Prompt: There are three children sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says…
“I only have a week to live,” the kid in the middle says. The other two laugh. They think he is joking, of course. “I’m serious. One week, then I die.” Their laughs trail off.
“What do you mean?” says the kid on the right.
“The Nightmare told me. Darkness will come and take me away in one week.”
“Umm… You know nightmares aren’t real, right?” says the kid on the left.
“Not nightmares, the Nightmare. He’s the master of the dreamworld. He’ll come for me soon.”
He’s much smarter than before my visits. He used to be carefree and immature. He was quite a waste of life. Now, though, he’s learned quite a bit, how to die with dignity, for instance.
“Why… are you going to die?” asks the kid on the right.
“He picked me. He believes I’m the answer to his problem.”
“What problem?” says the kid on the left.
“The Dreamer is escaping.”
“The Dreamer?” says the kid on the right.
“He was brought into the Dreamworld several years ago, but he wants to leave.”
“But you’re going to die?”
“I’ll die to this world, but I’ll be alive to the Dreamworld.”
Clever, I didn’t teach him that. He’s gotten much more articulate since I began visiting him. Maybe I should visit more. It would certainly improve this little world, but would they notice the coming fun? I think not.
The kid on the left has been quiet. I wonder what’s going on in his head. Is he contemplating the repercussions of my child’s disappearance, or maybe just silently observing and putting it all into the database of his mind?
He speaks, “What if you died before the week was up?”
Yep, should’ve talked with him. “I… don’t know,” replies my child.
The quiet one pulls a knife from behind his back. Well, isn’t that interesting? He moves quickly and puts the knife to my child’s throat. The other child falls back, afraid, and backs away. My child remains calm, and stares into the eyes of the quiet one. The quiet one begins the movement that would end my child’s life.
Time to intervene, I think. “I don’t care when he dies, I can consume him now just as easily as in a week.” A voice from thin air. The other child runs away. The quiet one stops for a moment, then continues his slice. “Fine.”
Black flame envelops my child, burning the quiet one’s hand. The knife is dropped. The quiet one is burned. My child is dead.