Part one: 8th grade year
A gentle wave of cold night air drifted over my face, waking me from my shallow sleep. I sat up, reaching to close my open window.
Sensing a movement, I froze, letting my blurry eyes adjust the best they could. When nothing moved, I slid the window shut and lay back down, drifting back into sleep.
Only to be roused once more only moments later. But when I opened my eyes , everything was clear, as if I was wearing my glasses, even though I knew I wasn't.
Above me a boy hardly older than me was on his hands and knees, looking down at me, his pale eyes wide with shock.
I knew this face, it seemed as if I always had. Those eyes, that mop of raven's wing hair, the strength of his arms and shoulders, yes I know him. He had become my Phantom.
"Jake..." I whispered, reaching up to set a hand on his cheek.
Those blue eyes seemed to grow in size even more, surprise lighting in his handsome face. "How do you know my name?"
"I have dreamed of this moment for a long time now..."
He smiled and kissed me softly, his lips barely brushing mine. "You must me her..."
I woke with a start, my mother's voice yanking me free of the heavenly dream.
"Get up! You're gonna be late!"
"Okay okay!" I sat up, pushing away my blankets to stand, those last words that he had spoke still echoing through my head, humming throught my veins and bones, down to my very core, my soul vibrating with the possible meanings.
I was coming face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul, with my destiny, I could feel it. Some thing big was going to happen soon, something very big.
I dreamed that dream many times after, each time it became more and more vivid, more powerful. It shook my soul deeper and deeper each time he kissed me, each time I saw those eyes. he was intertwined in my future, my destiny. He was dark and mysterious, dangerous even through he passed as a sweet guy, gentle and caring. I was missing one major piece of the puzzle. What that I had not the slightest clue. All I knew was that what ever I was missing was a big piece, one that I had to know.
"He's... I don't know what he is but he's different, I can feel it..." I said as I told my best friend, Whitney, about the dream.
"I don't know... there's.... there's a tremor, of sorts, an echo.... I don't think he's human..."
"Danni, that's not possible..."
"How do you know?" I got up from our spot in the grass, my energy level peaking. "Whitney, think about it... You see spirits, I dream the future whenever I close my eyes.... There could be non-humans out there for real...."
"Just, don't get your hopes up, ok? Don't fall for this guy in your dreams..."
To late... I thought but i nodded anyways.
"Good... come on, time to go back to class."
I followed her back inside, my bones still humming with energy I hadn't gotten to burn.
I didn't dream of him that night. No, I dreamed a nightmare, a fear that chilled my blood and shook my soul in ways different from my dreams of Jake.
I was walking him my usual way, down the back side of the school. I could feel a hum, like the signature of Jake, but different, darker. I stopped looking around, reaching out, searching for the being.
"Hello?" I called out, only to be answered by a sweet sounding giggle, like that of a young girl, happy and bright.
"Hello..." was the distant reply, soft and gentle. It didn't feel right.
Suddenly, I was over taken, a flash of black, a glint of silver, a sharp piercing pain as the creature buried the blade deep in my chest.
I woke up crying, the pain following me from the dream into reality. Pulling my night shirt away, I checked my skin.
There. A gaping cut only inches from my heart. Crimson liquid ran down my skin, soaking my shirt, my bed, everything. I started to panic, my heart racing, with every beat the pain throbbed, the blood draining from my body before my eyes.
I closed my eyes, expecting to pass out from pain and shock. But when I opened my eyes again, the gash was gone, the blood simply disappeared as if it was never there. But the pain stayed, an echo of the true thing.
What just tried to kill me?
Reality became dream for me, and dream became reality. Those lines of sanity blurred and faded, making the two into one. The strength of those dreams, of seeing him and the dreams of my death, nothing seemed real anymore. I was losing myself to the night, little by little.
I was being tainted by that darkness, becoming one of them, those creatures that wanted me dead. Was my destiny so big, so dark, that I had to die before it ever started? Were the spirits trying to end what they predicted before it even started?
"I don't get it, Nicky. These dreams, they're important, my life is changing. Something is brewing, I just know it..." The red-head just sat there, watching me pace and pull at my long blonde hair. "Maybe it's telling me that if I ever meet this guy... Maybe I shouldn't trust him..." I paused. "Maybe he's the thing that kills me, that he lulls me into trusting him and then, bam! He stabs me when my back is turned..."
"Or maybe," Nicole stood up. "These are all just dreams and none of this will come to pass. Just Relax, Danni..."
"How can I?"
"Don't stress these dreams, don't let them control you."
I looked met those hazel eyes, so serious and caring. "Alright, Nicky... alright..."
"Ok then..." She turned away, her slight body moving with a grace I never imagined possible for a middle school girl.
I fear the future, but maybe this change that was coming was for the best.
I sat up, only to realize I was far away from my bedroom.
Beautiful white marble pillars and floors surrounded me, the sparkling stone falling in steps below me to end in a crystal blue pond, the moon reflected on it's smooth, flawless surface.
"My daughter..." A soft voice whispered, the sound echoing around me as soft as the downy feathers of a young bird.
"Hello?" I called, getting to my feet. I felt the swish of fabric on my legs and looked down. A dress I didn't remember owning had replaced my tee and shorts. It was just longer than my knees and snow white with a square neckline with slender straps over my shoulders.
"As beautiful as ever."
I turned sharply, my waist long hair swarming over my face.
That laugh was melodic, the sound rising and falling like beautiful notes. I pulled my hair away from my eyes to try and see this woman, my curiosity taking over the fear.
"Hello my daughter."
I felt my jaw drop. She was so beautiful, all that silver-white hair that fell far past her slender hips, her creamy white skin almost glowing even as she stood in the shadows of the marble temple. He dress flowed and moved in the windless space, the white fabric tracing every graceful curve of her gentle body.
But what really grabbed my attention though, were her eyes. They were a soft sky blue that seemed to sparkle like the stars.
"Who are you?" I asked, my voice thin and shaky.
"I am Selene, child, the goddess of the moon. I am your Mother Goddess, your guide, if you will."
"Guide for what? What is going on? What is this place?"
She smiled, walking towards me. "Come, walk with me, I will explain the best I can."
I fell in step with her, feeling tiny and powerless next to her glowing beauty and pulsing energy. She was powerful, I could feel it.
We walked into an incredible garden filled with white rose bushes, marble benches and bird baths.
"Now, dear one, I know you have many questions, but we have limited time. Ask, my daughter, I will answer as many as possible."
"Ok, where am I? This place isn't on Earth, is it?"
"No, we are above it. This is my home, my sanctuary. This place is a place i can watch over my daughters and the humans they protect from a safe distance."
I nodded, stopping near a large rose bush, the white blooms reaching out for me it seemed. I lifted my hand to touch one's velvet soft petals. The flowers seemed to dance and sparkle when i touched them, as if I made them happy. "Why do I need a guide? What is coming that I need a goddess to help me?"
"A battle, little one, a fierce one at that. Much blood will be shed, innocent and warrior in equal amounts. But you, and you alone, can change that. You are what can tip the balance for or against human kind. It is an important choice, one that will cost you much. You will have to pick carefully Serena Rose."
"Why do you call me that? Maybe you have the wrong girl."
The goddess laughed. "No, child, you are the right one. Serena Rose may not be your human name, but it is your true name, the name of your spirit. You are Serena Rose when the sun sets behind the trees and mountains, but once the sun rises once more, you are Danni." She looked away, er eyes locking on the horizon where the dark sky was turning gray. "It's time you go, my brother is waking." She picked a rose from one of the bushes, handing the perfect bloom to me. "Go now, daughter. The day is here."
I blinked, opening my eyes to my room, sitting up in my bed in a daze.
"It was all a dream." I shook my head, casting away my blankets. There lay a white rose, sparkling just below the layers.
As I picked it up, the shock hit me. My abilities in the world of dreams were changing, strengthening.
What am I getting myself into?