My name is Faye. I am a thirty-year-old priest in service of the goddess of dreams. I have the ability to enter the dreams of those who pray to her and resolve that which is causing them anguish.
`Quiet, Faye, there’s somebody here.’ I look at Arthur, who is sitting on my left shoulder. He’s my guide and he likes to take on the appearance of different animals to do the job. I don’t know what he really looks like. Right now, he looks like a snow-white owl.
I look around and see the young girl that Arthur was talking about. She seems to be sound asleep on a large bed with an oaken tester hanging over it. Her sheets are a light cyan and look a lot more expensive than my own simple sheets at the monastery. When I look around the room, I notice that there isn’t much in the way of furniture. There is what looks to be a vanity and a mirror, with a cutesy wooden chair standing in front of it, as well as a small bedside table. Besides that, there is no other furniture. There are three exits. Two doors, one window. One of the doors has a lock on it, although it does not seem locked right now. The other door doesn’t have any lock and when I carefully open it, my suspicion that this door leads to a wardrobe is confirmed. I quietly close the door again; I don’t think that’s where I’ll find the key.
I take a moment to stare out of the window and take in the view. The mansion is on a hilltop and I can see the lights of a small village at the bottom of the hill, with a dirt road connecting the mansion to the village. It looks like a fair bit of a walk, though. The sun is about to go down, and the sky is turning darker by the second. It’s quite a beautiful sight in a way. But somehow it feels lonely, isolated. There’s all that life and movement down there, yet the road up this hill looks deserted. It makes me a little bit sad to think about.
`Daydreaming isn’t going to help you find the key, my dear.’
`Calm down, Arthur, I like to know where I am to get a better idea of where I should be going.’
`There’s one door leading out of this room, I don’t think you need to stare out of the window to figure that out.’ Both of us are whispering as to not wake up the young girl.
Arthur is right, though, and I make my way to the door with the lock on it. Lucky for me, it is quite easy to open and although it creaks ever so slightly, a quick glance back reveals that it did not wake up the girl. I carefully close the door behind me and look around.
Arthur and I are now in what appears to be the first floor of a large mansion. The hallway is absolutely massive and it looks out over a large hall. There are expertly carved bannisters that stop you from stepping too far off. The doors to the mansion are visible from where we are and I can look outside a little. When I turn to the other side, the hallway seems to continue for an eternity. I start walking that way. `You reckon the key is over there?’ I’m not very experienced in dream chasing yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, it is best to start looking at the places that look off from the rest. A never-ending hallway is a pretty odd thing to find.
`It would be a good place to start our search,’ Arthur replies. I keep walking with him on my shoulder and we make our way down the hallway.
After a while it becomes clear that something is amiss. No matter how far we walk, the end of the hallway does not seem to come any nearer.
`Faye, look back in the direction we came from.’
I do so and see that we are still right near the start of the hallway. `Perhaps we should start with going the other way first, then.’ I turn around, go down the stairs and enter the main hall. It is all covered in expensive designs. The floors are made out of marble, the walls are decorated with all sorts of sophisticated art and the stairs and furniture all have beautiful carvings in them. Whoever owns this mansion must be extremely rich. Arthur flies up and away while I look around the ground floor. I can find several rooms, all obscenely large. There’s a kitchen, with no one manning the stations, there’s a banquet hall with tables that go on for what feels like minutes. There’s a library that has more books than I could count in a lifetime, and I even find a small study with a desk the size of an entire house. At this point it is pretty clear that the person we’re dealing with thinks this house is a lot bigger than it is. It makes sense if we are in the dreams of that little girl I saw sleeping earlier, that she would see things bigger than an adult would. That’s what is warping her perception and causing her anguish.
When I relay this to Arthur, he seems to agree. `Now the difficult question is, what do we do about it?’ We sit on the floor in the main hall for a while to think about it when something catches my eye outside.
The doors are still slightly opened and I can see some movement outside. I go to take a look, with Arthur perched back on my shoulder.
Before I could take more than a couple of steps, I see a flash of movement. I look down and there is a cat at my feet. Why is there a cat here? I don’t dislike cats, although I can see that Arthur is less pleased. It slowly dawns on me. `This cat is the solution.’
Arthur turns his head to face me. `You’re going to have to explain that leap of logic to me.’
Excitedly I pick up the cat, who doesn’t seem to have any problems with me doing so. I walk back up the stairs to where we started and put the cat down in front of the room the girl was sleeping in. `Now you stay here, little one, while I go over there.’
`I will take that as an agreement.’ As if to let me know I’m right, the cat walks in a circle several times before plopping down against the door.
I make my way towards the end of the hallway. Suddenly, I see different paintings and tapestries. The entire look and feel of the hallway seems to have shifted compared to before. I can see new doors and an end to the hallway as well. On one of the walls is a painting of two people holding a young girl’s hands. That must be a family portrait of sorts. They look like wealthy merchants; that would explain how they can afford a mansion of this size. I make my way past the painting and reach the end of the hallway. There’s the master bedroom, from the looks of it. I open the door and sneak inside. There seems to be no one here, but there is a light glow coming from a chest at the bed.
`That must be it,’ Arthur says as he hops from my shoulder onto the bed frame. I nod in agreement as I move to open the chest. Inside the chest is a pile of clothes, but on top of that lays a small, decorated key that gives off a dim light. `Bingo.’
I pick up the key and Arthur and I exit back into the hallway. The cat is still sitting where we left it and we make our way in its direction. `Is there more to it? We’re still here after all.’
`I don’t know,’ Arthur replies. As we’re about halfway to the cat, the door next to it creaks open.
`Is someone there?’ a voice says. Before either of us can react to it, we hear a gasp. `A kitty!’ The young girl that was sleeping steps out of her bedroom and picks up the cat. I can feel a smile creeping onto my face. I look to the wall next to me, and the painting of the family now includes a cat sitting at the little girl’s feet. `Job well done,’ Arthur says, as I close my eyes and find our way back home.