She stood over the amulet, the green glow it was emanating cast shadows over her face. She reached down slowly, hesitant to touch it. Her mission was to steal it but she was frightened of the magic it possessed. Finally her fingers touched it and the room flooded with light. At that moment she heard a commotion outside the room.
Several guards rushed into the room. Seeing her they lunged at her and she gasped at the realization that they weren’t human. They had the same shape of a man, but their skin was gray and wrinkled. Their hair was scraggily and a bright red, and their eyes were a glowing white. They had long fingernails, and most of their teeth were black with decay. Their bodies were slumped, almost as if their bodies were unable to hold themselves up.
She dodged their attack and ran towards the tapestry that was hanging on the wall escaping into a secret passageway that was behind it. It was completely dark except for the faint glow of the amulet. She was running as fast as she could, her sweat beginning to drip down her small body. She could almost feel the breathing of the monsters behind her, their nearness making her skin crawl. She turned down another passage and continued to run as fast as she could.
Soon she came to a door, which she entered in an attempt to escape her pursuers. A family of nobles who were light sleepers occupied the room. At the sight of her caped figure they screamed in fright; the creatures that followed only perpetuated the frightened squeals. She made it to the door only to be pushed aside by one of the creatures. She drew her sword and stabbed her opponent who doubled over howling in pain. Then they all began to chant something she didn’t understand as they began to surround her, forcing her against the wall. She clutched the amulet tighter, her heartbeat racing as she tried to figure out how she was going to escape them.
Suddenly the amulet began to glow intensely and, as she was finally against the wall, she felt herself move through it. Once in the corridor the glowing stopped and she began to run again.
It wasn’t long before she could hear them behind her again. She ran for what seemed like forever, running through a maze of corridors. She ran until she couldn’t run anymore and ran into the nearest room. She locked the door then leaned against it, her breathing heavy. She could hear them outside the door chanting, their nails scratching against the wood. She listened trying to understand what they were saying.
Her heart skipped a beat, terror sending shivers down her spine. She felt the door jolt and she let out a gasp.
Her eyes opened, her breathing heavy. She was lying in her bed, her red hair fanned over the pillows. She was wearing her pajamas; she wasn’t in a dark castle in some imaginary land stealing an amulet. She was home. It had just been a dream. She began to relax into sleep again, resting her head on her pillow, when she heard scratching at her door.
Her heart leapt, her body freezing in fright, waiting to hear the faint moan of the name Lorenzo. She slowly lifted her comforter off her body, her feet touching the cold wood floor as she got out of bed. She tiptoed to her door, the scratching continuing. She grabbed the handle and took a deep breath as she turned the knob. She peered out into the hallway and let out a sigh of relief.
Outside was her flame-point Siamese cat Little Dickens, who was anything but little. He forced himself into her room, pushing the door open with his lumpy body. He jumped on her bed and began to sleep. She stared at him and shook her head, as she closed her door and climbed back into bed. A few minutes later she was asleep again.
~ Sara Bitterman, Homer, Alaska