He calls to me, calls to me, haunting my every thought. I'm not thinking about him on my own, he's putting these thoughts inside my head. It's a gentle voice, sweetly whispering for me to come to him. Its so soft, so tempting, so terrifying because I know that I do not want to go to him. I'm walking home to my barracks across the snow in the dark. I don't think I'm wearing a coat or gloves but the cold means nothing to me because I know he is nearby. I have nothing with which to defend myself. I pause to scoop up a snowball, a pitiful weapon but better than nothing. It isn't logical but I can't feel so helpless. There, in front of me, there he is, his black hair glistening in the moonlight, wrapped tightly against the cold in a black jacket. Pale skin gone gray from lack of life. I don't see his eyes, I don't even see his face, it's like a wraith waiting for me out in that snowy dreamland. And I know I'm dreaming, I know I'm going to be tired tomorrow because I haven't fully hit deep sleep yet but I can't pull myself out of this either. I throw my snowball at him but he's gone, blown away by the winter wind and I find the snowball still in my hand for a moment longer before the scene changes and I'm in bed.

It's my bed, my real bed, my arms stretched out above my head. I'm sleeping fitfully. I'm not aware enough to question how I'm asleep in a dream, but I am. I have the covers pulled up around my face. Slowly I come too, there's a calling there, a need again, as soft yet commanding as the ocean tide. He wants me to come to him. I want to go, but I know it isn't really me wanting anything. My window is open, and suddenly its so cold that I'm shaking. My breath comes labored and harsh, my body trembles and my arms are numb with the chill. I try desperately not to look towards the open window, terrified of what I might see waiting for me, but the movement of the trees distracts me and I catch glimpses out the corners of my eye. I call for my leopard, my inner strength to combat this infernal desire to go back outside and see him. He needs me, he wants me, go to him, except I do not want to. I call my leopard, it isn't much but at least she is mine wholly, he cannot touch or corrupt her. She does not come. I can't stop myself from looking at the window, I pray she is there but there is nothing except the forest. I don't know why or how there is a forest outside my window but it is there, tree limbs pushing into my room like they are hiding something sinister yet promising. I'm so cold that I can feel the ice crystals on my skin. I'm so afraid I can taste my pulse in my mouth like hot copper pennies. Just to close the window. I think to myself. I will never be able to sleep with the window open. It's simply too cold for that. I am not going to him, I'm just closing the window. I go to the window and leap out, landing lightly in the snow.

There is a steep hill in front of me with a ladder against it. A rusted gate swings lazily open like a cat waiting for the canary to walk into it's waiting jaws. Naively, for some reason, although my brain screams at me, DANGER-DANGER, someone has disabled my alarm bells and I climb the ladder up the hill. Just to close the gate. I remind myself. I can't possibly sleep with the gate open. That is the only reason I come to this frozen winter land. Snow crunches under my feet and I'm not sure if I have shoes on or not. I must have a jacket on though because when I crest the top of the hill, it brushes against a scrap of metal with a sigh. It sounds so masculine, so human, so satisfied that I pause to look around. There is nothing but a shack down the way and the open gate just ahead. Still I sense something is wrong, self preservation finally kicking in. I curl my hands into claws and bare my teeth. I snarl a warning to anything that may be waiting out here in this grayscale world, no longer a succulent youth to be seduced but a frightened feral being. Still my desire to close the gate overcomes any sense of wrong the situation holds. I take one step towards my goal when, clear as day there comes the high, innocent laughter of a child. Except it isn't innocent at all, it's petrifying. There should be no children here in this place. There should be no one but me. I'd been afraid of his calling me outside my zone of safety when the real threat had been here all along. Terror, pure and undiluted courses through me. I do not see her but I hear her words cut through the night air, cut through my terror and pierce into the very animal side of me. "Why, what are you doing here?" so innocent the voice, so pure and saintly this child must be but I know I cannot look at her. I don't know where she is, I know she is playing this cat and mouse game with me, watching me from somewhere close. Her voice is clear enough that I know she must be close. I will not play this game with her, I will not stand in the snow and freeze with fear. I will not be her rabbit caught in tharn in this waste of a place. It sounds rational in retrospect but at the time all I can think is a panicked mantra of run, run, run, run, RUN . I must be two stories up on this hill but I can see my barrack window so close at the bottom. I feel movement behind me and without considering the consequences I leap- to awake before I land.