Begin at ******* in "chapter 1."
Suddenly the window slammed. The locked door swung gently jar and the light overhead flickered back into its familiar warm glow. His frightened sobs gave way to tears of joy, and the warmth of the room at last surrounded him. Gone was the cold air, gone was the fear, and gone was the woman who ripped that blackness from his chest. Moved now to such great emotion, the boy laughed uncontrollably, racked now with a joy that tickled at his fingers and toes.
“The Nightmare made you see me that way,” spoke a soft voice.
But he did not fear this voice, for it was familiar, almost maternal -- but beneath the saccharine intonation slept something foreign.
“The Nightmare can make you see terrible things –” she began, momentary relapses gnawing at his psyche. With closed eyes, he focused at the window: was it closed?
“And distort your reality, the true reality. I drew the beast from within you, so that you might see…”
Upon his lids played the cinematic vision: he saw the open window, he could still see his breath...
He opened his eyes, searching the warm glow for the origin of the voice. She stood before him, bedecked in red and gold, attended then by a court of wanton spirits. She was all the more beautiful, even the Nightmare could not destroy that – but no longer was she clad in inky blackness or gossamers, but ornate golden bands and rings and jewels, enrobed in a garment of scarlet silk. The Spirits around her spoke amongst themselves, joking, laughing. Two children played in the hall, laughing gaily, three matronly women – governesses, no doubt – calling after them. A young woman gazed carelessly from the window, as her watchmaker husband tinkered across the hall. Time is unchanging, time is fluid, the past leaves an impression.
“You have nothing to fear now, little one,” she smiled, “Sleep well…”
He couldn’t see his breath anymore.