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Enter The Sandman

Ollukoy went up the stairs very softly for he walked without sound. He opened the door without a creak despite the hinges being rusted and loud otherwise.   He breathed out a cloud of dust that instantly went into the eyes of every wakeful person. As they blinked and rubbed their eyes, he walked behind each one, who were still unaware of his presence. To each one he gave a gentle breath upon their necks, delivering more golden dust.   They yawned, said goodnight to one another, and headed to their beds.
  Once they settled, he went to them, one by one. Weaving his hands over them, he created a web of golden dust that drifted down. As the web slowly faded away, it tucked them into a deep sleep.
Ollukoy used his hands to sign words that delivered dreams to the sleepers. Those who were good-hearted had beautiful dreams. Those who were bad-hearted had harrowing dreams of retributions that befell those who are wicked.   He left, then. Going as silently and unseen as when he had entered, he returned to wandering the night. Never did he stop looking for the next place he felt was in need of protection from Sept'Heures. After all, it was his fault the demon of nightmares was free.
 

A Fool's Days

 
Once upon a time, he had a mortal name and lived a mortal life.     He began his life learning in the libraries of his family's conservatory.     There, he discovered a strange book that had been purchased because it looked old and very impressive on the shelves.     No one in his family had ever tried to read it. In fact, no one else even knew it was in a different language.
Wanting to read this book began his journey into scholarly pursuits.     Over time, his knowledge proved useful and he accompanied many expeditions as a learned man.     The finding and learning of the little known became his obsession.     More than once, he came close to losing his life by being more concerned with what he had discovered than with the dangers that came with them.
 

The Fateful Pursuit

 
Willing to face any risk, he ignored the warnings of the local shamans and climbed the jagged mountain to a cave behind a waterfall. Once inside, he worked his way through the many traps and riddled locks. He found an old, black tree that grew beneath a small, pale opening providing it just enough sunlight to exist.     At the base of the tree was a hollow nearly closed by a weave of black thorny vines. Peering through the vines, he saw a book. Try as he might, he could not get past the vines to the book. A voice from the tree spoke to him. Turning to look, there was a face in the vines that he suddenly noticed were wrapped about the trunk of the tree but stopped before the first branches.     "Bring me my heart locked within the roots of this tree, and I shall let you have my book," the face said.     Not bothering to think it over, he agreed and explored further in the caves. It took some time to work his way down, searching the many roots of the tree. There, in the damp dark, he discovered the tap root protected by many lesser roots. He battled the roots to free a strange heart-shaped box and brought it back to the tree. With guidance from the black vines, he opened the box.     Something dark and terrible and foul uncoiled from the box. In a blink of an eye, it merged into the vines.     "As promised, mortal, the book is yours," the face said, and it unwound itself from the tree. Twisting into a man-like form, it continued speaking. "But, I cannot have you speaking of this. Ever."     Black vines lashed out and, before he could move, they invaded his mouth and his nose. They reached down deep inside. Screaming in agony, he passed out before it finished doing terrible things inside him.
 

The Curse

 
When he awoke, he lay at the base of the black tree staring up at the tiny hole in the cave ceiling.   After a moment, he realized the tree was no longer black.   It was now all browns and greens like a tree should be. Maybe he had dreamed it all.   Sitting up, his throat felt dry and scratchy so he coughed.   There was no sound. Instead, golden dust came out of his mouth.   He yelped in surprise, but again there was no sound.   Only more dust had come out.
He jumped up and frantically patted himself all over looking for what else that vine thing might have done.   Nothing else seemed changed. Then, he realized that he had made no sound.   Instead, he had created more puffs of golden dust with each pat.   Terror filled him then and he ran out of the cave, forgetting all about the traps and locks.   The traps ignored him and the locks opened for him, making not a sound.   Without him noticing, the book followed and put itself into his satchel. It would never be far from him.
 

His No Longer Mortal Life

 
In the days and years that followed, he read the book, learning the name of the demon: Sept'Heures and that the book was the only place that held its name.     He also learned that by speaking its name could the demon be commanded and captured.     Without a voice, he could not speak it or even tell anyone else its name.     His curse made everything he wrote appear as golden dust that drifted away at the slightest stirring of air.     The book would not let him hand it over to another, vanishing into his satchel whenever he tried.     Leaving it behind in hopes someone else might find it never worked, either, for it always managed to return itself to him.
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by cely_
 

In Dreams

 
'Exit light, enter night, take my hand, get me out of never never land.'
— a dreamer's desperate plea to the Sandman
  He eventually learned to do magic with his sand and used it to try and stop the demon whose nightmares were vile.
Without his help, the only way for a dreamer to awaken from the horrible nightmares was to promise Sept'Heures their eyes.   Dreamers who had made that promise woke up with their eyes being ripped out then vanishing back to the demon, as promised. Their screams of agony were like lashes to him, the guilt more painful than any whip.   The few who have seen him call him Ollukoy, the Sandman, and the many who have been rescued from Sept'Heures nightmares call him a hero.   But he knows the truth. A truth he can never tell. A truth that fills him with as much guilt as it does with golden sand.


Cover image: by KELLEPICS

Comments

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28 Jul, 2021 11:45

Great work, love the concept of a mortal becoming the Sandman. And I always love little poems in articles.

28 Jul, 2021 12:55

Thanx! Glad you enjoyed it.

Come vist my world of writing Pangorio or my world of RPG Adventures All-In !
2 Aug, 2021 02:30

This is an incredible origin story for the Sandman. I like the idea of him saving others from the nightmares as he knows that it was his own desire for knowledge that caused the demon to be free in the first place. Your choice of artwork also draws me into the tale. Amazing work!

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2 Aug, 2021 11:51

Thanx! Glad you enjoyed the story and the art.

Come vist my world of writing Pangorio or my world of RPG Adventures All-In !
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
5 Aug, 2021 11:11

This is a great story! I love how original it is as an origin story for the sandman :D   Is there any reason/meaning being the demon names or something special about 7 o'clock? Has thee sandman ever met the demon again after freeing him? I'm curious what the demon does with all those eyes now! (I love that he actually reap eyes off people rather than just give them nightmares :D )

5 Aug, 2021 22:56

Ollukoy is a phonetic name from one sandman fairytale and Sept'Heures is another ... even the taking of the eyes is from yet another version ... I just took all these bits and got creative ... plus Metallica and Nirvana songs added to my inspiration

Come vist my world of writing Pangorio or my world of RPG Adventures All-In !