James looked up towards the bloody, crimson sky and felt paralyzed by the frightening hordes of bats, gliding through the sunset a few yards above. He managed to gain a bit of courage and run down the ditch towards his destiny. He kept running, hearing the screeches of the hideous animals passing by. He came up to the swamps and stood still, looking into the distance.
He remembered everything she had told him, to the point that he could almost move without thinking. He jumped from log to log without falling down until reaching the other side, landing on a small wooden raft. Once he set afoot the raft it began moving through the swamp waters on its own.
…The raft will come to a half where you will meet a creature. Don’t be frightened, it will guide you to the magical stone.
Yes, don’t be frightened. You’re almost there, he told himself in a vague attempt to muster courage.
The raft came to a complete stop a few miles away, down the swamp into the area kids called the Swamp of Dreams. That place had acquired its name for its eerie scenery, almost playing tricks on anyone with an imagination. James could barely tell the difference from the trees and that of people. The silhouettes seemed to move to the moonlight, dancing flamboyantly as he moved.
He felt chills travel down his spine. He closed his eyes, but kept walking, stretching his hands out to avoid stumbling on a tree. He kept repeating inside his head that everything would be alright, but that place just seemed to dark and desolate, and cold. He went forward a few steps before he toppled over and bumped his head.
“Oww!” he shouted. He opened his eyes and spotted before him, a huge beast with red lingering eyes staring at him, hissing. He felt his heart race up against his chest, painfully thumping as if it were about to explode. But it walked past him.
James trailed behind, not too close since it any time he got too close it would turn around and threaten to bite him. He walked deep into the forest, lit up by the faint light of the moon that bled through the thick branches.
A few minutes went by of just following the creature wander endlessly into the maze of old, decayed trees before arriving at a ravine. The creature skid down at a fast speed towards the bottom.
James looked down into the abyss. There is no way I can make that, it’s too dangerous.
But then he remembered what the old lady had told him, “Everything will be an illusion during this journey, fear not for you are the master of your dreams.”
He felt free at that moment. The breeze seemed to uplift his spirit, and by becoming one with it, he dove down into the ravine.