A yawn interrupted my reading and I realized that it was probably very late. I marked my place and set the book down. The tall canopy bed was calling my name so I changed into one of the frilly night gowns and crawled under the covers. The sheets appeared to be made of the finest silk and I settled down in a cloud of softness and fell asleep.
When I woke I could tell it was still dark outside and I didn’t understand what had awakened me. I sat up, all my nerves on end, and crawled to the edge of the bed. I was about to climb down when I got the strange feeling of danger again. My eyes immediately went to the floor. In the dark I could see a faint white line on the floor. I crawled around following the line. It encircled the bed completely.
This was the line of safety I wasn’t allowed to cross. I sat on my heals frustrated and wondering if this line, while protecting me, was what kept me in this fantasy land. Sleep had now fled my mind and I sat awake wondering what to do next.
All the previous nights I had slept until dawn. This time I felt restless and uneasy and I wanted, more than anything, to get out of bed and go to the window, but each time I crawled to the edge of the bed I got the same sensation of danger. I leaned back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling.
After a while the hairs on my arms pricked up and a shiver swept down my spine. I sat up. Outside the door I heard the shuffling of feet and the murmur of voices. They spoke in a guttural language that gave me chills. I wanted to call out, but something held my tongue in silence. I looked around helplessly realizing this was going to be a very long night.
I passed from fear to frustration and anger. Why was I here? Where was the tall gentleman I had met the first night? What was I supposed to do?
I would not be kept captive quietly. The frustration built until I decided it was time to defy this annoying magic. It had grown lighter in the room and I assumed dawn was quickly approaching. The voices outside my door had ceased and I felt a prick of courage. I crawled to the edge of the bed and looked down.I could see small, round, white stones that made up the circle of protection. Ignoring the sensation of danger I slid off the bed. I moved to step over the line.