Dreams from Fears

Dreams from Fears

'And if it was the last place he was going to be, he was glad he was on a cloud. '


Paranormal fiction / Magic realism


Rosie Hurman (United Kingdom)

Dreaming was easy to do when you knew how. It was mind over matter, or something like that he had decided. If you knew what you wanted to happen, what type of dream you wanted, why should your mind not work some magic and mike it so? Dreams, he understood. Nightmares were a whole other story. Nightmares were something he couldn’t control, he doubted even the most skilled sleep psychologist knew how to control them. Were sleep psychologists even a thing? Danny was not sure. What he was sure of however was when a dream takes shape in your head and life is breathed into to it, there is not much to fear, you can wake up again so easily and safe.

A nightmare was different.

Once they took shape and formed a life, fear was the only thing you felt. A paralyzing fear, stopping your every movement and halting every breath in your throat. A nightmare was not something you could run from. How do you run away from your own head when you cannot even wake up?

He felt like he was floating.

Floating high above the world, above the whole city and the sleeping bodies below him. Weightless and empty, If you filled a balloon with helium Daniel was pretty sure this was what it felt like. Bobbing along in the sky, stars, long dead, winking at him as the moon glowed with a red hue.

His brow furrowed as he looked at the moon, so much larger up close and such a different colour from what he had always imagined it to be. It looked like someone had taken a tin of red paint and haphazardly painted the moon the colour of blood. Something tagged at the back of his brain, a thought, a memory.

Daniel couldn’t float. He could not fly. He remembered trying to with an umbrella once at school, jumping from the top of the steps, holding the air for a matter of seconds and breaking his ankle on the landing. He had shouted out in pain as teachers swarmed around him in panicked states. Danny frowned some more, looking down, he was so high up, how was he so high up?

And then he was falling.

Falling so fast and so far, he had accepted his fate of death. If he could not survive falling from a few feet in the air he knew with all his being that he could not survive a fall of such verloscity, he could barely survive a dream. The floor was rushing up to meet his thin body. So close now he was sure if he just reached out a hand he could touch it.

So close, so close.

I don’t want to die.

A part of him registered what his voice had tried to scream and he wanted to laugh into the rushed air. He was about to die and he could not even come up with some creative last words to shout to the wind, to float down the earth and never be heard. No big, epic fight for peace like he had always pictured when watching adventure films, or a peaceful drift off in his sleep at a grand old age after a life well lived.

He was going to die by falling from an unknown height and become a city pancake. Daniel could almost hear the city laughing at him.

Eyes closed tight and jaw clenched, he was prepared for the impact. Prepared for death. Wind blew through his hair, whistled past his ears, sounds of the city got louder. Not long now...

He stopped falling.

The wind was gone and there was no sound to be heard. His own rapid breathing echoed in his ears. Slowly he opened his eyes, but all he could see was darkness. Like Lady Nyx had blocked out the sun and thrown him into darkness. Not that Danny had ever been scared of the dark but now he was starting to think he might be.

A shiver ran up his spin as the cold set into his bones, the kind of cold that crept into life just before the snow came falling down. Something soft under his back rustled and it took him a moment to realise he was lying on a bed made of scrunched up paper.

He stretched out his arms, frowning when his palms hit something solid. Slowly he let his palms follow the smooth object above him, following it till it met the sides and then stretched down half a meter to his side on either side of him.

He was in a box.

His once steady breathing increased as a wave of worry engulfed him. He pushed against the lid, trying to breakthrough, trying move it, even a little bit. But nothing budged. Daniel had never been claustrophobic, he’d once spent an hour hiding in a cupboard because he didn’t want to go to a PE lesson.

But then the sides started to move inwards, slowly closing off all his space, trapping him more and more. The worry washed away, replacing itself with fear. Claustrophobia he never knew he had kicked in, telling him to get out, screaming at him to move, to scream, to breath.

To carry on breathing.

Why could he not breath?

It was like a weight had been placed on top of his chest, crushing his lungs, cutting off his breathing.

Faces flashed across his vision; friends and family, smiling and laughing in a sea of colours.


A melody from some old bedtime song played in his head, like a record stuck on repeat.


The faces where gone and all he could see was spots of colour in the darkness.


Pink and purple joined together, blue burning brightly, yellow fading in and out, green fading out faster and faster, a red flickering an orange dimming.


And white. So much white light it was like he was on a cloud. And if it was the last place he was going to be, he was glad he was on a cloud.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1



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