The river felt cool and refreshing that hot July day. It was so refreshing that I didn't want to get out and face the harsh reality of the scorching weather. I decided to take a swim, to nowhere in particular. I swam with the lazy current, just swimming and floating. The water was clear. I could see the small, amazingly colorful, fish near the shoreline. I wondered if the water brought them the joy it did me. I envied the fish. They got to float and be free all day, to enjoy the wondrous weightless freedom, an escape from the rest of the world. I closed my eyes and floated on my back with the current, enjoying my escape from the world.
Suddenly, the warm sunshine I had felt while swimming disappeared, as if a gigantic cloud had covered the sky above the river. It was if I had been in a trance, for when I opened my eyes no surroundings were familiar to me. It seemed that I had floated all the way to the end of the river without even noticing. How long had I been floating? Where was I? Gone were the trees which surrounded the river, instead I saw beautiful grassy lands and rolling hills to both sides of me. In front of me, however, the bank of the river was a steep ridge that loomed about ten feet over the water, casting the shadow I had felt before I opened my eyes.
Curious as to what was on the other side of the bank, I climbed out of the river. As I reached the top, I at first thought I was seeing a mirage -- a mirage of a road. It was transparent, in color; it didn't seem to be real. Convinced I was hallucinating, I headed towards the road, expecting it not to be there. As I reached it, however, it didn't disappear. It lay right in front of me. I was afraid to put my foot on it -- for it was still transparent and had a watery, mirage look to it. I placed one foot on the road, then the other. The texture of the road was soothing on my bare feet. It felt as if I were standing on cool gel bubbles, giving my feet a unique massage as I started to walk on my journey down the road.
Something bright and shiny caught my attention from up the road. Whatever the object was, it seemed to glow. My pace fastened I got closer to the object, trying to see what it was. As I finally reached the object I was in awe. It was a key -- a gold key. This key was the brightest, most beautiful gold I had ever seen. I looked down upon the key for a few minutes, trying to decide if I should pick it up. Finally I reached down and grabbed the key, which was amazingly light despite it being made out of gold.
Suddenly the key floated out of my hand. As I looked up and watched it float, I saw a gate appear, a gate made out of the same gold as the key. The key went into the lock, and the gate opened on its own. I stepped inside the gate. The road behind me disappeared, and a light fog mist rolled over my feet.
Music began to play, a single piano, constructing a symphony of wondrous notes. As I turned my head towards the melody, a house appeared as suddenly as the gate itself did. The house was also made of gold, a mansion of incomprehensive size. As I entered the house, I was again in awe of the absolute beauty. I heard a piano playing in the foyer, and I began to float towards the notes, floating like I had been while I was in the river.
The same ecstasy that I felt while I was swimming that day, I felt while drifting towards the music. Once again I was joyously escaping the world. My eyes closed and I just drifted. As I drifted my mind cleared, until only the magical notes were allowed to enter.
The notes abruptly ended as I began to cough. Instead of drifting I was now falling. I quickly opened my eyes and found myself sitting in about half a foot of water at the river bank, coughing up water. It took me a few fearful moments, but eventually I was able to clear all the water out of my throat. There were no grassy hills and no steep ridge. Instead I saw the familiar trees and the area where I had first entered the water.
I still remember that day as if it just happened. Sometimes
when I'm floating I close my eyes and listen to the music I heard. I
can't help but wonder what really happened. I suppose I shall never
know, at least until the day comes when I again find the key. The
day when I again find myself upon the threshold of the golden
house. The day when I again start to drift towards the most
beautiful music I've ever heard, when I can find out where the
music is coming from -- the day when I don't wake up coughing.
© 2000 Brandie Van Hartesvelt, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
In English we were required to do an assignment where we closed our eyes and used our imagination while our instructor guided us through. When he was done we composed what we saw in a story. Here are the items we were supposed to cover:
c) anything in the water?
b) pick it up or leave it on the ground?
b) what is beyond the obstacle?
From those key points I composed my story.