I woke up with my senses on stun. I looked at the curtains, the sun played with the red and green, making it light up. Suddenly the pretty roses felt like they stretched out to catch me. It vaguely reminded me of my dream.

I looked at my alarm clock.

An hour of sleep… I clasped my hands over my face and roared with frustration. I would never get used to working night shifts.

“Failed again. I am trying to give you a recurring dream so you see that your job is trying to kill you. I guess it’s no use if you sleep so little.”

I turned my head sideways and stopped when I saw a small red creature. It wore horn-rimmed glasses and a smart red suit. It held a clipboard and stared at me over its glasses.

“Who the hell are you?”

It handed me a small gold-embossed business card. I read the text on it out loud. “Sandman Inc. Purveyors of Dreams since 1825. Aloysius B. Parker. Dream Guide.”

I laughed. “You are full of it, aren’t you?”

“I am quite something, dear. Now, why don’t you sleep?”

I pointed at the windows. “The curtains don’t work.”

It tut-tutted at the clipboard and wrote something down, mumbling, “Get new curtains, done.”

It then put the clipboard down, took a pouch from its pocket, and poured the contents on its hand. “Any wishes?”

“Waking up from this dream would be good.”

It laughed. “First you dream. It’s a good dream, I don’t want to have to reset the machine again. Ever rewound a videotape by hand? Did that the past three days. Don’t wish to repeat it.”

It blew the dust in my eyes. The world faded.

I dreamed.

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