short story, story promptChelsea is a Dream Guide, helping dreamers stay safe while they sleep. During a dream, she sees a monster that she had thought was dead – now every dream is a danger zone.


Chelsea spun around, searching the chaotically shifting landscape for the dreamer. She dodged a flying, pixelated green blob. It emitted a high-pitched squeal as it shot past her. She shook her head. Even after a few months of being a Dream Guide, some of the things she saw were beyond bizarre.

The landscape darkened. Streaks of purple lightning began striking areas of the Dreamscape. Oh, no. Chelsea shuddered. The dreamer was crossing into Night Terror Lands. She had to find him quickly. If he got too far in, he’d end up in a coma. She couldn’t let that happen.

Blinking once, she teleported to the edge of the Dreamscape. A shifting wall of grey, geometric shapes blocked the way to the Night Terror Lands. She glanced left and right, trying to trace her dreamer. There!

She teleported to his side and picked a memory from his subconscious, the image of a pretty young woman. Layering the image over her own body, she grabbed the boy’s arm.

“Luke, let’s have a picnic! That tree over there would be the perfect spot.”

The boy turned glazed eyes on her. A smile tugged his lips. “Did you bring egg sandwiches, Tessa?”

“Of course, they’re in the basket, along with your favourite peach iced tea.” She pointed towards the tree, hoping her words would take root in his dreaming brain and form the images he was told to see.

Sure enough, as he turned to look at the distant tree, a basket overflowing with sandwiches and bottles of iced tea materialised. A classic tartan picnic blanket unfurled itself under the tree. A moment later, Luke was under the tree with his own version of Tessa. The skies cleared.

With a sigh of relief, Chelsea turned back to the shifting wall of grey patterns. “Now, what lured you here, Luke?”

For a moment, the wall parted. A mottled blue and black creature stared at her with malevolent eyes. It was small and malformed, with thin arms and legs and a face that looked as though it had been squashed in a door. Hissing at her, it revealed pointed teeth stained black, before turning and disappearing into the Night Terror Lands.

The wall closed up behind it, but Chelsea stared a moment longer. A shiver traced its way down her spine. She’d read about these creatures in her training. They were Dream Eaters, stealing the unconscious energy of the dreamers and replacing it with a deep depression.

She had to tell the other Guides what she’d seen. This was not good. Dream Eaters hadn’t been seen in years. After the great Purge, the Dream Association had presumed all Eaters dead.

It seemed they’d been wrong. The Dream Eaters were back and that couldn’t mean anything good. Every dream a Guide crossed into from now on could be their last – if an Eater stole a dream while a Guide was still inside, the Guide was never seen again.

She had to warn them.

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