They’re peeking from behind the great grey pines. Their trunks seem as though they’re tall enough to reach to High Heaven. I see them in my dreams. When I close my eyes, they peer at me with their large spotlights. They move gracefully and quietly. They’re shadows, but they feed on me. The longer I stare, the closer they are. There are no birds in this place of silence, only a soft thumping. Foliage scatters across the forest floor, but there is nothing but death. Death, he who lurks at me, he who cannot be seen the way I see the shadows, crumbles beneath my bare feet as I walk through the veil between what is and what is not. A vibration tickles my body. It pulses like a heartbeat and paralyzes me. The further I walk, the harder it is to move. The harder it is to move, the closer I am to its source. The closer its source, the less I am. Whispers reverberate off of rough bark and return to me. They want me to turn back, but I face the eternal path and walk slower, slower, until I come to a halt. There is a hand that caresses my back somewhere just between the shoulder blades. In this cold winter, I feel its warmth. Shadows peer from behind the great grey pines. They close in just a little more by each thump. Each beat is a step closer. Life is what attracts them and they have come to claim mine. It is what they know they can never have, yet they bite at it like famished hounds. Spotlights all around me, I stand still. My body aches. My mind is leaving me. Within these hollow bones, there is still a flame, though it is weak. Caressing my back, a pair of grey eyes glimmer and smile before reaching into me. Their hand opens my cage with the twist of a small key and warms my flame with its own. The vibration is as close as ever and I feel that my heart is pulsing with it. It crawls into my skull, down my spine, and then into my cage to seek shelter from the cold. It is only then that I awaken.