A dream or nightmare, are creatures extracted malevolently from dreaming beings (mainly humans) and resemble the Eurasian blue tit. The creatures' only desire is to return to a body by plunging its beak into said body, and once that happens the dream or nightmare will cease to be and the being will fall into an unconscious state to experience the dream/nightmare. Alongside this ability, if one is to stare into the eyes of a dream/nightmare they will become drowsy and struggle to stay awake, quickly falling into a dreaming state. To extract a dream you must have skin, or equivalent, to skin with the extractor and dreamer, and it would appear as if the extractor is pulling the bird out of the dreamer's intact skin to someone watching.

Bearing the skin to skin contact in mind how does one extract the dream without touching its beak or looking into its eyes and rendering the extraction pointless?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suggest changing your title to "How to extract a dream", as it is a more accurate representation of what you're asking. To contain would aim more at ways to imprison this bird-like creature. (in which case any type of bird cage could do) $\endgroup$
    – Plutian
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Plutian Thanks, I've changed it $\endgroup$
    – Mendeleev
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't nightmares resemble My Little Ponies instead of Tweety or Woodstock? $\endgroup$
    – EDL
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


Practice. Faith.

snake handler


Your dream extractors are members of a religious sect akin to snake handling religious groups. They consider themselves to be doing God's work and the extractions are the equivalent of casting out devils. It is hard to argue. They practice and practice as part of their faith. They do get bit, or pecked or whatever. They do screw up. It is OK. It brings them together as a community.

When this sort of service is needed, people in the know seek out these practitioners. Their services come with a side dish of evangelizing. It will make the characters more interesting to write.


This depends on which way the "Bird" comes out. If it comes out beak first, staring directly at you, this would be more problematic of course than if it came out sideways or tail first. In the case of sideways or tail first extractions, I don't really see a problem, just look away when needed, and grab the bird when it comes out avoiding grabbing the beak.

The issue is with beak first extractions. The eye contact can be solved by simply looking away when the extraction starts, or if the eyes are covered by the extracting skin, this wouldn't be too much of an issue. Another option could perhaps be any kind of vision reducing material, ranging from (special) sunglasses to a thin cloth, or a mirror. Anything that could neglect or reduce the effect of looking directly.

As for avoiding the beak when it comes out directly, something like fingerless gloves could be used, or anything clothing that exposes a patch of skin while keeping the centre area covered. This would satisfy the skin contact requirement area wise, but focuses the contact point to be protected. Alternatively it could be aimed for the beak to slip through the fingers.

Another way is if the bird comes out immobile, and only becomes mobile after extraction. This would make it significantly easier, as you could just extract it with one hand, then grab it with the other the moment you're done.


1. Eggs

The bird is extracted in egg form, which it takes some time to hatch from. This time can be used by the extractor to get far away from the bird.

2. Keep your head away

Make it so the bird must peck it's beak into the head of the target dreamer. This is not hard for a bird on the loose, but makes it easier for extractors to control them initially.

You cannot be pecked in the head if your head is far away from your hand. Also, listen to your mother, wear a helmet!

3. Imprinting

The bird thinks the extractor is it's mamma and won't attack them. Maybe same thing for the one having the dream/nightmare extracted from them...?

4. Panicky birds

Whenever I see demons portrayed as being released from a crypt or extracted from a person they almost always shoot off into the sky like a...well, a bat out of hell. Your nightmare bird panics the moment it is in open air and flies for several miles before it calms down and starts to rationally seek out a dream target.

  • $\begingroup$ I didn't actually specify head and it's my mistake if that's unclear but nonetheless the necessity of pecking into a head is a good solution $\endgroup$
    – Mendeleev
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Mendeleev Somehow I must have read words that weren't there, perhaps I was dreaming! ;P At any rate, I've edited the answer to not say that you had it in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Muuski
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 15:51

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