- A dream hunter ghost wanders around the city hunting for sweet dreams, only to discover more about himself
Dec 18, 2016-He was a ghost that wandered across town and observed everyday life by the day, and floated from one house to another, hunting for and feeding on dreams by the night. Invisible to mortals, nobody ever saw him. Nothing could ever block his way, as he could walk right past people, vehicles and buildings.
Like other ghosts, he was an unfulfilled spirit perpetually looking for something that would satisfy his soul once and for all. Unlike his fellow ghosts, he didn’t haunt unsuspecting people and animals. When he floated by, even cats and dogs didn’t snarl against him.
To him all that mattered were dreams—warm, fuzzy, and happy dreams that gave him strength to persist. He was a dream hunter who thrived at night when the whole town—except for the cramming students and hyper alert security patrols—would be asleep.
He had to follow certain rules to endure as a ghost. Every fifteen days, he had to come across at least one good dream, or else he would completely perish. It is funny how there was an expiration date even for a ghost—such a demented world.
He usually started his prowling after ten at night. He had an uncanny ability to peer into the dreams that humans had. Although he primarily hunted for dreams that glowed with sparkling happiness, he mostly had to make do with dreams of horror, torture, and pain. Although these dreams kept him alive, they didn’t quite give him the potency he needed. Why were happy dreams that resonated with love and compassion so rare? Fortunately, till date, he had always managed to find beautiful dreams that resurrected him right before his deadline.
So, here he was floating by, peering through windows and looking at human faces, deep asleep, just like any other night. Time was running out though. It had already been twelve days since he last encountered a happy dream. He was starting to panic. He had left his human life so far behind that he didn’t remember any of the life. He knew he could never go back to that life again, but he couldn’t make peace with not being a ghost. He was afraid of the unknown that awaited him once he ceased existing as a ghost.
Like humans who cling to their life so desperately, this ghost, the dream hunter, clung to his petty shred of existence pitifully. Extremely weak, he was aware that he just had two nights and if he didn’t find what he was looking for his fate would be sealed.
He was now looking for a saviour. Usually he headed north to south, where the border of the town was demarcated by a river. But tonight, he decided to switch his patrol. Tonight on his prowl he decided to feed on dreams from the Northern part of the town.
By now, he knew all of the nooks and crannies of the town, and he rarely took this route because this was the poorest part of town. He knew from his experience that the poor didn’t indulge in happy dreams. But he gave in to his instincts, crossed the bridge, and carried on anyway.
It was midnight—the best possible time for sweet dreams—and all the residents were sound asleep. As he passed by one house after another, he saw how these humans dreamt of love and lust, and of riches and power. He also came across people who had nightmares and woke up sweating through heavy gasps. He questioned his decision to come to this part of the town right until his panic got replaced with trance-like emotion. Second floor of a house oozed out warmth.
That was how it always worked: once in the vicinity of a happy dream, he felt revitalised. The happy dream pulled him like a magnet pulls iron particles. When he floated into the room, he saw a child of nine, sound asleep, dreaming of his father. The dream hunter stood over the boy’s bed post and enthusiastically observed the dream.
The boy chuckled in his dream as his father carried him and swung him around in the air. The father-son duo was extremely happy. The dream spoke of love and joy—and he felt like he was a part of it. He couldn’t remember the last time a dream felt so familiar. Feeding on this little boy’s happy dream, he felt nostalgic.
He wished the dream would never end, but it did. Rejuvenated and recharged, the dream hunter stood much taller than his slouching self earlier in the day. When he looked at the boy—his saviour—he felt at utmost peace. He was happy. He thought to himself, “I should prowl upon these destitute streets and houses more often.”
When he left the room, he noticed that it was a full moon night. He was good for at least another fortnight. He decided to fly towards the bridge where he liked to spend his time whenever the deadline didn’t lay upon him like a dead weight. He felt so content that one point he realised it was unusual.
However, he didn’t let the puzzlement overcome his happiness. Instead of further delving into his deviant state of happiness, he made a swift flight towards the river. It was a huge river and yet it was more like a lake—serene and calm. As he flew downwards, he noticed that the water surface reflected a familiar face. His reflection by the moonlight on the still water stunned him a little. His face was the same as the boy’s father.
He had fed upon his son’s sweet dream. A flux of emotions eroded past him and suddenly he found himself recalling his human life. He relived his entire human life at that moment. He was once a family man, he was a good father, and a good husband too. He had a happy family that survived poverty with love and support. Even after his death, his wife had raised their son into a wonderful little nine year old with the same values. And today, his son was a healthy boy who still thought of his father.
All this time he had been wandering around not in search of dreams but for that one glance, one shared moment with his son on the other side of the world. With all the memories and realizations gushing back to him, he felt lighter. Tides of extreme tranquility swooped over him; he started vanishing in the air. He was no more scared of the unknown. He neither felt sadness, nor pain. He ceased to exist, slowly and steadily.
Now that his spirit was content, it was time to leave.
Published: 18-12-2016 09:50