Cold. It's so cold. What a strange dream this is. I'm sitting in the snow with my knees drawn up to my chest. I'm naked, numb, and uncomprehending. There's nothing around but the snow dusted trees, circling me… caging me. The thoughts in my head rush to my consciousness too fast for me to even understand them. I'm feeling something else now, but I can't describe it. It's raw and forceful, all consuming and powerful.

There comes the loud crack of a twig and I immediately realize that I am no longer alone in the clearing. They're overshadowed by the trees, but they're there all the same, watching me, waiting for something. I shudder involuntarily, my eyes snapping closed. I know what I am feeling now. The word has reappeared in my mind as if it never left, as if it was something I had known my entire life. Terror. I want to wake up. I jerk, shaking my head, trying to force myself awake. It doesn't work, of course. I'm freezing now, my sensitive skin has already started to acquire that curious bluish tint frostbite gives. I hear footsteps now, crunching snow getting nearer and nearer. I huddle deeper into myself, trying to block out the world around. Maybe if I pretend it doesn't exist… I will not open my eyes. I refuse to acknowledge anything.

Suddenly there's a thick hand gripping my arm and I'm roughly hauled up. I'm aware of the squeak of panic that escaped me, but I still refuse to open my eyes, squeezing them shut as hard as I can. This has become a battle of wills, but how long can I keep it up? I will need to see the world around me sooner or later. But not if I wake up first. Why can't I wake up? I'm being tugged along now, back to the shadowed woods where the others are. I suspect only one came out for me. Why? Who are they? The impulse to resist descends heavily over me then. The terror is still there, seemingly my only companion until I recognize my own defiance. Whoever these people are, they won't have me. I'm going to wake up. I yank my arm out from that thick grip, and can tell they're surprised at my strength by the startled gasp to the left of me. I don't give them time to grab me again, spinning to the right, my eyes popping open. The whole world is thrown into me in one second and I see the people for the first time. Just a glance, though, because then I'm gone, running through the snow covered forest. My bare feet sink deeply into the snow with my weight behind them, but I keep going.

There's commotion behind me and I know they're chasing me. It strikes me suddenly that it was what they wanted all along, a chase, that I was some kind of prey. There were shouts, then, and the sharp sound of metal on metal, and then a sound that chilled my blood: the horrible baying of some large creature. I could hear it behind me now as I dodged roots and low hanging limbs, searching desperately for any sign of safety, any sign of an end. Whatever beast they had at they're beck and call was getting closer, thudding heavily in the snow and tearing up trees as it goes. Fear thrills through me and I stumble, barely catching myself. I marvel at how I can still run. I can't feel anything anymore, physically. My body is numb and the pain of the ice and snow has not yet reached my dream-addled brain. I stumble again, and this time go down. I know that I will not get back up. I suppose all I can do now is wait for them to catch up. I wonder if I'll wake up if they kill me. Or if I'll ever wake up. It occurs to me that I've never been kept prisoner in my own dreams before. I've always wielded the power over my consciousness… but now? What if this isn't a dream?

They're getting close to me again, but not taking chances this time and I feel my arms dragged behind me and cold metal encircling my wrists and the same with my ankles. I'm heaved up, lifted, and placed over the back of the beast, which I finally got a full view of.

He is enormous. His back is five feet wide, at least, and I'd say he measures a good seven feet tall. Long, shaggy purple fur covers his whole body. From the quick glance I got of him, it looked as if he has blue spots, as well, but I can't be sure. Two white tusks stood out from his face, thick and powerful. A saddle on his neck allowed him to be steered, but it obviously took a lot to control a creature such as him. I have never seen anything like him before…

One of the people is trying to speak to me, but I don't know what he is saying. I assume it's a he, at least. They're not any people I've seen before. I wonder how I'm still conscious. I turn my head away from him, ignoring them. I need to wake up now. Please, why can't I wake up? The heat from the beast is beginning to warm me, but it will be a long time before I'm ever warm again. Where are my clothes? I've never had a dream where I was naked like this. I wiggle for a moment, attempting to find comfort on the great beast. His fur is coarse and comfortable and I nuzzle into it. All the strength is gone from me now. All the adrenaline and courage extinguished by the cold and the relentless chase. The only thing still there is that terror. What is going to happen to me? What if I never wake up?

Someone gets up on the beast and is now seated behind me. Another takes the seat of control on the beast. Abruptly we start to move, the beast rumbling forward much quicker than I anticipated. Luckily I have never suffered from motion sickness and just lay down my head and close my eyes. The person behind me is fiddling with my wrists and recognizes that they have just attached a chain to my cuffs. A warm hand is placed in the small of my back then, and I feel strangely comforted, almost protected. Between the rumblings of the creature carrying us, the now overpowering warmth of his fur, and slightly comforting hand on my back, I feel myself slowly drift away… my last thought reflects my hope of waking up back in my own world…