I walked down a long hallway lined with tall pillars etched in gold and silver. There were many rooms, and I heard murmurs on the other side of the closed doors. The sounds were laughter and tears that came only with living a full life. A memory tugged, but I couldn’t pull it from the darkness. I heard echoing laughter ahead of me, calling out to me and urging me on. My bare feet slapped lightly against the marble floor. My nightgown danced around my ankles, excited. As if it knew what was ahead of me and wanted me to go faster. 

I’d been here before. I’d felt the anticipation of reaching the end of the hallway and seeing who my heart had me chasing. But I never made it to the end. The hallway kept getting longer and longer. My heart aching for something only it knew. I didn’t know why I kept ending up here. I’d tried to open the doors before, but they were always locked. There were nameplates on the doors: Moxie, Ares, Dinlas, Nike, Eros, Hephaestus, Hebe, Eris. They were names I didn’t recognize, but still, my heart ached as I read them and heard the voices coming from the other side.

The walls crumbled around me, and I was in a meadow. A light breeze blew through my hair. The grass was damp against my feet. The bottom of my nightgown was wet from the dew. In the middle of the meadow was a large tree that grew the most beautiful golden apples. A man was sitting at the foot of the tree. I couldn’t see him, but I could tell he was sad. If my heart had arms, it would have reached for him. I heard his pain carried across the meadow on pockets of wind. My head was positive I didn’t know him, but my heart didn’t care. It begged me to go to him and ease his pain. My feet moved of their own accord. Halfway to him, I froze. Wrapping my arms about myself, I refused to go any further. I didn’t know who he was. He was nothing to me. Why did I feel so drawn to him? 

I panicked, and my legs locked. My face was wet from the rain… but it was not raining. I roughly dried my eyes and bit my lip. I didn’t belong here. I wanted to go home. Home. There was another echo of longing in my soul, of a place far from here. Another lie my father used to torment me. My life was here. Alone. Separated from my siblings. No one to count on. No one to depend on but me. It took most of my willpower to turn away from the sad man by the tree, but I did it. I got to the edge of the meadow, unable to stop myself from turning back to look at him. But he’s not there.

There was a loud crack and light streaked across the sky, blinding me and forcing my eyes closed. I felt the satin of the rain as it hit my bare skin and ran down my body. I put my face in my hands and cried. I knew this was a dream. I’d dreamt of it every night since I’d been home. I knew that when I finally woke up and stared blankly at the ceiling above my bed, all I would see were a pair of blue eyes. Blue eyes full of pain. Blue eyes begging me to come home. Blue eyes wondering why I ever left. 

I woke but kept my eyes closed, not wanting to see the judgment that filled me with a sense of failure. This was my father’s newest way to torture me. Of all the siblings, my father knew that the quickest way to hurt me was to tempt me with a love I would never have. I felt the tears slide down the side of my face before I took a deep breath and steeled myself for another day alone. Another day for those blue eyes to haunt me. 

 

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