A Midsummer’s Nightmare
by Michaela S.
Burton Valley Elementary, Lafayette
As soon as I dashed home from school, I lurched my backpack onto the floor and ran outside. I kicked over our watering can and climbed my favorite tree as high as I could. I felt the tears, hot with anger, bursting and bubbling out of me. “Who needs school!” I thought. “Who needs friends! I have all the friends I need. I have Juliet and Romeo, and Julius Caesar, and Queen Bess!” I felt pitiful and each sob was like a punch to my stomach. I never wanted to go back to school again. None of them understood, none of them even cared. All of my friends were from Elizabethan or Shakespeare’s England. At least they never turned their backs on me. Except when Romeo and Juliet died – that’s why I never read the end of their story.
I wished I could lock myself up in the tree forever, but my mom was calling. I put my foot down but missed the branch. All I remember is my other foot following the first and my arms flailing. I shrieked even though there was nothing that could possibly stop me from hitting the ground. I knew I was high off the ground, but I was falling so long, too long. It was as if I was hovering with the feeling of falling. It didn’t look like I was any closer to the ground than when I fell. I went on screaming until my voice died away and the world was a blur of colors. I had drifted away.
Blink. Blink. I was on the ground standing straight up on my feet. But, I was not in my backyard. I was out on the street. But it didn’t look like a normal street. The road was covered in mud and horse manure and other filth. I saw people walking along the road, but noticed everyone was dressed in doublets and waistcoats. I saw a woman staring at me with a glare cold as the moon. “Mercy, child! You’re half naked!” I looked down at my tee-shirt and Khaki shorts. Ignoring her, I asked lightheadedly, “where am I?” Another man came over with a stare as hard as a rock. “She’s mad,” the woman whispered in his ear. “Great,” I thought, even here people make fun of me.
“Excuse me?” I asked sharply.
“Child,” the woman said, slowly, ask if I were an idiot, “what’s your name?”
“Hen-ri-ett-a Thomp-kins,” I said, mimicking her. She shook her head and said lamely, “follow me.” I didn’t budge, but she grabbed my arm and pull me off.
We were in some kind of doctor’s office. “Come in,” said the man inside wearing a powdered wig. I was scared. I didn’t know where I was or why I was the mad one. I sat down in front of the man and then came the questions. “What’s your name?”
“Where are you?”
“I don’t -” I cut myself off because I did not want to go down that road again. I thought about it and – bam! It came to me.
“Eliza- I mean England.”
“Where in England?”
Uh-oh. I took a lucky guess.
“London, sir.” He stared at the lady, who flushed pink.
“That will be all.” said the man in an intense and serious tone.
“Time to go,” the woman said, quickly and embarrassed. She reached out her arm and dragged me out by the ear.
“What was that all about?” I asked, smacking her hand away from my ear.
“You devil child, you wretched child! Making me look like the mad one!”
“Wait, was that like a, like, a crazy doctor?” She stormed off. I rubbed my ear. My stomach growled. The sky was turning lavender. But how was I going to get food? This had been an awful experience. I was never going to get out. I didn’t even know how I got in! I searched desperately for a food store.
After walking for what seemed like forever, I found a shop that looked like any other, but had the aroma of heaven. When I walked in, I feasted my eyes upon meat pies, bread and cheese, custard, boiled goose, almond cake, and apple tart. I wiped the drool dripping from my jaw-dropped mouth. The man at the counter gave me the sternest look of all. “Money?” he asked in a deep, intense boom. I didn’t have a cent of American money on me, let alone Elizabethan England money. I couldn’t answer. I was frozen stiff. “Just one ha’penny for two meat pies. Have you any money?”
“N-n-n-no sir,” I stuttered. He scared me.
“Out!” he hollered, then came out from behind the counter, chased me out the door, and knocked me out to the street with a broom. I was all alone. I was tired, hungry, misunderstood, and alone. For once, I longed for my school, even recess. But I was never getting out. I buried my face in my knees and weeped. Suddenly, something big and hard hit me on the head. Everything went black.
Blink. Blink. I was awake. I was lying down on a hospital bed. My mom was sitting in front of me. I was back! I was happier than I’d ever felt in my whole life. “Mom!” I shouted, louder than I should have.
“Honey, what? What’s so exciting?” she asked, chuckling. “How is your ankle?”
“Huh?” I had just noticed I was in some pain, but I didn’t care. “Oh, yeah, it’s fine.”
“Well, I’m glad. A break is a break.”
“Oh,” I thought, “I broke my ankle when I fell out of the tree.”
“Special delivery,” my dad said, walking in. His arms were full of get well soon cards. “From who,” I wondered. He set them down on my bed. I gasped. Every kid in my class had made me a card! They did care! Everything was going to be just fine.