The Autumn Nightmare

January 29, 2008
By Tamara Paustian, Nampa, ID

The crisp leaves of mid-autumn fall from the dried branches as I sit, leaning against the rough trunk of an oak waving up high in the mild wind. My mouth softly and slowly moved as the written words fell upon the blank pages of the black leathered journal placed gently in my lap. I stared at the fragile paper; reading every word and making sure that every detail of my current surroundings were not kept secret. The grass below was now a greenish-yellow color, but still gave you the feeling of spring. A nearby dirt trail became occupied once in a while by joggers and bikes, while squirrels ran across the open areas from tree to tree.

An elderly couple sat upon an old bench, holding hands and watching as some children played upon the playground equipment that was placed in the middle of a sandbox. The bridge past the playground stood all alone with no occupants, but was still just as beautiful alone than occupied. Across the dirt path and a great distance away was an old broken down brick house that took residence behind an old-fashioned, black, metal fence.
My mechanical pencil continued moving as I looked up, slowing the movements of strokes it took to make a word. I stopped writing and stared as cars drove among the pavement not too far from where I was seated. The wind blew soft at times as I stared into space. My thoughts trying to block out all
surrounding noises as I tried to listen to the creek that lay before me. The water flowed smoothly at some points and splashed around at others. My mind was
put to ease as the dripping of water splashed onto the bank at times of rapid movements.
Leaves continued to fall from the trees, some landed upon my lap, while some others landed in the water. When that would happen I would watch as the leaf left the area. Riding the somewhat smooth creek away to some far off place. I dozed off as time slowly moved forward. The sounds became less and the sights became blurred, as my eyes grew heavy. My pencil now lay in between the pages along the binding on the book that now lies open on the ground, pages being forced to turn by the wind. My eyes closed slowly and by the time I noticed what was going on, I was already asleep.
I appeared in an open field of golden grass. The wind was cool and calm, but strong enough to push my clothing in one direction. I could feel the grass slightly tickling my legs and my summer hat had almost fallen off my head as I bent down to scratch the itchy areas. I held onto my hat as I turned my head in all directions. There was nothing but golden grass and a single dead tree not far from where I stood. The sky was clear and the sunrays of light were hitting me with all its might. I began to slowly walk towards the tree, hoping that I might find something useful. The only problem was that I did not know what to do if I had
found anything. I had no idea where or how I got here and it could only get worse.
I stopped to think for a moment; an idea would have to pop into my head if I had thought for a bit. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful after the first ten
minutes. I continued to walk towards the tree when I heard something below me rip. I looked and there was a twig that had caught part of the bottom of my dress and left a tear. I rolled my eyes and continued walking, annoyed I grab the bottom part of my dress and held it high enough so nothing would get caught in anything. I got to the tree and placed one hand on the bark. It fell off really easily, so I stepped away and tapped another part of the bark. That piece fell off too. I walked around searching for something; I didn’t know what at the moment. Until I saw a doorknob sticking out of the tree just below a sign labeled ‘Enter if you Dare’.
I completely ignored it and turned the knob, pulling it created a door shape. I became very curious by then and decided to take a look inside. It was pitch black and when I was about to turn around and leave when the door closed on me. I heard heavy breathing coming from behind. Scared I slowly turned around only to find... that I had woken up because my older brother had hit me in the head with an apple he found lying on the ground. I rubbed my head and glared, he reached out his hand and helped me to my feet. I grabbed my things and he started walking, then turned and said.
“It’s time to go,” and with that we took off driving away from the most peaceful place in the whole town. I stared out the window, watching the crisp
Leaves of mid-autumn fall from the dried branches of the oak I had sat under. Clear thoughts running through my head of what was my autumn dream.

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