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     ...Terri blinked awake, and shrieked in amazement. She had fallen asleep on the couch, exhausted from hours of homework (writing assignments from English class), and now , although she had remained on the deep purple couch, her house was gone. And the entire neighborhood. Not to mention the bare horizon...
A dilapidated old laptop computer sat, ten yards away. The power was off, but it was still servicable. Terrie stumbled towards it, gave it a whack, and turned it on, letting it boot itself. As the screen glowed into visible images, it displayed the most recent window that had been opened: a final announcement of the mass exodus of the entire human race from the planet called "Earth".
According to the tiny lines of typeface, Mars was now the retirement home of choice, and Saturn was being renovated to accept the youth of the Earth. Terri gaped at the screen dumbly, then mindlessly hit the power switch again. The only option was to find some way to Mars, because, judging from her wrinkly grey reflection in the blank screen, it would certainly be an appropriate place to live now. (Amazing how quickly she adapted to this rather shocking development, isn't it?)
After about an hour of walking aimlessly, Terri came across the last departure terminal for Mars. Luckily, it was computer-piloted and the next window for safe exit was only in ten minutes. Breaking inside proved to be no problem, so she found a comfortable seat and relaxed for the duration of the flight. ("Please return your seats to their full upright positions....")
When she arrived, Terri climbed down the steps and looked around in amazement. The planet was covered with Plexiglass domes, because the atmosphere had not been fully purified yet. The soil had retained its red hue, and not one blade of grass marred the surface outside of the domes. Inside, however, were entire forests. Rainforests, redwoods, and a few species unidentifiable to Terri were contained therein.
"Excuse me," a small old man poked Terri gently and spoke again. "Do you have your directions? If not, I can help you find what your reality." Terri merely stared.
"Is there someone you know here?" Terri started to reply, then realized that her friends may not even be nearby. She tried a name.
"Uhhh....., Ron Stewart?"
"I am Ron Stewart," the man inclined his head towards Terri. "Do you know me?"
She backed up slightly. "I suppose I do. I'm --"
"Terri! Terri Kellick! Am I right? We haven't seen a trace of you for twenty years! Last I saw you, you were asleep on your couch. You looked worn out from homework, and so soundly sleeping, I thought I'd just leave you to rest. I assumed you'd wake up in time to catch a decently early flight here. Apparently you didn't .... tell me, what in the world did you dream about for twenty years?" Ron babbled excitedly, jumping to (correct) conclusions.
"Umm, yes, no I don't think I did, I don't remember just yet....." Terri could tell she would be here for quite some time, maybe even longer than she hadn't been here!
November 1996 -- Junior English writing assignment, based on Rip Van Winkle
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May 5, 2004
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