Dream a little Dream

by OliveBranch

The potion

This tale begins with a potion, a potion meant to quell the heart, strengthen resolve, and rid the dreamer of nightmares. It was the latest invention of the rather infamous unicorn mare Stardust. Unfortunately for Stardust she had developed a rather nasty reputation for having her inventions fail on the first try. Despite the relative success of such wonderous items such as the Quantum Translocator, and the Temporary Transformation Tincture, they had all left her associates and test subjects in shambles. One poor pegasus had to put up with being a house cat for an entire week! This newest potion however, could not possibly go wrong! it was a sleeping draught, with only the slightest magical enhancements. Star was so confident that she planned on testing it out herself, that and she had not been able to find a single assistant since the accidental atrophy attrocity.

Stardust held her newest creation in front of her eyes. This was it. Now or never! The amber glow of her magical aura surrounded the innocent vial. 'Here goes nothing!' she thought, mild excitement, and a sliver of fear jolting through her body. Not willing to hesitate further the silver colored unicorn slammed back the potion like the hardest of ciders. It was warm down her throat, and the taste of almonds filled her muzzle. Stardust had never been on board with the idea of potions tasting bad, so she did all she could to make them bearable. Much to the inventor mare's delight she did not explode! quite the contrary! in fact, she felt rather warm. Her fur seemed to ripple like a cool bath was passing over it. Estatic at the lack of explosions or spontanious rotting Star nearly did a flip she reared back so far
"WAAAHAA!!! It worked!! it worked!" she cried, her tail smashing into countless vials as she turned about the room. Of course, all of the destruction was worth it! Her potion seemed to be non lethal!

Soon, much to Stars dismay she began to realize that her excitement at her potions success could perhaps be her downfall. The poor mare had been tossing and turning in bed for nearly an hour. Her head filled with anticipation, anticipation that was killing her ability to find sleep.
She tossed, and then she turned. Her head twisting from one side to the other, holding still a moment before once more seeking out a new cold spot on the pillow. Star groaned in frustration, her legs kicking straight up into the air, fluffing her blanket abover her like a tent. She made a mental note to up the dose of poppy in the next incarnation.
Star was so busy flopping back and forth on her bed that she hardly noticed that her bed was no longer beneath her. The realization hit her like a brick on an open wound and quickly she jumped to her feet. All around her was a barren field, with rusty dirt, covered in rusty, scraggly grass, and every few feet graced by a scraggly tree
'Aha! Finally! A dream!' She thought, a happy smirk upon her lips 'And i'm so lucid? Why what a welcome side effect!'

Considering the field looked about the same in any direction she looked, Star simply assumed there was no wrong choice and trotted off, her hooves crunching over the rather drab looking grass
'What a bleary dream' Star thought, with a frown on her face as she examined one of the sorry excuses for a tree that dotted the barren landscape 'It almost looks like it's been burned'. Star pulled herself onward, she didn't want to get too fixated on the little details, she needed to go forth and experience all that this dream had to offer! The major selling point of this new potion was the alleviation of nightmares, While this dream certainly wasn't sunshine and daisies, it didn't seem bad yet. The sun was warm, and the air comfortable. There certainly wasn't any sense of dread in the air.
'I suppose, a bleary dream is better than a bad dream' Star thought, her frown again turning into a satisfied smile. The wandering unicorns eyes turned towards the horizon and she stopped in her tracks. There was something different in the distance. Something dark, and...house shaped! A rather big house at that. Star lowered her head and took off towards the building, breaking into a gallop with eagerness in her heart. As the building drew closer Stars eyes then grew wider. The building was huge. perhaps, it would be more appropriate to call the place a mansion. It stood three stories high, and stretched at least the length of half a soccor field or more. Dark wooden paneling that must have once been quite pretty sat peeled, and black with mold. Once again Star frowned. This was not the result she expected at all.

With abnormal confidence Star stepped up the bowing step onto the manors large front porch. At least it seemed the part of the potion meant to enhance good feelings, and bravery seemed to be working. No matter the case, Star was a full grown unicorn, and entirely lucid in this strange dream. Even if things did go south, she was certain that she could handle whatever oddities this dreamscape could toss at her. Star leaned in close to the large wooden double doors that marked the primary entrance to the house. They were very ornately carved, and once more, Star thought they must have looked very elegant once. A low rumble pulled Star away from her ponderings about the door. Looking back and up at the previously empty sky Star now saw large dark clouds, hemmed with red as the abnormal light of the dreams sun attempted to beam through them
'Great, I see I traded in bad dreams, for a cliched haunted house dream' Star thought, turning back towards the door 'Guess i'm supposed to step inside before it starts to storm'. Her horn went ablaze and the heavy bronze handle of the door slid down, but not without some assertive jiggling. The door slowly pulled open, revealing a very ornate hallway, one that certainly seemed more well kept than the outside. The carpet was a bright crimson, and the wood paneled walls shone as if they had just been finished with stain. A bit puzzled, but certainly not dettered by this new development, Star stepped inside.

Star was not two feet inside when thunder clapped and the door slammed shut behind her. Star's ears lowered a bit. She'd been expecting something like that, but had still hoped it wouldn't happen. A soft patter against the walls let her know that rain had begun to fall just outside. Star was about to continue moving into the hall when an excited voice rang out
"A visitor! ohh MARVELOUS ME! HELLO!!! it's a wonder you didn't get caught in the rain! Are you one of those.....raindancers?" The voice rang out down the hall, barely a breath taken between any of the words. Star squinted down the dim hallway, lit only by candles placed at intervals along the wall. Soon, in fact, far too soon, a shape came into view. A being like Star had never seen bounded towards her
"Well, you don't look like a rain dancer, but then again, i've never seen a rain dancer, so perhaps you look exactly like one!" The creature said, leaning in uncomfortably close, it's beady eyes fixated on a now retreating Star. Her butt was nearly touching the front door when the creature reached out with it's....appendage
"Oh! dear! no! you can't out there! It's raining now! It would be just dreadful!"

Star winced and latched out with her magic, grabbing for the handle and tugging it down
"uh, yeah, I didn't know this place was occupied...I think i'll just go. I'll just deal with the rain" Stardust Yanked at the door, surprisingly it gave very little resistance, and slid open with ease. Without a second thought Star turned and dashed onto the porch. The world seemed to shake around her. Each second that she spent on the porch the patter of the rain seemed to grow louder and more intense. Star brought a hoof to her forehead, sliding it firmly through her mane and then bringing it to her ear, trying to drown out the awful sound. It didn't work. The patter grew and grew, until it more resembled the screaming of an orchestra of out of tune violins, droning on and on. Star let out a squeak and dropped her hoof from her head, her body swaying from side to side uneasily as the roaring cacophany ripped through her body. Her vision grew blurry, and she sat back on her haunches, her mouth open, ready to scream, but no sound came. At least, if it did, she couldn't hear it over the awful roar of the rain, she couldn't even hear her own thoughts.
Star had no idea when it happened, but something had gripped her under her forelegs and lifted her up, it was dragging her backwards, through the door to the house. Her head lolled to the side, still ringing with the sound. It wasn't until the manor door latched shut that she snapped out of the haze, quickly rolling to her feet