Ella remembered too many of those pale dreams that floated through her nights. All those washed out landscapes like some pale watercolour world. The low mists that hugged the pale green valleys and the riders on grey horses that galloped with mist-muted hoofs through all her dreams.
She wondered why she only dreamed of the one place, the one time. From the little she knew or cared about other people’s dreams she knew their dreams were not like hers. Except, of course, for those times when the knight with his pale, almost white shaggy blond hair and unkempt hair threw himself down from his steaming horse and trudged through the mists towards her.
‘My lady, you must flee,’ he always said with urgency in his voice despite the muted volume. The pale knight would make some sort of half-movement towards her as though he wanted to take her in his arms, but dare not. At least not in front of the other mounted soldiers waiting impatiently for him.
Then the pale knight would drop to his knees in front of her and kiss her hand before backing away, head down, back to his horse.
Ella turned then, the dream mist swirling around her ankles, to see her white horse waiting for her. She would mount. Then the pale knight would lead her away from the valley that felt so much like home it hurt to leave it behind.
It was then Ella would wake, feeling something between her legs that was not some dream memory of riding that horse, but a memory of the pale knight.
She would often lie there in the gloom waiting for her alarm to sound, thinking of that pale knight. The way he looked at her, gazing deep into her eyes, as though he was her lover, or was meant to be.
Ella would get up eventually, heading for the bathroom with the echo of her insistent alarm in her ears, but the thoughts of the pale knight in her mind.
She was a modern woman; she did not need some knight to rescue her. She had searched dreams and what they mean on Google, of course. She disbelieved most of it. She understood, believed in, science and the scientific method. She did not believe that dreams were anything but the mind making sense of the waking world as best it could before filing it away. But Ella knew there was something different about that pale world with its mists and its washed-out colours, a strangeness about the knights fleeing from something they dare not face that went beyond dreams.
If only she believed in past lives – or even lives to come, Ella laughed to herself in the shower. Then it would all make such perfect sense. But she lived in this world with strong vibrant colours and very few mists, even though the city streets were often rainy and cold.
She had work to do, too. She glanced at the pillow with its shallow depression from her dreaming head, knowing that when she returned home that night, alone as usual, she would again dream of that pale washed out world.
But what she did not know was that this would be the night she would not awake to return from it.