I look out the window into the darkness before dawn, the outlines of trees swaying in the slight breeze. A small orange glow beckons warmly from a neighboring window, announcing life when the rest of the world is silent. The rain drifts down lightly, bringing with it the scent of sweet water and soft leaves rotting. Apple bread bakes in the oven. Scents of cinnamon and caramel mix with the scents of fall outside my window, leaving my mind in a paradise of Autumnal pleasure. The black cat rubs against my foot as I wrap my hands around the warmth of a cup of fresh brewed coffee before settling in at my feet to doze off, back into her dreams of witches and brooms and ancient spells remembered from past lives. A flash of lightning illuminates everything into color for a moment in time. Shadows leap from the darkness, dancing in motion with the breeze, haunting my thoughts with images imagined or real, beings that only exist in the hours when people sleep, fading from the minds of humans as the sun begins to shed its light once more. The cat’s ears perk up for a moment, her golden eyes flashing open as she looks around, releasing a low growl from her throat before once again rubbing against my leg and settling back into sleep. The children stir in their beds, low whimpers followed by soft sighs as they once again dream of candied apples and hot cocoa shared with friends during a rousing game of hide and seek. A soft whisper brushes my neck, the promise of the imaginary become real and a shiver runs down my spine as I exult in beliefs of the other world. I settle into my chair, legs curled under me, snuggled in the warmth of a hand knit blanket. Pen and paper in hand, a candle light flickering and dancing, joining with the creatures of my mind, I write to the delight of those beings surrounding me, making them real as their presence flows onto the paper.
A lightness begins outside my window, tendrils of blue shining between the branches of leafless trees. Lamentations fill my ears as the shadows melt back into the earth and sunlight streams through, illuminating colors of copper and purple and orange, bringing the flames back to the trees and the mind to thoughts of daily work. I set my work aside, closing my eyes, remembering the world as it was before it woke, reminding the beings that I will join with them once again when darkness descends. Even in my reality, they will not be forgotten, hovering in the shadows. I imagine a nod of thankfulness for all those who keep them alive through their shivers and dreams, the nightmares and startles, the curious glances out of the corner of the eye, where they reside, waiting for their time to come again.