom of the string and dropped to the floor. Harper saw it had a grey beard that reached almost to its little brown shoes, and two fluffy grey eyebrows that shot up in surprise as the being turned and found itself face-to-snout with a very large Alsatian.

To be continued…