The Bad Idea sat on its Throne of Nightmares. It was time.

It could feel the rituals taking place throughout time. It was about to become real. It wasn’t just The Bad Idea, it was the best one, too.

It heard footsteps coming down to its throne room.

“What is this, some kind of lair?”

What on earth was this? Someone coming to question it on its hour of ascension? “Eh..hello?”

A woman with pink hair walked into the throne room. With not nearly enough deference. The Bad Idea through that it had had seen her before. Maybe in the Cafe.

“Christ. Could you be more cliche? Good grief. You want to walk the earth as Darkness Incarnate. Really? Do you think you’re the only one to have had that idea? And – Ideas having Ideas? Does that work?”

The Bad Idea had had enough. He stood and roared. “Do you know who I am? I am Master here. You have decided to fuck with the wrong-“

“Oh, I know what you are. You think you’re The Bad Idea. But you’re just a shit one.”

The Bad Idea charged at her, it would kill her, it would rip her still beating heart from her-

The tentacles on his face pulled back before the full feeling of revulsion hit him. She…

“You…You’re”

“Yeah. I’m not from around here.”

***

Mona sat on a chair. “So, Howard. I can call you Howard, right? All I’m saying is – you’re going to be a writer anyway. I just want you to write about monsters.”

The young man sat in his bed, blankets pulled up to his neck. “Who…are you? How do you get into my dreams?”

“Well. That could be one of the ways that THEY come to us. In dreams. Look – it works like this. When the stars are right, the great evil can walk the Earth. Until then, they are trapped. Locked away forever.” She smiled. “And I can promise you, your name will never die. And others will take your vision and keep that alive for ever. And you won’t even have to sell your soul.”

The young man thought about this for a while.

“You know… that’s not a bad idea.”

***

The Bad Idea was backed up in its throne. It was terrified.

“Can you feel that? My idea has just given someone one. This is it. This is how you end. You want to be on our side? I’ll send you there forever.”

“No…please. Don’t.”

***

Simon stood on a cliff. It was night. He was looking out over a strange sea. In the sky a woman with pink hair was rearranging the stars.

“This must be a dream,” he said.

“What gave it away?”

He span round. The same woman with pink hair was gathering wood behind him.

“Was it the star moving?”

“Nono.” Said Simon. “More that the stars are so far away, but I can see the colour of your hair as you move them.” He looked back. She was still moving them. “How are you…”

“She’s my twin. You should watch.”

Simon turned back. “The stars look like mine now.”

“Yep. And now they’re wrong for him.”

The Bad Idea appeared, on its knees. It was crying. “Please. Don’t do this.”

“Simon. Kick the trash out.”

Simon was frozen.

The Bad Idea turned to the boy it had tormented. “Please. I’m sorry.”

“This is a dream, Simon. And it’s yours. He can’t hurt you.”

Simon gave The Bad Idea the timidest of kicks.

And it flew over the cliff and sunk beneath the waves.

Simon stood between two pink haired women. The one he talked to first seemed to glow. “Is it dead?”

“No,” said the glowing woman. “It’s sleeping until the stars go back to the way they are. Which will never happen.”

“But in strange eons, even death may die.” Said the other.

“Really?”

“What?”

“In strange eons?”

“That’s what he wrote.”

Simon spoke again. “What are you two talking about?”

They grinned. “Let’s gather wood and talk about that.”

***

“So,” said Mona. “This is your idea tree. Terrible things happened to you, Simon. And just because you were smart and had a great idea. An idea so good, it’s why there’s two of us. But you’re going to forget these things, Simon. And you’re going to lose your way and go about your life. But one day you’ll see me. And you’ll remember a lot of things, and this tree will blossom and bloom. And you’ll take those terrible things and write them down and you’ll be keep it locked away.”

Simon nodded. But didn’t understand.

“It’s ok, Simon.” Said the glowing woman. “I didn’t understand either.”

***

“Two down. One more to go.” Ramona said.

“This is the best one.”

“Mona. I do believe you’re soft.”

***

They found him moping in his house.

“On. No, no, no. Not you again. You shouldn’t be here.”

“Santa. We’ve trapped that bad idea. He’s locked away forever.”

“So. That doesn’t change what it did to that boy.”

They explained about Simon.

“It doesn’t change what it did to me!” He yelled.

There was a silence.

A long one.

Santa shook, silently sobbing his fear and shame.

Ramona broke it. “Santa. You have to go out. Because your idea is out there. In millions of heads. In millions of hearts. Across time. You have to go out. And when you do, they’ll see you exist. They’ll know that you’re there.”

“How?”

And Ramona told him.

***

“Sir? I’m picking something up. I’m not quite sure what it is.”

The general looked at the radar. “Stand down, Private. That’s just Santa.”

The private looked at his office. “Santa?”

The general nodded and announced to the tracking station: “This is NORAD Control. We have Santa on Radar. Make sure he has a safe trip.”

***

And throughout time, across the Ideasphere, breaking across our side, small lights spark as Santa crosses over.

Lighting up Time like his own personal universe.

***

Today’s picture was supplied by Martine Pedersen. Follow that link, and you’ll be told about Howard, too.

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