My wedding was to be one month from today. My marriage had been arranged the day I was born. My name was to change from Elizabeth Louise Carn to Elizabeth Louise Thorne. Marcus Thorne was a friend of mine. My family and his family had known each other for generations. I had known all of my life that I was to marry him. I never thought much about it until the night I had a dream that changed my life forever. I couldn’t remember the dream at first but when I woke up I couldn’t stop trembling. It was so bad that my mother was convinced I was getting sick. I slowly remembered some of the dream. Everything was dark and I was walking through a thick fog that you couldn’t see anything through. I had no idea where I was but suddenly I felt more scared than I had ever felt in my life. I feared for my life. I started walking very slowly because I couldn’t see where I was going. I tripped a few times and almost fell. The trees were scary and looked like they were going to grab me. I came to a clearing and I could see across a big gorge. On the other side it was sunny and I could see everything I had ever loved happening. There was a very different feeling there than what I was feeling on this side. Suddenly, the man I was supposed to marry walked up behind me and put his arms around me. Then he said, “Forget that life. You are better off here with me.” I woke up terrified.
Sometimes you think you know someone. You assume because you have known them for years and spent time with their family that they are safe and live a good life. That dream was about six months ago and I just could not shake it. What could it mean? Does marriage mean that I have to give up my hopes and dreams? How could I find out? I thought about nothing else.
One evening I went for a walk. I walked through the garden and I thought about what my own garden would look like one day. I was so deep in thought that I paid little attention to where I was going. When I looked up I was in the woods. Had I really walked this far from the house? The woods were miles from our house. I didn’t remember being in these woods before but everything looked familiar. I kept walking even though part of me wanted to turn around and go back. I was so scared. I couldn’t see anything until I got right up on it. The trees were dark and looked like they were reaching for me. I could hear all kinds of noises like creaking and the wind blowing. In the distance, I heard a scream. What was happening? Someone was watching me. I couldn’t see anyone. The wind was blowing harder and it was so cold. I was trying to remember where I had seen this and then I remembered the dream. This place looked just like the dream I had. Was this a warning of something that was to come in my future? I remembered in the dream I came to a clearing. Maybe that would happen soon. I kept walking. I walked a long way and still no clearing. I knew someone was watching me. I wanted to turn around but I wanted to know what was going to happen. I stopped for a moment and thought about going back but I felt a very strong pull calling me forward.
The fog was getting heavier and something was very close to me. I could feel it. It felt so heavy. I was scared to move. Something was coming towards me. It was something big. The closer it got the more frightened I became. I wanted to run but there was something behind me too. I had nowhere to go. What could I do? I decided to move ahead. I didn’t know what would happen but I could no longer stand here paralyzed with fear. I had not walked very far when I could see through the fog that the tree line was ending. Was this my dream? Did I know what was going to happen? Just then a noise startled me from my sleep. It was my mom singing to wake me. All of it had been a dream and I still didn’t know what was going to happen. My mother was in the other room calling, “Elizabeth, today is your day. Get out of bed sleepy head.”
Was this possible? Had a month passed by while I was sleeping? I wasn’t sure that I wanted to get married. I got up and put on my robe and went to see what mother was doing. She had my dress and my hair pieces on the bed. She was singing while she was getting things ready at the table to do my hair. She looked up at me and said, “Good morning sweet girl. Today is your wedding day. Let’s get you ready.” It was raining outside and the wind was blowing. Could these be signs for me to know what direction to take? What would my parents do if I said that I didn’t want to get married? I feared they would force me. Then what would I do? I sat down at the dressing table so that mother could do my hair. She picked up a handful of hair pins and got to work. After what seemed like an eternity she told me to look. It was beautiful. Then she picked up my dress off of the bed and told me to stand up. She tightened my corset and buttoned the dress. Then she put the combs in my hair that she had picked special for today. My white gown fit perfect. It was mothers’ on her wedding day. She handed me my flowers and told me to hurry that everyone was waiting. I took one last look in the mirror. I was only 15 years old and today I would no longer be a child. He was a good bit older than me. He was 25 years old. His father was very wealthy. He owned many businesses and properties in town. They seemed like a nice family but something seemed wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. We arrived at the church. My mother walked in with me to the room where the rest of my family was waiting. My father hugged me and said, “You look so beautiful.” My sisters were in their Sunday best and even my two brothers looked nice. The music started to play and I tried to stuff the dread I was feeling. My father took my arm and we started walking down the isle. I looked up and he was standing at the end of the isle, waiting for me. He was very handsome. He had sandy brown hair and a black suit. He was a hard worker and mother reminded me daily that he would be a good provider. Something was wrong. I started praying under my breath because I knew I couldn’t call off the wedding but I also knew that I couldn’t be married to this man. At the end of the isle my father let go of my arm and I took Marcus’ hand. His hands were warm and inviting. The preacher started to say the words I dreaded to hear. I kept praying. I looked back at my family and my mother was crying. Were they happy tears or did she know something I didn’t? My father was smiling a nervous smile. Then I looked over at his family. His mother and father were not close. I could tell they really did not even like each other. Why had I never noticed this before? The preacher said, “Does anyone object to this marriage?” No one responded. I deeply wanted someone to save me. Marcus said, “I do.” The preacher said, “You may now kiss the bride.” Marcus leaned down and kissed me and I cried. How could this be happening to me? I don’t remember anything else of the entire evening. I went to sleep and I was right back in the woods again. Maybe I would make it to the clearing this time so that I could know what was going to happen. I was awakened by screaming. I just stayed still. I was in bed alone and the room was cold because the fire had went out. I waited to see if I heard anything else. There was someone arguing but I couldn’t tell who it was. The bedroom door opened just a bit and then closed. I couldn’t tell who it was so I stayed very still. My husband got into bed beside of me. I closed my eyes. I knew I couldn’t ask what happened. Suddenly I was in the woods again. This time I was able to walk faster because it wasn’t as foggy. I still couldn’t see very far. I walked for what seemed like miles. All of a sudden I had that feeling again that I was being watched. I could feel the air changing. Maybe I was getting closer to the clearing. It didn’t last long and now the fog was so thick I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The trees seemed to get thicker. In some places I could barely walk through them. It was so scary. The feeling that someone was watching me had changed. They were walking right behind me but I was simply too afraid to turn around. I felt something heavy on my arm. It woke me up. It was my husband’s arm. He was trying to wake me. He said, “Are you okay? You were screaming.” I nodded that I was fine. He got up and tended to the fire. I got up and put my robe on. I went over to the dressing table to put my hair up. He came over and kissed the top of my head and said he was going down to breakfast. I said, “I will be down as soon as I get dressed.” I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream. What could it mean? I got dressed and walked to the window and opened the curtains. I could see the woods in the distance. It was the woods from my dream!!! I had to go see what was in there.
I went downstairs for breakfast. My husband was reading the paper and eating some eggs. I sat down and poured some coffee. He said, “I have to work all day today. What are your plans?” I said, “I am not sure.” I knew I was going to the woods. As soon as he left for work, I went out the front door. I walked to the edge of the woods and waited. I was very scared but I wanted to know what I was facing. I started walking into the woods. It was a beautiful day today but in the woods it was dark and foggy. There was no sun coming through the trees. There was no light from anywhere. I walked for what seemed like forever. I could not see anything including a clearing. The fog was so thick. I walked until I came to place where I had to get down on my knees to get through the trees. I crawled for a long time until I was finally able to stand up again. The trees were so close together that I had to step across trees to get through them. The branches reached down as if to grab me. I had to keep going. After struggling for what seemed like eternity, I came to a clearing. Was I awake or had I fallen asleep? I kept walking and then I could see the gorge. I could hear water running. I walked to the edge and I could see a waterfall coming off the side of the gorge and the water was very deep at the bottom. On the other side I could see everything I had ever dreamed about. How could I get to it? I was contemplating how to get across when someone touched my arm. It was Marcus. “What are you doing?” he said. I didn’t answer. He stood there with me for a while. Then he said, “Did you have the dream too?” I must have looked perplexed because he put his arm around me and said, “Don’t worry. You are better off with me.” I remembered him saying that in the dream. What did this mean? I woke up so I don’t know what happened. Suddenly, about 2 miles away I noticed a bridge. He must have seen it at the same time I did because he looked at me and shook his head. Just then I saw people on the other side. A woman that I had never seen before yelled my name. “Please, come over the bridge.” she said. “You can’t wait or it will be too late.” I started running to get to the bridge. Marcus kept yelling my name but I knew this was where I belonged. I finally made it to the bridge and I stepped up on it. Just as I did someone grabbed my arm. It was my mother. “Don’t go.” she said. I said, “Mother, I have to. This is where I belong.” I let go of her hand and walked across the bridge. When I got to the other side and stepped down, the bridge was gone. I looked on the other side and my mother and my husband was gone. Were they ever there to begin with?