Dreamland by Olivia B. Pritzker

Dreamland-75x99-2Final Episode!

In the previous episode, on board their ship amidst a violent thunderstorm, Declan gives Celia a sparkling silver powder to swallow. It renders her unconscious. Readers voted that she wakes up at home in her bed.

Episode 20

The first thing Celia felt was the cotton sheet pressed beneath her body. Her head moved slowly to one side and then the other on the fluffy white pillow and she felt a sense of familiarity surrounding her. Celia knew she was home. She opened her eyes and saw the ceiling she had stared at so many times throughout her childhood, but now somehow it looked different, distorted. She reached a hand up in front of her face and felt it connect with something solid – glass. She was lying under a glass box.

Trying not to panic, Celia looked through the glass at the warped room around her. There were sheets covering the table, chair, and dresser, and brightly colored flowers strewn across her bed. She suddenly realized that she was wearing not the nightgown she had fallen asleep in, but a fancy dress with a collar and shiny new shoes. She touched her hair and felt that it had been styled, and noticed that she had makeup on her face. Celia pushed with both hands on the glass around her, but it stayed strong and immobile.

All of a sudden three blurred shapes appeared at the door, two taller and one shorter. The shorter of the three began moving toward her glass box, and Celia turned her head to the side and shouted, although she was sure she couldn’t be heard through the thick glass. The shape seemed to freeze, then slowly walked closer and Celia could see that it was her younger sister Daphne. As Daphne’s round eyes came into focus, Celia shouted at her sister again, and Daphne leapt back and ran toward one of the taller shapes. A few moments later, the glass box was being hastily unscrewed and lifted off, and Celia’s terrified mother was staring down at her.

“Celia?” her mother whispered. “You’re awake? How? We’ve tried everything. Everything. I even let a young man come in here and, and kiss you, he said it would work but it didn’t. I felt so awful. And now, you…you’re awake!” Her mother hugged Celia tightly and then pulled away, and stared into her eyes for a long time, as if checking to see that she really was conscious. Celia didn’t say anything – she was still processing fact that her journey was over and that she’d woken up at home in a glass coffin.

“Well,” her mother said finally, “we were just about to have dinner, Celia, please come downstairs and join us.” Her mother walked around the room quickly removing the sheets from the furniture, as Daphne, perched on the edge of the bed, commented that Celia looked different, older.

“Nonsense,” her mother said as she collected the flowers. “She’s only been asleep for a few weeks. Now come downstairs before the meat gets cold.” Her mother took Daphne by the hand and exited the room, trailing flowers as they left.

Celia sat up in bed. Had it all been a dream, she wondered? Sewing the golden costumes with Marguerite, the Queen’s high-pitched voice as she presented Felix, the ravens’ stories in the mountains, Ondine and the tavern and that terrible storm on the ship? She could see Declan’s sopping wet hair and shouting face so clearly in her mind. Then she felt something heavy in her hand and looked down – there, still clutched between her fingers, was Felix’s compass.

Celia smiled, got up and changed, and went downstairs for dinner. 

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