The Nightmare Plague: Wilted Blossoms, complete draft

It had been a long day in the cafe.  The shop was small, but busy.  This allowed the owner to remain in such a valuable location, making a living through a volume of sales rather than the cost.  He repeatedly thought about hiring staff, but he loved to work alone, being so immersed in his work.  Every night, though, was getting more difficult after the exhaustion of the day.  He fell asleep in his favorite chair, unaware that someone was waiting for him to slumber.  At least he always slept peacefully.

Bilal wiped dust from his hands after stopping the creeping nightmare.  Reaching into the man’s dreams, he poured a cup of coffee in the dream, bringing it back with him.  Sipping the steaming unreal coffee, he made his way up to the roof.  The night will be long, he knew, so a gentle repose became a necessity to prepare for the work to come.

The nightmares had been growing at an alarming rate.  Bilal worked hard to protect his people night after night.  Duty was prevalent and what truly mattered to him.  This is what he most admired about the bear Barnabus.  He knew that terrible decisions must be made at times.  It was practical, sensible thinking.  Someone had to make these choices to protect their wards.

Most teddy bears start out as someone’s favorite toy, coming to life in a new reality to fight unnatural nightmares.  Many take this to include all nightmares, spreading themselves thin in fighting nightmares that are a common occurrence.  Bilal, though, willed himself into existence and focused on his true purpose.  He was the only teddy bear of Amman and protected it passionately.

The bear spent too much time reaching out, though, sensing the whole of the city searching for his night’s work.  The approaching menace was not clear to him until he was surrounded.

Dolls, their glassy eyes blinking in the twilight.  Puppets dragging themselves along the rooftops.  Marionettes cracking their strings like cords.  Bilal took the last sip of coffee and, balancing it in his paw, blew it away into sparkling motes.  He drew his sword, turning slowly to assess his enemies, knowing that the marionette’s strings were the greater danger.  When his back was to the nearest, he sprung.

The marionette sent it’s string whipping through the air, but the bear had ducked into a roll, swinging his curved sword as he leapt up.  The creature fell into two parts, clattering on the rooftop.  From there the rooftop turned into a brutal melee, with Bilal moving like a dancer, graceful as he moved.  Other toys in the area could hear the battle, knowing that the bear was outnumbered.  They could see the dolls scaling the side of the building.

It was some time before the sounds of carnage ended and toys became brave enough to try and get a view of the roof.  Those that did saw the remains of dozens of dolls and others, sliced through with precision.  In the center of it all was Bilal.  His felt was torn and there was stuffing poking out, but he stood proud and erect.  There was no roar of victory, no gesture of dominance.  Just a silent bear.

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