Chapter Four: Dreaming Flowers

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The voice drifted away from her mind, leaving Sybl in the deafening silence of the world around her. She wanted it to stay, to continue to tell her that she wasn’t alone and that there was someone out there thinking about her, who cared what her future had in store, but there was no way to keep it.

It was the sad thing that came with dreams, you could never keep them.

She opened her blue eyes on the grass of the woods she lay on at the back of her foster home. On looking up, she found it was snowing. It was unusual in the least, as it was the middle of August. Laughing, she caught one of the cold snowflakes in hand. It was not melting.

“Wishes do not melt away.

Sybl sat up and looked around for the voice, while trying to untangle with her fingers her wavy, light brown hair. It was now a long series of knots leading to her waist. She wasn’t awake, as the dream had changed. The trees had vanished to leave her sitting in the middle of a field of pink flowers. “Hello?”

“Hello.

She jumped to her feet when the voice came back to her head like an echo carrying an eerie chill. A familiar chill.

“You can make more wishes, but you cannot alter the ones made in your past.

“What...? Where are you?” Sybl stumbled as she found the strange kid who looked to be the source of the voice, behind her. He wore a black mask with white, wavy stripes painted across and a cloak made entirely of brown feathers. Her first guess was that he might be a tribal child from the Amazon.

“You must remember me.

“Why don’t you just show me the way out of this dream?”

“I can show you the way out. If you promise to remember me.

Sybl looked a little closer at the inhuman green eyes behind the mask. She didn’t know where to start in trying to know what he was—let alone who.

He moved a step closer as the rattles that hung at the sides of his mask shook in turn. His walk was even wrong…almost as if his legs were bent the other way.

If he was a demon, she knew better than to start with making a pact with it. “I only know the names of humans, and you’re not one. I won’t promise you anything.” Sybl looked around the field as it had started snowing again, only it was from the pollen of the flowers floating upwards.

She turned and started walking across the field towards what looked like a canyon up ahead. For an impossible dream, maybe falling was the way out. Sybl stopped before it as the pollen continued to rise around her and looked down. At a death-plunge below, a glowing river cut through the canyon, before emptying some ways out to what might be an ocean. She looked up to try and find some sunshine or anything that might give her some sense to where she was. A dome of pinkish-yellow light looked back down on her. There wasn’t a cloud anywhere, only a beam of bright white light that touched the atmosphere in the opposite direction from the ocean.

“If you do not help me, I will not allow you to leave.

She took the threat seriously as his feathery cloak could have only rustled so much from being taken off. But when she looked back, it wasn’t a cloak at all—but a span of wings.

Whether it was shock or the impossibility of him that drove her off the edge after that, she would not remember. A swarm of feathers appeared from the caves burrowed into the sides of the canyon. Then the swarm collided with her.

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