Sunday May 28th, 2017

The exercise:

Quick, before the month is over, let us return to The Dream Kingdom.

Edit: well, perhaps not quickly. More like eventually. Blame it on late night sleepiness and a desire to do my yearlong entry right.

Anyway, on with the delayed show.


"Destroy the Dream Kingdom?" Dylan shook his head as though he were trying to clear cobwebs. "Why would they want that? They'd be killing themselves along with the rest of you. Sounds like a weird way of committing suicide to me."

"They are of the belief," Nystor replied with a grimace, "that the Kingdom will not be annihilated, but merely reset. And that when that reset occurs they will return in greater numbers, with greater strength. They have been performing rituals and ceremonies and sacrifices to ensure that this comes to be. Prince Reimar is to be their final sacrifice."

"Maniacs." Josh said quietly. "Wait, you said they believe the reset will happen with the prince's death. Sounds like you don't share that perspective."

"I do not. It is utter foolishness. There is nothing waiting for us on the other side of the end."

"Maybe The Islanders just have better imaginations than you," Olivia observed, her mouth now returned to its rightful place.

"That's enough talking for now, I think," Nystor announced after giving Olivia a lengthy stare. "We must begin our journey now. Your training shall continue en route."

"Woah, woah, woah!" Dylan put both hands up in front of himself, like he was intending to physically stop anyone from leaving the room. "Just hold on here. We've got lots more questions that need to be answered before we decide what comes next."

"So. Many. Questions." Olivia came to stand beside him and Dylan stood a little taller. After a slight hesitation Josh joined their human wall.

"I'm sure you do. So would I, I imagine, were I in your boots. Or shoes, as the case may be. We will have to do something about your attire, won't we?"

"Our clothes? We've got more important things to worry about than what we're wearing!" It was an effort for Dylan not to look down to make sure he was still wearing pants.

"Indeed. Like time. And how much of it you have left to find King Brekstan."

"That sounded like a threat." Olivia crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side.

"A threat? Goodness me child, no! Merely a statement of facts. Look for yourselves." Nystor pointed behind them and they turned to find three hourglasses, all seeming to match their heights, with silvery liquid beads dripping into the bottom chambers. "That is how much time each of you have. As I'm sure you have noticed, Dylan has a little less time remaining to him since he arrived here first."

"What happens when time's up?" Josh asked warily.

"Visitors to the Dream Kingdom can only be here for so long before they must wake and return to their own world. If they stay beyond that point... there is no returning. You will no longer be guests then. You will become permanent residents."


Greg said...

" that so bad?" said Olivia after a couple of moments. "I--"
"Yes!" Josh stared at her as though she'd grown an extra head. "I don't want to never see my mum again! We better get moving."
"You could invite her here to see you," said Olivia. "I--"
"No!" Josh was turning red, and Olivia raised her hands placatingly. "I don't want her dreaming about me when I've gone missing. That's horrible."
"Let's go," said Olivia to Nystor. She put a smile on her face. "I guess I was wrong."
"Um, questions?" said Dylan. He tried to sound strong, asserting himself, worrying that he'd somehow lost control since his friends had arrived.
"En route," said Olivia. Her voice was suddenly tight, and she turned slightly, hunching her shoulders so he couldn't see her face clearly.
"Indeed," said Nystor. "Since I am the only one who knows where we need to go we can't just transport ourselves there, plus there's the problem of the uncertainty principle, so we will have to travel by other means." He waved a hand, his fingertips describing an outline, and a horse somehow faded into the foreground, filling out the outline. A strong smell of a not-cleaned-enough horsebox made Dylan wrinkle his nose, and Josh retreated several steps away from it: it was slightly taller than him, chestnut brown, and it pulled large, rubbery lips away from huge yellow teeth. There was a whinny, and the horse tossed its head and stamped a forehoof.
"What. The." began Olivia.
"That's a horse!" Josh backed off a little further. "Get it away from me!" He crouched, pulling himself into a tight little ball.
"Of course it's a horse," said Nystar, sounding confused. "We need to travel fast. Why are you curling up like that?"
"He nearly got trampled by a horse last year," said Olivia. She moved to put herself between the horse and Josh, her hands on her hips and making eye contact with it. "It wasn't his fault."
"He can ride behind one of you two then."
"Neither of us can ride horses," said Dylan. He shook his head, wondering at what Nystar was thinking. "Olivia might be able to."
Five minutes of confused arguing followed, ending with Olivia referring to King Breakfast again and her mouth once more disappearing and Nystar angrily unimagining the horse and glaring balefully at Josh. Dylan shrugged helplessly, and decided to try something himself.
"What's that?" Nystar looked at the two wheels locked into a carbon-fibre frame, his eyebrows disappearing into his hairline.
"A bicycle," said Dylan. He sounded excited; the bike was the one he'd been wanting for nearly a year now; sleek, shiny and surely as fast as the wind. "You ride the horse, and we'll ride these."
"It might work," said Nystar. "This is fast?"
"Oh jesus." Olivia's mouth reappeared, slightly off-centre, and Nystar tried not to look impressed. "Guys, we can have anything we imagine, right? So why are you messing around with this?"
"Because I don't know enough about aeroplanes to imagine one," shot back Dylan.
Olivia waved a hand, that might have been a sarcastic version of Nystar's original gesturing, and a large square of carpet appeared on the floor. She walked on to it, sat down cross-legged, and concentrated. The carpet obediantly rose into the air so that she was at eye-level with Nystar.
"Get on," she said. "Let's find out what the top speed of this baby is."

Marc said...

Greg - some interesting character developments in this one (both Olivia's tight voice and hunched shoulders and Josh's past horse experience). And the flying carpet is a nice touch!

Not sure what's coming next, but I'm happy to see them on the move at last :)