Guest Dream Run: Use these three words

‘She will be our guest.’

Issy dared lift her gaze a fraction to view the elfin king. He sat on his carved oak throne, his leafy crown decorated with yellow, purple and pink wildflowers, high on his head. His white hair rippled in silken waves, long enough to drape over the arms of the throne. Butterflies and tiny birds fluttered about him while tiny woodland animals rested or played on the spreading velvet of his cloak which cascaded down the steps of the dais.

‘She will be our guest,’ the king said again, ‘for three days and … three nights.’

His voice was even, but Issy wondered at the pause. Her questioning deepened at the tense silence of the gathered courtiers. Instinct warned her she should not have come.

Fairies in a dark wood

Banished by the faeries for daring to mix with human children – not once, but several times – Issy had floundered alone in the Great Forest for weeks. She spent her days avoiding the nastier of the wild creatures, and foraging to stay alive.

In the dark hours of the night, restless dreams troubled her, of being chased by faeries grown monstrous in looks and intent, wanting to tear her apart. Tossing in her sleep, Issy became a monster herself, to battle them. Each morning she woke, cold, shivering, tentatively feeling her arms and legs before opening her eyes, terrified of touching scabby scales instead of silken skin.

Her growing loneliness and terror had pushed her to seek a new home in the kingdom of the woodland elves. They had no reputation for welcome, yet it was here or suffering in the Great Forest.

‘And after that,’ the king was saying in his stern tones, ‘her future will be decided.’

A test. The muted whisperings of the courtiers fell on her ears like warning bells. What could this test be?

‘Well? Do you accept?’ The king glared at Issy from under thick white brows.

Issy lifted her chin and met the king’s glare. ‘Yes, Majesty, I accept.’

Soft gasps all around, more mutterings. The king, however, smiled, and his smile held warmth as if offering reassurance.

‘Brave faery.’ He snapped his fingers and a tall, beautiful elf stepped forward, curtsying. ‘Take her to the guest chambers and prepare her.’

With no word, the lady glanced at Issy, beckoned and walked steadily down the long aisle of the throne room to the great double doors.

Issy followed. Horrified murmurs accompanied her. ‘Run,’ they urged. ‘Leave while you can.’ ‘Do not dream,’ they warned. ‘Dream only good,’ they told her.

Dream? Memories of her monster nightmares filled her head. She shuddered.

‘Yes,’ the lady said.

They had reached the doors. To Issy’s left lay the corridors which would take her to the inner halls of the great palace. To her right, the passage leading to the outside.

Run? Dream?

‘We are what we dream.’ The lady walked quickly towards the inner halls. ‘Come, it is late already and you must be ready to meet your future.’

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4 thoughts on “Guest Dream Run: Use these three words”

  1. It had been a dream run through Melbourne’s peak hour traffic to the airport.
    A most unusual occurrence, thought, Tony. Usually, the high vehicle numbers – not to mention the inevitable accident – would turn the trip into an absolute nightmare.
    However, he dismissed all thoughts of delay as he was dropped at the entrance to the international departures terminal.
    “Thanks driver,” he called from the back seat as he leaned forward to pay the fare. “A marvellous run, most unexpected.”
    The driver nodded and smiled before climbing from his seat to retrieve Tony’s luggage from the boot.
    “Have a good trip, sir,” he said by way of reply and waved goodbye.
    Tony turned his attention to the crowd filing through the automatic sliding doors and checked the overhead board for his departure gate number.
    He was off to London – a guest of the British Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street no less.
    These sorts of invitation were rare, usually only issued when there was some sticky problem to be solved in a remote corner of the world.
    Once aboard the aircraft, Tony turned his attention to the folder in his briefcase. It was marked Top Secret and contained extensive background material on the assignment he was being asked to undertake.
    Some problem in Tierra del Fuego that required an urgent solution – though for the life of him Tony could not understand why.
    After all, it couldn’t be more remote – stormy, windswept islands forming the southern border of the Magellan Straits at the tip of South America.
    I mean it was bad enough the Brits still had hold of the Falkland Islands. What on earth could possibly interest them in Tierra del Fuego?
    Careful study of the briefing notes didn’t really add any light to the subject, either.
    This wasn’t your average clandestine operation. Contrary to appearances, Tony wasn’t a spy – but he was an anthropologist, recognised as one of the world’s best, and nearly always called upon whenever some unusual find had been discovered that people could not understand. A bit like a downbeat Indiana Jones, actually.
    As the flight neared Heathrow Airport, he once more turned his attention to the file. For the life of him, he could not imagine what it might be.
    Once off the plane, Tony was whisked through Customs and into a waiting limousine for the trip to central London.
    He was ushered into the Prime Minister’s office and a few moments later the British leader was warmly welcoming him.
    “Hope you had a good flight,” the PM said.
    “Thank you, yes,” replied Tony
    “There is someone I’d like you to meet,” the PM added, as he turned to the door.
    Tony watched in disbelief as a hairy Yeti-like monster, which must have been at least eight-foot tall, walked towards him, hand extended in greeting.

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