every so often a dream catcher must be 'emptied' of all the nightmares it has caught. Who does it, and what do they see?
Fridays were good days, she told herself. Again and again, trying to make herself believe. But they weren't, was the thing, and she didn't. See, Fridays were the days Blue Price would line up all the dream-catchers her customers gave her, and sort them out, make them usable again. She told herself that she was being useful to the world, at least she got paid, and she was helping other people. But the truth remained; it hurt.
But it had to be done. So Blue stopped standing in front of her bathroom mirror and stalling for time, got up and left for her little musty room where she would do the emptying.
Already there were two waiting customers. It was seven in the morning. Seven. Bloody. a.m.
They looked extremely uncertain on the overstuffed, worn red couch that was the waiting space a man and a woman, not touching but leaning into each other in the way that whose who were in love usually did, and they looked up as Blue entered the candle lit room, her dark green hooded robe covering most of her face and hiding her body.
“The catcher.” Her arm was extended out towards the both of them, waiting.
The man shifted closer to the woman, and then he was placing the dream-catcher in Blue's hands.
She stepped behind the table, and then closed her eyes. The only sounds in the room were of its occupants' breathing. Something knotted in Blue's stomach, her heart pounded faster, and she willed herself to ignore it all, willed her whirring mind to silence as she held the white dream-catcher over an empty bowl. She called upon the spirits of the land, the energy of all that was around her. Help me, empty these burdens, free the nightmares…
There was a snap sound in her mind, and then the feeling of something seizing her body in a vice-like grip. Dread in her stomach, her heart beating faster, every nerve on end and she knew what was coming, she knew it, calm down, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in—
a sharp pain in her chest, and then she was hurtling through a million pictures at lightning-speed. A dark alley, creatures crawling all over her body. The body of a boy, lying on the ground in a pool of his blood, his face pale, his chest un-moving. A blonde haired girl, sitting up with a knife sticking out of her chest. A dark cave, wretched hags following after her with broomsticks and fire. A giant cockroach and endless screaming in her ears. Being held at gunpoint. A dark, endless tunnel, and a girl trying to run, trying to get out, asphyxiating, can't breathe, can't think, end this, end it, please let me out—
and then the feeling of being set lose, her body becoming hers again, finally. She opened her eyes, gasping, and realized that the sirens inside her head were actually her own heartbeats, her own blood rushing through her ears, fast and wailing.
It took her a few moments, but Blue was finally able to focus, and then she looked at the couple, staring at her, then at the bowl. She looked wrung out, and she felt it too. Her own face reflected in a shallow pool of blood, and her hands holding the dream-catcher, red and moist. They were trembling, just like the rest of her and Blue was relieved when finally the dream-catcher was taken out of her hands by the woman, who muttered a thank you. The couple went outside to pay, leaving Blue and her empty thoughts and empty body, ready to retch.