I sit up against the headboard of my bed, the pink soft duvet covering my legs as my fingers work tirelessly to finish the conclusion to a never-ending essay. I curse the thought of another year of university, my eyes almost black with tire as swallow another gulp of cold coffee which is honestly a disgusting beverage anyways and would never again set its fowl bitterness in my mouth after graduation.
As my conclusion comes to an end I refrain myself from writing 'the end' as though I could push sarcasm through writing it. I curse again but this time at my professor who decided to change the assessment criteria halfway through the allocated time. I quickly press save and then press it again since I am not willing to risk anything. Blood, sweat and actual tears have been poured into this work.
The corner of my laptop display '11:23', plenty of time to spare for the midnight cut-off. Opening up my university submission page I finally submit the essay of the demon, aka, the 'History of the Bolsheviks.' I don't bother proof-reading.
I am glad to live here and now in the present, the lack of sewer systems was appalling but like everybody else, I experience a sense of longing to explore other times which is what drew me to studying history. It seems so much more barbaric and alien-like.
Although I question my love for it as I glare at the words on my screen which are muddling together in mindless jabber I am certain that history will always be something I love to learn but like everything else, I would need a break. (Maybe a permanent one from twentieth-century Russia.)
I can hear my housemate Lincoln wandering around the kitchen. It seemed every university student had the same sleep schedule – none at all.
I don't have any classes till tomorrow afternoon so leaving my mug on my bedside table, I lean over to place my laptop onto my desk and then fold myself back up in my blankets and wait for sleep to come without the fear of a blaring alarm to wake me up from my usually dreamless sleep.
I toss and turn for a sleepless night, the blankets tangled in my legs, making me kick them off me in anger. I sigh, lying flat staring at my ceiling. In the corner of my eye, I see a slight movement of shadow. I sit upright, using my phone to light my room, pointing it from one corner to another. I don't dare turn it off until every inch of my room had been checked over. I place my phone back on charge and lay back down, facing towards my door which remained shut, Lincoln's footsteps now sounding off in the bathroom. Maybe I just heard a weird echo of his movement in my room.
I close my eyes, willing sleep to take me and it begins to, my mind becoming foggy. But then I hear the noise again, only my eyes fly open and I see a figure standing in my room.
In the second I see them I make out a man in a suit, with a long grey beard that tied off at the end, his hand reaching out for me. Before I can scream the sound is ripped from my throat as I feel my inside lurching around.
Is this Dumbledore? Am I going to Hogwarts?
Unless he wanted me to teach Muggle Studies.
My train of fruitless thought ends as my body hits another solid ground that certainly is not my bed. I can't even register my surroundings as the sleep I had been calling for hours took me by force.
It turns to day again before my eyes started to open, awakened by the screeching of an alarm clock near my head.
"I thought I turned you off," I mumble, reaching out blindly to put an end to the sound coming from my phone. However, instead of the feeling of a cheap bedside table from Kmart, I feel loose bark, leaves and grass between my fingers. My eyes dark open but disorientated, not having woken up fully. Colours mixed together as my right hand joins searching the ground. It also only feels the dirt ground. Can I be lucid dreaming? Surely not. It is far too real.
My eyes start to focus and I see the shape of the dark blur turn into trees, with the bare sky decorating their background. Around me seems the exact same as what lay underneath me. It is not my bedroom and at this point, I am undoubtedly not dreaming.
I am in a forest or wood. I am not certain of the distinction but trees encase me with no city buildings or even a plain rural house insight. I stand up in an attempt to see where I am better. Instead of woolly shorts and an old shirt that I sported as nightwear, I am cloaked in an elaborate dress of dark blue material with golden embroidery highlighting and contouring the dress to my body. It was medieval. Something I had never worn or owned. It felt expensive – much too expensive to be a costume.
Perhaps this is a joke my friends decided to play on me. It didn't make sense though, as I lived in the city, nowhere near a nature reserve.
And didn't have friends.
None of my belongings came with me, leaving me without my phone or even my clothes. My eyes start to water in panic. I had no idea where I stood and not the slightest clue which way to go.
The face of the old man from my bedroom flashes in my memory. Him. He did this. He was probably here – wherever here was. I would find him wherever he went to and demand he brings me home.
I grab the skirt section of my dress, hiking it up so my legs felt freer under the heavy material as I stomp in a random direction, determined to find the old hag and strangle him by his beard.
How dare he take me from my home? And undress me as though I was a willing volunteer into this sick joke.
"If I am on a reality tv show I better be paid some decent money you sick bastards!" I yell into the air, hoping their non-existent microphones could pick it up.
After hours of walking my stomping has turned into dragged footfalls as the sun beat down on my face as the trees became sparse. I had spent the entire morning walking in this oversized dress. It is now that I began to truly panic. I had no idea where I am or where I could find somebody else in this god-forsaken forest/wood.
Wanting to give my feet a rest, covered only in thin ballet type shoes, I find a sturdy looking tree and place myself against its trunk, leaning my head back. I sigh deeply, no longer feeling the urge to cry but getting thirsty and hungry instead.
In front of me, a deer came into view. I breathe lighter, trying not to scare it off. I hadn't seen a deer before. Of course, wandering for those few hours I saw many birds, rabbits and even squirrels but my loud and careless noise had likely scared off the deer that may have been near but my silence had brought one back out of hiding.
Ever so carefully I stand up, staying lent against the tree so I could see it better. A male, with small antlers and no spots on its body. This is a majestic sight to behold as it calmly ate from the grass, ears pointing forwards and backwards. It was encompassed by the rays of light peeking between the trees that turned golden as they reach the earth. By now, I am holding my breath as my eyes do not move from the creature.
Abruptly there was a shift of energy in the air. I feel it as soon as the deer did, its head snapping up to look directly at me. I could see its small nose twitching as it looked for signs of danger. I held myself like a stone against the tree, longing to blend in and hold this moment for as long as I can.
A quite twang comes from behind me followed by a short thump. In the next second, the ethereal creature that just stood before me now lay on the ground, an arrow sticking out of its neck. My hands fly up to my mouth to hold the scream from my shock. It isn't that the poor creature lay dead but the unexpectedness of the situation threw me off. It is the lack of expectation that hunters roamed around here, especially ones who used such medieval ways of doing it.
"Nice shot Castor," a voice, the first voice I've heard today says from behind the tree where the arrow came from. Then multiple horses carrying men walk past my tree. These men are donned in chainmail with a red cloak. At their sides were swords resting against their leather pants and boots. Some of them held spears at their other side or crossbows. The man leading, I would guess Castor, holds his crossbow in the air as a sign of victory as the other men cheered at his death stroke shot.
My arms sat dead against my side as my head flies to each of the men in astonishment. What in the actual world. Have I found myself in some weird medieval festival? Now I am not so sure I am not dreaming.
"What in the actual hell?" I mumble, louder than I thought as the heads of the men snap towards me. Their eyes widen as they see me, a lone woman in the middle of the forest likely with sticks and leaves in my hair which I hadn't the chance to assess. I am quite a sight to see I must admit.
They do not raise their weapons but keep their guard up as a blonde man rides up to me.
"Who are you?" he asks, looking me up and down. I stutter for a moment. Never had I seen such a man before. The curly blonde hair and stubbled face, matched with the uniform of a knight. Talking to me. Right now. Oh – he's talking to me-.
"Elena sir," I say after swallowing. My voice sounded more confident than I am. I give myself an invisible pat on the back as my wide eyes stay trained on the man and his companions. The blonde man gets down off his saddle, his left handle resting gently on his sword handle.
"I am Leon. May I ask what a lone woman is doing here so far off the path?" he asks. I bow my head quickly in greeting. I felt foolish, never having performed a greeting like this but I lacked other ideas.
"I am lost, sir. I awoke in a different place to where I fell asleep." Which is the complete truth? Minus a few parts. Leon's eyes crinkle in confusion and I add to the story. "I think somebody knocked me out and took everything as I was travelling."
He nodded. "I am sorry that happened to you, my lady. May we offer our assistance in any way? Where are you headed? We may be able to help you on the right path."
Well, these men were either actual knights and I have travelled through time and space (hopefully the Doctor was around) and I have somehow made my way to an ancient time or they were men who are very good actors in their roleplay. At this point, I would like to go anywhere with food and water so I say the first place that comes to mind.
Either they would think I'm crazy, laugh or say they didn't know that place.
"We are knights of Camelot. We are just finishing up our hunt, we shall escort you back. Castor, grab your game and let's head back." Well, that is an absolute surprise.
Some men let out a few groans, not having the chance to capture their own game just as yet but Leon seemed to be their leader and put up no complaint other than that.
"Thank Sir, that would be wonderful," I respond, smiling softly at him and I get the same smile in return.
Castor also swung off his horse, hauling the deer onto his horseback and began tying it down.
"Come, you can ride with me." Leon gestures, reaching for my hand with his gloved one and leads me over to his brown mare. Offering a hand, he assists me in mounting the saddle. I fell into a sort of side saddle with my dress, one leg resting over the pommel and the other straight down. It felt unnatural but the only position I could be in. Leon mounted with an expert lack of effort behind me, reaching around to grab the reigns. Once the other men were ready, he softly tapped his boots into the horse's side and we began walking in the direction they came from, the other men following behind.