The Dream Candy Fair

Have you ever visited the dream candy fair? It’s a most astonishing place, with fragrance merchants, cute lullaby carousels, and of course the dream candy sellers. Some specialized to fruits glaced with sweet dreams, some trading neatly packed boxes of joyfully coloured drops for crazy happy worlds, or ice cream with the flavours of faraway countries. Tree shaded wooden benches, the smell of late summer grass, and soft light from lampions in the trees when the sun starts to sink. And of course the small, kind of old-fashioned and yet all-famous merchant stall, where you get individual dreams, hand selected, hand mixed, candies of all shapes and colours from displayed containers, liquids and powders in their bowels, bottles, phials, looking oh so magical.
Sit down on a bench for a while and watch the people: Some school children mocking about the stall sign pictures, laughing about the old lady tap-dancing on a rope between clouds, making faces at the grimaces haunting a boy riding an elephant, giggling about green mice nibbling socks; then turning their faces to the calmly waiting merchant, and rather shy now they point at the sweet things they chose to spend their pocket money on.
They hand over the coins and rather run then walk away with the small paper bag, to enjoy a dreamy time in a secret place only the know.
A white haired sailor takes their place, buying a handful of ocean breeze licorice seastars, to lie down on his back on the lawn, his face shaded by his hat, to dream of more glorious and heroic times of maritim freedom.
The merchant cleans the containers a little, refills some of them, then just watches some birds doing their flying acrobatics, until a mother enters the scene, her fair haired daughter on her back, the little girl already half asleep, tired from gazing open mouthed at all the wonders around, her long braids softly swaying to the rhythm of her mother’s steps.
A box with carousels printed on it is quickly filled with pastel coloured cotton candy clouds and tiny chocolate unicorns, and the merchant watches the mother carrying homewards her fragile burden.
His attention then is caught again, by a thin teenage boy, his steps telling he’s unsure whether he really should approach further. Maybe he lost a bet, maybe he wants to do a dare for himself. He takes a final step, finds he got new courage from the merchant’s smiling eyes, and with only the slightest trembling he explains in a half-whisper what he’d like to get mixed. He points to a container of a semi-liquid crimson substance – you don’t have to decrypt the mystical foreign letters to know what it is -, to a board with rows of phials, to a picture at the display.
Crimson liquid into a tube is filled, some grinded pieces of slightly rusted blades from iron-taste sugarwork added, the tube is shaken, the merchant grabs two phials, adds three drops each and five  from a third one. They fall into the mixture, steaming and hissing, promising to evoke cold sweat, a racing heartbeat, the urge to run and the feeling of being laid in chains. All poured into a plastic mug, together with two night-blue ice cubes, encapsulated a tiny crumb of paranoia pie.
Holding his nightmare like it might explode, the boy retreats to a corner where he can sit with his back to a wall, shivering, nearly spilling what he purchased.
The sun is nearly gone by now, it its last soft rays a young couple walks by to buy a bag of moon-shaped honey drops, powdered with the aroma of wild flowers. Then they resume their stroll, with the feeling of having all the time in the world.
I leave my observation post, to see if I can find myself a dream for tonight. A bit of fairytale, a little exitement. No monsters please, I can’t stand the foul taste of these drops. But travelling, oh yes, and something warm. My eyes meet the label of a nearly hidden bottle, I hazily remember the letters, try to spell it out. The merchant follows my gaze and explains – it is the ink that writes a dream firmly into your mind. Not recommanded to be put into nightmares, he adds.
“Could you fill me a phial with this? I have a lot of dreams I wish to write down.”

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