Short story: « Dreamcatcher »

🇫🇷 Cette histoire n’est disponible qu’en anglais.
This story is only available in English

His nightmares were awful.

He had tried taking sleeping pills. He had felt like he would never wake up again.

He had tried to relax before going to sleep. He had felt that much defenseless.

He had tried doing exercise to pass out from exhaustion. The only thing it changed is that he woke up terrified and sore.

In his dreams, angry men and women were threatening him, then hanging him, stabbing him, shooting at him, trampling him, torturing him, drowning him, burning him.

He had talked about it to psychiatrists. They told him he probably wanted to atone for something.

But he didn’t.

He talked about it to his friends. They joked about it and told him to grab another beer.

He later dreamed that he was clobbered with a beer bottle.

He talked about it with his family.

But when you’re talking in front of graves, you don’t expect to get many answers.

Finally, he talked to it about his colleagues from work.

He loved his job, and didn’t want to sound crazy to them, but they sympathized, though offered no solution.

One of his colleagues, one day, on the way back from an assignment, offered to give him a dreamcatcher. « It’s always been in my house », she said. « Made with the hair of an unicorn, so it should be much stronger for keeping bad dreams at bay than the usual ones, which use spider silk… at least that’s what my grandmother told me ».

He sniggered. He didn’t believe in occult mumbo-jumbo, and was surprised, and a bit disappointed, that she did.

But he still took the gift, if only not to be rude towards the only person who had tried to help him.

On a whim, he still put it on the wall.

The white « unicorn » hair was tangled around a black wooden circle in a pretty pattern.

For the first time since the beginning of his adult life, he slept well that night.

He cried when he woke up, but not of sadness.

When he slept well for a second night, he wept even harder upon his awakening.

He thanked her. Bought her an expensive gift, and another dreamcatcher as a replacement. She smiled… But as she did, he noticed that she looked tired.

One week later, she came to see him, begging him to give her back the dreamcatcher. She had terrible nightmares, she said, now that she had given it to him.

He would not. Could not. He was finally starting to be unafraid of the darkness.

She became more insistent. Came to his house.

He offered that she took his bed while he slept on the couch.

They both slept well that night.

Some days later, he moved back into his bed.

She did not take the couch.

They lived happily together, lovers bound together by the tightest of pacts, always coming home to sleep together when work was over, never leaving for holidays or trips.

But the dreamcatcher was never made to protect two black souls for so long. The unicorn’s hair has been getting blacker and blacker.

Soon, it will break.

And the people they murdered will haunt them once again.