They were in a small tea parlor. Crimson velvet carpeting covered the room the single window covered in a thick red curtain casting the room in a dim light. Large snails their soft bodies covered in what look liked modified frocks, trays full of teacups and pots hovered beside them held aloft by unseen hands as they made their way through the parlor offering the various masked customers tea. “I chose a place that would be most pleasing to you,” Mr. Dreams said sitting across from Felicia at their own private table. He gave her a wide smile showing all of his serrated teeth his red eyes dimly glowing from behind his silvery mask.
“Or..Was it supposed to be the most frightening? I forget,” he gave an exaggerated shrug before turning his attention to a teapot on the table. “Tea?” he asked holding up the porcelain teapot which looked oddly enough like a small snail. “I think you’ll really like it,” he said his hands moving the teapot towards her cup beginning to pour. “It’s my specialty! My special tea!...special..special tea..ha ha” he chuckled at the play on words as he finished pouring hers and then his own. His gloved hand lifted the small porcelain cup to his lips as he took the first delicate sip, “mmm, delightful.”
Felicia's hair was long again, and she wore her favorite dress: a long purple gown covered in embroidery and a lace-up back. She sat up straight, gloved hands in her lap. She never took her eyes off the man before her, though she certainly wanted to. He was captivating, though not with beauty. His presence was terrifying yet commanding all the same, and Felicia found that she should not even tremble.
She dared a glance down at her cup, but the sight of snails drowning in tea made her gasp and clap her hand to her lips, shutting her eyes tight.
"It's just a dream." Her voice was muffled behind her hand, but it was clear she was on the verge of tears.
"Of course it's a dream! How else could we be upside down like this?" Mr. Dreams responded hearing her perfectly. Sure enough the table they were sitting on was now on the ceiling of the parlor though their table and chairs working as if gravity was in reverse. "Not sure what you mean by 'just a dream' if you think that means I can't harm me you really haven't been paying attention," he said dryly swirling a spoon before taking another sip of tea.
"Not that you need worry of course, if I wanted to kill you I would have done so by-" His words were interrupted by the appearance of a snail waiter it's eyes peering down at the young woman. "I'm terribly sorry madam, I seem to have given you the wrong cup," it said lifting her cup and replacing it with a snail-less cup of tea.
It nodded respectfully before slithering away leaving a thin trail of slime behind. "There you see? No harm done, have some decorum. I would think a lady of your station could keep her emotions under control," he admonished again taking another sip. "So! how have you been? Have you been enjoying the new changes to the city?" He asked giving her a wide grin showing off his serrated teeth before hiding it in another sip.
She gasped in fear at the sudden change, upside down but feeling oddly right-side up. Somehow the change in cup didn't help Felicia's appetite for tea.
And that smile of his, of Mr. Dreams', she could barely stand to look at it. Felicia kept her eyes down.
"Why... why did you do this? Why did you... did you..." But she couldn't say it. This was the man that killed her family and she could hardly bring herself to acknowledge it. Just a dream, just a dream, every bit of it. She would wake up tomorrow and they would all be alive. As tears sprang from her eyes, they fell in the opposite direction, flying up instead of slowly drifting down her cheeks.
"God, what do you want from us?"
Mr. Dreams tapped his gloved finger against the table annoyed. "Oh stop your sniveling, girl! If this is some sort of ploy to garner pity from me you're wasting your time." He sighed an annoyed sigh, " how boring you are, how predictable and small minded…I can't deny that this has been very disappointing of me." He leaned back sighing his red eyes closing briefly in contemplation. "Your mind quakes with fear and denial yet here you are begging me for answers," he opened one red eye to glare at her. "The truth is there plain to see! but you are too frightened to comprehend it, to even guess at it!" His eyes were open again his cane in his hand he was now poking her forehead with the end of it.
"Why are you so frightened of me I wonder? Because I killed your loved ones? hmm..no nothing so mundane I think. It's because of what I represent to you. I took all your little plans, the niceties you had grown used to, the familiar places and faces which you had come to rely on…and smashed it all against a wall! I am chaos and disorder in your eyes! and that terrifies you doesn't it!?" His movement's couldn't be registered by the human eye but in the next second he was inches from her face his fingers gripping her chin forcing her eyes to stare into his. His grin was impossibly big showing off all the teeth he was very aware scared her. "Would it please you to know then, that you were supposed to die that night? Another corpse to the royal pile, and the fact that you didn't has been a source of endless confusion for me." He let go of her chin leaning back into his own chair.
"Does it comfort you at all to know that I am not…infallible? And that it is not just my hand that pulls at the strings of your fate?"
In her mind she imagined herself a dead corpse on top of all the other ones. Her mother, her father, her sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles, and her the very last one, thrown on top like a rag-doll in a bloody dress.
"L-l-let go of me..." but she was trembling so bad she could hardly get any words out. She sunk back in her chair. "I didn't do... anything... to you, I mean, we didn't, no, I loved them, didn't I?"
A pile of dead bodies, one missing from the bunch.
Felicia began to cry. "Then I deserve to die!" Her words were muffled through her hands "Oh god, if Gio hadn't..." her words trailed away into enormous, ugly sobs.
Mr. Dreams tilted his head hearing the name Gio. Gio, Gio, Gio…that was not a name he was familiar with…odd. She obviously had nothing of significance to tell her about him, otherwise she would not have mentioned his name like that. "Deserve, that is a funny concept. Don't you think?"
He said twisting his cane in his hand ignoring her sobbing. "Who really gets what they deserve? Did Veingaden deserve to be plunged in eternal night? Did Rosalyn deserve to live as long as she has? Did Reximar deserve to have his life forever colored by his twin? Did I deserve to be here entertaining a crybaby little girl?" Again he began to poke her with the cane, nudging her head with the end of it.
"This world does not punish the wicked, or reward the righteous or any of that other karmic nonsense you people love to spew. There are only two kinds of people in this world my dear. Those who play the game, and those who are pulled along by its machinations, which do you think your family was? hmmm?" He laughed a harsh barking laugh.
"Well I think that's enough for tonight, do try to survive my dear. The game has twisted and turned in such delightful ways with you in it." With that he tapped his cane on the ground the sound reverberating through the dream, forcing Felicia's mind back to the waking world.