In Rosie Watt’s class at school, ‘The Dreamer Diaries’ were the big talking point at break times. The children’s television show had been responsible for the huge demand for dream catchers. Every kid, irrelevant of gender had one or wanted one. A few enterprising parents had even built some for their children to get around the scarcity of them. They were already predicted to be the top present this Christmas.
Rosie stood apart from the others in her school though. Or more to the point, the other children stood apart from her. She cared little for the show, the silly fads, and the lying about dreams. Certain areas of the playground had turned into arenas of one-upmanship.
‘Sad Rosie, Stupid Rosie, Rosie’s not a dreamer!’ Emily Johnson sang in the cruel key that children could innately harness, knocking into her as she ran past. Huffing to herself, she started towards the steps into the school. Sneaking into class to read was her preferred way of relaxing between lessons now that the playground was no place for her.
‘You’re so boring, Rosie.’ Matty Plimkins grunted at her as she came past.
‘-doesn’t even watch it on TV, maybe her parents are too poor to get one.’ One of the girls nearby gossiped.
‘Yeah, and she never invites anyone over. I bet her house is a slum!’ Jessie Roberts laughed, the choir of snickers joining her thankfully being cut off by the door closing behind her.
Sneaking past the library, she ignored the stack of ‘Dreamer Diaries’ books that the school had ordered in specially, and snagged a Roald Dahl instead. With all the stealth and elusive skills she could muster, Rosie slipped past the staff room door and made her way back to her desk to read, and will the clock to spin forwards to home time.
Time did not heed the will of a little girl, however, so the linear passage of events up to the end of lessons continued at their normal rate to clocks, and at a snail’s pace to herself. Calling again on every ounce of evasive ability she could, she dodged past the mums and the kids and their talk of stupid programs and silly charms to the car waiting for her, parents sat within.
In the comfort of her own home, she put the taunts and jibes of her school ‘mates’ out of her mind, focusing on stomach-filling, home-cooked meals, homework and raiding the bookshelves in the lounge. She even scored a half hour on her mother’s laptop to chat to her elder sister, away at university. As day turned to night, she was ushered upstairs to get ready for bed. Tucked in safe and warm, she was thoroughly kissed goodnight by mum and dad. As the lights in the room were switched off, she smiled up at the ceiling, and what hung there.
Ever so slowly they crept out, skittering and scuttling along their webs. Tiny spiders danced around their silken playground, backs glowing softly with colours and patterns. As Rosie Watt watched them play and build, she felt her eyelids start to fall. With a sleepy contentness, she spoke the little phrase her grandmother had taught her years ago.
Spiders, spiders, weave your web. Through my dreams please be well fed. Let good things pass right through the net, and snare the nightmares that I won’t get.
With each word, an individual spider glowed. As the last one was spoken Rosie slumped into her pillows, free to play with the spiders in lucid delight till morning came.
– Dedicated to the pair of spiders that have decided to build their web awhile above my bed. You might not be magic dream spiders, but you gave me a lovely idea.