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The day was damp and chilly. Everything seemed to be painted in the same gray as the clouds. The cold London air swirled around me as I, along with many others, watched the cleaning of the tragic event that had just taken place. Blood stained the road, and the grill of a huge garbage truck, while some poor chap lay, sprawled out on the cold, wet ground with a white sheet covering his dead body. The frigid wind blew again, making me shiver. I had forgotten my coat that morning before work. My gaze fell onto a red telephone booth, which reminded me I had a task that I needed to get done.
I traipsed across the road to the phone booth and closed the door behind me, muffling the sound of sirens and the murmurs coming from the throng of people lining the streets. I dialed my sister’s number, wanting to wish her a happy birthday. After three rings, I gave up and hung the phone back on the hook. I stared down at my black pleather shoes as I pushed the phone booth door open.
A bright light blinded me. I looked up and found myself greeted by the sun. My eyes adjusted to the light and I was staring out onto plains of grass, the mountains in the distance. My heart stopped. I was no longer anywhere near the busy streets of London. I could not even hear a car in the distance, only the ruffling of grass as the warm air blew through my brown, prematurely graying hair.
As fast as my heart had stopped, it began to pound loudly and quickly in my chest. I turned left, right, around in circle, looking everywhere but nothing familiar registered in my mind.
“Okay, get it together Dave. You’re dreaming, that’s all,” I told myself.
I squeezed my eyes shut and repeated, “It’s only a dream” in my head, over and over again. My eyes grew heavier and heavier until it took no effort on my part to keep them closed. Then everything was just black.
I could hear a dinging noise in the background and it grew louder and more annoying as the seconds passed. I reached my hand out and smacked the top of my alarm clock. I peeled my eyelids apart and found myself staring at my white ceiling, and surrounded by the white walls of my flat. It had just been a dream, a weird one, but nothing more.
I followed my normal morning routine: everything from brushing my teeth and then showering, to the bitter tar I drank from my oversized mug. However, this time I remembered to grab my coat before I left.
Just seconds after locking the door to my flat and heading down the hall towards the stairs, I heard “David Smith,” from a few feet behind me. I turned and saw my landlord, Mr. Wilkes, dressed in his usual terry cloth robe and long wool socks.
“Mr. Smith, the rent-”, he began.
I finished his sentence, “-Is due at the end of the week, I know; we’ve discussed this already.”
Poor old chap, I thought as I kept walking towards the stairs, his memory is fading.
I pushed my way through the busy bus into the only seat left, across from a pretty girl I recognized from yesterday. She had long brown hair and pallid skin. I wondered if this would be her normal bus route now. I really shouldn’t get excited; it was only her second day on that bus. I did something out of character and smiled at her; she grimaced back. Not much of a surprise.
I exited the bus as quickly as I could and slugged my way into the London Daily building. Even with a master’s degree in journalism and years of experience, I only held the job of fact checker, while less qualified but far more flamboyant people snatched up the higher ranking jobs.
People bustled around the main lobby and I watched as the doors to the lift began to close them out, until my editor-in-chief, Max Burnwell, slid in at the last moment. In one hand he gripped a fancy Blackberry and in the other he balanced a stack of papers, which his eyes were glued to.
I cleared my throught to prepare for another first. “Sir, I placed a request for a writing job on your desk,” I said quietly, but at least my voice was not shaking.
“I’ll see if I can get to it today,” he mumbled, without even glancing away from his paper. Then he whisked out of the lift, without acknowledging my presence any further.
I shuffled over to my cubical and found a stack of articles already tossed on my desk. I sighed as I tugged off my coat and draped it across the back of my chair. I slouched in my seat as I sifted through the articles. The first one looked familiar; I had proofed it the day before. The same thing occurred on the second one article, and the third one, fourth one, all of them. My face grew hot and a knot grew in my stomach. Was my work really that unnoticed and unappreciated? An explosion of emotion erupted from me, which was not something I was used to. I slammed the articles down and jumped out of my seat.
I was done with everything. It was no longer my job to make everyone else happy while I was miserable. I turned and ran to the exit without any of my belongings. Everyone in the office turned and stared at my uncharacteristically erratic behavior. I kept running, down the stairs, out the door, and onto the street. Standing across the street was the pretty girl from the bus.
“Watch out!” she shouted.
I turned just in time to see a garbage truck barreling down the road, only yards away from me. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to somehow prepare myself for the impact, but it never came. Instead the city noise faded out and my body grew warm, like someone had laid a warm blanket on top of me. I slowly opened my eyes and found myself standing in the middle of the field I had been to already. This time I did not panic. I could hear the ruffling of grass as the warm air blew through my prematurely graying hair.