I stare at the rivulets of water running down the window pane while I chew the back end of my pen, which is as frayed as a feather duster. Inspiration just will not come to me. The Muse has gone awol again, and I doubt she’s coming back anytime soon. And yet there is a yearning within me, a longing that tugs at me, drives me to frustration, to write something… anything… I don’t care what about so much as I care about having something to show for my claim to be a writer. After all, what good is it to be a writer with nothing to show of one’s craft?
So I gaze through the window to the dreary day outside, wishing that an idea for a story would dawn on me, though more than the shade of the sun behind the clouds at the moment. As I watch, the clouds drift toward the west, driven by the winds of destiny, to be replaced by darker, more menacing clouds. Everything I see becomes shadowed as the sun’s light is eclipsed by moisture. Snow clouds? It is winter after all, and although the weather didn’t predict snow here, places around about are due a smattering.
Time passes, and as I watch, the rain morphs into sleet, and after a while snow begins to fall, dragging the darkness away and overlaying it with a glare. Mesmerised, I lay my pen down on the pad and move to sit on the window seat, arms leaning on the sill, to gaze out as tentative white patches begin to form on the ground, the plants, the car, the trees… The flakes grow, and before long there is at least an inch of snow on the ground. Thicker, faster, and I’m unaware of anything but the rhythm of nature as the white blanket is laid, bringing the world to slumber.
A glint in the copse over the road catches the corner of my eye, and I adjust my head to focus. Not seeing anything there, my eyes drift away again, but another tug at my senses brings them snapping back to the trees. Not to be caught again, I stare, and am rewarded by a strange sight. A bright green light, encased in a hazy green halo, moves through the trees just below the bottom-most branches, which I know to be a little higher than I am tall. It darts from one tree to the next, only visible when moving, which is why I didn’t see it earlier.
Curiosity stirs within me, a whorl of questions tugging at my mind. What questions they are, though, eludes me. The throb of my heartbeat takes over my body, bringing relaxation that is almost sensual, a protection from the cold. Where did that thought come from? As though on automatic I cross the room, throw on my dressing gown and slippers, head down the stairs and out through the front door. Sense barely registers, although I can confirm I’m not freezing cold as I should be. The snow radiates warmth like the baking sand on a tropical beach, and I long to sink myself into it. But no, the tug of the green light is too strong and I make my robotic way down the path, across the road, over the fence and into the copse.
Except now I don’t see it. I search through the trees, but it’s nowhere. Then a tingle rises from the ground, a warmth that spreads through my feet, my legs, my torso, and soon my whole body is vibrating. I see everything around me through a green haze. Sounds like small voices, rising and falling like the babbling of a brook, reach my ears. I strain to make sense of them, but just as I detect a pattern, a possible word, all becomes jumbled again.
My vision clouds, and just as I begin to panic that I’m turning blind, or worse, it clears to reveal the most beautiful scene I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m standing on what I can only describe as a manicured lawn, every blade of grass identical in direction, shape and size. To my right is a rivulet that feeds into an azure lake. The shoreline is just a few yards in front of me, where small waves gently lap. The lake stretches away as far as the eye can see, with mountains drawing it to the edge of the world. Snow-capped mountains, whose beauty outweighs any I’ve ever seen back on earth – for I am surely no longer there. This is the place of my dreams, the land of my desires.
Looking down at myself I see that I’m barefooted and dressed in a simple white gown, not too unlike the flimsy dressing-gown I threw on earlier but far more elegant. A plaited gold chord crosses my chest to outline the contours of my breasts, and binds the gown at the waist. Long blonde curls tumble over the attire and, lifting my hand to my head, I confirm that this is my hair, no longer straight and drab, but luxurious. Doing so reveals that I am wearing a tiara, which I grasp to remove.
‘Don’t!’ a deep, rumbling male voice pleads from behind me.
Releasing the tiara, I spin around to collide with a solid wall. Correction. I shake my head. With his bare torso. My eyes widen: a familiar, well-muscled one, at that! Hardly daring to breathe, scared that I’m going to see what I expect, I force my gaze upwards. And then it skitters away and I’m left reeling, gasping as though my life depended on it.
It’s him! Those eyes, deep blue, penetrating the depths of my being; that mouth, full and sculpted, twitching with amusement; the black, wavy hair … the hair that I cannot wait to run through with my fingers, grabbing the locks, pulling those lips down to mine…
I shake my head. How can it be that this man and I are physically in one place? I must be dreaming. That’s the logical explanation. Relying on folklore I pinch myself, hard, but no, the scene’s still here, the man before me.
D’artaign. Prince of the Isle of Wind and the Four Shores. See! I know him. I know all about him. How?, you wonder. Because every night for the last ten years he has come to me in my dreams. And we’ve talked, about his life and mine. I know his most intimate secrets, and he mine. Exploring one another’s worlds, asking and being answered, philosophising and explaining. But never in my dreams did I ever believe that he could possibly be real, a being of another realm. And yet here he is, here we are, and there’s no other place I’d rather be. In fact, I hope against hope that this isn’t a dream.
I take a step back. To my amusement, D’artaign raises an arm as if to halt my reversal.
‘You worried I’ll run?’ I grin at him, unable to prevent myself from teasing him.
Expressions war across his face, eventually settling on relieved. ‘Noooo-‘ he drawls.
I giggle. I know he’s nervous, and now, suddenly, so am I, as my gut clenches and my skin turns cold. But not for long; the deep throbbing begins as he holds my gaze, as his eyes widen in appreciation of … me?
I can’t resist the question, though. ‘How am I here?’
Again I see that he struggles to answer. Perhaps he’s afraid that I think he’s kidnapped me. Or troubled at having me really here?
‘My astronomers found your primary. You remember, you explained to me three years ago about your system?’ I nod, not quite remembering, but pretty certain we would have discussed it. ‘Then I searched your world until I found your scent. From there, it was a matter of catching your attention, of calling you to me.’
I swallow. Is this man a hunter that he would have conducted such a painstaking search for me? Or did he simply love me? We had often enough spoken of love, of our feelings for each other – but for me, it had always been just a dream. I’d never considered the possibility that he may be a real person. I look again into his eyes, and all I read there is warmth and affection. There’s a hunger there too … but not of the cannibalistic kind, I’m sure. No. As sure as I know myself, I know that D’artaign loves me.
‘So what gives?’ He knows how I talk, that I’m asking why I’m here.
His lips pull back to reveal his white teeth in a smile I’ve never been able to resist, and my insides melt. ‘Today is to be our wedding day. Can you not hear the music? The people talking?’
I pay attention, and the elusive babble comes back to me, the one I heard in the woods.
‘Why me?’ Yes, I know I ask a lot of questions.
‘I love you.’ A simple answer.
D’artaign’s face clouds over. I’m worried that I’ve made him angry with all my questions. But no, that isn’t a look of anger. He’s worried about something. Then he seems to gather himself.
‘I’m sorry. I’ve been most remiss.’ To my surprise, he bends down on one knee before me, and takes my right hand in both of his. Pretty sure of what’s coming, my heart joins in the music with a military tattoo of its own. ‘I love you, Reena. Will you marry me?’
In answer, I put my left hand behind his head and, bending down, meet his upturned lips with mine in a kiss, our first; we’ll remember it till the end of time.
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