I was the last one on the bus. The bus driver never spoke to me, nor did anyone who saw me. I was invisible, a shadow in the corner of your eye, just an illusion you may dream of after a long day. Were my efforts in vain? Was there a good chance this was going to be a waste of time? Probably, but I was taught to expect and prepare for the worst, but always hope for the best. That was key in this situation. The bus started slowing down. I gathered my thoughts, and got ready to leave.
There was a faint squealing in the air from the busses breaks. I stood up, making my way out of my seat. Grabbing my backpack, I walked down the aisle, until I came to the doors. Opened before me, I felt as if I was walking off the school bus into my old elementary school. I remembered the kids, younger and older, my friends waiting for me by our classroom window, people saying good morning to me, but all that was gone. It was just me going off of this bus. Nobody there to greet me on my way out. Attempting to keep my thoughts busy, I hummed a familiar song as I stepped out into the cold, windy night.
There was darkness all around me. The bus drove off, leaving a slight cloud of dust in its wake, quickly dissipating with a gust of wind. I looked straight ahead at the dark field, tall grass swishing in the wind. I remembered the instructions given to me by my superior, to walk Westward until you reach the lampost, and play the combination. As vague as those instructions were, I could figure there was probably some kind of instrument there to play the combination. I removed my metal compass from the mesh pocket on the side of my backpack, flipped open the cover, oriented myself in the right direction, and set off west. After scaling over a short barbed wire fence, I began to speed walk through the tall blades of grass, my compass guiding me in a straight line, heading west.
Anytime I took this path, I always thought I was going nowhere until I saw the light. As I was drawing nearer to the lampost, a sudden and powerful gust of wind knocked me off balance, but I quickly recovered and continued on my way. I got to the lampost, to find a circular clearing of flat grass about three meters in diameter, with the lampost in the center. Behind the lampost was a piano. With many indications of being very old, the piano was certainly playable, but too rough of treatment would surely break a few key components.
There were no pedals, and no cover protecting the strings. Most other wood parts looked in good enough shape, despite being outdoors. I had been instructed to play a certain combination of notes. As I struck the keys in the designated order, I could see the strings vibrating inside the piano. It was like kicking the foot of a model skeleton in a grade 8 science room, making all the fake bones shake and rattle together. This brought back more short-lived memories of my past, quickly fading. I had finished the correct combination. Whatever was supposed to happen, was supposed to happen now. This was our last chance.
The sound of the sustained notes had completely faded into the night. I waited a few seconds. Then maybe a minute or two. I looked up and around. Nothing was to be seen, just me, the lampost yellow light shining, the tall blades of grass rubbing against each other in the wind which had died down since a few minutes ago. Nothing was unordinary. Was someone supposed to hear the notes I had played? I checked my surroundings again and turned around to find a pillar made of what looked like gold! Only about half a meter in front of my face, I looked up to see that the pillar got wider, and branched off to form slim triangle-like shapes attached to golden rods, connecting seamlessly to the main pillar, leading back into the ground. It was what appeared to be a tree made of gold, certainly something you do not see every day. I touched the tree, but my hand was nearly burnt how hot it was! I could feel it getting hotter and hotter until it started to run and begin to melt. Deciding I wanted to keep my feet today, I backed away from the increasingly large puddle of glowing molten gold. Was this supposed to happen? This was certainly very strange. Was this the sign all along? Was this supposed to start a grass fire? The gold was boiling and turning to gas. Not knowing what happens if you inhale gold vapour, I covered my mouth with my coat sleeve.
The gold tree was gone. All that was remaining was the smell of burnt grass. I had no idea what just happened. I could tell all my colleagues, but with their history with me, they would never believe me. I had so many questions. One of them was how I was going to get back home. Who knows, maybe I’ll catch a ride with a unicorn.