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Like Clockwork

At three a.m., almost like clockwork, a path opens in the night. Those who dream themselves sleepless can enter the stories of dark fairies, stolen princesses, mirrors full of secrets.

Before the rest of the resting real world wakes, do some traveling.

Soon enough, an alarm will ring inside the real world and call you back to the land of agendas and cell phones, where the only golden things are chocolate coins and costume jewelry and fingernail polish.

You may be sleepy all day, wandering past open windows , catching a glimpse — the tail of something wondrous strange disappearing into the scrub brush at the edge of the forest.

And was that forest always there, at the edge of the truck-choked highway?

There are paths, even in the daylight. Every time you eat an apple or look into a mirror, for a moment—less than a moment—you’ll catch a scent on the invisible wind. Was it always invisible, you wonder, or was it filled with tiny glittering things with wings? Oh, every mirror, every apple, you’ll almost remember. Almost like clockwork.

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