It was a peaceful, quiet night onboard the HMCOCS Glacier. All the sailors were fast asleep in their beds, seemingly undisturbed. Suddenly, Sackville started to grunt and twitch about in his sleep, knocking himself around. He began to have a nightmare.
Sackville slumbered on the surface of the sea, when the waves suddenly began to roughen up with an icy mist. He felt seafoam bubbling up beneath his body, lifting him into the air, as though somebody was picking him up from under his arms. Only this person wasn’t human at all, as Sackville realized when a tower of seafoam stretched out in the shape of an arm and starting tying Sackville up in impossible knots, almost choking him. Sackville wriggled about, staring out in terror. It was a seafoam monster!
Sackville jolted awake, gasping and breathing heavily as his eyes darted across the room. Some of the other sailors awoke, especially Oromocto, who looked at him concernedly.
“What’s wrong, Sackville?” asked Oromocto.
“I… I had a t-terrible n-nightmare…” Sackville stammered fearfully, his duvet pulled up to his chin, shivering.
“Well, tell me about it in the morning, okay?” Oromocto told him. “Go back to sleep now.”
Oromocto fell back asleep, but Sackville couldn’t, not after that terrifying nightmare. He tried desperately to stay awake for the rest of the night.
The next morning, a sleepless Sackville shuffled up on deck to Oromocto and Aulac, who were carrying out the daily cleaning duty. Hearing his rough steps, they turned around to him.
“So what was your bad dream about, Sackville?” asked Oromocto, and Sackville took a deep breath.
“I was sleeping on top of the sea. Then the waves became rough and misty and lots of bubbles were foaming around me. It was like someone was picking me up, but this someone was tying themselves around me in un-untieable knots and I nearly choked. I was being tied up… by a seafoam monster!”
Sackville’s baggy eyes widened in horror as he concluded his retelling of last night’s frightening dream, as did Oromocto and Aulac’s. “A seafoam monster?” they repeated together.
“Yes! A seafoam monster!” Sackville exclaimed again. “It was like the height of two sailors standing on each other’s shoulders! Or, no… three sailors standing on each other’s shoulders!”
Oromocto and Aulac both gasped out loud. “Shouldn’t he tell the Captain about this?” Aulac murmured to Oromocto. “Yes, I think so,” Oromocto agreed, and he turned back to Sackville. “Sackville, why don’t you tell the Captain about your bad dream? Maybe he could find out what it means.”
Sackville thought about it for a moment. “Okay… If it’ll clear anything up for me…” he groaned, shuffling off to the Captain’s office while Oromocto and Aulac got back on to cleaning the decks.
Slumping in the chair in front of the Captain’s desk, Sackville began to explain the events of last night’s terrible dream. “…It was a seafoam monster!” he exclaimed, throwing his arms up in the air.
“…a seafoam monster?” the Captain reiterated, staring with eyes wide open at Sackville, unable to comprehend what he had just heard. He made a note of it in the crew log. “Yes! It was taller than a cliff! Or, or, or two cliffs!” Sackville spluttered.
The Captain sat straight back up in his chair. “Sackville, don’t get so anxious. It was only a horrible nightmare. Seafoam monsters are just a myth that some sailors like to recount. Try to sleep normally tonight, and the morning will come faster than you know it.”
Sackville slumped off towards the door. “Must… try… to… sleep…” he droned in an almost hypnotic manner, dragging his tired body back out onto deck to help with the cleaning, or as much as his sleepiness would allow.
That night, Sackville again tried as hard as he could to get a good night’s sleep, but soon the tossing and turning resumed, and the nightmare returned. Sackville relived the terrifying events scene by scene – water bubbling up, waves roughening, his body being slowly lifted into the air as the seafoam monster arose from the choppy waves, and being tangled up in its tight grip, almost suffocating him.
As the seafoam monster was about to swallow him up in thick sea scum, Sackville forcefully jolted himself awake, a clammy sweat breaking out on his forehead, making his hair stick to his moist skin. He pulled his duvet up to his chin, shivering with terror, and Oromocto woke up to look at him.
“Another nightmare, Sackville?” he asked concernedly, and Sackville could only nod with fear as he tightly clutched his duvet. “But the Captain says seafoam monsters are just a myth. It was only a bad dream, so just try to forget about it and sleep it off,” Oromocto advised him. Sackville cowered beneath his pillow and duvet, unable to stop trembling as memories of the nightmare raced through his mind.
The next morning, Sackville felt even more exhausted than yesterday. He was so tired he couldn’t even stand up straight, slumping down so his hands dragged along the floor. He just barely managed to reach Oromocto and Aulac as all the sailors were gathering on deck for the salute. “Oh, you came just in time, Sackville,” said Oromocto. “The Captain’s about to do the salute. You like this part.” He then noticed Sackville’s overly hunched posture. “Oh no, he must have gotten no sleep at all after last night’s bad dream,” he thought, beginning to feel profound alarm for Sackville’s wellbeing.
The Captain arrived on deck, prompting Oromocto to look back up. “Sailors,” he began, “it’s time for the salute.” Standing up tall, he put the side of his left hand up to his forehead, and all the sailors soon followed suit. Sackville tried as much as he could to do the salute, but all he could manage was a weak flop of his left arm up to his forehead and back down. This caught the Captain’s attention. “Sackville?” he called him out, looking serious. The other sailors, including Oromocto and Aulac, turned to see Sackville drooping almost to the floor, tiredness taking a heavy burden on him. “It’s that nightmare he had, isn’t it?” the Captain asked Oromocto. “Yes, Sir,” Oromocto replied with apprehension.
Eventually, Sackville couldn’t stay up any longer, and he collapsed to the floor in a jumble, totally out of energy. “Sackville!” Aulac called out suddenly, and he, Oromocto and the Captain rushed over to tend to Sackville, who had now fallen into a deep sleep. The other sailors slowly gathered around, all looking worried. Oromocto propped Sackville up by supporting his back with his right arm, resting Sackville’s head upon his hand. “Poor Sackville,” Aulac lamented, stroking Sackville’s hair. “He hasn’t gotten any sleep for the past couple of nights. He just isn’t himself when he’s tired.”
The Captain came closer to Sackville, listening to his heavy breathing in and out while he slept. “Please, Sackville. Listen. It was only a terrible nightmare,” he asked of him. “You shouldn’t try to let your dreams interrupt your sleep. Dreams are a normal part of sleeping. Sometimes they’re good, and sometimes they’re bad. And they’re only part of your imagination. They’re not real.”
As the Captain spoke, Sackville’s sleeping became more peaceful, as if he understood. A little smile seemed to form on his face, which made the Captain, Oromocto, Aulac and the other sailors smile slightly too. “Oh, I think he finally got the message,” Aulac beamed. “Good sailor, Sackville,” Oromocto praised Sackville for finally getting to sleep.
The Captain stood Sackville up, sliding his arms around Oromocto’s neck, and Oromocto held onto Sackville’s hands. “We’ll put you to bed so you can sleep properly, okay, Sackville?” said Oromocto, and he headed off to the dormitories with Aulac and the Captain following.
Inside the dormitories, Oromocto carefully lay Sackville down on his bed, plumping up the pillow for extra comfort and gently pulling the duvet over. Aulac went over to the communal fridge and fetched a carton of milk, filling a glass up to the top but not to the brim to avoid spillage. He placed the brim up to Sackville’s mouth, and he slowly began to sip on the milk. “Here, Sackville. This will help you sleep,” Aulac told him softly. Oromocto and the Captain kept watch as Aulac encouraged Sackville to drink it all up.
Once Sackville had drank the whole glass, Aulac wiped his mouth with a tissue and went to rinse the glass out. “I’ll make an exception for Sackville today as he’s too exhausted to carry out his duties,” said the Captain. “He needs it,” added Oromocto as they left the dormitories with Aulac, who briefly paused at the door. “Have a good rest, Sackville,” he said. “And don’t let your nightmares keep you awake.” Aulac shut the door, leaving Sackville to get some much-needed sleep.
Much later on, during the night, Sackville lay soundly asleep, when he started to toss and turn about, grunting. The nightmare returned for the third night in a row, and Sackville once again relived his horrors: the waves misting up and becoming choppier, the water bubbling over into seafoam and mutating into the dreaded seafoam monster. It tightened its grip around his body, and Sackville screamed as it tied itself around him in intricate knots. It hovered its hand above its mouth as if it was about to eat Sackville, who began screaming even louder out of total terror.
The seafoam monster slowly rose up, a wave of thick sea scum slowly washing upwards towards Sackville. He tried desperately to wrench himself away, but it was to no avail, and the wave of sea scum finally caught up to Sackville. He let out a final scream as it swallowed him up completely, his screaming becoming distorted into bubbles. Sackville curled into a ball, drifting helplessly down towards the cold, dark ocean floor as he silently succumbed to the merciless wrath of the seafoam monster.
With all his strength, Sackville powerfully jolted himself awake from the nightmare, soaked in sweat and breathing so heavily that all the other sailors could hear.
Oromocto woke up, looking across to Sackville. “You had yet another nightmare, Sackville,” he remarked. “But that’s just what it was – a nightmare. Remember what the Captain said. Seafoam monsters are just a myth. They’re not real. And dreams naturally come with sleep, so don’t let them get to you too much. Come on, Sackville, go back to sleep now. You’ll need plenty of energy for tomorrow.”
Remembering that important fact, Sackville calmly laid his head back down on the pillow, falling back asleep, looking contented. “Good sailor, Sackville,” Oromocto praised him, smiling, and he soon went back to sleep too.
The next morning, Sackville arrived on deck, feeling refreshed and fully energized after a good night’s – or rather, day’s – sleep. Oromocto and Aulac noticed him approaching just as the Captain was readying the salute for the whole crew.
“Good morning, Sackville,” Oromocto greeted Sackville. “Oh, you look much better now that you’ve had a good rest.” “And you feel much better, too,” added Aulac. “Oh, thanks,” Sackville smiled gratefully.
The Captain and all the other sailors turned to Sackville. “So you finally slept through the night after three days of restlessness,” the Captain began. “And did you have a bad dream?”
“Yes,” Sackville admitted, looking a little ashamed.
“But remember what I said, Sackville. Dreams are a normal part of sleep. Some are good, and we like having those. But some are bad. And we all have bad dreams every now and then,” the Captain reassured Sackville. “And seafoam monsters? They’re just an old sailors’ tale.”
Sackville returned to smiling. “I guess I won’t let myself believe that my nightmares are real ever again,” he promised himself. “And they never are – unless you make them real,” added Oromocto, also smiling, and all the sailors together with the Captain laughed out loud as Sackville beamed brightly in the warm morning sunshine.