Jersey followed the nightmare.
It was taking its time, strolling through alleyways and keeping to the shadows. Jersey used the feathers on her dreamcatcher net to carry her into the air, holding tight to the net’s staff-like handle until she could make it to the roof of a strip mall. There, she kept an eye on the devilish nightmare’s movements.
“Where’s that thing going?” asked a voice, there on the rooftop.
Jersey whipped around, her dreamcatcher net flowing with her in a wide arch, sweeping up and then down and overtop the head of the stranger behind her.
The stranger–a man, dressed in a long coat, with curly brown hair sticking out of the shimmering threads of the dreamcatcher net–appeared surprised, but made no move to disentangle himself.
“I’m not a bug,” he said. “Please take your net thing off of me.”
“Who are you?” Jersey demanded, still gripping the net firmly.
The man looked around the rim of the net with a curious expression. “Feathers, beads–is this a dreamcatcher?” he asked.
The man clearly wasn’t a nightmare, Jersey thought. But she kept him entangled for a moment while trying to look over the side of the building and re-locate the nightmare she was chasing.
“Let me guess,” said the man. “A giant bug-net with a rim shaped like a dreamcatcher. Inconsistently-patterned thread rather than your usual uniform net pattern. More like a spider web. I’m guessing you use this to catch dreams–or, more specifically, nightmares. Am I right?”
Jersey couldn’t find the nightmare she was after. She glared at the man. “Who are you?” she asked again.
“My name is Gavin Hume,” he said. “I’m a meta detective. I solve stories using metafictional knowledge. And none of that makes any sense to you right now, but that’s okay. I’m not a nightmare, I assure you. I’m here to help you get your happily ever after. And I take it that means hunting down that nightmarish beast lurking below.”
Jersey removed her net from around the man’s body. He straightened himself out and brushed himself off.
“It’s a trap, you know,” he said.
“The nightmare you’re following. It’s leading you to a trap. Trust me. I know these–”
And the nightmare’s paw reached over the edge of the rooftop, digging deep into the concrete with its impossibly sharp claws.
Today’s three prompt categories were: “Waiting for a reply,” “A dreamcatcher,” and “A meta detective.”
Some of my favourite characters, these. Both Jersey and Gavin are from older (separate) stories. Hopefully they’ll see the light of day in full adventures sometime down the road. If you’d like to hear more about them, feel free to leave a comment to let me know.