The Arcadian Press

Kaitlyn Sutton and What her Mind Concocted

Chess pieces on a chess board under a cloudy sky.

Kaitlyn Sutton and What her Mind Concocted

By Aaliyah Chouinard

Run! Kaitlyn struggled, and then tumbled to the floor. She thrashed out of a jumbled mess of bedsheets before realizing the room she was in was her own. One minute she had been running from something, and then the next she was drenched in sweat, sprawled on a familiar, worn gray carpet. A dream, just another dream.

“Distracted much?” Derrick said the next morning as he thumped her playfully in the back of the head. Kaitlyn gave a half smile at her best friend as he threw the basketball into the hoop.

“Sorry,” she said. “I was just thinking of a dream I had last night. Well, more like a nightmare.” Derrick retrieved his ball and came over to sit next to her.

“What kind of nightmare?”

She huffed. “Well…” She wrapped her arms around her knees as she recalled the dream. “I was falling down a dark hole, then I saw a woman with long black hair and white skin. She had a long dark pink dress and she was surrounded by animal skins and strange creatures.”


“Yeah, a minotaur, snakes, and these huge birds, but they only had the body of a bird and the head of a girl. Then they all started chasing me.”

“Well, can’t help you there Kate.” He tossed the basketball to her.

That’s it? I bare my heart and soul to you and all I get is “can’t help you there”? Kaitlyn shook her head. “Forget it,” she said, standing up. “Let’s play.” As they began their game, flashes of the monsters in her dream appeared in her mind. She shivered, then heard a low growl behind her. She whipped her head around. Nothing… but then a screeching made her jump. A huge bird lady swooped down and shredded the ball in her claws. Kaitlyn glanced at Derrick just to make sure she wasn’t imagining. Derric was staring at it too.

“Pretty little humans,” the thing jeered. “Lovely little humans, good for sport!” The bird lady tossed the remains of the ball into Kaitlyn’s chest, making her stagger backward. The thing then grabbed Derrick by the arm and yanked him up into the air.

“Derrick!” Kaitlyn yelled. A hole opened up in the sky itself and the bird started for it. Kaitlyn grabbed onto Derrick’s ankle before he could get any higher. The bird was surprisingly strong and lifted them both up with ease. As they entered the hole, they were catapulted faster, like they were going down a waterslide filled with colors. Snippets of people and pictures whizzed past them and suddenly Kaitlyn realized… they were all from her dreams. Places and people she’d had nightmares about. She shivered as a nightmare about her math teacher whizzed past. All at once they exited the hole and flew towards a dense forest. Kaitlyn could see a huge sparkling castle in the distance.

Looking down at the forest below them she strained to hold on, feeling her arms start to cramp. “Don’t you let go!” Derrick yelled at her. She didn’t have to. Within seconds, Derrick’s shoe slipped from his foot and so did Kaitlyn. Branches scratched her arms as she fell. Kaitlyn felt the air whoosh out of her as she slammed into the ground.

“Ow!” she groaned, rolling over. When she did, she saw a familiar old man with a strange looking hat sitting on a tree stump next to her.

“Hello,” he said plainly as if she hadn’t just fallen out of the sky.

Kaitlyn didn’t care. “Kyle!” she beamed.

“Yes, but how do you know my name?” he asked.

Kaitlyn smiled as the conclusion finally clicked in her mind. This literally was the world of her dreams.

“I… I dreamt you up, so I know who you are,” she answered him.

“Well, that doesn’t make sense to me, but then again I’m old, and the world is senseless, so if it doesn’t make sense that’s fine with me.”

“Um,” Kaitlyn said. “I need to find my friend; he’s been carried off by… I actually don’t know what.”

“Bird Lady?”

“Well, if a Bird Lady is a bird with the head of a woman, then yes.”

“Aye, that’s a Bird Lady, but if he was carried off by one of them beasts it means he’s in the Nightmare Realm.” He pointed to a shadowed region where the castle stood.

“Can you help me get him back?”

Kyle chuckled. “Look at me, I’m an old man.” Kaitlyn raised her arms in exasperation.

“Well can you at least show me the way?”

Kyle waved his fingers at her. “I thought you said, you dreamt me up! You should know the way.”

Kaitlyn put her hands on her hips. “Well, I don’t, so please help me.”

Kyle huffed, slowly stood, and walked to the nearest tree. He grabbed an odd-looking branch and, with an audible click, yanked it down like a lever. The tree slowly split apart and revealed a passageway.

“Ladies first,” he said.

“Where does this go?” she hesitated.

“To the Nightmare Realm, to save your friend.” When Kaitlyn still didn’t move Kyle took her hand.

“We’ll step in as one. One, two, after you!” Kaitlyn screamed as he pushed her through the hole, but stopped and blushed when she realized that she was standing on solid ground.

Kyle walked right in past her. “Follow me!” he said.

Kaitlyn had to remind herself that Derrick was her best friend. The long trek through the woods made it hard to believe he was worth it.

After what seemed hours, they stood before the massive doors of the Nightmare Realm’s castle. The same castle Kaitlyn saw when she was hanging from Derrick’s foot high above the forest.

Kyle looked at her expectantly. “Well, dream something up!”

Kaitlyn raised her eyebrows. Embarrassed, she closed her eyes and tried to dream something up. A second later, the doors opened.

“Well done, Kate,” Kyle said as he walked through the door. “Well done.”

The room was filled with animal skins and paintings, no jewels or anything of interest. However, sitting with her legs crossed on a throne in the center of the room was the most beautiful woman. It was the woman of her dream! Somehow, she knew her name.

“Is that Vanessa?” she asked.

Kyle nodded. “Queen of Nightmares.”

“Welcome Kaitlyn,” she said as she stood from her throne and approached. “I hoped I’d get a chance to thank you for dreaming me to be this… delightful.” She ran a cold fingernail across Kaitlyn’s cheek.

“Of course, there would be a rich reward for dreaming up the destruction of all those fools in the Daydream Realm.”

“Where is Derrick?” she demanded. “I want him back.”

Vanessa motioned to her guard. A large armored thug clanked into the room, dragging Derrick like a dog behind him. He was leashed around his neck and tied at the wrist.

“I’ll return him to you if you can win this challenge.”

Kaitlyn nodded.

“I have thirty-two diamonds hidden in this room, guess where they are.”

Kaitlyn gulped. How could diamonds be in a shabby room like this? She thought they would stand out, but after surveying the room, she found nothing of wealth. She held her breath as she noticed the queen flip a timer over. Nearby, a chess set on a stool sat next to the Queen’s throne. Thirty-two diamonds, thirty-two chess pieces.

“The chess set!” she screamed. Vanessa snarled as the rope around Derrick dissolved and he tugged away.

“Hurry!” Kyle called as he led them out of the room and back to the Daydream Realm before Vanessa could change her mind.

Kyle led them back to the forest and to another tree that would take them home. “If you ever want to come back,” Kyle said. “You can always escape in your dreams.” The two friends entered the portal and found themselves back in the basketball court. Derrick stood still, trying to cope with what had just happened.

“You know,” Derrick said. “I think you should stop snacking before bed. I read somewhere that nightmares can come from what you eat.”

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