They came to her in dreams, as they had for the past eleven years of her life.

She drifted into the quiet mists, rolling hills of deep, damp green that seems to go on forever. The wind blows across her face, soothing and calming her jittery nerves. She felt light and realized with a jolt that she’s gliding in the air. She can see the magnificent sight below; the thick, dark woods and the lush green land at the foot of a sturdy emerald mountain, the dreamlike wonder of a field overflowing with a blanket of lavender and chamomile and the scent assailed her nostrils, making her almost dizzy with their potent fragrance.

And far ahead is a cliff, where a castle rose on its top, silver stone spearing into the glorious blue skies, but its bottom is buried in filmy layers of mist that lope like a river below. There’s a sudden rush of determination from deep within her chest, and all she wanted is to reach that place, and find out all the answers she needed.

She stopped before a golden drawbridge, looking and searching. Then she found him, and instinctively glided down into a wide courtyard.

A face she had seen in her dreams for a thousand times turned into her direction, and suddenly, her gaze was met by a pair of brilliant blue eyes that seem to see through her very soul.

A quiet, solemn voice spoke up. “Is your name, Anastasia?”

More confused than she had ever been in her life, she nodded.

“Very well, then. We can get going. We’ve waited for you a long, long time. Come with us.” He held out a hand, long and narrow.

“Go where?”

“Into another world. We have to fulfill our destiny.”

She stepped back. “I can’t. My family will be worried. They will look for me. I just can’t leave them.” Bewilderment is written all over her face.

“Are you turning away from what the stars have written for you? You’ll be damned.”

Then as if in some kind of a fantasy film, the scene changed. She’s standing on the top of a cliff, her arms around her waist as if to ward off the chill that cut to the bone. Her eyes are fixed on the swirling mist below, dark and bottomless pit of the unknown. The rumble of the unseen waves filled her ears, and she shuddered as a gush of wind slapped at her cold, damp face. Leaning down, she tried to squint, to make out what was happening below, but out of nowhere, a cold, slippery hand reached out and pulled her wrist. She screamed, and then she was falling into a never-ending abyss.

She woke up, gasping for breath. Her face and neck are damp with sweat. And her hands are freezing cold. She’s shaking uncontrollably as if she’s just emerged from the bitter chills of a raging sea.

“Stacy, are you alright?”


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