It was the early 1800s on a day that was bright, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous. I sat at a large, grand piano on a green lawn right at the edge of the woods – the beautiful backyard of some wealthy family. I played the piano, my fingers running along the keys, and as I did so, I was aware of the scent and shape of blossoming flowers. It was such a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. My audience was only several people who were not overly attentive, but just casually listening or wandering about – the ladies dressed in their elaborate nineteenth-century gowns, flapping their fans and politely chatting, a few children running across the grass, and just one or two gentlemen strolling here and there in their black suits with coat-tails.
I was approaching the last line of my piece – a left-hand run across the keyboard – when I heard loud thumping noises interjecting into my music. It sounded like the marching of a whole troop of soldiers. I wanted to look up to assess the oncoming threat, but even more so, I wanted to finish playing the piece. However, the urgency I felt towards the oncoming danger was too strong to resist and I dashed off the run in a blundered hurry.
Looking up at a trail that twisted into the serene […] woods, I saw an army marching straight towards us – in the uniform style – rifles, boots, and coats – typical of that time. “It’s Napoleon’s army!” I cried in a panic. “Napoleon’s army’s come to invade us!” I ran from the piano to a group of women who sat on a stone garden bench. Sitting down with them, I saw that one of my stuffed animals – an Easter bunny I named Jellybean – sat at my right. I hugged her close to me, and all of a sudden, in a strange way, she became like the children.
The next thing I remember was everything was chaos and people were being slaughtered everywhere. We were all running across gently sloping hills of that same green-lawn grass bordered by the delicate, whispering beauty of those same woods. But the presence of the house, the patio, the backyard feel, and definitely the piano – were all gone. It was just wide open space – seemingly a giant field of trim lawn across which we ran hectically, in every direction, in a panic for our lives. We no longer wore our fancy clothes, but only the dullest, most typical things of the blandest colors – brown shirts, gray pants, tan colors – peasant clothes. In front of me, I saw vividly, a soldier stab a man in the lower back, the sword sliding straight through the man’s body, emerging from his belly in a bloody burst as his eyes bulged and his mouth gaped open in pain.
Suddenly, the soldiers began to shoot arrows, and these arrows rained down upon us. I caught one in my lower back but I kept running – the thing jutting out behind me. Lucky it missed my spine, I thought. It was a long and painful thing sticking out of my back, and it hindered me as I ran. I reached behind me and broke off the arrow above my flesh, but a larger part of it was still inside of me. Lucky I can still run, I thought […].
Then I noticed that it wasn’t arrows the soldiers were firing anymore, but giant, wooden javelins […]. There was a female commander wearing peasant clothes, and at her command, the soldiers behind her launched their javelins into the air. I found myself running with a group of about a dozen others, all scrambling about in a confused frenzy – not knowing what to do. I don’t quite remember what happened – there was a mistake – an accident […]. But suddenly, I saw a javelin mistakenly pierce through the female commander’s body – the head of the weapon slicing through her heart from behind and piercing through her chest. The soldiers gasped and blamed us for their mistake, seeking vengeance by firing [a] […] torrent of wooden spears upon us.
We screamed […] [and] we turned and fled towards the edge of the woods. For some reason, I did not turn like the others. I ran backwards, facing the onslaught of javelins that flew just inches from my body until I reached the woods with the others. There, I turned and fled into the forest, the great trees surrounding me. Everywhere, people were scattering among the trees, dodging into the darkness. I could still feel the arrow in my back and the presence of the javelins chasing us into the woods.
All the while, throughout all this, the sun was shining brilliantly, the sky was a clear blue, and the weather was perfect.