Passages: The House of Dreams

Maggie Sheffield has just begun her adventure when she meets Nicolas Fisher and his black bear. Nicolas takes her to an inn called the House of Dreams, where they quickly come face-to-face with a living nightmare. I love to write description, and the House of Dreams has always been a particularly vivid scene to me.

Nicolas and Bear took Maggie to a dilapidated, two-story establishment with a sign that proclaimed it "The House of Dreams." Light poured into the street from the wide windows. Inside, the dining room was filled with happy chaos. Bear waited outside while Nicolas led Maggie in.

The brightness of the room hurt her eyes. The walls were painted with brightly coloured murals, showing fantastic, dream-like scenes. Shouting, singing, laughing people packed the room. Galcic men with small pots of ale and Gypsies in brilliantly stitched and coloured clothing sat at round tables, eyeing one another suspiciously while they drank and ate a rich smelling stew. Pipe smoke and noise mingled together and rose to the bright red ceiling.

Lost in observation, Maggie hardly noticed that Nicolas was talking to a gaudy woman wearing huge earrings and a green dress. The din of the room was overwhelming, and it took a moment for her to recognize Nicolas’s voice shouting over the cacophony.

"There’s a room upstairs for you!" Nicolas said. "Follow me!"

Nicolas and the woman weaved through the crowd. Maggie followed after them, feeling out of place with her drab brown coat and battered trunk, shyly moving through a world filled with colour and laughter and reeking with the pungent smell of ale and cheap wine.

excerpt from Worlds Unseen by Rachel Starr Thomson
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