Warning: this 5,300 word short story contains scenes of explicit sex, and is intended for mature audiences only.
Dreams can become realities...
Cowen wants to live. Everything had gone wrong since they entered the bleak dark forest, and now the witches have unleashed a great beast that has killed nearly all of the men, including - he suspects - his own son Stephen. Alone and lost in the forest, he seeks solace and rest in a meadow by an unnamed lake, determined to find his way home when he wakes. But when she comes, a strange woman with pretty almond eyes, will he be able to resist the waking dream he has stumbled into and make his way back to hearth and wife, or will he succumb to her beauty and charms and tumble into her waiting arms?
He reached a thinning line of trees that bordered a large lake. The light was the full moon, now pregnant and pale overhead, lighting up the water with its silvery glow. There was a swath of green grass perhaps thirty strides long from his vantage point to the water, broken only by one massive, ancient elm tree. The bark sparkled with silvery green specks of light under the gaze of the moon goddess above.
“Thank you blessed mother,” the murmured, glancing up at the bright circle in the heavens. He limped down to the water’s edge and knelt, cupping a handful of liquid quicksilver and taking a few sips to quench his parched throat. He wet his hair, shivering with the chill of the evening air and strode slowly back to the elm tree.
He eased his aching frame to the ground, pressing his back against the firm, comforting bark. From one of his pockets he pulled out a hunk of brown bread, hard crusted but still soft on the inside. He broke it into small pieces as he ate, chewing slowly, until his belly felt better. He was far from full, but for the moment he felt safe and without any pressing concerns beyond that of letting his tired legs rest for a while. He would continue searching for safety and shelter soon enough.