I stood in the hallway as class changed. I couldn't remember where my next class was, or what it was. Exactly like in the dream I had in class. Am I still dreaming? The world around me looked real, but I couldn't be sure. I'd had so many dreams lately that felt real at the time. What's wrong with me today? Am I losing it? I knew it was stupid, but I had to be sure. I walked out of the hallway and down to the parking lot. No one noticed me, and the guard at the entrance was on break. I had no problem leaving campus. A heavy weight sunk in me as my heart pounded. What am I doing? It was too late to turn back. I kept going down the road. My house wasn't far from the school. Stepping off the road down into the woods nearby, I knew there was a shortcut between them. I'd used it the many times I'd missed the bus. As I thought that, that itself sounded off. Why would I need this shortcut? The bus...doesn't mom usually drop me off? The woods were thicker than I recalled. My trail looked recently traversed. That alarmed me. I rushed through, running until I reached an open area. A drainage pipe was to my left. Water runoff created a small creek. The echoing in the metal circle was like the sound of waves. I recalled the dream from class. This place was so lonely now. As I looked around, my shortcut looked more unfamiliar than before. I knew I hadn't made a wrong turn. This place just had a strange feeling to it. Like a murky swamp--dark, thick, and muddy. Slimy. I hated it. Running towards home, my mind cycled through the excuses I could use on Mom for why I was home. What time is it? She always leaves at ten AM. I checked my watch. It was completely cracked. Nine AM. I held it up to my ear. No ticking. Why did I bother wearing this? I'd forgotten my phone. There was no telling what time it was. I should have known from my classes. When I tried to think of what classes I'd already had that morning, a fog covered my thoughts. The back of my head hurt. I felt where the pain was. There was a wetness to it, but when I looked at my hand, I saw nothing. My hand wasn't even wet. I repeated this to the same result. Nothing. I stopped. With both hands, I touched the back of my head. My palms were still dry. A chill ran through me. One side of my body suddenly felt wet as a strong wind hit me. Nothing was wet to touch. The feeling was there in the mind, freezing me, but no residue, no texture--nothing. I stepped back and turned around, looking for a source. The sharp pain at the back of my head pounded. My ears rang. The color around me bled out to an empty gradient of gray. Dizzy, I lost my balance. Falling was slow and uncontrollable. The world around me flickered in and out between red clay and steel shades. A splash, I found myself on my side in the mud. My body weighed me down deeper, sinking, sinking--there was no end. Gray and red-brown became one scheme, and gray turned to black as clay rusted over around me. I couldn't breathe. The sky became a beautiful crimson.
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