Lliz was half falling asleep from boredom as she gazed at the endless spreadsheets on her computer. Would they never end? Then a screensaver with pictures of pretty Chinese violets appeared. She was somewhat bemused as they took over her screen, her thoughts and her life. The room around her began to fade away………..

When vision cleared, she was standing high upon a long, stone wall, reaching as far as one could see in either direction. It felt like high summer in green regions where valleys and plains begin a patient rise into foothills and eventual mountains. She could see for many a long mile in all directions, but where was she?

Far to one side of the endless wall, perhaps half a day’s ride away, a large column of dust was rising from the road that Liz somehow knew lead to the Forbidden City. Her glance went up to the beautiful blue of the empty sky.

The pleasant reverie on this cloudless day was broken when there was a simultaneous touch upon the shoulder and a strong voice speaking.

“Chuan Nu. We must ride swiftly to the west before the Emperor’s men arrive. There will be a break in the wall if we but go farther west.”

Chuan Nu whirled around and felt the flowing garments of the Imperial family move with her when she stopped. A striking man with great concern in his eyes looked deep into hers. Agitated, she fiddled with the jade dragon she was holding.

It was fashioned into a comb and she placed it in her hair. With her hands now free she leaned forward and embraced the man.

“No, Huo Shan. I will not flee when I am right!”

Alarm showed on his face.

“But Best One, the Emperor is beyond reason. He will have you slain for refusing to marry his general.”Defiantly she broke their embrace.

“I choose you, Huo Shan, and that should be enough!”The man threw his hands in the air in frustration.

“Aaiee, may the seven sisters of the summer palace weep at your stubbornness! You are worse than the Emperor, may his reign be eternal and the waters flow ever clear in his city.

“Chuan Nu smiled as she snuck a glance at Huo Shan, speaking words she was sure to have never thought of or heard before.

“Ah, dear Huo, you know that as First Daughter I have every right to be as stubborn as the Emperor. He knows I love you, and you I shall have. Not some old and battle-scarred general!”

Huo sighed sadly, and murmured to no one in particular.

“Ah, she does not know her peril. In refusing General Zhan, she has shamed her father and he can only save face by doing great harm. I ask the forgiveness of the jade mother for what I must do.”

Huo Shan removed from his satchel a small bag of red cloth and as he opened it a cloud of tiny butterflies rose gracefully from it, passing over Chuan Nu as a river passes over a stone. They seemed to be carrying her up and away and the last thing she heard from his lips was:

“Know that I adore you Chuan Nu, and wherever and whenever you land, I shall come to you in your dreams.”

All faded to dark and when Liz’s eyes re-focused, she was back at her computer, wondering what had caused such an odd day-dream. It was no less than the third time in two weeks that dreams of ancient China had taken her away.

What could be going on? Then, as she sat there pondering, a colleague walked by. He commented on the lovely jade comb in her hair.

“But I don’t have a comb…”

She touched her hair and her words stopped.

The delicate carving was still perched where she had placed it in her dream!

The End.

You can e-mail George L. Reed II at: Aaronswiftrunner@aol.com

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