She still couldn’t shake the previous night’s dream. It’d only been a week, but the nightmares were returning: The nightmares of her past. While most thought of this mild-mannered damsel as the perfect guide to any part of Japan, truth be told she hadn’t always been like that. It’d taken many years of experience, painstakingly learning through rigor and many information booklets, of the hardships involved across the hot springs, the nature, and the lethal beauty of Japan. That’s when the nightmares had began.
The dream always started out the same. Petite information booklet in hand, she had to cross a tightrope, laid out across a sprawling river. With no safety net below, falling meant certain doom. Always, the dream never ended. The tightrope never ended. She would sometimes wake up in a cold sweat, eyes bright with fear. Her friends suggested a purification ceremony. That would clear her internal chi, and help her to sleep more restfully. She hesitatingly agreed, as perhaps this might solve her problem.
She, along with several other girls that she knew fairly well, went to a fortune teller in Sapporo to perform the ceremony. The ceremony went by easily, as the fortune teller had a tremendous amount of experience. After a ritual chant, spa, and purification ceremony, she started to feel better. Things weren’t as repetitive, and she felt as if perhaps her friends were right. She fell asleep, and woke up without any occurrence of that horrendous dream.
For about a week, life was as it should be. She conducted her guides perfectly, and slept quite well. Then, something happened. Some of her clients had cancelled their tours, and business was headed askew. When she tried to fall asleep, the dreams began to return, once again. The unending tightrope, with its unending fall, began to loom in her mind once again. Oh no! She’d often wake up screaming from fright. Her friends did not know what to do, at this point. She decided to consult a dream reader.
This dream reader was well known throughout Japan. The dream reader told her that to completely abate the dream, which was a sign of great calamity, she would have to be quite pious and devout, hoping for a complete and long lasting purification. Once again, she went through the healing ritual of the dream reader, and all seemed quite well. Her life was as steady as a brick upon the wall. No dreams of confusion and chaos would threaten her, or so she hoped.
She still couldn’t shake the previous night’s dream. Was she even sleeping? As she wandered around her apartment, looking for her toothbrush, she seemed quite unsure. There was the tightrope, there was the information booklet, and there, laid out, was a sprawling river. She picked up the magazine, heart pounding. Her toothbrush was nowhere to be seen.