A/N: A short story I wrote. It came to me last night and I thought it was a good idea. I absolutely love this song and thought it was perfect for both the way I'm feeling and the way my character is supposed to feel in this story. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I'm dedicating this to my Grandmother, who recently passed away. She always encouraged me to go for my dreams.


A small twelve-year-old girl sat on the worn-out tire swing outside of her Tennessee Ranch. The swing rocked slowly as the warm night breeze blew, gently ruffling her light red summer dress. It was a quiet night; nothing but the soft murmuring of the crickets could be heard as the reeds of the fields bent with the wind.

It was nights like these that she loved the most. She could come out here, barefoot, and dance in the moonlight without a care in the world. She could listen to the sounds of nature and sing along to its soft tune. She could dream whatever she wanted to dream without someone telling her it was impossible and wouldn't come true.

But this young girl had a secret. A secret she was afraid of telling, even to her family.

She didn't want to be stuck in Tennessee.

Such thoughts would be blasphemous to her family and friends – not stay in Tennessee? How could one think such a thing? But she wanted to be something more than just a farm girl. She wanted to be something bigger; something better; something…more.

She wanted to be a singer. The greatest singer the world's ever known.

The breeze blew a bit stronger, causing her hair to whip around her face, briefly reminding her of the days when she used to play in the fields and the wind would blow her hair in all directions. The girl smiled a small smile before a soft song left her lips.

"I have often dreamed,
Of a far-off place,
Where a great warm welcome
Will be waiting for me."

She closed her eyes as a warm feeling engulfed her chest. She imagined a crowd of millions, watching, cheering, screaming – all for her. She looked up at the dark night sky, her grin growing bigger as she heard the roar of her fans in her mind.

"Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face,
And a voice keeps saying,

'This is where I'm meant to be.'"

Her voice grew louder with each line as her imagination carried her off into her dreams. She knew she belonged on stage, belting out songs that would make her mother proud.

Mom.

The girl's grin fell at the thought. It was her mom that pushed her to follow her dreams. She remembered the words her mother told her when she died – she knew she'd never forget them, even if she tried.

You are destined for greatness. Don't be afraid to find your way – I will guide you.

A tear fell down the girl's cheek, making a small imprint as it splashed into the dirt below the swing. She sighed as she gazed off into the distance, her eyes glazed and unfocused. Her song was now a mere whisper, so soft that it could be carried off by the wind.

"I will find my way.
I can go the distance."

More tears gently tracked down her face. Her voice cracked slightly as she continued singing.

"I'll be there, someday,
If I can be strong."

She wondered if she could be strong enough; enough to make her dreams come true; enough to leave her home; enough to make her mother proud. Could she really be strong after everything that had happened in her young life?

Her unseeing eyes suddenly focused on a ghostly figure in the distance. She squinted her eyes, trying to make out who the figure could be. She gasped when she realized who it was, not believing what she was seeing. Could it really be?

The girl shivered as the breeze blew stronger, as if some invisible force was causing a disturbance in nature. Just as quickly as the breeze came, it disappeared completely, leaving an eerie silence behind. She looked back at the figure, only to see that it was gone. The girl looked around frantically, desperate to catch one last glimpse of her past.

She felt a warmth spread through her, starting at her heart and ending at her fingertips. But it wasn't just any kind of warmth; it was the kind of warmth one feels when a spirit speaks to the soul. Fresh unshed tears glistened in her eyes when she heard the soft words whispered in her ears.

Baby girl, don't be afraid. You are stronger than you think. The journey will be long and hard, but I know you will find your way to your dreams. I love you, Sweet Pea.

The girl smiled and decided right then and there that she was going to become a singer, no matter what obstacles got in the way. She was going to get on that stage and sing so loud, her mother would be able to hear it from heaven.

"I know every mile
Will be worth my while."

She'd have to work hard to get there and she knew it might take a few years, but she knew it was where she needed to be.

"I would go almost anywhere
To feel like I belong."

She was going to do this. She needed to do this. She wasn't meant to stay here for the rest of her life. She belonged on stage in front of a crowd and there was nothing anyone could do to stop her from getting there.

The tire-swing swayed gently as she looked up at the twinkling stars one more time. The young girl closed her eyes and breathed in the night air before making her way into the house to sleep, never knowing that one day the whole world would be chanting her name.