Something dark is coming. For most people it's worlds apart but for thirteen-year-old Celeste, it's only a dream away. As things from her sleeping visions start to appear in her waking life, she realizes there might be more to them. The young girl thought she had seen terrible things before but she quickly finds that reality can be much more frightening than nightmares. When she comes face to face with a Demon in a battle of magical wits, she sees the reflection of her own darkness and realizes the fight is just beginning.
A lone girl sat on an old black swing that squeaked with each gentle sway. Her big, emerald green eyes were transfixed on her bare foot swirling in the dirt.
The rippling, chilly breeze gave her an eerie sense that a storm might be coming. It swept down from the seamless gray sky, gently whipping her hip length, dark-hair against her pale cheeks. The only sounds on the deserted playground were the rustling of a few dead leaves and the solemn creaking of the swing's rusty chains.
A wispy sensation traveled through her like waves of electricity in the air. She was sucked out of her dreamy state when suddenly she did not feel alone anymore. She stopped subconsciously stirring her white toes and became absolutely still except for very slow breaths.
She felt a pair of eyes impale her with a burning glare. Fear began to boil within her, thrusting her wildly beating heart into her throat, yet she was frozen stiff and rigid.
A cool, prickling sensation ran from the top of her skull down the back of her neck. Slowly she lifted her head, daring a peek while leaving soft, brown locks to dangle in her face. And that's when she saw that only a few yards away a shadow-like figure stood still; so black as if it was void of all light. She dared not move either, breathing slowly like small prey, peering at the dark man through her uneven curtain of bangs.
Her hands were clutching tighter and tighter on the cold chains, revealing knuckles even whiter than her skin. Although she saw no eyes, no features or shapes within the static figure, it did not lessen her feeling that he was watching her. In fact, it increased, as they both remained unmoving in the itchy silence. The uncertainty and the suspense were tangling her insides into knots.
Could he sense her fear? she wondered. But soon the overwhelmingly eerie feeling in the air began to make her stomach ache. Her eyes stung as if she was looking directly at the sun.
She squeezed her eyes tight, tighter, and tighter. The wind picked up and with one, strong gush like shards of frozen glass across her face, she felt her surroundings change. Her eyes sprung open and she woke breathing heavily, drenched in cold, feverish sweat all over.
She was lying still in her bed staring at the ceiling, waiting for her rapidly beating heart to slow back down to a normal pace. Everything around the large room was cast in shadows except for the blue moonlight that streamed in through a small, dirty window to the right above her headboard.
Hung around the wooden bed post closest to the window was the one and only piece of jewelry that she owned; a necklace that she had for as long as she could remember. It consisted of a thin, silver chain and a smooth, white crescent moon charm. She didn't even know what it was made of but suspected maybe of some kind of stone. It appeared to glow as it reflected the crystal moonlight with an iridescent sheen.
As her heart began to retreat back into her ribcage, the young girl sat up quietly, still unsettled and shaky from her nightmare. She glanced uncomfortably around at the dozen other beds, occupied by soundly sleeping girls whose faint breaths she began to notice as her heart beat faded.
Despite their presence, she felt completely alone and still slightly pained with fear unwilling her to go back to sleep. She sunk back down and let out a sigh.
Raised in Maine, Sara Michelle Sheldon currently lives in Florida with her pug where she also publishes poetry.