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I knew I was in for trouble. I mean, what was I thinking, running into a random forest past my curfew? What was I even running after? I wanted to stop, but for some reason, I couldn’t! I was confused. I was scared. Better yet, I was terrified.
But despite the fact that I didn’t even know where I was going, I continued to race through the trees, my heart pounding like a jackhammer, the moon the only thing casting light on my path. It was as if my legs were moving on their own, and I had no control over what they were doing.
My lungs burned, and I choked on my own breath as I sprinted nonstop. I knew I had no chance trying to stop myself. But then, all of a sudden, I did.
I halted mid-stride, lost my balance, and toppled over myself onto the hard, cold ground. Millions of thoughts circled through my brain. Where am I? How did I get here? What’s wrong with me?
Suddenly, though, my thoughts were interrupted by a voice. “You’re here. Finally. I’ve been waiting.”
I flung myself up into a sitting position, and glanced around in fright. I could feel my heart thumping in my ears, and sweat trickled down my face and neck. “Who-who’s the-the-there?” I stammered.
In response to this, I could faintly see a dark figure emerge from the vegetation. “It doesn’t matter who I am,” the figure explained, “All that matters is you.”
My forehead creased in confusion, “Me?”
The figure did not answer, but simply took a few more steps forward. Soon, I could see all of his features in the muted light of the moon. He was a tall, slender young man with light brown hair held back in a low ponytail. He wore a dark grey overcoat, and kept his hands hidden in deep pockets. A serious expression was on his face as he studied me.
I wanted to ask him who he was, or why he wanted me, but I found that no words could escape my lips as I waited. And waited.
After what seemed like hours of endless silence, he finally spoke again, “My name is Dimitri. I am a member of the Guard of the Shadow Lands. I have come to bring you there with me. The Queen has requested you.”
I tilted my head to one side. I still didn’t understand. Why did they want me? What was so special about me?
As if reading my mind, Dimitri said, “No time for questions. We must go. Now,” he held out his hand, “come.”
I hesitated for a moment. How did I know I could trust him? For all I knew, he could be some creepy stalker guy trying to kidnap me!
A smile played across his lips, “Don’t worry. Just take my hand.”
Deciding that I really had no other option than to listen to him, I pushed myself up off the ground, staggered forward slowly, and put my hand in his.
It felt as though that touch sent electric shocks through my body, and I cringed. Through closed eyes, I could hear a quiet chuckle come from Dimitri, and then a loud boom erupted around me.
I whipped my eyelids open again, and gasped at my surroundings. Just like that, within what seemed like only a second of blindness, I had traveled to some kind of other dimension.
I was in a dark, shadowed room. The long walls traveled upward until they vanished into complete and utter darkness. Absolutely no windows or doors were anywhere in sight. But that wasn’t even the weirdest part. The weirdest part was that I was floating.
“What the heck?” I said to nobody in particular, as I twisted my head downward, expecting to see nothing. What I didn’t expect was a dim light shining at the very bottom of my field of vision. I squinted as hard as I could, and when I did, the light seemed to brighten. It got brighter and brighter, until it settled all around me.
And then, there she was.
Out of nowhere, an elderly lady had seemingly dissolved in front of me. She had a kind face, high cheekbones, and her lips were curved into a bright smile.
“Why, hello, there,” a voice that sounded like bells chiming said.
“Um, hi,” I replied stupidly.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Rose,” the bells continued, “I am looking forward to a wonderful life with you. You have great potential as a future queen.”
My eyes widened. Me? A queen? “No, you must have the wrong person. I’m no queen!”
The lady laughed, as if that answer was funny to her, “Oh, yes, you are.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. “No. I will not do it.”
Her giddy smile faded, and she was serious all of a sudden, “Yes you will,” she said, “Or your mother...well, let’s just say she’ll be taking her last breath.” An evil expression formed on her face.
I gasped. No. She couldn’t kill my mother. I’d rather be the one that died than her.
So, although it pained me to say it, I finally gave in. “Ok, I-I’ll do it. Just leave my mother be.”
“Ha!” the woman’s face twisted into the most horrible expression I had ever seen, and her voice changed from lovely to ferocious, “We’ll see about that.”
And then, just like that, everything faded into black.