The World’s Only Things-From-Dreams Museum
I’ve been here since the Tuesday before the Otherworldlies blasted our little roadside attraction with a laser gun. The fires hit moments after I traded in my “Don’t make me cry, I’m training” button for the standard “I’m paid to be nice to you.” With the blast came the spout of legalese formally denouncing our sequestration, severing our ties with the rest of Texas and locking everyone above “application received” in The World’s Only Things-From-Dreams Museum.
They usher newbies through the gates sometimes, shoulder-shaking recruits with stomachs too weak to look the Otherworldlies in the eye. Since Eleanor tripped into the Hot Pink Hole to Nowhere, I’m the trainer on Wednesdays, making the next batch my responsibility.
Kyler is taller than they usually come, with shoulders broad enough to carry the weight of a war crime. Tracy, on the other hand, is what happens when you drop all your Sunday clothes in the mud. She’s bruised, purple pooling around her elbows and thighs where the Objects of Dissociation exhibit made her too dizzy. She has a glint in her eyes that reminds me of the Otherwordlies’ mothership.
I’ll take care of her, of course. I’ll take care of them both. They’re my children now.
I skip over the crying buttons and remind them we’re no longer paid to be nice. “Anyone who’s still brave-stupid enough to come here don’t deserve our kindness,” I add, leading them to their first positions. They’ll learn what not to touch as they go, like the rest of us.
“Why did the Otherworldlies choose this place?” Kyler rolls his eyes, a by-gone gesture he must’ve caught on TV before his arrival. “Do they, like, want to die of boredom?”
“Everything in this museum fell outta someone’s dream,” I remind him. “Believe what you’d like, but that makes us very valuable to the rest of the universe.”
Tracy taps her fingernails against Madge Pickard’s concentration map, fluorescent light from the ceiling glinting off the ancient polish on her nail. “My step-dad wanted to bring us here as a family.”
“What stopped him?” Kyler reaches for an artifact—a piece of the ship. He turns it over in his hands, holding it up to compare to Tracy’s eyes.
“Mom made it as far as the parking lot before he fell asleep in the passenger seat.” She takes the hunk of metal, drawing it against her heart. “The Otherworldlies were the last thing to fall out of his dreams.”
Since she couldn’t be a fairytale character herself, Kristen Harris decided to write her own fantasy stories. She is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Young Adult literature at Southern New Hampshire University. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @kristenhwrites.