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Bedtime Fiction Friendship

People say that a kid’s imagination is the strongest source of creativity, and as a Bedtime Guardian, I can vouch for that claim. 

Oh sorry! You’re new! You don’t know what a Bedtime Guardian is. Well, I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible; when our little girl, Hailey, draws a picture and tapes it to her bedroom wall, the drawing comes to life when she goes to sleep. 

Admittedly, though, it’s all a mystery. There are plenty of questions like why it happens, if Hailey knows it happens, if other kids have this ability, or if only happens to people who aspire to be an artist like our little girl. 

I was her first drawing, and she named me Foxy for obvious reasons. I know it’s a bit uncreative, but the kid was five when she drew me so cut her some slack. 

I have no memory past the first night I emerged about two years ago; the first thing I remember was a humming sound breaking through the darkness, and then a bright light before I was tossed from the drawing paper. 

I remember feeling confused; I was free from my 2-D paper home, but I was now trapped in a narrow dimension that was the bedroom wall. Using the little freedom I had, I explored the small room, and quickly spotted Hailey sleeping peacefully in her bed. 

That’s when a voice filled my head: protect Hailey. 

For the next couple hours of the night, those words and my limited world were all I knew, and all I could do was pace across the walls anxious for something to happen. I tried to find something, anything to be friends with but the rest of the wall was bare and I couldn’t interact with any objects outside the wall. 

My boredness soon turned to sorrow, and I slumped down; I wasn’t sleepy but going to sleep sounded better than being completely, and utterly alone besides for the child I was told to protect. 

Then, close to midnight, three little plumes of black smoke came whirling in through the window. They phased through the glass like it didn’t exist, and they began to make their way over to Hailey. 

One of them, however, stopped in front of me and I found little, red eyes peering at me. I perked up at the thought of having someone to interact with, and I greeted the little guy with a “hello.” 

There was a pause, and the little cloud of smoke seemed to be studying me, but soon enough it replied with, “Ah, hello.” Its voice was raspy and seemed to have multiple types of voices mixed into it. “You must be new.” the cloud continued. 

I was taken off guard by the strange voice that came from the cloud, but I was desperate to not be alone anymore, so I nodded, confirming its assumption. 

Looking past the cloud creature, I spotted the two other clouds orbiting Hailey’s head. “What are you doing to her?” I asked. 

The clouds floated in front of me, blocking my sight, and quickly answered, “A nightly ritual. It helps the kid sleep better at night.” 

That’s when my confusion returned, and it grew even more when I caught the sound of Hailey whimpering. 

“Ah,” the cloud creature sighed turning its beady, red eyes to the little girl. “The brat’s mind must be active tonight. I gotta help my buddies; just leave this to us and I guarantee the kid will get a good night’s sleep.” 

“But I–” The cloud floated away from me and joined the others circling Hailey’s mind before I could protest. 

Doubt filled every corner of my head, and I began to walk back to the piece of paper I had emerged from, but a scream for help froze me in my tracks, and I looked back at the clouds that continued to circle the little girl. 

Hailey whimpered and kicked her covers, but her mind…her dreams were screaming out for help. And the clouds of smoke that I thought came here to be my friends…they were laughing at her suffering. 

Protect Hailey!

Up until this moment, I had no idea what I was supposed to be protecting her from, but any confusion that remained with me seemed to disperse upon realizing what those creatures were doing to Hailey. 

Instinct took over and I traversed to Hailey’s side as fast as I could, and from my restricted dimension I bared my teeth and growled at the clouds. 

All three of them stopped what they were doing, and turned their red eyes toward me. The one that approached me before separated from the group and hovered as close to my muzzle as the invisible barrier would allow.

I continued to growl, and hiss, “You lied to me. You’re…hurting…her.” 

“What are you going to do?” the cloud asked. “You are in there, and we are out here. All you can do is watch.” 

My growling softened when I realized it was right, but I shook away the doubt, took a couple of steps back, and rammed my head into the barrier. All it resulted in was me being flung back, and when I regained my senses the little clouds, which seemed bigger now, continued to stare down at me. 

Without uttering another word, the cloud proceeded to continue its “ritual” with the other nightmarish creatures. 

I could feel tears filling my yellow, scribble-in eyes, and everything felt hopeless…until I spotted the crack in the invisible barrier. I got back on my paws and walked over to it; evidently, my smokey foes hadn’t noticed it. 

Protect her…

I began to bash into the barrier with my body. 

Protect her!

Then I kicked it multiple times with my hind legs. 

PROTECT HER!

Then I head-butted it, and it was that final strike that the barrier finally gave out and shattered like glass. With a growl, I bounded from my once-limited world and towards the creatures who were threatening the girl I was to watch over. 

All three turned to me in surprise, and I grabbed the one that had taunted and tricked me. I dragged it down onto the bedroom floor and pinned it down with my paw. The red eyes that stared up at me were filled with terror, shocked that I had been able to break through. 

“Take you’re friends and leave!” I barked. 

The red eyes narrowed and it slithered out from under my paw. Due to its ritual being broken and disturbed, the smokey creature had shrunk down to its original size; I later realized I was able to avoid a full-on brawl. 

“We will be back,” it said in its shifty, ever-changing voice. “There are more of us out there. Billions of us. You will be overwhelmed and overpower eventually, little fox.” 

I watched the three plumes of smoke leave in a hurry, and I walked over to Hailey. She seemed relaxed, and something told me she wouldn’t remember the horrible nightmares those creatures inflicted on her, and that made me happy. 

I returned to my narrow world, and heard a low hum; at first, I thought the invisible barrier had returned, but when I outstretched my paw, I was able to phase into the outside world. 

You protected her, Foxy,” I heard a low voice say, and I looked around to find the source, but there was none. “You are officially a guardian. You must protect this child’s imagination and dreams from the nightmare creatures that want to feast on them. That is your duty.” 

I sat down, my orange and white tail wrapping around my paws. “Those creatures are right,” I replied. “By myself, I will not be able to do this every night.” 

Do not worry, more friends will join you, and they shall help you fend off the nightmares.” the mysterious voice reassured me. 

And you know what? He was right. 

Two years later, the walls are covered in drawings of animals, shapes, and even plants that all have their part to play in protecting this girl. As the first drawing, though, it’s my responsibility to welcome the newcomers…like you. 

None of us know how we come to life, or when Hailey will grow out of needing protection, but she needs us now, and that’s what matters. 

So, newbie, are you ready to become a Bedtime guardian? Alright, let’s get to work.


February 26, 2024 02:54

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3 comments

Uncle Spot
02:03 Mar 01, 2024

Very creative, I loved it. When it finally dawned on me that you were a puppy I really got into the story. Well done.

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Phoebe DeNeve
18:38 Mar 01, 2024

Thank you!

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Mary Bendickson
04:39 Feb 26, 2024

Imaginative.🦊

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