I had another strange dream last night.
I was sitting with my five year old son Cameron, on bleachers around a stage. A travelling troupe were performing a play. One of the troupe members sat down beside me, but he didn't look well. Eventually, he slumped over into a more prone position.
As the play finished, the man told me he was very unwell. He said he'd been cursed. He then said that the only thing he needed to cure him and remove the curse was a kiss from a kind-hearted woman. He said, "Help me, please."
I didn't know what to think. I didn't believe in curses, but something about what he said rang true. He was obviously in a lot of pain and whatever was wrong with him had the feel of something otherworldly.
Cameron stood up and took my hand, trying to pull me away. "Don't go near him, Mommy. He's evil."
I looked at Cameron and said, "Don't be silly. He's not evil. He's just a man in pain, and he needs my help," I said.
"No, Mommy. He's a bad man, and he will hurt you. Stay away from him," Cameron said.
One of the actors, a young man who had been on the stage earlier, started running towards us, yelling, "Don't go near him! You're in danger! Get away from him!"
Startled, I took a step back and turned to face the cursed man to see if we were really in danger, but before I had fully turned, the man's arms wrapped around me and he pulled me into an unwilling kiss. I felt my energy leaving me and my skin began to wrinkle and thin with age.
When he let go of me, I was a frail, old woman, and I was in a lot of pain. I slumped down on the bleachers and lay there, without the energy or strength to move.
The man who had attacked me looked even younger than he had before. Instead of a man of about 45, he now looked like he was in his twenties.
The young man who'd warned me reached us. He said, "I'm so sorry I wasn't in time. He's my father. He made a deal with a demon to stay forever young, but the demon tricked him and gave the gift with the condition that he had to consume the life essence of women in order to stay young, otherwise he would become very sick. I've been trying to keep him from hurting others, but sometimes he gets away. The only cure for this is a kiss of true love."
Cameron was stroking my face. "Mommy, the bad man hurt you," he said.
The young man, watching Cameron for a moment, then said, "You have a cure right in front of you. Your son. He loves you, and a kiss from him, because he loves you so purely, will cure you."
"No," I rasped out, my voice raspy and my breath wheezy. "I won't risk him. There is no guarantee that it will work. And what if it has the same effect that your father's kiss has? What if a kiss from my son just transfers his life essence to me while taking it from him? No."
But, despite my protests, Cameron leaned over and gently kissed my cheek. I was instantly healed, and the young man's father changed into a very old man, with very little strength.
"I am pleased that you are all right. I will make sure that my father cannot harm anyone else," the young man assured us as he carried his father away.
Cameron took my hand and we walked home. I wondered, along the way, how he had known that the man was evil.
Then I woke up.