Stories

The Apartment of my Dreams

It’s good to be home after that day of work. I’ve decided to forgo unpacking for one night. It’s going to be just me, an Inside Out DVD, and a bowl of Cap’n Crunch taking a break in the apartment of my dreams. What more can a girl ask for?

When I open the door my jaw drops; there are no boxes in sight, but no furniture either. The walls are stone and the flickering torchlight reflects off the horns of a dozen minotaurs. Their chant of “Ka-ren! Ka-ren!” stops and the nearest one looks over at me. His head lowers and he starts to charge.

The apartment door could never stop a linebacker with a cow’s head but there’s no thud, no crash, and no trampled and gored me. I’ve got to be hallucinating. I open the door a crack and peek in a second time.

Icy thin sunlight stings my eyes and sucks my breath away and I get pushed partway inside by the wind through the doorway. Or am I pushed outside? A group of parka-clad strangers is hiking toward me up the rocky snow-covered path, their faces obscured by goggles and oxygen masks. Behind them the ground slopes away to an emerald vista dotted with cotton-candy clouds. The lead figure gives me a thumbs-up as I pull the door shut again.

Third time lucky? I open the door and my apartment is there like I left it this morning. I quickly step in switch the light on, creating a pool of gold that punctuates the shadowy field of boxes.

As I walk toward the kitchenette to get a bowl my phone rings; Selima starts talking as soon as I pick up.

“Hey Karen, how goes? Liking the new home?”

“Yeah, your realtor is an ace; it’s a great location and the apartment is everything I dreamed of! I think I’m a little overtired, though; I had this weird hallucination when I came in.”

“Weird? How so?”

“You’ll think I’m crazy, but I thought I saw minotaurs.”

“Minotaurs? Like guys with bull heads?”

“Yeah. But I closed the door and got my bearings and they were gone. Like I said, overtired.”

“And you’re in the hall now?”

“No, I’m in the kitchen.”

“Karen, get out of there.”

“What? Why would I do that?”

“Because that’s not your apartment.”

“Of course it is; it’s the apartment of my dreams, just like the realtor said.”

“That’s right; the apartment doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to your dreams. Get out while you can.”

“You realize how stupid that–“

A barely-visible hand reaches out of the shadows and flips off the light. Selima’s voice sounds in my ear.

“Karen! Run!”

The phone signal drops out, cutting off my last bit of illumination. In the darkened room I can sense movement. I’ve had this dream before; running won’t help.