Chapter 2 Meeting the Guardian of Dreams
It had already been a couple of weeks since my rebirth as a spirit. I’ve been flying all over Virginia, exploring different towns. I would sometimes fly to nearby cities for fun. I also played a few tricks here and there, but they’re harmless. Should’ve seen the face on this man when I blew up his dinner when he was cooking! Scared his pants right off of him! Don’t worry. The fire didn’t cause any harm. Only the fire alarm went off, but that’s it.
And in the course of the time, my powers have started to become stronger. How did I know that?
I was sitting on a roof of some random house. It was dusk, so the sky still had some light left even though the sun was gone. I was watching these two kids running around their backyard, playing. Since there were lamps everywhere, there was no problem with the darkness.
The two kids were both boys and they were brothers. One was taller than the other, so there’s no doubt that he’s the older one of the two. The tall one was about ten years old while the other one, I was estimating six. Both had this reddish brown hair and green eyes.
The older boy was chasing the little one while roaring like a monster.
“Roar! I’m gonna getcha!” The older one roared playfully with his hands in the air.
“Aaah! You’re not gonna get me!” Laughed the little one.
I looked around the yard and noticed that there was a small sand box. There were a bunch of toys like a bucket, a small plastic shovel and rake, a toy truck, and a toy red T-rex in it. Parked next to the sandbox was a small tricycle.
I grinned evilly when I got a great idea to pull a prank, so I placed my hand close to my lantern and pulled out a few small flames. The small flames came flowing out from the fire in the lamp and turned into three small fireballs floating in the air. Now this was when things get more interesting. In each fireballs, I could make out two small tiny eyes and mouth. The fireballs blinked and smiled. Then they started to bounce around in the air, making sharp tiny noises that didn’t make any sense.
“Alright! Alright, guys! Calm down,” I told the small fireballs. The bouncing balls of flames froze immediately, but I could still hear them giggling quietly.
You can probably imagine my first time experiencing this. To suddenly have my fire making sounds and having a mind of their own, I literally jumped back in shock and fell into a chimney. After that experience of being stuck in a chimney for an hour, I learned to be more careful when sitting on a chimney from then on.
I guess I was getting lonely and wanted to have someone to talk with when that happened. That must be why my flames began to have life of their own. After awhile, I got comfortable talking to them, even though I had no idea what they were talking about. Their noises sounded so gibberish. But I learned to make out what they were trying to express from their actions and the tone of their noises. Also, like me, they love playing tricks as well, but they have a more childish personality. Kinda like a bunch of little kids.
I called them Wisps, because I remembered my grandma telling me stories of these ghostly fire from Scottish legends called will-o’-the-wisp. They were supposed to be spirits in a form of a fire that appear in swamps and marshes. They also exist in other folklores around the world as well like in Europe and Asia.
“See those toys over there?” I pointed to the toys in the sandbox.
The wisps turned to where I was pointing at. They nodded excitedly and made tiny noises that sound very much like “Uh huh.”
“You know what to do.” Once I said that, the tiny flames giggled like crazy and flew off towards the sand box. One of the wisps disappeared into the toy truck, another went into the tricycle, and the last one went into a bucket. Then the objects began to move. The truck drove out of the sand box, the bucket scooped up some sand, and the tricycle rolled off towards the kids.
The boys didn’t notice at first, but when they heard giggles, they both stopped running and turned around. When they looked at where the sound came from, the giggles stopped. What they saw was a tricycle, but it just stood there. Not moving at all. Both boys looked at each other, confused.
Then they heard the giggling again and turned back. The tricycle was still there, but this time it was closer.
“Uh... David, was that you?” Asked the youngest brother, hopefully.
“Nope,” denied the older brother. Then he walked up to it and examined it. Nothing seemed wrong.
“David?” Called the younger brother.
“It’s nothing, Max,” assured David. “It’s probably just the wind.”
“Really?” Max asked again. Then he felt something hit his leg and he jumped in surprise. He looked down and saw his favorite toy truck. Now that was strange. He remembered that the last time he played with it, it was in the sand box.
“David,” Max called his older brother again.
David could hear fear in his brother’s voice, so he looked back. “What?”
“Uh...” Max wasn’t sure what to say, so he just pointed at the toy truck. Both brothers stared.
First, nothing happened. It was just a normal toy truck. Then came the giggles.
Hi hi hi hi hi
The faces on the boys’ faces went pale.
Then glowing yellow eyes and mouth appeared on the truck.
Hi hi hi hi hi hi!
“Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” Both boys screamed. They quickly ran for the kitchen door, but was stopped by the tricycle that appeared out of nowhere before them, blocking their path. Like the truck, the tricycle also had yellow eyes and mouth.
Hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi
The truck and tricycle began to drive around the boys as if keeping them from escaping. Max began to hug his brother in fear while David wrapped his arms around his brother as well in protection.
“There gonna get us!” Cried Max, terrified.
“No they aren’t!” David retorted in both fear and anger. He quickly kicked the toy truck and sent it flying into the air. Then the tricycle came charging at him at full speed. David had already forgotten about his fear once he remembered that he had someone to protect, his little brother. He grabbed a baseball bat that was luckily nearby and swung with all his might at the tricycle.
David sent the tricycle rolling on its side a few times before it lay upside down with the wheels pointing upward. His breath was hard and quick from all that excitement. He stared at the tricycle and the toy truck warily, but they were both motionless. No more creepy giggles and no more freaky glowing eyes and mouth.
When both boys seemed to relax a bit, believing that it was over, something came raining down upon their heads.
A rain of sand came falling from the sky and poured right onto David’s and Max’s head.
“Aaaaaahhhh!” Max screamed, trying to brush off the sand from his hair.
“Get inside!” David grabbed Max’s hand and ran inside the house. The door slammed with a loud bang.
Then there were shouts and cries of the kids running to their mom and I could hear the mom’s confused voice, wondering why her kids were covered in sand.
I, who was on the roof all this time watching them, laughed my eyes out. Now that was a great prank! The look of shock on their faces were epic! I also have to give points to the older brother for standing up to his fear to protect his little brother.
Once our little fun was done, the wisps returned to me in fits of giggles. They definitely enjoyed themselves even though two of the three got sent flying and were floating awkwardly like a couple of drunkards. Probably still dizzy from earlier, yet they were still laughing about it. They were spinning around and bumping into each other. And the more the two wisps were bumping into each other, the harder they were laughing. It’s weird, but I also find it very funny.
“Hold yourself together now, guys,” I told them. “Jokes over. It’s time to get home.”
The wisps made a disappointed ‘aw’ sound. Then they made more noises that sounded like they were pleading to play some more.
“Nope. It’s almost bedtime for these kids, so there won’t be anymore scaring until tomorrow,” I explained. Every night, when the kids were getting ready for bed, it would be my time to go home. I don’t have a curfew, but I do get tired from playing around and using my powers a lot, so I need my rest as well.
The wisps looked down in disappointed and made noises that sounded like they were complaining. I almost felt like a mom putting her kids to sleep and the kids were complaining that they didn’t want to. After they finished whining, the wisps went into the lantern and went back into the flames.
I was about to head to the graveyard, when I heard the boys’ voices from a window.
“I don’t want to sleep, David. What if those things come back to get us?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure they don’t hurt you. See! I even have the bat with me.”
The window was slightly open and there was a small light coming from inside. I looked into the window and saw the boys in their bunk beds. The little brother was on the top bed while the older one was at the bottom. I could make out a baseball bat underneath the pillow.
“I guess we overdid it this time,” I thought out loud to myself. I felt kind of guilty for scaring them now. Maybe I really did went too far. I was thinking to myself of what to do to apologize when a light lit up over my head and I meant it literary. Something really did light up over my head, so I looked up and saw one of my wisps.
“Hey, what are you doing out of your lantern?” I demanded with my hands on my waist, but in a playful manner.
The wisp made noises that I had no idea what it was saying, so it was time for guessing game time.
“So you wanna help?” I guessed.
“Alright,” I agreed. “But what should we do?” I wondered. Then I noticed some candy wrappers in the trash bin and an essence candle on their dresser.
I had an idea!
In the boys’ bedroom, the lights were already off. David had already fallen asleep, but Max, on the other hand, was still awake. He had his back facing outside the bed and his eyes staring at the wall. He was still shaken up from what happened this evening and hasn’t been able to close his eyes. He was a little sleepy, but his fear prevented him from falling asleep.
Suddenly, he heard something from behind and he jolted. It sounded like the window was being slowly opened. Max froze. Then he heard other small noises as well. Once curiosity got ahold of him, he slowly turned around to see what it was and saw that the essence candle their mother placed on the dresser was lit.
“David!” whispered Max, shaking. “David!”
The older brother woke up, confused. “What?”
“The candle! Look!” Max whispered again.
David looked at the dresser and saw the soft glow of the essence candle, which was giving out a nice sweet aroma of cinnamon spice and pumpkin. There was also something placed beside the candle as well, but David couldn’t make out what it was. He got up and walked towards the dresser to find small pieces of chocolate blocks and a small piece of paper.
And on the paper was written... or more like burned on, was...
Once I put my little apology gift and note on the dresser next to the essence candle, which I had my wisps lit it up for me, I quickly left the room through the window and watched.
The boys definitely looked confused at the little gift on the table and the apology note.
“What does it say?” Asked the younger brother, since he couldn’t see the note from the top bunk bed.
“It says ‘Sorry’,” David replied.
“What does that mean?” Max asked again, confused.
I could tell that David was thinking hard, trying to figure out what the note meant. Finally, his face lit up a bit and said, “Maybe it’s an apology from this evening. Maybe whatever scared us must feel bad and wanted to apologize.”
“You mean whatever it was that made our toys move and made scary noises?” Thought Max.
“I think so,” David agreed.
“Well, whatever it was. I didn’t like it at all,” Max said angrily, his arms crossed. Though he tried to look pissed, his pouting face was too cute than intimidating.
“I think they realized that and that’s why they are apologizing. They probably thought it would be funny to scare us,” David speculated.
I have to admit that David was really sharp. He pretty much got my message across with only a note and a couple of candies.
“I don’t think it was funny at all!” Argued Max, he pouted even more.
Oh god! That cute angry face! Why does every time when little kids like him make an angry face like that, I would want to pull their cheeks?!
I stayed a little longer to watch them go to bed, no longer afraid. I felt relieved that I didn’t end up with traumatizing the brothers with my pranks. I guess I need to be careful from now on since it won’t be easy to apologize when they can’t see or hear me.
As I watched the kids fall asleep, my wisp started to make a racket.
“Shhhh!” I hushed it. “Can’t you see they’re sleeping!”
Then I felt something blew passed me. The second I turned around, I had to jump backwards in surprise. It was sand! Golden, glowing, glittering, flowing-in-the-air-like-a-stream sand! It went into the boys’ window and flowed towards the bed. Then the sand split up into two streams and floated over each boys’ head. Some of the sand also fell onto the boys’ face and a figure appeared out of the golden sand.
Over Max’s head was a figure of two boys, one taller than the other, running around as if they were playing. Something told me that it was supposed to be Max and David playing together.
Over David’s head was a figure of a boy as well, but he was holding a bat. Then the figure swung it as a tiny ball of golden sand flew close and sent it flying somewhere. No doubt, baseball.
Are they dreaming?
Then I heard my wisp calling to me as if it was trying to tell me something in an urgent tone. I quickly turned around to see where the sand was coming from and saw a whole sky full of flowing golden sand! I was officially awestruck. Where the hell are they coming from!?! All the stream of sand were flowing into other houses as well!
Sand? Dream? Something clicked in my head, but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure. So when in doubt, go find the answer!
I flew into the air and in the direction where the sands were coming from. I was amaze at how many streams of sand there were. They were very beautiful and amazing. It was as if the whole sky was full of golden thread. Out of curiosity, I stopped to touch the sand to see what would happen. Suddenly, a school of fish made of golden sand came swimming out into the air as if they were underwater!
My wisp and I jumped in surprise. The fish just swam around us before swimming away and dispersing into thin air.
“Now that was awesome!” I cried in excitement.
With all the racket I made, my other wisps began to appear from my lantern. When they saw where we were, they all looked confused and curious. The wisp that was with me the whole time explained to them what was going on. Then they all chattered in excitement at their new discovery.
I touched another stream of sand again and a flock of birds appeared! The wisps flew after them as if they were playing chase with the golden birds. When those dispersed, I touched the sand again! I did this many times over and over. There were butterflies, kites, planes, paper cranes, and so many other things. While I did this, the wisps would be either chasing them or playing with it.
They went nuts when a toy size train appeared! They were practically riding on it and making choo! choo! sounds.
But when something that looked like a giant cat appeared, the wisps froze for a second before screaming and scattering everywhere like frightened mice. The giant cat even chased them and it made the wisps screamed even more before it dispersed.
I laughed so hard that I almost did a backflip in midair. It was a lot of fun making something appear out of the sand and watching my wisps play around with them. We were having so much fun that we almost forgot our original goal until I felt something tugging on my hood. I looked around and saw one of my wisps pulling my hood, trying to catch my attention.
“What?” I asked.
It made sharp gibberish sounds and pointed at something in the distance. I turned to look what it was pointing at and I noticed something as well. It was a tiny floating island made up of the golden sand with a small figure dancing on it.
“Is that who I think it is?” I whispered to myself. I flew a little closer to get a better look. My wisps noticed me flying off, so they quickly followed behind. As I got closer, I could make out a short man in golden clothes that looked like a mixture of a robe and a one piece PJ. His hair is spiked up and gold like his clothes and sand. There’s no doubt about it.
He must be the Sandman!
He’s actually real! He’s really REALLY real! I felt excitement swell inside of me. I wanted to go say hi, but then this ‘thought’ stopped me. Can he see me or hear me? Since everybody else can’t, so would that mean the Sandman as well?
I started to wonder if I should creep up to him quietly and see what happens. I don’t want to go up to him and go “Hello! My name is Jack O. Lanternson” and not get a reply or reaction from him. It would be pretty awkward.
Out of reflex, I pulled up my hood to cover my glowing hair and flew up quietly from behind. The little golden man kept hopping around, not noticing my presence. With every flick of his hand, a stream of sand would flow out and stream into the air towards another direction.
I flew up so close that I was watching him from above. My wisps were also crowded around me, silent in anticipation. The little man had his back towards me and he was so into his work that he didn’t notice me at all. Or maybe he just didn’t see me period.
I felt a little dread at the last thought. If the Sandman can’t even see me, then I would be really upset. I would roam the world with no one, both normal and mythical people, to talk to except my wisps.
But there was still hope. If he didn’t notice me, maybe he can hear me, right? I grasped my lantern pole tightly and spoke almost in a whisper, “Uh... hello?”
The little golden man didn’t react. He just kept hopping and making streams of sand.
I started to feel like my heart was falling into my stomach. I tried again. This time a little louder.
“Hello? Mr. Sandman, sir?”
This time, he stopped and looked around.
I thought my heart just shot back into my chest and exploded. He heard me! He really heard me!
My wisps began to make excited noises. That’s when he turned around and saw us. He stared at us.
I jumped back a little in surprise. He sees us? Just to make sure...
“Uh... Can you see us?” I asked, a little nervous.
The Sandman smiled and nodded.
I leaped into the air and did a back flip while I cried, “He sees me! He can really see me!” I was so thrilled! Someone can finally see me! I wasn’t entirely alone in this world! My wisps were also bouncing around and making loud joyous noises.
The Sandman just stared at me, a little confused, I guess. Well, I was excited that he saw me, so I got a little carried away.
“Hi! My name’s Jack O. Lanternson and these guys here are my wisps,” I introduced myself and my little fire buddies as I pulled down my hood so he can see my face better “You must be the Sandman, right?” I asked to make sure.
The little man nodded in confirmation.
“Oh my god! I can’t believe the Sandman is real! I mean you... are real! My mom would tell me stories of how you would make dreams out of your sand!” I said in excitement. “So, are there others? Like you? Ya know, magical and everything,” I asked hopefully.
The Sandman nodded again with a warm smile. Then there were figures appearing over his head. The figures were made up of his sand and turning into many forms. I made out a large man, a figure with wings, a rabbit, and a person with a long staff. That’s when I realized something.
“Wait... you don’t talk?” I asked without thinking. I think I might’ve been a little too straight forward.
The Sandman nodded with no offended look on his face.
The Sandman stared at me as if he was examining me and my wisps carefully. It must be because of my glowing hair and eyes. Even I find them kinda weird sometimes. I guess I should’ve kept my hood up, but my glowing yellow eyes would still show anyways. He also seemed pretty fascinated at my wisps as well.
Then the little golden man made all these figures over his head with the sand again. I tried to make out what he was trying to say, but no luck. They were changing too fast! For a guy who can’t talk, he sure has a lot to say.
“Uh, sorry Sandman, but I’m not catching ya. Can you talk... I mean make figures a little slower?”
The Sandman sighed, but understood. It’s not easy communicating with images only anyways, so he made the figures again, this time slower. By this time, my wisps were gathered around the man, giggling excitedly as if they were going to play a game. I guess it was kinda like a game. A guessing game, that is.
The first figure looked like a baby wrapped in a blanket.
“Uh... a... a baby!... No?... Infant?... Um...birth?... Born? Is that it?... So you’re asking when I was born?”
The Sandman has his index finger and thumb close together as if saying I was close, so I thought a little more. My wisps weren’t helping at all since they were making all that chatter, trying to guess the word as well.
“Maybe... new born? New? So am I new?”
The Sandman smiled and nodded that I was correct.
Oh wow, I guess spending my time with my wisps and guessing what they were trying to say all that time paid off.
“Am I new? Uh... I guess I am. I was only reborn a few weeks ago. ‘Been roaming this neighborhood since,” I told him.
So we spent a good hour communicating. Most of the time was spent trying to figure out Sandman’s words, which I started to get better at it. I just have to make connection to the last conversation we had and how they were relevant to each other.
A few of my wisps started to get bored and tried to burn some of Sandman’s hair. I had to order them to behave. I’m feeling like a mother more and more when I do this. Though, it was tempting to see what would happen if his sandy gold hair was on fire, but I was in a serious conversation right now.
I learned that there were others like Sandman. Not exactly like him, but basically magical and everything. There were the tooth fairy and the easter bunny. There was one I spent ten minutes figuring out, but only know that this guy controls ice and snow. When I got to the last one, I thought my hair would blow up into fireworks.
“Santa Claus?!! He’s REAL too?! Holy pumpkins!” I gasped in excitement. I can’t believe Santa Claus was real! I stopped believing in him for years now, too!
Then our conversation had to stop when I noticed my wisps were getting tired. They were yawning and could barely keep their eyes open.
“Looks like I have to go now. My wisps look like they’re going to go out pretty soon,” I told the Sandman. I called my wisps to go back into the lantern to rest.
The Sandman nodded and pointed at his sands to say that he also needed to get back to work. I guess being the man who gives children dreams every night must be pretty busy, so I said good bye to the Sandman and flew off home.
And that’s how I met the Guardian of Dreams.