A massive surge of light erupts out of nowhere, instantly disrupting my sleep and singeing my eyes even though my lids are closed. It feels like someone’s pointing a billion industrial flashlights directly at my face.
I groan at the unbearable sensation, trying to shield myself from the onslaught. My eyelids start to flutter, blinking rapidly despite my sleepy haze as I struggle in vain to block out the intrusive light.
Ugh. I can’t believe it’s morning already.
Just then, an odd, unfamiliar sense of awareness befalls me.
Like I’m swaying, yet…immobile.
Fluid yet fixed.
Rising and falling all at once.
Something doesn’t feel right…
I open my eyes reluctantly, using one hand to brace myself against the bright beams of the sun as the world appears before me.
And, boy, is it bright.
I sniffle as I toss in my bed, feeling around for my pillow with one hand so I can bury my head under it while I shield my eyes with the other. My mattress isn’t exactly up there with the Tempur-Pedics or anything, but my goodness, it feels softer than usual.
A lot softer.
But a minute later and still no pillow.
And, for some reason, it smells like a freshly mowed lawn in late spring with—
Abruptly, intuition kicks in, the wheels in my head spinning faster than they should, and in that moment, and I realize something:
I’m not in my bed.
I’m not even in my apartment.
I jerk upright impulsively, waves of panic and trepidation searing through my body, my head pounding with adrenaline-spiked blood.
I look around frantically, my eyes wide as saucers, rapidly scanning my surroundings.
Miles and miles of remarkably green grass stretch forever in every direction, punctuated by fat clusters of cotton and unusually large sunflowers.
What the hell…?
My brows furrow as I continue to stare at the eye-catching—albeit baffling—view.
Do cotton and sunflowers even grow together?
My mind quickly snaps back to the present as realization dawns on me, and my brief sense of intrigue and curiosity is replaced once more by anxiety and confusion.
Where the hell am I?
I stand up, my legs slightly shaky from my suddenly overactive nerves, and any remnants of sleep and drowsiness are completely gone now. My heart pounds in my chest as I try to make sense of what’s happening.
How the fuck did I get here?
Oh God, was I kidnapped? Did some psycho break into my apartment and drug me?
I’m trying desperately not to freak out, but my efforts are proving to be useless because I’m right on the verge of a major panic attack—
A sound abruptly tears through the relative quiet, making my already distressed heart leap into my throat. My head whips left and right reflexively, my eyes searching frantically for its source, but I see nothing. I have no idea which direction it even came from. It kind of sounds like a bird…but I can’t be sure.
Heart pounding, I hesitantly look up to the sky, afraid of what I might find. But, as soon as I do, all my worries disintegrate, my fear instantly replaced by an immeasurable sense of amazement and a strange reverence. I’m awe-struck by the sheer beauty of what’s in front of me, staring with eyes wide open at the incredible, vast hue of blue and distinct golden rays of sunlight poking through its mantle, visibly filtering all the way down to the ground. There isn’t a cloud in sight.
That’s pretty unusual, especially for this time of year—
I feel my brows begin to furrow of their own accord as the wheels in my head spin.
I look down impulsively, tearing my gaze away from the gorgeous skyline above and belatedly realizing two things for the first time since I woke up.
One: I’m barefoot.
I’m never barefoot.
And two: I’m wearing a sheer, white night-gown…one that looks a lot like my mother’s…
Wait a minute…I didn’t wear this to sleep. And I’m pretty sure I had socks on when—
Suddenly, it dawns on me.
My attention goes back and forth between my naked feet and the gown draping my body, eventually settling on the latter. I look down the grand length of it, lifting the simple hemline to my knees and observing the peculiar ivory embroidery and stitching along the collar and cuffs.
I run my palms over the satin finish tentatively as a questioning frown makes its way onto my face.
All of this feels way too strange.
This has to be a dream.
It’s the only thing that makes sense—as crazy as that sounds.
I nod, as if to confirm my speculation, my eyes switching between the immaculate gown and the contrasting bright colors of my surroundings.
Yes. Yes, it has to be. I’m having one of those…what do they call them? Lucid dreams?
Yeah, that’s right.
I’m in a lucid dream.