Alessandro sought his bed that night with a fresh wave of nightmares sitting at the forefront of his mind. The inevitable fear was beginning to return, and with it an unwelcome heat rushed through his veins. He lay down and closed his eyes with visions of the deserted Bran Castle prevalent in his subconscious, he tried to keep his thoughts clear. His admiration for Katya was growing, he was beginning to understand why she behaved the way she did, why she was so detached and unobtainable. He lay there in the darkness, the sheer covering of the blind across the window threw up distorted shadows from the street below, shadows which if allowed would tell their own stories.
Alessandro drifted into a light fractious sleep; the harsh dreams came rushing towards him. Like an apparition she walked towards him as he stood within the epic courtyard of a deserted stone castle at the mercy of the elements. Although his breath was visible in the bitter cold darkness no such warmth emanated from Katya’s lips, no mist formed in front of her as an indication of her essential life-force. She was cloaked from head to foot in black velvet, the hood falling over her eyes leaving only the lower part of her face visible, her brilliant red lips remained parted revealing her gleaming white teeth and her skin glowed silvery in the half light.
She gestured for him to follow her, and without any form of restraint he found himself shadowing her as she walked into the darkness and descended a spiral stone staircase. She glanced behind her and smiled when she saw Alessandro was still with her. The stairs seemed to go on forever, the darkness in no way disabling him on his near vertical decent. Finally they came to the lowermost level of the castle, the staircase bled into a dank narrow passageway flanked on both sides by high stone walls. The bizarre couple made their way slowly along the passageway passing the remains of several ancient oak doors swollen and rotting in their frames. Katya didn’t stop, she continued past them to a large hole in the wall. She stood just beyond the opening and turned to Alessandro. He stood and looked at her, fear emanating from his features, he knew what was in there. She smiled once again and silently gestured with an open hand towards the opening.
“I can’t Katya, I’m sorry.” The words woke Alessandro pulling him violently out of his dream. He frantically reached for his bedside lamp and flicked it on.
A hiss came from the other side of his bedroom as Katya shielded her eyes with her hands. She was standing by the window with the blind open where she had been gazing out across the atmospheric city of Athens.