Ch. 6: Remembrance

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. The fauns were still dancing, their cloven hooves beating a tattoo on the ice.

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. But why did he feel so warm?

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

Rubbing at his eyes, James sat up to find himself sitting in his own bed. The walls of his bedroom appeared gray in the early morning light and the window revealed the source of the noise: a steady downpour of rain that was no doubt turning the pure white snow to muddy slush.

James turned his head to regard the small clock on his bedside table According to the clock, it was just past 7A.M; already, he knew that most of his family members would be off to their respective jobs. James himself would normally wake up for school at this time, but as he was on vacation, it seemed that he and whoever was off today would remain inside today.

Today. Today was December 22nd, the day after the winter solstice. Pushing aside his blankets, James got out of bed and walked over to the window, staring out at the dismal day. Looking down at the dirty remains of snow, it was hard to believe that it had looked so magical the night before.

Hard to believe that it had come from a dragon's wings.

Or had it? Ever since he could remember, James had always been a vivid dreamer (something both his parents and his adopted family found extremely endearing); had the events of last night been just another nighttime adventure?

"Was it real?" James whispered to himself. Admittedly, the whole experience had already taken on the fuzzy, far-away feeling that dreams acquire not long after waking, but James wasn't so sure. He could still recall the feeling of flying over a snowy landscape with Arrion, the excitement of dancing with the happy fauns and the sheer awe he felt whenever he remembered Crystor.

Where were they all now? James wondered as he tore himself away from the window and commenced to making his bed. Where were the fauns and centaurs and winged horses? Where were the unicorns and crystal-antlered stags? Had he really been the only human visitor to that ice floe? The only person in thousands of years to see the great blue dragon?

Still uncertain, James finished making his bed and began dressing, pulling on his warmest clothes. Already, he could tell it would be cold outside.

Reaching for his robe, James was about to put it back into his closet when something inside it clunked against his leg.

Heart beginning to beat a little faster, James reached into the pocket of his robe and his fingers touched something cool and smooth. Drawing his hand out, James withdrew a crystal, the same crystal Crystor had presented to him only last night.

A wave of amazement washed over the small boy as three words echoed over and over again in his mind.

It was real. It was real. It was real.

Clutching the sparkling stone, James felt a shudder of amazement run through him. Glancing back at his window, James knew that somewhere out in the stormy sea, a great dragon was waiting for the next winter solstice when he could send his crystal snow out over the world again, knowing that there were more minds and hearts waiting to be filled with dreams.

But for now, James thought with a small smile, as he placed the crystal on his bedside table. Now there was a whole year ahead of him and his friends and family. A whole year in which to make the dream they'd had on that night of magic come true.

"James?" James turned to see Miss Spider in his doorway smiling at him. Returning the smile, he walked over to her.

"I thought I heard you waking up early," she told him. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I'm fine," he replied. Miss Spider nodded, reaching out to brush some of his hair from his forehead.

"That is good to hear." She too glanced at the window, out at the cold and rain. "Why don't I make hot chocolate with breakfast today? Would you like that?"

"Yes, please."

"Come one, then."

Following his friend downstairs, James was sure of one thing While he didn't know if he would see Crystor again, of one thing, he was certain: every winter solstice, he would remember what he had been fortunate enough to see.

And that dreams were only the gateway to true magic.

~Fin