I sat up with a start. Ghost, my white shepherd, rolled over and thumped his tail but didn’t move otherwise. I grabbed my glasses, pushed them in place, and looked around the room, thankful for the full moon. What woke me up? I heard a tearing sound and peeked over the side of the bed. “Spirit!”

Mom’s black cat had my dream catcher in a death grip. Beads rolled around the floor, strings from the web were scattered everywhere, and Spirit had two feathers in her mouth.

I reached for the remnants of my wall hanging, and Spirit scratched me. “Ow. Pull in those claws.” I shook my hand and watched the scratches welt up. “That wasn’t nice.” I reached down and picked up the larger pieces of the dream catcher. Spirit hissed but didn’t scratch me again. I plopped on the bed and looked at the remains in the moonlight. The dream catcher was a gift from Mamaw. She had said it protected my dreams. It had been in my room for as long as I could remember.

I took a deep breath. I turned thirteen last week. Too old to need such a thing. I laid back down and fell asleep with my glasses on.

*****

Ghost licked my face. When I opened my eyes, I saw the clock. I had twenty minutes before the bus would roll past our driveway.  I jumped out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and threw on clothes. That would have to do. In my rush to get to the bus, I forgot all about the dream catcher. I didn’t even have time for the bacon and eggs I could smell. I ran down the driveway, passing the barn. A unicorn pranced in the horse pasture. I stopped short and looked up when I heard the flap of wings. A dragon flew past and dove at the cows.

It made no sense. This looked like my dream, but that couldn’t be right. Everyone has weird dreams, and they don’t come true at daybreak.

“Did something happen to your dream catcher?” Mamaw asked. As always, she had her beautifully carved walking stick with her. “Dreams cause devastation to the world of the living.”

“What?”

“You inherited my mother’s gift, though she didn’t call it that. What you dream becomes real. The dream catcher kept your dreams safely in the dream world.”

“But…” How was I supposed to answer that? “This can’t be real. I must still be dreaming.”

“Of course, this is real. I’ll make a new dream catcher for tonight.”

“What about them?” I pointed to the unicorn and the dragon who was eating the cow it had just flame-broiled. Dad wouldn’t be happy about that.

Mamaw raised her walking stick. “I’m prepared.”

She muttered something I couldn’t hear, and sparks flew from her walking stick. The unicorn disappeared while it was neighing. The dragon followed suit, leaving behind the remains of a half-eaten cow.

“Run along, or you’ll miss your bus.”

“But –”

“No buts. We’ll discuss this after school. It’s time you learned about the family curse and why angering a witch, even one who claims to be a white witch, is never a good idea.”

More flash fiction by N. R. Tucker.

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