• Crickets chirped in the warm summer night. The moonlight poured through the window of Anya's bedroom. Her blonde hair reflected the silver of the moon, giving her the appearance of having a halo. A light blue nightgown caressed her slender, toned body. The young woman lay on a plush bed, sleeping peacefully. Outside Anya's room, the rest of the manor also slept peacefully. A stone, spiral stairway led from the bedrooms to the main floor of the mansion. The stairway ended, opening into a large sitting room. Tapestries hung on every wall, proudly displaying the family's history. From the sitting room, the entrance of the mansion could be seen. Large oak doors opened on ornate columns of marble supporting the second floor of the building. Hardwood floors had echoed each majestic step of the night's earlier visitors. Now, silence was the only visitor these floors entertained. The kitchen, just off the foyer, clung to the scent of the fresh bread and desserts. To one side of the kitchen, a faint light flickered from under the pantry door. The light grew bright, then dimmed. As it grew bright once again, a voice called out.

    "Anya." It sang softly. In her room, Anya lay on her back, sound asleep. The voice called again, barely louder than the time before.

    This time, Anya heard her name and sat up. Cautiously, she rose from her bed to tip-toe to her door. As she opened the door, Anya strained to hear the sound that woke her. Peeking out her door and down the stairs, Anya saw a light, fading as though someone were walking away with it. Anya shut the door, turning to her bed. She sat down to put her dark blue slippers on her feet.

    "Anya." Called the voice again. The light danced outside her door. It flickered it's light under the door of her room. "Come with me." It whispered.

    Anya reached for her robe. With each step, she fastened one of the sapphire buttons.

    "Come with me, my dear Anya." The voice sang quietly to the sleepy young woman. "I want you to see."

    Oh, great. Anya thought. Some disembodied voice wants to show me something.

    "Exactly." The voice whispered with slight amusement.

    Anya stared in shock at the light shining under her door. Her thoughts were heard somehow and that made her very uncomfortable. The light faded as she pulled the door open once again. Silently, Anya followed the light whose source always seemed to be around the next corner. Somehow, even Anya's breathing sounded loud as she walked through the sleeping mansion. Anya followed the light past the foyer into the kitchen. She paused at the pantry door. She watched the light brighten then dim repeatedly as she waited. Her heartbeat threatened to open her chest as she contemplated what lay beyond the door. Anya swallowed hard then reached out. The heavy door creaked on its hinges as it was pulled open then pulled closed behind her. Anya listened to make sure that noise had not wakened anyone. She turned to search for the light in the huge room. She cautiously stepped forward into the room.

    "This way." The voice giggled. "It's over here."

    Anya came around the end of a cabinet. Looking around, she couldn't find the light. Darkness surrounded her. Her heart now pounded in her chest. Where did it go? She turned to leave.

    "Down here." The voice called suddenly, making Anya jump.

    She spun around. Still not seeing the light, she called out. "Where?" Anya shook her head. I'm talking to a light. What is going on?

    The light became very bright. Anya covered her blue eyes. As her eyes adjusted, she looked around. To the side of the pantry sat a large chest. Under the chest was the light that had guided Anya. "Push it aside."

    "That thing probably weighs a ton." Anya scoffed at the light.

    "Don't worry." The light seemed to giggle again. "I'll help you."

    Anya sighed with doubt but she decided to give it a try. She pulled on the chest. Surprisingly, the chest moved as though it weighed nothing. At her feet, Anya saw a large hatch. When did that get there? She pulled on the ring to open the hatch. It didn't move. She tried again. Nothing.

    The voice giggled again. "No, no, no." It laughed at Anya.

    "Well, you're not helping!" Anya said angrily. She tugged at the ring again. Frustrated, she dropped the ring and stomped around the room. "How do you open this damn thing?" Anya unbuttoned her robe, tossing it to the side. Bracing herself, she pulled on the ring again. She muttered under her breath. Suddenly, the hatch swung open, causing Anya to fall back.

    "See?" The light said playfully. "You knew how to open it!"

    Anya, confused, stared down a ladder into darkness. "What did I do?" Silence was the only answer she received as she started her descent. Wind rushed up the shaft, catching Anya off guard. She shivered in the sudden cold, her nightgown provided little comfort against it. She looked up. The pantry was barely visible through the shrinking hole at the top of the ladder. How far does this go? She looked down. It was difficult to make out the light below her. At least it's waiting for me. Suddenly, Anya wasn't sure if that was a good thing. I'm following a light that doesn't seem to have a source, a voice that doesn't have a body with it, and going down a hole that I've never seen before. She looked down again. What the hell is at the bottom of this?

    "You'll just have to see." The voice echoed up to Anya.

    Finally, Anya reached the bottom. Her bare feet touched cold granite. Slowly, she turned away from the ladder. The area before her was lit by small lanterns on both sides of the long tunnel. Her footsteps echoed in the distance. Anya's breath hung in the cold air. Her long blonde hair clung to her face. Her blue eyes were fixed on the darkness at the end of the tunnel. She glanced behind her. The ladder had disappeared into darkness as the lantern's extinguished themselves. Darkness crept toward her. Anya's heart quickened once again. She turned around, her eyes wide with fear. What the hell is going on? She looked behind her again, the darkness getting closer. "What the hell is going on?" She yelled down the tunnel.

    "You better hurry." The voice rang down the tunnel. "I can't keep them lit forever."

    Anya turned away from the ladder. Her feet began to move faster. With another glance behind her, Anya began to run. As she went, the tunnel started to get lighter. She could start to see a door. The light was once again shining from under the door. It pulsed with every beat of Anya's heart. Anya approached the door. She pushed against it but it didn't move. She pushed harder. Nothing. Anya screamed at the door. "Open!" Anya looked back down the tunnel. The lanterns were continuing to go out. She turned to the door. Tears threatened to pour from her eyes. "Please, open!" She muttered. "For the love of Analesca! Open!" Anya gasped as she fell through the doorway. The oak door had given way, opening to a large cavern. Anya scrambled to her feet, hurrying to close the door as the last lantern went out. She rested her head against the door. Once she caught her breath, Anya looked up at the door. A large carving of a wolf stared down at her. Inlaid with silver, the carving seemed to move in the light that came from behind her. The wolf seemed to be blinking as it stared down at her. Anya held her breath. It wasn't just the light. The wolf carving moved to look at her then to the cavern behind her. Anya slowly turned to see what was behind her. The candlelight was bright, lighting every corner of the massive room. Huge marble pillars lined a walkway. Anya cautiously started to walk deeper into the cavern. As she past each column, Anya watched the wolf carvings come to life. Each wolf turned to watch the young woman make her way through the columns. Anya brushed her blonde hair behind her ear; her blue eyes danced with curiosity and candlelight. She looked toward the end of the rows of columns. It opened up into a circular room, also lined with marble. The room was dark with the exception of a single light shining down from the center of the ceiling. Anya was speechless. In the center of the room stood a marble pedestal inlaid with silver. Behind her, Anya thought she heard wolves howling quietly. With her attention drawn to the pedestal before her, Anya ignored the howling and additional carvings coming to life.

    "We have waited a long time." The voice returned. It echoed down from the ceiling. "Waited so long to awaken." The voice seemed sad.

    Anya stood before the marble pedestal. An ornate chest glittered in the light. A wolf's head was carved into the ivory of the chest. She reached out to touch the chest. She paused as the howling of wolves stopped. The silence broke her out of her trance. Anya looked around. Every carving she had passed on the way to the circular room had somehow gathered in here. Twenty wolves stared at her with silver eyes sparkling in the eerie light. What now? Anya swallowed hard. She looked down at the chest. She closed her eyes. She gently laid her hand on top of the chest. The ivory carvings moved under her hand. Anya looked down. The wolf's head had shifted. In it's place was a crest. What is this?

    "We have been waiting for you." A deep voice rumbled through the room. Anya looked up. A grey wolf stood majestically at the far side of the room. As it approached, the wolf began to transform into a man. He stopped in front of Anya. "Do you know me?" Anya shook her head, stunned to silence. The man gave a warm smile. His large frame held robes that appeared very regal to Anya. As the man moved to stand next to Anya, she realized that the man was not as solid as she had thought. She stepped back. The man laughed lightly. "Yes, my child. I am not of this world anymore." He held out his hand to Anya. "But you have no need to fear me. I am here to stop your pain, not add to it."

    Anya scoffed. "What pain? I'm not in any pain. Shocked and amazed, but not in pain." She looked around the room at all the wolves.

    "I can feel it. The pain of not knowing who you are. Of not knowing where you come from." Anya stared blankly at the man as he spoke. "I know that you have been yearning for your past." He motioned to the ivory chest. "This is your past. This will bring you home. This is who you are."

    Anya looked at the chest. Her heart began to beat hard. "How can my past be in a little box?" She looked back at the man. There was nothing; the man had disappeared. She looked around. The wolves were gone also. What? She spun around. The marble room was disintegrating. "What's going on?" She yelled as the walls gave way. "What the hell is going on?" She screamed into the darkness.

    Suddenly the floor dropped from under her feet. Anya began to fall. As she fell, she saw the faces of people she thought she recognized but couldn't recall. The faces shifted into wolves. They began to howl, a lonesome howl that sent chills up Anya's spine. The cold she suddenly felt cut into her. She screamed. As she continued to fall, her screams changed to howls. She echoed the lonesome song of the others until their voices blended into one. Darkness engulfed her.

    Anya screamed as she sat up in her bed, sweat pouring off her face. Her breathing hurt her lungs and her heart pounded in her ears. She looked around the room wildly. She was in her own bedroom. The open window allowed the wind to blow through the tattered curtains. Anya took a deep breath to calm herself. She surveyed her room. It was the same run-down furnishings she had always owned.