I open my eyes and I am standing on top of a round island in the middle of a river. I am wearing my shirt and it is soaked through to my skin. I am cold and I shiver. The dark sky moves violently over the water. There are no cities nearby. There are no cars. There are no lights around me. I am all alone deep within a forest. I am surrounded by trees and storm clouds. I push my shovel into the earth in the rain. The dirt turns to mud under my knees. It makes the ground soft and easy to move. I dig into the island and my body pushes down. I feel stronger than I have ever felt before.
I dig deeper and toss dirt into the river. There are small rapids appearing in the water. The sound of thunder is everywhere. Lightning illuminates the sky but only for brief moments and then I dig deeper, alone in darkness.
The hole grows bigger and bigger and soon I am up to my waist underground. I see the roots of trees stuck inside the dirt. I throw large rocks from the hole into the river. They splash water onto my face and I dig deeper.
I think about how many steps it takes me to get to my parents room from mine. I think about how it feels to slide in between them when they are still sleeping, protecting me on each side like living walls, from the noises of the night. I dig deeper into the earth. I see earthworms and all sorts of beetles. I push the tip of my shovel into the dirt.
I wipe some sweat from my forehead and extend my hand, running my fingertips along the walls of the hole. I dig deeper and think about the Hummer rolling over on the road. I think about how I wish I could make life into a movie that you could rewind. I think about rewinding the Hummer and watching it flip in reverse back onto the road.
The hole is so deep that I can’t see out of it. I can’t see the river anymore or any of the trees. I am underground and I want to go deeper.
As I dig I feel like I am conquering great distances with each load of my shovel. I think about when we used to play games at the dinner table. I hear my mothers laugh. I see my father smile and run his hand slowly over hers on the table. I see her lean in and kiss him. I hear him say, I love you. The house feels warm and everyone is smiling. There is music playing and my mother and father stand up and waltz together across the lava field.
I push the shovel down deeper into the hole using all of my strength. I don’t save any for the climb back up. I try as hard as I can. I just want to get deeper. I fight my way through more roots and rocks. I brush my wet hair out from my eyes. The hole is growing colder. I can feel the rain falling down onto my back. When I look up towards the surface all I see is black.