I’m standing at a threshold, two narrow hallways stretching out before me, darkness at my back.
Stepping towards the left, I feel the walls to the right sighing. I walk through and try to see, but nothing is in focus. Myopia clouding my brain and better judgments, I feel my way deeper into the unknown corridor.
Familiar odors waft through the air, inflating my nostrils, whispering directions to my olfactory bulb. Microwaved popcorn, bargain scented candles and rotting egg on a skillet, a sickening yet inviting fusion.
I move closer, beckoned by the promise of quinoa and blackberries in the fridge. I feel for a light switch and open my eyes. I’ve been here before. It’s a kitchen. My kitchen. Desaturated. Older. Deserted.
I meander backwards as the lights flicker and fade. Only the one hallway now - shorter too. I approach the common area, hoping for signs of life. No luck - only a quarter inch of dust blanketing the furniture, like new December snow. I step inside; asbestos coats my face.
Choking, coughing, I try to scream. The muffled vibrations tear a hole into the south-facing wall. Window glass shatters, lingers then falls - onto what I hope are innocent pedestrians. A nagging gut feeling tells me it’s just not so.
I find myself peaking out through the breach. Below are only skeletons, frozen mid-stride, some embracing, others crouching.
In the distance, I hear a siren and chilling applause. “It’s over now, isn’t it?” I utter compulsively. “Yes,” the girl in the glass replies. I pick up a small fragment of the broken window, my distorted reflection grins back at me.
I wake up.