Chapter 1

For a long time, Chloe sat at her window. Through the imaginary window she'd made in the chained window doors, she watched Count Dracula fly by as a bat. It was frequent enough that, in a grouchy moment of rage, she wanted to take her bow and arrows and shoot him down. But the idea of erasing Dracula from the literary world, and its consequences, made Chloe's brain feel constricted and tight, to the point of wanting to bang her head on the stone walls to finally get those thoughts out of her head for good.

But one thing was for sure; being trapped alone in the tower still had its advantages. If Chloe couldn't sleep, she would exercise her powers of imagination, and think of ways she could use it to escape this place. She tried several ideas, like imagining a door to a staircase leading outside, but the Count always caught her before she could do anything. This only heightened Chloe's anger at the seductive count, and for an instant, she came very close to grabbing her bow and arrows without thinking. It took a hard bite on her lip to not do such a thing.

And, just as annoyingly, Professor Moriarty, Dracula's partner-in-crime, would scale the tower wall, and question Chloe about her decision regarding which side of the war she would join. Her answer was always the forceful no. And the reactions from the villains were the same as well, but they could be just as stringent as Chloe's feelings towards them.

Since the fateful day that Chloe had been caught conversing benignly with the Count's old lackey, Renfield, some kind of harsh punishment was given to her if she defied the villains. Because of Chloe's compelling will to escape, she had accidentally given Renfield his sanity back, and he told her what his masters were planning. And when Dracula overheard him, he came to the tower and ended Renfield's life, afterwards punishing Chloe by chaining her windows closed, so she could no longer see the outside world. Ever since then, Chloe took the punishments as they came, time and time again. But they only added to her loneliness and exhaust at thinking so hard of finally escaping her prison.

The punishments varied in nature, but no matter how horrible they were supposed to be, Chloe always managed to find ways around them, using her power. The leaders didn't like this; a power like Chloe's could get her anything, even some unknown means of returning home. Because, without Chloe, their plans would never work, and defeat would be a given.

Those humans in the real world, oh, how the villains detested them. They had killed the Prince of Imagination- or Mr. Dewey, as Chloe knew him- and a crime like that called for immediate payment- the lives of all humans on earth. Chloe was a Proverb, and a lady of the Binding Order, but she herself was also still one of them. She would be destroyed, along with her other Proverb friend, Richard, and the rest of the Order!

That same day, Chloe lay on her ornately decorated bed, racking her brain yet again for some way to get out of the tower. But as far as she knew, she had been here for weeks, doing nothing but think, think, think. And how far had she gotten? Nowhere!

Chloe leaned over, and through her window view, saw the land within and beyond Count Dracula's castle. It was always grim and dark, even in the daytime; not even the brightness of white daytime clouds could make the castle or the surrounding land appear any friendlier. Clouds appeared as nothing against the charcoal black of the spires, and the cheerless decaying of the place made Chloe's heart sink deep into her toes. Her teeth gritted together, and she snarled angrily as Dracula passed her again; he made her feel such outrage for her imprisonment. Particularly when she ought to be helping Richard and the Pagemaster save the world from being swallowed up by him and the rest of his villain army!

Desperately, Chloe tried to see if she could imagine something else, but now, she was too wrought with despair to think. She had tried everything, but nothing got her what she wanted. One more questioning of her chosen side of battle, and she felt she wouldn't have the strength to look them in the eye anymore. It was true, she was tough, but she had been run clear of her energy. If only she could at least have Richard, or the Pagemaster, pause their business and come for her. And besides, it wasn't at all like she could shoot her bow and arrows mindlessly to help her. At present, she wasn't a warrior maiden, but a damsel in distress. Chloe hated that!

Then, her mind flicked back to Richard. If he was fighting the battle right now, or searching for her, wherever he was, she hoped he was thinking of her. She missed being able to know he was there wherever they both were to protect her and be her friend. He was, after all, her best friend; her only friend in fact. To Chloe, the day she bumped into him in the library had been one of the best days of her life, simply because she had made a best friend. And after that, she had someone that she liked very much...

And now…?

Chloe laughed at herself, at how princess-like she sounded, pining for someone to save her- the first time she had laughed in forever.

Except, that was actually what she wanted- she could feel it, from every fiber of herself, that just that was what she wanted; to have Richard find her, rescue her, and then to go save the world using their powers, and restore peace to the literary world.

Every time she closed her eyes, she could feel herself becoming a phantom, floating through a peaceful nothingness of light, where there was no Dracula, no troubles- just her and the knowledge that somewhere nearby, Richard would be there to help her, and then, to hold her there, and not let her go. She would be able to pour her heart out to him, release all the troubles and anger Dracula had brewed within her. Chloe longed so much for that to happen to her. But for now, she had to figure out some way for him to come find her. She would have to do something from her tower that could be seen or heard throughout this entire world, through all three of the sections. Easier said than done.

Suddenly, Chloe clutched her stomach. All the weeks of loneliness and anger were starting to take their toll. Now she almost felt sick. She had to do something now, so as not to make herself feel worse.

Swiftly, she shut her eyes and lay very still on the bed, like she was going right to sleep. But instead of nodding off, she tried to regain that vision of being a ghost, and flying so freely she was nothing but spirit. With her eyes shut, she began to feel lighter as her soul lifted with her thoughts. You are a ghost, you are nothing but air- nothing but a spirit…spirit…spirit…

Chloe's breath caught in her throat. Her limbs no longer felt heavy with tire, but light as helium balloons. She could suddenly feel the cold vapor of clouds beneath her feet, and the warm of the sun just barely poking out from behind the clouds. Go on, now. Fly free, be free. Fly.

Light as a breath of air, Chloe could feel her body moving forward, no more anchored by gravity. She squeezed her eyes together even more and attempted to dip and swerve through the space. Yes, you are flying now. But now, go on. Be gone with you anger and sorrow. Go away sadness and loneliness. Fly away and never come back…

And go away they did, for Chloe could see streaks of color zipping through the space in which she was flying. While she twisted and turned in the air, she flew through the coldness of sorrowful blue, the burning hot mad red of anger, and the empty grey of loneliness. She couldn't see the different colors, but they swirled and danced around Chloe's transparent figure, swerving in zigzags around and through the clouds in rainbows and auroras. They stood wavering in some places like an image on rippling water, and then began to disappear as Chloe's unhappy thoughts and feelings were washed away with the will of her powers. She felt like she was in heaven with the lightness of her soul, and the warm pink of happiness settling onto her like a fleece blanket in winter. Like a candle flame in a high wind, Chloe's troubles were temporarily gone, and she began to settle back into her solid body. Her mind was rested, and she was sinking into a sleepy state as she settled further into reality, but was instantly brought back when it all disappeared.

Now, how to make Richard come to her- that was another question. She was in the horror section, so that didn't quite prove a good place for him to look first, especially with Count Dracula, Moriarty, and even Carrie White lurking around. Not to mention the Count's three vampire brides, who had come out into the courtyard before to look for their supper.

As she looked on through her window view, Chloe's brain pulsed as she tried her hardest to think of something- anything that would enable her to reach Richard without leaving the tower, for someone would surely catch her if she did.

But then, out in the forest beyond her tower, her eyes caught sight of a moving shadow among the trees, dancing like bats in a cave with a fiery presence among it.

Who could that be? Chloe wondered. And as the shadow kept on moving within the dark trees, Chloe noticed something she hadn't before- a large orange ball with a yellow face of two eyes and a mouth glowing fiery bright.

It came to her at last. The Headless Horseman, from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! He was waiting there for someone to come through his forest.

And very soon, he might, Chloe thought, as an idea flashed brilliantly in her mind. Of course! Why didn't I think of this before?

She glanced through her window view, and watched as a big, black raven swooped down over the grounds, shrieking "Nevermore!" repeatedly. Perhaps she couldn't get out of the tower, but that raven certainly could fly anywhere it wanted.

Carefully and quietly, Chloe put her hand to the chained window doors, and, through her imagination, sent a high, squeaky sound through the wood to get the raven's attention. She was satisfied to hear the raven's squawking come closer to her, and it settled on a hook sticking out from the tower under the windowsill.

Chloe planned her approach to this carefully. She'd learned in her psychology class that when trained through rewards and punishments, animals could be easily manipulated. If she was going to earn this raven's trust, she would need to give him something in return for his cooperation in carrying out her new idea.

Slowly, Chloe crouched down, and using her mind, made one of the stones in the wall evaporate. She was gingerly enough to make it on the opposite side of the tower, where she was least likely to be seen. When she had done so, and repeated the squawking sound, she picked up a dead mouse she had found earlier near the fireplace, and held it ready for the raven.

The raven flapped near the opening, but reacted quickly when it saw Chloe, flitting about and squawking quite loudly. Chloe cringed; she didn't think about what the big bird's reaction would be to such a surprise. Thinking quickly, she held out the dead mouse, and while the raven didn't quite stop its mad flapping, it did put its eyes on the prize.

"Hello there," Chloe spoke to the raven.

The raven just stood in midair, looking at the mouse in her hand with eagerness. It emitted one little caw, but Chloe gave that a lopsided frown. So she decided to try something new. Maybe through her imagination, she could translate her words into what the raven could understand.

Swallowing her doubt, Chloe explained the proposition she had for the raven, all the while commanding her mind to translate the words into bird tongue. It was hard to do when she was so tense about this new ability, but, from the look on its face, Chloe could tell she had success.

After she finished, the raven was stagnant as it landed inside on the tower floor. But when it spotted the prize in Chloe's hand once more, it leapt about, making excited sounds, which Chloe automatically comprehended as caws of agreement.

She had it!

Hastily, Chloe wrote a letter to the Binding Order. She planned to finally put all stakes on the line, and invite the Binding Order, whatever they were up to, to the tower for a secret shindig. The raven would swiftly fly the letter to them- with some help from Chloe of course- and, with the Pagemaster's assistance, they would arrive at the tower, unseen by the villains. Upon arrival, they'd have a little fun party first, for Chloe to relax and explain to the Binding Order all that happened. And then, when everything was said and done, and Chloe and the Binding Order had taken Dracula and Moriarty prisoner, then they would journey back to the rotunda. And from there, they'd plan how to further cease the war. The sooner that happened, the sooner Chloe could be able to find Richard, and they both could return home.

Chloe began to shake. This new idea nearly brought her out of her skin with excitement, and she felt she could scream to the heavens with her confidence in the future. She wanted to laugh loud and long, but she told herself otherwise. Her celebration, and the rest of her plan, would need to wait after a good rest in bed.

And so, without knowing she did, Chloe rushed to her bed after sending the raven off with a strong wind on his tail, and threw the covers onto her restless body, to immediately go to sleep, and for once dream good dreams without many cares.