The Dark Man

Scene 3

She looked at her reflection in the mirror, admiring her favorite ruby-red dress, the velvet reflecting the soft light. She was about three, with her fine red hair in finger curls and shiny black shoes on her feet. Although she'd had this dream many times in her life, and she recognized it immediately, she couldn't place the moment in her life. She had no idea where she was or why she was so dressed up. Perhaps it was her birthday? But that answer didn't feel right.

She watched herself in the big white room, as was the way of dreams, happily playing with her toys and her own reflection. Sometimes there was furniture in the room with her and her reflection, sometimes the room was empty. But always there was the mirror, where her other self played, and the door.

At some point in the dream, the door opens, and the Dark Man comes through. He seems to carry shadow with him, like a storm cloud. He's not scary, at least not right at first. Younger her hardly seems to notice him more than she would a ladybug or dandilion fluff. She keeps playing with her toys, as does her reflection.

When he comes close enough, she looks up at him. She sees the dark hair, and sad blue eyes in a pale face. He's pretty, like her dolls, but his sad makes her feel sad, and she feels her bottom lip thrust out and tears gather in her eyes.

Usually, this is where her dream breaks up, but this time she stays in the dream. The little-girl-her looks up at the sad Dark Man, but the dreaming-her feels a little fear. Where is this going? She whimpers a little when the shadows embrace her, the Dark Man hugs her. Oddly enough, her reflection watches on, impassive, as she alone is hugged. Still squatting near her, the Dark Man holds her hand. She doesn't feel endangered, but she is worried about this. Usually the Dark Man doesn't interact with her. Usually he is just there, observing her observing him. She's always rather thought of him as a mental representation of Death. Certainly talking about the dream had always upset her mother as if Mel calmly discussed her own demise.

Holding her hand, the Dark Man spoke in a voice as dark and haunting as he looked. "You will always be mine."

The little-girl-her tried to pull her hand away from him, to return to her life of doll-playing. The sleeping-her reeled in panic at this new development in the dream. Although he still didn't feel dangerous to her sleeping mind, suddenly she felt surrounded and swallowed by the shadows that ate at him.

Behind her, somewhere, a bird pecked at a window, adding to her panic. Tap, tap, tap, tap... tap, tap, tap, tap... tap, tap...

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