Dreams Dreams,

Take me away,

Dreams oh Dreams,

Take me back to better days,

When my Dreams were fresh and bright

And all of life seemed alright

I awoke on a small, comfortable bed. For a few moments, I thought the previous moments were all a bad dream. Soon, I would open my eyes and awake in my messy, bright room. Smiling, I opened my eyes not expecting the worse. The smile disappeared 5 times faster than it appeared. I was in the same room I had tried to escape from; same small window, same dresser, same small chair, dresser, sewing machine, same everything.

Frustrated salty tears slid down my cheeks as I cried in utter hopelessness. "I see you've awaken," came Ripslor's voice from behind my bed. He grabbed my hair and tugged my neck back; pain erupted though my body, "Carrion wanted you alive but not unharmed," he purred in my ear. He had been hiding in the shadows. His smile evoked complete and utter rage on my part. Pushing me roughly to the floor, he stood there obviously wishing to cause me as much pain as possible. How could he stand there so brazenly knowing that he just took away the things I cherished dearly? A smug idea hit me. Suddenly, I got up and fell to the floor again, shaking uncontrollably. "Girl, stop that. If you hurt yourself, Carrion will have my skin," demanded Ripslor. As he bent down to pick me up, I grabbed my favorite cast-iron lamp and gave him a good slug in the head.

Howling, Ripslor backed into the wall. "Girl, you have just crossed the line," he growled. A smile tugged at my lips. He advanced toward me again, claw-like arms outstretched. Using my short height to my advantage I dodged him easily and taunted him all the way, "Hey Ripslor, I didn't know anyone could be uglier than you...," I started giving him another good bang in the head with the lamp. Pretending the think hard I finished, "Until I met YOUR MOM!" Ripslor started to shake with rage, a little frightened I started to back away little by little. Suddenly he lunged at me. A battle ensued.

A knock at the door interrupted our little battle as Isbet made his way into my room. "Ripslor? Uh, wow, ok then. Carrion would like to see you now," said Isbet. Ripslor nodded too out of breath to answer back. His chest heaved with massive and broken breaths as he limped his way out of my room. As soon as Ripslor left, Isbet started to laugh. It was such a funny and unusual noise, I started to laugh too. "Well I think it's clear who won this battle," he said.

"What can I say? Don't mess with me," I replied, unharmed.

"Looks like that lamp came in handy. I'm just glad you didn't bash me like you did Ripslor when we first met,"

"Do you not like him?"

"Not like him? Ha! I hate him. He gave me approximately 60 of the scars I now have and has broken 47 of my bones just because he could," said Isbet sadly. We had become friends before I escaped. Suddenly, a thought hit me. My heart started to beat out of control as I fearfully asked Isbet a question. "Isbet. I need you to be honest. No sugar coating things. Is Carrion mad? Am I in trouble? What's going to happen?" A solemn Isbet replied. "I don't know Marina, I just don't know…" I started to cry. I felt my eyes sting with salty tears as I managed to choke out, "Why?" Giving me a comforting pat on the shoulder, Isbet hauled his blue scaly bulk off the floor where we were sitting. A second knock interrupted my gloomy and dismal thoughts. This time it was a stitching who entered. "The lord will see you now," it announced. Taking a deep breath, I climbed to my feet and followed the stitching to what was most defiantly going to be my doom.

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Christopher Carrion,

Oh how the people scream and cry,

Oh how they fear your cold dead eyes,

Nightmares fill the day,

As the day succumbs to the night,

Christopher Carrion,

Oh how you fill me with fright!

Sitting smugly at his desk, Christopher Carrion waited for the arrival of Ripslor. It had been long and frustrating, but at last, the girl was in his control. Grim ideas swam throughout the dark lord's mind as his nightmares swirled caressed his skin with their horrid lullabies. At last Ripslor entered, but not in the condition Carrion had expected.

Ripslore head was swelling up so much his grisly features were hardly recognizable. Dark bruises and welts covered most of his body as he limped tenderly toward his master. Taking a shallow breath and grimacing Ripslor said, "You summoned me master?" After a moment's wait, the Prince answered back. "Yes Ripslor…I did summon you. In what condition is the girl?" Rocking nervously back and forth on his heels Ripslor gave his hasty reply, "Unharmed."

"Unharmed?" said Carrion raising an eyebrow, "You mean to tell me that a girl like her, managed to beat you, Ripslor the Horrible? Well, I must tell you, this is new low even for you," finished Carrion as he rose from the desk. Flipping his wrist he summoned a stichling, "Go get the girl. But whatever you do, don't let her get away," he growled. Ripslor started to edge his way out of the room but stopped as he felt Carrion's invisible grip start to drag him back again. "You're not going anywhere. I need to see this for myself," said Carrion. Ripslor dared not protest to his masters will.

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Tell me why does the caged bird sing?

Is it because her dreams are confined?

Or is it because everything is unattainable, out of reach,

Tell me why does the caged bird sing?

Because she can not ascent to her heavens?

Or is it because she is stuck in her hell?

Tell me why does the caged bird sing?

Never mind, I know the answer

Because the caged bird is me.

My heart was in my throat as the large stitching carried me up the stairs. At first I kicked and protested, but it was to no avail. Now slumped over the stitching's shoulders I did everything in my power not to have a complete panic attack. Finally we arrived at the Dark Prince's door. I couldn't seem to catch my breath and started to break into a cold sweat. "No!" I shouted trying to tug my arm free of the stichling's iron grasp. He gave me a foul look, opened the door and pushed me inside. As I was falling, I heard a slight click as the door locked behind me. All I could do was look at the cold stone floor, afraid to see who was standing on it on the other side. Taking a deep breath I looked up. There, leaning smugly on his desk, was Christopher Carrion. Suddenly, a peace fell over me. I knew that if he killed me that was it, right? There were two things in life that were certain, death and taxes- and I had evaded taxes long enough. Standing up right, I looked at the Prince. My brown eyes met his grey ones. It startled me at how deep and complex those grey eyes were. Cruelty sure, but behind that was pain, anger, and a deadly intelligence. I dropped my gaze and looked to the thing standing next to the Dark Prince, Ripslor. Despite the delicate situation, I couldn't help but have a small smile cross my lips. "Very good Ripslor, you may leave now," wasting no time, he made his way hastily out of one of Carrion's doors. "So, after all this time, you're finally mine again," said Carrion smoothly. Now Carrion wasn't a mindless killing machine. No, he was a sophisticated evil, pure evil nonetheless, but not like Ripslor. "You have caused me much agitation and have just about stretched my patience to its maximum…But," he said. "you are still in my control." Taking a deep breath I dared to ask, "What do you want with me?" The Prince stared at me with cold grey eyes, "I was hoping you could tell me."

"I'm just a normal girl, what could you possible even need me for?"

"Normal? Hardly. How many 'normal' people do you know who can perform advanced dark magic to manipulate the living? Or beat one of my best assistants close to a pulp?"

I thought for a moment. "But surely there are better magicians, like yourself. As for Ripslor, I have martial arts training and, let's face it, I'm smarter than he is," I said.

Slowly turning his head toward me he asked, "Well if your 'just a normal' girl what use are you to me? Why shouldn't I kill you here and now?" he said as a sinister smile crept up his thin lips. "You shouldn't kill me because maybe I am more than normal. Besides, you still don't have your seamstresses and I can sew anything. Besides, I think you need me – and you know it," I answered nervously. Taking a deep breath, I looked at the lord to see if he accepted my answer.

"Clever girl," he said. "Letheo!" he barked. Soon the scaly adolescent lizard-boy entered. Giving me a sour look, he turned to his master, ready for directions. "Take her to her room," ordered Carrion. Letheo nodded curtly grabbed me by the arm and practically dragged me toward my room.

When we entered I noticed a pile of cloth and directions on my sewing machine. After Letheo left I sat down on my bed and solemnly thought about what happened. Sure, I survived and no one got hurt (except Ripslor but he deserved it), but I wasn't thankful even though I knew I should be. But of all the events, it was Carrion's words that I though of the most. Was I really 'normal'? I had a little training in the magic and arts, and did a ton of reading on the subjects, but did that really explain things? As a small girl, Torlem and Lizire would tease me because of my abilities-but soon stopped after I overran their room with lizards. After many tears and countless thoughts I decided work would be the best thing to keep my mind off of things. Looking at the clothes I got to work. A few hours later a bright idea hit me.

During all of this I forgot about the communicators, grabbing mine, I tried to call Torlem or Lizire. Click nothing Click nothing. Turning over, I realized it didn't come with batteries. In a fit of bitter frustration and anger I hurled the communicator at the wall; quickly regretting it as it fell to pieces. My only way of communication was destroyed and not for the first time recently, I felt alone. So, so alone.