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It was the same dream. Of course it was the same dream; it had been the same dream every night for a week.

She saw the horse first; a magnificent white steed, walking slowly across a field. It started off in the distance, then turned to walk towards her.

At first, she couldn’t see the rider; just his silhouette, a dark shadow against the glow of the dawn, a cloaked, shapeless figure with a banner in his hand. She shielded her eyes against the morning light and tried to see details; the symbol on the flag, the face of the rider, anything.

Every night for a week, she had woken up then, briefly wondering who the horseman was before the dream slipped away like smoke.

But not tonight.

She shielded her eyes against the morning light as the horse drew closer than ever before.

She realised that its eyes were glowing red, and she looked up to the banner that fluttered and unfurled as if to reveal itself to her; a black flag with a white rose emblazoned upon it.

Despite the warmth of the morning sun, a chill swept across her as she looked up to the rider, still hidden within his cloak.

“Who are you,” she whispered.

Silently, he pulled back his hood with one bony hand and smiled at her. An endless smile. A rictus grin.

She sank to her knees before the Reaper.

And awoke with a gasp.

She sat up and looked around her room, shivering despite the warmth of her duvet, and realisation dawned across her.

This was no longer home.

She threw off her duvet and got up, reaching for the suitcase on top of her wardrobe before she even thought about getting dressed. She had put it off for too long; it was time for change.

© Kari Fay