Tim didn't smash to the ground, but when he next opened his eyes, part of him wished he had. He realized he was now outside his middle school. The Thief was there, too and he beckoned Tim to follow him in.
The Dream Thief stood confidently at the end of the hall. Before Tim could react, the thief, with a wave of his hands, was shrouded in thick smoke. What emerged was Butch, wearing a purple shirt that was overshadowed by his terrifying red eyes. Butch said, sneering, "Admit it. No matter how much you struggle or resist, you will always be afraid of me."
In that moment, as danger stared him in the face, Tim knew what to say: "No!"
With that one word, Butch hissed in pain, and with another cloud of smoke he transformed back into the robed form of the thief. Now Tim gave chase to the fleeing Dream Thief.
The Dream Thief cackled, "This will be gone soon. There will be no more good times now that school is on the horizon. You're still afraid . . . "
Tim cried out once again. "Not anymore!"
The Thief let out a deafening scream and ran with Tim in pursuit. The chase took a turn onto Tim's street and the Thief took refuge in Tim's house. Tim ran up the stairs, confident that the Thief was finally trapped. Tim opened the door to his bedroom. The robed figure cowered in the far corner, struggling to stand and holding a well-worn book, Tim's journal.
"If you take one more step, all of your ideas and stories will be turned to ash," the Thief declared. "You think you're so clever . . . you think you've won ." The Thief was breathing heavily now. "But I can never go away. I am part of you. You will always have fears and I'll always be there to haunt you."
Tim walked up to Thief, and said, "Nightmares can be dreamt away. I am the one who controls my dreams." Tim snatched the journal. The Dream Thief crashed to the floor. Tim knelt down to the purple robe that now covered his floor and raised back the hood. With a gasp, Tim realized that he was staring at his own reflection.
"It was . . . me . . . all this time," Tim said.
With that, the body faded, leaving only the robe and a large lump. Tim pulled back the robe, revealing the small chest.
Tim grabbed the chest and held his imprisoned dreams high above his head. Tim thought with a smile, "There's nothing to be afraid of anymore." And with that, Tim flung the chest to the floor. The chest shattered and the DREAM THIEF tiles scattered face down. Tim overturned the first three. T-I-M. "This is like my anagram puzzle book," he thought. He kept flipping letters. H-E-A-D-E-R. "Hey, that's me!" There was one letter left to flip. It was F, Tim's middle initial. His middle name was Fred, but today he chose to think the F stood for Fearless.
Then, a quick flash was followed by a blinding light, and Tim slowly drifted off.
Chapter 5: Nothing to Fear (check back tomorrow)