Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where she felt warm as if wrapped in a soft fleece blanket. and somehow she was floating in space, suspended by silken strings that seemed to reach upward as far as she could see until they disappeared into the ethers.

Lucia twisted around her soft cocoon until she could look down past that mist and vapor of what seemed like clouds. Below, she couldn’t see any land, but a faint shimmering of what looked like some liquid gold. She glanced up to her right and saw a red cord dangling near her face. She wrestled free her right hand from inside the blanket and reached to grasp the cord. Her fingers lightly grazed the cored, detecting a sticky texture or residue on the cord. The cord itself seemed to be made of soft plastic or silicon. She reached up again and grasped the red cord. As she tried to free her grasp, Lucia tugged on the cord causing her floating bed to lose altitude. Suddenly, she dropped ten feet. Lucia’s heart thumped wildly in her chest. That was close, though she had no clue what fate would befall her if she continued to drop.

In an effort to free her right hand, she reached with her left to see if she could pry her right fingers free. But her left hand automatically stuck to the red cord, with no chance of freedom. In a panic, Lucia pulled on the cord and dropped an additional twenty feet. After gathering her breath, she was able to see a little more clearly what lay beneath her. After gathering her breath, she was able to see a little more clearly what lay beneath her. All she could see was a bed of glittering substance, like gold coins or confetti. It was hard to tell, She activated her muscles and gave the cord a good pull, which then seemed to send her and the blanket cocoon into a free fall. As she fell, images of faces, known and unknown flashed before her. Mother, sister Anna, best friend Aaron, a middle-aged man with a salt-and-pepper beard. As she descended, her blanket unraveled and disintegrated into tiny fibers.

Lucia saw her destination out of the corner of her eyes. The gold pool approaching closer and closer she splashed through the surface, emerging in her aunt Rosa’s fake oil field. A thick black liquid covered Lucia, who was sticky, gasping for breath, and still hanging on to the soft red cord.

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