Walking on a stretch of road in the mountains of Switzerland, Dominique felt the daisy she held in her hand grow warm. It was dying, and she entwined its stem into the buttons of her dusty and dirt-streaked blouse. She whistled a snatch of a nursery ryhme to herself, or to the cows which trundled ahead of her. It was a beautiful morning, and Dominique didn't feel reluctant at all about her chores. Her cat, Milou, trotted briskly on the other side of the road.

Dominique wasn't an exceptional girl, by any standards. She was a bred hard working girl, no different from her sisters back home. Growing up under the motto of "Hard work strengthens the soul," she took a simple enjoyment out of helping her family prosper. She did not care much for her appearance, her ash blonde hair tucked into a simple cap and her young plump body swathed in dusty and unflattering hand-sewn clothes.

They reached the grazing hill, and Dominique mounted her rock and braided grass while the beasts snuffled in the pasture below. Milou purred and rubbed himself against her. He was a tabby cat, kept for eatimg the mice which got into the grain, but Dominique enjoyed his company while the long boring hours of watching her family's cows eat stretched on.

The wind started up, whistling in her ears. She smiled and whistled back, attempting to match it's pitch. Dominique nearly fell over her rock when her whistle call was met with the exact same scale. It was very faint, carried by the wind, but Dominique was sure of what she heard. Wanting to know who was making music in the thicket surrounding the pasture, she momentarily deserted her cows for the weedy tangle.

Dominique realized that Milou was no where to be seen, but she decided that they could take care of themselves. She wondered who could be in here, when her home was the only one for miles in all directions. As she followed the sound, it sounded more like a flute playing. Thorny vines scraped her legs as she continued, almost forcing her to stop and turn back. Naturally, Dominique craved a distraction from the cows, knowing that they would not go anywhere.

This place seems a lot bigger than I thought... She wandered through what was now a forest, the ground covered in soft-leafed plants from which the occaisional toad leapt out of. The ground became muddy, then hard, then muddy again. She stepped over logs covered in moss, around dangerous boggy pools, and beneath ever-growing trees. It seemed she walked through that place for hours, always following the sound of the flute, telling herself that she was almost there.

After a while a clear white shape made itself apparent in the distance. It seemed very large and old, with arches and crubling rocks beneath leafy vines and twisted brambles. The song of the flute, bewitching and unfamiliar to Dominique, was very close. As she drew nearer, she realized that she was entering the ruins of a chapel, left here and forgotten, it's crumbling walls without hearing a sermon for years.

The air here seemed very thick, and Dominique's steps were very slow as she surveyed the ruins. It's pulpit was still intact, though the wooden shutters that must have covered the window arches in winter had long rotted off. The long benches were in various stated of decay; where once a congregation of religious people once sat silently in prayer there were only a few pews still left completely intact.

Dominique was aware that the music had suddenly stopped, and that out of the corner of her eye a dark figure moved quickly away from her.

"Wait!" She called, running after it. It was blurry, darting in and out of focus, trying to lose her. It made no sound as it moved through the trees. Dominique chased it into a clearing, the bright sun startling her. Any thoughts of cows suddenly deserted her. There, stretched beneath a dark velvety blue sky, was a fairytale landscape of the likes she had never seen. The sun was like a black orb in the sky, a corona of white light dancing around it. The grass, which grew until the dirt roads of the citadel, was dark grayish green, like it was seen at night, though Dominique knew it was clearly day. Dark, angry looking clouds rolled and spread through the weird sky. The citadel was thronging with shapes between it's streets, and on the other side of the valley, Dominique was dazzled to see the teirs of a castle rise up over the tops of the city.

As soon as Dominique realized that the dark shape was heading for the city, she took off after it, her speed augmented by the steep hill she was on. The gates of the village were open, though she could not see the shape anywhere. I'll find it somehow, it must be somewhere in the village.

As soon as she passed the threshold, a sudden, heavy feeling came over her. She stopped and looked behind her. Dominique's heart skipped a beat as all she could see past the gates was more of the flat dark landscape, and her forest was no where to be seen. Her feet took her through the streets of the village, and she was suddenly aware that she needed to find that spectre to get back home. Dark, looming shapes jostled past her, and carts carrying cages and weapons and fruit and skins such as she had never seen littered the streets. Small, brown hairy people worked quickly at strange jobs. Lights flickered in alleyways. Plants that had the faces of men dragged their roots over the cobblestones. Small children with strange eyes and beautiful wings peered at her with mild interest.

Suddenly the road cleared. In the middle of it, not more than a few feet away from her, was the spectre. It was a girl---no, a boy---clad in midnight it seemed. Ornate boots with spurs on the heels, a short black tunic over slender black stockings, a gold fringed cloak fastened with rich jewels around sloped shoulders. Porcelain white skin, a straight nose, and a black curtain of liquid night that cascaded back from his high forehead to fall to his waist. A silver circlet around his head, graceful arched eyebrows, and frightening eyes; Dominique could not help but stare into them, like obsidian mirrors set from eyelid to eyelid, without any whites to be seen. In his ivory hands he held Milou.

Seeing the tabby cat shook Dominique's arrested state. She reached out for Milou then stopped, unsure of what to do. The spectre simply gazed back at her.

Dominique heard a shriek peirce the air. Racing towards them, like white doves beneath the black sun, were two women. They looked like nurses, buttoned on their white robes, and Dominique wondered if she should run. She didn't have time, however, and the larger of the two nurse scooped her up into her strong arms and the other slapped the boy across the cheeks and yelled furiously at him.

Dominique felt like crying. She had made the mistake of chasing some idiot boy into some nightmare town, and now she couldn't go back home to her family, plus her last friend in the world was being taken away from her. Now who knew where she was being taken? Why where they interested in her? Had she commited a wrongdoing by coming here? Pictures of child-eating giants from her mother's fairy tales flashed through her mind. Was their king going to put her in the soup for supper? Dominique couldn't help it, her resolve vanished and she burst into tears. The nurses tried to slap her but she only cried more.