I expect to step out into a hallway, but I don’t. I step out and see nothing but trees. I lift my nose like a bloodhound and take a slow, long, thorough sniff. I am in a forest of pines. I smile slightly; this world is new and unexpected, but it's like I’ve been here all my life. I’m no longer wearing my school uniform. Gone are my leather shoes, gone is the starched-cardboard-skirt, gone is my scarlet cloth noose. My new boots press the soil underneath me as I savor the freedom of comfortable clothing. I walk and don’t look back.
The sounds of the forest wrap like gossamer around me - an imperceptible embrace. There is a large tree, far older than the others, that beckons me closer. The bark is an uneven, twisted mass of age and wisdom that's as warm as fresh bread. I begin to climb with what I hope is grace. I have a pulsing desire not to disturb my rhythmic blanket.
The air tastes crisply of early autumn and leaves. It's an innocently intoxicating drink, so I keep drinking it as I sit and think. The tree does the same and eventually, it seems like we breathe as one - like we were simply one and the same. The wind blows lightly. I smile. For that moment, everything is at peace.