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The tapping of keys fills the room like an electrical trickle; it crushes and splatters; an orchestra of clicks and ticks. I sit in the corner of the waiting room, and I know I must be bored to notice these noises. Bored, or anxious. Then slowly, the room is filled with a new sound: the sound of sand, softly shifting beneath the feet of passers by. In horror I stare at the ground around me. The floor is turning to sand; deliberately disintegrating from under the gray office chair on which I rest.
All at once the chair is gone and I am falling like Alice through the sand. The sun glares on it and, like a billion flecks of gold it sparkles. I land on top of it in a perfectly groomed green field. It is empty, but for the pile of sand on which I lay. As I go to shake the sand sticking to me, I realize there is none there. In the gold sand there is a perfect imprint of my sprawling body, but not a speck of it is on me. Agoraphobia is gripping me now. Everything I can see is in green blue, and white; the perfect green grass, the symmetrical white clouds in the pristine blue sky. All of it is unnerving and strangely familiar.


Then I realize where I must be. I turn carefully only to find myself staring into a stark white office; a young woman sits on the paper covered table, her arms wrapped tightly around herself. I don't know the look on her face as the tall doctor stares down at her, speaking gently. She looks like an old friend, the type you see all the time but can never place. When I look into her eyes, there is nothing familiar. They're hazel, like mine but they are empty. They're the eyes of a dead woman.


Between her and I are some various folders and programs. "stnemucoD yM" One is labeled. I realize quickly it is backwards, not the gibberish I thought it was, after all I am on the other side of the computer screen.


Before this can sink in I feel myself rising off the ground; up and up into the queer blue sky.


I must be leaving, I realize, but there is a bizarre new sensation. A press and release, then another. A folder called "sdroceR" hits me smack in the face then everything goes black.


I wake up to the press and release again. And again, "Sorry," the doctor mutters "must be frozen. Mouse isn't working..." He rambles off in to an uncomfortable and badly timed joke about techies, vigorously hitting the mouse in time with the press and release. Finally, every thing turns white. Giant black letters loom before me, and I am surprised to find I can back up just enough to read them, balancing on the edge of a text box. Mara Black.


"I am Mara Black..." I whisper, shifting to look over the edge of the text box. I see another ledge below, just within reach. I bend my knees and jump; the strange girl seems to notice something but if she does she says nothing. Just as blank a ever, I wonder what might be wrong with her.


Landing on the ledge below I turn and read the letters in the box, tall and black and looming they seem to cast a shadow over me. As I read, the good doctor comes back to the screen. He presses and releases again, and I black out.


"Mara, Mara?" says the blob "The doctor will see you now."
"Oh," I say, realizing it must be the snobby receptionist from earlier.
"right this way," she motions.
I follow her through the hallways of tiled ceiling, into the good doctor's office.


When the receptionist pushes the door open, the doctor is sitting at his desk. It was just a dream I tell my self, just a weird dream.The doctor turns to face me. Just a dream.
"Sorry," he says "The mouse hasn't been working all day. Take a seat Mara."
Just a dream.
"I'm afraid the news isn't good..."
Just a dream.
He opens a folder called "Records," but I already know what is inside.


The word in my dream looms before me: Dying.
Suddenly I know where I have seen the girl on the paper table before. I wrap my arms around myself not listening to a word the good doctor says.





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