The Book of Bad Dreams
by b.z. humdrum

page 1

There are two kinds of children: ones that mostly have good dreams, and ones that mostly have bad ones. Norton Splat had bad dreams—only bad dreams.

This is a scary bedtime story, filled with heaps of silly, ridiculous, unreasonable and curious bad dreams.

Of course, there is no other way. After all, this is The Book of Bad Dreams.

page 2

Each night Norton’s mother put him to bed, tucked tightly between the sheets. “Don’t forget the corners,” Norton would say. “That’s where the bad dreams creep in.”

page 3

Tightly tucked corners, no matter how tightly tucked, didn’t stop Norton from waking up with an awful dream. So he crawled out of bed and did what any child would do. He marched straight into his parents’ bedroom, careful not to stir up any more nightmares.

Tip-toeing out of his room.

Norton had never had a bad dream there—but of course his parents didn’t sleep so well!

page 4

“Let’s buy you a nightlight,” suggested his mother.

Norton picked it out himself—an oak tree with beautiful lighted acorns hanging from each of the branches.

page 5

But the next night he woke up again with an awful, upsetting dream.

“They were throwing acorns,” he explained, crawling into my parents’ bed.

page 6

Norton decided to ask for help. The neighborhood garbage man was a tall and heavy man strong enough to lift two pails over his head, so Norton knew he wasn’t afraid of anything.

“Blow your bad dreams away,” he told him, taking in a deep, deep breath until his cheeks were as round, red and full as can be. “Blow them as far as you can!”

page 7

Norton spent the whole night blowing. But the awful, upsetting, terribly bad dreams held on to the bed, to the dresser, to the curtains, and the ceiling lamp. What’s strange is they seemed to enjoy it.

“Yipee!” they laughed.

Poor Norton, by morning he was entirely out of breath.

page 8

The Splats’ neighbor was an amazing jazz musician. “Music calms the restless mind,” he crooned, his saxophone waving in the air.

page 9

Picture with pillow over his ears and bad dreams playing a xylophone, banging on pails and other toys for drums, etc.

Who knew these bad dreams could play? They made an awful, upsetting, terribly unavoidable 12-piece orchestra.

page 10

The mailman suggested shipping the bad dreams away. A few awful, upsetting, terribly unavoidable, cackling bad dreams later and Norton had collected enough to stuff a very large envelope. He licked it shut and sent it to a place he thought very far away.

page 11

But the next day the envelope returned. Those same bad dreams crawled out of the envelope, hooted and hollered for hours and hours.

RETURN TO SENDER is stamped over his address of “VERY Far Away.” The bad dreams are wearing Hawaiian shirts and cameras

“What a delightful vacation!” said one. “Time for bed,” said another…

page 12

Sigmund, Norton’s most sensible teddy bear, had another suggestion. “Just put them in your pockets.”

A teddy bear wearing a coat with lots of pockets sewn on in patches. A little baby bear is peeking out of one of them. Norton and the bear are in serious discussion.

page 13

In bed placing dreams in baskets hanging on a wall near his bed.

From the looks of it, the awful, upsetting, terribly unavoidable, cackling and stubborn bad dreams seemed to be multiplying.

page 14

Fish don’t have bad dreams, Norton learned at the aquarium.

The next night, when the awful, upsetting, terribly unavoidable, cackling and stubbornly crafty bad dreams came, he went to sleep in the bathtub.

page 15

“Of course, fish don’t get much sleep either!” Norton told Sigmund.

Dreams follow him into the bath and are playing and splashing. Sigmund is wearing a bathing suit.

page 16

Norton tried a great many more suggestions.

He sang loudly at the top of his lungs…

page 17

but that woke up the neighbors.

page 18

He tried climbing out of reach…

page 19

but all night they waited down below.

Norton is hanging from the ceiling lamp.

page 20

Norton even tried compromising…

Builds a line across the room with pillows and toys, clearly demarking a border.

page 21

but they raided across the border.

page 22

There was nothing else to do. Norton came up with an idea of his own. He took out all his pens, gathered all the crayons, watercolors, pastels, and drawing paper.

The bad dreams inched closer. As they stooped over his shoulder, using his two pickiest fingers, Norton plucked one and placed it flat onto the paper. He turned the page—splat!—then added another.

page 23

And when he was done, Norton had made something awful, upsetting, terribly unavoidable, cackling, stubborn and delightfully crafty.

So he called it The Book of Bad Dreams.

page 24

Every morning when Norton woke up, he drew the bad dreams from the night before. Strangely, there seemed to be fewer and fewer.

Maybe all of us are more comfortable there, tucked in between the sheets.


The End

b.z. humdrum

The Book of Bad Dreams is unpublished. Please do not distribute. For more information please .

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