A present to me from Hippie Jade- A ficlet explaining the nature of nightmares and the origin of the bat in Little Harry Potter. You do not need to have read LHP to understand it though.

To the readers of LHP - Jess' dad makes an apperance!



- a terrifying dream

- a terrifying condition, thought or experience

- a monster or evil spirit believed to oppress people during sleep

All children have nightmares. All parents tell their children that it is just a nightmare, it is not real. They are wrong.

The monster sniffed the air, it's ears pricked and it turned it's head. The monster had no shape or mass. It only existed in a potential way at the moment, but it was hunting and it was the prey that gave it form.

The monster swept through the city; a curved blue wall covered in shiny disks, a modest church defending itself from a modern onslaught, a glass bridge and for some reason a bronze bull staring angrily at the night.

The monster continued; it found a street of width but it's occupants did not notice it so it continued on, away from the centre and towards the places where the real people lived.

A small window, left open to any breeze that may be tempted to enter, caught the attention the monster would soon have and it entered.

Tiny child, sleeping soundly in a big-girl bed, stirred gently, sighed softly and did not wake up.

The monster leapt...

... and changed. It grew taller, discovered limbs, mouth and eyes, It could smell, see, touch...

A pale hand reached out and stroked a flushed cheek, the child frowned and shrugged it away. Beneath a painted smile the monster grinned and reached forwards again.

Big brother slept next door, dreaming contently of nothing until the scream filled his head with bloodly knives in the instant it took him to wake up, jump out of bed and run next door.

Tiny child, face drained and wet stared up at him, echoes of horror scarring the tiny face. Big brother is more grown up than the tiny child but he is not a parent, he knows that nightmares are real so he does not lie.

Big brother dries tiny child's face and tucks her in, showing affection siblings only ever show in circumstances where parents just don't understand. Left behind to be hugged close is the bear, glass eyes worn white and stitches loose.

The monster sniffs, it can not enter here.

It moved on. It had lost it's form to the teddy bear, (and if it had had a consciousness it would have cackled at the ridiculousness of that statement), it was once again a potential being.

It swept through the dark streets, as a creature of "might bes'" sweeping was really the only way it could move.

It stopped in a likely looking cul-de-sac and sniffed again, it's ears pricked and it focused on a window opposite. The light was on, it could hear faint music and, more importantly, the giggle of children having fun. The thought sickened any mind it could ever form.

The monster peered through the window and waited. The lights went out, now it could enter. The closed window presented no problems as it passed through the glass, it had after all been made by somebody's parent.

It hovered between the two sleeping figures, sniffed the air and took form.

Limbs, so many limbs, strong, long and full of razor-like hair, and eyes - multiplying the world by eight. A strong jaw clicked, large, yellow teeth protruded from it at all angles and an acidic saliva dripped on the carpet.

The children stirred, the monster brushed each one with a blood-soaked leg. The girls jerked awake and screamed, clutching each other in terror they backed away.

A man entered, he was an adult and a parent but he was also a wizard and a psychopath and this made a difference. The monster hesitated; no adult had ever seen it before and with this new form came an instinct for survival that was screaming as loudly as the little girls.

A bat hit it with the sort of force only available to the nuclear bomb and the insane; it ceased to exist.

The girls released each other, "Dad?" the blond one said, "How? How did -" the man studied the bat for a moment before answering his daughter.

"You two already know that nightmares are real, all children do. What you have to learn is that there are some things, also real, that nightmares are afraid of. A bat is one of them"

His daughter looked doubtful but her friend took the bat and examined it, "Does it always work?" she asked, the man nodded.

"Always. Now sleep" and they did.

The next day, after leaving her friend's house, Louise stole her younger brother's rounders bat and after a brief discussion with her friend she decided, in order to be on the safe side, to put a nail through it. After all she reasoned, he brother had been hit with the bat a number of times but she knew no-one who had survived a nail to the head.

All parents tell their children that nightmares are not real and they are wrong.

Children know that nightmares are real, what they need is not assurance that this is not true, but assurance that there is something equally real that a nightmare is afraid of.

I hope you enjoyed this.