Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream
"But I blew out all of my candles, Mommy!" Elizabeth protested as she was tucked snuggly under her thick, floral print blanket. "I want my wish!"
"Maybe the Sandman will bring you a good dream, Lizzy," her mother suggested. She neatly flattened the blanket over the wriggling child and leaned in to kiss her forehead. Lizzy pouted and furrowed her brow. She didn't want just any wish. She wanted her wish.
"Didn't you know?" Mommy asked. "The Sandman is a professional wishmaker. He crafts them out of sand and sprinkles them in your eyes as you're falling asleep. Then he whispers sweet little nothings in your ears and everything you ever want becomes reality. When you wake up, his gifts to you are the memories of your adventure and your wish come true. But he only gives these gifts to good little girls who go to bed on time."
Lizzy's eyes lit up in wonder. Completely captivated by Mommy's creative tale, she wriggled under her sheets one last time and buried her face in her pillow, eager to fall asleep for all of the goodies the Sandman promised to bring.
"I love you, sweetie." Mommy began to close the door.
"I love you too, Mommy!" Lizzy squealed. "Quick, close the door! I want to see Mr. Sandman!"
Mommy chuckled, whispered "good-night, my angel," and gave the door a quiet click shut.
Lizzy felt like hours had passed as she tossed and turned. Her excitement made her heart race and gave her the energy to do anything except sleep. However, that didn't stop her from trying. She attempted everything from counting sheep to forcing herself to snore, but nothing seemed to work.
A cold draft eventually disturbed her from her futile sleeping campaign and she poked her head out from her pillow and covers. The curtains at her window waved as a breeze flowed onto her room.
"No wonder I couldn't sleep!" she muttered to herself and threw her blankets off of her body. She stomped over to the window, officially in a bitter mood for potentially being robbed of her chances as at wish come true, and put her fingers on the pane. As she was about to slam it close it, her eyes met the two, blank, white eyes of a near ghostly figure in the shape of a nude, grown woman. Her endlessly black skin smoked off of her silhouette as the breeze wisped past.
"Are you Mr. Sandman?" Lizzy asked curiously, completely convinced that she was dreaming, as no such creature existed in her real world.
"You can say that," the woman answered. "Are you ready?"
"Of course I'm ready! I already made my wish and blew out all of my candles!"
"Your mother must be proud of you," the Sandman answered. She held her hand out for Lizzy to take.
"My Mommy is always proud of me," Lizzy said. "She told I'm the best daughter in the world this morning! She also told me you were going to come tonight and grant me my birthday wish tonight."
The Sandman remained silent and waited for Lizzy to take her hand. As soon as the child did, her body evaporated into a pool of white light that collected in the Sandman's palm. She smiled into it and balled her fingers into a fist to hold onto it tightly.
On the street below her, red sirens flashed and wailed as large red trucks pulled up to the house. The Sandman peered back into the window to see black smoke filling the room, and Mommy kicking in the door to find her daughter's body in the bed. She howled in sorrow as the flames from an electrical fire rushed into the room after her, devouring everything in its wake.
The firemen swarmed into the room after her, combating the flames and dragging her to the window. No one noticed the Sandman. No one could see her. All that was evident of her ever being there was the hollow sound of Mommy's shrill mourning voice, which lingered in the night sky.