I’ve been sailing on theDreamcatcherthrough the grass sea for a few hours before the captain walks beside me and leans against the railing with me.
“So why are you so interested in this boy, lassie?”
I shrug. “I’ve been asking myself that too, but I think it’s because of the voice I heard when I first touched the door.”
The captain nods. “Everyone here heard that voice when you did. In Nightworld, all dreams and nightmares know whenever a keeper is born, finds out about their gift, and dies. That’s why you should be even more careful around here, there are lots of nightmares around here who would love nothing more than to take you and kill you.” He shakes his head. “The feeling when we knew you’d found out about your gift as a keeper was the strongest one that’s ever been felt here, meaning it’s wakened up some pretty nasty nightmares.”
I nod. “So anything in particular I should keep an eye out for?”
“Aye. Watch out for any nightmares that look familiar, because all of the nightmares you’ve ever had will be coming after you the most. Oh, and there will be some dreams here that will help you, but there will also be those that are too good to resist, and those are the most dangerous ones, they’re the ones that can be just as bad as nightmares because it’ll be something you love, but it will keep you locked up there with it forever.”
“Is there any way to tell the difference?” I ask him.
He nods. “Always trust your gut instinct, it’s always right.”
“Okay. So do you know whose dream you are?”
The captain laughs. “I thought you’d know the answer to that, Sharon.”
And suddenly, I remember. This is a dream I had when I was very young, and the captain was my first mate and imaginary friend for years.
I hug the pirate captain and smile. “Oh, First Mate Scratch! I’m sorry I forgot about you and theDreamcatcher!”
Scratch laughs and hugs me back. “That’s alright, Captain Sharon. You grew up and outgrew imaginary friends when your dad left. But as you can see,Dreamcatcherand I are doing just fine. And I’m a captain now.”
I let go and nod excitedly. “Yes, you are, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” I look around my ship. “And based on the looks of her, you’ve taken very good care of her for me.”
Scratch nods and salutes. “Just like you asked me too, Captain.”
I smile again. “Are any of the other pirates my dreams, too?”
He shakes his head. “No, they’re all other people’s dreams who wanted to sail, and I needed a crew. A dream ship can only sail with two when one of the sailors is a dreamer.”
I nod. “So how much longer until we get to the Winter Forest?”
Scratch shades his eyes and looks toward the rising sun. “Another hour or so. The Winter Forest is on the southern border of the Grass Sea.”
“Is everything here backwards?” I ask.
Scratch laughs. “That’s why it’s called a dream.”