I’m in Georgetown, but it is more like the tourist area of some small New England town. There are small, square houses made of red brick and converted into restaurants and book stores. I’m looking for my mother and my step father, we had gotten separated after meeting for dinner. I look behind me and I see a woman. She is like a combination of all the beautiful young women who you would lust after if they weren’t related to you or so much younger than you. Her face keeps shifting between women I know and women I don’t know. She smiles at me and I want to go to her, but I know it is pointless and I need to find my mother and step father.
I turn back down the street and start walking through the crowd. I can see my mother and step father up ahead, but there are too many people between us. Every now and then my mother looks back at me, and there is fear in her face.
Finally I come to where they had parked, a small gravel lot around the side of one of the small houses. Their car is there, but the windows are all open, and there is no one to be seen. The lot is completely empty even as the crowds continue to move down the street behind me.
My step niece comes around the corner behind me, looking for her grandfather. We decide to take her car back to Oak Lawn, where my mother and stepfather live. But when we get there the house is dark and empty. We drive off in a flying car through a landscape I remember from another dream with a bicycle race through the woods behind Tandem School. But now the landscape is all covered with swamplands and an overgrowth of greenery. My step niece’s car is flying on its own, low to the ground. “Is this normal?” I ask her.
“It’s a Buick,” she replies.
“This isn’t like my stepfather.”
“You have to watch out for these millionaires, they’re resourceful.”
“Sure, he was in …” and I stumble over my words. I want to say World War I, but I don’t want to call it that, and can’t choose between the Great War, the First World War, and the War to End All Wars. “But he can’t do electronics.”
The car drives to a dark house, in a neighborhood with no streets. The houses are arranged haphazardly, not needing to line up with the roads. We sneak inside and go up to the second floor. My step niece is still going on about how dangerous millionaires are because of all their experience. I find an old bayonet, and take it out of its sheath. I am surprised by how clean and modern it looks, and the weight is a comfort in my hand.
We’re moving slowly through an empty room, with just some nuts and bolts on the floor. My step niece opens a blind a crack to look outside. I slide around to the other side of the window to take a look, and the blinds flaps away from the window as if blown by a breeze, but the window is closed and the air in the room is still. The moonlight is incredibly bright, and I can see the details of old tricycles and wagons out in the yard. The next house over has an old oil lamp glowing in a window, and I think that if things go bad we can at least head over there for help.
My step niece moves into the next room and I follow her, saying something about how odd the house is. She agrees, saying “The rooms are so full.” I look askance at her, given how empty the rooms are, but then realize that this room actually has furnishings and evidence of habitation in it. It opens onto another room back in the direction we came from, which is not only full of stuff, but well lit by another oil lamp.
Each room has a large, flat, rectangular box on the floor, with bright colored diagonal stripes and a bow in the corner like a present. I start poking at the one in this room to see if it’s booby trapped, but my step niece goes straight for a rocking chair in the next room. It’s sitting on a rough woven oval rug, and has cushions tied to it. She starts ripping the cushions apart talking about how clever her grandfather is.
I think I hear something back where we came from. I walk back cautiously to where the stairs we came up were. It’s a large room that opens up onto the third floor. I can see a square, turning stair case coming down from the third floor, but I can’t see where it connects to the second. There are several doors on this level with two or three stairs leading up to them, one of which I somehow know leads to the kitchen. I have a feeling they lead to the stairs to the third floor, but I’m afraid to open them.
Cat toys start falling from the third floor balcony, little balls with bells in them. I shift over to the wall and look up through a gap between the wall and the balcony. I catch a glimpse in the corner of my eye of someone dodging out of my view, and I know he’s just playing with us. I grip the bayonet tightly and run back toward my step niece, yelling “We’ve got to get out of here NOW!” I grab the two boxes in the hope that they have something useful and throw one to her, although she’s already laden down with whatever she got out of the cushions. Before we can get out of the room the fear and adrenaline wake me up.