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Fantasyland 01 Wildest Dreams

By:Kristen Ashley

oss from me, eyes closed, face so relaxed she could be asleep but her lips were tipped up like she found something vaguely amusing. Her hands were lifted, palms up, red-tipped fingertips curled toward the ceiling and her hands started glowing with green – a beautiful, vibrant, emerald green.

It was awesome.

Then the entire room took on the shade of her green and slowly and I watched the room start to fade. Mere seconds went by while Valentine’s elegant salmon walls with their intricate white cornices and ceilings got greener, greener, then darker green, then all faded to black and suddenly ice blue sparks shot all around me and I was standing in a room looking out a window.

“Oh my God,” I breathed as I stared at the wavy, frosted glass of the diamond-paned window, “it worked.”

It worked!

I smiled huge.

Then I studied the window, saw the catch, lifted it out and threw the two windows outward to open them. A gust of arctic air shot back at me but that wasn’t what made me breathless.

“Oh my God,” I breathed again as the scene before me assaulted my eyes with astonishing beauty.

Amazing. Unbelievable. Absolutely, freaking cool.

Whatever building I was in was on a small rise, I was on the second floor and laid out before me was a Winter Wonderland. A town or maybe small city sprawled throughout and nestled in what looked like a valley if the not too far away, not too close shoots of snow-topped mountains that interrupted the twinkling midnight blue of the night sky were anything to go by.

My head moving side to side, I took it all in.

Most of the buildings that I could see close were one story, topped with a marshmallow blanket of pristine white snow; all the many chimneys had smoke drifting straight into the air. Wavy, diamond-paned windows cast a flickering glow of candlelight on the snow-covered ground. There were icicles hanging from the roofs glinting in the candle and torchlight. The houses were made of something dark perhaps wood at the bottom that went up to the lower edge of the windows and then some light-colored material with criss-crosses of dark beams through them. The buildings seemed planted in the snow; there was so much of it, some of it even blown in drifts up the sides.

Taking it in, I saw there was clearly no city planning. The buildings looked built wherever, dotted here and there. There were winding pathways through them, clearly well used if the tramped snow was anything to go by. Some were narrow, some were wider. All were lit at their sides by torches stuck in the ground, their fire caged with iron, the small blaze dancing around the cage. A light snow was falling and I had no idea how they stayed lit, but they did. There were also massive barrels scattered here and there, far fewer than the torches, that also held roaring fires. These too lit the space and around a few, there were people standing, holding their hands out to the flames and chatting.

But there weren’t that many people, two around one fire, three around another in the distance.

Suddenly, I saw a horse gallop through and I couldn’t stop myself from letting out a delighted giggle as the rider’s cloak streamed behind him, his head topped with a furry hat.

“That is so cool,” I whispered as he took a turn on a winding path well down the incline of the town or city like place and disappeared around a building.

“The switch, it succeeded?” I heard a woman ask and I jumped in surprise and turned.

Standing beside me I saw a woman with gray hair pulled back behind her head. She was wearing a voluminous wool cloak the color of cranberries and it had a collar made of black fur.

Her eyebrows were up. Her face was lined in a way that made her look interesting and was a testimony to the fact she’d laughed much in her long life. Her somewhat faded blue eyes were alert and she was examining me.

“It worked,” I whispered then jumped again when a loud banging came from across the room and I turned my body that direction to see it was someone knocking on a door.

“Sjofn!” a woman yelled from the other side of the door, sounding desperate. “Open the door! We need to speak with you now! Your mother approaches.”

I stared at the door.

My mother approaches.

I couldn’t stop my smile.

“Close this after me,” the woman in the room with me ordered urgently, I looked to her then her eyes moved the length of me and back before she smiled and whispered, “Enjoy The Drakkar. I think you will and more, I think he will enjoy you.”

I blinked at her.

What?

“Sjofn!” Another shout and loud knock, my body jolted again, I looked to the door as the woman behind it shouted, “Please!”

I felt a whoosh and turned again to see the woman in the room with me was gone. I glanced around quickly as more knocking came at the door, more pleas but I was stunned to see I had no company.

Where did she go?

I turned to the window, looked out and down and saw a cranberry cloak streaming around the nearest building then I lost sight of it.

Holy moly, the bitch jumped.

I looked down at the two story fall and heard the begging, “Seeeeooohaaahfin!”

“Shit,” I whispered, grabbed the windows, pulled them to and set the latch. That stopped the arctic gust of air but the cold still came through so I grabbed the heavy curtains on either side and pulled them closed over the window, succeeding in shutting out the draft mainly because the curtains were a thick, voluminous velvet. Nothing was getting through those.

More knocking that was now more like pounding and it didn’t stop so I turned to the room to hurry toward the door but stopped, arrested by what I saw.

Gleaming dark wood everywhere. Dark plank floors covered by thick pile, wool, patterned rugs. An enormous fireplace, the massive mantel carved from cream stone. More deep carvings in the dark wood cornices. The carving on both mantel and molding were pears, apples and oranges with leaves and vines and it was so intrica

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