The Dream Theatre by Sarah Ball
Children's Fiction, 8-12
It was a hot, sticky night. Most of the residents of Horam Wood were lying restless in their beds, wishing a charitable breeze would stir the air and freshen their toes. Instead dark clouds brewed overhead until finally, at 11.45pm, a bolt of lightning cut through the night sky. The valley flashed briefly with light and shadow and then, with the trembling thunder, came the first fat drops of rain.
Jamie Ellis turned over in bed, pulled his covers up towards his chin and settled again with a heavy sigh. The rain fell faster and harder. It soaked into the ground, turning loose soil into muddy streams that poured from overhanging rocks like dirty waterfalls into the valley below.
Jamie sank back into the depths of sleep and began to dream. Images filled his mind. At first they were memories of the day before; breaking up from school for the summer, having a water fight in his back garden with his best friend Martha and being told off for soaking his little brother, Ralph.
Then the pictures shifted and the mood of his dream darkened. Fields of dry grass stretched out ahead of him. He was running. The pounding of his feet matching the rhythm of the rain outside. Something was chasing him. He sensed danger and tried to pick up speed but his legs weren’t responding. He couldn’t run fast enough. The danger was gaining on him. He slipped, feeling a sickening drop in the pit of his stomach as the ground disappeared and he tumbled over a cliff edge. He reached out, just managing to grab hold of a thick tuft of grass, his legs swinging wildly as he stopped himself from falling any further.
Looking up he saw that whatever was pursuing him had gone. Instead he could see his house in the distance, too far for anyone inside to hear him shout for help. There was no sign of life, no car in the drive or toys in the garden and no one behind the unusually gloomy windows. He couldn’t hold on much longer...