This is probably the closest thing I’ve created to ‘flash fiction’, a short story based on some inspiration from music, just cobbled together really. I created this in a few minutes, its the raw material and hasn’t been edited so sorry for any mistakes. Enjoy!
PS: Not all stories are happy, nor all happy stories happy endings. Enjoy.
K. W. Rose.
The Nightmare of Siya
All dreams are is a matter of fragments, either memories which have been changed or else imaginations sprung from memories. There is no dream without some matter of truth and reality, nor any reality which could, perhaps, be a dream. Siya hated dreams, she was afraid of nightmares and had them more often than pleasant dreams. She hated the dreams so much that for a week or so she tried, desperately, to stay awake. Her parents tried to comfort her, just tell her that they were fantasies, that they were not real, even her brother who usually mocked tried to relieve her suffering.
It was on the sixth night of that week; Siya had fallen sleep on the previous nights, despite her attempts to stay awake, all except the last night, the fifth night, when she managed to stay awake through sunrise and on until the early evening. Now, on the sixth night, she was exhausted and could not even try to begin resisting sleep. She lay down and, almost as soon as her head touched the pillow, she felt herself fall to sleep.
She was in a forest, at sunset. It was a forest of strange, western trees and trees which would not grow together; oak, redwoods, bamboo, willows, ash, and more peach trees than she could count. At her feet was a wisp of silk, her body was naked and her hair was long, as though since birth it had never been cut.
She ran through the forest, looking for the lightest place. ‘Where its lightest, they can’t get me’ she thought. She ran further and further, into a bamboo glade and out into a waterfall spring. There the sunlight poured through the trees and bright green ferns hung over the paths. It was the most beautiful place she had ever seen; over the treetops she could see the mountains and the hills, some were white with snow, others blue, green, and fantastic reds in the setting sun. There were houses up there and people working the land, others walking home. She looked around it, dancing in it and spinning through the clearings. It was a happy place, she could feel it and she knew, for a moment, this was not a nightmare of a dream.
Something snapped in the woods. She jumped for a second, staring into the empty trees, startled and scared. She could see nothing, there was only darkness between the trees and light in places too bright to see through. Then, out of one of the shadows, something came looming closer.
“Not all that glows is good, not all that lingers is ill.” a grim voice whispered. “Not all people are friends, nor all spirits dark. Reality isn’t the only threat on your life.”
The thing came closer, suddenly Siya found her legs bound to the earth, she could not move.
“Earth, air, fire, water, blood, tears, life, death, reality, imagination, dreams, songs.” a softer voice called out of the blinding light nearby.
Siya looked around, something else was coming through the brightness, she could see its shadow approaching. It was a giant creature, something on horseback.
“Come hither, creature of the physical plane, come to me!” the soft voice cried out.
“Beware the light which blinds the fly. Beware the spider in the web!” the grim voice called as the shadow came nearer.
Siya ran toward the light, but the shadow was chasing her.
“Beware, beware!” it shouted.
She ran closer to the light, as the soft voice called her. It grew louder and louder, but then she saw it, then she could see through the light and caught a glimpse of the tall monstrous creature inside of it. The creature had many faces and a thousand teeth, the creature which plagued her nightmares.
“Beware!” the grim voice called behind her. “Light has a shadow too. Catch my flight that I may save you.”
Siya leapt back as the monster tried to grab her, then from behind something gripped her around her waist and picked her up. She screamed and kicked for a moment, but then she was lifted into the air high above the treetops and into the sky. The sun had now set and it was night, the moon was out and the stars revealed themselves. For a moment, she forgot that it was a dream and stared tirelessly into the night. Up here it was beyond beautiful; there were a few inky clouds dotted across the horizon with shimmering silver lining their edges and countless stars despite the full moon. There were shooting stars too, some falling right down onto the earth itself and all the treetops glistened and shimmered as the wind swept them, reflecting the moonlight in different ways.
“Beware of beauty.” the voice said. “Not all that lights is good, nor ill.”
Siya looked down at the hands at her waist, but they were clawed and talons. She looked up to the owner of the hands, then almost screamed again in horror. It was like a dragon from her imaginations and fantasies she had heard, only it was different; its head was like to a cat’s, its wings weren’t like a bat’s but were more like an ostriches with wide feathers, then its back which should have had spikes rushing across the spine was covered in a tattered, black cloak. The creature held her with razor claws, but it could not scratch her.
They flew right across the forest and landed in a clearing, nearby to another bamboo glade and, not far away, she spotted a little hut.
“Beware friends and foes alike, but know them first and fear them too.” the creature said to her. “Beyond is the home of Baron Lyncton, beware his welcome but welcome himself. We shall meet again, but our paths shall be our last.”
The creature lay her down and bowed, then took flight into the cold, night air. It seemed warm above the treetops before, despite rushing winds she felt at ease and comfortable, but as soon as they landed the air became icy and the winds stopped. ‘It seems like nothing here is the right way around’ she thought.
She came to the hut and knocked thrice on the door; once for attention, once for an answer, and once to complete the pattern. Scarce a moment passed when it was answered, but the man behind the door seemed even more frightening than the monster in the light. He was hideous and twisted, bend and crooked, across his face were countless scars and over his back was a black, haunting hood. He smiled and cackled something evil, but stepped away from the door and held his hand out to welcome.
“Baron Lyncton Thrope, at your service.” he said, in a harsh and aged voice. “My friend told me to expect you, Siya.”
Siya came into the hut, welcomed by a warm fire which refused to stay in the hearth but did not burn the house. It spread across the room and seemed to float on nothingness, but it would not so much as blow away a speck of dust, yet the wood in the fireplace mysteriously turned black and crumbled away into cinders. The baron went into a small kitchen and retrieved a bowl of stew for Siya. She looked into it and saw a black, filthy stew which moved without her touching the bowl. At first she refused, but within minutes she became to hungry that she felt encouraged to try it. Despite the odd appearance, it was the greatest stew she had ever eaten; it tasted like summer fruits and the warmth of company on a winter’s night, it was like the newborn saplings of spring and the crisp nuts of autumn. She polished one bowl off within minutes and was given another by the baron, who did not eat but sat nearby to the fireplace, warming his hands to the empty grate.
“My friend does not explain things very well, so I shall try.” the baron said. “Things here are different to your world, young one. What seems good may become evil, but what is evil isn’t always good either, nor are good things bad and bad things bad, always. Night comes every two hours and lasts for ten more, and street-lights draw the light from the days, rather than give it to the nights. There is one rule here; survive. If you fail at this, you will fail in your physical world. Otherwise, there are no rules. Walls can be walked through, fires can move without burning a path, beasts and monsters can talk and have civilization, but you are the dreamer and your imagination is all that stands in your way.”
“So if I don’t think I’m going to die, I shouldn’t, right?” Siya asked.
“You have no control over your fate, only on how you create your destroyer.” the baron said. “If you go around thinking you can’t die, you will die. Better to think of how to avoid dying. We’re still living creatures, even if you created us.”
The baron drew out a small lyre from besides his chair, then without plucking it, the instrument began to play. He himself lit a pipe and began to smoke it, then without opening his mouth, he sang. It was a song like nothing Siya had heard before, joyful and quick but strange and silly. She tried to listen to the words and remember them all, but it seemed so strange and abnormal that she could not remember it all.
“There’s a pint of purple milk
Up above the popcorn hill.
And it tells me of a wine
So sweet and deep and fine,
It is called the Deeper Rubber,
How I wish I may discover.
There’s a pan of boiling oil
Cooking snake-skins and coils.
And it sings a song of light
Coming from the blackest night,
It is called the Deeper Rubber,
How I wish I may discover.
And a pot of air and salt,
Mixed with bird-spit and a goat.
It is ripe for picking off
The trees of valley top.
They are called the Deeper Rubber,
How I wish I may discover.”
The song went on for a while, then he sat back and began to sing a different song, but as this song went on Siya began to notice his voice change. It became rich, royal, and young.
“Beware, beware, the white hare.
He roams in the day of the sun.
Two hours he walks, he eats with forks,
He munches on flesh, and children’s fear.
Beware, beware, the white hare,
He roams in the day of the war.
Two hours he feeds, he chokes, he greeds,
He gnaws on bone, and grown men’s fear.
Beware, beware, the white hare,
He roams in the day of the dreams.
Two hours he wakes, before dawn breaks,
He scoffs on heart, and the monster’s fear.
Beware, beware, the cursed hare,
He roams in the day of the lights.
Two hours he fries the children who died,
He swallows them whole, with a gulp and snare.”
Siya looked up at the baron, but when the song finished he stood not as he had been. His hair was now golden, his back was straight, his voice was fair, and his body was of a beautiful man, perhaps Siya’s age. He, like she, was now naked too, but neither were aroused by the other’s appearance, though Siya thought him very handsome, and he thought her beautiful.
“That is the fear of the land, the great white hare. It roams in the day, for two hours. At night it sleeps, while other monsters invade the land, but none are more fearful than the hare.” Baron Lyncton said.
“What does it do?” Siya asked
“It is the largest monster around, it eats humans whole, but worst of all it can kill a mind. If it catches you, just the sight of its eyes will send your mind dead, you will be unable to think, unable to move, unable to even breathe. Perhaps it eating you would be a kinder death then.” the baron said. “It is almost daytime, you must stay here. Day only lasts for two hours.”
“It hasn’t been ten hours already!” Siya said.
“You are in a dream, Siya, time moved more quickly while sleeping.” the baron said. “Now I must leave you. Do not venture outside during the daytime or the beast may catch you.”
The baron moved over to the door and stared around at Siya. “Farewell, my love.” he said. Then, he opened the door and sunlight shone inside. Suddenly, when caught in the light, the baron groaned, fell to the floor and shook. His body took on another transformation and turned into a wild, savage wolf-like monster, but perhaps five times larger. He rushed through the door and out into the wild. ‘Heh, a werewolf baron.” she thought.
A moment later the fire extinguished itself, Siya forgot to feed it, not seeing the flames in the fireplace was a good distraction. She looked outside of the window for a moment, but the window looked back in. ‘Of course, things are backwards here. Well, I don’t care, I’m going to go out and see what the day’s like.’ she thought.
She stepped outside of the door, then stepped inside to go out. Outside it looked as though it may have been midday, the sun was almost directly overhead and there were countless birds in the sky. There were only a few clouds, enough to make it look pleasant without cluttering the sky, just as Siya had always thought a day should look. The trees of the forest were growing smaller, and quickly, before she knew it they were almost at her head height. ‘Very pleasant’ she thought.
She stepped across and away from the hut, further into the clearing. There was a little stream and a small waterfall at one side, on the other a field of fruits. She smiled and walked on a little way. Suddenly the ground shook. She stared down, it was as though a tree nearby had fallen or something. Then, again. She stopped for a moment, ready to run back to the hut.
Then she saw it; white fur in-between some of the trees. It was a monster, much larger than Siya. As the trees came lower, she caught sight of two fantastic large ears like watch-towers. They pricked and quivered a little, but she did not look at them long enough to see what happened. She turned and ran back towards the hut, careful not to look back in case she should catch his eyes.
She heard something behind her, something split the wind. She was a few yards from the hut, but then something struck her leg. There was a bolt of pain running through her heel and up. She stared around; it was sticky like a spider’s web, but stung like nettles. All of a sudden, out of the woods appeared the many faced monster. She caught its eyes for a second, as golden as the morning sun, then there was nothing.
Early the next morning, Siya’s parents found her body in her bedroom. She was neither dead nor alive, her mind was lost; she could not breathe, she could not eat nor drink, yet her heart would not give up and her body never grew weaker or stronger. In the physical world, they felt as though she had been lost, but in a forest of short trees where the nights were long and the days short, she could see everyone and everything step over her, as though she did not exist. The baron, the cat-dragon, the many-faced monster, even the great white hare and more monstrosities, yet she could not do anything; not blink, not talk nor move her mouth or her eyes. As time went on, she saw her nose decay and turn to bone, then fade away into dust, yet she never felt anything, no pain nor any joy. In time, grass covered her eyes, then soil and dirt, worms and moles as well as other under-earth dwelling monsters climbed over her until everything became dark. She felt nothing, saw nothing, yet never had peace.
That nightmare she never awoke from.