Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Jessica Battersea is an 87-year-old former librarian. She lives alone in a little cottage on the very edge of the Dark Peak Moors, spending her days catching up on back-logged reading and gardening. In the Dark Peak area of Northern England, good gardening weather is scarce, the climate keeping steady around 50 F and the wind being strong and wet.

Jessica had scared herself silly reading a short story by Edgar Allen Poe when she went into the garden one particularly dark and bracing day. She clutched an enormous cup of tea in her tiny hands and shivered looking out across the bleak landscape. Then she heard it. A thick Scottish brogue from somewhere behind her. She nearly fainted, her heart nearly stopped, and she dropped her tea.

She turned to find Waldorf, huddled beneath the cement umbrella of a particularly ugly garden statue. Habitual politeness overran shear fright and Jessica stammered a “pardon me?” Waldorf continued to mumble something about “moo cows angry” and he looked slightly malnourished and pitiful. Jessica decided, perhaps idiotically, that he was harmless.

He is, but little old ladies tend to romanticize garden creatures, don’t they? She brought Waldorf inside her warm little cottage and she immediately learned two important lessons: he is terrified of cats and he hates hot chocolate. He dashed the hot mug of cocoa Jessica handed him against the tiny fireplace and shrieked like a banshee when approached by her oversized tabby Waffles.

Through patient trial and error, Jessica learned that Waldorf adores canned beans and single malt scotch, so he sits in a fleece-lined garden pot most days, looking out across the moors, snacking on beans on toast and sipping good scotch long into the night. He and Waffles eye each other warily, but can agree that a nap in a warm patch of sun is truly rejuvenating.

Waldorf’s origins are as-of-yet unknown, and any story that he tells is hardly intelligible, due to his thick brogue. His moods are stormy like the countryside, but Jessica is content to watch the frost cover the land silently, carefully crocheted afghans around each of their shoulders.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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