Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

Chapter 7

A sense of urgency awakens the man from his slumber under the tree. The sky has turned black, and there is not a star present. Behind him stands thousands of trees, and the tree that he leaned against to sleep. Their leaves are translucent bright emerald green, and a thick, dark, black cloud rises from beyond the horizon. In front of the man runs a deep blue stream. He walks up to the stream, and jumps into its waters, becoming soaked. He climbs back out of the water, and rubs his eyes.

The man turns around to face the sea of trees. Their leaves turn a fiery orange and begin to do a dance. Some of the leaves fly off the trees and dance about in the sky, climbing higher and higher and turn into pinpricks of illumination in the black sky, resembling very distant stars.

The man runs towards the trees and into the forest. The green leaves are replaced with bright, dancing red leaves. The brown tree bark discolors to black, then white, with blue leaves dancing about. The man continues to run deeper into the forest of the red fiery leaves. They do not touch him.

The red fiery leaves give way to a forest of white powder and black trees. The powder floats around aimlessly, and the man comes to a short, unburned brick building. The door is brown, and he can see no windows, although the door has a peephole. The handle is a round brass knob. The man turns the knob and enters the small building.

Inside is a bar, and a one armed barman. The clock is broken, and it only tells the minute, not the hour. The man sits down at the bar and orders a drink. He looks at the clock and the minute hand points to a 6. He goes back to his drink. He looks back at the clock, and the hand points to a 2. He pays the barman, and leaves the building.

A large panda awaits him. The panda is dressed in a suit, and walks upright. The panda motions for him to follow, and leads him through the snow. The man looks back towards the bar, and sees a pine tree standing there. The forest of black trees and floating powder has been replaced by a parking lot, empty of cars and things, except for that pine tree which seems to be growing out of the pavement, the panda, himself, and a shopping cart. The panda climbs into the shopping cart, and the man climbs in after. He blinks momentarily, and finds himself inside a limo. He looks at the panda and sees a tree in a suit. It is offering him a drink. He accepts and quickly consumes it. The limo door opens, and the man jumps out, followed by the tree in a suit.