A faint breeze blows off the lake, rich with the heady scent of roses and wild magic. My bare feet dig deep into the lush green grass. The starlight is a shimmering crystal display I can't get enough of. This place is so beautiful, so comforting. For the life of me, I cannot recall why I stayed away so long.
Turning away from the lake, I head back to my home. It's a charming little house surrounded by climbing blue rose bushes. A light from the window beckons me. I know it's empty of people, and creatures. I made sure to keep it that way.
Slipping in through the front door, I take in the jungle palace atmosphere. It's almost a shame I live here alone, because the beauty begs to be admired. I oblige. Everything about this place screams home to me. It soothes the tempests within and calms my worries. This is where I belong…
Hours slip away as if time has no meaning. It's still night, but now the moon shows her lovely silver face. A song spills from my soul, mingling with the cool breeze and the hint of magic. I feel free for the first time in ages. How long had I been lost among the rest of the world, abiding by their rules? Singing their songs? Losing myself…
One after another, melodies mingle and blend, lifting me up and refreshing my very essence. I was finally whole again. Tears of release spill from my eyes. Why had I stayed away so long? I dash the tears away. Following the path to my garden, I feel as if someone or something is calling to me.
The faintest hint of whispers and memories tease my subconscious. I don't know whether to pursue or ignore them, so I just let them be. In the moonlight, shadows take form, appearing almost human. One of them is seated on the bench in my garden.
"So you have finally returned, my lady. It has been quite some time…we thought, perhaps, you had finally integrated to the real world?"
I stop walking, and stare. Who is this shadow, to speak as if it knows me? "Real world? Is this not the real world? And who are you? Have we met?" I ask, a faint shimmer of unease worming it's way into my psyche.
The shadow stands, and then bows slightly. "My apologies, my lady, but this is a dreamscape. Nothing here exists in the Real World. It is simply where you come to refresh your soul and fortify your heart, so that you can continue existing."
"How do you know me?" I ask, somewhat appalled that I hadn't realized this all myself.
A multitude of shadows flicker in an out of view. "We are phantoms, voices, shadows. We share space in your psyche as we have no physical forms of our own. We know all of your past, where as you only hold fragments. We know all of your demons, because sometimes we deal with them in your stead. We are part of who you are, but we are not you."
"I-see…So I really am that messed up…" I sigh.
"It is strange for a new self, such as you to come here. Is something wrong?" that shadow asks solicitously.
"Somehow, all the expectations and emotions of people directed towards my previous self are suffocating and disturbing. I do not understand why it hurts and yet…I want to break free. Be my own person. Is that even possible?"
The shadow sighed. "You poor thing…You are but a fragment of one soul, who is so fractures she will never be whole. Not in the same way as others. I do not know what your future holds, save that most likely, you will one day disappear, just like all the others."
"Disappear? But I want to stay!"
"It is this way for every person, but more so for you. We are sorry. We don't make the rules. Just do your best to make the most of this time you have. That's the best advice we can offer."
I feel dejected, but this place gives me strength. I straighten my shoulders and stand tall. "Thank you. I shall reflect on this…" I turn and drift away, letting the beauty of this night work it's magic.