SLEEPWALKING
As told by the nameless male

It began just as every other dream I've had, I suppose, but it was one of those lucid dreams where you can't exactly distinguish between reality and make-believe. The kind where the whole duration you have a warped sense of being, but for the sake of imagination you just don't bother to try and figure it out. It was, without a doubt, extremely confusing and even a little scary; so much so that when I think about it now, the thunder in the background was probably just my frantic heartbeat in my ears.

I dropped to the ground from the sky it seemed, hard and graceless. I tried to stand upright but merciless gravity and my lack of coordination sent me tumbling through a gully of damp grass. I kept rolling and rolling for what felt like hours, trying desperately to find something sturdy to get a hold of, but all attempts were proven futile. Then, I suddenly smacked face first into flat, soggy earth, miraculously unscathed (excluding the layers of mud caked on my clothes). I laid there for a few moments, collecting whatever fragments of dignity I had left – as well as my breath, which had escaped me during the fall – then lifted my face from the dirt.

Directly at eye level, though partially hidden by the grass, was a golden key, shining and shimmering in all its glory. I was puzzled, but my curiosity overruled that emotion when I reached out and took it; and that's when I realized I was trapped in the middle of a rainforest. I was surrounded by wild green foliage that went on for what looked like miles, and tall, thick trees that stretched toward heaven and hid it from sight.

It wasn't a peaceful setting, mind you. There was very little light and behind me swirled an accumulating tornado. My adrenaline was already throbbing inside my veins, but the sight of the storm ripping trees from the face of the planet turned my blood to napalm. Without another moment's hesitation, I bolted forward, not sure of where I was going except that it had to be away from where I currently was, and fast.

It wasn't long before I felt the sting of my tired lungs inside my chest – I wasn't exactly sure how long I had been running, and the greenery started fading (so I assumed it was for a couple miles) – but I kept powering on anyway. I could feel the harsh wind of the homing tornado on the back of my neck, and my heart seemed to be just barely hanging on to its last shred of sanity before exploding inside me.

When I felt it was the end for me – that the tornado would inevitably consume me – I closed my eyes, drew what I was certain was my last breath, and sank down to the ground. My feet were no longer pounding on solid, muddy earth, but burrowed shallowly into thick sand. Confused, I looked up and saw a stretch of golden beach with cerulean ocean and equally blue sky free of clouds. Everything around me was suddenly calm; all tension in the air evaporated with the foam of the approaching tide.

I looked behind me, only to see the rainforest miles away from me. My heart was still in a panic, despite my tranquil surroundings, and I stood up to my feet and started to run again. Although I couldn't see it anymore, I knew the tornado couldn't possibly stop within seconds, even if tornadoes usually didn't hit oceans. My mind started reeling; going at light speed, unstoppable, until I saw a little figure standing a couple yards away from me.

Clearly, she was a young woman, with long dark hair, a solid contrast to the bright atmosphere around her. She was standing right at the shoreline, just far enough away so that the surf couldn't touch her toes, and staring out into the vast ocean. She was totally oblivious to the impending storm, that was for sure. She just stood there, still as a statue, with an unreadable look on her face and her hair swaying like a black banner behind her.

I called out to her, but she didn't turn. I screamed, trying to warn her about the tornado which was sure to catch up with us, but then she looked at me with a look of slight disgust and absolute confusion. She shook her head, almost if she couldn't understand what I was saying; I wouldn't blame her, anyway. I was talking in a rushed babble, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was all incoherent.

Her body language was regal, and it was a little intimidating. Her neck was straight, her shoulders square, and her head lifted just so that her eyes had to skim past her nose to look at me. Although her white dress was shredded at the ends, the beads of sand crusted on the hem sparkled like topaz gemstones in the sunlight. The rest of her robe-like attire was untainted and beautiful, like she was prepared for a wedding, but changed her mind and escaped to this place instead.

I opened my mouth to talk to her, but suddenly her image disappeared, along with the ocean view and peaceful surroundings.

Then I found myself in my room: all the salt water and rainforest smells morphed into that of dirty clothes and wet towels. My heart, just barely deciding to calm down, sank a little when I realized that the girl I was about to talk to wasn't real.