Prologue

The room was black.

I wasn’t sure how I had gotten there, but for some reason, I felt that it wasn’t important. Spinning around in a circle, I saw that the room was large and spacious. The guest bedroom in a mansion perhaps.  Whatever room it was, I could tell that whoever lived here had to be very well off.

Distractedly I made out a bed in the center of the room. And what a bed it was! Dominating one-third of the room, it had a frame with posts that reached the ceiling. But as I stared, I realized that something was off about it. Glancing above me I saw why. A sheer canopy hung from the ceiling and floated down around the bed.

To keep the bugs out.

You’d think a place this big would have better pest control.

Still staring I saw that a darker, and much thicker looking curtain was resting on the wall beside the bed. I knew that this one could wrap around the entire frame if need be.

Bored by the Victorian style bedding, I turned away. In the corner of the room was a vanity with brushes, and unopened jars of makeup littering the surface in astute silence. Equally as uninterested I moved away.

Lightning illuminated the room suddenly, and I saw with a start that a woman was sleeping soundly on the bed. Curiously wandering towards the bed once more, I pulled the soft fabric aside and walked up to the bed. It crossed my mind briefly that this was unusual if not disturbing. 

The woman faced away from me, and I moved around the large frame and realized that I had crossed from disturbing, to downright horrific as I stared down at her.

The woman in the bed was me.

I stumbled backward from the bed and fell through the canopy. I ran back to the vanity and saw my own reflection a twin to the woman sleeping soundly.

The woman was me I thought. But, I’m me.

Thunder cracked and the woman, I, turned contentedly in my, her sleep. 

I straightened from the mirror and walked away from it and the bed. Anything to keep the distance from me and this impostor.

Lightning flashed again, and I saw rain spattering on a window in sizable drops.

This was a dream I realized as I stared at the falling water. But how could a dream be so real? 

Moving around the room once more I realized that if I was indeed dreaming, than I had dreamt with fantastic detail.  A vase filled with fresh cut flowers sat next to a love seat that looked like it came right from the eighteenth century.

Even the designs etched onto the posts of the bed frame were flawless.  I could see the room in perfect clarity, and nothing was off.  No unique feature that would clue me in on the fact that I could be asleep, save for the woman still asleep, in front of me.

I looked at the window which was in fact, a large door that led out to a balcony. I came to a decision then.

There was only one real way to see if this was real or something I had made up in my dreams. My legs moved towards the doors and throwing them open, I stepped out. In seconds, I was drenched from head to toe in water that felt like daggers of steel. A cold wind swept me, and I convulsed into shivers. 

Teeth chattering, I stepped back closing the door. After fighting the wind, the latch set into place. Walking back into the room dripping wet, I sat down on the sofa in confusion.

Okay, let’s figure this out. I’m awake, but I’m asleep right there. She’s clearly an impostor, but the real question is, why? And what’s more, what am I doing here?

I heard a howl and looked up to see that the door that I only just closed had swung open. The rain was quickly pooling onto the thick carpet.

Thinking the latch was faulty I stood and walked forward to re-close them. Lightning flashed once more, and a man was illuminated in the doorway.

A scream jammed in my throat as I froze, but the man did not acknowledge me.

Lighting streaked the world behind him, and I started to back away from the doorway in horror.

The man was handsome, he had long black hair that was held back at the nape of his neck. Strands had fallen loose framing a sculpted face that was pale. His eyes were a very clear icy blue. His nose was slightly pointed and below them rested full lips.

He was tall, easily taller than my average frame and he seemed muscular though from working out I couldn’t be sure, and I wasn’t about to get any closer to find out.

His clothes distracted me the most. He was dressed as a man from the 18th century. Black riding boots that stopped at his knees, dark linen pants and a loose-fitting shirt, or was it a tunic I wondered. But the most unusual was the cape. It reached the floor and blew away from him and out into the wild windy night. If not for the situation, this man would be a dream to draw.

The effect he had, left me in awe.

And then I realized what I was doing.

Standing here noticing how exceptionally gorgeous this man was when it seemed obvious he was about to enter my, or this woman’s room and commit a Ted Bundy, or worse.

No sooner did the thought cross my mind when his lips moved, and I heard him speak in a deep musical voice that was instantly calming to my ears. Despite my best intentions to save this woman’s life, or my life even, I was relaxed. So calming was his voice that I barely registered what he said.

“Can I come in?”

There was a slight accent in his voice, but that was driven right from my mind when I heard my own voice dreamily reply.

“Come in, come in.”

I turned to the sleeping stranger shocked.

I hadn’t said a word, and yet my voice was the one that spoke.

“Come in.” She or I said again.

Still shocked I turned to see the man flash a grin that could only be called triumphant.  Softly he walked in, and the doors drifted to a close behind him. I waited for him to see me, mainly since I was not exactly in his line of sight. But, he only had eyes for the me sleeping before him.

He pushed the sheer canopy aside. I heard the soft flutter of the fabric before it closed behind him as if to block me from him and the sleeping me. Walking to the other side of the bed with mounting panic, I watched him cautiously.

Fearfully I ran and grabbed the vase, but to my utter disbelief, my hands slipped right through it. Without stopping to think about what this meant, I ran back to the bed and watched as he gently lifted my body from the bed and bent my head so that my neck was presented to him. 

I started to scream when I saw two sharp canines protrude from his mouth.

“Wake up! Dammit Rheya, wake up!”

But nothing happened. Undeterred I ripped through the canopy.

The man paused briefly, and his eyes connected with mine as a smile of exuberance graced his face.

My own eyes widened in terror as I realized I was about to watch myself die…

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