This post features Bethany and Ralph
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon
Timeline: After the book
Ralph stepped into the kitchen and found his wife sitting at the table, eyes pinched shut, hunched over a piece of paper. This wouldn’t have been especially odd, except that it was the middle of the night, and she hadn’t even turned on the lights in the room.
“Bethany? What are you…?”
She groaned and slapped the pen she’d been holding down on the table. “I can’t remember.”
Ralph sat down at the table as well, peering at her in the darkness. “You mean you were sleepwalking?”
“No,” she said. “The story idea. I had a dream, and thought it might be a good story, so I came down here to make notes and then… nothing.”
“Oh, good,” he said. “I thought maybe you were having blackouts, or—” he quickly thought better of this statement and cleared his throat instead. “I’m sorry. That’s frustrating. Most people find it hard to remember dreams.”
Bethany didn’t seem comforted by being included in the majority. She pulled the piece of paper closer to her, reading out loud:
Heavy orchids – but heavy with songs
Not the brother
Room was backwards… why?
She stopped and looked up at him with tightly pressed lips and expectant eyes. Ralph couldn’t even guess what kind of response she expected.
“It sounds like nothing, Ralph.” Wrong answer, apparently. “It’s nonsense. And I’m sure the dream really had some potential in it, but now it’s just gone.” She propped her cheek on a fist. “What if I never come up with a good idea again?”
“I’m sure that won’t happen,” he said, and when this didn’t invite a response, he carefully suggested, “A backwards room might be interesting. Could be under a spell or a magic… thing. That sounds like something you’d write.”
“It does,” Bethany agreed. “But I don’t want to write it. I want to write something that I want to write.”
“Maybe you can write a story about someone who wishes they could remember their dreams?”
“Boring,” she mumbled.
“Not the way you’d write it, though,” he said. “You’d throw in unicorns or goblins or make it about a dreaming wizard.”
She looked ready to argue with him again when all at once the glassiness lifted from her eyes and her jaw slackened. “Or,” she said, “The wizard is the one stealing the dreams from everyone else.”
Ralph wanted to say something, but was terrified of somehow breaking the moment. He ended up just pushing the paper back in front of her and returning the pen to her hand.
She surprised him by leaning forward and kissing him, and then she started scribbling urgently on the page.
Ralph isn’t one of my POV characters in the actual book, so it’s always interesting for me to write a scene from his perspective. Their relationship is tricky – Ralph isn’t a particularly creative person, and he’s also very insecure about accidentally offending Bethany. It’s nice to see them making progress after the book’s events.
Thanks for reading!
If you’re curious about
Bethany and Ralph, you can
find their book here.