I grabbed the sleeves of my sweater to pull it tighter around my shivering body. The howling nightmare of a wind was attacking my bare goose bumped legs, blowing my already short skirt up. Desperately I fought with my wardrobe in an useless attempt to keep my dignity. And as I tried to rationalize this fashion disaster, I came to the realization that I couldn’t remember picking this outfit in the first place. Why would I wear this during one of the coldest, windiest months of the year?
I lived only a few blocks from my school, SFU High, and had walked this route every day for the past four years. That particular day, however, the walk felt as if I was slowly making my way back from the pits of hell, fighting through a bone chilling purgatory, only to be rewarded with a sense of anxiety upon reaching heaven: my house. It looked perfectly normal, boasting it’s elegance with the white oak paneling that added just the right amount of sophistication. The short but wide set of steps that led to an oversized oak door, whose purpose was to intimidate some yet strike envy and awe in others, complemented the huge bay windows that gave the outsider the perfect view of our perfect family. Yet for some reason, my stomach churned with nerves at the sight of it.
Slowly and carefully I examined the stairs as I climbed them. A small trail of dirt lined the edges leading all the way to a little mound by the door. I thought to myself, The gardener must have been here earlier. So I brushed the dirt away with my foot before lifting the panel on the front door and punching in the code to unlock it. I stood in the vast silence of our house, my stomach churning with nerves. I didn’t know why that was, because everything looked exactly like how it was when I left in the morning, but as I soaked in the energy around me, I felt a staleness to the air and knew something wasn’t quite right.
“Mom? Dad? Cassie?” I shouted, wondering if maybe they had gotten home before me. The loud ringing of silence was all that pierced my slowly defrosting ears, so I decided to shrug off my insecurities and get to the responsibilities of a high school senior. Climbing the immaculate slightly curved stairs, I made my way to my bedroom, where I sat on my bed, unzipping my backpack. I felt it before I saw it, and jumped back in disgust, watching as dirt poured out of my bag, spilling all over the cream colored carpet. I began shaking it off of me as little pink worms wiggled back into the mound of moist earth that lay slowly consuming my backpack and floor. Dark rotting leaves and grass littered the carpet, and as I looked down to make sure I wasn’t covered in it, I saw the edges of my skirt begin to deteriorate right before my eyes, my sweater began to stain, and my skin turned blue, dirt filling every possible pore.
I screamed, shutting my eyes in horror, my hands covering my hears, and before I could even process what was happening, it stopped. Slowly I opened my eyes to scan my room for any evidence to support my terrifying experience. My backpack lay empty on the floor, surrounded by clean, dirt-less carpet. My hands were back to their normal deep color, clutching my practically like-new skirt. Staring at myself in the mirror, I thought, What is going on here?