It started January 5th, about nine in the morning.
Mrs. Foster was explaining factoring polynomials to us, and I was exhausted. I wanted desperately to go back to bed and sleep. Too soon after Christmas break to start thinking about math. I glanced out our window—the fog was still kind of like trying to look through a glass of milk. The sun hadn't burned it all away yet.
Just before I was going to look away, the windows exploded in a spray of glass. I heard Mrs. Foster scream, but it was cut short. She had fallen. One by one my classmates did the same. I felt my sleepiness intensify a hundredfold, and I fought it, standing up, but it was too much. The air shimmered, and I didn't dream.
As far as I know, I was the second to wake. The first to wake was the quiet boy, Cyrus, who sat behind me in the last row. I stood up and looked over the others. He was by the broken window, clearing away the glass, and for a moment I saw his palms, cut up by his efforts.
I stepped over still-sleeping classmates. "What happened?"
"Here," he said. "Look outside."
"I don't see anything."
"I don't either."
He picked up a large shard of glass from the ground.
He dropped it outside. I watched the glass shard fall. It kept going, and going, turning into a pinprick before vanishing altogether.
The other kids began to stir. Mrs. Foster was the last to rise.
"Mrs. F," I said. I stopped there, not knowing what to say. She stepped gingerly over the glass and looked out the window. She didn't speak—just looked out there, her grip tightening on the jagged glass still stuck to the window frame.
I left the classroom, feeling hollow and as though I had blinders at the sides of my eyes, at the same time, lucid, every sound and breath and footstep amplified, every fiber of the carpet and every scratch on the walls magnified. I passed by them, and ran down the hall and the stairs and the other hall until I reached the front doors of the school. They seemed enormous, and I so small, I pulled them open; my hands seemed so far away from me.
Below me was a sheer drop, like a cliff. The bottom of it was lost in the dense fog.
"I think I'm dreaming," I said.
"I think I'm dreaming," I said again.
"I think I'm DREAMING," I said, shouting the last word. My voice dissolved into the air, having nothing to bounce off of, and I didn't wake up.
I returned to my classroom. Cyrus was sitting by the door reading his Bible. The others were sort of mixed in their reactions—some girls cried in the corner, some boys simply looked numb, some other boys dropped things from the window to watch them fall.
"Find anything?" said Cyrus.
"Come look," I said, gesturing down the hall.
By now a few kids had begun to cluster around the door. I elbowed my way to the front.
"I'm having a dream," said a girl next to me matter-of-factly. "Watch, I'm going to fly."
She leaped from the door, ignoring the screams coming from her classmates. That was the last I saw of her.