There were about twenty or thirty of my classmates […] riding in a yellow school bus. We were running short on oxygen so we […] had to try not to breathe too deeply. […] we were lost […].
Then an old man stopped our bus and said […], “You can come to my house.” We were […] relieved and thought that we were saved.
[We] […] journeyed together across a wide open field of yellow, withered cornstalks before reaching a very white house. […]
Upon entering […], I was struck [by] how large [the house] was – but also, at how bare and empty […] – the […] starkness of it, like a new house whose owners [hadn’t] moved in yet. There was a huge, empty room in the back – the walls bare and white – with a shiny hardwood floor. The only furniture was a black grand piano in the middle […] [where] the old man sat, playing classical pieces. […] the people from my class – were wandering […] through the house. The entire place was filled with a white light that illuminated every empty, naked corner.
I remember trying to [leave] […], but I couldn’t find the door out. I led [Alice] to one of the doors […] [which opened] to a series of white staircases that intersected […]. Quickly, I closed the door, somewhat scared. Then I led [Alice] to another door that was […] black. I had the most […] ominous feeling as I opened it – but, for some reason, I felt I had to open it anyway. Behind it was […] an endless hole in the ground. [Alice] pressed against me, telling me to go ahead. “No, [Alice,]” I said, shutting the door. “We’re not going down there.”
The house was strange in that its rooms and staircases always seemed to be shifting. We came upon a rectangular room [that was] bare except for a couch […]. There was a heap of [dark] coats lying over the couch covering something horrifying […]. I couldn’t see what it was […], but I just knew it was something frightening. […] I quickly led [Alice] away so that she wouldn’t have to see [it] […]. I remember thinking that it might have been a dead body lying under there.
[…] I realized that this was a house about […] overcoming our fears. Only then could we get out. […] I led [Alice] up a flight of white stairs. I knew that the stairs didn’t lead anywhere […]. At the top, the stairs just stopped. But there, at the small landing, next to a white door, stood a strange woman[,] […] erect with a fixed grin on her face. [Blood-red] lipstick […] outlined that joker’s grin […]. She reminded me of a mannequin but she was real and she frightened me. It was like she was laughing at me. I punched her across the face.
The next thing I knew, I was falling […] from the flight of stairs until I hit a mattress […]. I rolled to the side […] as [Alice] fell from above and hit the mattress beside me. […]
Then […] we were back in the room with the couch. […] I was so afraid of lifting off the coats, but I knew I had to in order to get out […]. I had a cane in my hand and I used it to lift the covers up a little so that [Alice] and I could just peek [under]. We couldn’t see anything. “There,” I said, hastily. “There’s nothing.” […]
The next thing I remember, I [had escaped] the house and [was] running down the street in a neighborhood that was typical and yet strange – like […] The Twilight Zone. […] [Alice] was with me, but at the same time she wasn’t. I could feel her presence […], but I didn’t see her. I was frantic and horrified […]. I felt like I was trapped and I screamed, “How do I get out of this place!”
A man in a […] soldier’s uniform stepped up to one of the houses […] to deliver the newspaper. I ran […] to him and cried, […] “Please! Just let me see the newspaper!” I caught a glimpse of the date and it read: March 18, 2000 in big bold print across the top.
I thought, What! This isn’t the future!
A woman appeared […]. She was dressed in a white blouse and a brown skirt […]. She had on heels and a large overcoat, with brown hair curled around her made-up face. She looked like she was from the forties or fifties. The soldier said something to her and she began to talk […] mechanically, […] her eyes staring straight ahead, “This neighborhood must get ready for the Nazis… Nazis… Nazis…”
I ran away […], sprinting down the street in a panic, [and thought], “The war lasted fifty years here?!”