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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Outrunning the Storm

by Michele Dutcher
Against a Diamond

by Michele Dutcher
A Fisherman's Guide to Bottomdwellers

by Michele Dutcher
Louisville's Silent Guardians

by Michele Dutcher

Dreams Torn Asunder by Sergio Palumbo

by Michele Dutcher

by Sergio Palumbo

On the outskirts of Hiji, a pleasant city on Kyushu Island, with good views of Beppu Bay, the Mamiko family was just sitting down to dinner. The Japanese family was comprised of only three members: Takaya, the short black-haired father; his 39-year-old wife; and a baby of about 30 months. It was ordinary except for one peculiarity - on a shelf there was a picture of another baby, a few months older than their present son, with a black cloth on it. The photo was of their previous child, who hadn’t lived past his 32th month, unfortunately.

After eating, the wife cleaned the baby’s mouth, and then her husband lifted him up saying that he himself was going to take the child to his room.

As Takaya placed the son named Shuu on the bed, the infant spoke a few words to the father: “Me…fear…the…bed…darkness…” It wasn’t the first time his child had expressed such confused terms. He knew, as a matter of fact, that a typical 30-month-old's vocabulary was made up of only about 350 words, and most toddlers were also able to combine a couple of words to ask questions or make statements. So, there was no problem if the infant seemed incapable of saying longer sentences.

As Takaya left the child, switching off the light, he kissed his wife, then put on his brown overcoat and went out: a long night of work was waiting for him.

As he was driving his white Daihatsu along the main road, the man considered all he had gone through the last two years. Since his first child’s death, everything had changed.

He remembered clearly that his lost baby had also said the same confused things at night. Nothing strange, he had always thought, as every young boy was afraid of the darkness or of what lay underneath his bed. His parents had often told him that he had said the same thing – when he was a child. And everything would have been okay in his family, probably - if that terrible death hadn’t taken place at home.

The sudden passing of babies was a rare occurrence, but happened occasionally, often making the parents loose heart. That was exactly what had destroyed their life, many months ago, when their beloved firstborn had died unexpectedly one night while in his bed. Even though such tragedies were mainly due to some undiscovered illness, a few still remained unexplained. They could have done nothing to prevent it, as the doctors had confirmed, but deep sorrow had pervaded their home, making his family’s world fall apart.

One morning, while praying in a stone temple in Bungo Takada, trying to find some comfort, a hairless monk approached Takaya, telling him he recognized his face. The religious man was an old friend of his as they went to school together years ago, before their paths had taken them in different directions.

It was this man who gave the father some useful information. As he saw how desperate Takaya was, the monk revealed a secret that was part of some old temple traditions. Actually, it was an ancient tale similar to the legends told by common people, and a few of those had proven to be true, even though science would hardly believe in those.

Baku are unearthly beings that devour dreams, as the myth goes,” the religious man said, “doing harm to humans while eating their energy. They have a long history in Japanese art, too, but many think they could be the real cause of an infant’s death.

As the father looked incredulous, the monk continued. “There’s a reason why these creatures prefer eating a babies’ dreams instead of an adult’s…”

That being…?” Takaya asked.

“Toddlers sleep and dream for longer times than common men. Babies usually eat or are asleep, you know. But older humans tend to go to sleep at a late hour, and dream less than the young ones…”

“True,” Takaya nodded. “Something connected to aging then, I imagine…”

“Indeed!” the religious man stated. “But that is something that the Baku also know, obviously…”

The father stared at his old friend, visibly frowning.

“The Baku must eat several dreams in order to keep themselves strong, to live every day, and there’s no better place for them to stay hidden, waiting, than under a young child’s bed to get all the energy they need! But when men grow up, their task becomes more difficult and unproductive, so they leave, looking for another prey. Unfortunately, not every baby is strong enough to live until the day he becomes of no interest for such creatures of the night…”

The father took his leave from the monk, continuing his journey, but since then he had decided he needed to study that subject. Maybe something could come out…

And something did, later on!

While driving at night, the man checked his watch and saw that it was time to stop and go back the other way. His wife thought he was at work, as everyday at that time, but today Takaya had requested some hours off. He had some business back at home…

The father entered the front door, unseen, as everybody inside was asleep, then reached Shuu’s room, making no noise.

The son looked quiet, but there was a strange scratching coming from under his bed. The man got down on the floor, in silence, and looked at the little metallic container with bars he had placed there before leaving home.

There was the horrible, almost colourless crawling creature! The automatic trap, made up of sacred iron as depicted in an ancient tome his friend had given him, had worked!

Then Takaya stood up, staring at his son’s black pupils, lovingly.

Awakening, the child told the man again “Me…fear…the…bed…darkness…”

“Be afraid no more, my son” the father replied, hugging him. ”There is no need for your fear, anymore…”


2012-12-13 10:06:43
arogianches -

2012-12-11 18:04:56
nielgaschonatha -

2012-12-11 06:41:30
micheledutcher - Really, I just edited this story - Sergio wrote it.

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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Outrunning the Storm

by Michele Dutcher
Against a Diamond

by Michele Dutcher
A Fisherman's Guide to Bottomdwellers

by Michele Dutcher
Louisville's Silent Guardians

by Michele Dutcher

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