A nightmare wakes me.

Stuck to my sheets, breathing hard, the last images from the nightmare slowly bleach away: sloping cliffs surrounding a lake of dark, brackish water in sharp contrast to the pale, blue sky above. From the shore I watch the lake begin to bubble, as if boiling. A whirlpool forms in the center of the lake, sucking in water, growing larger until its pull reaches the shores around it. Then I was the whirlpool, sucking in the water, could feel the water filling my bowels, all the way up to my mouth, before descending into my lungs.

Right away, I have a bad feeling. Seems I’ve left most the lights on in my apartment. The wood ceiling and floors glisten, as if also sweating. I get up from the futon in my living room and turn off the swamp cooler.

The apartment becomes still. No crickets or traffic or trains moaning in the night, no neighbors creaking through the walls on either side of me. Just silence. I sit on the futon, surveying the apartment. Glancing at the red numbers of my digital clock makes me feel a little better, 2:11 AM. That could explain the silence.

My stomach continues to sink, though.

I head across the great room to the kitchen side, one of two darkened spots in the apartment. The other is my bedroom, where I watch tv. My stomach protests. The glass brick in my kitchen is black, which is also peculiar. I should see light from the sodium lamps placed throughout the courtyard below. No light, though, not even ambient light. I flip the toggle on the old light switch in the kitchen, it clicks and the light goes on. I open the refrigerator, standing by itself between glass brick columns. More light, my groceries from a trip to the store I don’t remember.