The White Dress, The Autumn Leaves by Shauna Aura Knight
Release Date: 06/26/2014
contemporary pagan fiction, some sexual elements
length: 15000 words/novella
cover art by Shauna Aura Knight
What would happen if you dreamed your own death?
Meredith attends her first week-long pagan festival. She’s not sure what to expect, but it certainly isn’t Jack, who plays in a band that’s performing there. After a few sultry nights they realize they are falling in love.
As Meredith prepares for their wedding months later, she’s haunted by visions. Tragically, her dreams come true, and Jack finds himself grieving his lost love at a Samhain ritual.
Is it possible for him to heal? And is it possible for Meredith to contact him from beyond the veil?
What a terrible dream to wake from and just days before her wedding. Meredith curled around herself, still feeling the pain of the stab wound…the cold…the darkness as she faded…the blood. The dream still had its hooks in her. She pulled out her bedside journal. She hadn’t much time before she needed to get dressed, but this was one of the important dreams, the big dreams. The dreams that must be written down. It was such a nauseating, terrifying dream.
Outside the window, the leaves were dried, the branches bare. It was a cold, bright October day. The winds that had been blowing fiercely all night seemed to have stopped for the moment.
Meredith had to laugh at hers and Jack’s decision to get married just days before the Samhain holiday. But then, they’d only decided to get married two weeks ago. They had made an unfortunate habit of impulsivity in their short courtship.
Shaking her head, Mer returned her focus to writing down the disturbing dream. She hoped it wasn’t one of the ones that came true, that she wasn’t seeing someone’s fate. That had happened to her on occasion over the years enough that she couldn’t but notice it, though she couldn’t in any way control it or make the dreams happen—nor make them stop.
In the dream, she was in a dark place. She was with a man, tall, like Jack, with dark hair. The man left her for a time, and other rough men surrounded her where she sat. It was confusing; they began touching her, prodding at her. She was frozen with a sharp stab of fear. She felt fragile like glass, tried shifting to the side, wishing they would just stop. Wishing that the man with her would save her.
In the dream, she hated their awful touches. She knew she could do nothing if they attacked her. She was frightened, wondering what she should do. The man like her Jack stepped in, and all hell broke loose as he fought off the men around her. She was dizzy, disoriented; was she hitting the men trying to grab her? Was she screaming? She couldn’t recall.
In the dream, one of the men rushed into her and she fell back against the wall. She turned, she saw the man with her—her lover—and she saw another man about to stab him. She shoved at him in abject terror. Another of the men knocked her forward and into the knife that sliced right into her belly. There was no way to turn aside. She felt it go into her. She heard a voice that said, “And so she who was the only one he had ever loved died in saving him.”
In the dream, she could not speak to him. She could not tell him she loved him, and it was her only wish in that moment that he would hear her say that she loved him before she died. The words would not come, and she was consumed by the pain running straight through her. There was blood splashed on him and she knew it was hers. He was carrying her, but she was so cold she couldn’t feel anything. He seemed to stop by the water? He looked into her eyes. She tried to speak again but couldn’t. She had no strength in her core, not to utter a single word. She was too cold to tremble, the pain too great. But she would have endured all of that acid agony again if she could merely reach out and tell him she loved him, and when he looked at her…
In the dream, they shared that last long look and she drifted, releasing into the cold gray paleness, sliding into oblivion. The pain in his eyes; he looked like he was about to shatter.
Meredith shuddered and closed the journal, running her hand through her chestnut hair to work out the tangles from sleep. She hoped that it was just wedding jitters. Of course, it made sense that she would be nervous. She’d only met Jack that summer.
Still tired, she dragged herself into the shower. Jack had insisted they sleep apart the last days, which was thoroughly ridiculous. It wasn’t like they hadn’t been living together for the last month. He had this weird sense of formality about some things. But, she adored him for it. He’d abandoned his own apartment to stay with his parents.
Now she had to go through the challenge of finding a suitable dress on their nonexistent budget.