As Aerie sat on the floor of her scarcely furnished
apartment, leaning against the couch and eating the last
oatmeal cookie from a brown, paper bag, she slowly began to
realize that she had entirely too much time on her hands. She
sat the cookie--now half eaten and shaped like a crescent
moon--down upon the bag and stretched her arms out over her
After gently pressing the tension out of one side of her
long, slender neck, Aerie leaned back against the couch. And
after deciding that catching sight of the waning sun was
reason enough to yawn, she decided to go to bed.
Reluctantly, she stood and made her way to the bedroom. She
was too tired to change, and therefore turned out the light
and collapsed onto the bed wearing the very clothes that she
had worn all day. Her arms went one way and her legs went
another. And, Aerie's russet hair was strewn across her
shoulders and back.
It sure felt nice to lay down after such a long Friday,
filled with doing nothing. Tomorrow, though, will be even
As Aerie's tired body sank down into the soft sheets, her mind
did something else entirely. It drifted. Her muscles went limp
and her mind, far away from her now, was now upon the cusp of
entering a new world--the dream world.
Aerie tip-toed quietly through inch-high blades of grass and
glanced up. The sun was high in the afternoon sky, and it was
There was a man up ahead who appeared to be standing underneath
a tree. That was a smart thing to do on such a hot, summer day,
Aerie thought. He waved her over, and Aerie began to walk
A chilling wind crept inside of Aerie's bedroom window. But in
her mind, there was no such chilling wind--but a cool breeze
that was sweeping across her stifling body. And beyond that,
there was the man, the cool man underneath the tree, who was
waiting for her. But presently, it was too hot, and soon, she
was too tired to go on.
She knelt in the grass and another chilling breeze blew across
her warm skin. Aerie looked off to the side and dark clouds
seemed to be gathering upon the horizon. Then, she looked up
ahead, and the man--the man in the shade--seemed to be walking
towards her. She lifted her hands, which were now much cooler
than before, and eagerly waved him over.
Aerie rubbed her arms, for now she was freezing. She looked
around once more and saw that the sky had turned the most awful
color of grey. And there in the backdrop was the man. Yes. The
handsome man--the nice man whose face was draped in
shadows--was still walking over.
Only now, his steps became less fluid--less natural, and he
seemed to force himself to stand upright. He advanced slowly,
though some fright in her person didn't want him to take
another step. Did she dare conjure up his face?
She imagined a creature, dead yet animate--a creature
be-riddled with rot and decease--hobbling towards her.
His hands were withered yet reaching, And his face, his
horrifyingly handsome face, slowly but surely lost its
frightful charm. His lips, once dripping with cherry-like
fervor, and his face, once ruddy with health and vigor, was
drained of its color in a single instance. His skin became a
monochromatic grey, and his once healthy figure was now
He opened his mouth, though he wasn't close enough to be heard,
and spoke. She couldn't physically move. She was stuck in a
mire of disbelief.
The creature, skin peeling from his flesh and dripping off of
his stark-white bones, whispered again. And this time, Aerie
was sure she had heard him. He had breathed a name--her name.
Did she know him?
He leaned forward, inching towards her face so closely that she
could scarcely breathe for the strong cloud of death on his
"Aerie…" he whispered hoarsely.
An unwilling Aerie answered him back saying, "W--what do you
want with me…?"
"The mists," the animate corpse hissed between cracked teeth,
"the mists will tell."
"What do you mean?"
The man, both incongruously dead and alive, whispered, "The
mists can keep no secrets… It will tell all."
He looked up, and Aerie followed suit by looking overhead as
well. A drop of rain splattered across her wan cheek.
"So little time," he whispered, a broad smile splayed across
his fantastic skull.
Then he lay his head in her trembling lap, grinning as only a
skull free of flesh could, and collapsed.
Horror-filled, Aerie jumped to her feet. Almost simultaneously,
a towering slump of bricks appeared in the distance. She gazed
at the tower of bricks… Was it--could it be--?
"The courtyard--" she gasped, and made a sudden, wild dash for
the poorly-built structure.
She struggled to get uphill, blatantly ignoring the crumbling
ground around her. She took one step, another, and what seemed
like a third, but to her horrific realization, her foot fell
through the air.
She plummeted--rather ungracefully--through a gaping hole in
the ground, twisting and tumbling on the way down--spiraling
precariously through invisible, black gusts of wind as if she
were a mere fragmented speck of a bit of loosened rock--debris.
Aerie panicked and shrieked loudly. And, her frantic screaming
swelled with intensity as she drew nearer to the ground. She
threw her hands in front of her wincing eyes and braced for
impact. The floor of the abyss grew closer and closer, until
she finally crashed into the ground.
Shrilly, she cried out in pain. And almost immediately, after a
moment of shock and confusion, Aerie realized that she wasn't
dead and that she wasn't in as much pain as she ought to have
been. She had only been dreaming--
"Damn floor," she hissed while rubbing her reddening face.
She had fallen out of bed, head first in fact, and the side of
her face had absorbed the majority of the impact. Now fully
awake, she stood up, cradling the injured portion of her face
in both hands, and walked over to the window. Well, she limped.
The wooden floor wasn't very merciful to her hip.
She peered outside, and figured that it was going to rain soon.
She could tell by the light rumbling of thunder echoing in the
distance. A cool but gentle gale blew inside of her room and
made the skin of her arm prickle, leaving portions of her skin
spiked and resembling raised dots. So, she pulled the window
Aerie looked down, as if to shake her head in amusement, and
smiled--with a hint of sullen distaste at the turn of her lips.
"I guess this is your way of telling me I've been away too
long, hm…?" Aerie said aloud and seemingly to herself. She was
clearly smiling now, though there was not a clear explanation
for her sudden, dark jubilation. "I guess I'll have to come see
about you tomorrow, then…" she said with a deep sigh, walking
back over to the bed.
She laid her aching face on the cool pillow, and slowly found