The lights appeared out of the darkness. Ana Tsunadai painstakingly sat up from her resting place on the floor. She turned her head to the partially-opened sliding door on her right and saw the first golden lights of summer pouring into her room. The old woman, 69 years of age now, slowly blinked her emerald green eyes at the young woman standing near the door.
"Oh, you're awake, Miss Tsunadai" Said the shy girl. Her blue eyes caught a glimpse of the old womans'. "I brought you some food."
The old woman looked at the rather large bowl of white rice that the kind girl had been told to leave for her.
"Thank you, Sai" Ana replied.
Ana ate her rice as the young woman remained near the door for a moment. "Is there… anything else I can do for you?" She finally asked.
"Actually, yes, Sai" Said the old woman, putting down her rice bowl. "Help me up".
Sai walked over to the old woman and gently helped her up. Before she could leave, however, Ana had grabbed her under the arm with amazing strength for a woman her age. Ana gently pulled Sai over to the old, cracked vanity in the corner of the room. The two women stood looking into the aged surface of the silvery glass. It was a striking difference. Sai stood tall and healthy at the age of 18 with short, chestnut brown hair and blue eyes. She wore wire-rimmed glasses and a white apron over her dress. Ana was another story. She was short, being only 5 feet 4 inches or so. Despite her age, she had remained almost as thin as Sai and had kept her strawberry blonde hair, defying the law of aging. Her emerald green eyes shone as if she was still in her twenties, which was a long time ago.
"Now, Sai…" Began the old woman, "Look into the mirror."
Sai looked into the mirror and only saw a healthy teenager and the slight wrinkled elder. The crack along the vanity looked almost like a lightning bolt that could have represented a time, and age, a life being torn in two by one massive incident.
"I… I don't see anything, ma'am." Polity said the young woman.
"Look, look into the mirror. Look not just into the mirror, but into the glass, into yourself, into your own eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul, my dear. They are windows to your heart's desires. I have been in this home you kind people opened for almost seven years now and I have learned a thing or two about what the heart desires. As we grow old, we grow wise. Since the flood killed my family seven years ago, I have stared into this vanity many times before. It always takes me somewhere. I think you'll understand."
Sai closed her eyes and then slowly reopened them, expecting to see the reflection of her very own eyes in the vanity mirror. However, Sai opened her eyes to see the reflection of herself in a crystal blue lake. The water slowly rippled from where she had been leaning over. Sai stood quickly, almost falling into the water. She spun around to see not an old woman, but a younger looking woman, perhaps 30 or so, with strawberry blonde hair and emerald green eyes. She had no wrinkles, only perfect white skin and a dazzling blue kimono. In her hand rested a white and red dragon fan nestled in perfectly manicured fingers. Then, she noticed they were not in the house at all. They were in a forest. However, this was not an ordinary forest. The plants were ebony black and the grass was snow white. The sun was not hot as to burn your skin, but only warm as to keep the cool form pricking at your flesh. The black stalk-like plants grew long threads of red berries on them.
The old woman, now not so old, spoke to the girl in an energetic tone. "Welcome to your heart's desire!"