The Dreaming Castle


It could be a dream that holds her deep inside a world she does not know. It could be a world conjured out of airy nothing by a mind wandering inside itself. It could be something new.

Jenny had not been here before and it had the same lack of consistency of the world she lived in every day. A door she walked through in her familiar house did not lead into her own hallway, but out into a passage built of large solid-looking stone blocks. A curving passage coiling around to a set of steps suggested she was at the base of some ancient tower. Perhaps it was a medieval castle or other such solid and fortified building from a long past age.

There was a spiral staircase at the end of the passageway. The staircase was dark and gloomy, the bare stone walls looming over the narrow staircase. Jenny was reluctant at first to take the staircase, knowing where such things lead in dreams like this.

But, looking down, she saw her foot already on the first step. She knew that if she tried to turn the dream would have something worse waiting for her. So she went where the dream took her.

It took her to a closed and locked door, a few dozen steps up the spiral staircase. The door was solid wood, riveted with large iron rivets and reinforced with metal bars. It was a door made to prevent exits and entrances.

She tried it again – because sometimes in dreams once-locked doors will open – but it stayed locked. So Jenny turned back to the long curving passageway.

She stopped, looked back at the door, took a step closer and pressed her ear to it.

Yes, she could hear something… something familiar.

It was her alarm on her phone. An electronic chirping that had dragged her from her dreams every morning for the year or more she’d had that phone.

She reached for it to make it snooze, but the heavy wooden door stood in her way. The dream did not break, shatter, fall, around her sleeping head onto the pillow. Her bedroom did not emerge out of the morning gloom no matter how many times she blinked or pushed herself as though rising from that sleeping pillow.

The alarm buzzed on as Jenny turned from the door and back again, bruising her hands on its solidity as she tried to force her way through the door and out of the dream.

She caught her hand on one of the hard metal rivets and yelled out in pain. She sucked on the edge of her hand, feeling the rough wood of the door with her other hand as the alarm chirped on and on, realising – at last – that this was no dream.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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