The soft footsteps echoed throughout the hall with a rhythm that indicated a relaxed pace, with a hint of eager purpose. As the echoes grew louder, the pace became very slightly brisker. Louder and louder the steps came, closer and closer, faster and faster. Suddenly they stopped. The echoes died slowly and reluctantly, fading into the unseen walls.

Slowly the knob on the heavy oak door slid to an inverted position. The door slid sliently on its huge brass hinges, opening half way.

His stature was surprising, his footsteps having betrayed his small frame. Yet, as he entered the small room it was as if the entire room bowed in deep respect. He quietly closed the door behind him; the deep brown of the oak came into contact with the cold concrete, briefly awakening the echoes in the hall. He then turned away from the door and sighed a deep, heavy sigh, emptying himself of all the pressures and stresses life had placed on him.

Cautiously he crossed the room, as if to maintain composure and thus keep the respect of the room. With each step the soft carpet bowed its thick fibers to his feet, cradling them as one would a small child.

Across the room he bent down and took up a small stick with a hint of white on one end. Dragging the thin peice of wood across the concrete he brought to life a brilliant point of light that showered the room in brilliant white. Leaning forward a bit he placed the small flame in the fireplace. Like an energetic child the flame excitedly grew and soon a brilliant fire was crackling and popping and hissing to an unknown tune.

Satisfied, he walked the small distance to the only peice of furniture in the room, a small, black leather chair. For a moment he admired the chair. Crafted by the finest leather craftsman in the region, the care taken to ensure quality showed. Each stitch was exquisitly and perfectly made. The dark stain of the cherry wood reflected the crimson carpet to produce a deep maroon that danced on the wall with the flicker of the fire.

Having completed the necessary appreciation of his chair, he turned slowly around and sat down as carefully as possible, as though he was not certain it would hold him. Softly he sank into the rich leather, creating a small swooof as he did so. The leather held him up with the care one uses when handling an infant. Placing his head back in the chair he closed his eyes and sighed another sigh, from deep within him. He opened his eyes again to watch his cares float gently into the fire and disappear up the chimney.

Content with his new state of mind, he turned his gaze to the window. He was stunned at what he saw. He had sat in this chair many nights before, but never had he seen anything like this. As he stared out the window he saw millions of thin white saphires falling from the dark night sky, reflecting the deep gray of the moon upon the snow covered hills below. As the saphires fell before the window they danced with delight at the flickering fireplace, brightening the snow outside the window with trillions of swirling, flowing sparks that appeared for hardly a moment before disappearing again into the gray from which they came.

Beyond the small hills lay the deep forest, now a blanket of silver in the distance. From behind the cover of the brush one was likely to catch the glimpse of glittering eyes as they peered out from the depths toward the sparks in the distance. In front of the forest hopped a small snow rabbit in search of shelter. He stopped momentarily to gaze at the gala of light before continuing on his way. A young doe walked slowly across the hill, returning to her home deep within the depths of the silver blanket.

Suddenly two eyes appeared right before the man. Startled he jumped to his feet and readied himself for the threat before him. Startled himself, the masked creature squealed and skittered across the silver hills toward the forest, writing his path in the snow as he went.

The man sighed and sat back into his chair, not quite as carefully as before. Considering the event that just took place he smiled to himself and chuckled. Soon his chuckle turned into a deep full laugh that enveloped the entire room and leaked out onto the hills outside the window. Still laughing, the man reached beneath his chair and removed his book, opened it to the page that was marked, and he began to read.