Once Upon a Dream

A collection of short stories, poems, and ideas.


5. 4038


Above me I can see the moon, a blue bulb, glowing in the sky. Accompanied with it are the stars, clustering around it, helping it mildly light the earth. My shadow crawls behind me, silently stalking the prey it will never reach. My neck craned back, I almost forget where I am… The danger I’m in. I ignore the sky and crouch low, becoming as silent as my shadow. But I know not of the location of my prey. I sink into the wall of the maze, a hedge of ivy, and my shadow disappears; I hear whispers, a slow trot. I fall further into the leaves, now completely covered in the foliage. I am invisible to anyone who wanders by. And someone does, one who is not wise to be carrying a torch; light reveals location, especially at the darkest hours. Not that it is ever light here. There is no sun, but only a brighter moon. It changes colors: green, red, orange, violet, and other various shades. This means our own special pairs of orange safety glasses! ...To protect our eyes against the ultraviolet radiation. Sadly, the moon’s light is never enough to create a fully visible world. 

It is a man, tall, a sharpened axe gripped tightly in his left hand, the torch in his right. His eyes say he intends to use it. And that is all that is necessary; the glint of an eye distinguishes friend from enemy. I silently unsheathe the dagger from its holster and slither out of the ivy. He notices, to late, my shadow behind his. His eyes widen and it is last action before I break his neck. Bloodless. I only use the dagger if it is necessary; blood attracts the cleaners. Kill or be killed.

While I relinquish the man of his valuables, I notice the red stripes on his cheeks, an unusual decoration of the Blood Tribe. He has sizeable loot for only one man; along with the axe is a concealed dagger and a pouch of Drakai coins, mostly gold. I hastily stuff them in a leather bag I brought with me and begin to quickly retrace my turns through the maze; his body will not be dead for long. I pity his fate. The cleaners, deranged humans and programmed robots, constantly comb the maze, searching for anyone, dead or alive. They have inhumane strength and speed, as well as agility. They revive the dead and erase the memories of the soul, transforming them to cleaners. The ones caught alive are eaten. Alive. Which is why one shouldn’t wander the maze without good reason or knowledge. Which is why I run back to the entrance as silently as possible, careful not to leave a trace.

There are four entrances to the maze, each heavily guarded by the people living beyond the doors, the Tribes. People are aggressive against the wanderers between Tribes, so I must be careful to return to my own. The Tribes are named after the general colors of our moon: Blood, Azul, Blanche, and Grün. Around each of my pale wrists are blue stripes of paint, the marking of the Azul Tribe.

I run for a long time, my steps retraced easily. I am deep in the maze this time. For some reason, nobody has much of a hard time getting around the maze, but with the people inside. Suddenly, my endurance begins to fail, first my lungs beginning to heavy, and then my feet, taking shorter strides. And then I ram into something that sends me flying into the air and landing on my back, knocking the minimal amount of breathe left in my lungs straight out. Getting unsteadily to my feet, I only need to see the red stripes to know I am in trouble.  

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