Delma woke up and helped Mrs. Olly with the breakfast.

“Good morning, dear,” said Mrs. Olly kindly. “Here’s your seaweed salad. Eat up before you get late for school.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Olly,” said Delma. “I have a presentation today and I’m very confident as Sir Olly has helped me prepare my speech last night,” Delma said.

“Oh, you know he likes it. He misses school, even though he opted for retirement himself,” Mrs. Olly said. “But now he gets time to work on his books. Nonetheless, I know he relishes getting daily updates from you about the School.”

After breakfast Delma swam towards the Aquatic School. Her day was productive and her presentation in the Science class was appreciated by the teacher.

“Well done,” said Luke the lake trout the Science teacher. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.”

Delma smiled politely. Luke had noticed that she had been inattentive in school. Her nightmares had been resulting in sleepless nights and she was not her alert active self. Now that she had moved in with Olly and his wife, it was miraculous that she could sleep better.

“But for how long?” Delma asked herself as she swam languidly towards Olly’s cave -home near the reefs. “I can’t stay with Olly forever.”

That night Delma asked Olly over dinner. “Sir, I was wondering if I could move back to my home…the lake bank?”

Olly glanced up from his meal. “Do you want to move back?”

Delma respected Olly too much to say anything but the truth, “Sir, I don’t want to move back to the lake bank. I admit, living on my own to face the nightmares is not something I look forward to, but I can’t impose on you forever. It has been two weeks since I’ve been staying here in your home thanks to your generosity.”

“Are you not comfortable here, Delma?” asked Mrs. Olly kindly.

“No, no, Ma’am. Please! I am very comfortable. In fact, you look after me so well. I have never been so pampered. But I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I need to confront my nightmares,” explained Delma desperate not to utter the wrong thing. The last thing she wished to do was hurt her kind hosts.

“Delma, I will give you my opinion because you asked me. It’s too soon for you to move back. I want to investigate what is causing your nightmares. You have just begun to settle down into your school routine again. Please concentrate on your studies. Exams are coming up,” Olly said with finality in his tone.

The next day over dinner, Olly announced, “I have found out the name of a doctor who might have a solution to your problem, Delma.”

“A doctor? Really. Is it Dr. Owl or Dr. Trish?” Delma asked, naming the two doctors she knew.

“Neither,” Olly said smiling enigmatically. That weekend Olly and Delma swam to the furthest point of D’Land’s lake. In one of the clearest waters on the lake they entered a wide cave with long stalactites hanging from the ceiling. An eerie golden glow seemed to emit from the rocks in the cave.

“Solomon?” Olly asked. “Are you here?”

“Yes, Olly, my friend,” replied a hoarse, whispery voice. Delma felt the voice coming from one of the cave walls. But she couldn’t see anyone. Then she saw a sudden movement. Olly swam over to the rock where the lizard-like creature lay, its black eyes glowing.

“This is Solomon the salamander,” said Olly to Delma after the octopus had greeted the amphibian. “He might be able to help us find out what may be causing your nightmares.”

“Hello, Delma,” greeted Solomon in his gravelly voice. “What kind of nightmares are you having?”

Delma explained how she had the same dream five times in two weeks. “It’s the same dream — I’m swimming but the water is murky. Then when I want to come up I can’t. It’s as if something is pushing me down.”

Solomon asked Delma a few questions about her routine.

“Firstly, I hope you don’t eat late into the night? Are you having any sleep-inducing herb?” Solomon asked. Delma shook her head.

“Lack of sleep is also a contributor to nightmares,” Solomon pointed out.

“I am quite health conscious. I eat healthy, I exercise and I sleep early too,” Delma clarified.

“Delma, nightmares are not uncommon so you don’t need to feel you are the only one. In fact, a lot of grownups have nightmares about not being able to run fast enough to escape danger or about falling from a great height. If you’ve gone through a traumatic event, such as an attack or accident, you may have recurrent nightmares about your experience,” Solomon’s raspy voice was comforting now.

That’s when Delma revealed how she had been separated from her family when she was very young and had found herself in D’Land. “A few summers ago my friends and I even went to look for my family outside D’Land but we could not find them,” she added. Solomon nodded with understanding.

“Then your nightmares are due to post-traumatic stress — that means you haven’t gotten over your estrangement with your family. Or some other anxiety is causing these nightmares,” Solomon whispered.

“Is there any other worry, Delma?” Solomon asked.

“Day to day worries, I guess,” Delma said confused. “But everyone has worries. But why am I suffering from nightmares?”

“Patience, my dear,” Solomon replied.

“But how can this be treated, Sir,” Delma insisted.

“Diseases of the mind are more difficult to treat than ailments of the body, Delma. But, I have a method,” said Solomon.

“However, it’s unusual.” The salamander turned to Olly, “I will need an adult’s consent for this.”

Olly nodded solemnly, “Explain it to me. I am Delma’s guardian. I will decide if this therapy you suggest is something she needs”.

“I plan to hypnotise Delma. Then, I will let her recreate her nightmare and live through it just as she wishes,” Solomon said. His voice seemed to echo as it bounced off the tall stalactites in the cave. Delma shuddered. She didn’t like the sound of that.

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Delma and her nightmares - Part 2

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09.03.2024

Delma woke up and helped Mrs. Olly with the breakfast.

“Good morning, dear,” said Mrs. Olly kindly. “Here’s your seaweed salad. Eat up before you get late for school.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Olly,” said Delma. “I have a presentation today and I’m very confident as Sir Olly has helped me prepare my speech last night,” Delma said.

“Oh, you know he likes it. He misses school, even though he opted for retirement himself,” Mrs. Olly said. “But now he gets time to work on his books. Nonetheless, I know he relishes getting daily updates from you about the School.”

After breakfast Delma swam towards the Aquatic School. Her day was productive and her presentation in the Science class was appreciated by the teacher.

“Well done,” said Luke the lake trout the Science teacher. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.”

Delma smiled politely. Luke had noticed that she had been inattentive in school. Her nightmares had been resulting in sleepless nights and she was not her alert active self. Now that she had moved in with Olly and his wife, it was miraculous that she could sleep better.

“But for how long?” Delma asked herself as she swam languidly towards Olly’s cave -home near the reefs. “I can’t stay with Olly forever.”

That night Delma asked Olly over dinner. “Sir, I was wondering if I could move back to my home…the lake bank?”

Olly glanced up from his meal. “Do you want to move back?”

Delma respected Olly too much to say anything but the truth, “Sir, I don’t want to........

© Dawn Young Magazine


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