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.

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House of White

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?!”


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