.:Prologue:.

Waking Dreams

.o.

Amongst the disarray of a blue duvet and bed sheets, she dreamed.

"Ring around the rosies..."

There was a boy standing by the statue. Bright, flaming red hair stuck out in odd angles as he held a withered flower in his hand. Slender black eyebrows creased in confusion. Aunt Falley never mentioned another kid was living here...

She took a step closer to him. "Who are you?"

He wasn't startled, that was the third thing she noticed about him. Instead he only stuck out his fist, the pathetic plant wilting even faster in his grasp. It was a harebell. That was the fifth thing she noticed.

He smiled at her. "Your friend."

Afterwards, sitting alone in the shadows no longer felt lonely anymore.

"...A pocket full of posies..."

They lay there, sprawled underneath the gnarled and twisted oak tree. He was on his back, she on her belly. Absentmindedly he twirled a lock of her black hair around his left index finger as she babbled on. She was quiet around other people, but never around him.

He never seemed annoyed when she babbled. In fact, he seemed to like it.

"I never see anyone tending in Aunt Falley's gardens. Not Logan, not Helen, not even Aunt Falley herself."

"Maybe she wants it that way."

Her dark eyebrows furrowed. "What? All unruly and growing out of hand?" Her eyebrows raised as her face lit up with her theory. "Maybe she keeps dragons!"

His own eyebrows raised in surprise. Then they relaxed, and he smiled.

"Maybe."

"…Ashes….ashes..."

"We'll always be together, right? Nor?"

He took her hand in his and smiled.

'A smile just for her', she thought, once again dazed by his smile. She always was, every time he did.

"Of course. Why not?"

"...We all fall down..."


It was raining.

"It's raining, it's pouring…"

"Tenor!" She yelped as she tripped over a root, her already torn skirt snagging on it. Choking back a sob, she stood up, bracing herself against the nearest tree, only to fall in through.

"…The old man is snoring…"

Pain lanced up to her knees and hands. Through blurred eyes she saw blood, dirt, and rain. Whimpering, she curled into a fetal position, the booming thunder muffling her sobs.

"…He sat up from his bed, broke his head…"

A blood-curdling screech resounded throughout the forest. Her head shot up, leaving her arms. From inside the hollowed, dead tree, beady black ones peered back from the thick foliage. Its small, shriveled head craned at odd angles as its neck snaked through the trees. Step by step, its awkward long limbs bracing itself against trees, it came closer. And closer.

And closer.

Terrified blue met predatory black.

She screamed.

"…And couldn't get up in the morning."