7       Jack dreams of Dan in fairyland

The police decide Dan is a runaway. 

Jack’s parents want to believe rather than face the horrible alternatives. 

Each night, Jack dreams of Dan trapped in the lady’s sinister magical kingdom.

  Jack's older brother, Dan

Art :Gloria Dexter


Lying on a bed covered with a thin blanket, he stared through the high windows at the full moon, watching tiny fairies play in the moonbeams. Hearing the key catch as the door unlocked, he saw his mother enter. At least he hoped it was Mum but was scared it was a trick; like everything was a trick.

Closing his eyes, he listened to her footsteps on the bare cold floor. Gently, he started snoring, hoping she would think him asleep and leave him alone. The thin mattress sagged when she sat next to him. He smelled his mother’s perfume, the one she wore for best.

“I know you’re not asleep love!”

Cautiously, he opened his eyes. “Mum?”

“I’m here.”

“Are you better?”

“Yes.” She stroked his forehead.

He sat up, throwing himself into her arms, “How did you find me?”

Even as he spoke, he knew this was not his mother. She would never find him here.

“My lovely Dan.”

Jack was shocked hearing her call him Dan. This was no dream. He saw what Dan saw, locked in his prison hundreds of miles away.

Whoever was pretending to be his mother sensed his doubt. Her voice slipped to no more than a pale imitation. “I am what you remember. If you see me, hear me, feel my touch. What is the difference?”

“It is different! Just is that’s all!” Jack heard Dan shout.

“I can give her back,” she insisted. “She will never change; never grow old or ill, never busy. Everything the same, always.”

“It’s not the same,” Dan snapped.

You tell her Dan, thought Jack.

“It is if you want,” she answered, sadness weighing down her voice. Hugging him fiercely, she stroked his hair. He felt a terrible heat burning in her. She kissed him on the mouth, hot dry lips tasting of chocolate. Disgusted, he pulled away.

“You’re not my mum!”

She was gone. Only her silver voice remained, hung with echoes of mournful bells, as she complained, “I only want to love and be loved in return.”

              from Chapter 4     Dream a little dream of me

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Not a dream but still a nightmare

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Thomas the Rhymer