• I speed-walked down the hall, up the stairs and into the attic, which was where the scream had originated. There stood a pale figure like none other I had seen before. It closely resembeled my friend Mackenzie, who had joined us just a few short days ago. Dust floated around her, surrounding her in a sillouhette of light and beauty.

    "What?" I snapped, my temper running short. I had had enough of people yelling at me and demanding from me more than they deserved. I just wanted to escape into the library for a few short hours, or days.

    "Somebody left flour on the door and now look! I'm covered from head to toe! How am I going to explain this to my parents? They'll be furious!" She cried, tears clearing small pathways down her cheeks.

    I rolled my eyes. "How 'bout taking a shower? And put your clothes in the wash. I'll have them done by the time your parents get here. Hurry, now, before somebody gets in there before you." I advised, shooing her along. I was a bit disgrunteled to find out that the blood-curdling scream I had heard was for some flour falling on her.

    I stalked downstairs, pissed off at the world. As soon as I reached the landing, I called my faithful, un-demanding dogs to me. I wanted to go on a walk and I still didn't have the confidence to go out on my own, but I would never admit that to my friends. It would be too embarassing. I still had my pride. It was mostly intact.

    The two dogs came bounding up to me, excited to go on a walk. They were very active dogs. Isabella had my coat and gloves, and Max had my boots. It took only moments to get those on and be on my way.

    They brisk air outside did me good. I hadn't realized how stuffy that big cabin was until I got outside and experienced the cold again. Most people think I'm crazy because, if I could, I would just wear flip-flops and shorts in all weather. I get that from my grandmother. A woof from my german shephard broke me from my revery. She held a stick in her mouth, wagging her tail. With a gleeful laugh, I took the thing and threw it as far as I could. It gave a satisfying whistle as it sailed through the air in a wide arch.

    Isabella ran so fast, she was a blur of brown and black. Max stayed by my side, leaning against me in a familiar gesture of comfort. I rubbed his big black head, watching one of my best friends enjoy herself, bringing me joy as well.

    "Well, Max, do you think that I should get back to the real world? I had my head in the clouds for so long, I didn't see what was going on around me. If I had, maybe Nicolai wouldn't be dead right now." I said, sadly contemplating the events leading to that blackguards demise.

    Max looked at me and woofed, as if he understood. In all possiblity, he could have. Maybe he was agreeing with me on something. I didn't care. I was content. Finally, and happily content with my life. My friends, my family, my dogs, and most importantly myself. This trip had helped me find peace within. This had been my Winter Wonderland.