She sees him in the distance, a black shadow against the almost painfully bright white snow that spreads itself beneath his feet and laces the branches of the lifeless tree beside him, stiffened with the rigor mortis that winter imposes upon it. He stares vaguely ahead, his gaze apparently fixed on nothing in particular, but had she been closer she would have seen the intensity in the grey eyes that always reminded her of rain and wind and thunder.

It paints a lonely picture in her head, despite the presence of the large canine who is always at his side, yet a peaceful one containing the promise of a certain sense of freedom. She watches the dog briefly, fascinated by his wolf like tendencies as he delves around in the snow, always searching, always hunting. He is almost as white as the snow itself- pure and incredibly beautiful.

She has had this dream before. The man, the dog, the snow- always the same. She can feel the crunch of the fresh, frosty snow beneath her feet and the chilly burn of the icy air on her skin and wonders how her mind is able to present her with these kinds of dream experiences when she has never before seen or felt snow. Suddenly the man looks up at her, as though something has alerted him to her presence, his storm grey eyes intense and focused. But she knows what will happen next- she remembers this because, after all, she has been here before.

The man approaches her, the dog ghosting his form like a patronus. When he reaches her he stands close, capturing her with his now familiar gaze. She stares back into his eyes, lost in the wind and rain that rages in the depths of them. She knows that he wants to tell her something- his mouth opens but no words are able to escape from it.

Every time she dreams of him he sees her and approaches her, tries to communicate, but always to no avail. She wanders what it is that her subconscious is trying to tell her night after night through this strange silent man.

She wakes feeling unrested, as though her dream had physically transported her to another place and now she was suffering from the resulting exertion. If she were to be perfectly honest with herself she would admit that she prefers the world of her dreams over the monotony that is her life. She constantly feels trapped by the dull job, the same small town, the same people and experiences.

That night she dreams again and is once again in the snow watching the man and his dog- free and unaffected by the weather. This time more snow begins to fall and she can feel the delicate snow flakes fall onto her hair and nose. The man approaches her slowly, as he always does, and she looks into those stormy eyes as she has so many times before. She knows that this is the part where he tries to speak to her- tries and fails to reveal to her why he is here- why she journeys here night after night. But this time is different.

"Join us. Be free" he speaks in hushed tones barely louder than a whisper, the soft volume not matching the depth and strength of the voice.

He smiles then, only slightly, but it seems to ignite within his eyes a flash of warmth and empathy. Before she has a chance to respond or even fully absorb what he has told her, she is awake again- returned to the real world where it is dark and still and silent.

It doesn't take her long to make her decision. Her subconscious has revealed to her what her conscious mind could not. She is going to see the snow in reality- grow, learn, explore. She is going to be free.