Mierna & the Keeper of Nightmares

Mierna could barely blink before Vlanders changed direction. His ability to scamper up ninety-degree angles was never an issue. She had no time to consider climbing the next tier ladder before he loomed over her. At full height, he towered a good three extra feet above her.

“Mierna!” she heard Bashton climbing but knew even together they would be no match.

As she backed up against the second ladder she felt her foot misstep. Or had it? Something pressed down, activating one of the hidden levers the circus ladder had to offer. A sudden spray of water shot at Vlanders’ face, halting his advance. While he flailed his arms and batted at it with clawed hands, Mierna seized the opportunity to start climbing to the next level.

What happens when I reach the top? It’s not like before. There’re no banners to rip down. She thought about the dream particle given to her by the Keeper. How do I use it?

Vlanders was a sopping mess when the water finally stopped, but a quick shake flung the droplets from his fur. With renewed agitation, he prepared to follow the girl when a banging came from beneath the platform. A menacing growl announced his distaste in the distraction.

“Hey! Hey!” Bashton banged a fist on the metal to gain the púca’s attention.

From above, Mierna paused to check what was happening. Just as suspected, the púca’s body could not fit through the small opening that was meant for humans to safely climb between platforms. This gave some protection to Bashton, who quickly climbed through when Vlanders had had enough of his foolishness and jumped down to try another go. Bashton anticipated his next move and climbed back through the opening when the púca landed on the platform again. All of this gave Mierna more time. She knew Vlanders was swift. Combined with his magic, there was no telling what he was capable of doing.

Bashton’s game, however, did not hold the púca’s attention for long. After a few minutes of going between a sandy floor and first platform, his interest slipped back to the girl about to reach the second tier.

“He’s moving again!” Bashton warned.

She had just climbed through the opening when Vlanders struck the platform, hoofs scarring along metal walkway and causing the entire structure to shake. He almost seemed to chuckle at her bewildered expression. Yet this was not a pleasant sound she was accustomed to hearing – that most addictive giggle that put a smile on anyone’s face who heard it. Replaced with a sinister growl, he approached with confidence that she was now within his grasp.

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