She sat perched on her father’s leg. That was her favorite place to sit. Her father was a kindly man, with a twinkle always in his eyes. He always looked so affectionately at her. It was clear he loved her.
His name was Ocean, and his name suited him. Ocean was a Blue Lupe, and his coat seemed to shine more than anyone else’s. He always laughed and never raised his voice. He was respected and looked upon in their community, and had many friends. A smile was almost always upon Ocean’s face.
His little daughter was named Frost. She was unique, because her coat was White to begin with, not just Red or Blue or Green or Yellow, all the basic colours. In Ocean’s eyes, she was the most beautiful thing that ever lived. Frost hadn’t really developed her personality yet, but she still had friends. She was also the most beautiful thing in my eyes. I knew she would grow into a strong, pretty Lupe.
My name is Sunset. I am a Red Lupe. Frost considers me her best friend. I am not blood and flesh, but I am as real as you could get. You could say I am Frost’s conscience. But because she believes in me, I am real.
Frost has no other family. All of her aunts and uncles live far away and don’t keep in touch with her father. I once heard her father talking about a family fight. I don’t know any of the details, but I guess it was big enough for them to not know that Frost exists.
And Frost’s mother... well, that’s another story. No one knows what happened exactly. Ocean doesn’t, the townspeople don’t, and Frost certainly doesn’t. She was too young to notice that anything was going on at all. All I know is that she disappeared without a trace. I remember the night well. I guess you could say that I know quite a lot more about it than anybody.
Frost’s mother was Flower. She was a lovely Green Lupe. Flower was a very happy person, but I saw in the weeks towards her disappearance that she was withering away slowly, and that it clearly was putting a strain on her mind. At first, she only talked in her sleep. That was normal enough. What was strange about it was what she would say. It was usually quite disturbing, like ‘I’m not safe!’ and ‘They’re coming! They’re going to take me!’, but this can be explained by nightmares. As it went on, she would shout out in her sleep, waking up Ocean and setting small Frost crying. Ocean would then wake her up and lead her downstairs. She always appeared as if she was not focused or in our world. When Ocean would hand her a glass of water, she’d shakily raise it up to her lips while staring at something that wasn’t there. My heart was torn, because I could do nothing for the beautiful Lupe.
It got worse for Flower. She would start to get up at night, having the same look of being ‘not there’ on her face. She’d go into the front yard and start to cry and cry, until Ocean would wake up and find her.
None of this happened in the day, but I could now see how whatever had happened was affecting her then, too. She started to break down in the middle of the day for no reason. Sometimes she’d get up from what she was doing and just go walking around murmuring, ‘I will get there first. I will get there first.’ Soon, she seemed to suffer from her ‘disease’ all hours of the day.
And then that fateful night came. I was walking around the house, all that I could do because I cannot sleep. Frost believes this of me, so I decided not to. I turned the corner into the main hallway and sat down. Suddenly, Flower came rushing down the hall and was crouching beside me. Next, the strangest thing happened. She looked right into my eyes and whispered, ‘Help me. They’re coming. They’re coming for me. They will find it first. The thing they want. It’s in danger. I’m in danger. Help me!’ Then she gasped and looked somewhere else. She got up and ran away.
I heard a lot of thumping from the upstairs, and then one lone, terrified scream. Everything was silent after that for a few moments, until I heard Frost start to cry and Ocean’s frightened footsteps going to the spot where I guessed Flower had been.
No one ever saw Flower again. No one knows what happened to her. She just disappeared.
One day, when Frost was six, she was sitting on her father’s knee. ‘Do I have a Mommy?’ she asked Ocean.
As soon as she said those words, Ocean’s eyes lost their ever-lasting sparkle. ‘You used to,’ he whispered.
‘What happened to her?’
Ocean shook his head. ‘Later, Frost. It’s a story for when you’re older.’
Frost seemed to understand that she should not bring up the subject anytime soon. And she didn’t, not until eight years later, when she was fourteen.
Frost has grown into a very beautiful Lupe. She is popular at school, though I am still her best friend. But through all these changes and other things, she still had one question she wanted to ask.
‘Dad, what happened to my Mom?’
Ocean sighed at this. ‘I know you’d ask sometime,’ he said. ‘Well, I really don’t know what happened.’
Frost looked at him quizzically. ‘What do you mean?’
‘She was literally here one night then gone the next,’ Ocean replied. ‘You were very young. It was the middle of the night, and I heard a scream. I ran to where the sound came from, but there was nothing there. I searched the house and the village, but she was nowhere to be seen.’
‘Oh,’ Frost said. ‘Thanks, Dad.’ She started to go upstairs, to her room, and I followed right behind her.
As soon as Frost was in her room and had closed her door, she turned to me. ‘I can’t believe it, Sunset! Dad doesn’t even know what happened to her. I’ve waited eight years for an answer, and now he doesn’t even know!’ She flopped down on her bed.
I sat down beside her. ‘I know you’re disappointed,’ I told her. ‘But life is unfair.’
‘This isn’t about life!’ Frost said. I could tell she was annoyed. ‘Sunset, this is about my mother. I want to know what happened to her. And if she... if she’s still alive, then I’ll go and look for her.’
I stared at her. ‘Look for her?’
‘Well, Dad said he couldn’t find any trace of her,’ Frost said matter-of-factly. ‘This means that she might not even be dead.’
‘I don’t know...’ I said, voicing my doubts.
But Frost seemed not to have heard me. ‘I just wish I knew more about her. Or about what happened that night.’
I cleared my throat, and Frost looked at me, realization dawning on her face. ‘You know something about it!’ she exclaimed.
‘Yes,’ I replied reluctantly.
‘Then tell me!’ Frost demanded.
I recounted my story to her, all from the beginning. I told her how her mother had started to unravel, and how it had all ended. By the time I finished, Frost was crying.
‘Mother,’ she whispered. ‘So that’s what really happened to her?’
I nodded solemnly. ‘I’m afraid so.’
Frost sniffed and wiped her eyes. ‘But you said something about her saying something was chasing her.’
I sighed. ‘I think your mother was going mad, Frost. I know this sounds quite mean- but I think they were just ravings of a lunatic.’
‘WHAT?’ Frost yelled at me. I winced. She clearly didn’t like me talking about her mother like that. ‘What did you say about my Mom?’
I opened my mouth, but Frost cut me off. ‘You know what I think?’ she said, her voice raised. ‘I think that my mother was right. And I’m going to find her. I’m going to find out what she was talking about. I’ll search forever if I have to!’
‘And I’ll come with you,’ I said quietly.
‘Well, you kind of have to,’ she said, and then she giggled. I could tell that her angry spell had finished.
‘Yes, I know I have to. You’d make me come with you. I never get a vacation from this job.’ I joked.
Frost slapped me playfully. She was the only one who could touch me, or see me for that matter. ‘Being my friend isn’t a job.’
We headed downstairs for dinner, than later went outside to the park. Frost sat down on a swing and stared at the moon as it crept into the sky. It was a chilly fall day, and I watched as Frost pulled her coat tighter around her.
After a while, Frost asked me, while still watching the moon, ‘Where should we start?’
‘I don’t know,’ I admitted. ‘Where do you think we should start?’
‘Maybe I can find out more about her,’ came Frost’s voice. ‘Maybe I’ll start there. Was she well known?’ She sighed. ‘What I really think we should know is what was tormenting her. But there’s no way we can find that out.’
‘Maybe tomorrow there’ll be more answers,’ I soothed. ‘There probably will be some more tomorrow, I bet.’
After spending a bit more time at the park, Frost and I headed home. She went to bed, and I sat on a wooden chair beside her.
Nights were always long for me, because Frost had practically cursed me with no sleep when she was young. And because I couldn’t touch anything, for I was not real, I had to lay on the floor and think.
At about three in the morning, I heard murmuring coming from Frost. I crept up to her and came closer.
‘They’re coming for me.’
My stomach lurched as she said the same words as her mother had those years back. Now, whatever had been frightening Flower so was stalking her daughter.
I wished with all my might that I knew what she was dreaming. I needed to know what was happening to her, even though it would be impossible to find out! It was only until later that Flower could remember her dreams, and that was when whatever had taken her held her tightly in the waking world. It was too late then. I couldn’t let this happen to Frost!
With my whole mind, I focused on Frost until it hurt. Sometimes I could feel something starting to happen, but then it just faded away. I tried again.
It started out as just whispers in my head, but soon I was blasted painfully into Frost’s dream. I turned around, taking in my surroundings.
The sky was blood red. In the distance I could see a ruined, old castle. The ground was made of sad looking cobblestone. There was nothing for miles, except for one thing.
Standing in front of Frost and me was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen. It was a silhouette of an Eyrie, but the only thing that you could see of him other than blackness was his eyes. They were as red as the sky and gleaming with triumph. He was coming closer, and smaller Eyries with white eyes were coming closer.
‘We’re going to get you,’ the red-eyed one hissed.
‘Yes,’ the crowd behind him said as one.
I ran up behind Frost and grabbed her hand. She looked up at me. What I saw terrified me.
Frost’s eyes were black. With horror, I looked down at the paw I was holding and saw that it was slowly turning black, and the darkness was creeping up her arm and would soon be all over the rest of her body. Tears stained the fur near her eyes.
‘Sunset,’ she whispered that was not her own, nor even one like I have ever heard. ‘Sunset, save me.’
With that, I grabbed her other hand with my other paw. All of the dark creatures were closing in on us. With that, I yanked as hard as I ever had on her.
We were back in Frost’s bedroom. She was panting hard. As I glanced at her, I could have sworn that I saw the smallest drop of black disappear from her paw.
‘Sunset,’ she said, and leaned over and hugged me. ‘Sunset, you saved me. You saved me.’
‘Shhh,’ I said. ‘You should get some rest.’
‘No,’ Frost exclaimed, pulling away from me. ‘I know where I have to search for my mother now.’
After a while of silence, Frost asked, ‘Sunset, I made you up. You’re my imaginary friend. How come you saved me from my dream? It’s real.’
I shrugged. ‘I don’t know. Now, get some sleep.’
Frost sighed, but she did as she was told. After about fifteen minutes, she was lightly snoring. I knew that she wouldn’t get any more horrifying dreams tonight.
In the morning, Frost sat up in bed. ‘We have to return there,’ she said.
I was aghast. ‘What? No!’
‘I know what happened to my mother,’ she stated. ‘You said that as this went on, things intensified. Well, maybe they started to enter her more and more until it came to the point that they used her to break the fabric separating the Dreamworld and the Realworld. They took her to the Dreamworld, I just know it.’
‘Well...’ I started. ‘It is kind of logical, but it’s very far-fetched. And how do you know that these places are called Dreamworld and Realworld?’
Frost shrugged. ‘I don’t. But we have to call them something.’
I thought for a long time, before coming to my conclusion.
‘Okay. We’ll go back.’
Author's Note: Hoped you like the story! Look for the next chapter in the Sunset Saga!