“Lucidala, Lucidala, Lucidala.”
I whispered the name of the magical world that controlled our dreams. The place that had brought so many wonders and adventures to me as I laid in bed asleep at night. Sleep gentle cradled me, and when I opened my eyes, I was in my castle in Lucidala. My castle was like a docking point between reality and the dreams I explored when I was sleep. My home, that I could mold into anything I wanted it to be. A month ago, it was an underground bunker, outfitted with everything you needed for an apocalypse. This night though, I manifested into an actual African castle. The ones you never see on TV. The ones the world hides from the general public.
“This is beautiful,” a voice whispered behind me.
I turned, a smile on my face, as Amanda came into my vision. I watched as she ran her hands along the elaborately carved patterns in the stone walls.
“Thanks, I felt like going back to our roots for a while.”
“So, what’s on the agenda tonight?” She asked.
“I was thinking of giving the zombies another run for their money. I haven’t been back to the reoccurring dream section since you found me.”
“Zombies? Well, it is your night to pick the dream, so if that is what you wanna do…”
“You don’t want to do it?” I asked.
“Well, it isn’t exactly fresh and new.”
“Okay, I have something else.”
I grabbed Amanda’s hand, led her through the castle and out into the open air. A breeze rippled through the trees and the sun was shining brightly. I closed my eyes for a moment and let the air and heat wash over me. Then I looked at her, her amber eyes staring back at me, anticipation building in them.
“Well?” She said.
I walked to a statue of a dragon, the link to my dreams, and petted it. The world around us ceased to exist and we found ourselves on a grassy cliff, looking out over the ocean.
“I’ve seen this place before,” Amanda said. “We are in Lucidala’s lands. Look, over there is the Forest of Destiny. Oh, over there is the entrance to the reoccurring dreams area. I can see most of Lucidala from here.”
I turned from the beautiful scene in front of me and gestured for her to turn around. Behind us stood two dragons, one red, the other black, both as large as a house. The red one let out a roar, as the black one lazily licked its front paw.
“Dragon riding,” I whispered to her.
“Which one is mine?”
“The red of course. Your favorite color.”
“How did you know?”
“You always have a little bit on,” I said, looking at her dark red lipstick.
“Then let’s go!”
We raced to the dragons and mounted them. The saddles were soft but sturdy, and they held straps where two swords were placed and there were a bow and quiver on the other side. We strapped ourselves in and the dragons began to beat their mighty wings as they rumbled toward the cliff. One powerful thrust of their hind legs and we were off, in the skies, soaring upon the currents of the airs.
Amanda let out an exhilarating scream and I joined in with her as the dragons dove, rolled, and flipped in the air. Everything was perfect at that moment. The nights I had spent with Amanda in Lucidala had brought us very close. We even began to hang out together outside of our dreams. We ate lunch together at work, and also met outside of work too.
“Follow me,” I yelled at her as we soared over the Forest of Destiny.
I took her to a grove of trees and the dragons landed. My plan was going well so far. Tonight was the night I asked her to be my girlfriend. Tonight was the night I was going to find out how she felt about me. We dismounted and I grabbed her hand, noticing she freely let me take. We had become so comfortable with each other. She had to feel the same way I did, or I was about to be extremely embarrassed.
I led her through the grove of trees and watched as she looked around in wonder. She commented on the various hues of the leaves and the way the birds chirped musically from their perches amongst the branches. I stopped and faced her, her amber eyes seemed to twinkle of their own accord.
“Amanda, I remember you from before all this,” I said, waving my hand around at Lucidala. “To be honest, I had a crush on you.”
“Aww, little ol’ me?” She joked.
“I’m sure you know that by now. I was convinced you didn’t even know who I was. But that first night here, I realized you knew my name. Anyway, I don’t want to start rambling, but I just wanted to say that the time we have been spending together has been indescribable. I never want it to end. So I was wondering…”
I looked away, took a deep breath. It was time to take the full plunge. When I looked back at her, her smile was enticing and a little mischievous. I leaned toward her, but stopped a breath away from her lips and waited, needing to see if she would move the rest of the way to me. I closed my eyes, and a breath later I felt her lips upon mine. We kissed and the birds broke out in a chorus. The dragons roared mightily. It seemed all of Lucidala rumbled with glee.
I was elated. She reciprocated my affections. I slowly pulled away from her, A smile on my face that could not be contained broke out.
“Took you long enough,” she said.
“Well, I’m not good with these types of things,” I laughed.
We walked back, hand in hand toward the dragons, and I knew that nothing could ruin my mood. Nothing could take that moment away. I was wrong. As we neared the dragons, something happened. A ripple ran through Lucidala followed by a shockwave of energy. The black dragon flickered then winked out of existence. I looked at Amanda, confusion gripping me. A loud explosion rang out, causing us to drop to the ground.
“What’s going on?” I yelled to Amanda.
“I don’t know.”
We mounted the red dragon and it took to the air. We surveyed the land under us and found a smokestack rising from the Forest of Destiny.
“What could have caused that?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Nobody knows what goes on in there. Remember the first rule I told you? Never go into that forest.”
“Let’s get back to my castle!”
The dragon began to change course, but a shadow washed over us. As I looked up, a giant mass was swooping toward us. It was a bird-like creature, but like no other bird I had ever seen. Its body and wings were skeletal, and gangly with leather skin, and it had patches of fur instead of feathers. It was upon us in mere seconds, using its talons to grab Amanda and wrench her from the back of the dragon. Then it dove and disappeared in the Forest of Destiny.
“No!” I yelled as her screams became distant. “Follow her!”
The dragon dove instantly and the Forest of Destiny rushed to meet us head on.
The first two post of the story are below!!