I'm pretty used to having weird dreams, but this one was very realistic. It is the sort you wake up from, and it takes you a minute to realize you're safe at home in bed, and everything that just happened was a dream. Nothing more.

The walls are made out of white stone, and actually cold to the touch. I put my hand against one, and actually feel the rough surface of the rock press against my palm. I move my hand away, and there's water still clinging from the stones.

I look up to a case a winding stairs. There the sort where you can only see about five or six steps ahead, and then everything is dark. There aren't any windows around, but I have a vague feeling I'm in a tower. My first reaction is to start climbing the stairs, but it is too dark to see the steps. I start walking backwards a few steps a door. I see that it is locked, but I try opening the door anyway; it won't budge.

"Well, guess that option is out," I mutter to myself.

I find the only source of light in the stairwell, a torch. I pick it up and hope no one is going to miss it. I start climbing. The smoke coming from the torch smells strange, like some sort of incense, and it a deep red color rather then gray. I sniff it a few times and realize the smell is dragon's blood, strong, but not unpleasant. I start ascending the stairs, sort of cautiously, with the torch stretched out way in front of me, and the smoke is billowing. I can't help breathing it in, it stings my eyes and I start crying. I never cry, so now I know I must be dreaming, but I'm still compelled to keep going up the stairs.

I half expect the stairs to just trail off into nothingness where I fall, or just keep going off into eternity. I'm not sure how long I've been climbing at this point, but the stairs do end. At the top there is another door, this one is bolted, but not locked. I have a really anxious feeling. Part of me wants to open the door, but mostly I want to climb right back down the stairs and wait to wake up. For the first time I notice a mirror. I look at myself, and my reflection speaks to me.

"This is a dream," I tell myself, "nothing here can hurt you, so you may as well open the door."

I slide the blot off the door. It makes that terrific metal clanging sound you hear in castles in horror movies. I push against the door and feel splinters in my arm. To my surprise the door swings open, and I fall on my knees. The torch sort of wavers with the moving air, and then shines brighter then before. The light is now the same deep red color as the smoke.

I stand up, and brush dust off my pants with one hand, and hold up the torch with the other. I look at the walls, and they are the same white stone as before. The room is fairly large, so the glow of the red light doesn't make them totally visible. I walk towards the back of the room and find someone hanging against the wall.

I want to choke when I see who it is. It is my friend Stephen. He's in a sort of harness about ten feet off the floor, with his ankles and hands bound together, and his eyes are blindfolded. I notice that meticulously several small arrows have been driven through just about every part of his body, except the face and chest. I see a few sharp tips sticking out here and there, along with some black feathers.

I can't stand looking at him anymore, even though I know its a dream. I look down and see a bow and quiver on the floor. I pick up the bow and put it on my back, and then examine the arrow. The tip is barbed and silver, but looks a really evil shade of red in the light. I touch the tip, and it draws a drop of blood. At that point something lands at my feet. Instinctively I jump back and look up.

The blindfold has fallen off Stephen's face, and his eyes are open.

"For my heart, please," he mouths, and gestures with his chin towards the arrow.

Out of shock I drop the torch, and everything goes black. I wake up tangled in the sheets, and lay there a few minutes with my heart racing.