For a long time I did not move. The whiteness around me glared, shimmering as if light from a hidden light source reflected on a surface I could not see. A shiver run up my spine. I folded my arms, stared at the three objects in front of me. What if I am standing on the only piece of solid material in this place? I thought, and peeked down below me. It did not look like I could fall but I could not exactly see what was holding me either. Whiteness stretched behind me as well, I saw when I turned on the spot. An endless bright see without waves, without sound. I noticed the absence of sound when the rushing of blood in my ears filled my brain as if nothing else had ever existed. The thudding of my hears in my chest was next. It crept up my throat, up my ears, in my head until my whole body vibrated with my own heartbeat.
I remembered that I left my bag in my locker. I refused to carry that whole load of books on my back for ten kilometres. My bike did not have a carrier; it was a racing bike painted in a reddish orange, like fire. I had bought it from my own savings. Dad had been furious. Said I already had a decent bike. Yeah, if I was eight years old maybe.
I fought away the angry thoughts about Dad and continued starting at the objects at my feet. I decided I could not stand here all day. It would not hurt to examine the objects. I stepped forward, holding my breath painfully as I expected to fall into nothingness every second. My foot landed on the whiteness, or rather in it, but did not slip, did actually find a surface that could carry my weight. Sweat trickled down my hairline as I took another step. I searched for cracks or a path or anything that would break the white nothingness. When I was only centimetres away from the door key, the rope, and the slingshot, I bend over and touched the key. It was neither warm nor cold, neither smooth nor rough. My finger went right through the key.
I pulled back my arm and fell on my behind. What on earth?! I lay panting for a few seconds, my head one wild rollercoaster of thoughts and analyses. Was any of this real? Maybe I was dreaming? Maybe I was unconsciousness. Or stuck in the white at the end of the tunnel? My body was refusing to let go of me. I was made for great achievements. I would go to college and find a well-paid job and buy designer’s clothes, bathe every day and have a massage first by a hot lady, and never ever would I slave myself milking cows or fixing a 30-year old tractor.
The moment I looked up, I caught sight of the mirror. It was simply there, a mirror without a frame, not a pond or a puddle with silver ripples, but a plain mirror showing my puzzled face and the objects as dark shapes against the white. Where the objects holograms or something? I sat up, scanning the mirror while I tried touching the door key again. My reflection did the same, following the dull metal surface with its finger tips. I tried the rope, then the slingshot. My reflection took the objects and stored them in his pockets. When I looked in front of me, the objects were still there.
My mouth suddenly became very dry. I swallowed hard, but it was no use against the wind that had appeared, passing me harder and harder until I fought to stand up. Seconds later my trousers pulled on my legs and I lost ground. My own scream echoed around me as the white pierced my head.
I woke up at a bench. People in thick winter coats passed me, chins tucked deep into shawls, the soft footsteps of winter boots resounding against neat, brown stone walls. The place was surrounded by huge arches, which provided a see-through to mostly roofs, tree tops, and grey sky. Signs in red, blue, and yellow, with printed letters and symbols all over them, covered every corner, every arch, everywhere I look. Far to my right was a collection of small shops: a bag store, a snack bar, a book store, and a tourist shop. A computer-like woman’s voice announced arrivals and departures, platforms, delays. Only after I heard the screeching of metal wheels passing a switch, I realised I was at a station.
Next to me sat a boy my age. He seemed to wear a men’s perfume which penetrated the air damp from wet stone. The moment our eyes met, I felt stung.