I am running. Fear fills me as I am running. I am fleeing, knowing that I will perish should my pursuers find me.
It is a surreal landscape that lies around me. The thick fog embraces the forest, me and all living things. The ancient trees stand out as the silhouettes of some evil creatures, stretching their thin, cold fingers after me.
I stop. I look around, can't see anything. My bare feet touch the hard and cool ground. It is almost like the floor of a giant building and the trees are like distorted pillars. I hear them coming, the enemy, the ones that will take me.
Then I hear them closer. Fear makes my heart beat faster. I run, stumble, almost falling. Then I stop.
There is something in the clearing, someone in front of me. I stop and I look at it. My heart stops beating as I see the outline of a great black horse with a silent rider on its back. I feel him watching me.
I am dressed only in a thin white garment, a thin dress, a flimsy nothing. I can't see his eyes but I know the rider is regarding me, seeing me, seeing through me, my clothes and my soul.
Then he moves. His steed moves up to me before I can run and the horseman scoops me up like I am a toy. He throws me, belly down, on his saddle before him and rides off.
I am lying there, helpless, captured by the dark rider. We rush through the forest in an overwhelming speed and I begin to realise that we are leaving my pursuers behind. The strange rider is not going to bring me into the hands of my enemies. He is going to save me.
I turn my face and look at him. It is dark. I can't discern his features. I see a square jaw, dark eyes, a grim expression. He is a demon, a dark and menacing demon. But he has saved me.
A strong arm around my waist tells me to try to sit up. I move slowly, carefully, terrified of the speed, of the thought of falling off this moving, living world that is this horse, this rider.
At last I sit in front of him, my feet dangling on one side, my arms desperately holding on to my rescuer. My face is closer to his face now but I see nothing more of who he is, this grim and silent rider. He doesn't look at me. He sees only the forest, the fog and the ground before him.
I look at him but I dare not speak. I wonder why he has saved me, if he has saved me. I hold on to him for my life, scared of moving. The fog and the forest rush by and I do no longer hear my pursuers. Then the rider speaks.
I stare at him. He doesn't look at me.
'Take off your clothes!'
His order is clear. The fog, the forest, the horse and the rider, my fear and my pursuers, all of this makes my head dizzy.
I know I have to obey him. I am nothing. He can easily throw me down, give me to my enemies. I am his. I am at his command.
I dare not move my hands, dare not release my grip for fear of falling off but I have to. Carefully and slowly do I manage to slip my dress from my shoulder, I shift my grip and slip it down from the other shoulder. I work the thin fabric down my sides. I hold on to the rider and lift my hips, just a little, as much as I dare but enough to slip my dress from my hips, down my legs. Then I let it go. It seem to float in the air for a second and then we are gone. My clothes are left behind. I am naked.
He doesn't even look at me. I look at his face but I see nothing in his grim countenance. He has taken his prize. He has snatched me from under the nose of my enemies. I have stripped and I am naked but he doesn't even look at me. He knows he will have time.
I know, then, that my destiny has taken a new turn and the road ahead of me is still clouded in mist. I shiver as I press my naked body to the strong frame of this dark rider, my rescuer, my master.