Wispy apparitions darted behind the columns lining the hallway as Jackie walked, making her shiver. How many times had she walked this path, only to run screaming in terror to the end, blocked by an impenetrable door? How many times had she awakened, drenched in sweat?
“It’s only a dream,” she whispered, breathing out slowly, determined to stay calm. “They can’t hurt me.”
Each step sent her deeper into the swirling shadows and she felt her legs tremble as the mists danced around her. Only feet from the door an angry shriek rent the air and Jackie knew if she turned she’d see the ghostly face that made it.
Jackie squeezed her eyes tight, willing her heart to stop racing. “It’s not real.”
When she opened them again the door stood open. Pure light streamed around her, dispelling any sign of shadows. Jackie gazed at the splendor that soothed her soul.
“You’ve made it at last,” said a woman in flowing white robes. “I’ve been expecting you.”
“Who are you?”
“Names are unimportant,” she said, handing Jackie a ring with a bright green stone. “Take this to help you recognize the others.”
“What others? I don’t understand.”
Jackie blinked at the computer screen, momentarily disoriented. Code was flying across it, code she didn’t remember accessing. Had she fallen asleep at her desk? A cold shiver ran down her spine as she glanced at the keyboard. On her finger rested a slender gold ring with a green gem.