The boy’s hand slips into mine. The cave tunnel is dark, and wet. Not cold, or musty, or anything other than dark and wet, and still. I look down at him, and smile softly, then turn forward as we stepped into the water. Large pebbles underfoot crunch roundly over each other.
Take a breath and everything is green and clear and open. Underwater, all the even lines of an empty public school hallway hauntingly echo the muffled silence. The stairwell opens easily, and strangely so.
The landing at the top is far enough away that I nearly choke looking for it. But we make it and there’s a few feet of air and this door is harder to open. Much harder. We pour out through it, onto the matted carpeting of a library where many eyes swivel to find the disruption.
A crisp lady with cat-eye-glasses ushers the boy into a side office while barring me from entering further. She and a round, stationery man snap back and forth at each other in distress.
The boy and I are in the wrong time, it’s not the right time. ****. ****. They’re sending him back to 200 BC. And me to 2017. No. No.
No, I’m supposed to take care of him, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the cave with me. Neither of us were supposed to be that far away from the group. He isn’t old enough! This was supposed to be quick and distracting and ******* hell what do we do?
The people in the library push us back into the stairwell and it’s cold. Not the water, the color. The light fades out of it as ceiling glow-stars would, and he’s so calm HOW IS HE SO CALM?
His hand is so small in mine and I’m afraid we’ll run out of air before I figure out what to do, but we can’t do anything. We can’t. There’s nothing here. We have to go. It’s the only direction; back into the water and hope they were wrong. I don’t understand how he can trust me this much, why is he still looking up to me? We might drown.
I need to make a move, and he hands me some glowsticks. Somehow he’s found light. I’m sure my hand is unpleasant and clammy and can he feel my heartbeat through my palm? We need to go.
Big breath, into the watery shadows of stairs. There’s sand at the bottom. My hand’s on the door, pushing out. I can hear my blood. It’s open. Oh god, ***-
dream from last week
written out 6.29.2017