A long, long time ago in a land where night was always day and day always night and where the clocks ticked anti-clockwise there was once an old blind man who collected any spare daydreams others no longer had any use for. He kept them in a stove pipe top hat bequeathed to him by a dying failed magician turned useless impresario upon what was to become the poor chaps deathbed.
As any collector worth his stuff would do he would wait until the titfer was full to the brim whereupon he would sort out the meritorious daydreams from the dull or flighty ones. It was then and only then, providing there was a sufficiency of imaginations he would leave the sanctuary of his clifftop cottage and follow the sound of the cooing wood pigeons into the nearby fishing village. There he would exchange them for clothing, shoes, socks, cutlery or whatever else he might need at the Lost Souls Charity Shop.
Small yet perfectly formed Edith who worked as a volunteer there was only too pleased to execute such a transaction as daydreams were in high demand amongst those whose souls had wilted away or evaporated under the pressures of just living.
A van from head office would arrive at Edith’s behest to take away and distribute the dreams to the lost souls, for the main part the inner city vagrants who had but vacuous faces. Match the right daydream to the right drifter and many would, indeed had turned their lives around.
“You never did tell me your name.”
“My name you say young Edith…well, well that poses something of a dilemma.”
“You really don’t know do you? You see if I imparted my name and you came to call me by it I would be compelled to steal your daydreams for that is the way of things and that really wouldn’t do. It would be like the dark old times again.”
“What dark old times?”
At this juncture the blind man paused for thought pondering as to how to respond, indeed wondering if he had said too much already.
“Ah well in for a penny, in for a pound I suppose. On the other side of the mirror…any old mirror…there is a world where mighty men and women in power capture the daydreams of others and never give them back. That world is fast approaching ruination. Soon there will be no daydreams left and the place will be no more…expunged, extinct, gone for ever more.” With that he was off about his business certain in the knowledge that the yarking of gulls would lead him safely home.
Edith finished work at dusk’s first light. Trundling home all the time mulling over what Mr Blind (that being the special name she gave him inside her head) had said. Whether it was out of inquisitiveness or temptation she never did really know yet at home, in her bathroom she stared at the mirror above the hand basin trying to fathom exactly how one could see what was on the other side.
Just as she was about to give up she heard the voice of what sounded to be a God of sorts…well at least how she imagined a God of sorts might sound. A deep and dominating sort of voice!
“You can’t help yourself can you my dear? Admit it, you have to know…well I’ll explain. Put your hand, palm flat, fingers outstretched upon the mirror, close your eyes and make a wish…any old wish will do. I shall take your wrist and guide you into my realm…you never know you might like it here. Are you up for it?”
Edith, plainly taken aback at being at something of a crossroads, and long since bored senseless with the tedium of village life albeit with fear in her heart did as Mr God of Sorts suggested.
Whether it was a nano-second or a lifetime later she could never say yet there she was, no damage done stood on a bustling city street, skyscrapers, exhaust fumes, taxi horns, double decker buses, shop fronts, lights on sticks that changed from amber to red then green and serious looking people in uniforms.
“Excuse me Sir can you tell me where I am?”
“Crikey you really must be lost young lady…you are in London, England…as Samuel Johnson once said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’…hope that helps.”
Edith had never heard of London and was wondering just what Mr Blind had been talking about when he said this other side of the mirror was in decline. It was then she noticed sat kerbside across the street an expressionless, clearly blind and scruffy tramp drinking straight from a bottle of Dom Perignon. Being a charitable girl and feeling so very alone she crossed the road to chat with the poor fellow.
“You’ve arrived then,” his demeanour already on the up.
At this Edith was somewhat taken aback, “Do I know you?”
“No, yet I have a something here for you…I was told by a wise comrade years gone by now to take care of it until a small yet perfectly formed girl named Edith showed up…I surmise you are that very small yet perfectly formed personage…you are Edith I take it.”
“Yes, that is I.”
“Here luv…for you…I understand you are going to breathe life back into this old world of mine.”
With that from out of his dirty old rucksack he produced a top hat full of the very finest daydreams, handed it her.
“There’s enough in there for every lost soul there has ever been.”
“You’re a harbinger of good from another dimension…you are unsullied by the greed and power lust, the dishonesty of the few in this one, furthermore you are experienced in this daydream malarkey. We need you…simple as that. Look about you and you’ll see exactly what I mean.”
And Edith did exactly that. She noted that for every expressive ‘look at me aren’t I something special’ well-oiled daydream thief there were a thousand fold of empty, broken beings going about their business as if human in name only.
It was not long before Edith set up her first Lost Souls ‘Pop-Up’ Charity Shop on Fulham Broadway. At last count she had one such outlet in every hamlet, village, town and city across the globe and a Camelot of sorts was reborn as said dreams were rehomed. Yet that was a long, long time ago in the life of daydreams.