I’m just not sure where this one came from, but it’s weird enough that i thought I’d blog it out there and see what everybody else thinks. Literal? Figurative? Bizarre, either way…
…I’m under the pool at our swim club. I mean, underground under it, walking through these secret tunnels that have glass ceilings, where the sun refracting through the water casts a fluid shadow against the white-washed walls. I am alone, but I keep sensing that somebody is behind me, following me. There’s a sense of desperation surrounding me, enveloping me as i keep a steady pace down this interminable hallway.
Through the rippling shadows I see a three-step ladder ahead, and a door. As I walk toward the ladder, the hallway begins to fill with water, and I try to break into a run to beat the rising tide. My run turns into a labored, slow-motion jog through the warm waves, and suddenly I’m treading water, doing what I can to keep my head above, gasping for air and swimming as fast as I can to reach the door before all air is stolen from me. I take my last gasp of air, swim under water, reach the ladder, climb it, and grab the handle to the door.
I bang on the door as fast and as hard as I can, but I feel like I’m pounding through setting cement. I scream, but only bubbles of precious oxygen escape my lips, and I find myself beginning to sink, sink as I cling to the door handle, my fingers losing their grip one by one, until I am holding on by my right index finger, a crooked hook as a last-second lifeline.
I feel my grip loosening, sliding along the handle, and I am certain this is the end. I look up through the water and see the kicks of little feet above me, youngsters swimming in the pool, oblivious to my tragedy unfolding just feet below them. I look over to my finger, now sliding to the end of the handle, and I begin to count down:
1–Just then, I realize that it’s no longer my finger that is sliding but the handle itself. Somehow, miraculously, the door is opening! I wrap the rest of my fingers around the handle, pull my body through the water, and push against the door.
When it opens, bright-white light pours over me as I step into a new hallway. I am dripping wet, but the water has not followed me. I close the door, stand still, feel the water being wicked away from my body until I am completely dry.
The hallway is empty. Thin streams of lights line the top left and right sides along the empty corridor. Gurneys with pressed white linens are pushed against the walls, lying in wait for something unknown, something inevitable. I must be in a hospital, but where are the doctors? The nurses? The patients?
I take a step down the hall, then instinctively turn around, once again fearing that someone is following me. Of course, no one is. There is just a few feet between me and the doorway. What I do notice, however, are two pieces of paper taped neatly to the back of the door.
Wanted posters of escaped patients.
The boys pictured are young–no older than 15. They are smiling in their pictures. Below their faces are these words: DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRY TO APPREHEND. CONTACT AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY.
I turn away from the door, take two more steps down the hallway, and freeze.
Knock knock knock.
Someone is knocking on the door.
I hesitate to answer it. After all, I know, for a fact, that there is nothing but water waiting to gush through the doorway, flooding this hallway, and putting my life, again, at risk.
And what if it’s that person who I was certain was following me before the floods came? If I let him (or her???) in, my life isn’t at risk, it is most certainly over.
I walk to the door, wrap my fingers around the handle. I know that I could be letting in the waters again. I know that the person following me could be on the other side. But I think also that the person on the other side
knock knock knock—
might be somebody in need, just like I was only a few minutes ago. Even more odd is the irrational thought that, just on the other side of the door, I might be the one knocking. Is this some bizarre way of me knowing that only I can save myself from the troubles in my life?
I take a deep breath, prepare for the worst, and open the door.
Nothing prepared me for who stood before me. In shock, the only two words I could mutter were, “Welcome back.”
Part II of What Dreams May Come in my next post! Stay Tuned!