The dream I awoke from this morning...
I woke up to realize I had fallen asleep in the master bathroom of my dream house. I let out a sigh of relief. I was glad to know I was in a familiar place. (In reality I have never seen this house before.) But I knew it belong to me; with that, comfort washed over me like a warm shower.
I sat up to take a look around. Light tan carpet covered the vastness of the floor, and a quarter way up the wall. Swirled chocolate brown into sandy tan wallpaper met the carpet. I got up off the floor to touch the walls. I felt the raised edges of each line of the swirl pattern as I ran my fingertips along the wall closest to me. It was magnificent. The wall seemed to sparkle as I touched it without losing its solidness. It was only then I realized it wasn't wallpaper at all. It was stone preserved in its natural state. It was magnificent. The two sinks across the room were white with gold facets, and a mirror that stretched over both of them, frame-less. Next to them separated only by a portion of a wall were the massive garden tub and shower.
I was then unwillingly distracted as two people came clasping in the doorway. One being tackled by the other in a fit of playfulness. I slide passed them careful not to become involved.
I found myself in the living room next to a group of people. The stereo was playing music loudly. I walked over, and turned it down. Some of the people standing around in the room stopped their conversations to look over at why the volume of the music had gotten lower.
Out of nowhere the music cut off, and a voice came over the speakers. I put my ear closer to the center speaker. Whispers came from it only I seemed to be able to understand. I wish I could remember what the voice was saying.
Before I realized it I found myself standing outside on the most glorious of warm sunny days. A huge red rose bush stood next to me, in full bloom. The sun was so bright I had to shield my eyes from it to look out at the yard. I walked around the corner of the house only to be confronted by a group of people I had never met in my life. A tall lanky man with sandy brown hair and blue eyes, clearly the leader of the 'group' he was with greeted me with a simple "Hello." He gave me a smug ' I know something you will soon find out' smile. He was only smiling to keep his 'followers' from suspecting anything. I thought it was creepy, but I kept myself composed, so as not to show him he was already scaring the daylights out of me.
He held out his hand gesturing for me to walk with him. His 'followers' walked far enough behind us, so that if we needed to whisper we would not likely be over heard. I listened to his mindless chatter about the weather and what beautiful piece of land it was I had here.
Then he stopped at the top of a set of stone steps. He asked me to follow him and said "Not to worry, my dear. All will be fine in do time." Yes, I followed him, given the look in his eye, and the simple fact that I seemed to have nothing better to do at the time. "What harm could come of it." I thought. If I had only known...
He lead me to another beautiful two story house with white wooden siding and black shutters. We walked into the house; it was occupied by at least twenty other people. The guy looked straight into my face saying "Sit, you will be safe as long as you stay here with me." Nervousness welled up in my stomach as I sat down on the white leather couch. I leaned on my knees with my hands folded in front of me, tapping my left thumb against the base of my right thumb. I looked around hoping to find someone else to talk to. Someone who could better explain to me what was going on.
A sweet, quirky, high spirited man jumped into the seat closest to me on the adjacent couch. I jumped almost out of my skin as he placed his hand on my knee to get my attention (as if I wasn't already looking at him). He told me "This place isn't as it seems. Do not be fooled. I fear this place will be the end of all of us."
I looked around. Everything in sight was either white or cream colored. A white lily in a vase over there on the end table, a small cream colored round table with folding chairs scattered around. People lounged in them laughing and talking to each other. Even the little umbrellas in a few of their drinks were white. I thought to myself "Everyone seems so relaxed and care free. How horrible could this place possibly be?"
I excused myself from his company, hoping to make it outside. I thought maybe the fresh air would help me think, and soak in everything that had been going on. I tried to ignore my heart pounding in my chest. The guy was right, something was wrong about all of this.
I weaved my way through the small crowd in what looked to be the kitchen and out of the white framed sliding glass door. I was careful not to make any new contact of any sort with anyone. On the patio near the door there was a vacant, small, white iron table with a single chair. I almost ran to it for fear of someone else finding comfort in its solitude before I could. I cupped my face in my hands and started staring down at the surface of the table as my thoughts started to drift once again to questioning the purpose of all of this.
My thoughts were just as quickly interrupted by a solid black sedan pulling up on the concrete about twenty yards from where I sat. Loud booming music radiated from it. The incoherent lyrics of the song playing was only heard after the passenger side window was rolled down to reveal a chocolate skinned male face with short black curly hair. His eyes were covered by thick-rimmed sunglasses, and he wore a black leather jacket. He never said a word, just smiled a big white toothy smile at me.
From the opposite side of the vehicle came a swarm of small, red flying bugs that buzzed like that of a swarm of bees. I wanted to run somewhere, anywhere, but as my heart thumped in my chest and my pulse hammered in my ears. I couldn't move. I couldn't even force a muscle movement. I watched as everyone within my line of sight slumped to the ground dead. Each individual person, one at a time as the bugs swarmed around them. The bugs never came within six inches of any one person. "How, why is this happening?" was my only thought.
A sense of relief and continuous wonder washed over my whole body as I realized the bugs had been unsuccessful at killing me. They had given up and moved on to the unsuspecting victims inside the house. When the buzzing stopped and I was sure it was all over I found my ability to move, to look around.
The sun was still shining in the clear blue sky. I got up, slid the chair in and carefully stepped over the lifeless bodies of three people before sliding the glass door back open to reveal the sea of bodies that stretched from the kitchen to the far end of the living room.
I made my way across the two rooms and back to the front door of the house. I held my breathe each time I stepped over or around someone as if it would somehow make a difference if I stepped on any of them. Once I reached the door I quickly looked back to scan the room. My pulse thumped in my fingers as I held the doorknob. I slowly turned the knob wondering what I might face once I opened the door to its full view of the world.
Without looking, I snatched the door open-- just as quickly closed it behind me. Somehow I found myself at one end of a long hallway. I stepped away from the door knowing my only way out was at the other end. I made a mental nod in the direction as my feet followed. The entire hallway was egg shell white except each floor tile was dotted with gray paint.
I walked calm and collected until I stood staring up at a huge white machine with flashing red and green buttons. A woman's soft voice reverberated in the hallway around me saying "The bugs have given you a poison. You have exactly two minutes to complete the puzzle in front of you. If you complete the puzzle the door behind the machine will open dispensing a mist of antidote. However, should you fail...." The voice broke off with not another word. No explanation of what the puzzle was, or what is required to solve it. A red digital clock started ticking counting down to either my doom or my destiny.
I soon realized by spelling out the correct series of words the door would open. The words would light up green when correct and red when incorrect along while unlocking a dead bolt with each correct word. There were four locks total. As I got to the last word needed, I began to panic. My hands started to sweat; I could hear the sound of blood rush in my ears. What the hell was the last word supposed to be!? M-A... my fingers seemed to move involuntarily...key stroke after keys stroke. Out of nowhere I realized what the word was. Typing it in, I unlocked the the door with three second left on the clock. The most beautiful sound at that moment was the woosh of air as the air lock seal on the door was broken.
The world had become blanketed in a misty white fog. I walked into a yard of damp green grass, and across the narrow asphalt road to a nearby boardwalk. Each board was noticeably dark, old and weather worn, but still just strong as the day they were nailed into place.
As I walked with my eyes to the ground concentrating only on my tennis shoes and foot steps tap tap tap -- the way the boards moved and creaked with my weight.
Not long into my trance, I narrowed my eyes to my left. There I saw a fairly tall, beautiful young woman seemingly in her early twenties with long sandy brown hair flowing down to the middle of her back. Her skin, although smooth, was pale and in need of the sun. Her eyes were a muddy water brown flashing with as much kindness as her smile. She wore a plain, pink cotton dress loosely dangling down to her ankles. Her bare feet hardly made a sound with each touch to the wood. She simply asked how I was doing and if I had traveled far.
Before I could say anything her eyes averted downward as the tall man, previously mentioned, strolled up greeting me with a "Hello," acting as if the young woman did not exist. I watched her from the corner of my eye as she drifted off into the mist. The man moved into my line of sight so that my attention could be only on him. With a chipper voice he asked "How do you like the little place I have built here?" motioning to an opening in the walkway. I stopped at the edge of a great pool of water, grayed over by fog. Tiki lamps gave the only light around.
I looked back into the man face as he said "You know what you have to do to get back to the life you once had." Yes, yes I nodded. I did know. I looked back down into the water. I swallowed hard. The man had disappeared by the time I looked back over to my right.
I almost jumped out of my skin as the young woman touched my left arm. In a low almost whispering tone she explained "There is a small tunnel under the water over there." She pointed to the far right of the pool. "You must dive down, swim, and unlock the door at the end of the tunnel." With a smile on her face she handed me a old iron key. The word 'must' rang in my ears.
As I stood next to the woman, I tore off my tennis shoes and stripped of everything that might hold me back while swimming in the tunnel. I knew I would have to hold my breath, so every second counted. I clenched the key in my right hand; diving in before I could second guess what I was doing. Damn, the water's cold! After mentally shaking off the chill in the water I could not help but marvel at the clear crystal blue water that awaited anyone brave enough to want to see passed the gray surface of the pool.
The tunnel itself was rectangular in shape, made of stone and rather short in length. Its obstacles were the small cramped space in which one had to swim, and of course, the ability to get the door at the other end opened before panic set in due to lack of oxygen. I struggled with the old rusty lock. I grabbed the rebar door, and shook it hard in frustration. I was beginning to release air from my lungs without realizing.
I went back up to the surface only to dive back down determined to make my escape! With a final nudge of the door, it opened. I started to swim through it with a sense of satisfaction in my heart and a new found hope--I was getting out of whatever place this was.
Suddenly a rush of water came at me like an avalanche. It knocked me back through the door hitting my head on the ceiling of the tunnel. I fought my way beyond the tunnel, and the water. When I got to the surface again I lifted myself on the red and gray bricked patio I had surely left only moments ago. The only difference was there were no bodies to be found. I seemed to be the only person around living or dead.
The all too familiar buzzing filled my ears as the small red bugs did what they had been originally set out to do, previously.
Yes, I died right there in the bright sunlight on a beautiful cloudless day. I looked at myself as if I were only a soul having an out of body experience. I was looking at my lifeless shell. I reached out to brush the long brown strands of hair out of my face --to close my own eyes. Staring at me and trying to recall all the events that had lead up to this moment.
I woke up.