I was in a paper village. Its citizens were all paper, but of diverse origins: construction , wide-ruled, college-ruled, watercolor, printer. The trees were paper too, and, ironically, people cut them down to make paper on which they drew pictures of trees. Everything in the village was white. The buildings were flimsy and thin; you could see silhouettes through their walls of people moving slowly and deliberately, careful not to disturb anything.

I realized I had a lighter in my hand. It was red, not white—sure to signal danger to the villagers. I had no pockets or anywhere else to hide the lighter, so I used my fingernails to tear a gaping hole in my chest and shoved the lighter inside. I was in more pain than I could have ever imagined.

But then my wound started gushing red blood, and the villagers saw and recognized the danger. It wasn’t fire, but it dripped on the white paper and made everything all wrong.

No other dream has ever affected me like this. I doubt one ever will. I don’t even know why. I can’t stop thinking about it. I doubt I ever will. ♦