A story based on our “Changeling: the Lost” Live-Action Roleplaying Game – written by Laura Mason
Sally slams the computer shut with a click, tears in her eyes. Why would he not come and see her? He was her friend wasn’t he? She thought they got on well before. She frowns, pursing her lips, her hands balled into fists on the laptop for a moment before moving it. She puts her face in her hands. She likes him. Okay not as much as Arty, but he is her friend. “I haven’t slept yet,” he had said. A tear glistens on her cheek. The tawny owl that has been sitting on the back of the sofa, reading the messages with her, flaps down to sit on the arm next to her.
“He will be okay.” It says, its voice soft and whispery, concerned. She looks at it, tears still migrating downwards. “He is strong; you said he was when he taught you.” Sally shakes her head and the owl moves again, sitting on her lap now; it snuggles up against her. She strokes its soft brown feathers absently, lost in thought. He had been so kind to her, helping her learn and dancing with her.
“But if he’s not sleeping…” She argues with the owl, which swivels its head to look up at her with large eyes. Her voice is hoarse and full of emotion, more tears falling. She remembers the night up in the hotel in London; he had been so very drunk and his kisses… She should not think of them. She is Arty’s now. The owl’s voice brings her mind back to the present.
“He will sleep. He said he would. He can look after himself.” Fluffy the owl’s voice is full of concern for her. “What are we going to do about the water spirit things?” She shakes her head.
“I don’t know. I could go and talk to them again I guess. Or ask someone else what they think about it maybe,” she speaks solemnly and then sighs. “I need to do more to help. Lucan cannot do it all on his own.” Determination creeps into her voice. “I wish I could do something to help him.”
“He’s your friend, and he’s polite, I’ll help him if I can. What are you going to do?”
She looks away shaking her head a little. “I don’t know. I need to think about it. I can’t go and fight beasts, I’d only get in the way.”
Fluffy snuggles against her.
Something shuddered next to her and she felt a lurch as she almost fell. Her eyes snapped open, struggling to stay on the bed. Scrabbling with the covers, she managed to avoid the floor. What on earth? She sat up, suddenly remembering where she was. Arty lay next to her, shifting around in his sleep. She felt his skin on hers and memory returned to her, her silvery cheeks flushing and her heart skipping a beat. She looked at him with a smile, breathing in his cinnamon scent, before frowning. As he shifted his expression contorted with fear and pain. A nightmare. Panicking slightly, she leant back down, her hand touching lightly on his temple, her thoughts drifting. Casting around for anything, she pushed into Arty’s mind. Changing the dreamscape there with her agreement.
The breeze fluttered the leaves tentatively above her head, the mottled sunlight dancing on her skin. She exhaled, it had worked. She looked around, her eyes searching the forest around her. Autumn it was, or late summer and the plants were bearing fruit around them. The leaves were a mixture of golden brown and green depending on how the plants felt. A large table cloth was stretched out in the clearing where she knelt. She smiled at Arty and his answering smile was full of surprise. “You changed it?”
“Yes, you were having a nightmare I think. Nearly pushed me out of bed,” she teased, lightly, smiling. He blushed slightly, looking guilty.
“Sorry. I- I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”
She smiled, taking his hand. “It’s okay.”
He put his arm around her and he sighed happily. The air warm on her skin, she looked around once more. It was exactly as she remembered it, only the flowers on the forest floor were still growing. It had been a good picnic in the waking world, the last one of summer and everyone had a good time lounging about, eating and throwing flowers at each other. They had named Biff the champion of summer, after Mortar had beaten them all in the competitions. Everyone had joined in; or nearly everyone. The only downside was that Arty hadn’t been there, that would have made it perfect.
Sitting up, she gently manipulated him so that he was lying down with his head in her lap as she ran her fingers through his hair. “I love you Arty.”
Pulling herself out of his dream, she blinked, looking down at him once again. His sleeping form now lay peacefully, a smile on his lips. He moved slightly, not waking, taking hold of her hand and holding it to him, starting to snore gently.