Em struggled her way back to consciousness.  Moving her cheek on the floor, she puzzled at the sensation.  Linoleum was supposed to be smooth and hard, not soft.  She slowly opened her eyes and blinked at a table leg about a half an inch from her nose.  Wiggling on her belly away from the table leg, Em placed her hands flat and prepared to push herself up. Her eyes widened.  Her hands were on either side of a large, red rose embroidered into a rug.  She jerked in shock, banging her head on the bottom of a wooden table.

“Ouch,” Em said, rubbing the top of her head.

After scooting backward so she would not hit her head again, Em sat up and looked around the room. Gone were the sink and the shiny, new chrome faucets.  Gone, too, were the refrigerator and stove.  In fact, the whole kitchen had disappeared, along with the worn linoleum. “That’s no great loss; in fact, that’s the best part of this crazy dream I’m having,” Em thought. 

Em’s brows knitted together. She must be dreaming, although she couldn’t remember ever having the sensation of touch in a dream.  Her fingers rubbed across the pile of the rug.

 On the ledge over the fireplace, which was no longer bricked in, sat a clock.  It ticked rhythmically and showed the time to be ten o’clock.  To the right of the fireplace was a beautiful needlepoint chair.  Two dark wood chairs faced each other, their cushions upholstered in a floral pattern.  One rested to the left of the fireplace, the other was next to the doorway.  Each chair had a walnut wooden table next to it, with an oil lamp on each.  Against the far wall was a settee, the cushion a slightly worn dusty rose.  The walls were painted a moss green.  The heavy drapes on the windows next to the fireplace matched the settee.  Chills ran down Em’s spine. It all looked so real.

Turning around to look behind her, Em saw the antique writing table from the attic  that had been sent out to be restored. A small dark wooden chair perched between the drawers.  Trembling, Em pushed herself up off the floor on shaky legs.  She tentatively touched the smooth surface of the writing table.

“Mom!” Em screamed.

A door slammed and Em heard footsteps.

But instead of her mother, the biggest black man she had ever seen filled the doorway.  He wore a stained and faded white shirt and calf-length brown work pants.  His feet were bare and covered in dirt.  His short cropped hair looked like a gray Brillo pad. He held a long-handled, curved knife.  Em took a step backward, lost her balance and fell, hitting her head on the mantle of the fireplace.  Pain exploded in her skull and she crumpled to the floor.