| Another day at work, lots of new faces to meet, loads of caffeine ingested and lots of photos taken. I decided to hang around at the office shortly after Spencer dismissed me, Arkin also dropped by earlier and we had coffee together.
After leaving the office, I decided to explore the city on my own; I passed through the coffee shop, walked by the local flower store and decided to do some book shopping at the local book store. I entered the air-condition store, greeting me was a scent of new books infused with old and rarely used encyclopedias. As an avid fiction and romance fan, I headed for the different segments which interest me. As I was perusing through the vast selection of the store, I bumped into someone.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to- Mr. Clarke?” I apologized as the person I bumped into turned around. “Oh, Bradford, my young photographer,” he greeted me. “Sir Clarke, what are you doing here? I heard you had no photo shoots for Weekly Teen,” I asked him. “I’m just enjoying my day off, young lad,” he answered. “I see you’re an avid fan of literature,” he said. “Well, when I have nothing to do really, I just read, if not take pictures.” I answered. “Hey, why don’t we have tea outside after I buy these, okay?” he invited, “I don’t see why not,” I agreed.
After we paid for the books we got, I heard the haunting yet soothing voice, once again inaudible. “What’s wrong?” Mr. Clarke asked me, “Nothing, just a tiny migraine,” I answered as I shrugged it off. “Are you sure? You look pretty scared,” he worriedly asked me as he put his hand on my forehead. “I’m fine, Mr. Clarke, thanks for your concern,” I answered.
We walked to the tea place and sat there for a while before ordering. “You know, travel is very fascinating, even more interesting if you brought a camera with you, it’s as if you can travel to a different dimension just by photographing a simple object,” he suddenly told me, “Well, yeah, I agree, but I never really traveled far,” I shared. “One can travel as far as the mind can go or the universe can reach, young man.” He added. Weird, I noticed as he was talking that he had this purple glow around him, the same purple glow I kept on seeing ever since yesterday. “Very deep, Mr. Clarke,” was all I could say. “Indeed, shall we order?” he inquired politely.
When we got our tea and our garlic bread, we both spotted a monarch butterfly perched on our tea cup; both of us took our cameras out and shot the butterfly multiple times before it fluttered off. “Moments like that can make memories, but once that moment is photographed, it will be immortalized,” again, Mr. Clarke gave me a philosophical advice as he had another purple glow. I was hesitant to ask him if he felt weird or anything, but I didn’t because he may think that I am crazy or something.
“The color purple suits me, doesn’t it?” he asked me suddenly. “Pardon?” I asked. “You’ve been staring at me for a moment, so maybe I thought that my shirt fascinated you,” he explained. “Yes, purple does suit you, Mr. Clarke,” I answered. For a moment there, I thought he knew about the purple haze I kept on seeing. “Please, Bradford, call me Clarke,” he asked me. “Okay then,” I agreed. Clarke’s very friendly for some reason, well, most of the photographers I’ve worked so far are nice too, but Clarke’s quite different. “But Clarke, you’re years older than me, I’ll just keep the sir for respect,” I suddenly blurted out. “If you insist,” he said as he winked at me. Weird, I felt the same way when Arkin was teasing me.
I came home just in time for supper and whipped myself up a slice of pizza. My mother was busy with the paperwork she brought home. As I was eating, I couldn’t help but notice that once again, there was this purple haze. I dismissed it, thinking that I’m just fatigued, I’m getting accustomed to the purple apparition though, yet somehow I still get the Goosebumps whenever I see the mist or hear the haunting voice.
I retired to my room without disturbing my mother as she was really busy. I helped myself to a stick of cigarette as I’m craving for the lightheaded feeling I’ve been looking for all day. Feeling dizzy after smoking, I literally fell into my bed.
I heard it once again, the lady’s gentle whisper as I was seconds away from sleeping. As I shut my eyes, I felt as if my body was floating, I tried to reopen my eyes again but to no result, it’s as if I have no control over my body. After another attempt, I felt that I was floating, drifting away from my body. I was certain that I was dreaming, this lucidity however I cannot control. A shrill yet faint voice I heard, it was that of my mother’s. Forcing my physical eyes to open, I tried so hard that it actually worked.
“What the hell was that dream about?” I asked myself as I checked my alarm clock on what time is it, “Who was the lady I heard whispering to me? I really need to stop smoking, or else I’d get more and more crazy dreams,” I told myself. Suddenly, my mother’s voice got louder and louder, she banged my locked door hard, as if she has something really important to tell me, I was hesitant to open the door, but after a few moments, I opened it.
“Bradford! What took you so long to answer the door?” my mother asked me with her usual quizzical stare, but through her eyes, I read a sense of fear, “What’s wrong mother? Can’t a teenage guy get some sleep around here?” I shouted, “It’s the sink, Bradford, as I was preparing our breakfast, the sink spew out a purple gaseous substance!” my mother shouted, “Purple gaseous substance?” weird, I could’ve sworn in my dream, there was this purple gas swirling around my body, “Well, maybe it was one of dad’s chemistry experiments?” I asked my mother, “Bradford, your father has been missing for two weeks now, how can you suppose that he was behind all of this,” My mother answered as tears were starting to form from her eyes, “Look, let’s deal with this in the morning, I’m pretty sure you’re just sleepy from all the work you’ve been doing,” I told her, “But Bradford” I shut the door before she could finish her sentence.
Pissed, I decided to smoke a few sticks before going back to bed, “Maybe dad’s disappearance made mother hallucinate, could it be that she’s doing drugs?” I asked myself. Probably not, my mother’s strength wouldn’t let her do those kinds of crap, knowing mom, I’m sure she’s just super stressed. After turning the lights off, I decided to go back to bed, funny, my bed seems slightly softer and more comfortable that the slate of wood I’m used to sleeping in. As I dozed off, I can hear the mysterious lady again, this time, her voice seems more audible. “Bradford, it’s time,” She said. “Time, time for what?” I asked, “You will know, after a conversation with a loved one, you shall enter a whole new world,” She answered. “Uh, thanks for the advice lady, but I really need to get some sleep,” I rudely dispatched. “Funny, don’t you know, you are already asleep?” She told me as she giggled. Now, I couldn’t see the lady, but judging from her voice, she’s probably around my age, a teenager, but her accent says otherwise, she sounds like the southern belle I’d usually see in the movies my mother used to watch. “Asleep? But how? If this is a dream, how come I can’t see you, even if this is a lucid dream?” I asked her as I was starting to get confused. “You have the power to control your dreams, Bradford, that’s what makes you worthy,” She answered, somehow irrelevant to my question. “You’ll know, after talking to a loved one, you’ll understand…” Her voice started to fade, I opened my eyes and finally to see the sunrise, time for breakfast.
After putting my shirt on, I decided to smoke a stick before going to the kitchen and have breakfast, what scared me was the fact that the smoke coming out of my mouth seems to form different blurry images, as opposed to the regular smoke movement.
As I sat down, I poured milk all over my cereal, typical breakfast for me, I rarely eat bread or rice in the morning. I also drink tea instead of milk, for my mother raised me on tea. Finally, mother came home from the market; bringing home a cat she called Dewi. “Hey, Bradford, I’m glad you’re up, can you check on the sink now? Oh, yeah, and meet our newest family member, Dewi!” Mother said as she showed the Siamese cat to me, as I looked at the cat, I was directly drawn into Dewi’s eyes and for a split second, I saw a face of a woman, a woman I haven’t even met before. That was definitely weird.
Finishing my cereal and my morning tea, I headed directly to the sink to wash the dishes; I could’ve sworn I was supposed to do something with the sink other than the dishes. As I finished, I saw this purple mist rising from the sink, it was beautiful, resembling the northern lights people usually see on the forever-winter countries. Funny, I can hear the voice I heard from last night’s dream. “It’s time, you’ve talked to your mother, and now you shall find your answers.” The lady from my dreams whispered through the purple mist. I was mesmerized by the mist, I can also hear my mother’s voice but I couldn’t understand her, I could also hear the cat snarling fiercely, but I couldn’t turn my head to them, as the mist grew stronger I felt my body moving closer to it. I can no longer see my kitchen; I can only see a room of darkness with nothing but me and the mist.
For a moment, I blacked out, regaining my consciousness, I helped myself up and went to my mother and asked her about the purple mist. “Purple mist? What are you talking about?” she asked me. “The one you kept on rattling about ever since last night,” I answered. “Maybe you mistook me for one of your clients in the Weekly Teen,” mother said as she pet Dewi’s body. “Yeah, probably, I’ll be in my room,” I excused myself.
I decided to read the novel I bought myself for my birthday, entitled “Endless Summer” I was so absorbed by the book that I noticed that mother was already preparing dinner; I decided to take a break from the novel and smoke another cigarette. The lightheaded feeling I get from smoking is priceless, the same feeling I felt earlier from when I saw the purple mist my mother seemed to forget about.
As I went down for dinner, my mother prepared my favorite meal, Spicy Salmon Patties. “Wow, mother, how’d you find the time to buy ingredients for these?” I asked my mom as I sat down, “Well, I went to the market earlier, remember? And I remembered that you finally found a summer job, so I thought of making a congratulatory meal,” she said as she hugged me.
After having dinner, I told my mother about the voices I was hearing, she thought that I was just hallucinating and that it’s just the excitement from my new job. My mother seems to be oblivious, but I could’ve sworn she saw the purple mist. Maybe she just dismissed it, thinking that it was stress taking over. I decided to do the dishes shortly after our conversation, after the dishes, I felt suddenly dizzy, seemingly oblivious to my mother and her cat.
I passed out, but I still have my consciousness, I saw my body almost lifeless on the kitchen floor with my mother and her cat seemingly not caring, could it be that I’m dead? Impossible, but then my mother would grow hysterical and call the ambulance, but I’m not, they’re just ignoring my body. I can move, not my body, but me, I feel as if I’m air. Now I’m really confused, to check if this is a dream, I decided to pinch a part of my body, but to no avail, and it was like I was a ghost.
I got the sensation I usually get when I smoke, I felt lightheaded. I felt as if I was air and can just be blown away, but I had total control, I went to the kitchen to inspect if my body was still there, and to my surprise, it wasn’t. It was missing, I was missing.
I headed for the mirror in my room, passing through walls and the ceiling. To my surprise, I was the purple mist I saw earlier. As things got weirder and weirder by the day, I finally urged to call the lady I’ve been hearing since last night. “Lady! Lady! Now, what the hell is happening to me? Is this what you wanted to happen?” I felt a tap from behind, and as I turned, I saw a lady in her teens, just like me, she just smiled and extended her hand to my ethereal form, without thinking twice, I touched her arm.
Suddenly, I she pulled me hard, and we started to glide, as we glided, I saw the universe and the stars and the other planets, we were traveling to hyperspace, but still I had no idea what was going on, we stopped near a black hole and finally she answered me.
“Bradford of Hawthorne, prepare your soul,” the lady told me. “My soul? For what? I’m already contented with the way I’m living” I answered angrily, “The fates have sealed your destiny, young man, neither of has have control over you being in the dimension, all I can say is, once you open your eyes, prepare for a long journey.”
After she finished speaking, all I can see is darkness, nothing but darkness, I tried shutting and opening my eyes but nothing happened. I wanted to move, shout, cry and run but I can’t move, and finally, I saw a light.