Adventure in the Night
by Linda Heuer
Katie looked around at the brown walls of a tiny room. She was lying on the hard brown floor, and nothing seemed right. The last thing she remembered was snuggling down in her cozy green comforter in her bed while listening to Stravinsky on the radio. She had formed a nice little dream of meeting an exotic prince at college in the fall, and the two of them were riding off towards the sunset together on magnificent black horses. That is it. Then, all of a sudden, she is here in a cold, tiny, brown room.
"Is someone there?" Katie said with her eyes wide open.
"Please, someone. Answer me!" Katie said as she jumped up. She smoothed down her purple nightgown that had bunched up around her waist.
Katie walked around the tiny room, which looked to be only about 6 feet by 6 feet. She felt the walls, and it all seemed solid; no cracks, no doors, nothing but brown walls.
Katie tried knocking on the wall and then the floor, but nothing happened. She sat down and cried for a bit. When she was done, she rubbed her eyes and nose on the hem of her purple gown.
"Please, where am I?" Katie asked the room. She started fidgeting with her long brunette hair. Braiding it and rebraiding it until at last she started to become calm.
"Why am I here?" Katie asked the room
"Ah. You have stopped your hysterics. Good," A low throbbing voice resonated in the tiny room.
Katie shuddered. "Why am I here?" She asked again.
"You have come in your sleep, but are not sleeping now. You must help me if you are to return home," the deep voice continued.
"What on Earth do you mean? I've gotta be still sleeping, and all I need to do is wake up, then," Katie said.
"No you stupid girl!" the voice in the room boomed. "You are no longer sleeping!"
"So then, Mr. Room, where am I?" Katie said.
"You're in my house in the middle of Dreamland, so just shut up and let me explain and all will be well," the voice continued in mellow tones.
"Alright, I'm shutting up now," Katie said.
There was a pause.
"Alright, if you are calm now, I'll resume. To get out of here, we have to sneak through the night watchman's house past his gate into the realm of waking -- your realm. This is the only way that you can get back to your little bed. Now wasn't that simple now that you let me finish?" the room said.
"Yes, but..." Katie said.
"Good, then we'll be off," the voice said.
"Now wait just one second, Mr. Room. I'm not going anywhere until you tell me exactly what is going on here! The last thing I remember was falling to sleep at home, and you didn't explain anything." Katie said, jumping up and stomping her left foot.
"Easy there, kid. Fine, I'll try to explain it, but that's it. Then you have to take me with you to the realm of waking," the voice said.
"Fair enough," Katie replied.
"Describe to me everything you did when you went to sleep. Everything you were thinking," the voice said.
"Well, I like to make nice dreams for myself to fall asleep to, so this time, I envisioned a dashing prince astride a beautiful black stallion. I had a gorgeous black mare for myself and then fell asleep as we rode together into the sunset," Katie said.
"Ah. That explains it, then," the voice said.
The room fell silent.
"Explains what?" Katie asked as she wrinkled her eyebrows.
"A nightmare: you rode a nightmare back here to the realm of sleeping and now you are stuck," the voice said.
"Why am I stuck? I've ridden horses before in my dreams and this certainly has never happened before," Katie said.
"Not surprising. Most people don't daydream black mares, but when they do, the mares don't like it. Nightmares have to work all night long, and they only get to rest in the daytime. They don't like to be made to work a second shift. As a result, they sometimes bring back those who woke them up back into the realm of sleeping as a sort of payment for their time," the voice said.
"That seems rude," Katie said.
"So's being woken up to go to work on your time off," the voice said.
"Well, I suppose, but..." Katie said.
"You'll understand that better when you grow up, I'm sure," the voice said. "So are you satisfied yet? Can we get going? We don't have a lot of time left to get to the Night Watchman's house before sunrise," the voice said.
"What happens at sunrise," Katie asked.
"If you are still here by then, you will forever become a thing of dreams, and never more able to fully exist in the waking world," the voice said.
"I see. Then we'd better get going," Katie said.
A door suddenly appeared in the wall in front of Katie.
"Just step through the door and our journey will begin," the voice said.
Katie stepped through the door, and came out in the middle of a forest.
"Now you need to disguise yourself," the voice said.
"Disguise myself as what?" Katie asked.
"Oh, anything, really. But you must not be yourself as that is obviously something of the real world, and this is the land of dreams," the voice said.
"What should I be," Katie mused to herself. Her mind stumbled on her favorite comic book character. "Wonder Woman, that's who I'll be!" and Katie became Wonder Woman.
"Wow! I've never been anywhere near in this good of shape in my life!" Katie exclaimed as she examined her now well-toned legs and arms. She reached up and felt the tiara on her head, the girdle on her waist, and the golden lasso at her hip. She was the very image of the old style wonder woman doll Dan, a friend from pep band, had given her for her birthday the week before.
Katie twirled around.
"Good. Now then pick me up." The voice said from by her feet.
They were all of a sudden standing upon a hill in the middle of a forest in the nighttime. Katie stood as the image of Wonder Woman, and a tiny brown mouse stood at her feet.
"Wow, you're small!" Katie exclaimed.
"I'm small now so you can carry me, stupid girl," The tiny brown mouse said with the same booming deep voice she heard in the room.
"I see," Katie said, though she didn't really see.
"Pick me up!" The mouse stomped its left foot.
"Ok, already," Katie said and reached down to pick up the mouse.
"Where should I put you? This outfit has no pockets and I'm not putting you in my cleavage," Katie said.
"Think something up, then! By the night, you sure are daft!" the voice said.
Katie concentrated, and on the hip opposite the lasso, there appeared a blue pouch with white stars. It perfectly matched Katie's skirt. She dropped the mouse in the pouch and said "Where to now?"
"To the tower, of course, you stupid girl. Where else would the night watchman be?" the voice echoed from Katie's pouch.
"Alright, where's that? All I see are trees," Katie said.
"Go straight ahead on this path till you come out of the woods. Then you'll see the tower," the mouse said.
So through the forest went Katie Wonder Woman carrying in her pouch the rather grumpy mouse. Though it was very dark in the woods, she managed to stay on the path and eventually broke free of the forest. Rolling fields reached for miles and miles around. She was able to make off in the distance a tower.
"I see it," Katie said to the mouse in her pouch.
"Good. Now go towards it. If you don't look suspicious, no one will be alarmed. Then you need to go through the tower to get to the other side of the wall. Then we can both get back to your reality," The mouse said.
"There's a wall?" Katie asked.
"Of course. You don't think they just let anything past the borders of sleep and waking, do you, girl?" the mouse said.
"Well, I suppose not," Katie said. She then started walking through the fields and hills toward the tower. As she started getting close, she was able to see a great wall. The tower indeed seemed to grow up out of the wall, and was the only means of getting though to the other side.
When Katie was almost to the tower, the mouse cried out, "Now be careful in the tower. Never let on for a moment that I'm here, or all will be lost, and I cannot get you back home."
"I'll be careful," Katie said.
She went up to the big oaken door at the tower entrance and knocked.
There was no answer.
As she reached up to knock again, the mouse in her pouch cried out, "Please, no! You'll make them suspect something. Here in the land of Dreams, if no one answers a knocked door, it is an invitation to enter."
That seemed rather odd to Katie, but she just shrugged and pulled on the wire ring hanging from the door. It swung open and inside Katie saw a chamber lit by a candelabra hanging from the ceiling.
She shuddered a little, then patted her lasso and entered the room. There was no one there. She followed the streaming light into yet another chamber. This one was even bigger than the first. Again, no one was there. Hence, she went into a third chamber, all the while, the light was getting stronger, but the rooms seemed to lead nowhere.
Katie stopped and picked up a single candle that was sitting upon a writing desk. She walked out of the lit center of the room to the far wall. She felt along the wall until she found an opening. It looked just like the rest of the wall, but when she moved through it, she found it was really a passageway. This passage she followed until she came to a large chamber with only a small circle illuminated by moonlight in the center of the room.
A chain rattled.
"Who goes there?" A dainty feminine voice called.
"It is I, Ka... Wonder Woman," Katie called.
"Please, fellow woman, rescue me!" the dainty voice called out.
"Oh please do give her a hand," the mouse called out from the pouch.
"Who's that you have with you? Rusty, is that you?" the dainty voice cried. "Please listen to Rusty. Free me!"
Katie stepped into the illuminated center of the room when she heard an ominous creaking like what she heard when her tree house had blown down in the great Windstorm of '05. Katie stopped moving. She held out her candle, but its feeble light failed to penetrate the darkness of the chamber.
"Now look here, Mr. Voice Mouse, Rusty, or who ever you are! I'm not going in there where I can't see!" Katie hissed at the mouse in her pouch.
"You will if you ever want to see you're family again!" the mouse boomed. "Let me out of this pouch at once!"
Katie reached into the pouch and brought out the little brown mouse. He bit her hand and she dropped him onto the illuminated floor. As the rays of the moonlight hit his body, the mouse began growing. Katie watched with her mouth agape as the tiny brown mouse transformed into a giant shiny copper dragon. The dragon more than filled the lit portion of the chamber.
"Coral! We will be free at last to terrorize men again!" The copper dragon said.
"Darling! To be free of dreams and back in the real realms again! Ah how I have longed for the day." The dainty voice replied.
"We shall feast upon flesh this day, no more fear for us!" The copper dragon took a step towards his chained mate. Then he froze.
"Not so fast," Katie said. Her golden lasso was around the copper dragon's tail. "You are now under the influence of the Lasso of Truth."
The copper dragon looked around wildly, but did not move.
"I'm not as stupid as you thought, I guess," Katie said. "This is dreamland and now, I have become Wonder Woman, with all that being her entails, including her Lasso of Truth that compels people to tell me whatever I want, and once you are bound by a promise while the lasso is around you, you are forever bound by that promise. And now you will promise to never again plot to destroy humans, and to always and forever remain in the dream world."
"I do so promise to never again plot to destroy humans and to always and forever remain in the dream world," the copper dragon pledged.
"Bravo!" A voice called out from behind Katie. In strode a man dressed in full chain mail armor. "I couldn't have done it better myself," he said sheathing his silver sword.
"And you are?" Katie asked.
"The night watchman Daniel," The man said. Then he bowed to Katie. "That was some trick with the lasso."
"It's nothing. If you read as many comics as I do, you're bound to pick up a thing or two," Katie replied.
"Well, if you give Rusty over to me, I'll chain him up with his Coral until he simmers down a bit. Then I can take you home," Night Watchman Daniel said.
"You can do that?" Katie asked.
"Of course," Daniel said. "Some guardian of sleep and waking I'd be if I couldn't restore a citizen to his or her realm when they go astray."
As Katie gave him the lasso and Daniel bound the dragon Rusty to the wall next to Coral, Katie looked at him puzzled.
"You sure remind me of someone," Katie said.
"What was that?" Night Watchman Daniel said.
"I said you look a lot like a friend, is all," Katie said.
"Ah. Well, that happens a lot here, you know, seeing as how there's not much difference between there and here," Daniel said, looking directly towards Katie.
"What?" Katie said, looking even more confused.
"You'll figure it out someday," Daniel said smiling. "For now, let me bring you back home. It's almost morning."
Katie stretched and yawned. Her purple nightgown had ridden up to her waist again. She would really have to do something about that one of these days. She glanced at her desk where her new Wonder Woman doll sat.
"I think I'll give Dan a call..." Katie said.