"Help! Let me out of here!" My screams leave my throat raw and continue to go unanswered. Blackness surrounds me, heavy and thick, as it has for the past few hours. It could be days, I'm not sure. My watch stopped working as soon I got here.
The last thing I remember was sitting at my table, my usual writing space, sipping on a cup of freshly brewed green tea. It sloshed over the sides and onto the floor as I jerked it away from my mouth, it was still too hot. Cursing, I rubbed at the spill that ran down the front of my gray hoodie and rushed to get a towel to mop up the mess on the hardwood. My heel slid right in the puddle of tea, sending me flying backward and cracking my head on that wooden farmhouse table. I had closed my eyes, just for a second, released a sigh and then there was this tug, almost like a suction. The next thing I knew, I was spinning at a nauseating speed through nothing but blackness. I panicked because I could barely breathe and my chest felt tight like the onset of a panic attack. There was this buzzing in my ears. That noise would drive me insane. But then - it all stopped. And there was just this darkness.
I push myself up from kneeling. Staying here screaming until my throat bleeds isn't progressive and although it's the darkest dark I have ever been in, I need to try to move forward. Something, a light, another person, has to show eventually. Right?
I take a big gulp and pump myself up. "You can do this. You can do this." I jump up and down on my toes, trying to shake my nerves out and use that adrenaline that is causing this electric energy. It's making me sweat. "You got this girl. It's a little bit of nighttime, no big deal. You sleep by yourself in the dark every night." As I continue to make a very valid conversation with myself, my feet move forward. One in front of the other. "See? You're doing it." A fake smile forms on my lips. "Granted you are usually surrounded by your soft stuffed animals to ward of any monsters in the closet," That smile disappears, "But still, you are a strong independent woman! Hear me roar!"
Just then, a faint howl sounds from somewhere around me. Followed by a whiny of a horse. I stop, breathing fast. It's too loud to my own ears so I try to calm myself by breathing in through my nose and slowly exhaling. I wait, straining my ears for another cry from anything that might surround me. The smell of dew hangs near when suddenly these small lights begin to fall from above me, slowly dancing lower until they lay at my feet and transform. The darkness is as though it's being painted. Bright greens, yellows, and blues outlining a world around me. Green hues paint rolling hills dotted with yellow wildflowers all of them overlooked by a bright, clear blue sky. The smell changes from that wet scent to an array of outside smells - so pure and fresh! Something about this place looks so familiar but I cannot quite place it.
I stumble forward through the tall grass, gazing all around as though I am in a trance. "Where I am?" I wonder to myself aloud. It seems I am still alone save for songs sung by birds somewhere nearby. A rushing sound greets me- a river? Listening carefully, I follow that sound, through the grass and over the hill, plucking a single flower as I make my way to the top and below find the keeper of that gentle noise. A lazy river winds its way through the hills, parting the ground and painting the green with an uneven winding stripe of crystal shimmer.
When I reach the river, my heart stops. Because there, on the opposite side standing by the bank, his head bent into the water for a drink, is a massive black horse. My surroundings slam into me as my mind makes the connection - he isn't just a horse and this isn't just a valley. The ethereal beauty of this place, the sheer size of this animal, I know this place. I know where I am. But how did I get here?
The horse lifts his head. His thick tail swishes as those familiar emerald eyes bore into me. Familiar because I designed them, I wrote about them. Many times I pictured them, but not like this. Never staring at me. I'm not certain I feel fear. Should I fear what I am the creator of?
I take two steps closer to the river, on the embankment opposite of him. He doesn't move. But the way I have created him to be, why would he?
I gaze at him in awe. He is beautiful, achingly so. "How is this possible?" He doesn't answer me, doesn't shift into his Fae form. But I would know that phouka form anywhere, King Aiden, once the Prince of the Second Court of Seasons of the Faery world. I can't help it, I smile with a weird and comforting familiarity. "How is the life of a King treating you, Your Highness?" He neighs pridefully and digs a front hoof into the ground. "You're welcome. Just you wait. There are big changes coming your way."