From a Dream to a Nightmare

“Hey, school is getting out in a few weeks, man. What do you plan on doing?” Reggie asked me for the one hundred and fifty-seventh time. And I gave him the same answer I had given him one hundred and fifty-seven times before: “I’m going to community college, and I’m going to find a job. How many times do I have to say it, Reggie?”

“My bad dude! You know I’m still a junior, so I will be stuck here for another drama-filled year without my boy.”

When my friends made statements such as these, they made it so much harder for me. My family and I were moving back to California. After three years, I would be moving away from Las Vegas, the first city that I fell in love with, back to California. I felt horrible, and I still felt horrible when that day to move did come. In my heart it felt as if I were leaving paradise to go back to being locked in a dark dungeon with chains and rodents. I tried as hard as I could to convince myself that I wasn’t going to be put into captivity when I arrived back home in California. But no matter what I did, my mind had placed me in its own dimension of horror and suffering, and I had no idea what it would take to set myself free. We had packed up the U-Haul truck, and loaded up the van, and were headed back to Los Angeles, but as soon as I sat down in the back seat it was like I had begun my journey into another dimension. The interior of the van had begun to fade away, and so did my favorite city as well. I tried to figure out what was happening, but I didn’t know if I was dreaming or if this was really going on. All I know is that my mind went completely blank, and then I just passed out.

When I opened my eyes, I was standing in this dark concrete room chained to the wall. I began to observe my surroundings, hoping I would be able to find some kind of way to break free of the rusting shackles. The only visible light came from a high-up window with bars on it that was definitely too high to reach without a ladder or stool. After an hour of trying to break loose of my shackles, I began to hear sinister voices, coming in whispers from the shadows in front of me. At first, whatever was being said was too low to even recognize, so I tried to ignore it, and focus on getting free. But the more time passed, the louder the voice in the shadows became, and slowly I started to understand what was being said, and it became difficult to concentrate on getting free. First, it started with haunting, deep breaths from the shadows, and then the voice from the shadows slowly uttered, repeatedly, “In due time, in due time…!” My mind really began to race, trying to figure out who or what in the world had got in this room with me, and secondly, what did it want from me?

I began trying to communicate with this voice from the shadows, hoping I would be able to at least get some knowledge as to who this was, and what it was that it wanted from me.

“Hello, who goes there?” I yelled, but the voice from the shadows only made its usual comment: “In due time, in due time…!”

I tried to keep calm, because I had no idea what kind of situation I was in, but there was something about the voice that made me uneasy. I decided to make one more attempt to find out why this person or thing was in the room with me, and why I was there in the first place.

I called out: “Who are you, and what do you want with me?”

Then, out of the shadows a low figure began to creep out in front of me, but only this time what was being uttered had become a little bit more terrifying.

“I’ve been waiting for you, DeAndre,” it told me, and all I could say back was “How do you know my name?”

It was a very elderly man who had to weigh about one hundred pounds soaking wet, and he was wearing worn-out, tattered clothing and slid his left foot lazily as he walked. He had long white hair with a thick, scruffy beard, and the most demonic green eyes I had ever seen. My heart was pounding so hard and fast that I thought I would have a heart attack.

He crept up close to me and looked me right in the eye and said, “You have nothing to be afraid of; I’m not here to bring you any harm.”

After he said that I was able to breathe a little easier, but there was still a predicament that remained. What was I doing in this dark room chained to the wall?

Just as if the old man was able to read my mind, he remarked: “You’re probably wondering what you’re doing here, right?”

“Uh, yes, I am. How did you know that?” I asked.

The old man looked at me and smiled. “This room can be your transformation chamber or your dungeon; the choice is yours.”

After the old man told me this, he just vanished back into the shadows, and I was left to figure out things on my own.

I thought to myself about what possibly I’d have to figure out that would set me free of this room. So I thought back to what I could remember before I woke up in the room, and remembered how my family and I were packing up to move back to California. I began to have flashes of all the things that I had taken for granted throughout the past few years. And I realized that I had had many opportunities to make sure I stayed in my favorite city of Las Vegas for as long as I wanted. I could have prevented myself from ever leaving Las Vegas if I just would have taken charge of my own life earlier. All of a sudden, I came to the realization that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t like it or agree with it. Even though I never wanted to leave, there are still good things that came from leaving.

In California, I was able to get back into college, and now I’m a sophomore with a 3.0 grade point average. I also spent a semester in Mississippi with my grandparents, and I joined a non-profit organization for a year of service and was even able to see my younger sister make it to college. So even though I didn’t want to come back to California, there was a lot of good that came from moving back home.

squaresdeandre garrett

DeAndre Garrett is a 23-year-old sophomore at West. His major is Counseling, and he plans to work with middle school students, helping to guide them in their pursuit of education and success. DeAndre plans to write a substantial number of novels and books of poetry, and he hopes that these works will be his legacy.