My eyes fluttered open.

Where was I?

At first, I was glancing straight to myself, looking in my own eyes. I was lying on a bed, hands crossed over my chest, folded over a gathering of dry blue flowers. The bed was beautiful itself, with a great arching headboard appearing like a tree with wide, wild wooden arms stretching over the wall. Yet it was black and shone like dragon scales, reminding me more of beastly claws. All around me was fine furnishings like the room of a Princess, but it much was dusty, a vase was cracked, another fallen across the floor. It looked like no one had lived here in ages.

Too I looked like a princess. My hair was spread over my pillow in a small halo, and I wore I stiff gown, colored like blood and lined with lace black like midnight. I could hardly recognize myself, skin pallid, my face expressionless. For a moment, I doubted it was me. That I was suspended above like some angel, watching someone else gaze back at me with that frightening, glazed stare.

I shifted, and the image I looked down upon shifted as well. It was me. Yes, it appeared more like me every second--me in some different life or something like that. Then I realized I was just looking into a mirrored ceiling, looking to my own reflection.

Somewhat shaken, I sat up. My skirts ruffled, the flowers in my hand crunched, becoming powdery and falling through my fingers. How long had I been here?

I scanned the room, observing it more closely. It was circular, and as my eyes moved around it, it gave me a strange sense of being dizzy. I put my hand to my head, trying to focus. Once I had regained myself, I found myself moving to the window in the room, tall and thin.

Curious, I unlatched the window panes, tossing them open. A scary burst of wind nearly knocked my off of my feet, throwing my hair in many different directions.

Suddenly, it paused.

Silence, other then my labored breathing. I attempted to catch my breath, taking the moment to peer out the window. It was a dusky darkness, something of a soft sunlight coming from above, I supposed. There was not much else to see, though there was the smell of smoke.

I furrowed my brow, leaning slightly over the sill in an attempt to get a better look. A golden-ish light was growing below, flickering, getting larger.

Then the wind seemed to come from behind me, or rather sucking me from below. Screaming, I was pulled from my perch and into the greyish obscurity, yanked with unseen fingers toward the orange flames below. They were increasing in size with each breath, and in no time at all, they were surrounding me, great walls of golden color. I flung around in the air like a droopy doll, helpless.

Blackness. All light faded. The fire was quenched.

I hit the ground with incredible force. It was damp, cold.

Still, I could see nothing.

My heart paused as something grabbed me by my arm and stood me up. I faced a shadow, cloaked in inky smoke, the breath beneath its hood chilly on my cheeks. I shivered, feeling the inclination to scream again, but my throat felt if I couldn't breathe.

Just then, I realized where I was...sort of. It appeared that I was half there, half somewhere else. It was by the lake...the lake where I was with Horatio....yet...

It was different. The flowers were gone, there were no leaves on the trees....and everything was they had some strange ethereal light about them...and then there were figures...ghosts...

"Where am I?" I whispered, looking to the shadow man before me. I was shaking. Everything inside me was trembling. "What do you want with me?"

"Horatio," his hiss almost tickled my face, made my skin sting.

"What?" I breathed.

"Horatio," I jumped. They encircled me, these cloaked shadow people, all chanting his name. The one who had me in his hold, let go. I tumbled from his grasp, nearly falling to the ground.

I was drawn to the water, stumbling to the shoreline. I gazed inside, but I didn't look to my face.  It was...

"Horatio," I murmured.

"Alyssa," his voice was so far away, but he appeared just before me. All my moments with him, my feelings, came to me once more. Tears pulled at my eyes.

"Horatio," I smiled slightly, reaching for his image. He too seemed to reach for me, yet where our fingers would touch, I brushed the water and the water rippled.

"I'm coming for....," he was even softer, quieter.

"Please....," I pleaded, though his face was becoming blurrier and blurrier, farther and farther away. " not come for me." He was gone--I doubted he heard me.

I was falling...falling...falling...I was in the water, sinking...sinking. As much as I struggled I could not reach the top. I was drowning...I saw Horatio's face, his hands, but he could not reach me.....down, down...I was dying, I could not breathe...

I was panting, my lungs straining. I was staring at my own reflection, lying on the bed in the same circular room.


The End

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