The Waltz Goblins

Every night, Terry was ripped to pieces by three vicious goblins. Hunch-backed, talon-handed, bristling with porcupine scales, they tore through his flesh whenever he fell asleep. In a barren, dark room, they would take their time, carefully, so his disembowelment took all night.

These dreams persisted through many, many nights. Eventually, Terry concluded that there must be some external problem he needed to sort out. He consulted with friends, he changed what he ate before bed, he even called his parents for the first time in years, beginning the process of repairing torn fences. Yet, each night, he was still held down, watching his guts spill all over the dark floor by hungry teeth and claws.

He tried to put on music before he went to bed, hoping to spur something else, some other emotion or image. Instead, he just had various soundtracks to his torture. They attacked to podcasts, classic rock, jazz, R&B, nothing helped. Until one day, falling asleep listening to an old, schmaltzy waltz, he arrived at the empty room. The goblins came in, but did not immediately fall on him. instead, they began to shift around to the music. He watched as they first bobbed their shoulders up and down like hipsters at an indy-rock concert, then two of them joined together and began a slow waltz step. The remaining goblin held out his hands, those talon’d hands which so often had Terry’s blood on them, requesting a dance.

Terry took the goblin’s hand, and somehow knew all of the steps, even though he never danced the waltz before. There, in the room of his torture, he spun around and around, the talons very gently holding Terry’s hands. When the song ended, the goblins bowed to him, and he was allowed to move onto a different dream.

So every night, Terry plays a waltz before bed, turns a couple of times with his gatekeepers, and is then allowed to explore his dream world with all his innards intact, once the tax is paid to the Waltz Goblins.