Day 3 of The Cramps Birthday Week. A house where dreams are a nuisance.
|Opening up a bed and breakfast at house number 19 wasn’t the best idea my father ever had. Not surprising. It was the last poor decision in a long, long line of them. He used the basement here for his first love: Inventing things that had already been invented and didn’t work the first time around. Still, I kept every prototype he’d ever given me. I was a loving son.
Anyway, when he died the house came to me. The big old crazy place and every single thing in it.
No one knows how it works but something here makes it so those that stay the night, when they’re sleeping, their dreams come true. It’s mostly harmless. The dreams leave with the people and usually can’t hurt anyone when they are around. Very, very rarely something from the dreaming sticks around. It’s how I’ve acquired a talking skeleton cat that follows me from room to room, snarking at everything I do. His name, he insists, is Dominique. Not Domenic, and woe to those that make that mistake. Being a skeleton, he doesn’t have to unsheathe his claws, they are always at the ready. He’s one dream that can hurt.
There’s parts of the building that are now dreamspace as well. A whole room shifts from a desert to a rainforest and back, depending on it’s mood.
Leftover dreams are also how I’ve gotten quite a pest problem. Pixies. They bounce around the vents clicking and clattering and sometimes pounding out shamanic drum beats, usually in the middle of the night. There’s only so much midnight drums and high pitched cackling that can be tolerated at a bed and breakfast. I had no idea what to do with them, so I called in an expert. Diana Page was her name. I made an appointment. She arrived perfectly on time.
She walked up to my reception desk and said, “So, I hear you have a pixie problem?”
“Yeah.” She waited for me to talk more but I was having trouble. I tend to get tongue tied around beautiful women. And she was beautiful. Blond and petite.
Dominique uncurled and rattled his bones and swiped a paw at me to get me to talk. I flinched out of the way and figured any sense of cool I could have crafted went out the window with my recoil. It made it easier to talk to her.
“They’re in the vents.” I said.
“The best access is in the second floor hallway.” I said. “I can show you.” I tried to leave the desk and tripped over my own feet. Dominique huffed dryly as I considered the ceiling from my new vantage point.
Diana’s head appeared over the desk as she looked down at me. “No thanks. I’ve got it.” I twisted onto my belly and looked in the direction of the stairs as she turned and went up them, dragging a large case up the steps behind her that clunked with every step.
Dominique settled beside my head and went through the motions of licking his paw, though he had no tongue. “Well played.” He said.
I groaned and rolled back over onto my back and covered my face with my hands.
“Do you think she’s a pixie expert because she is part one?” Dominque asked. “She is very small.”
“Oh, my god. Shut up. She could hear you.”
He shrugged, his bony shoulders catching the light. I pulled myself back up behind the desk just in time for the pixies to explode out of the ceiling vent into the lobby.
She came tearing down the stairs after them. “They aren’t real pixies!” she said. She stopped in front of my desk to glare at me.
“Uh, yeah.” I said. “They are leftover dreams.”
“Whose dream?” she asked.
“Um. My dad’s.”
“And where is he?”
Her face softened a little at that. “Alright.” She huffed and blew her bangs up out of her face, “I will need your help then. Come on.”
“Try not to kill yourself falling down the stairs!” Dominique called after me.
I hissed in his direction. His bone tail flicked.
“Cute cat.” She said.
We walked up to the landing. She had me sit cross-legged at the very top. It was the highest vantage point for the pixies now winging their way around the ceilings.
“They are attracted to glee.” She said. “So you will need to remember your father and whatever brought him joy. And now that he’s gone, you’ll also need to remember whatever brings you joy when you think of him.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I thought about my dad dancing a jig around the entryway of this house the day that he bought it. I thought about the myriad of explosions in his creation room and his smiling face saying, “Well, that didn’t work.”
I thought about his absolute sense of mischief and suddenly I couldn’t bear the thought of the pixies being gone just yet. They were more than a nuisance, they were ghosts of my father. I felt my breath leave my chest in a rush. “Oh.” I said. My cheeks were wet when I opened my eyes. She was looking at me, her head tilted and considering.
Somehow she knew because she put a hand on my arm gently she said, “I can come back. Whenever you are ready.”
I nodded and wiped my face. We went back down the stairs, I insisted on carrying her stupidly heavy case for her.
She wrote her personal number on the back of one of her cards and gave it to me. “Call me sometime. I’d like to know more about this place. I like coffee.”
“Right.” I said and watched her go.
“Are you sure you aren’t asleep and dreaming right now? How did that happen?” Dominique is a master of breaking the mood.
I just smiled and tucked her number into my pocket.