“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

This is the first line from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit (which was written specifically for children, by the way, unlike his later, six-book saga).

For a while now, a few years I’d say, I’ve been wanting to write a book of fantasy stories for children.  I don’t mean fantasy strictly in terms of the quasi-medieval, elf and troll infested milieu of The Lord of the Rings.  I mean fantasy in the most broad sense: a story world that could not physically exist.  Although, I concede that by this definition, Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis could be viewed as fantasy, since in the real world men don’t wake up having miraculously been transformed into insects.

The stories I have in mind do take place, more or less, in a present day, relatively familiar environment–but most of them have one or two fantastic elements.  In the story attached below, the fantastic element is the sudden appearance of the Eye-Closer, a being who functions something like the Sandman (though I wanted to put a new spin on this too-familiar character).

As a matter of fact, the term Eye-Closer character isn’t actually mine.  I heisted it from a Hans Christen Anderson story called Ole Lukøje, where the main character carries two umbrellas to show children when they sleep.  One is painted with pictures and makes kids dream sweet dreams.  The other umbrella has nothing at all on it and makes them sleep heavily and awake feeling unrested.

This story has been steeping for a while, but it’s still far from finished–though I think the broad strokes are there.  Anyway, hope you enjoy it.  Sweet dreams…

April 21 — The Dream Thief

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