The first thing I remember is being at a cabin in the woods with a bunch of my family, and some strangers as well, who were making me uncomfortable. I was a teenager, and the cabin was very similar to my aunt Linda’s house with a large back porch and wooden benches, but the house seemed very old and dirty, with lots of stuff being made of wood or rusty metals. I was not having a good time. I had a real angsty teenager thing going on.
I can’t quite remember exactly what was happening, but I believe there was something along the lines of a couple of kids missing, possibly my cousins. The adults didn’t seem terribly concerned, but I decided that I was going to take it upon myself to go look for them. It was a bit rainy and very muddy out, so I geared myself up in tall rubber boots, and for whatever reason I put plastic bags over top of them. My uncle Rob started teasing me about the bags, and I felt extremely embarrassed, but I did my best to act cool and defend myself, insisting that it was a wonderful plan because this way if I got too dirty I could take a layer off and start over from scratch.
I took off toward the woods with a flashlight, and all the adults were watching me go so I felt extremely anxious. There was a slope that I had to climb up to get to the treeline, and it wasn’t very high or steep, but it was extremely muddy and I kept slipping and falling back down. I was getting more and more frustrated as I kept slipping and falling, and eventually I was pretty much on my hands and knees in the mud, about ready to scream, when a kid came out of the woods, yelling about something that I can’t quite remember now. I just know that he was extremely panicked, and the adults took notice. They were all crowded around the kid, trying to figure things out, while I was still stuck in the mud, struggling. I also vaguely remember something about my uncle tossing cats off a patio. I’m really not sure what was up with that.
At some point the child and one of the adults wandered off into the woods, and I managed to drag myself up out of the mud to follow them. I lost them almost immediately, but soon enough the woods disappeared and I was on some kind of school campus. There was a path that I was following, like I knew exactly where the kid and adult had gone, but I don’t recall what exactly the path was, just that I somehow knew exactly where I was going. I found myself in a classroom where a lecture was happening, and somehow I knew that there was a secret passage in the wall behind a boy who was sitting in the back of the room. Everyone ignored me as I wandered to the back, except for that one boy, who watched curiously as I poked at the wall and eventually pulled out a panel to reveal the passage. It was a kind of vertical tunnel that dropped down, and as I pulled myself into it the boy followed me. I don’t remember having any kind of conversation with him about what was happening, but all of a sudden we were companions, I suppose. We started wandering through these tunnels, which looked a bit like old mine shafts, with thick wooden beams holding everything up.
Eventually we ended up in a room that looked something like Xander’s basement in the first few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were stairs leading up, and a hallway leading out into a room that looked much nicer, furnished, with hardwood floors. But for some reason we got stuck in that room. I feel like there was some kind of ghost or monster or something that was attacking us, but I can’t recall any details about what actually occurred.
The next thing I knew it was a bright sunny day and I was traveling to school with some classmates. We didn’t seem to actually know where the school was, but eventually whoever was driving found it, and I recall one of my classmates saying, “Tracey, isn’t this right behind your house?” and I disagreed, but then all of a sudden I was back at my house (my parents’ house), and sure enough, the school was practically right in my backyard, just down a steep hill on the next road over.
Then I was in the house, and I know there were a few other people with me, but I can’t recall who they were. I remember a girl, I think perhaps one of my cousins, and a guy who might have been my husband. My mother was there as well, fluttering around like a lunatic, cleaning everything in sight. We were preparing for some kind of party or something that my mother was throwing, which was apparently going to be several days long. My bedroom had been entirely cleaned out and everything moved to the basement (which was, actually, where I eventually moved in real life), and the other rooms had been meticulously organized as well. The smaller room (which was demolished in real life to make my parents’ room bigger) was some kind of computer room with a futon, and the closet was filled with board games, packed into every inch of the space. I remember thinking that it seemed like a nice little place to hang out in, but I was busy showing my companions around the house.
I took them to the basement, and here my memory of the timeline of events gets very fuzzy. I remember at one point someone teasingly chasing me with something, and me running into the bedroom to hide behind the bed. I remember discussing a sign that my father had posted on the basement bathroom door, which said something along the lines of to not use it because of plumbing issues, but I lamented that, “Mark my words, the kids will come down here and use it. The kids always want to use the bathroom in the basement for some reason.” I also remember trying to do laundry, but there was so much of it that it was falling all over the floor as I tried to jam it in the baskets. And I recall finding a Living Dead Doll that was meant to talk, but it’s batteries had died. We were trying to fix this when we realized that the wires were not designed properly, and that plugging it in to an outer source made the entire thing go extremely hot, like it was going to melt.
The only other thing that I remember is that at one point we were standing at my parents’ back door, and there was a little deer creature – not exactly a deer, but about the same size and shape with bigger ears and weird orange stripes – on the back porch. I turned the lights on so we could see him, expecting that he’d run away, but he kept coming right up to the glass door and poking his nose at me like he wanted me to let him in.