Emilia looked out of her window, sighing wistfully at the setting sun. A warm orange glow descended on the valley, turning the grass into a dark shade of amber and the tips of the trees into a fiery auburn. From her bedroom window she could see the vast green hills that seemed to stretch on endlessly into the horizon. A small cluster of houses were set in the base of the valley, the multicoloured roofs looking like intricate artwork.
'Emilia, please close that window,' her mother appeared at her doorway looking anxious.
'But mum, no harm's going to come to me.' She knew it was pointless protesting even before the words left her mouth but her stubborn nature wouldn't let her give in easily.
'Emilia!' her mothers voice grew sharp. 'Close it. Now.'
Heaving a sigh, she reached her hand into the gentle evening breeze and yanked her window shut with a bit more force than she'd intended.
'I'm sorry dear, but you know the rules,' her mothers voice was softer but didn't lack conviction. She too was extremely stubborn. It meant they clashed a lot of the time, both adamant to get their own way.
'Get a good nights sleep, you've got school in the morning.'
A good nights sleep? Emilia thought. Haven't had one of those in a while.
It had started a few months ago, her dreams that she'd been having. At first they were every few weeks or so, but that had become more frequent, appearing almost every night now. They was nothing particularly frightening about her dreams, just... powerful. She'd usually wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep again.
Sometimes, she'd look forward to her dreams, but all depended on what was going to happen. Of course no one could predict it, so she'd have to see when she got there.
She lay there for several hours, glancing at the bright red digits on her alarm clock.
The minutes ticked away, marking each second she avoided having to face it. But sleep was inevitable, and her eyes eventually closed and she slipped reluctantly into unconsciousness.
It started out like any other dream, she found herself in the depth of the valley, amongst the trees which surrounded her like a protective barrier. She gazed up at the sky, an inky blue scattered with bright white stars twinkling away quite contentedly. The ground was damp and the leaves that had fallen crunched beneath her bare feet as she made her way over to a stray bit of wood bark.
Sitting down, she could only note how disconcertingly realistic the dream appeared to her. She could feel the nights bitter wind brush against her skin causing her to shiver.
A disturbance amongst the bushes caught her attention. Shifting her focus to the barely visible opening between two trees, she exhaled slowly, patiently waiting for him to make his appearance.
No matter how many times she'd seen him, she could never get over how unnaturally good looking he was. It was eerie. No boy should appear this perfect. His skin, ivory in colour, gleamed against the moonlight, translucent and delicate. His eyes, heavy lidded and rimmed with thick black lashes were a magnificent shade of green, bright jade jewels fixed on her with a half lazy half dreamy manner. His hair, jet black contrasted sharply with his pale features and was cut dramatically into a side fringe, the rest appearing tousled and windswept. He was extraordinarily handsome and Emilia was at a loss for words.
He smiled, a heartbreakingly beautiful smile.
'Hello Emilia, it's nice to see you again.'
He spoke a little formally, but his voice was like music to her ears.
'Hi.' She still didn't know his name, but at that moment she really didn't care.
He shifted slightly, catching the silvery light at just the right angle. Part of his face became immersed in shadow, accentuating his high cheekbones and defined jawline.
'I have something for you, a sort of farewell present if you like. You won't be seeing me again for some time.'
Emilia didn't know whether she wanted to feel relieved or upset.
'Where are you going?' she couldn't help herself ask.
He smiled wider.
'Oh I'm not going away permanently, you will see me very soon. Just perhaps not like this.'
He stepped closer to her, becoming almost tangible. She resisted the urge to extend her hand and brush her fingers against his smooth, muscled skin.
He lightly reached for her hand which was still hanging loosely by her side.
'See you soon,' he whispered. In the blink of an eye, he had disappeared. Confused, Emilia glanced down at her hand and noticed a silver chain slipping through her fingers. A necklace. He had given her a necklace.
'Emilia! Time for school!'
Somewhere in the distance, her mother was calling her, breaking through her peaceful slumber. She forced herself to open her eyes and squinted against the harsh glare of her bedroom light. Stretching her arms above her head, she felt something pressed against her thigh. Something cold and hard.
It was the necklace he had given her.