by Tiger Cub 🔱
Vs. beautiful nightmares
|Aria was one of those prettier-than-average things whose beauty was never remembered.
Every night she was admired but forgotten by every mind that passed her way. And given her species, that was a serious problem.
Have you ever wondered what happened to thoughts when you forgot them?
Aria's hometown, the City of Imagination was home to many such thoughts who worked hard to earn their living. Their primary income came from tourism - many human minds found the hospitable locals fascinating. They idled their precious time here to make the thoughts live. But catering to the mental needs of mortals wasn't exactly easy.
At least, not for many.
Aria worked in Long Wave Inc. as the receptionist - the sweet dream that encouraged you to enter sleep. Her job was to simply look nice - a pretty scenery for all the action.
'Hey, doll face.'
Dexter joined her by her desk, an oval monstrosity smack dab in the middle of the dimly lit foyer. Aria didn't so much as look at him, annoyed beyond belief by the greater-than-thou nightmare. He was a dark, shady dream - a deserted alley that fascinated humans for some reason. Once there, he turned into their wildest fear, chasing them until they woke up screaming.
Naturally, he expected fluffy dreams like her to fall for him.
'How may I help you?' Aria ignored him, focusing instead at her human customer. She had to shake off the picture of Dexter, so it took her a moment to realise who it was.
Aria felt the first pangs of excitement. She had heard all about him - he was a college student, a bright intelligent mind who hung out with the fortunate thoughts who actually made into real life - his characters. But it was also rumoured it took quite a lot to impress him. He always came to Sleep Street quite late and in such a hurry to leave too. He was deeply in love with that awful thing that was poison to dreams like her.
Coffee. Without sugar.
'Check out this one.' Dexter said, watching the human intently.
The Author was unnerved by his presence, fumbling under his gaze. He shook himself up, trying to concentrate. 'Y-Yes. Um, I need a muse. Where's your fantasy department?'
Aria's reply was systematic. 'Tenth floor. Door one - angels and fairies. Door two - elves and dragons -'
'I beg to differ.' Dexter interrupted her, looking at the Author with a hunter's eye. 'One needs different kinds of inspiration.'
Aria rolled her eyes. 'It's not your shift, you idiot.'
Dexter was damn good at what he did, so obviously he had a better job. He worked REM times in the horror department. So he was one of those dreams you remembered. Unfortunately.
'I'm just trying to have a little fun.' He said, slinking towards the human. The Author stumbled backward, trying to run away. 'You heard him. He wants a muse.'
Aria got up, following him. 'Dexter, enough.'
The dream was now inches way from the human's mind. Having dealt with his variety of nightmares, the Author's instincts were good. His mind shuddered at the proximity, fear making a grand entrance.
'How about you try a different genre?' The nightmare hissed. 'Like death. Or should I say, murder.'
'Stop.' Aria shouted at him.
'And what if I don't?' The nightmare snapped, looking at her in annoyance. 'You're nothing but a pretty face.'
Aria felt like he'd slapped her. But as much as she didn't want to admit it, she knew he was right. She'd spent years giving her customers a perfect picture. She was nothing but a useless flash in a sea of darkness.
Maybe it was time to change that.
The receptionist sucker punched the nightmare.
Dexter's eyes went wide, for the first time in his existence - scared. It had something to do with her oh-so-delicate fist putting a sizeable dent on his jaw. The nightmare took his defeat in disgrace, indignantly disappearing in a cloud of hot black smoke.
Aria looked down at the shocked human.
'How’s that for a muse?'