The story goes that a strange being who can collect shattered dreams one day took upon herself to be attached to the very humans she was made to service. She had a strange hobby that of which consisted of making conversation with the humans that she so happened to service. Every day, without fail she would go out on her duty to collect shattered dreams, but on those odd days where odd things happened, she would often stop and talk to the people who’ve had their dreams shattered or to the people who were looking to accomplish their dreams. She would do so not out of compassion or curiosity, but because she wanted something interesting to do. Her life till that point was a collection of meandering if it could have even been called a life. And so, on those odd days, even odder things happened. On one such day, she accidently took with her a disciple.
It could have been any other day, or any other person, or any other event, but at the same time it couldn’t. It had to be that day, with that person, with that event. Otherwise, the fabric of fate would collapse in on itself. And the Weaver of Fate still owed me a favor so I couldn’t have that happening on me.
Isn’t this what human’s call fate? That is to say when things happen in certain orders that could only be explained as magic, humans would call these happenings fate. It didn’t matter whether action ‘a’ just so happened to coincide with result ‘b’ leading up to event ‘c’. In other words a rock does not prevent a tiger from striking, but most humans don’t care. It wasn’t that the Weaver of Fate was such a person to deny humans fate. No, Lydia wasn’t that kind of a fickle being. It was just that the threads of fate, the fabric of fate that she carried, has only been used once in her entire existence.
But those stories and those facts are for another day, another time. That is to say the story now, is that Lottie had made up her mind, and her dream had been shattered. It shattered and took the form of a shining coin. It glittered in the air for much longer than I expected, but once it had dropped, and once Lottie gave no response to the coin that had just dropped from her person, I knew it was a shattered dream. I collected it while pretending I saw something on the floor.
“So you want to stay here?” I asked. She nodded.
“At least until we stay up all night.”
“What do you want to do after that?”
“Maybe I’ll go back.” I respected her decision. Her dream to stay up all night, as inane as it was, was a genuine dream. Dreams were after all a fickle currency for human emotions, and as such, it was expected that there value would depreciate. But in its wake, I was sure that she was thinking of a new dream, something else to conquer.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. I’ll have to deal with whatever comes next. But I can’t just runaway.” She smiled at me, a beautiful smile. We were sitting in one of the corners of the church. Her expression was calm and her wound no longer spilled blood.
“I may still be a kid to you Summer, but I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. Of course I was dumped at an orphanage, and of course I was bought. Even I know that much,” She kicked away some dust as she said so.
“And of course there are going to be bad parents. I even know that much. But I guess I just wanted a family.” I wondered if that was what children should have thought about. I couldn’t quite relate.
“I’ve never had an actual family. The orphanage was nothing but a collection of other kids like me. I was so happy when I was finally getting to leave but, it wasn’t any better. They treated me like a pet. I just wanted to be myself, and I wanted them to know that I was Lottie.” She paused, her eyes watered.
“I want to be a person again.” The light that snuck into the cracks of the church began to draw lines in the flooring.
” have no one else to talk about these things to. The other kids, they always find it so complicated. And, to be honest, sometimes I do as well. But you’re different Summer. You’re not like the other adults who just pat my head and smile.”
“But it’ll be fine Summer. I’ll go back to my parents once the night is over. They’ll want to sell me right away if I do something like this. And then, I’ll hope.” She laughed to herself.
“You’ll hope?” It was still afternoon and so I could spare the time. My room wouldn’t be on me until later. Even so with what happened last time I couldn’t be so sure. If anything, if I stayed out for too long, my room would send in Guest. He was an abbreviation of an abbreviation. If he showed up, things might get a little interesting, even more so than it already has. Though I had no reason to complicate Lottie’s life.
“I’ll hope that I can be happy with my new parents.” Her smile was unwavering. Even the wind that seeped into the church began to settle on her face with a soft pad.
“I see,” I started, “If that’s your decision, then I don’t really have any right to go against.”
“Thank you for staying with me Summer.” I shook my head. It was at this point where I first thought that my story with her would end, that I would leave, have a laugh about it, and continue to collect shattered dreams and indulge in my hobby. And yet, something in me told me otherwise. For some reason, I just couldn’t let it happen like that. It was welling up inside me and had burst, and I wanted nothing more than to have things go my way. To have her be free from the life she told me about. I couldn’t quite understand why I wanted so. It wasn’t that I felt any particular sorrow for her woes. It was these humanistic feelings that began to worry me as a divine.
“What shall we do until night time?” I asked. Her eyes began to wane.
“I think I’ll sleep.”
“You’re going to sleep?” She nodded.
“I’ll go to sleep until night time, then I’ll stay up and wait.” I watched as she slowly simmered into a slumber. I was worried about my own plans for the day as my duty to entertain her had then fallen. But, as I expected, I felt the presence of a divine peering in.
I made sure Lottie was well sat on the church’s wall and quietly made my way to the door. I turned to her one more time before leaving. And when I turned, there he was, without notice, and without a care in the world, Guest.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. Though, we both knew the answer to that.
“And,” I added, “I guess you’re still doing that.” He laughed. As it were, Guest wasn’t a human. He was far from a human, much like myself. But, although divines still retained facial features and may be confused with humans, Guest was nothing of that ilk. He stood taller than any man, had a slimmer body than any woman, and had a face completely devoid of any features. That is to say, he had no face.
“Call it whatever you want, it’s a precaution,” he said pointing to his faceless face. His voice was still there. It wasn’t that his face was gone, but that I wasn’t granted his permission to know what his face was. His voice trilled like the echo of a tunnel. It wasn’t filled with poison as I would expect. Rather he was a playful being. He kept his voice high and loose.
“If I remember correctly, your name is Summer. The dream collector.”
“I don’t know about being a dream collector, but I am Summer. ”
“Excellent. A wonderful name. I won’t take much of your time. I just want to know how long you plan on keeping up this charade.” The area around us seemed to quiver in his presence. Not a single wind blew, and the vegetation leaned to avoid him. Most divines were created through myths and legends. His specifically dealt with homes. A church to its own right, was one kind of home. And so, he had domain over this area. I didn’t plan to fight him, nor was this the kind of story where I would opt to fight. It would have made for a wonderful twist, and my time would be more interesting. But I knew he didn’t come here to fight either. If that was the case, he wouldn’t have come at all.
“The last time this happened– Well you don’t need me to remind you,” he laughed. His laugh filled the air and hung around my neck like a noose.
“Say, Summer, are they really that fun? Those humans?” Although I couldn’t see his face I felt him smile.
“Shouldn’t you know?” He scampered back like I had just spoken a felony.
“Don’t be coy with me now. Have you already forgotten?” He then leaned forward on a single foot, as if the entire world’s physics had wasted away in his presence.
“That was a long time ago, Summer. Now I’m nothing but a minion to that dastardly room you have. Though, I guess it’s more prudent if I call him Landlord, right?” He laughed even more violently this time. His entire body shook as he laughed.
“I wouldn’t know a thing about humans,” he continued, “Not a single thing about those creatures amuse me anymore. But that sure isn’t the case with you now, is it Summer?” He tried to peer through the church doors, but I closed them before he got the chance.
“Prattling about every day about this inane hobby of yours must get tiring, doesn’t it?” He chuckled.
“If it were me, I’d do my job like a good–” I gave him a cold glare, the coldest glare I could to make him get to the point.
“But I’m not here to get on your bad side,” he laughed, “No, not at all. As you know, I’m just here to check up on you, to try and persuade you to do your job properly,” he chuckled, “But, we both know that the decision to do that is squarely on you,” he was the only one having fun.
“Don’t get me wrong, Summer. I’m not one to stop you from indulging in your hobbies. In fact, I’d rather you continue to do what you do. It makes this life much more interesting. I’m sure even you understand that, right?” He laughed with his entire body, nearly falling over.
“But our Landlord can’t allow that. Don’t think bad on either of us though, it isn’t our fault. If anything, blame it on your birth. Your duty is to collect shattered dreams, that’s all I’ve come here to tell you.” He turned, and looked ready to leave, but then said, “Say, Summer. If you were to do something interesting about this girl, what would it be?”
“You are planning to do something interesting, right? As long as you get back to your room and play the good obedient worker, I’m sure even our Landlord would overlook it. Though, I can’t promise anything.”
“So,” he continued, “Between two friends. What do you have planned up your sleeve?” Although he said this, we weren’t friends. And, it wasn’t that I had something planned, just that I only had an inkling to what I could even do if I were to follow the string of events that was going to happen. I was in no position to call upon the Weaver of Fate, Lydia. Though, she did still owe me a favor. It was only a tiny notion, a minuscule possibility of working, and that was all it took for me to hold onto the hope that something interesting would come out of it.
“You’ll see,” I answered flatly. Guest gave off a wave before walking into the forest and fading from my eyes in a blink. I turned back to the church, and opened the door softly. Lottie was still sleeping. I went in, sat beside her, and placed her head onto my shoulder. I began patting her hair as I ran through my head every possibility.