Welcome To Paradise:

Silence screams in my ears. The forest is so dense that my attempts at breaking the silence are absorbed by thick trunked trees of all varieties. Everything seems to be green: the tall grass that slows me as I try to get out of the darkness, the trees and bushes that surround me and prevent me from continuing, even the sky appears to be green as the thick branches diminish any hope of seeing the blue of the sky. Yet I continue, wading through the waist high grass, occasionally catching a few pine needles in my mouth.

I see a light in the distance. It calls me towards it as I feel rays of welcome sunshine touch my skin. I begin to run towards it, the fresh pine smelling air rushing past me, chilling my ears. I trip over a bush, and the grass cuts my hands and my knees. Some sort of red liquid trickles slowly from both my knees. I don't know what it is, because I feel no pain, and hardly any thoughts cross my mind except getting out of the darkness.

When at last I reach the source of the light, I feel my jaw drop and my eyes widen. I'm standing at the edge of a vast meadow. The grass is neatly cut to exactly an inch high, and the field itself is so precisely round that I somehow know it is a perfect circle. In the middle of the green is what initially drew my attention: A small cottage. It is tan colored, with brown trim and a roof curved neatly with a petite chimney to top it all off. The scent of smoke wafts through the air and dances around my nose. I wonder who could be making the fire. As I approach the cottage, my shoes become damp with the layer of dew blanketing the field. Drawing closer to the door of the house, I look back to see my footprints, damaging the perfection of the neatly cut green.

Having reached the unpolished wooden door, I reach down to wipe away the red liquid that had run down my shins, tickling my skin. I grasp the doorknob and slowly turn it clockwise. The red fluid on my hand left fingerprints on the knob. Pushing the door open with my left hand, I marvel at the place the door concealed. There are no walls other than the four that separate it from the meadow outside. Rooms are instead separated by a stream that runs throughout the house. The sound of trickling water draws my attention to a small waterfall at the back. Instead of doors, smooth gray stepping stones enable me to step through into the entryway. A soft crunching noise fills the air and I glance down to realize that what I'd thought was a brown carpet is in actuality a layer of dirt.I pick up a handful and feel the rough earth leak through the openings between my fingers. It sticks to the still drying red elixir, but somehow it doesn't bother me.

Looking up, I see a large oak desk with papers on it. Most of the papers are blank, but some are filled with writing. Upon picking one of the papers up, I get a brown smudge on the corner. For some reason I find myself not worried about whether or not its owner will be upset and I read the words on the paper. It seems to be describing an experience of mine that happened a few years ago. In fact, all the papers seem to be old memories of mine. Somehow, I'm not worried about why somebody has knowledge of such incidents, so I cross over another set of stepping stones. Standing on the middle stone, water rushing all around me, I begin to lose my balance. I fall into the cold water, and catch a mouthful. Again, I'm not worried about swallowing impotable water, nor does the ice cold of it have any effect on me as I continue to the next room.

A fire burns low in the corner so I add another log. Grabbing the piece of wood causes a splinter to lodge itself in a spot where some of the red liquid has dried. Crossing another stream, I reach the third and final room. I spy another desk, lower than the first. Opening one of the drawers reveals a shiny black object, neatly folded. I take it out of the drawer and unfold it. It's a cape, so I throw it over my shoulders. As thin as a cape can be, it felt like silk, and stuck to my wet skin.

Now sporting my newfound cape, I walk over to the window. The glass is perfect, not a scratch or a smudge to be seen. I reach out expecting it to be smooth, but my hand goes straight through it. Realizing it's nothing but a paper-thin sheet of water instead of glass, I begin to feel cool water drip down my arm. Then everything became dark. A gut wrenching thunder-clap causes me to jump, and goose-bumps begin to form. Suddenly the water feels cold, and the wounds on my hands and knees begin to hurt. Blood is now gushing from them, and I cry out. The door swings open and there's a bolt of lightening.

My eyes snap open to reveal the green again, but I push it away to realize it's nothing more than my green sheets and covers. I close my eyes again to reflect on the dream with a feeling somewhere in between fear and disappointment.

Author's note: This is actually a more dramatized version of a dream I used to have every night. In the end, the dream itself served more as a comfort than something to be scared of, though my initial feeling towards having the dream every night was one of confusion and dread of having it again haunt my dreams when I fell asleep again the next night.

Anyway, I'm working on this piece for a writing class that I'm taking, and I need your help with ideas of what to do with it. My instructor (and the rest of the class agreed with him) said that the 'then I woke up' ending is tired and boring and, "Too Brady Bunch" He suggested maybe I make it like sci-fi or something with it ending up being like an alternate universe or a parallel dimension or something of the sort. If any of you have any ideas, please e-mail me or give me suggestions in your reviews. Also, I'm aware of the tense problems I have in this piece, so no need to remind me about that. Thanks for reading!

Author's Note For Percolating Peet's readers: Once again I apologize for not having the next chapter up, I left my notebook at a friend's house, and have yet to get it back so that I can type it up and post it for you guys. But I PROMISE it will be up soon, very soon. Have a spifftabulous day!

Love,

PaperLanterns

AKA

Andrea Fierce