Am I losing my mind?
Why do I keep getting these strange visions?
Does this have something to do with my illness a few months ago?
I’m so absorbed in my thoughts that I don’t even see that I’m about to collide with someone until we’re already on the floor.
“Oh, Lady Calla! I’m so sorry, I should have-”
The boy who is kneeling on the floor across from me suddenly goes silent as our eyes meet.
The boy shoves his dirt-coated hand towards me. “I’m Torrin.”
I blink at the hand, then finally reach out and shake it lightly. “Calla.”
He squints at me. “Are you a princess?”
I shake my head. “No. Just a lady.”
“A little lady. You look like a pretty flower in that dress.”
“Calla...?” the boy whispers. His brown eyes suddenly look very familiar.
Run. Get away from him. Now!
I leap to my feet, stumbling over my skirts, and flee with the voice of the boy from my visions following me.
“Does the name ‘Torrin’ mean anything to you?”
“I don’t think so. Why?”
I hesitate, then decide to just tell her the truth. “I have been having these strange...visions...about a man my age named Torrin. And today...I think I saw him. Bumped into him, in fact.”
Pepper suddenly jumps up. “Oh! I almost forgot. Killian left this for you.” She hands me a folded note. I open it and read:
Meet me in the garden by the orchids at eight tonight.
“He wants me to meet him.” I say softly, letting the note float onto my lap.
The room suddenly blurs around me, and instead of sunset pink walls and satin fabrics I see bright white walls and stange-looking equiptment. I blink, rising to my feet. “Wha-?”
“Calla? Are you okay?”
Pepper’s voice draws me back into the normal world. I blink rapidly, trying to figure out what just happened. I shake the vision away. “I’m fine. What time is it?”
The clock chimes as I speak, answering my question with eight peals. I gather my skirts and hurry out the doors, quickly making my way down to the gardens.
“Calla. You came. I was beginning to worry...”
“I apologize, Killian, I was not paying close attention to time as I should have been.”
“It’s fine.” He extends his arm. “Walk with me?”
I rest a hand on his forearm, and we start to circle the cluster of bright orchids.
“You look beautiful in the moonlight.” Killian remarks quietly.
I turn to him, startled. His words dance through the air between us, heartfelt and shimmering. Killian looks at me, eyes wide and full of warmth.
All around us, light pixies starts to flicker their lights, sending colors dancing across Killian’s face. He moves closer to me. “Calla...I asked you out here...to make a confession.”
“A confession?” I murmur. My attention is suddenly caught by the sigh of someone climbing the wall of the mansion.
Whoever it is appears to be climbing up to my room.
I watch them silently as Killian speaks. “Yes. Calla...”
The mysterious figure makes it onto my balcony and disappears into the darkness of my quarters.
“I love you, Calla Lily Tullier. You are my starlight. Will you marry me?”
My attention snaps back to Killian as his words slowly sink into my mind. I blink.
Killian has just asked me to marry him?!
“Killian, I...” I gape at him, unsure of what to say.
His face is close, so close.
I can smell the chocolate and wine on his breath from dinner.
The smell sickens me.
I step back, shaking my head. “Killian...I...I need to think about it. This is rather...startling. I wouldn’t want to rush into such an important decision. Allow me to sleep on it?”
Killian sweeps into a deep bow. “Of course, Calla.” He gently takes my hand and presses his lips against it, peering at me with eyes full of devotion.
I leave the garden as quickly as I can without seeming rude.
“Calla! There you are.”
“Mother! I was just-”
“What did you say?”
I blink. The world momentarily shifts into the strange, sterile place again, then returns to normal. “Pardon?”
“What did you say to Killian? In response to his proposal?”
“I...I told him I would like to sleep on it, and give him his answer tomorrow.”
“Calla, I would seriously consider accepting. Unless, of course, you would like to court Calhan Lillaen. He certainly has his eye on you, asked quite a few questions after you left. He’s a good man.”
“I’ll think about it. May I go to bed now, please?”
Mother steps aside. “Of course.”
I almost run back to my quarters, remembering the shadow figure that I saw clambering up the wall.
When I enter my room, it’s pitch black save fore the light of one candle. Just beyond the candle, I can just make out an unidentifiable figure.
“Close the door,” it says. I note that the voice sounds very familiar as I turn to oblige.
When I turn around again, the figure has stood, lifting the candle to his face.
I see his eyes first.
“Calla.” he says.
“Torrin?” My memories are slowly flickering into view like the pixies outside, fragile and shy, but bright.
“Calla,” he says again, voice full of love and longing. He puts the candle down on my vanity and moves towards me. I feel his arms slide around my waist, and his lips are suddenly on mine.
I melt into him, kissing back for just a couple of seconds.
The world suddenly fades into black.