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It was quiet in the room. I had been listening to the morning for a while. There was nothing in particular – all the sam...


It was quiet in the room. I had been listening to the morning for a while. There was nothing in particular – all the same: birds singing cheerfully, our neighbor, quite an elderly woman, talking her dog off for the whole-night absence, the next-door neighbor’s cat was stealing into the house after rather a hectic and tiring night urging for some rest.

All the same it was as every single morning in our street and, probably, in the whole town. I had stayed in bed with my eyes closed a bit more, before opening them and meeting my room – the same room as it was yesterday, the day before yesterday, a week ago, a year ago, ever since I remembered myself. The sun emerged into the room through the curtains. It always examined the room as if trying to find anything worth paying attention, but left as soon as it was eleven, perhaps to check other places and linger on something more fascinating.

Now I would get up, make my way to the bathroom and find it occupied by my elder sister, Clara. Then I would definitely go to the kitchen to greet my parents and complain about the bathroom and at that very moment Clara would appear in the kitchen shouting irritably about my impatience. She then would kiss our parents (of course - she had already cleaned her teeth!) and hurry to work. She’s 20 and she works for a fashion shop. That’s why she ‘must look perfect every day’ so it takes her the whole forever to make up and dress in the morning and in the bathroom!!! And that’s why she needs to buy a pair of new shoes almost every week and asks our Dad for some money. They are always arguing over it.

As for me, I would leave the kitchen, clean my teeth, take a shower and enjoy my favourite TV programme while having breakfast in our living room as I would have a fair hour before my school starts. Then I would take my already packed school bag and go to school which is ten minutes walk from our house. That would be my morning, not catching one, but so would be all my afternoons and evenings. Was it going to be changed?

I got up and headed for the bathroom. To my surprise it turned to be vacant - that was weird, perhaps I overslept and Clara had already left for work. If it was really so I was in a hurry and had no time to check the time, luckily I took my school clothes with me. That time I didn't notice the lack of human presence, but I did later. All the towels were dry hanging on their hooks; endless rows of our mum and Clara's bottles of lotions, creams and other women’s stuff were neatly placed on their usual shelves not around the basin. Dad's shaver has already charged waiting to be used. It looked as though no one had been here till I disturbed the peace in the room. Was I that late or early? Why didn't they wake me up? Or should I wake every one up? It was Tuesday not Saturday or Sunday, definitely.

I rushed downstairs. The feeling of uneasiness rose in my stomach as dead silence filled the entire house; street sounds were not heard any more as well. May be I was imagining all this. However, this thought of doubt left my mind as soon as I saw our deserted kitchen.

'Mum! Dad! Clara!' shouted I.

Having nothing in response I examined each room, each possible place in the house. It seemed they all were gone for the whole night. That was time for searching the garden and our lovely summerhouse, which our parents built for 'nice, summer family-and-friends evenings', but hardly did they use it ever. Personally I can remember only two parties for seven years. It was decorated in the country style and looked really pretty with forget-me-nots painted on its walls. Eight colourful chairs with little logs taken for their legs stood around the big matching wooden table. Now with no surprise, but already anxious enough I found this place as empty as the rest of the house. I peered through the thick hedge to our neighbours' gardens, but both of them were in the same deserted condition. I whispered for Iffy, a pitch-black cat with enormous bright yellow eyes - he gave a slight shake with his pointed ear and went on sleeping. The next moment I dashed back into the house, grabbed my bag and galloped to school.

On my way I got even more frustrated with deserted streets. The shop over the corner was closed and dark, there were no cars around, there was nothing around. It seemed that the wind also left this place.

I came to a halt at the school entrance, which I reached three times quicker than my usual time. I listened vaguely for a single rustle from inside. To my horror, it was totally silent. I wrenched the door open, the squeak of which made me jump, my ears hurt so loud it seemed to be.

At this moment the whole range of feelings shot through me: fear, doubt, anger, happiness, disappointment, emptiness, shallowness, even happiness, and then others I had never had before and stopped at something indistinct. I knew neither the name for what I felt nor what I had to do next so I yelled 'Ar-ar-ar-ar-ar!’ That lasted for some time till there was no power to continue and I calmed down listening to my voice echoing in the dark school hall and then died far in the corridor. More and more questions nibbled my mind and there was no one to answer any of them. Staying still in this silence I realised how hungry I was. My stomach rumbled in response. Was food still in existence here? Not entering the school I walked home much more slowly this time till … STOP! The cat was alive, sleeping in the garden. I shot to our neighbours. I had never run so long in my life before. I reached their house, hesitated a bit but pulled the door, which was unlocked just as at school and ran straight to the back garden where Iffy was lying still sleeping. Breathing heavily I seized him from his mat and shook him awake. He idly opened one of his eyes just to see who was disturbing his dream. But then he glared at me with both big yellow eyes, freed himself of my grip and, outraged with my rudeness, strutted into the house.

I followed him, exactly knowing it was what he wanted me to do and found myself in our neighbour’s kitchen. Mr and Mrs Hill were a married couple, who retired five years ago and enjoyed their life in peace and calmness after absorbing themselves in Archaeology. Mrs Hill spent her days planting wonderful flowers and vegetables and she also cooked superbly. I often dropped in to ask her for a book or story about different countries and places for my school projects on History and Geography and I always got a gripping story accompanied with something delicious. Their house was friendly and cosy to be in as though I had real grandparents unlike my own. By the way my own ones lived in the Caribbean, immersed in volunteering work for a local church and hardly ever remembered that they had children or, what's more, grandchildren.

So I got into Mrs Hill's kitchen where a pumpkin pie occupied the table and immediately drew me to eating it. I started to it when 'Ouch!' I screamed and jumped because of both sudden pain and my own voice - Iffy scratched me on my leg. He skittered across the kitchen to his bowl demanding loudly for his food. I filled it with his favourite one and poured some water to the next-to bowl. Luckily I knew his preferences in food, watching Mrs Hill feeding him. The day started exceptionally extraordinary. However, this fact didn't make me less hungry. Now starving my eyes caught the pumpkin pie again. It was so mouth-watering I took two steps and stopped again. Everything was utterly wrong. Was I allowed to change anything in this freeze-frame? When will this place come alive? Was it our street, the whole town, country or the whole world? Was I sleeping and dreaming this Alice-in-Wonderland place? Was these all obeying any natural laws? While standing deep in thoughts Iffy finished his breakfast and moved towards the door. He remained still at the threshold gazing at me and as soon as I noticed him he continued to the entrance door.

I followed him silently wondering when he was going to start talking to me. Instead of talking he led me to my own house where he preceded to the kitchen and stopped at the cupboard with biscuits. That was odd, he had never been here before or had he? I really needed something more nutritious and walked to the fridge only then I realised there was no electricity. My intention to have proper breakfast failed. How could Iffy know this? I had to help myself with some granola bars and juice left on the table. Well, at least my dad was here at night, he always left juice on the table when he had some at night and then they argued with my mum every morning. So what did I have? Deserted city with only Iffy and me alive with no electricity in complete silence seemed as a very strange dream. By the way, was it the whole town? Iffy was definitely waiting for me to take this decision, because when I leapt on my feet and ran to the garage he had already been there awaiting me at my bicycle. He jumped into the front basket and we rode to the city centre.

I rode rather slowly to have enough time to have enough time for studying every house passing by. They all seemed as deserted as my own. Iffy was visibly delighted and so was I. It was so nice and calm around as if someone had enchanted this place. My fear dissipated in the ocean of pleasure. The city looked perfectly ordinary except for the lack of traffic and people, usually buzzing around. I enjoyed these a lot, because I was always too petrified to ride there on my own because of too hectic life in here. I reached the city centre when suddenly the world went up-side-down then back and up-side-down again and again making everything a blur until it came to a halt. I stayed still for a while and when being sure that the spinning around finished I slowly stood up inch-by-inch checking myself for injuries. My knee was badly injured. Then I looked expecting life to come back to the city, but the only thing I saw were Iffy’s cunning eyes.

‘Iffy! Why have you done that? Look what happened – I’m bleeding! You’re a naughty cat! Couldn’t you have warned me in advance? I would’ve stopped for you!’ I shrugged both because of my voice that sounded oddly and my knee hurt more and more. As I guessed Iffy had jumped out of his basket pushing the bike hard which made me fall. In response to my furious tirade the cat stood up and walked to the chemist’s where he stopped and looked at the door. ‘I thought I am not allowed to change anything except for my home!?’ Not paying attention to me speaking ha carried on hypnotizing the handle. Having pain in my knee even sharper that before I had nothing to do but to open the door and enter. I cleansed the wound and covered it with some plasters, then paid for my purchases (left money on the counter) and got out.

Nothing had changed since my absence. The bike was in condition good enough to get back home but I wasn’t in the condition good enough to ride it. The knee still itched a lot and I felt rather tired, besides Iffy seemed to be unwilling to go anywhere else. He was sitting on the pavement. I sat next to him leaning against the tree trunk. Iffy plinked approvingly and jumped on my laps. It was a warm and calm day. I did not want to move or think. I closed my eyes and fell immediately asleep.

‘M-mn’ I muttered through my dream frowning, ‘Switch the music off.’ Then an idle thought waddled across my mind, then came back, walked to and fro several times, and ‘M U S I C’ I sat bolt upright. Music, music, music was thundering in my head now. Everything came back!!! However, when my eyelids flew open and eyes got used to the sunlight it turned out to be pretty the same picture, excluding music, which now filled, what seemed, the entire world. The sense of relief rushed through my veins. It was not either loud or quiet but it was everywhere – the best tune I had ever heard as though some magical creatures produced it. Then I noticed soft light coming from a nowhere-appeared big top. Bewitched I made my way to it.

Inside it looked like a church, but very spacious and bright. Everything was dazzling; white and mild light was coming from everywhere. I still could not see the source of the music but a big round table-size stone caught my eyes. It occurred the centre of the hall and had something written on it. I came closer to read and as soon as I reached it someone started singing the text from the stone.

So now you’re reading what was written,
When the sun was born in space,
When light got stronger before inventing
This sacred place and the stone itself.
It was created to make all happy
Creatures on the Earth.
It carried on its biggest duty
The only thing to berth.

The song stopped abruptly and so did the music and silence even deeper that before reigned the hall. I stood scared stiff as much as staggered. Was the stone talking to me? I looked around it was completely deserted. I tried to move but I couldn’t. My feet stuck to the floor as if I was a statue. ‘What is it all about?’ I thought and heard my voice loud in the hall. Then there was:

When people came so rude and mean
They never had a shame
Demanding gold, more wealth, more money
They never tried to thank.
I had to hide myself from villains
I sealed the entrance to the place.
Years gone I was forgotten,
There were some legends, though.
By some men the idea was accepted
They set the sail for a search.
They lost their lives not ever dared
How useless they could be.
But always gave to fools alike them
All that they knew of me.
And so were passing many years
And so were dying fools.
However I was always open
For those who never knew.
Now be attentive, dear lucky,
I’m telling what I can.
Just think of something you are willing
And I will make it tame.

That was a long sung answer. So if I got the message right the stone talked to me and now I was considered to make a wish. ‘What kind of wish?’ my thought was spoken out aloud again and I shuddered, still not able to move. ‘I don’t need anything. But I’d like to know what’s going on here?’

For centuries by now
I have been looking for the dreamers.
I am so powerful, you know.
But people have so spoiled manners
And their wishes were so small.
I felt so blue in need of action
And then ha came himself to me
A truly dreamer with great imagination
He was the first for centuries to see.
He was so pure and asked for nothing,
I was amazed with him.
I let him go but gave him something
It was love. I felt much better since.

‘How many truly dreamers have you met since that time?’ thought I.

One, two, three,
Four, Five, Six, Seven,
Eight, nine, ten
You’re the eleventh.

‘I do need nothing, thank you! I have already had the most amazing, incredible and perfect day ever. I have only one more question. Can I?’ It was so nice to be silent and talkative at the same time.
Yes, dear,
You are welcome.

He’s a friend indeed
The best and clever.
Always when I need
He’s with me forever
HE looks for dreamers
I make them happy
So thank you, dear,
For this lady!

Only now I noticed Iffy sitting next to me. I managed to kneel and stroked him. He seemed so proud of himself. We stayed for some more time. The stone told me different stories, which were both incredible and gripping. I didn’t have to speak. I was the happiest person ever. When suddenly Iffy stood up, swished with his tail and ran to the exit. There was time to leave. ‘Thank you very much! Thank you both! It was the best day I’ve ever had! I’m sorry I have nothing in return.’

Don’t say a lot
Just set the foot
And please be off.
I don’t have tears,
But I promise
If only I could cry
I’d cry and hug you
All way to the door.
Now I thank you dear lady
For coming here
Thus, I should give you something in return…

Not finishing the sentence the Stone fell silent and music started again. I left the hall, got to my bike, rode home, got a shower and went to bed.
That was the best dream I had ever had. There were so many feelings in this dream. I think not every person is capable of feeling even one quarter of what I felt that night. I was glad to finish it with something enormous and nameless blooming in me.

It was quiet in the room. I’ve been listening to the morning for a while. Briskly thinking of the busy bathroom and my parents in the kitchen, I heard our neighbour, quite an elderly woman, telling off the dog for the whole-night absence, Iffy mewing.

‘Who on earth have eaten all the biscuits? Where are my granola bars?’ thundered my dad’s voice from downstairs. I got up, left my pretty room and went to the kitchen. My dad stood at the cupboard furious.

‘Oh, dear!’ into the receiver ‘Took plasters, left money, nothing on cameras! Amazing! I’m off now. Will come soon!

‘Sister, what is that on your knee? What did you do at night?’ asked Clara looking at my knee covered with some plasters.

‘That was not a dream.’ Thought I and at that very moment Iffy jumped on our windowsill and winked at me.

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