[WP] Sometimes when people die, they’re assigned “community service” to earn a spot in heaven. Some become reapers, others become guardians. You’ve been assigned one of the most dangerous jobs: you’re a Sandman.

The dreams burn in my palm.

A tiny cairn of glittering crystals. Crushed silicate.

This handful of sand is all it will take to ruin you.

The dreams will burn in your eyes, too. You will not feel them. You will feel the thrashing and the fighting as your lightless slumber fades into something else entirely. Something that hungers for you, picks you apart dream by dream. Sleep becoming black fingers of water, dragging you down into the deep.

In your dreams, you will fight. You will cry. We all do.

But I have a job to do.

On the outside, you will look as you have since the moment I crept through the glass of your shut window like a shadow, seeking refuge from the night. You will lay there, tossing and turning in your sleep. Your wires of black hair strewn across the pillow.

I hold the dreams flat on my pale palm. The sand shudders as if considering its own fate. What it is doomed to bring to you. Moonlight flickers across the dream-sand.

Neither of us want to be here, I want to reassure you. Or maybe I’m reassuring myself. Or the sand. I’m not even sure anymore.

I have lost track of who I am. Death has undone so many things. My name, my face, the heart that once pulsed in me. I am only the Sandman now, and I know only this: if I blow enough dreams into the eyes of mortals, one day I will earn my way into Heaven.

This dream is a heavy one. It sags against my palm like it wants to fall and fall until it reaches straight to Hell.

You know it already. You know it like a child knows a corridor at night: familiar and full of horrors.

You weren’t the one who threw the ball. You weren’t the one who told that little girl to go get it. You weren’t the child watching from the other side of the rosebush as the car sped past and the little girl screamed and thudded and rolled and the car kept going, trailing scarlet.

No. You were the one who kept driving. Sobbing. Gripping the wheel. Willing time to turn backwards.

You were the one who went home and scrubbed and scrubbed at the cracked headlight like it was your own soul. You were the one who buried this down as far as the earth of your memories would take it.

They never caught you. But I have.

I hesitate there, at the edge of your bed. I wonder how I look to you, standing over your bed like this. Tall, hatchetlike, thin. Dark-haired and wild-eyed.. My name will haunt you like a whisper: the Sandman was here.

I want to tell you it’s not my fault. I wasn’t always like this.

I was like you, once. Once I walked among the living, and my dreams were lost with every rising morning.

But now I see the underbelly of the night. I see what waits on the other side, what spells spin from mortals’ minds when they lose themselves to dreams.

I see what happens to nightmares that go unheeded.

Perhaps I was like you once. Perhaps another Sandman stood over me with the weight of the world in his palm, ready to dust it upon me. Perhaps I was someone else’s ticket into Heaven.

But tonight, I have to bring you Hell. Just a little piece of it.

It’s the only thing that will save us both, someday or another.

I lean down close to you. Your eyelids flutter as you sleep, dreamless and content.

I bring the sand to my lips and breathe the nightmare into you.

r/nickofstatic for stories with me and my good friend nickofnight <3

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