She woke up gasping for air, her face wet with tears. Leaving the embrace of this dream was becoming increasingly difficult. Each time she was stepping outside the gates, the call of the powerful emotions left behind was tearing into her heart.
She wiped off her tears with a sigh and jumped from the bed. It was getting late. She went to the bathroom and washed her face, then confronted the image in the mirror. Dark eyes, chestnut hair. The average face of an ordinary girl, living and happy, comfortable life. She had no reasons to complain. She had all the reasons to be cheerful and content about her life during the day. But her nights….
Well, that was an entirely different thing. Her nights were opening into another world and another life. It hadn’t been always like that. Her sleep used to be just as quiet and peaceful as were her days. Then everything changed. It happened one night, one particular night when the Moon knocked on her eyelids and she woke up, slightly confused and with an eerie feeling…
She was sitting on her bed, in full moonlight, shivering at the touch of a faint breeze. The walls of her room were gone and she has awaken in an unfamiliar milieu. Wrapping the blanket around her shoulders, she stepped down and walked into the surrounding light. This place was shrouded in a silence so deep that she could count her own heartbeats. She walked cautiously, trying to decipher some contours inside that glow. Emerging under the reign of the Moon, the space unfolding before her wasn’t entirely dark.
Only a few steps further, the night ended abruptly before the pair of round gates opening in an old wall of bricks. The landscape visible behind the intricate pattern of bars was in full daylight and she could see a grassy pathway curving into the patch of summer forest. The girl stopped at the gates and gingerly touched them. A strange current seeped through her fingers, running down her spine and shaking her confidence. It was a kind of warning and for a moment she felt like she was intruding in someone’s intimacy. She suddenly realised that this wasn’t her dream anymore. Somehow she has awaken in someone else’s one and the gates she was facing were guarding the entrance of another person’s soul.
The weight of the discovery was overwhelming and the girl turned back sharply, running to her bed left in the moonlight. She curled up under the sheets and closed her eyes. The wave of dreams washed over her, sending her back to the swirling river of fantasy. Hours later she woke up at home, carrying only a faint memory of her awkward trip.
But when her eyes popped up the following night, she knew exactly where she was. The gates were there, slightly cracked, inviting her. This time, she took the challenge and entered the realms of the opening land. The grass was soft under her feet and the air was warm and fragrant. The sound of the excited giggling of a small child reached her ears:
-Kittyyyy! Kitty-kit!! Wait for me!Kitty!! Where are you?!
A little boy, four or five years old perhaps, came running, chasing a small white cat that was escaping towards the forest. With a playful spring, the ball of fur disappeared in the greenery ahead, leaving the child baffled but determined to pursue his goal.
-I’ll catch you, kitty! I’ll catch you!
He ran into the woods with arms open, eyes shining in expectation. The girl looked around for a parent but she saw no one. Oh well, this was a dream and logic was the last thing you would expect….Still, she felt responsible for the child so she hurried to catch up with him. Under the canopy of the forest it was pleasantly warm and the light was playing in dots and shimmering patches around her. She caught a glimpse of the child’s white shirt and she sped in that direction. The kitten was nowhere to see…
-Kitty! Kitty?! Come back! Kitty…..
The small voice was turning upset and tearful.
-Hey!-shouted the girl. Hey, little one! Wait! Don’t go further! It might be dangerous!
But the child didn’t seem to hear her. His whole world was focused on his quest for the runaway kitten. Eyes glued on a moving spot of light, he jumped back to action shouting joyfully:
-Here you are! I saw you! I saw you, kitty! I’m coming!
The girl ran after him but despite her best efforts, the distance between her and the child wasn’t shortening. The pathway under her feet was propelling further the little boy, while somehow it was slowing her down. She fought the strange feeling and gathered all her strength to run faster. The contours of world washed into a blur and her vision tunneled towards a shadow-filled perspective, with its only bright spot the small, running silhouette of the boy. The fragments of giggling and laughter were bouncing in the air, disorienting the girl. But she kept running and finally she saw both the child and the kitten.
The cat was sitting in the middle of the path, teasingly moving its tail. There was a mischievous glint in the yellow eyes. With a victorious cry the boy jumped forward to catch him. All of a sudden,Time slowed down while the shape of the white cat broke up into a fistful of butterflies and a pit of darkness opened under the feet of the boy. The girl launched forward quickly to catch him before falling…The child vanished and she bumped into…someone. She almost fell but two strong hands held her up and she heard a voice questioning her:
-Do you always smash into people when you run?