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The Rite of Little Dreams

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately with family stuff going on in addition to work. But, this week’s #SwiftFicFriday prompt got me thinking. This little bit is all it needs to be, but the world it’s in definitely has me intrigued. Might have to explore more someday. Anyway, the rules were the same–150-300 words using the prompt, which this week was “little dreams”. Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite! I give you:

The Rite of Little Dreams

The old woman beckoned to the young man waiting on the edge of the firelight. “Come, it is time for your small sleep before the Long Dark Night.”

He crept forward, still uncertain of this woman in rags with wild, white hair. She gestured to a sleeping mat on the cave floor near the fire. With a breath, he sat down and accepted the cup of dark liquid she handed him.

Image by Aaron Beringson from Pixabay

“This will aid you in dreaming the Little Dreams. It is the same as what you will have during the Long Dark Night.”

The young man swallowed it in three gulps. The liquid felt thick. A bitter aftertaste lingered in his mouth. Then he laid down, waiting for what would happen next. Meanwhile, the old woman moved around the cave, marking the walls as the fire crackled. She chuckled—a soft, raspy sound—at one such mark and turned back to the young man.

“They’ll keep you safe in the Little Dreams.”

Her voice grew distorted, each word getting drawn out further and further. As she spoke the last word, his surroundings dimmed. He felt himself floating away as panic gripped his heart, squeezing it until he thought he would die a pathetic and helpless death lying on the floor of the cave. He wanted to scream, to fight the pull of the Dream World, to go back to being a child among his people. But the cup’s contents would not release their grip. Words would not come.

A final silent plea to the gods that he wake again when his duty was over washed through his mind before the Dream World consumed him.

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