The Call 

I’m standing at a threshold...

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Two narrow hallways stretching out before me. Darkness at my back. 

Stepping towards the left, I can feel the walls to the right of me sighing. I walk through and try to see what's happening, but nothing is in focus. Myopia clouds my brain and better judgments. I use my hands feel my way deeper into the unknown corridor.

Familiar odors waft through the air, inflating my nostrils, whispering directions to my olfactory bulb - microwaved popcorn, bargain scented candles, rotting egg on a skillet - a sickening yet inviting fusion. 

I move closer, hungry, beckoned by the promise of quinoa and blackberries in the fridge. I feel for a light switch and open my eyes. I’ve been here before. It’s a kitchen. My kitchen. Desaturated. Older. Deserted.

I move backwards as the lights flicker and fade around me. Only one hallway remains - it's shorter than before. I enter the common area, hoping for signs of life. No luck - only a quarter inch of dust blanketing the furniture, like new December snow. I step inside; asbestos coats my face.

Choking, coughing, I try to scream. The muffled vibrations tear a hole into the south-facing wall. Window glass shatters, lingers, then falls - onto what my dream self malevolently hopes are innocent pedestrians. A nagging feeling in my gut tells me it’s just not so. 

I find myself peaking out through the breach. Below are only skeletons, frozen mid-stride, some embracing, others crouching.

In the distance, I hear a siren and chilling applause. “It’s over now, isn’t it?” I utter compulsively. “Yes,” the girl in the glass replies. I pick up a small fragment of the broken window, my distorted reflection grins back at me. 

I wake up.