Inspired by the Victorian tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas (and having read a couple of M. R. James' stories recently)... A collector with a taste for nostalgia invites an unwelcome presence into his home that takes him on a troubling trip back to the past.
Some time ago, I came into possession of an object, which precipitated a series of quite unbelievable events. Since that time, I have tried to brush the occurrences off as terrible dreams or some temporary feverish state but I can do so no longer. I now have to admit to myself that what I am about to describe truly happened and I must ask you to believe every word of it.
I have spent much of my working life as a dealer in vintage consumer goods. As a young man, my hobby was to collect items of packaging from long-forgotten brands, a packet of powdered soup, for example, or a tub of face cream. It seems odd, looking back, that I felt such profound nostalgia for a past I never experienced but, as I grew older, my hobby became an obsession.
After I left home, my first apartment was soon filled with these relics that were once commonplace for previous generations. My floor piled high with cereal boxes and beer bottles, radios and disposable razors until, eventually, I could contain the collection no longer.
I was at this point that I began to sell items off. I found other like-minded collectors online to whom I could sell, each with their own specific interests. One had an unrivalled display of 1970s bubble bath bottles, another filler his shed with late-20th century telephones. I established a network of sources who could scour the country on my behalf, attending fairs and markets to pick up items that may be of interest to my clients.
I was one of these sources who procured me the fateful items I wish to discuss here. I was contacted unexpectedly one day by a gentleman who had previously supplied me with old cosmetics for a buyer I had in Leicestershire. He had found something which he believed may be of interest to me.
My interest piqued, I enquired further but I was disappointed by his next message. He thought I should purchase from him a pack of Pampers nappies, dating from 1992. The pack had been opened and eight of the ten nappies remained. I demurred, knowing, at this time, no client with an interest in this area but my contact was adamant that I should take the item off his hands.
I offered him a very small sum of money for the package, aware that, if a buyer were to be found, the incomplete nature of the piece would reduce its value but also in the hope that I might persuade my would-be seller to seek a better deal elsewhere. To my surprise, I had barely lifted my finger from the keyboard, having sent my paltry offer, when a message flashed up on my screen. It read simply:
“We have a deal.”
Begrudgingly, I sent him the meagre payment and thought no further of it, certain that my purchase was worthless and I was about to contribute an unloved addition to my collection. It was with little excitement and no small amount of confusion that, the following day, I opened my door to a courier who thrust a package, wrapped in brown paper, into my arms. Such speedy service must have cost my seller more than I had paid for the item and I began to wonder why he had been keen to rid himself of the package with such haste.
It was time to examine the goods,if for no other reason than to discover what I had encumbered myself with. I set the package down on my dining room table and carefully made an incision in the paper. As I cut the bag further and pulled the paper away, a layer of soft, blue plastic emerged. The word “Pampers” stretched across the long side of the rectangular, below a portrait of an infant laid on their side. The design and logo had fallen out of use many years ago but they stirred in me vague recollections of walking around supermarkets with my parents as a boy.
The colours had faded little over the years; the condition was good. It was at this point that I noticed that the seller had misled me but to his own disadvantage. I had been informed that the pack was open, with some of the contents removed. However, the package before me was completely intact, the perforation along the top unbroken. The bag looked exactly as it would have done on a supermarket shelf thirty years previously.
Had my contact have obtained two similar packs of nappies and, by way of accident, sent me the wrong one? If so, he deserved to be out of pocket for such carelessness. This change of circumstance persuaded me that there may be more value in the purchase that I had first believed and I resolved to commence a search for suitable buyer the following day.
That night, I took myself to bed earlier than usual, having been struck with a peculiar drowsiness shortly after dinner. I fell into sleep quickly and encountered pleasant dreams recalling my earlier reminiscences of childhood trips to supermarkets. However, I soon jolted awake, sure that I could hear a child’s laughter in the adjoining hallway.
I listened intently but could hear no further utterances or movement and reasoned that what I had heard was merely a particularly vivid dream. I attempted to go back to sleep but achieved little success. I drifted fitfully in and out of consciousness, disturbed as I was by further, intense sensations of sound.
I became aware of a man’s voice, stern and forceful in the darkness.
“Don’t be silly, of course you can’t wear one of your brother’s nappies. You’re supposed to be a big boy.”
At once, I was flooded with feelings of disappointment and longing that I could neither control nor explain. Later, I heard the voice again and, as before, I saw nothing.
“What are you doing in here? Why have you opened these? If I catch you playing with your brother’s nappies again, you’re going to be in big trouble, do you understand me?”
I felt compelled to nod my head, as if accepting the admonishment of my subconscious. Memories raced forth of me as a young boy caught in some act of naughtiness and fleeting rivers of shame and embarrassment surged through me.
Presently, I was roused by my alarm clock, my cheeks hot and my mind entirely unrefreshed by broken sleep. I staggered groggily into my kitchen to fix a breakfast, hoping for some revival. A number of minutes passed before I noticed that something was wrong.
There, on the kitchen table was the bag of nappies I had received yesterday but they were not in the position I had left them. I ran my hand along the top of the bag to where, yesterday, there had been an unbroken perforation but, now, a flag of plastic hung down. The integrity of the packaging was clearly not as strong as I had first assessed. My hopes of making a tidy profit on the package receded slightly. Perhaps I could sell the items piecemeal to maximise my return?
I removed one of the nappies and examined it. I held in my hand a pristine white rectangle, backed by plastic that was soft to the touch. The expanse of white was broken only by a thicker strip of plastic along the top, adorned with cartoon images of bears.
At that moment, I was revisited by my dreams from the night just passed. I thought about the little boy who had been created by my sleeping mind and his forbidden curiosity towards nappies just like the one I was holding now. Where in my psyche had this boy come from? I was an only child and, therefore, nappies had no presence in my childhood beyond infancy. Nor did I have children of my own. I hadn’t spent a single thought on nappies in decades. Why, now, did I dream of a boy fixated on such things?
Placing the nappy back down next to the bag, I determined that I was unwell and my feverish sleep had entwined with the last object I had seen. Thus, the correct remedy must be to take a painkiller, drink plenty of water and divert my mind to other thoughts. After having first covered up the nappies with a towel, I worked with great diligence and focus, ensuring that the childish interloper on my kitchen table could not intrude on my conscious mind. Not wishing to undo my hard work, each trip to my kitchen was accompanied by a concerted effort not to look in that direction though, I confess, my eyes felt drawn to the towel on more than one occasion.
That night, as I went to bed, I swallowed a further paracetamol and hoped that the troubling fragments of another’s boyhood would not be visited upon me again. It was not long before I was disappointed.
Whereas before, my dreams came to me as detached voices, they now also manifested as physical sensation. A feeling I recognised as the soft plastic outer shell of a nappy brushed against my fingertips. My heart fluttered, though I could not tell you why.
Soon, the presence returned, this time solidly against both hands. I became aware that all my senses felt heightened, as though anxiously listening out for something or constantly looking over my shoulder. Butterflies raced in the pit of my stomach and it felt simultaneously as though a creeping dread were rising within me but also as though anticipating some great pleasure.
Deeper into the night, I felt something beneath me. Something soft was sliding underneath me passing over my bottom until it reached the small of my back. The feeling rose up, over my crotch until a thick bulk rested between my legs. I could have sworn my fingers were pulling at something by my hips and, then, pressing onto a shiny, plastic surface. At that time, the sensation around my waist grew tighter, like something had been secured around me.
Unexpectedly, I began to relax. I calmness began to descend on me, my thought no longer confused and racing. Even so, I started to shift my weight around. Each movement was accompanied by the sound of a soft crinkle and a new reminder of a thickness between my legs.
I fell into a deep sleep for the first time in two days. After what I assume to be hours had peaceably passed, a sense of nervousness crept back into my dream state. The tumult in my stomach returned, too. I later recognised it as the feeling one experiences before taking a great risk, such as attempting to jump a just-too-wide stream. My anxiety had reached its height when, in an instant, it dissipated, replaced by a relaxation emerging from below my waist. It felt as though something was flowing out from me, sending a comforting warmth out and around my private parts. The feeling of thickness slowly magnified and waves of giddiness and delight, like I have never experienced before or since crashed down over me.
It was then that I awoke, startled. I knew I had returned to full consciousness but, still, I felt something between my legs. I’m ashamed to admit that I had wet the bed. Even as a child, I had never experienced bedwetting beyond my initial potty training I could not explain why I would start this far into my life.
I thought about the pleasure my dreams presented me with at the moment my bladder had relaxed and I blushed furiously. I could not begin to understand what was occurring to me. It was all I could do to attempt to explain it away as a worsening fever. This explanation was unsatisfactory, however, as I had awoken somewhat fit and restored.
I stripped my bed and, carrying my sheets through the kitchen to the washing machine, I felt myself trip and was lucky not to fall. Looking down, I saw a towel lying on the floor. I realised, with some discomfort that it been swept off the table where it had been covering the bag of nappies. Worse still, the nappy I had removed from the bag and placed next to it on the table was nowhere to be seen. I checked under the towel and around the table but, I assure you, this nappy had achieved the seemingly impossible. I was entirely confounded by what had happened but I had no choice but to accept the evidence of my eyes.
After showering, I started my working day with an email to my contact who had sent me the nappies, requesting information as to the provenance of the package. Alas, this time, there was no immediate response and I busied myself with my work.
It was not so easy as it had been the day before to distract myself. I was constantly needled by nagging reminders of my dreams of the furtive boy sneaking nappies from his baby brother’s room, secretly putting it on and wetting himself. It was even harder not to think about the mystery of the missing nappy, something which could not possibly have happened and yet, most assuredly, had.
Running through the possibilities and implications of what was happening to me quickly left me in a state of fatigue. Despite willing myself to continue my work, my eyelids became increasingly heavy and I attempted to fight off the approach of sleep, not wishing to invite my unsettling dreams into the daylight hours. Eventually, my head and arms came to rest upon my desk and I succumbed.
It did not take long for the first stirrings of the dream state to arrive. For the first time, I could see the dream and it was as clear as anything I had witnessed with my waking eyes.
I looked down and saw the slight frame of a small boy. He, or perhaps I, was clad in navy blue pyjamas printed with jungle creatures and which had ribbed cuffs at the wrists and ankles. They were certainly unlike any I worn in my own boyhood so my subconscious could not have drawn them from my own memories.
The room I found myself in was furnished with a level of detail unmatched by a typical dream. It was small with action figures, model cars, and soft toys strewn untidily across the carpet. The walls were decorated with wallpaper depicting old-fashioned racecars, of a design that would have competed in the early 1990s. The furniture was simple, a plain white chest of drawers with red handles and stickers of gold stars, storage boxes painted in primary colours, and a mirror stood on the floor.
My attention, though, was drawn to the small single bed that ran along the wall to my left. A plain, pine-coloured frame and a mattress, topped with pillows and a crumpled duvet, both festooned with cartoon rocket ships, planets, and aliens.
I felt compelled to approach the bed and clamber onto the mattress. Kneeling in front of the pillows, I reached under them and found what, somehow, I knew what I was looking for. My pulse quickened as I withdrew my hand and pulled a plain white nappy from under the pillow.
It looked just as did the one that had disappeared from my kitchen table. The same smooth, soft outer shell, the same jolly bears posing playfully on the tape landing strip, the same stretchy waistband.
As I cast my gaze over the juvenile undergarment, I felt conflicting emotions wash over me. I felt desire and longing, as though this simple nappy were something that might complete me. This was followed by a squirming of embarrassment. I knew I was much too old to be wearing nappies and it made my cheeks burn to know that I wished to wear one nonetheless. Curiously, my psyche provided me with no such misgivings about the childish pyjamas I wore or the boyish objects and designs that filled the room around me.
The more I held the nappy and the more I ran my fingers across its beautifully smooth surface, indulging in the cracking sound of the plastic, the more my eagerness came to outweigh my awkwardness and I knew what I needed to do. I unfolded the thick, crinkly nappy, opened out the wings and laid the item down on the mattress.
I positioned myself down on the nappy and laid back, head down on the pillow. My stomach was churning with excitement as I pulled my pyjama bottoms down below my knees and took hold of the front of the nappy.
I don’t know what compelled me to continue with my course of action but I know that I shivered as the nappy came up and over me and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was then that I realised how real this felt to me, so visceral that I could hardly bring myself to describe it as a dream.
Continuing, I reached to my left, peeled back the tape, and pulled the wing over towards my front, placing the tape on the landing strip as carefully as my clumsy little hands could. I was so excited I was practically shaking and, no longer content to savour the moment, I quickly repeated the motion with the right hand tape. I rubbed both tapes, attempting to help them stick better before moving my fingers away, all the better to admire my handiwork.
It was done. I was sealed in. I was wearing a nappy.
Hurriedly, I pulled my pyjamas back up over my new, padded underwear and stood up from the bed. I positioned myself in front of the mirror, finding that the thickness between my legs forced me to waddle there. I stood there for some minutes, attempting to view myself from every possible angle, transfixed by the obvious bulkiness under my pyjamas.
I had never considered a return to nappies at any point in my life prior to that moment but, standing there, bow-legged in front of the mirror, that was what I wanted more than anything in the world. I wanted to be placed back into nappies and treated exactly as a toddler would be, in every conceivable way. I wanted to be placed into situations any self-respecting should find humiliating. I wanted to be strapped into a buggy and taken for walks around town where everyone could see how cute I was. I wanted to be placed into a cot every afternoon for a nap. I wanted to be laid on the floor for a nappy change because I wasn’t ready to stay dry. I knew it would make me truly happy.
It was then that the door flew open and a man swept into the room. Were I to see him now, I would say that he were a young man but, in that instance, through my momentarily young eyes, he seemed to tower over me, both in years and authority. I was so frightened by this dominant presence that I dashed to the bed and attempted to throw myself under the duvet.
“Don’t you run from me!” The deep, resonant voice, familiar to me from the first of these dreams, called out. “There’s another one missing and I know it was you.”
I did not recognise the man but, somehow, I knew him well enough to know it was wrong of me to have disobeyed him. Shame and remorse took hold of me and my slender body trembled under the duvet.
The forbidding sound of footsteps grew closer. Briefly, I worried that my nappy would receive some use but I had no further time to contemplate this. A hand reached in, under the duvet, gripped right around my wrist and dragged my out of the bed and onto the floor.
Out of fear, guilt, and indignity, I began to cry. Hot tears formed in my eyes and fell down my face. I looked up at the imposing man, who, as I say, I may have considered a small man should I have passed him on the street at any other time, hoping for some reprieve. There was none. His face barely softened.
Instead, he pulled me to my feet by my wrist. The room was silent, save for the soft crinkle emanating from under my pyjamas. The terrible silence hung in the air for what felt like an excruciating amount of time and was, eventually, broken by the commencement of an interrogation.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” I knew I ought to say something but I could not. I merely snivelled and shook my head.
“Why did you take another nappy after I specifically told you not to? You know it’s wrong to steal, don’t you?”
“Yes, Daddy.” I mewled softly.
“I’ve warned you before that, if I caught you stealing nappies again, you were going to be in trouble, didn’t I? Well, you’re going to get a smacked bottom and, then, I’m going to take all your big boy privileges away until I can trust you to act like a grown-up. Do you understand?”
I nodded, though I wasn’t at all sure I did understand what was happening to me.
The man sat down on the side of the bed and pulled me across his lap. By this point, I was bawling and started squirming and wriggling as though that would help me escape my announced fate. I turned my head to see a hand raised high above me, which then commenced its descent.
I braced myself, hoping that the padding on my bottom would cushion the blow but, just the briefest of moments before I should have been spanked, a shock ran through my body. I became aware that I was in my own home, sat at my desk, having awoken from my nap.
My cheeks were wet. Although the events I have just recounted were a dream, my tears were real. Curious to see how much time had passed, I glanced at my watch. I felt as though I had spent much time in that dream world but, by the evidence of the clock, only an hour had elapsed.
As I pulled my sleeve aside, I saw something which troubled me greatly and, to this day, does still. Either side of my watch strap and right around my wrist were red marks, as though I had been gripped by some giant hand. I know not how my dreams had bled through to my waking world, manifesting such spectral events but I knew I had to find a resolution.
A thought occurred and I dashed back into my kitchen. I inspected the package of nappies on the table. As I suspected, another of the nappies was now missing. With growing frenzy, I ran around my flat, checking all the doors and windows. All were locked. Nothing could have got in and I was sure there was no other presence there now.
I stared at the offending package on my table, my mouth dry, my hands trembling. Any affection for these items that had been generated by my dreams had entirely evaporated at the moment I awoke. I had now been afflicted with three dreams, each more intense and vivid than the last. If I wished to rid myself of these horrible dreams, I knew I had to get those nappies out of my home.
I retrieved a large, black plastic bag from under my sink and stuffed the remaining nappies deep within. I sealed the bag tightly with two tight knots and, with barely a pause, ran to my door, down two flights of stairs, and out into the street. I threw the bag into one of the bins outside with great force and stormed back inside, not once turning to look behind me.
Once safely back in my flat, I poured myself a whisky and opened my laptop. I had, as yet, received no response from my erstwhile source, whom I now felt nothing but antipathy toward. Had he suffered similarly and was this the reason he forced the sale through with such haste? Having experienced those hallucinations myself, I could empathise with his motives but I could not fathom why, our relationship having been cordial up until that point, he elected to put me through this trauma.
Unable to concentrate on my work, I took the rest of the day off and attempted to regain my composure. I found myself pacing the length of the flat, whisky in hand. Further drinks followed and my surroundings soon spun and stretched around me.
In a stupor, I came to rest, fully clothed, upon my bed. Sure in the knowledge that I would be greeted by my deepest slumber in days, I allowed myself to pass into sleep. I was soon disabused of this notion.
I opened my eyes and I had, once again, been transported away from the familiarity of my home. Except, now, it was these surroundings that felt like home and the memories of my flat were as though a dream.
This experience was more intense, more real that any that had preceded it. I was the boy again but, now I saw not just through his eyes but through his soul. He was no longer a mystery to me because I now knew who he was. Who I was. I was Jamie Jones and I was seven years old. I loved my Mummy and Daddy and my baby brother Jack. I loved racecars and dinosaurs and, especially, I loved being allowed to pretend to be a baby and get dressed up in nappies. Just like the ones I was wearing now.
Jack was in his cot, taking a nap. If I was a good boy, I would be allowed to take a nap of my own in there afterwards. For now, I was in the kitchen, buckled into Jack’s highchair, waiting for Daddy to bring me some food.
I looked down and liked what I saw. I was dressed a pale blue t-shirt with cartoon turtles printed on the front and, below that, I simply wore one of my beloved nappies. I shifted in my seat to feel the bulk of the nappy between my legs and my bare thighs clung momentarily to the vinyl covering of my seat. I felt bliss like I had never known before.
I was getting lost in my reverie when, presently, Daddy walked back into the room. He was holding a bowl and spoon in one hand and a bib in the other. His face was no longer stern and forbidding but, instead, calm with loving eyes.
“Is my little Jamie-wamie ready for his num-nums?” He cooed at me, eliciting a giggle. “Then let’s get you ready.”.
Daddy gently placed the bowl down on the tray in front of me, revealing the contents as some form of brown mush. It looked unappetising but I knew I had little say in the matter of its consumption.
While I was distracted by the food in front of me, Daddy had stepped behind the highchair, placed the bib in front of my chest and delicately tied it around my neck. I was now decorated with cute teddy bears, just like the ones looking up at me from my nappy.
Daddy moved back in front of the highchair and held a spoon of baby food just in front of my mouth.
“Be a good boy and open wide for the digger.” Daddy said softly. I tentatively allowed him to shovel the mush into my mouth. I recognised the taste as shepherd’s pie.
When next he tried to feed a spoonful to me, I decided to play the recalcitrant toddler and, shaking my head, refused to open my mouth.
“Come on now, Jamie, you’ve been good as gold all day; don’t spoil it now”.
I still would not allow his spoon to pass my lips until, with a big grin on his face and a devilish look in his eyes, Daddy pinched my nose. I gasped open my mouth to draw breath and Daddy took the opportunity to slip another spoon of food into my mouth.
After that, I chose to be more cooperative, though I still put up a show of mock disgust, kicking my legs and squirming in my seat. Daddy chuckled to himself and whispered to me about how adorable I looked when I was grumpy.
Soon, the bowl was emptied, though a not inconsiderate sum of the food had landed upon my face and bib. I was sure Daddy had intentionally missed my mouth on occasion. I was caught off guard when Daddy suddenly started pawing at my mouth with a baby wipe but the smell of the wipe reminded me of babyhood and it intoxicated me.
“Who’s ready for cuddle time?” Daddy said to me in a sing-song voice. I wanted it more than anything and a wide smile stretched across my face.
Without waiting for an answer, Daddy untied my bib and placed it on the tray, unbuckled the straps keeping me in the highchair, and placed his hands under my armpits. I went limp as he lifted me out of the seat.
“Up you get, cutie pie.” Placing one hand under my nappied bottom, Daddy set me on his hip and carried me into the living room. On the coffee table was a yellow dummy. Mummy had bought it for me as a treat because I couldn’t share Jack’s dummy. Daddy picked it up and popped it into my mouth, whereupon I suckled softly on it, causing my relaxation to deepen.
I felt Daddy’s arm behind me, drawing me in closer to him, and I rested my head on his shoulders and closed my eyes. I silently wished to myself that I could stay like that forever, a perpetual infant being cradled by his loving Daddy.
At the moment I expressed that wish to myself, a nagging doubt started to emerge from the back of my mind. I started to realise that something wasn’t right here. I began thinking about dreams I had been having, of being a grown-up and living on my own, surrounded by old junk. At least, I thought they were dreams, in that moment, but details of that other life established themselves in my mind more firmly and with greater coherence.
I hugged Daddy tighter as I came to accept that I was not Jamie Jones and I couldn’t stay in my Daddy’s arms forever. I had to return to my previous life. My problem was that I had no immediate idea of how to achieve that.
I thought back to the last time I had been here as Jamie. I was about to receive a spanking and the extreme heights of my emotions had jolted me back to my own life. I wondered if I might be able to bring about the same effect again. Reluctantly, I resolved to try and I lifted my head from Daddy’s shoulder.
“Daddy...” I mumbled around the dummy.
“Yes?” he cooed back, softly.
“You’re a smellyhead.” I had wanted something gratuitously insulting to him but, at that time, I only had access to Jaime’s limited vocabulary. Daddy didn’t even stop smiling.
“That’s not very nice, little fella. Come on, settle down. We can cuddle a bit longer and then I’ll have to pop you down in Jack’s playpen for a bit, OK?”. He gently guided my head back to his shoulder.
Knowing, I would need to work harder to realise my goal, I reached with my little hand towards his face and grabbed at his nose, pinching it between my fingers.
“Ow,” He cried out “What have I told you about keeping your hands to yourself? Either you play nicely or we don’t play at all. This is your final warning, do you understand?”
I decided to take him at his word. Hesitating for just a moment, for I could guess what the consequences of my actions would be, I hand out my hand and slapped Daddy across the face. I couldn’t hit him hard with my slender arms but it was enough to change his expression completely. Bewilderment quickly gave way to anger.
“Right, that’s enough!” He shouted. “I’m going to show you what happens to naughty little boys who don’t listen to their daddies.”.
He sat on the sofa and wrestled me into position on his lap as he had before. Just as on the previous occasion I looked behind me to see a hand raised above me. I closed my eyes and held my breath. I didn’t have to wait long. A firm smack came down hard on my bottom, eliciting a yelp from my mouth. My nappy muffled the sound but did little to cushion the blow.
My eyes shot open. I was still in the living room, lying across Daddy’s lap. Had I solicited a spanking to no avail? Another blow landed on my bottom, then another. With each smack, the soreness under my nappy grew and I became so consumed by humiliation, I couldn’t help but cry.
“Don’t you dare wake Jack with your bawling or I’ll have you sat on the naughty step until bedtime.”
I tried to stifle my tears but by the fifth spank, I could control myself no longer. I was screaming and thrashing my arms and legs. My bladder gave way and my nappy grew hot and thick between my legs.
It was only after the sixth blow that I opened my eyes and saw that I was on my own bed, flailing my limbs and sobbing like a little boy, in the darkness. I quickly jumped off the bed to escape the wet patch that had formed under me and wiped the tears from my eyes.
I stripped off my underwear and headed to the bathroom to shower. As I passed though the kitchen to get there, I stopped dead. My blood ran cold at what I saw. There on the kitchen table, the package of nappies had returned. Shaking, I picked up the bag and it was clear that there was one fewer nappy in there than yesterday.
My mind raced to find an explanation but there was none. I fell to the floor, naked, and I could barely breath.
Finally, I had realised why my seller had forced this nightmare upon me. He must have attempted to dispose of the nappies himself only for them to return and plunge him into the dreamworld again. As a regular buyer of his, he could offload the cursed item onto me without arousing my suspicion unduly.
That revelation also provided an answer to my dilemma. Each time I visited Jamie’s world, his reality felt more like my reality and, each time, it was more difficult to remove myself from the dream. If I returned there one more time, I had no guarantee that I would ever come back. I had to find a new owner for the nappies if I was ever to relive myself of their burden.
I had no regular buyer who could be relied upon for interest in vintage nappies so I had to cast my net wider. I immediately set up a sale on an online auction site, hoping the person I needed would make themselves known to me.
I showered and dressed, all the while grappling with guilt that I might put someone through the torments I had suffered. My anxiety was somewhat assuaged when I returned to my laptop and saw that someone was watching the sale.
I noted that my potential buyer had signed up under the username “nappyboy578”. Intrigued, I clicked through to their profile and saw that they had included their email address. I ran a search for the address and found profiles on websites of a kind I had never seen before.
My savour would seem to have arrived in the form of a man who, himself, fantasised of being an infant. There were photographs of him wearing nappies, adopting juvenile poses. Furthermore, he had written numerous works of fiction in which the protagonists were uncontrollably regressed to early childhood.
I even found my way to retailers offering scaled up replicas of baby nappies in adult sizes. Residual impulses from Jamie’s mind still held some sway over me and, I will admit to you, my hand hovered over these items with a view to a possible purchase. Fortunately, I felt able to restore my self-control and resisted this temptation.
I sent a message directly to the interested party asking if they wished to make me an offer. I nervously awaited their response but, thankfully, I was not kept waiting long. The sum they suggested was significantly less that I had paid but this no longer concerned me. My reply was instant:
“We have a deal”.
I am pleased to report that, after I had removed the nappies from my possession, my sleep and my dreams returned to their usual, unremarkable state. To this date, I must confess I feel some guilt at the cruel deception I pulled upon my buyer and I wonder about their eventual fate. I received no further contact from them and I have to assume that they were less equipped to resist the lure of the dream world than was I.
I console myself in the knowledge that, if those cursed nappies must exist somewhere, then at least they had found their way to a good home.