Cleaning up

Writing prompt: Every so often a dream-catcher must be ’emptied’ of the nightmares it has caught. Who does it and what do they see? I wrote more than 500 words this time, I think this story could develop into something bigger.

The cursing woke her up.

Is Uncle Bob home? No wait, why would he be in my bedroom?

“Last time I play a game of cards with those pixie fools!”

She turned over in her bed and opened her eyes, she could see a silhouette of a figure standing on her desk, flapping its arms about, they sort of looked like wings… I must be dreaming. She reached out and turned on her lamp.

“Bugger…” The small man said freezing. He wore a patch-worked suit, the colours were all so bright and clashed with each other, it hurt her eyes to look at it. He pivoted. She gave him a small wave.

A two foot tall man with a bushy beard is standing on my desk and I wave at him. Well done Paula.

“Um what’s that kooky stuff on you?” She pointed to the lumps of blue stuff stuck to his suit, it was that that had made her think that he had wings.

“The guts of dream-bugs,” he looked down at himself, “this was my best suit.”

“How did they get all over you?” She asked sitting up in bed and looking around to see if she could spot the bugs.

“They were in this,” pointing to her dream-catcher which was leaning on a pile of her books, she saw it had the blue substance attached to the strings, “the way the pixies told me, is that that gives out the same energy as a sleeping human. The dream bugs fly straight for it, and-” he clapped his hands together but it just made a soft sound and a bit of the guts landed in his beard.

“Do you need help?” She swung her legs out of the bed and stood up.

“Don’t touch it. It’s really valuable, I have to put it in the jar,” he pointed at an empty jar that sat beside a small backpack, “every time I try to put it in, it comes out again stuck to me!” He showed her by scraping his hand off the rim of the jar, the blue guts piled up on the edge, and stretched out to his hand.

“That seems to be-” she started to say but broke off when the guts sprung off the jar and reconnected with his hands. “I’m going to go to the kitchen to get something, you will be still here when I come back?”

“It’s not like I can go anywhere,” he flapped his arms about vaguely, “get a bottle of vinegar while you’re at it!”

She heard him shout as the door closed behind her. She ran lightly down the stairs, her mother always left the bathroom light on throughout the night. She scampered into the kitchen, and opened the second drawer looking for the tool, she grabbed it and shut the drawer. She turned to leave but then remembered, padding over to the cupboard and pulled out a half full bottle of balsamic vinegar. She ran as quickly and quietly as she could back up the stairs, hoping he would still be there.

“Ta-da!” She held out a spatula in one hand and the bottle of vinegar in the other, “what’s the vinegar for?”

“What’s that thing for?” He asked staring at the spatula with suspicion.

“It’s to scrape the guts off you,” she placed a bottle of vinegar down on the desk away from the mess that he had made, “stand still.” She ordered.

He did what she said, but watched her every move. She scraped the spatula along the front of his suit, he put one foot back to stop himself from being pushed over. When she had a fine size lump of guts on the end of the spatula, she picked up the lid of the jar with one hand, and scraped the lump of guts into the jar. When she was done, she closed the jar cutting off the guts sneaky escape. She gave him a satisfied smile. And continued with her work, telling him to lift his arm this way and that, and a turn around.

“Finished,” she said after only a couple of minutes of work, scraping the last of the guts into the now full jar, and screwing it tightly shut.

“Thank you,” he said to her as he tucked the jar into his backpack, rubbing his hands together he looked lovingly at the bottle of vinegar, “that’s the good stuff that is.” He said as he opened the bottle and took a swig of the bitter brown liquid.

Paula watched in horror as the vinegar disappeared down his throat. He put the bottle down and closed it, there was an inch left over.

“This is one weird dream,” Paula said getting underneath her covers again as he put the bag on his back.

“Do you normally have dreams this vivid?” He asked cocking his head to one side.

“No, but it can’t be real, there are no such things as pixies and dream-bugs,” she said yawning.

“Thanks again for the help, and the vinegar,” he said and with a snap of his fingers he was gone.

She turned over onto her back watching the dream-catcher sway gently from its hook on the ceiling.