The Guest Post Dream Catcher legend by Jessica Rydill of The Speculative Fiction Showcase.

Screamcatcher cover

Story Origin of Screamcatcher: Web World

It all started with a dream catcher. This iconic item, which is rightfully ingrained in Indian lore, is a dream symbol respected by the culture that created it. It is mystifying, an enigma that that prods the imagination. Legends about the dream catcher are passed down from multiple tribes. There are variations, but the one fact that can be agreed upon is that it is a nightmare entrapment device, designed to sift through evil thoughts and images and only allow pleasant and peaceful dreams to enter into consciousness of the sleeper.

I wondered what would happen to a very ancient dream catcher that was topped off with dreams and nightmares. What if the nightmares became too sick or deathly? What if the web strings could not hold anymore visions? Would the dream catcher melt, burst, vanish, implode? I reasoned that something would have to give if too much evil was allowed to congregate inside of its structure. I found nothing on the Internet that offered a solution to this problem—I might have missed a relevant story, but nothing stood out to me. Stephen King had a story called Dream Catcher, but I found nothing in it that was similar to what I had in mind. So, I took it upon myself to answer such a burning question.

Like too much death on a battlefield could inundate the immediate location with lost and angry spirits, so could a dream catcher hold no more of its fill of sheer terror without morphing into something else or opening up a lost and forbidden realm. What would it be like to be caught up in another world inside the webs of a dream catcher, and how would you get out? What would this world look like? How could it be navigated? What was the source of the exit, and what was inside of it that threatened your existence? I did remember that in the center of the web was a hole that marked the passage of beautiful dreams that descended down upon the sleeper–THAT had to be the way out!

Screamcatcher: Web World, the first in the series, was my answer. Upon later reflection, and after the story had been completed, it reminded me of the portal fantasy Jumanji. Only this was not a board game. I knew that if I were the first to do this, then I’d have one shot and one shot only to get it right. And as far as POC, I thought what better lead character could I use other than a First Nations Tribe female teenager, who knew enough about Indian lore to understand and read some of the signs to guide them through this universe. I knew that I hit on something when one of my reviewers said, “Just like Jo Rowling owns the wizarding world, you just put your stamp on the dream catcher world–own it, and be proud of something brand new.” I only hope and pray I live up to this. 

About Chris H. Stevenson:

Chris Stevenson author photo

Chris Stevenson, aka Christy Breedlove, originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. His occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer and part time surfer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today he writes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult (his specialty), thrillers and horror. He has a total of 13 titles appearing on Amazon. He was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, and took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. Under the Christy Breedlove pen name, he took first place for the best YA book in the N. N. Light Book Awards Contest, and just now took a 5-Star review and badge in the Reader’s Favorite Awards contest. He writes the popular blog, Guerrilla Warfare for Writers (special weapons and tactics), hoping to inform and educate writers all over the world about the high points and pitfalls of publishing.
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