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Breanna Ora Alitha has agreed to go to her father's house for a few weeks during her summer. If being on awkward terms with her dad didn't make her feel uncomfortable with the situation enough, the vivid dreams that she has started having will. Breanna has been dreaming of a forest, a castle, and a cursed boy. While avoiding her crazy Aunt and socially unequipped dad, she threats about how real the boys pain is to her. In a haze, her dreams lead her through a forest, to a castle, where a cursed boy is trapped in self-hatred and misery.

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2. Chapter One: Castle of Shadows

I am surrounded by a thick white mist: I can see nothing but the fog that is bounding me. Rain is pouring constantly and relentlessly, hitting my bare exposed skin. Yet, I feel nothing of the cold and the damp. Although, I can feel the droplets rolling smoothly off my chin, dripping from my breasts and lose, long hair that clung to my body in place of cloths. Beneath my feet twigs break, snapping, crunching, and cutting at my soles. I reach my hands outwards to guide me through the unknown. Where am I going? And what am I looking for? I know there is a purpose to me being here: the genuine question is hidden at the back of my mind. The instinct to know the answer to that unknown question is my guide, pushing my legs to keep me moving forward. My fingers brush against something coarse and large, tall and fat. It is a tree. I keep my left hand placed on the bark as I reach out to find another and keep moving forward.

The Fog is beginning to thin and I can make out dark shadows of the long, thin, twisted arms of the trees. Leaves are brushing against my bare, bone-white slender legs and scratching at my calves and grabbing at my ankles. There is a crescendo of noises: crows squawking, the wind moaning, and there's a rustling in the branches not so far away. A whisper of a voice that sounds like a child creeps into my ear, but it is inaudible. "Hello." I turn to find him. There is nothing except dark, skinny, spiralled arms and blank nothingness. "Help me," he breaths onto my neck. Instead of following my better judgment, I am following the boy's unseen presence.

The mist has completely faded and there, towering before me is a gigantic monster of a castle. The grey stonework is so dark that it seems to be nothing but a shadow. The towers of the castle loom overhead, reaching out towards the heavens but they will never quite touch the clouds. Each of the many floors of the fortress is marked with a number of large, traditional, arched windows. When I strain my eyes to see closer, I am unsure, but there seems to be a white figure inside the window of the nearest tower. Not too far ahead of me is a stone wall, I can barely see it’s dark rocky surface as it is hiding behind a vale of knotted ivory, like a curtain hiding a secret. It is a secret that I will expose. The trees overflow into the territory, almost as though the whole area inside is a part of the forest. In front, is a black, metal, spiralled gate. It swings open to allow me entrance as if destiny is guiding me.

The army of coiled trees greets me, waving in the stirring winds. Between the trunks, I can see enchanted flowerbeds of dark colours dotted around the sea of grassy earth. I can see a charming pond with geese and magnificent swans, one of which is gracefully gliding across the water's glassy surface followed by a trail of crystal splashes. And as if time wants to keep the purity of the image, the swan floats slower and slower, keeping its wings raised. The trees parted for the carefully arranged bricks of golden brown lying beneath my feet, leading to a huge wooden drawbridge over a moat with green misty water. Beyond the drawbridge, there is a courtyard which seems like an entrance to a strange stone maze with grey arches and steps in every direction. In the centre, is a huge wooden door with a black metal spiralled pattern which mysteriously compels me to enter the castle’s interior.

Through the grand doorway, I am immediately surrounded by a bright room that is lit by a number of chandeliers. All in the room, hundreds of transparent people, are dancing. Partners swirl around the polished, checkered, marble floors as the music fills the air with a blissful tune. Their faces concealed by laughing masks. Dresses twirl with the flow of movement, creating a colourful haze. I can hear their laughter, it is mechanical and loud. As I move forward they spin around me, but they never touch me. I think that I couldn't touch them even if I tried; whatever world they belong to is different from mine.

I am stood in the centre of the room facing forwards, alone and isolated. Ahead of me is a traditional wooden staircase that splits off into two after the first ten steps. The back wall is decorated with a sculptured arch in the stonework and a gigantic hanging family portrait. In the picture’s centre is a man sitting in a wooden armchair with a dark red drape thrown over so I can only see one side of the chair. He has sideburns and hazel hair combed back neatly underneath a large black hat. Everything he wears is, without a doubt, expensive and old-fashioned: a red tunic with rich blue embroidery belted around his waist, white leggings, and large black boots that reach just below his knees. Beside him is a beautiful lady. Her hair is hidden under a white linen headdress which features around her gentle and delicate face. She wears a long light blue dress that is belted just below her breast and has long flowing sleeves. Her loving eyes gaze down towards a little boy who is stood on the other side of the man. The man’s hand is affectionately placed on the shoulder of the boy. There could be no mistake: the little boy was that man’s son. The little boy looked just like him with the same hazel hair, the same warm eyes, and the same happy expression. He was even dressed in a similar way, only his leggings under his tunic are the same blue as his mother’s dress.   

I still stand admiring the painting, with a feeling of warmth that turns cold with a sense of dread. The woman abruptly vanishes. The boy is starting to cry but not how I imagine a little boy would. He seems older than he is, with eyes too emotionless and a face of stone. The father hugs his son to comfort him, but as he does the boy also vanishes into thin air. Darkness is creeping over the man, his expression painful. The ghosts in masks evaporate, leaving only me and his lonely portrait alone in the dimming room. Tears flood down his cheeks as he held himself tightly in his arms. Pain and misery turn to rage and fury. He screams at the top of his lungs, stretching his arms out violently. The portrait tips and falls, crashing to the floor. As the portrait hits the ground, the floor and walls crack and burst, shattering the image of the beautiful -- but now empty -- castle.

Breanna jumped up in sudden horror. Panicked and disorientated, she searched around to see where she had fallen after the castle smashed. It took her a full minuet to realize that she had just woken up from a dream; a vivid, heart-wrenching dream. Breanna was in her room. It was dark, just how she usually liked it. But now, the darkness unnerved her. She clasped her warm sheets in a tight hug to comfort her still beating heart. After her breathing returned to normal, Brea laughed at herself for being so spooked in an attempt to convince herself that nothing was wrong. She looked up. She was still afraid.

 

A/N: In case the change in perspective and tense confused anyone, the part in the first person, present tense is Breanna's dream and the last paragraph (third person, past tense) is reality, which is what the majority of my story will be in. I will use the this again later on, so watch out for it (if you keep reading). I would love to hear what people think of my experiment, does it create the intangible dream-world I was aiming for? 

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