Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Create A Random Story With Others One Comment At A Time (read all 3 entries…)
add what you want...when you want

The ship slid through space as Miss Bunchnut ran through its long empty corridors. She screamed as voices echoed through the ship. The voices were screaming Japanese haiku poetry. She was going insane locked in this floating box of poetic voices. The brushed steel walls were dimly lit with no markings or signs whatsoever. All of the corridors connected but that’s all they did…connect…there were no doors or openings or anything…just walls. The corridors would turn gently but there were never any angular corners. Everything was smooth and rounded.

Polayna Bunchnut had been trapped in this ship for a very long time. At first the poetry amused her as she roamed the endless halls. But now, all these years later, she was tearing her hair out in clumps listening to the loud little school girls screaming each Haiku. Sometimes they would stop reciting the poems and just giggle for days on end. Until the laughing would stop and the poetry began again. With the last bit of her sanity hanging on, she stumbles around a short bend into a dead end. A bright red door is in the middle of the cold brushed steel wall. It’s the sort of door you would see on an old Victorian house. It’s been painted over many times and the red paint looks so bright that it begs for a “fresh paint” sign hanging next to it. The door knob is brass and shiny…and it’s a hand. It’s an open hand facing palm outward cast in pure shiny brass. her body trembles as she approaches the door…the first door she has ever seen within this floating prison. The hand-knob looks so real….



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here we go...

Polayna began to cry at the thought of what could be beyond that door. Hope, fear, insanity, pain, love…Every emotion rushed over her frail body. The door knob itself was inviting. To have human contact again made her smirk an almost crazy person’s smile. Flashes of past lovers embraces and family hugs rushed through her mind.

She had been wandering for so long she msut have trained herself to forget these memories. Her life felt like it had always included the giggles and voices of young girls, she had almost forgot that this was not true. She had memories, she had a life before this prison, she had forced all the memories out, but now all of them were rushing in like waves against well polished stones.

If she touched that knob, if she could open that door, could she be home? Could she see her mother’s warm smile and smell her cooking once again? Could she feel the warmth of freshly washed flannel sheets and smell that clean clothes line scent she so adored? Why were all these thoughts rushing in now after so long? Just then she realized something…the voices, the giggles, they had stopped. There was a glowing light that appeared around the edges of the big red door. Silence and light were never so inviting…

Polayna couldn't figure out

why all these thoughts of home would be flooding through her head. There was nothing behind this door and she knew it. The bright light became more intense as the door opened a little wider. The memories flooded into her mind and the bright light washed over her tired body. As the door opened wider, the light became more intense. And so did the memories. She could remember laying in her bed late at night, waiting for her father to get home from the factory. She could remember all the fighting in the next room…even though they thought they were being quiet. She remembered her mother…her protector. She remembered everything. All at once. It was all there in her mind as the tears began to flow down her cheeks and the door opened all the way. The light felt so warm and good. The light was comfortable. She was going to walk through the wide open door and into the light. This ship, the voices, the endless days walking through empty corridors…now she could leave it all behind. It was over. Her entire life packed into an eye blink as she stepped over the threshold and into the brightest light she had ever seen.

The memories stopped flooding. The light became dark. The red door closed behind her. Her mother was not here. And neither were her favorite cookies whose scent still lingered in her mind. It was dark and this wasn’t over at all.

fear..

(just typed a whole reply and it didn’t go through!!!!)...

Fear…
Fear consumed her. Every thought she had was lost. Fear simply consumed her. It was pitch black and cold. She was not wandering, but would take that over this any day, the wandering…the years of wandering would almost be a blessing right now. What was that sound? A whisper, a breeze, something she could not figure out. It was something off in the distance. There was a distance. She could tell this place was big, or endless possibly.

She missed the giggles and voices now, all of a sudden she felt more alone than ever before in her life. As if not only the memories were fading, but the people and places she barely remembered never existed.
Then the numbness set in. The fear was too much, it consumed her to numbness. She moved her bare feet forward slightly feeling the cold concrete. Taking that first step from the warmed piece of concrete took all of her courage. As she moved forward a dim light off in the distance appeared. Was this place never ending, was this starting her wandering days all over again? Then that sound..there it was again. It was in fact a whisper. Off in the distance, maybe by the dim light. It was a male voice or so it reminded her of one. Her mind thought about having human contact, or any type of contact for that matter. After the years that had passed she would almost welcome anything.

Could there be someone else in there? Then her thoughts shifted, they became muffled, she realized she was tired. She could not remember sleeping. She must have slept sometime, but she could not remember it. She fell to her knees, the cold concrete almost burning her skin, freezing her flesh. She shivered but could not force herself up again. She saw a shadow..was it a shadow? Her eyes grew heavy, her body weaker. She finally laid down completely, making a ball out of her body, getting as tight against herself as possible. She tried keeping her eyes open, forcing them once or twice, like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa and knowing that closing their eyes would mean they’d miss it forever. As she fought the sleep, she continued to hear the whisper. Her body shivering, she could not fight the tiredness any more.

Shivering, cold, and alone.

She could hear his voice whispering in her ear. It sounded so close to her. And she knew that it was not. He was nowhere. She was in shock. The giggling girls began to tickle the insides of her ears. They giggled and he whispered…together. Her body curled up tighter as she began to shiver almost violently on the cold unforgiving concrete. This was all very wrong. But she wanted to listen to all the voices. They were comforting. They never left her. They were always there. The giggling girls weren’t so bad. They drove her crazy but they weren’t bad at all. And now he was back. She had not heard his dark little whisper since…since her father was alive. Where was it coming from. She had killed that voice many years ago and now he whispered…a faint backroud chorus to her happy giggling voices…”Poor Polayna…Poor, poor little Polayna Bunchnut…Daddys little girl…Daddys bad little girl…Polayna Juniper Bunchnut…My litle PB&J…why did you do this to me baby girl?” The whisper became a terrifying scream as the voice reverberated through her shivering head. “You’re a bad girl Polayna! What have you done!! Stop listening to the voices baby girl! Don’t listen to the happy girls. Listen to me!” She could not shake anymore. The cold was too much. The voices would not go way. He was right…poor poor polayna bunchnut was a bad girl. He was right about everything.

Polayna vs. Polayna

Polayna felt a warmth come over her suddenly. That same warmth she had felt years ago, actually right before her coming to this prison. That evil warmth. That warmth that felt like a blanket of terror yet made her grin and her eyes eclipse. That stern voice echoed in her head and the words repeated “poor poor polayna…what a bad girl.” She had forced this feeling way down in the bottom of her gut for so long. Her mind had not let her remember that cold winter day for so many years, but now she drew strength from it. She started to stand up, her body burning up. Yes, listen to the deep voice, hide the other voices. She swung at the air, “STOP,” she yelled out. Suddenly the girls giggles were gone. The whisper grew louder, the evil tears started to fall. She couldn’t wipe the frightening grin off her face. It almost scared her how good this all felt. It was as if she had strength of a thousand men and her thoughts were clearer than ever. The light was getting brighter, the more Polayna moved around and the more she fed this evil the brighter the light. “Yes, Daddy…I’m still your little girl, come save me Daddy” was all she could speak. It was strange to hear her own voice after so long. “No stay away Daddy, I don’t want to hurt you again.” The voice coming from her mouth took two tones, as if two of her were battling inside. The good, the evil…they were fighting. The evil was winning though, yet again it was winning…

Her brain snapped

and both voices were gone. There was only one voice now. And it was hers. She wasn’t cold anymore at all. Poor Polayna was a bad girl. A very, very, bad girl. She was going to make this shit stop right here and right now. She spoke in a voice that she had never heard before. Nobody had. “I killed you for a reason Daddy. You can’t come back. Ever.”

Speaking his last words, her father whispered into her mind, “Yes I can. I’m inside of you. I’m part of you. You can’t escape me. I never left you.”

A wicked grin spread across her face as she felt him inside of her. She was becoming the evil that she feared the most…and she was loving every second of it. His dark laughter and the voices were swirling around in her mind as she stood on the cold concrete laughing maniacally. Who needed those stupid giggling little girls. She had him. And his hate and his anger…and his drive to kill…to take what was hers.

At that moment, she knew that whoever was doing this to her…whoever had put her in this place to begin with…was going to get a huge helping of whip ass stew. Courtesy of dear old daddy and his wonderfully evil genes. She walked down the concrete path standing tall and afraid of nothing. She was going to find out who was resonposible and put the belt to their sorry asses post haste!

Max.

Just then a snippet of a memory rushed in her head and back out again. A boy, a young boy..who was it? There it was again. She wanted to grab the memory and hold it in her hand and study the picture. She put her hands on her head and shook it back and forth. Half of her mad and wanting to keep walking, running to that damn light. The other half wanting to know what memory was trying to come forward now. As she ran, or leaped was more like it the memory lasted a bit longer with each leap. It was her brother. She had a brother. Why did her father favor her over him? Why was he so mean to him? Why did he treat him like that and keep the two of them apart. Or so he thought. Polayna had snuck to his room when she heard him crying at night, she had comforted him, she had been the only loving touch he had ever felt. Why? She stopped. Ah, yes her mother…her mother the protector. The protector of her. But she was the mother of two children. Why were they so disappointed in Max? What made him so threatening? Now she grew more angry, she began to run again, it was all coming back to her. She had to protect Max, she had to kill her father. “Thank you daddy for being so cruel and making your death so easy,” she said with that evil grin.
She felt the rage inside take over, she even started to groan a bit, letting out the anger further and further. Damn them, damn them all!
The light grew closer and closer, she felt like busting right through it, whatever ‘it’ was. All of a sudden she had the dull instrument in her hand, the one she used that night so long ago. Now she was confused. What was happening? Where is Max? She had to get to Max, now that was the most important thing in the world. She had a reason now to escape. Whatever this place or dream or thing was, she had to break out, she had to get to Max, she was his only hope. She ran faster and faster, she was running so hard her feet were numb from the cold concrete and constant running. Max…Max….Max?

Maximillion Thadeus Zeus Bunchnut III

There she stood with her feet freezing on the hard black concrete. She could feel the weight of the baseball bat gripped in her right hand. Starring into the light ahead, all she could think about was her baby brother…Max.

His face was always a little too round for his age and his eyes were more green than anything else. On his left cheek was beauty mark that would make Cindy Crawford proud. His greenish eyes always looked like he was smiling just a little bit…even when he was angry. And his chestnut hair was always three cuts past due.

Mom and Dad hated him. Tears popped from her eyes as she looked into the light without blinking, with no fear. The tears flowed as she thought of all the hatred inside of her father…inside of her now. Her younger brother was different. He could do things…and her father hated him for it. Even her mother couldn’t hold back his rage when Max would decide to use his gift. She looked down at the heavy wood bat. It was still bloody…from that night.

Thank you daddy. One clean blow to the head..HOME RUN! out of the park! Two vertebrae smashed clean through. His neck was broken before he could feel any pain. It would have been so clean…so clean. But he lay there…with a crushed spinal column and a half crushed wind pipe…wheasing and gasping for air…”Polaaaayna!...You are. a very very …bad little giiiirl” It rattled out of him in harsh gargled whispers. She stood with the bloody bat and memories of daddy. She stood IN the light, thinking of Max and how she did it for him…all for him.

Maximillion

She felt a finger tap her shoulder, she spun around, but no one was there. The giggles started up again and then ceased quickly. She had to find Max, maybe he was here too. Had he known what she had done? Was he angry with her? She forced the killing out of her mind and focused on Max. She could almost hear his laughter that was seldom heard throughout the house. Suddenly she realized the light was the basement light her father had put in, it had a blue tint to it, was she in some sort of dream? Could she awaken? Again with the tap on the shoulder. She spun around, but again no one was there. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!,” she yelled to the empty air. “Polayna,” A kind voice spoke. “Max? Is that you Max,” she asked. Silence, the most eerie silence ever, and now the bat was gone, it was all gone, the evil even seemed to be slipping away. She walked toward the blueish light she could see it hanging now, just like the one in the basement. That basement…that dungeon, that gateway to hell was more like it. Could it be? She felt the tap again but this time she kept walking, tap again, she kept walking and yet again the tap was on her right shoulder. She paused. She stood still, and felt an entire palm on her shoulder, she reached up slowly to feel it, but it was gone. “Max?”

Polayna, it's me...Max.

She looked into the blue light coming from the old bulb in the corner of the basement. She spun around to see her little brother reaching for her. Her mind was playing tricks on her. How could he be here in this prison? How could she be..be..in her basement? She looked at Max who was holding a tray of food…”Max..I have to save you.” She collapsed on the concrete floor of the basement. Max set the tray down and looked at sister. He cried. She had no idea what reality was or wasn’t. She was catatonic now…locked inside her own head with nobody else for company. She had been staring into the naked, dangling, light bulb for three days – Her food uneaten and her cot unslept on.

Polayna lay on the cold concrete path hungry and missing Max. She could almost hear his voice…through all the others as she looked into the light with her eyes wide open.

The basement....

As she stared into the light her eyes could only see blue. She was in fact in her basement. That basement, in that house, next to that church; the church known for its children choir. Practices were held at all hours and seemed to never end. Polayna remembered listening to the practices her entire life. That house, next to that church, was now a sort of prison for her. What had happened? No it was not years that had passed it was days. She had indeed had too much of her father’s stern and wicked ways and turned that simple childs toy, the bat that Max learned to hit his first baseball with, yes that bat had become killing tool. Max had told the police someone broke in, their father tried to stop them, and well…. you know the rest of the story.
Their mother had been with her sick aunt spending the night in the next town over. So Max’s story was quite convincing. But why was Polayna in the basement? Why was she confused? The church bells rang, seeming louder than ever before. What happened that night? Why were those damn church bells still ringing? What was that smell? Why was it so hot? Every sense in her body was on over time. Her mind trying its best to distract her from the bloody killing tool and the pain in her chest and hands. Her eyes opened again and she focused on the cot. Could she make it to the cot? She was so weak. Where had Max gone?

Why do I have all these questions, SHUT UP! Polayna wanted the voices to stop. The questions to stop, the ringing to stop! STOP! She yelled out into the emptiness. There was sun shining through a crack in the basement wall. She remembered that crack, the only place in the basement you could tell if it was night or day from. That crack was her friend for so many years. She would sit and watch the light grow bright to dim to pass the time. She would put her ear up to it to hear the sounds of the neighborhood. She’d even put her face right on it to feel a bit of a warm breeze in the summer or cold burst of air in the winter. There were no windows; one way to get in one way to get out. This wasn’t any normal basement, this was the secret basement bad kids were sent to, or that is what her father use to say anyway right before turning off the light and slamming the heavy door in the floor shut. But this time she felt ok, not scared not alone. She felt safe for the first time in a very long time. Or was all of this her mind playing tricks on her again. Was she dreaming? Was she in prison? Was she home and in trouble? Ah, more questions… She was tired of questions.

Her fingers clawed at the crack

in the grey cinder block wall. The cement had chipped away enough over the years to give her a daily ray of hope…a small whiff of pure life from the neighborhood beyond. School girls screamed their cruel haikus in ears. She screamed with them while her fingers jammed themselves into the jagged crack. Her fingers began to bleed. A small chip of bloody cement fell to the floor next to her cot.

She stood up on the cold path and looked around. Where had this blood come from. Her left hand was covered with it and the path was sprinkled with her dark crimson stains. The haikus continued in her ears as she walked forward towards the light. The light was moving as she got closer to it. She reached for the light. She stood…arms open…reaching for the light.

The smell of burning blood permeated the room while the naked,dangling bulb cooked her bloody finger prints. She stood transfixed. Smelling her burning fluid and smiling into the light.

Home...

She was home. She was safe. She was different. She could tell Max had been nursing the wounds. He was caring for her in the best way he knew how. She had protected him all these years and now he was nursing her. Where were all the voices coming from? Did she need to hide in the basement? She stood in the light and smiled once again. Then the pain consumed her. She fell to her knees. She had to get out of this basement, she had to get to Max and into brighter light to see what was wrong; to see why the pain was so constant and sharp. She stared at the steps leading to the door in the floor. What was beyond that door? Freedom or prison? She forced herself to the step ladder and finally turned the shiny handle and cracked the door open. The room was silent, more so than normal. An eerie silence, fearful smell, and stillness filled the air. No voices, no sounds at all. She opened the door a bit further then something stopped the door from moving any further. She pushed a little harder but couldn’t budge it. Something was blocking it. Just as she pushed a little harder she felt a dampness on her hand, it was thick, sticky and cold. It ran down her arm and down the old wooden door. She let the door slam. What was going on in that house? What had gone on? He mind was playing tricks on her again. Flashes of a struggle, of laughter, of her past were playing like old movies in her head. The film was black and white and distorted. Her head kept playing it over and over, clips of the past week and years ago mixed all together. She had hit her father and killed him even, but now what he had done to deserve it was flashing in her mind. She slumped down the ladder and onto the cold concrete floor that was feeling more like home than any other place she had ever been.
MAX She cried out; startled to hear her voice crackle. What had her father done to Max? The blood on her hands was not only hers and her fathers. Sure Max could have his outburst, it wasn’t his fault he was born that way. Max was strong for such a young minded boy. But that was no reason for her father to hit him. As her mind played out the script of that event she cried until there were no tears left. Max? Max, she whimpered. Had she not saved him? She had to leave this secret tramp, she had to face the world again soon, how long had the stillness been lingering upstairs, why hadn’t anyone found them?

She had to open the door.

Polayna freaked out. She grabbed the bloody bat and scrambled up the ladder. All of her weight slammed against the wood door. She could feel the pressure against the other side give way. The door burst open and Polyana was free. Dust covered sheets were draped over everything in the house. The yellow police tape still surrounded the kitchen…the spattered blood sprinkles were still splashed across the white refrigerator door. The bat felt heavy in her hand. The whispers started in her head….”We love you Polayna..we love you…don’t leave us now. Stay with us.” She ran.

The front door cracked off its hinges against the weight of her small frame. She could have opened the door but smashing it in felt so much better. She felt alive. Strong. The cold winter air felt good against her sweaty body standing in the sticky, blood smeared sundress. A man rode up the street on his bike towards the old Bunchnut house. Time stretched out while Polayna looked at the man riding slowly…her father. It couldn’t be her father. Somehow, she knew it was. Her fury released itself in a crazed, high pitched, wailing scream. She screamed as she ran down the driveway towards the man on the bike. He looked at her with terrified eyes as the bike wobbled and stopped in front of her house. He was the deer and she was the furious bright headlights bearing down on him with the weight of a car behind her.

She held the bat in both arms high over her head, swinging it straight back until touched her butt. The swing was deadly. His terrified expression was saved for eternity as the top of his head exploded under the blunt force of the bat. His body slumped off his bike and smacked into pavement. A small river of blood gushed from his massive head wound. Polayna felt good. Better than she had ever felt before. The power she felt now…she had vanquished her greatest foe. He would never hurt her again. She wanted the world to see this. It wasn’t robbers. It wasn’t Max. She did it. She was the killer now. She looked down and grabbed a small bunch of her sundress to wipe off the small chucks of brain left on the bat. She knelt next to him…his face locked in eternal dismay…his head half missing…and she kissed his cheek. The bat dragged heavy on the grass as she walked across her front yard towards the neighbors house.

sundress?
brains on the bat?
eternal dismay?
neighbor’s house?
MAN you are good!

How old were you when you started being interested in writing fiction?

Does writing run in your family?

PLEASE RESPOND! :)

RESPONSE ;-)

I have only been interested in writing as an adult. Writing makes me feel good. Even when life is totally insane -as it is right now- I can always count on writing to give me a little break from the normal. Nothing beats making shit up! Being a paid fiction writer would have to be the greatest gig on the planet! It’s the only job where, not only can you get paid to lie, but you actually make more money if you lie really really well! I seldom lie in my real life, so writing is my all out free pass to just make up random stuff.

So…when you gonna add your part to the story?

.... fiction is so far above what i can manage. I am oly good at one liners really. It never occurred to me to try to just add one sentence -yes i will perhaps try that.
We’ll See
Rock on … :)

There is no chance I could ever

respond to this story.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
start something new.
A little more upbeat
perhaps? :)

upbeat..

I agree! this is almost at an end and a new one shall begin! :-)

hmmmm too dark for you all? ;0)

I just thought the story was getting somewhere. That is what I like about doing this…if you don’t like the way the story is going…change it. (and everyone is perfectly free to not like the way the story is going) That is what’s fun…how the story shifts according to each persons taste at that moment. If no one really wants to change it…then feel free to start a new story and I will add to it! :0) I feel like stories don’t ever have to end. They just change and adapt to whoever is writing them.

Either way…I’ll add to what is written.

I've enjoyed it..

I think I am just at a ‘block’ right now…It’s been great and I want to continue and hope to write many many more stories like this with you and others!

I’m going to have to think about a response to your last entry though. I like how this story has changed and I still have no idea where it’s going!

I just appreciate you joining in.

Thanks for whatever you choose to write. There is no right or wrong way to take the story. :-) And it’s ok if you feel like starting another one.

wow...

not only are you a wonderful and amazing writer, you are a great writing buddy, so easy going! Thanks for encouraging words.

I really need the exercise and thank you for starting this!

Suddenly....

Suddenly Polayna woke up as if out of a sound sleep while under water. Gasping for air she sit up and tried to shake the dream. The dreams were starting to scare her now. First a floating prison, then a secret basement and now…now…murder and death in general. Every night a new dream, a new vision. She knew there were things in her families past that she wasn’t clear on. Whispers here and there with mumbled words from distant family members and the towns people. Was it true, had her mother murdered?

She wished she knew her mother, even a picture would be nice. Lately she felt a connection to her mother even though she did not remember her. She felt like she was trying to contact her somehow. Why wouldn’t anyone talk to her about this?

She slowly climbed out of bed, not bothering with her slippers. She went to the hall bathroom and splashed cold water on her face. Trying to erase the images she had just dreamt about. That mans face was etched in her brain but who was he? Who was Max? Polayna was an only child and never heard anyone speak of an “Uncle Max”. As she looked in the mirror she noticed how tired she looked, drained. She had not felt herself for at least a week and had been spending nearly every hour in bed. Every hour in bed and dreaming; nonstop dreaming and tossing and turning. It was like a moving playing in her head and it felt so real.

She was pretty even with dark circles under her eyes. Her long red hair flowed down her back like cashmere locks. Her pajamas were cute and innocent, even for a 16 year old beauty. She smelled pancakes and slowly walked down the stairs, feeling the soft plush carpet almost squish between her toes. As she walked down the stairs she passed pictures of her winning awards for sports and academics along with family pictures showing how happy she was and the joy that surrounded her.

Her father was cooking breakfast and greeted her with a smile. “Morning daddy,” she said. “Sweetie what are you doing up, you should be in bed, I can bring breakfast up to you.” She wanted to ask him about her mother, but Pamela walked in and she didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. Pamela had raised Polayna from the age of three. She called her mom, and felt close enough to her, but not she imagined a real biological mother would feel. But Pamela was nice enough, she taught her womanly things and always had an ear for Polayna to talk away to. But this matter was a private matter, she needed to talk to her father alone.

“I feel a lot better daddy. I had a bad dream and just want to be up for awhile, maybe lay on the couch and rest.” Polayna loved her father very much, but knew he was keeping secrets, maybe to protect her, but it was time to find out these secrets and stop these dreams.

Honey, we need to talk.

Polayna sat in the meticulous living room with her father. He said he had something important to talk to her about after breakfast. Even better, he wanted to talk to her alone. Without Pamela there, Polayna felt at ease expressing herself to her father. Across the room, the sun light played with the myriad glass figurines sitting lonely and dust free beneath the window sill.

She sat up straight on the overstuffed pink love seat. “Daddy, I have been having these dreams. Horrible dreams about killing a man on a bike and floating prisons and voices in my head. I’m afraid to sleep anymore.”

Her father looked down at his black slippers for a long time before answering her. “Polayna, I have something to tell you. I have waited long enough and it’s obvious you are ready to hear this. Polayna you a dreamworker. I am too. You have a gift. We have a gift.”

“What’s a dreamworker daddy? What does this have to do with my horrible dreams? I killed a man in my dream last night! And I enjoyed it! His face…it was so terrified.”

“Your mother and I wondered if you would have the gift too. It seems that you do.”

Polyana sat forward on the love seat. “Mama knew about this?! Why didn’t she ever talk to me about it?”

Ronald Bunchnut looked at his daughter long and hard before he answered. “Polyana honey, your mother wasn’t murdered. She killed herself. She wasn’t able to control her gift and eventually it controlled her.”

The shock was immediate. These dreams controlled Polayna now. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner? What is a dreamworker?”

“The Bunchnut family is the last in a long line of dreamworkers. You are the last woman left with the gift. Dreams are real Polayna. Everyone dreams. And everyone thinks that they are exactly that…dreams. They aren’t. One persons dreams are another persons reality. Always. Even the most wild dreams are true somewhere, someplace. Dreamworkers acknowledge and accept that everything they dream is happening somewhere. There is so much evil and so much hurt in this world that your mother couldn’t deal with it anymore. She never learned to work her dreams.”

This was too much information to process so Polayna didn’t try. She just asked more questions. “What do you mean “work” her dreams?”

“Being a dreamworker is not enough. Generations of us have come and gone but only a choice few learn to control it. To use it. That dream you had last night…about the man on the bike…somewhere that was happening while you dreamed it.”

The thought of bludgeoning someone to death with a baseball bat made her sick. An uncontrolled stream of steamy breakfast flew from her mouth onto the plush pink carpet. Someone, somewhere died last night. And she saw it.

“Polayna, I know how strange this is for you. But let me tell you…you can control these dreams. You can change them. Have you ever had dreams about places or things that don’t seem to be from this planet?”

She wiped the corners of her mouth tasting used pancakes and contemplating voiding the last of her breakfast onto the living room floor. Her father was totally unphased by the runny pancake chunks on the floor. “Yes, I had dreams about some sort of spaceship prison with voices screaming poetry at me. That can’t be real.”

“It is honey. Somewhere, someplace, that is really happening. And you can change it Polayna. You can make a difference to those people in your dreams. If you learn to control your gift.”

She sat in her disbelief. She could have saved the man on the bike.

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