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the clearing

we were confined to the bomb shelter for longer than anyone had anticipated. we started rationing food once we had eaten half of our supply but it soon became obvious that we wouldn’t have enough. it was difficult to live this way, 6 of us in a small dark, stuffy box underground. the worst was when we had to crap. there was no room for privacy. everyone looked away but no one talked so everyone heard your bowel movement. because of poor ventilation there was no where for the smell to go.
i used to dream about the forest while in the underground shelter. in dreams i would run freely through the trees, among the sweet smell of the pines and the dank cedar swamps. i would find friends there in the woods of my dreams. i would chase them through the dream forest but i would always wake before catching them.
one day in one of my dreams i followed lewis through the woods, ducking beneath low branches and jumping over large rocks and exposed roots. we were both laughing and shouting until we came to a clearing. the sun poured down through the leaves and limbs of the tree tops. it reached down to the ground in shafts of bright golden light and illumined the severed limbs and torn bodies of all the children and their families with whom lewis and i had attended school. it was a bloodied field of gore and body parts.
my father woke me from this dream. i told him where i had gone and what i saw. he assured me there was no field of gore in the middle of the forest. in fact, he said, the forests themselves were no more.

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