My mind has been active ever since the last dream. I find I cannot stop imagining what it would be like to sleep the night through and never return to the place where I am hunted by an invisible enemy. And on top of all that, to have my deepest desires granted! I’ll admit it’s quite appealing. A genie in a bottle feeling accompanies these thoughts. Ever present though, is the thought that my loyalty to this “friend” is required. And there’s the rub.
I hope for undisturbed sleep as I lay down. No such luck. This time I am by the sea on the western coast. A black mass pursues me. The field I run across is charred and burning from the enemy’s flaming arrows. If I can reach the cliffs, then I will be able to safely hide among the rocks and caves. I run faster while arrows fly at me with unbelievable speed. Miraculously I dodge, duck and weave, missing them.
Unfortunately one hits its mark, landing in my thigh. I tumble to the ground awaiting my arrow of death, which I know from experience will return me to reality. As if in slow motion, I see the arrow heading for me and in the same instance I see the other man from the dream, the man of light, dozens of yards behind the oncoming arrow. His light is brilliantly intense and just as the arrow tip reaches my heart, the man of light catches it in his hand.
He breaks the arrow in two and discards it. No more arrows fly and the black mass has disappeared, replaced by a hazy, soothing light, like filtered sun through fog. He reaches down to remove the arrow from my thigh. I expect intense pain but none comes. Incredibly, the wound is not even bleeding. He smiles and helps me to my feet.
I can’t help but look into his eyes. They are filled with a fierce strength and, of all things, sorrow. “Are you here to make me an offer too?” I ask, remembering the last dream.
“No,” he says in an authoritative voice, “I don’t make offers.”
I immediately regret my question. “I’m sorry. Thank you for saving me just now.”
He smiles again. Warmth spreads through me and into the surrounding air.
“A choice lies before you, a choice which will affect every aspect of your Heartland and your life beyond.” He kneels down and cups his hands around a bit of charred soil. He gently blows on it and when he pulls away, a tiny flower has sprouted up among a few blades of grass.
Hope floods me. “If I choose you, will Heartland go away?”
“No,” he replies, standing. “In fact, if you choose me, Heartland will become even more real.”
My heart plunges. “When do I have to decide by?”
The wind kicks up. Swirling ash from the field encircles me. A gusting wind creates a vortex. “What’s happening?”
“The battle continues. Choose soon for your own sake.”
A sound like multiple trains fills the air. A wind funnel lifts me off the ground up into the sky. I count to ten and open my eyes. Home again.
Heartland becomes more real? Why on earth would I want that? I glance at the clock on my bedside table and gasp. There, right next to the clock, is the flower from my dream. As I touch it, it disintegrates. A sense of hopelessness drifts into my heart, but also an urgency. I must choose soon.