Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn't want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where her father didn't come home drunk every night, where her mother wasn't crying and escaping her own abusive reality with all kinds of drugs, where her brother wasn't intentionally hurting others to make himself feel better by sleeping around and breaking hearts. In her dream, everything was the way it was supposed to be for an eleven-year-old living in New York City.
Her father was a knight — the only knight in the entire kingdom, knighted by the king after saving a little boy and his father's flock of sheep from wolves. He was chosen to protect the common people and the royal family from thieves, rapists, and even drunks. Her mother was in charge of the beautiful gardens behind the palace. The queen was visiting the village one day and noticed that the little girl's home was the only home with flourishing roses and daises and poppies. Therefore, the queen requested that the gardener of the home take care of the royal family's gardens. And her brother... Well, there's no way of stating this subtlely. Her brother was a noble dragon. Long ago, when the boy was only a baby, a witch came to the village and turned many of the babies into monsters: gargoyles, trolls, dwarfs, and one dragon. The king slayed the witch and allowed the monsters to stay as long as they didn't cause trouble to the village. The little dragon promised to look after his sister so the same thing wouldn't happen to her.
In her dreams, she was much more peaceful. For there was much more love in her life. In her family. She was even to wed the prince. The king and queen became very close with their appointed knight and gardener. Deciding that since they could not find a suitable princess in a neighboring kingdom, their son would be married to the fairest maiden in the land, the little girl.
One day, the little girl made her way through the village, passing the colorful bakery, library, blacksmith and so on, her dragon companion flying above her. She was on her way to the palace to meet with the prince for some tea. The little girl was only a few feet away from the castle's steps when an unknown figure dressed in a large dark cloak stepped in front of her. The girl was startled for a second, but then greeted the stranger. The little girl's brother flew down and landed next to her, growling. The little girl assured her brother that there was no danger. She was wrong.
The mysterious figure reached into their cloak and threw a black powder onto the dragon. He started to whimper and turned to stone in a matter of seconds. The little girl was terrified. The stranger reached into their cloak once again and this time pulled out an hourglass, flipping it and handing it to the little girl while saying, "Sweet little child, if only you realized how important reality is. Not this fantasy you have created for yourself." The girl was distraught. The figure continued, "You cannot stay here any longer. If you are to survive your family in the real world, you'll have to face your fears. Why am I telling you this now? Who am I?" The stranger grabbed the hoodie of the cloak and pulled it off, revealing a gorgeous woman. "I am you from the future. Forget these dreams and return to reality. If you don't, you'll fall into a dark lifestyle like each member of your family, distracting yourself with selfishness, alcohol, and drugs. Become so much more, become conscious." That's when the little girl noticed all the sand was at the bottom of the hourglass. The woman disappeared and her cloak dropped to the ground.
The sky turned from a soft blue to a sinister gray. The dragon statue next to the girl burned to life and flew high, breathing down wildfire, burning the village. The garden keeper was removing all the dandelions, forget-me-nots and sunflowers from their beds. The knight stumbled out of the palace gates, drunk, followed by the king and queen, all three losing their balance and rolling down the steps, laughing and snickering. The little girl was in tears. She never imagined that her fairy tale dreams would become nightmares. She stood there surrounded by devastation, finally pinching herself.
She woke up in her small bed, rain pounding on her window, her mother's cries heard from downstairs sounding like a melody. Beside the little girl was an hourglass. The same one from her dream. She cradled it, promising to herself she'll make her reality as happy as her dreams.