The Little Dream Girl

Once upon a time, there was a poor little dream girl who, through no fault of her own, became separated from her mother and found herself lost in the real world. It was a terribly dark and lonely place and as she was the sleepy byproduct of ephemeral thoughts, ethereal ideas, and gossamer sensations, she was essential naked. She roamed through the streets lacking the protective emotional outer layers mortals wrapped themselves with in order to survive the harshness of reality.

Added to her misfortune, Dream Girl quickly discovered the longer she remained on this all too physical plane of existence, the more solid, the more human she was becoming. She needed clothing to hide a nakedness that she was not previously aware of, as well as food and shelter if she was to survive, but unfortunately she possessed none of the currency of this world, so she plucked individual dreams from her nacreous cloud hair to barter for what she needed. They were all high quality fantasies and flights of imagination and she offered them at a fraction of their true worth but no one was interested. Another lesson she learned was that once plucked, dreams that were unattached to a dreamer, had a limited lifespan before eventually withering away from neglect.

During the day, even when the sun was at its apex, Dream Girl found reality to be cold and at night it became colder still. It was necessary to find shelter but despite the many doors she knocked on, no one took pity on her plight, so she was forced to hunker down in an alleyway to make her bedding. She plucked more dreams from her head and wove a crude blanket to help keep off the cold. As she slept, street urchins in dirty rags stole her blanket and plucked handfuls of dreams from her hair and when she woke in the early hours her mostly human body was blue from frost and her head nearly bald.

Dream Girl found that she lacked the strength to move from the alley, so she plucked one of the remaining dreams and attempted to turn it into a wish to return home, a trick she had watched her mother do on many occasions, but she was too young and lacked the knowledge and experience to perform the deed properly. Shivering, she hugged her knees to her chest, drawing herself into the tightest ball she could manage, and plucked another dream. And one after that. And another one still, trying in vain to open a doorway back to the place she belonged, back home with her family, until she had only one strand, one single dream remaining.

Dream Girl held the final dream between frozen fingers that had lost all sensation but this time there was no thought of turning it into a wish. She simply let a dream be a dream, and oh how she dreamed. It was the biggest dream she ever dreamt, which was filled with the most beautiful light in existence that washed away the gray of reality and gave off such a warmth as to permeate to her marrow. And in that magnificent light she saw the loving and concerned face of her mother.

“Mother, I am lost and I am dying,” Dream Girl said, breaking down into uncontrollable sobs.

“I am coming for you,” Dream Mother said. She too was crying but her tears were tiny glistening stars that fell upon her daughter, blanketing her in warmth. And as the little one stretched out her arms toward her mother, the dream evaporated.

***

In the early hours just before dawn, Dream Mother stepped into the gritty, gray alley, past the vermin and refuse and found her daughter, the little dream of her life, huddled in the farthest corner, frozen to death. She knelt and gingerly took the stiff corpse into her loving arms and from her own hair of swirling colorful fantasies, she plucked a special dream and began the gentle process of transmuting it into a wish.