Nightmares About Bedtime


Urban Horn

Lily L, Creative Response

“Ewwww!” Ella shuttered as mud squelched in between her bare toes. She was running through the muddy trails behind her house, as any eight-year-old would. Tramping through the woods, jumping off of logs, and climbing trees were all part of Ella’s daily routine, so she climbed a tree. 

Just as she got to the top of the tree, a bee buzzed by her ear. As a reflex, she took her hands off the tree and tried to swat at the bee. She lost balance and fell from one of the limbs about halfway up the tall tree. In a flash, she crumpled to the ground. She was soon aware of a throbbing that seemed to pulse through her entire body. All the glory she was expecting to get out of climbing that tree was wiped away when she noticed the blood spilling from a deep cut on her left elbow and left knee. The fearless, crippled girl fought the pain all the way back to her house.

She opened the door of her house and walked in. Ella tracked bloody, muddy footprints across the tile floor to the bathroom. She bandaged her wounds, as well as an eight-year-old, could. Her mom heard Ella come in the door and found her in the bathroom with Band-Aids spilled all over the floor, blood on the white rug, and random bandages stuck all over Ella’s body. Her mom being the gentle, caring human she is, cleaned up her daughter. Then she asked, “What happened?”

“I fell out of a tree,” came the weak reply. 

“Are you okay?” her mom asked.

“I think so.”


Then, Ella, her mom, and her dad sat down to dinner. They had a wonderful feast of hamburgers and tater-tots. All throughout dinner, there was a delightful, lighthearted conversation.   

When Ella finally laid down, she was ready to sleep. Her weighted eyelids were happy to finally be closed. She fell asleep instantly. Then, Ella saw herself climbing up another tree. At the top was a big, juicy apple and she wanted it. Just as she got to the top of the tree, a bee the size of a squirrel latched on to the apple and carried it away, right past Ella’s ear. The bee sounded louder than a lawnmower and Ella was scared. She immediately moved her head away from the sound, throwing off her balance and down she fell to the ground, faster and faster until… Ella’s eyes burst open, wide with fright. 

She had thought she had died. Ella pulled her knees to her chest and rocked back and forth. Scared to close her eyes again, she kept them glued open, only to see the darkness around her. The next morning, Ella was still rocking uncomfortably when sunlight seeped in from behind the curtains. She was shaken the rest of the day.

That night, when Ella laid down she was scared to close her eyes. She didn’t want to have to see herself fall yet again, knowing that she would have no control over whether or not she plummeted to the ground. She kept her eyes open as long as possible. However, eventually, she did fall asleep, and the same nightmare took over her senses. It seemed so real. Ella practically felt the wind rushing past her on the way down to the hard ground. The dirt and sticks that lay below began getting closer and closer until she was smacked on the ground unable to move. Then, her eyes were jerked open and the dream was over. Ella didn’t move because she thought she would break a bone. The morning slowly crept in as she lay awake too fearful to move. 

Over the next few days, the dream haunted Ella every night; she lay in bed each night always scared to close her eyes, but then never able to open them when the terror returned.

On Sunday, Ella went back outside. She didn’t climb any trees and didn’t look for any juicy apples. She was scared to look up at all and kept her head down. She came home for lunch. Ella and her mom and had a caesar salad, and then Ella went over to her friend Madison’s house. Madison was older than Ella and very smart.

“Have you ever had a bad dream, Madison?” inquired Ella.

“Yes,” said Madison in return.

“How did you make it stop?”

“Well, it’s your dream in your mind, so you control what happens.” Ella thought about that.

At home, Ella and her parents had dinner. Then her dad read her a story about a little tug boat called Little Toot. Then Ella’s dad left the room. Ella laid in her bed for a short while, creating a plan against her dream. Then, she closed her eyes. The dream started, she climbed up the tree and reached out to pick the apple when the giant bee came. Ella fell out of the tree, faster and faster until – Ella grew wings and flew up in the air! She found the bee and took the apple back. Then she slapped the bee from the air and it hit the ground hard. The bee laid on the ground twitching in pain. Ella continued the now pleasant dream and proceeded to eat the apple.


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