a Women Writer's' Showcase
by Raven Epstein

She had walked through Miller's field over a hundred times in the span of her years, and never once encountered another person. Now she had nearly tripped over him as he lay concealed in the tall grasses, hands behind his head, on his back, elbows out and making wings with his eyes closed. The occasional butterfly alighted on his collarbone, light as its kiss was he must have surely been asleep to not notice it. In the warm sunlight, with the scent of summer and not a highway or building establishment for miles, how could she blame him for dozing off under the white clouds? Carefully she kneeled down in the grass by his side, making as little noise as possible. Somehow she thought that if he woke at this time the dream would be over and all around her the field would crackle and tear like a burning photograph.

You are beautiful, she thought, and he was. An angel, Michael perhaps lay before her with his golden curls catching the light. Maybe if his eyes were open she'd see the secret to the universe in their blue depths. Maybe not. Her fingers tangled into the lower grasses and dirt, she dug her fingers deep and felt the heat of the earth.

He stirred then, but only a little as his head lolled to the side. The graceful arc of his neck, the firm jaw line, all the proportions which make someone undeniably attractive, they were there. He must surely be a fallen angel. With a wry smile the girl found herself scanning the ground for pure white feathers or evidence of wings, and found none, no golden halo either. It wasn't as simple as his form though, that much was what the girl first grasped.

There was an aura. It was not visible, but maybe tangible in that if she had caressed his cheek she would feel peace and comfort, life and happiness. With a sudden urge she prayed he would wake up on his own, speak to her with a musical voice he no doubt had.

"Where is your lyre, Michael?" she whispered.

"Where are your wings and your flowing white robe?"

He shifted once again and his eyelids fluttered open. No start or jump, with lithe ease he sat up and looked at her, smiling with serenity one finds in the most secluded sanctuaries.

"Do I know you?" he asked.

"This is a dream," she said.

"If it is indeed a dream then tell me what angel is visiting me."

"It is you who is the angel," she sighed.

"We may both be dreaming."

"Angels do not dream."

"Then we are both awake," he chuckled. His beauty did not falter for a moment, but a mere mortal -expression touched his features; curiosity.

"I should like to know your name," he was smiling, head tilted to the side with one loose curl laying against his forehead. She untangled her fingers from the earth and brushed them against her thighs, then with a gentle touch she swept the shock of hair back. This is still a dream, she assured herself.

"Rachel," she said.

"And you are Michael?" she questioned in a tone that bordered conviction, not taking her eyes from his face to observe the passing of birds overhead. He will disappear if I look away. He will fall into nothing.

"How did you know?"

"It is only a dream," she said and nodded, as if agreeing with herself. It is only a dream.

Raven Epstein is a junior in high school who enjoys her English class perhaps a little too much. She is an insufferable optimist and a self-proclaimed Stephen King encyclopedia. Contact Raven.