I wrote this short story for a contest when I was in the 8th grade. Bear in mind that I was only 14 and that English was my second language.
Reading it now, after all these years, I see that I’ve had a tendency toward darker stories ever since I was little.
The Lord of Dreams
It was a peaceful night in London. The stars reigned endlessly over the sky. Every little soul was sleeping as the night spanned throughout the city.
Amy, a fourteen year old girl, was sleeping in her comfortable bed, only to be awakened by a strange noise coming from the kitchen down stairs. She looked at the time. It was 2 AM. After hardly opening her eyes, she put on her slippers, grabbed a candle and went to investigate the noise. She reached the stairs and looked down, only to see complete darkness. She began walking down the stairs slowly, provoking a disturbing squeak with each step. After reaching the kitchen, she flipped a switch, attempting to turn on the lights. Nothing happened. She decided to go back to bed, when all of a sudden a powerful wind, coming from nowhere, blew out her candle. Amy was scared. Shivers were coming down her spine. The darkness was dead silent. She was completely frozen, unable to move. A minute later, Amy heard something move in the dark. She could hear footsteps, coming closer and closer. She was terrified. The footsteps stopped right in front of her. Then, suddenly, a white light flashed before her eyes, revealing a blurry, heavenly, yet evil looking figure. Then, it all went dark, including for Amy, who passed out.
Time passed. Amy finally woke up to find herself in a shriveled, dark forest. She could not believe her eyes. She looked around prospecting to see someone nearby. Amy had no idea where she was or how she got there, and started crying for help.
Nothing. Silence bloomed everywhere. She started walking scared, hoping to reach the end of the forest. After walking for several hours, she fell down tired and hopeless. Then, Amy heard a noise in the distance. She could see nothing though. It was like someone running through bushes. The noise got closer and clearer. A shadow crossed her terrified eyes. A couple of seconds later, a young boy jumped in front of her.
They were both taken by surprise and started screaming. The boy stopped when he saw there was no danger. He tried to calm Amy down.
-Don’t worry, it’s ok!
-W… who are you…?
-I’m Jack, what’s your name?
-I’m… Amy… what is this place?!
-It’s a long story, I’ll tell you later. For now, come with me, I’ll introduce you to the tribe.
-The tribe…? What tribe?
-Come and you shall see.
Amy did not oppose. They walked about ten minutes, and came across a very small village, populated by other children. Jack told Amy that this was the tribe.
-These children ended up here just like you.
-But… I don’t know how I ended up here.
-Later, you should eat something first.
He took her to a small house made up of branches and leaves. Inside laid a table with food on it. He encouraged her to eat. She did not hesitate.
After eating, Jack explained everything.
-You see, we were all brought here by the same person. He calls himself The Lord of Dreams.
-The Lord of Dreams?
-Yes. He kidnapped our souls and brought us to this imaginary, endless place. This is like a nightmare, all sorts of things happen around here, from mysterious shadows to unknown creatures lurking in the dark.
-What exactly is he? How does he look like?
– His main characteristic is being able to take any shape or form and mannerisms of any person. He could be anything. For all we know, he could be the tree behind you, listening to every word we say. The ancients have called him Morpheus, the god of dreams.
-How do you know all this?
-Near our little village, is a cottage, in which a wise old woman lives. She told us about The Lord of Dreams. No one knows where she’s from, how she got here or how she knows so much about him. We call her The Witch.
-What else do you know about him?
– He is a master craftsman in creating the illusions found in dreams. He lives while one sleeps. All awake impressions are recorded and stored in his lab, the subconscious. Nothing alive can escape his presence. He can take you to trips to the remotest places in the universe. He can make you travel at the speed of light or faster. But he can also frighten you to death. His biggest hobby is the crafting of dreams. Careful, meticulous and detailed dreams. Sometimes dreams which make sense, other times dreams which are nonsense. Sometimes a little travel in places which were visited during a different lifetime, full of feelings of déjà-vu, other times places with different stars and Earths, or places where nobody but himself has any idea where they belong or whence they came from.
-And for how long have you been here?
-Almost all of us have been here for about a year or so.
-What?! You mean you don’t know how to get out of here?!
-No. I’m sorry.
-Doesn’t The Witch know?
-We don’t talk much with her, because she frightens us.
-I really don’t plan to spend the rest of my life here! I want to see her and talk to her. Maybe she knows how to get out of here.
-I’m warning you, she could be The Lord’s right hand “man”.
-I don’t care. It’s worth the risk!
Jack escorted Amy to The Witch’s door, and then ran back into the village. She knocked on the door, and an old, ugly lady came out. She invited Amy in and closed the door.
Inside, The Witch asked Amy to sit down and gave her something to drink.
-My name is Amy; I recently arrived here and…
-I know, I saw you screaming earlier.
-Why didn’t you come to me?
-I knew that The Tribe would find you. It’s better this way.
-Anyway, Jack spoke to me of The Lord of Dreams, and that he brought us here. Is there any way to escape this place?
-This imaginary world you’re in now, it feeds on your fear, the more scared you are the stronger the world and The Lord are. If none of you were here, this place couldn’t exist.
-So, what you’re saying is that we need to stop being afraid?
-Yes! When you hear or see something, just don’t be scared! Pretend like it’s not there, and it will go away. Eventually, if everyone stops being afraid, the world won’t be strong enough to keep you all here. You will return to your regular lives.
Amy thanked The Witch and went back to The Tribe. She told Jack everything and he told everyone else that they shouldn’t be afraid anymore. They all agreed. But it wasn’t going to be easy. It got dark outside. Everyone was in their cottage. Jack was talking to Amy when they heard a noise in the distance. Then they heard the same weird noise in front of their cottage. They remembered what The Witch had said and just ignored it. They calmly continued to talk, not paying attention to the noise. A bit later the noise stopped, and the world briefly quaked, which had never happened before. They were all proud with what they had achieved, but they were also tired so they went to sleep.
The next morning, when they woke up, they noticed that there weren’t as many trees around the village. They thought it was probably because of what happened the night before, so they decided to have a little feast. While they were eating, a terrible growling sound came from outside. They went out and found this giant, ugly beast that was destroying their village. With no time to waste, they all grabbed some rocks and started throwing them at the beast.
Not expecting such bravery the beast got frightened and ran into the woods. They were all happy! Then, after that courageous attempt, the world began to quake as if it was the end. Trees started falling, the sky was blurry, and a strong wind destroyed all their cottages. Then, some of the children simply started to vanish. They realized that this was it. It was finally time to go home. Everyone was disappearing. Amy couldn’t see Jack, she wanted to say goodbye. Then she disappeared too. The imaginary world had come to an end. It was no more.
Amy woke up in her kitchen, confused. She flipped the light switch and it worked. Then, Amy looked at the time. It was the same as when she left. It was 2 AM. She asked herself if all that had happened was really just a dream.
-But it was so real! Amy said to herself.
If it wasn’t just a dream, she was proud to have defeated The Lord of Dreams. She was tired so she went back to bed, never to find out what had actually happened.