Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 585 ~ Antoni & Rhona


#1

Rhona Age 8:

She ran, her hand clutching tightly to the teddy bear, her breath and the sound of her bare feet crunching on the snow beneath her the only sounds. She glanced behind her and screamed when she saw it. It was dark, like a living shadow and it was too fast. Tears stung her cheeks as they slipped from her eyes. She tripped, falling hard and flipped over to see it stalking toward, its sharp teeth dripping with saliva, its milky eyes watching her hungrily. It crouched, readying itself to pounce when a pop filled the silence and it jerked back, its screech so loud she curled into a ball and covered her ears. Please, she thought, I want my mommy, please.

There were more pops and then a sudden silence. She couldn’t bring herself to move, she was too scared. A hand rested on her shoulder and she flinched, whimpering. “Rhona?” She barely heard her name, but she knew that thing couldn’t speak and uncovered her ears, raising her head. “Hello Rhona.” He smiled at her, his eyes warm, his tone gentle. “You’re safe now Rhona.”

“W…who are you?”

He picked her up off the ground, cradling her against his chest. “I’m Antoni, a Dreamwalker.”

“Dreamwalker?”

“That’s right, I kill nightmares.”

“How?”

“Just rest Rhona, you’ll be waking soon, but if you ever need me, just call for me.”

Present Day:

She was going to see him. She had too. Kind and gentle Antoni, her guardian angel, her hero. With each passing year she had gone from a child like trust and adoration to a romantic love. The last time she had seen him, she had asked to see him, but he had told her it was impossible, that they were worlds apart, but she had begged him, maybe even to the point of whining, and he had finally relented a little, giving her hints on how to find him. They were cryptic, like riddles, but she knew she could follow them, she knew she could find him and even if he didn’t feel that same about her, she needed to see him in person and thank him for everything he had done.


#2

:sleeping_bed:


#3

Rhona knew that just because he was reluctant for them to meet didn’t mean he didn’t want to see her too. She imagined beings like him lived by rules and he could possibly get in trouble just for giving her any means to find him. She hoped he wouldn’t but still, she was filled with hope that he had fallen for her too. Afterall, she was hardly a child anymore at twenty and he still came to her when she had nightmares. As she understood it he was only supposed to help children. Rhona was currently attending college and when she wasn’t pursuing Antoni in her dreams or doing her school work she was pursuing a music career. She wanted it badly but knew not everyone could make it. So she’d chase her dreams but she would have the realistic back up of being college educated while she tried to get there.


#4

She had made sure to let her teachers know in advance so they could email her assignments while she was gone as well as her parents so they wouldn’t worry. They thought she was going abroad to study music. She had all the clues Antoni had left her written down in her tablet, every word to the letter so she wouldn’t miss anything. She was both excited and nervous, but determined to find him. She wondered what he was like in reality, if he looked the same or if he was something strange and unusual, and how he managed to traverse the dream world. She wondered if he would try avoiding her or if he would actually wait for her. She had checked and double checked everything she had packed and was ready to leave.

“You’ve been in your own head a lot lately.” The voice pulled Antoni back to reality, but he didn’t turn away from the foggy view of the island he called home.

“Have I?” He asked as his friend Ronin came to stand behind him.

“You have. It’s her, isn’t it?”

Antoni sighed. “We should get to work.”

“Says the man staring longingly off into space.”

“I might shove you off this balcony.”


#5

Ronin chuckled heartily “You wouldn’t, I know you wouldn’t. You’re too much of a softy.” Antoni still seemed annoyed so Ronin relented “alright, to work” Ronin knew he had given Rhona hints and even though they werent really supposed to tell people about where they were he hoped she came. Her coming would mean their master would find out but Ronin would be surprised if their master didn’t already know. There was very little that man missed. He was probably just keeping quiet so Antoni could talk to him about it in his own time.


#6

“I can’t believe you’re leaving the country.” Rhona’s friend Rose said as they ate lunch. “And alone, that just seems so dangerous.”

“It’ll be fine.”

“But what if someone kidnaps you, I mean you’re so pretty.” Her other friend Landon added.

Rhona laughed. “Oh come on, you know I’d beat them up so bad they’d willingly let me go. It’s going to be fine. I even ordered a card so I can make calls from my phone while I’m gone. All I have to do is pick it up at the airport as soon as I land.” She nudged Rose. “It’s going to be fun, I’ll take lots of pictures.”

“Maybe get a boyfriend.” Landon teased and laughed when Rhona blushed.

“Oh hush, I’ll be too busy studying music.”

“Come on, we all know music is one of the most romantic things ever, well…mostly.”


#7

Talking to them about boyfriends felt awkward since that was actually what she was hoping to get out of this trip. She wanted to tell them, they didn’t normally have secrets but this was one of those things that people just didn’t understand. Explaining everything to them would only make them stress more about her trip and she didn’t want that. It would also be harder coming back if she had to talk to other people how Antoni rejecting her. This way if he didn’t share her feelings she could come back, get over it on her own and nobody would be the wiser.


#8

At the end of the day, after all of her school work was done and she had eaten and washed, she climbed into bed and closed her eyes, falling asleep as quickly as ever. She couldn’t believe there had been a time when she was actually afraid to close her eyes, so terrified of her nightmares she was sure she would die from exhaustion. Now, she knew he would be there, he always was, even when there was nothing waiting to torment her. She let herself drift away, falling down that dark tunnel into dreamland. She found herself standing on the edge of a body of water, the waves lapping against the shore.

“Back again?” She smiled at his voice and turned.

“I’ll be leaving soon you know.”

“I do.” He sighed. “Rhona, you shouldn’t come here, it’s not a place for humans.”

She moved closer to him, searching his eyes. “You don’t mean that. You wouldn’t have given me all that information if you did.” She took his hand. “I want to see you, the real you I mean, I’ll be careful.”

“This is the real me.”

She laughed and his heart did a little dance. “You know what I mean.”

Why couldn’t he say no to her? Why couldn’t he look away from those beautiful eyes that reminded him of the sea? He nodded. “You’re so stubborn.”

“You made me that way. Just wait for me, okay?”

“You know I will be.” He smiled, unable to help himself.


#9

He was far more excited about seeing her than he knew he should be. Antoni just hoped she made it safely. He didn’t know if he could handle anything happening to Rhona because she was looking for him. She was strong and undoubtedly resourceful but he couldn’t help but worry over her. Antoni stayed with Rhona until she woke, his heart aching as it always did when she left his side. Rhona got up excitedly, going straight for her car since everything was already packed.


#10

She headed for the airport, her mind only on Antoni and what she would say once she found him. Even with all her stubborness, she was still nervous. What would he think of her? Would he think her selfish or stupid? She knew he worried, she could see it every time they met in dream. She knew he was somewhere on an island off the coast of England, but explained it wasn’t normal and was only reachable by boat. He had told her there was someone who knew of their existence, a man who brought supplies, but he hadn’t told her his name, only giving her vague directions. She was ready to search for him, even if it took her forever.

Antoni fought the giant spider that tormented the young boy huddled in the corner of his own mind. The child’t imagination ran wild with it, turning it into a hideous abomination with dripping fangs. He had encountered many fears and phobias like this and it always took a long time to get the child through them. The spider finally flopped to the ground and flailed angrily before curling up and vanishing. He turned to the boy, smiling gently and helped him to his feet. “Come now little one, let’s get you to a better dream.”


#11

Antoni walked with the little boy until they were suddenly in a much more pleasant dream. His friends were all there, playing in their favorite park. He ran to them and Antoni just smiled, happy to help another kid. This work was incredibly fulfilling. He felt blessed to do it and hoped he hadn’t jeopardized being able to do this by giving Rhona clues. It had been hard not to simply tell her, he truly did deeply desire to be with her in person, even if they only met once. He went straight from that little boy to another child that needed him, making sure to stick to work regardless of his mind being on her.

Once Rhona found her seat she quickly stowed her carry on bag and sat down, putting in earbuds and starting her ipod so she’d have something to keep herself busy on the long flight. The music began and she gave a contented sigh as her mind drifted. Nothing worked her imagination quiet like music. It went all over the place, her minds images changing with every song. She had to skip love songs this trip since those were just making her more nervous to meet Antoni.


#12

The flight was uneventful, with hardly any turbulence and even she was up in the air for so long, it seemed to flash by. She couldn’t believe she was so close and her heart hammered in her chest as the plane started to descend. She knew she probably looked like she was scared of landing, but she just really wanted to off so she could start her search. She forced herself not to rush once she was allowed to disembark, even taking a moment to thank the pilots and flight attendants. She made her way through the airport, grabbed her luggage, then was on her way. She wasn’t surprised that it was chilly in England since Antoni had warned her it might be and she stopped long enough to pull her sweater on. She hailed a cab and gave the driver the name of the hotel she would be staying at.

Antoni yawned as he woke and stretched his muscles from being in one position for so long. He needed to eat something and warm up his muscles. “I’m surprised to see you up so early.” Ronin said as Antoni walked into the kitchen. “Coffee?”

“Yes please and I decided to walk around for a bit.”

“Mmm, I see.” He poured Antoni a cup of coffee and put sugar and cream in it then handed it over. “So, how has it been so far?”

“Good, a couple of tough ones. How about with you?”

“Same as always.” He took a sip of his coffee. “When is she supposed to be here?”


#13

Antoni looked away sheepishly a few moments before answering “It depends on how well she understood my clues”

“when’s the soonest she could possibly get here?”

“a few hours” Antoni took a nervous sip of coffee and Ronin said “I suppose I’ll be getting myself up a lot then”

“we can’t neglect work”

“mmhmm, thats all you’re going to be able to do when she’s here”

“I don’t think thats going to be a problem” Antoni nearly dropped his coffee mug at his mentors voice. He turned, their eyes meeting “I…” He couldn’t speak, his mind couldn’t decide what to say. “relax Antoni, you really think I’ve had no idea whats going on between you and Rhona”

“relax?”

“yes, I wasn’t going to let on I knew about anything but I’d really like to come in here and get some coffee myself. I dont have the energy to wait until you leave so you don’t know I heard this conversation. If you want to keep secrets you two should talk about them less”

"I…I wasnt necessarily trying to keep it a secret’ His mentor nodded “well, you are my oldest student Antoni. If you had done this in the early years yes, I would have been mad but you’ve never broken a single rule and you’ve helped countless children, countless generations even just as I have. You wouldn’t have broken the rules for just anybody and I know I can count on you not giving more people information about the island. You’re allowed to find love, you all are. Just keep doing your work and we’re fine”


#14

“What he means is he’s incredibly interested in meeting the young woman who managed to get his star pupil to rebel.” Ronin teased.

“Only someone truly extraordinary cause you to keep secrets from me.” He poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip.

“How did you know?”

“Besides you two talking about it in the kitchen and on the balcony?” Antoni nodded. “I’m the one who taught you how to do this work, I can feel the reverberations through dream. I knew you were hiding something so I started to get curious and then I overheard you two talking one day.” He slapped Antoni on the back. “Don’t worry so much.”

“I’ll try not to.”


#15

“You can always wait for her to be dreaming and check in. If she’s struggling you have my permission to offer more help”

“I’m honestly hoping she will get here in a few hours” They drank coffee together, talking until they were all ready to help any more kids that needed them. Antoni needed to work, he had to keep busy or all he’d do is obsess about Rhonas journey. Rhona had no trouble checking into her hotel so was already settled in and figuring out where to go next. She wasn’t sure she’d be using her room at all but she had gotten one just in case she needed it. She’d rather have a sure place to rest than be cocky and end up not being able to find a place that wasn’t booked.

One event was enough to make finding lodging impossible so if she had wasted her money she had wasted her money but at least that was one less thing to worry over. With a fully charged phone, calling card, map and euros in her pocket Rhona was walking to find the man who could take her to the island.


#16

She looked over the clues he had given her, the little riddles, and the answers she had found for them. She had found that each one lead to a certain building or cross street and it was almost like he was giving her a tour. She stopped when she started to get hungry and checked her route with the woman behind the counter, telling her that it was a scavenger hunt set up by her boyfriend. She blushed at the word, knowing it was stupid to get her hopes up, but thought it was the easiest way to explain why she was following all of Antoni’s clues. “How romantic.” The woman said with a big smile.

Once she was sure she was going in the right direction, she paid for her food and headed out again, her heart jumping in her chest. She was getting closer and closer to the end of his clues. She knew the man was supposed to be close to Antoni and his fellow Dreamwalkers. He had explained the man’s family had delivered supplies to their island for centuries and he knew how to safely get there.


#17

When hunger bothered her again Rhona stopped to check in with her friends. She knew once she was with Antoni chances were high she’d forget so she knew she needed to do it now or they’d end up worrying over her and she’d have to feel guilty later. Rhona was happy when Rose answered right away “Rhona, how’re things?”

“amazing, I hope it’s a descent hour back home” Rose laughed “don’t worry about that. I’m just glad to hear from you. Now I know you haven’t been kidnapped” Rhona grinned “Yeah, I just wanted to let you know I’m okay before I get too into having fun around here”

“alright, text me though or something okay?”

"Okay’ short and sweet, just like Rhona hoped it would be. Now she called Landon who didn’t answer so she just left him a voicemail letting him know she was alright and having a good time. Slipping the phone back into her pocket she continued on, only getting nervous when she approached what should be the mans home that could help her.


#18

She stood on his front porch, her heart skipping in her chest as she raised her hand and knocked. She wasn’t expecting the little girl who opened the door and it took her a moment to say anything. “Uh, yes, hello. Is your daddy home?”

“Are you Rhona?” The girl asked.

“Why yes I am, what’s your name?”

“Rosie.” She looked over her shoulder. “Daddy, she’s here.”

Her father came out of the kitchen drying his hands, a big smile on his face. “Sorry, I was making bread, you’re here a lot earlier than I expected.” He held out his hand. “I’m William, please come in.”

“Alright, thanks.” She stepped inside and Rosie closed the door. “So how do you know what I look like?”

“Antoni told me, his description was spot on.”


#19

Her cheeks flushed “He…he told you I was coming”

“They’d have a real problem on their hands if I believed just anybody that said they were invited. He wanted to make sure I took you” Her heart fluttered, emotion rushing through her giving her a tingling sensation in her body. He really did want to meet her. He wouldn’t have made sure like this otherwise. “since your busy taking me can wait…please don’t feel rushed”

“I’ll just finish this bread and we will be off” The little girl grabbed her hand “will you play with me? Please”

“sure” It was the least she could do and she had always loved children.


#20

It was the phone ringing that woke Antoni after he had finished calming an expectant mother. She had been having nightmares about losing her unborn child and it had manifested quite the creature in her head. He had reassured her that everything was going to be alright and lead her to happier thoughts. He yawned as he opened his eyes and froze when he heard the phone being picked up. There were few people who knew the number to the island and it was a little concerning. He got up, wanting to be ready just in case something had happened. He saw that it was his mentor who had answered and paused when he heard him chuckle. “Then we’ll be seeing you soon, yes of course, thank you and be careful.” He hung up, giving another amused laugh. “Eavesdropping, Antoni?”

“No, not at all, just concerned is all. The phone woke me.”

“I’m sorry, but it was actually something very important.” He turned. “She’s at William’s.”

Antoni’s heart stuttered. “She is? Really? Already?”

“Yes, they’ll be heading this way soon. You should get ready.”

“I still have work.”

He waved his hand. “I’ll take the rest of your shift.”