Amelia Rosa Caldwell
ENG 272—Creative Nonfiction
Sandra Dihlmann, Instructor
Assignment: Write an essay describing a memorable place, real or imagined.
End of the World
I have no problem settling down; the control room is warm and cozy. The lazy snore coming from the rocket’s engine soothes me into calm. The trip is short, and soon the rocket’s doors open. A sky of yellow leads into a bright, deep orange, bleeding into a burgundy, meandering into a cavernous navy. Stars scatter the blue, and, to the right, I can’t miss the gaseous rings of a nearby planet. Huge, looping, faintly transparent orange and green rings surround and shadow a red, cratered planet, while swirls of asteroid belts leave their silhouettes across the dusty surface.
My eyes shift to the 900-foot rectangular metal posts that uphold this bridge where my pod has landed. The water splashes a shimmer thousands of miles under the bridge. The white concrete under foot is hard and unforgiving, though a warm wind envelops my face. Buildings grace the stilted island of city next to the bridge. Orb-like roofs and jutting lightning rods recline below the bridge; white, beige, and metallic building tops mask the city floors below. The view seems warped; the bridge is perched up high enough for me to see this spherical landscape – the ground bends around the bridge and the water runs around the horizon. My toes twist in my sheets.
Suddenly this planet seems much smaller as a highpitched sound screams over the landscape, followed quickly by racing stripes of fire. Embers stream across the evening skyscape while panic closes my throat. Large molten pieces of rock are falling towards the ground, and the red glow of the ringed planet moves hauntingly closer. I imagine feeling the hot, dusty tornadoes of the red planet as the ground slowly orbits.
My eyes search for my pod as the ground cracks and crumbles to life. I envision a skeleton of bridge falling and sinking into the contaminated water thousands of miles below. A woman’s scream is muffled as fire breathes itself through one of the city’s taller buildings. Miles away, part of the gigantic bridge has already fallen off; the metal posts shake and tremble under the extra pressure. Searching, searching for the rocket. I’m drowning in a sweaty piles of sheets.
I can’t recall when I first started having these dreams, or when they began to consume my waking thoughts. The place is not always the same, but the fear is. It sends me through space and propels me back into an everyday life that I can’t shake loose from my sheets. Have I become so fearful that I am no longer able to dream? That my nightmares are my reality?