The story goes that a strange person who can collect shattered dreams one day took upon herself to be attached to the very humans she was made to service. Correction, a strange being who can collect shattered dreams did that. 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 of 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 has made up her mind, and, her dream had been shattered. It shattered before my very eyes, and, her dream had taken 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.
“At least until we stay up all night.”
“What do you want to do after that?”
“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 haughty attitude had all but dispersed, or at least, so it seemed. Humans couldn’t change that quickly though, right? I was sure she was just saving it.
“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,” somehow, those words, were a bit prideful, “and of course there are going to be bad parents. I even know that much. But, I guess, I just wanted a family,” were these the types of thoughts a child of her age should be thinking of? I didn’t know, “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, if anything. I just wanted to be myself, and I wanted them to know that I was Lottie. I wanted–”
“To be an adult?”
“To be a person again.”
“But if you go with them, then–”
“I’ll never be able to be a person, I think. I 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 pet my head and smile.” I was going to pet her head and smile, but opted against it.
“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.”
“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. It wasn’t that I was referring to a guest as in a person who was invited into a home. No, rather, his name was Guest, as in an abbreviation of an abbreviation. If he showed up, things might get a little interesting, even more so than it already has.
“Yes,” Lottie continued, “I’ll hope that I can be happy with my new parents.” Her smile was unwavering, she filled her body with all of the haughty attitude she had before to prepare herself.
“I see,” I started, “If that’s your decision, then I don’t really have any right to go against it. I can’t really say anything to persuade you at this point either, that just wouldn’t be fair.”
“Thank you for staying with me Summer.” I shook my head. No thanks needed. 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 by myself. And yet, something in me told me otherwise. Perhaps it was the fact that I was already spending so much time with her that I figured that having such an anticlimactic ending wouldn’t fit. And, to that matter, who would it have bothered if the ending wouldn’t have fit? No one would have been bothered by that other than me. But for some reason, I just couldn’t let it happen like that. Perhaps, I really was getting attached to this human, Lottie, a tiny girl who seems to know a lot more than what she lets. She interested me.
“In that case, what shall we do until night time?”
“I think, I’ll take a rest.”
“You’re going to sleep?” She nodded.
“I’ll go to sleep until night time, than, I’ll stay up and wait.” She seemed adamant on that point, and so, like that, uneventfully, I watched as she fell asleep.
And although I was prepared to watch over her until night fell, I felt a presence creep by near us. I gently placed Lottie over on the crumbling church’s wall, quietly made my way to the door, and quietly opened the door while stepping out. I made sure to give her one good look before turning. And, when I turned, there he was, without notice, 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 beings as myself still retained facial features and may be confused with humans, Guest was nothing of that ilk. He still stood tall like a man, had a slim body like a woman, but his face was completely black. That is to say, he had no face.
“Call it whatever you want, it’s a precaution,” he said. His voice was still there. It wasn’t that his face was gone, but, that to me, to a human, and to any he so wishes, it might as well have been gone. His voice was sinister, I could tell. But, it wasn’t the kind of sinister misanthropy that I would find in a human’s voice. It wasn’t filled with poison as I would expect. Rather, he was a playful being. Though, his voice wasn’t that of a child. It was an adult who had too much time on their hands and was now playing a devious game of chess.
“So, Summer, that’s the name you’re going by, right?”
“Excellent. A wonderful name. So, Summer, how long do you plan on keeping up this charade?” The area around us seemed to quiver in his presence. Though, I guess that was to be expected. A being of his kind in a place that could be considered home was the worst combination. Especially if that home is abandoned. 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. No, 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, do I?” He laughed. His laugh filled the air, but, Lottie didn’t wake up.
“Say, Summer, are they really that fun?”
“Shouldn’t you know?” He looked at me like I had just spoken a felony.
“Don’t be coy with me now. Have you already forgotten?” He was unrealistically energetic.
“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 my Landlord, right?” He laughed even more violently this time.
“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?” I couldn’t see a face, but I imagined that a smile had crept onto it.
“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 chuckled.
“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,” he laughed, “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,” he laughed.
“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 either, 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 final ‘humph’ then disappeared. I turned back to the church, Lottie was still sleeping. I went back in, sat beside her, and placed her head back onto my shoulder. I began patting her hair as I ran through my head every possibility.