I used to have this recurring dream where I was running for my life on a mission to find and save my dog, and no matter where I ran to, I’d always end up at this two-story house with a white picket fence and flagpole out in the suburbs. I kept thinking it was my subconscious telling me something. That I had to stop running from whatever was bothering me and stand up for myself, do what I wanted to, mixed with a combination of reminding me how my husband and I have outgrown this house and how badly I wanted to move out and upgrade to something bigger and fancier (who doesn’t?).

The first part isn’t too far fetched from a dream. If it was the end of the world, I’d totally risk my life to find and save my dog, even if it meant getting myself killed in the process. However, it turns out when I fall asleep, it’s usually to an episode of Rick and Morty or American Dad. It took me a while to realize the house had a striking resemblance to the house in American Dad, and, well, Rick and Morty are always on the run from something. Problem solved. Not quite as empowering as grabbing life by the horns and making it your bitch.

That being said, I’ve had a lot of both terrifying and wonderful dreams. They’re so vivid that when I wake up, I can clearly remember everything that happened. Some of them are so messed up and crazy, that they happen to make the perfect ideas for writing stories.

In How to Hunt a Menacing Magical Shadow, Adrian learns he has someone’s soul trapped inside him. He’s not possessed by a demon or some evil entity (Or is he? *tents fingers and laughs like an evil villain*). He struggles to understand why this happened, who this guy is, and what it means for his future. This idea was an adaptation of a recurring, absolutely terrifying nightmare I used to have that involved a guy dressed in tattered clothes that would pace the end of my bed watching me. He would never try to harm me, but the menacing look on his face that promised pain would send me into tears. The worst part was, while I knew this was all happening, I couldn’t move a damn finger. I always felt a heaviness on my chest, like someone was sitting on top of me weighing me down and trapping me there on the bed unable to move, and it lingered even after I woke up.

Fun fact: My dog can see ghosts because about a week after I had that dream for the first time, I was very wide awake lying in bed reading when TonTon sat at the end of the bed, her bulging eyes slowly scanning from side to side… like someone was pacing back and forth in front of her. It freaked me the f* out. It wasn’t the last time she did that either. She sometimes stares at certain spots in the bedroom, growling like there’s someone there. Not cool, dog.

So where am I going with this? My point is I took that dream and made it into something more than a frightening experience. Much like how I felt trapped and this unknown man had control over me, the man inside Adrian, Rezith, is controlling and manipulative. He’s an unknown element… and it’s not clear whether he’s one of the good guys or someone who’s going to kill him. As Rezith grows stronger, Adrian’s control slips through his fingers until eventually he won’t be able to stop him.

You might also remember a certain feathered female named Raven. She’s a powerful illusionist who can manipulate all five of your senses. I created her as a nod to that figured man in my dream, whoever he was, because I refuse to let anyone, even if it’s some made up figure in a dream, trap me. If I try hard enough I will always find a way out of the messed up dream worlds my brain decides to create.

I also had a dream once where Terry Crews was Dr. Who and I was his companion. We’ll see where that story goes…