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You’ve never had a dream before.

You aren’t even sure that’s what it’s called, but somehow, it feels right to call it that. Every day on the Estate has been the same. You’ve woken up, gone and done your work to serve the Master, and then come home and slept. Without dreaming. And yet, suddenly, you have these visions whenever you rest your eyes. Someone familiar, yes, but you don’t know who they are. Their world is nothing like yours.

Now, tonight, it is too much. You can’t sleep. You swear you’ve noticed a few others who seem to have noticed you. You’ve never really noticed anyone before. Just worked alongside them, helped them and they helped you. But you made eye contact—albeit, briefly—with a few. Their eyes seemed to be the same as yours. Alert, scared, red-rimmed and tired. Maybe that’s how they always are. But no, everyone else avoided your eyes naturally. They did not care to take a moment to look at you—to see you.

You can’t sleep, yet you are not tired. You feel anxious, like something is waiting out there for you. Almost without noticing, you’ve gathered the few things that you can truly call your own into a pack. You suddenly realize what you are doing when you pick up a familiar iitem. The feel of it in your hands brings back memories of those dreams. Almost as if, you remember seeing it in them… but no, that’s nonsense. You’ve always had this item. It’s never left your sights. You’re not sure why, or where it even came from. You slip it into a safe spot, and then turn to leave. You slip out into the night, without looking back.

Your steps lead you to an entrance to the great Hedge maze that surrounds the Estate. Its well-kept foliage seems green, warm, inviting. You’ve never left the Estate before—no reason to—but tonight it seems as good an idea as any other. You wander in.

The paths wind this way, and that. None of them really ever dead end, but plenty leave you with a choice of direction. You feel you’ve been wandering for hours upon end, but it is still dark. Soon, you begin to sense light. You can see your surroundings more clearly now. Though you can’t see through the Hedge walls, you notice that the foliage has drastically changed. It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. As the sun begins to shine on you, you squint through its bright rays. Up ahead, the path dead ends. You see a door resting in the wall. You think to yourself, since you’ve come this far, why not open it? You reach forward, turn the knob.

As you step through, you see a crystal clear spring ahead. The water gleams in the dawn. You remember your thirst. You quickly move towards it, cup your hands, and drink. After quenching your thirst, you look up, suddenly aware of the feeling of being watched. Your heart skips a beat. There are the few faces you’d made eye contact with from the Estate.

Welcome to the Hedge.

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