Prologue

Clara lay in her big canopy bed. Her golden brown curls fanned out around her head and her green cat eyes were thoughtful.

            "And they lived happily ever after. The End," her mother said, finishing Clara's favorite fairy tale.

            "The end?!?" Clara asked in a panicked voice.

            "Yes, darling, the end."

            "Tell another please," Clara begged.

            "Not tonight, dear. Time for bed. Clara knew by the tone of her mother's voice that arguing would get her nowhere so she let her mother tuck her in and turn off the lights.

            She fell asleep quickly and slept deeply like she always did, not aware of the eyes that watched through her window; eyes brighter green than even Clara's own. She woke up minutes later because a stranger sat on her bed staring at her. He was wide shouldered with dark brown hair and glowing cat eyes.

            "Hi," Clara said cheerfully, hoping to be told another story.

            "Hello, Clara," his deep voice responded.

            "Are you here to tell me a story?"

            "No, but I will tell you one anyway. There was a girl who-"

            "It's supposed to start with once upon a time," Clara reminded him.

            "Is it? All right then. Once upon a time and not long ago there was a girl who was very, very lucky. She was given a guardian to watch over her. He protected her from anything that would harm her. However, he only appeared at night and she believed him to be a dream." He stopped. Clara waited and waited until she finally got enough courage to speak.

            "And everyone lived happily ever after. The end. Right?"

            "Oh, far from it. It is only the beginning." With these words he disappeared. Clara suddenly felt very sleepy and closed her eyes. When she woke up she thought it was just a dream.

            After that he came at least once a week but Clara never again asked for a story. She usually only got a glance at him before becoming unbearably sleepy and nodding off. She always thought it was a dream afterwards.

            Her mother died when she was 10. After that, everything changed. She stopped believing in magic and fairies. She refused to open her eyes in her recurring dream. She became quiet and constantly had a scowl on her face. If anyone dared to talk to her all she gave them was sarcasm. Her father of all people barely even noticed this change in her because he withdrew into his work to hide from the pain of his wife's death. Then came the day that would change her life.