“Yoo hoo! Lexy!” shouted Alala from the outside as she hoped her friend Lexine Lark, otherwise known as the Sparrow was home up in the Tree of Knowledge in Eden. The Dream Detective poked her head out of her window and waved.
“Alala! How thrilling to see you! Come on up for a tea party!”
“Oh, I do love a good tea party, Lexy. I am coming.” Alala climbed the rope and hopped into Lexy’s cozy home where the two chatted and giggled as they enjoyed the tea and the manna.
“So how is your new job as fable writer for the Otherworldly coming along?”
Lexy sighed. “It is a marvellous job, Alala. I already had experience being God’s bedtime story teller, and then using my fables to help solve the problems of dreamers, but to write new fables to make the Otherworldly kinder and wiser is a challenging career, but one that brings me the greatest of pleasure and honour, though I do admit I miss cracking cases wide open.”
“Doros must do it now.”
“I know,” the Sparrow said sadly, “It is strange that the job was given to me as a gift when I solved the case of the Scandal in the Garden of Eden, and yet my former love was given the same job as punishment, but the strangest thing is that I still do not know what he did wrong. One moment is was proposing to me on the Ninth Cloud and we kissed in celebration, and the next moment, I was stuck in the waking world solving mysteries until I figured out how to come back.”
“You still have no idea?”
“I wouldn’t know where to begin, but Dor was in a very bad way when I made my way back. I gave him a kiss goodbye, but even before that, he was sullen and moody. He came here as an altruist who gave his life saving people, and was the gentlest and kindest man I had ever known. What happened and why proposing to me was a forbidden action is one mystery I need to solve, but I have been given this task that I must do first.”
Alala looked saddened. “I have no idea. The two of you were dating, and everyone in the Otherworldly knew it and supported you two as a couple. Dor could not come to Eden if he had a dark side or sinister intent. He planted seeds of good fortune in people’s dreams, he helped you with your cases, and his story machine was extremely helpful to us. Why wanting to marry his true love was punished seems peculiar.”
“We were both punished, and yet I came back with nothing but cheers and celebrations. I do not know if I had done anything to offend anyone.”
“But no one here said a thing, Lexy. Not an angel, or even God Himself. They would have told you, and you would have figured it out. It must be Dor, but I have a feeling not even he knows why.”
“Perhaps it is the mystery he must solve to come back here.” Lexy sighed as she could not even begin to grasp why such a joyous event between two people who loved each other more than anything else were torn apart just as they were about to become one.
The client lying in bed waiting for Doros the Dream Detective was not happy that it was the moody detective and not the nice and perky Lexine Lark who was going to solve her dream woes. Lexy was nice and good. Doros seemed to have sucked a lemon dry. He was curt and unsympathetic that the woman’s dreams were now strictly in black and white, with his exact words being, “Gee, too bad for you. What do you want me to do about it?”
She then said as tersely that she wanted him to restore the colour in her dream because it was upsetting her, and he should be a friendly detective and not a big meany. He rolled his eyes, tsked loudly and sighed as if the job was beneath him.
Doros then made a sour face as he stared at the woman, “Don’t give me lip. Now you have a choice of bedtime stories: do you want the one about the dog who destroyed his owner’s guitar to get more attention, or the one about the slumbering baker who sold his own oven for a better bed?
“But those sound like such negative stories that will wreck my aura!”
“Your aura is already wreck considering I am here to help you solve your problems.”
“Hmph, I thought dream detectives were supposed to be nice and friendly folk.”
“I used to be until the love of my life got taken away from me; so now you are stuck with an effective dream detective who is angry and bitter. Now stop dawdling, and tell me your decision.”
The woman pursed her lips and looked at Doros. “Give me the story about the dog. Maybe he will be friendlier than the one who is telling the story about him.”
Lexy sat at her desk as she was writing her latest fable. She knew without a doubt her new job was a valuable clue in what happened between her and Doros, and her stories would crack the case wide open. Doros had not done anything in the waking world to warrant such a punishment, and he did nothing in the Otherworldly, either. This truth was the reason he turned so bitter: when an alchemist does everything right, but his lead stays lead and not transmute into gold, it could be soul-crushing.
Lexine pondered the dilemma. She did not do anything to cause such a catastrophic fate, either, yet she was hurdled into the waking world where she worked as a waking world detective until she solved her own riddle, and then was rewarded.
But she freed herself from any curse when she kissed Doros goodbye. Whoever or whatever was behind it wanted them apart.
But with Lexy out of the way, Doros should have been released from his punishment, but wasn’t.
Lexy was a storyteller and she began to write the story as a fable. Just as she thought she was stumped, she snapped her fingers and nodded.
“Someone else promised a demon Doros’ soul to a hellish existence without him knowing it! But who? And why – and how was it that they could enter such a bargain without Doros or anyone else knowing about it?”
She got up and fluttered down before running to Alala’s home.
“Alala! I have a question for you!”
Alala opened the door, “Lexy! You look excited! What is it?”
“You are the Unifier – the one who holds reality together.”
“Yes. It is a very interesting job putting puzzles of dreams together to form a reality.”
“What if I told you of my theory about what happened to Doros? Do you think you may have some insights?”
“I will do my best. Come on in and let’s talk about it over a splendid dinner of manna.”
Doros dragged himself through the woman’s very boring black and white dream. She was an incessant complainer and nothing was ever good enough for her. Doros pointed out that as she had abused every colour in the world as it was always deficient in some real way, the colours all got together and revolted, leaving her dream to be colourful in the dreams of those who appreciated them.
The woman wouldn’t believe it. She was livid that her dreams were no longer vivid. Doros then wrote a letter to the rainbow, and within minutes, a registered letter from the rainbow came back to chastise the woman for her never-ending griping of colours and there was a strike against her tyranny.
At this comment, she turned enraged, stomping and screaming that colours were just lazy things, just like sounds.
And then she could not hear a thing in her dreams.
She tried to scream, but then realized that sounds joined colours in their defiance of her.
Doros just stood and watched the woman turn her own black and white dreams into a silent nightmare, and couldn’t even blame either colour or sound for their revolt.
Lexy looked at Alala who nodded. “Yes, that has to be the explanation. Nothing else makes sense, but I don’t know how anyone could just make that sort of deal.”
The Sparrow shrugged as she frowned. “I cannot investigate it myself, nor can I tell Doros about it just yet. Perhaps a past love in the waking world…”
“He was barely twenty when he perished saving all those people, Lexy, and he always behaved as if you were also his first love. He died not having children. My best guess is it is a parent or sibling who had some sort of ability to trade his fortunes with their own.”
“I wish I knew. He has no more recollection of his family…”
“Meaning they were not kind to him in the waking world. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, the Otherworldly no longer recognizes the ties to make a clean slate of things.”
“Which means this horrible deal happened in the waking world.”
“Yes, it makes sense, but why did it come into play now and in the Otherworldly, no less? It is a horrible prospect that something in the waking world can turn into a timebomb here.”
“I agree, Alala, but I was wondering if any of the puzzle pieces that hold reality together could hold a clue to Doros’ old life.”
The Unifier considered. “I don’t know as I have never had the opportunity to find out. Putting them together is a complex job. I could take a look, and if I find anything, I can tell you, but I have a feeling by the time I find out, you will have already solved the case.”
She smiled as she waved, “Thank you, Alala. That is all I can ask of you. I will leave you to your work now. Good night, and pleasant dreams!”
She then laughed with a roar as she soared to her home where she had much to ponder.
Doros folded his arms and tapped his foot impatiently as his client ran in circles as now she could no longer see anything or hear anything. Both the dog and baker in her dream entirely gave up on her as she found fault with them both, and walked out. Perhaps she would not offend touch, smell or taste, so he took one of the banana cream pies and hit her in the face with it.
“Ack! What happened?” she yelped as Doros took some pie off the woman’s face and popped it in her mouth.
“Yummy! This pie is delicious and the best pie I ever tasted!” she said before she gasped, “Hey! I heard myself speak!”
“Because you said something nice about something, what I have been telling you all along. If you weren’t such a Negative Nelly, you wouldn’t be alienating all the nice things in the world.”
“Oh, all right, you made your point,” she groused as she wiped more pie off her face and began to eat it. “I can see it, too! In colour! Finally! But who made this pie? The baker?”
“No, the dog.”
“He was the one who bought the oven from the baker.”
“The dog won the baking competition in your dream before you insulted him.”
“Wow, what a talented dog.”
The woman woke up, saddened that she alienated such a talented baker of a dog, but Doros merely nodded and left before going back to the Dangerous Realm and sat on the lone chair there to think.
He looked around at the darkness. This had to be what his own soul looked like, he was certain. A void where infinity once happily resided. How it all went so horribly wrong, he did not know, but his only comfort was his punishment of doing the job the love of his life once did as it was now his only connection to her.
He still loved Lexy and his work was the way he rebelled: it may have been the way the gods struck back at him, but they could not take away his love for her or his defiance. He had to find the way to heal before going back to Lexy to answer her kiss goodbye with a gesture of hello.
The dog who destroyed his owner’s guitar to get more attention
There once was a musician who loved the attention that big crowds gave and he was a man determined to be the very best musician so that he would be blessed by the biggest and most adoring crowds.
He practiced in front of a mirror day in and day out as he wanted to look as gifted as he played.
The musician lived alone as he did not want the burden of a needy wife and needier children to get in his way of becoming the most beloved musician in the world without peer. He hired a maid to fix his meals so that he did not have to waste valuable minutes putting together and sandwich or frying an egg, and as he did not wish for any visitors to take precious seconds away from his focus, he had a dog stand on guard to chase away any potential intruders.
The dog was very lonely and would long for attention and treats as he stood outside the house where he heard his owner playing. The dog would sing with the guitarist who would then come out to scold him for doing it.
The dog was a faithful companion, but as time went on and his heart was broken time and again, he turned bitter and jealous at the guitar that got all of the attention he never did.
Then one day, the dog snapped in fury, and while his owner was asleep, snuck into the house though an open window, found the guitar and destroyed it.
The noise woke up the man who jumped out of bed and shrieked at the sight.
“What did you do, you miserable dog? You destroyed my guitar! Now my dreams of being a renowned guitarist are ruined!”
The entire neighbourhood heard the ruckus, and came out in the streets when they began to cheer.
“Hurrah!” They shouted gleefully as they cheered “Bravo!”
The man popped his head out of the window and gasped at the more shocking sight before him.
“What is the meaning of this cheering!” he demanded, “You never cheered like this when I played my guitar!”
“Because you stink as a guitarist!” the yelled back, “We had enough of your horrible playing and your conceitedness!”
“Worst of all,” shouted a young woman, “You always ignore your poor little doggy!”
At this slight, the man became enraged and threw the dog out. “If you love that worthless mutt so much, here! Have him!”
The dog was afraid, but was shocked when the townsfolk fought over who would adopt him until the young man picked him up and kissed his face all over. “There, there,” she said sympathetically, “I will love you and look after you, and you will forget all about that talentless lunatic.”
The dog was overjoyed that he now had an entire town who adored him for ridding the place of the bane of its existence. The man was so incensed at the scene, that he packed his bags and left, never to return.
The town was relieved that the man went away, and the dog then became a cherished citizen as he guarded the town that stood by him when he sought kindness and expressed what was in his heart, even when he faced the darkest of consequences.
The slumbering baker who sold his oven for a better bed
There once was a baker who was always very sleepy, and though he was an excellent baker who used the finest ingredients to make his wares, he preferred sleeping to baking.
Day in and day out, he took numerous naps with a big smile on his face, and though his wife had been concerned that he was suffering from a debilitating medical condition, no doctor who ever examined him could find anything wrong with him.
He became sulky going to doctors as it took valuable moments away from his nap time, and one day he picked up his oven and left his weeping wife for good.
“That’ll teach that nap-stealing meddler!” he shouted with a defiant fist in the air as he found himself a new place to bake his wares and take his luxury naps to keep his youthful appearance.
Forty winks became eighty winks, and eighty became one hundred and sixty, and while he woke up happy, he had less and less time to bake his goods, and he soon was without much business and a mattress that needed replacing.
He scrounged up his pennies and saw he was too short to buy both baking supplies and a bed for he wished for a king-sized one with many frills and fluffy pillows.
“Confound it,” he groused bitterly, “I cannot afford to sleep and bake! What shall I do!”
Then he looked at his very expensive stove and shouted, “A ha! I know! I will sell my oven to buy a better bed!”
So he went to the local town crier and asked him to advertise to the townsfolk about his pricey oven being now on the market, and who should show up to buy it than the baker’s estranged wife.
“You want to buy my oven?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, “I know baking as well as you, and I will not let a good stove be put to waste.”
“I get it,” he said, “You think you are going to buy my oven, thinking I will come crawling back to you…”
“Nonsense,” she said, interrupting him, “I am already going steady with a French chef and we are opening a restaurant together. Now here is my money, and I will take the stove, buster. Good night, what’s-your-face, and have all the naps you can sleep.”
The baker was shocked as his wife got the stove on a dolly and strutted out of his home, never to cross paths with him again as she herself became a renowned baker whose pies were the favourite of royalty.
The baker stuck out his tongue at his wife’s back as he mocked her in a mock falsetto. “Bah,” he said after he teased her under his breath, “I’ll have the last laugh when I have the finest bed in the land – better than what the king himself sleeps on!”
And so, he bought the finest bed in the land and the most luxurious mattress and fluffy pillows, and he celebrated his new purchase by taking the longest slumber of his life.
He woke up refreshed, and jumped out of bed. “Time for baking!” he said, but when he reached his kitchen, he frowned.
He had no oven, and hence, nothing to bake his wares.
In a panic, he sold all of his worldly possessions, he bought himself a small oven, but as word of mouth of his wife’s wares made her the more popular baker in town, he could not compete.
He went to bed, but could no longer sleep. He may have had the best bed, but he now he had the worst case of insomnia imaginable.
“Oh, woe is me!” he shouted every night, “I have a magnificent bed, but no business, and I cannot pay my bills! I cannot buy the finest ingredients, and now no one wants to eat my wares! What will I do?”
He wept bitterly, and cursed the day he preferred naps to baking.
He was so absent-minded, that he failed to lock his front door, and one morning, when he dragged himself with dread to his kitchen, he gasped as there were cats and dogs eating his pies.
He wept loudly as the owners of the cats and dogs came running in, scolding their naughty pets and apologizing to the baker, offering to pay the damage they made.
“Goodness,” said one man, “Look at my doggy! I never seen him so content in my life! These pies must be very good for pets. Would you be offended if I ordered a few pies for him.”
The baker perked up and readily agreed, and soon, pet owners from across the land bought the baker’s wares for their furry friends. He became prosperous once more, but he never again preferred his slumber to his waking life as there were many things to experience and many new adventures to explore…