Posted in English, Stories

Wake Up

It was a gloomy November night and Cavan was home alone. The dog had already barked a few times when he finally gave up around midnight. Cavan tossed and turned for a while, heard the old house groaning and creaking, and had just fallen asleep when he felt the room lighten up. He opened his eyes and saw that it was broad daylight outside. A bright yellow sun was high in the sky, casting its light through the window.

The immediate panic of having overslept catapulted him out of bed. The alarm clock had failed, and its blank display refused to tell him the time. As Cavan hurried through the house, he put on yesterday’s pants and shirt and risked breaking his neck when he stumbled down the stairs.

The kitchen clock had also failed, so he dashed out. He didn’t need a watch, the position of the sun allowed no doubt that he would be late for work.

Jumping off the porch, he put on his right shoe. Then hopped down the sidewalk on one leg to put on the other. When he used both legs again, he stepped on the laces. Then he flew. He saw the roadside grass scurrying past below him, and hit the asphalt of the street. Red spots danced in front of his eyes, his head was pounding, and a loud, long-drawn-out horn was complaining in his ears.

He turned onto his side and realized the horn wasn’t in his ears but mounted on the bus, which hissed as it tried to stop before rolling over him.

Cavan screamed. The bus squeaked. It was like time decelerated. Cavan’s gaze sharpened. Grit flew by in slow motion, catapulted from the tires. He tried to get up and jump out of the way. The action was now so slow it was almost a still image, as the bus caught up and swept through him.

As he regained his feet, he looked down, expecting to see his body shattered, though he felt no pain.

Cavan was unharmed. He stood in the middle of the street and had to feel himself to be sure. But there was nothing. Not a single scratch. Even stranger, there was no longer a bus. He turned around several times, but there really was no bus. This huge yellow behemoth of a vehicle was gone.

He must be dreaming.

“I’m dreaming!” A loud hysterical laugh escaped from his throat. He let his gaze wander. Everything seemed normal. The sun shone on his neighborhood. The grass was incredibly green, the houses incredibly white, yet he sensed something was different. It was quiet. Very very quiet. The air didn’t move and not the slightest smell reached his nostrils. He laughed again. That was his dream. Here he could do whatever he wanted. Which he tried right away. He kicked in his neighbor’s door, rushed to the top floor, and climbed out the window onto the roof. From here he could see the entire suburb dead still under the pale sky. Even though he knew nothing would happen to him, it took him some effort to jump off the roof in a high arc. As his feet left the clapboard, he felt gravity’s pull. His heart sank. This was a dream. He should have flown. But he fell; swiftly. He hit the driveway hard, but experienced no pain. He bounced off like a ball and shot up again. Now he really flew. He flew higher and higher. Or had he just jumped very high?

He landed softly on the grass median of the main street. A few cars were parked at the curb, but no people were in sight. All shops were dark and deserted.

The candy store’s door was locked, so Cavan smashed the window with a brick he found. The shattering of the glass was oddly dull, but the candy was all the sweeter. The sugar stuck to his mouth and fingers almost painfully, but he didn’t mind. This was his dream, and he was going to eat up this entire place up! Colorful candies flew through the room like confetti. He threw licorice around. A chocolate bunny burst into a thousand pieces under his fist. His mad laugh broke the silence. He was about to scoop M&Ms into his mouth with both hands when the sound of a cleared throat stopped him.

It came from the door behind him. Cavan hadn’t heard a sound that crisp since he’d started dreaming. He slowly turned around and straightened up. The door was open and glaring sunlight played around a silhouette. The shadow took a step forward with a hooves-like clap. Another hoofbeat and Cavan could make out the features of the figure, although the sun still danced around its head. It was a long, thin man. He stood tall and proud in his black suit and looked at Cavan with dark eyes. His cheeks were sunken and there were shadows under his eyes.

“Who are you?” Cavan asked, cheeks full, biting into a bar of chocolate.

“Welcome to the other side.”

“You’re my subconscious, huh? And now you want me to learn something profound from this dream.” He had to belch.

“This is not a dream, Cavan.”

“Bullshit, if this isn’t a dream, I’m dead.”

The man’s face remained straight, and yet Cavan thought he was mocking him.

“I’m dead?! No, I’m not dead… Oh God, I died in my sleep?!”

“Sort of.” The man handed him a newspaper, from the inside pocket of his suit.

“I am in heaven?”

“Look around and you’ll know.”

Cavan turned around. Something must have zapped him back in the middle of the main street. The dull silence troubled him. He looked to the right. All colors were faded. He looked to the left. The still air that smelled of nothing took his breath away. Then he lowered his eyes and checked the newspaper in his hand.

‘… The bus couldn’t brake in time and ran over the fallen CK Make.’

Understand German? Read the German version here.

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