Delma and her nightmares - Part 3

Delma swam inside the cave with Olly by her side. The long stalactites hanging from the roof of the cave seemed like teeth of some gigantic creature. She shuddered but not from the icy water of the cave. She was dreading her meeting with Solomon the salamander — the doctor who was supposed to help cure her nightmares.

The salamander sat upon one of the golden rocks camouflaged in its colours. Delma recognised him due to his piercing black eyes.

“Good morning, Delma,” Solomon greeted the duo. “Greetings, Olly! Are you ready for your session with me, Delma?” asked Solomon. “I will hypnotise you and we will recreate your nightmare.”

“Sir, I just have one question. How will this hypnosis help me?” Delma asked desperate not to face the images of her nightmare again.

Solomon smiled, “Fears are meant to be faced, Delma. It is the unknown which scares us. Once we know what we are against it doesn’t seem so scary.

“How are you so sure this will work?” Delma persisted.

“I can give no guarantees but my experience tells me this might aid you,” the salamander answered patiently.

Olly interrupted speaking gently, “Delma, please relax. I trust Solomon. You have to trust him too. No doctor can cure without the patient having faith in him.”

Delma could not argue with Olly who was her mentor and father figure. She was too indebted to him.

“Let us begin then,” Solomon began, unfazed as if he was used to having skeptical patients. “Olly, you will have to leave the cave. Come back in an hour.”

Delma saw the octopus swim away with a sinking heart. She wanted to follow him but she felt trapped.

Solomon instructed Delma to swim closer to him. “Look into my eyes,” he whispered in his gravelly voice. Delma looked into the black depths of the salamander’s beady eyes.

“Delma, you are sleepy” Solomon instructed. “Your eyes are getting heavy. Relax and fall asleep.”

Delma could feel her eyes drooping. The only thing she could hear was the lullaby of Solomon’s whisper.

“Where are you, Delma?” asked Solomon. The salamander’s voice seemed to come from far away. “I am swimming underwater. I can see a series of coves,” she replied.

“Swim towards the coves,” Solomon suggested.

Delma could see herself swimming towards the coves when suddenly the water began to turn cloudy.

“The water…” Delma said in an agitated voice. “It’s getting cloudy. It is impure. There is a strange smell.”

“Can you reach the coves?” asked Solomon.

“I can’t see ahead because of the murky water,” Delma answered.

“Try to swim forward,” Solomon proposed.

“No, I want to turn back. I want to break the water’s surface,” Delma cried, her voice breaking.

“Fine. Turn back,” said Solomon. Delma turned around but the water was dirty everywhere. She couldn’t see where she was going. She tried to lift her head and come up for air but something was weighing her down. The water’s surface was a sheet of hard glass.

“I can’t breathe,” she sobbed.

“Swim to the water’s surface,” the salamander urged.

“I can’t. Its covered in glass,” she whimpered.

“Try harder. Use all your force. Break through the glass barrier,” the salamander kept pushing her.

Delma felt large and heavy. She kept trying to swim upwards. She failed and floundered once, twice, thrice. She was beginning to feel weak.

“Help,” Delma cried weakly.

“No one can help you, Delma. Only you can help yourself,” Solomon said frankly.

Something inside Delma shook itself loose on hearing these harsh yet truthful words. She let out a loud growl and pushed her snout upwards with all her might. She broke the thin glass at the water’s surface spreading the glass shards around like raindrops. She took in huge gulps of air. The sun was shining brightly. The water was crystal clear again.

Delma heard Solomon say to her, “Delma, are you okay?” the salamander was sitting on a rock outside his cave. The winter sun was warm and pleasant on Delma’s back.

“Are we still in the dream? Am I still hypnotised?” she asked confused. “No, we are outside my cave,” Solomon said.

“What just happened?” the dolphin asked again.

“You just solved your own problem,” Solomon said smiling. “You confronted the nightmare and realised you could overcome it.”

“What did it mean? The dirty water; the glass sheet; the smell,” Delma insisted on knowing the answers.

“It may be a figment of your imagination; it may be something you have seen when you were younger; it may be a premonition of what might happen in your future,” Solomon answered calmly.

“It may actually happen to me?” said Delma.

“It might but you learnt today that even if it does you can face it,” said Solomon confidently.

“I hope so,” Delma said doubtfully but she really wanted to believe Solomon.

“Come on, Delma. Let’s go home,” said Olly.

“Sir, I am so glad to see you,” Delma said in relief turning to the octopus.

“I have a solution to your dilemma,” said Olly as they swam homewards. “There is a cave very near to the reefs I live in. I think it will be quite a comfortable home for you. You will have your privacy and you will still be near to me in case you need me.”

“Oh Sir! That sounds perfect!” exclaimed Delma.

“So let’s start getting you settled at the cave,” said Olly smiling broadly.

The Adventures of D'Land
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