There’s a ringing in my ears as I open my eyes to take in my surroundings. Where am I? I look around and notice the pale walls around me. I feel…strange. It almost feels like something’s…missing? That’s ridiculous. I sit up and notice the wall length mirror across the room. I slowly walk over to it.

The first thing I notice is my mouth, or where my mouth used to be. It’s…not there. It’s gone. How is my mouth gone?! I hesitantly reach up and touch the spot where it should be, shuddering. I can barely breathe. I…need to get out of here. Am I in a hospital? Or…maybe an asylum of some sort?

I just have no idea how I got here. I turn around to see a door in front of me. I walk towards it quickly, desperate to get out. I turn the knob and close my eyes as I open it. I slowly open my eyes, walking out and looking both ways. There’s a long hall on each side of me.

I close the door behind me and think. Which way? Well, does it really matter? They both look the same. I’ll go right. I turn to my right but then pause. No, I’ll go left. I decide before turning to my left and walking straight ahead. After walking for a couple minutes, I stop. This hall just seems to be getting longer. That doesn’t make any sense. But neither does the disappearance of my mouth.

Where am I and how did I get here? I pick up my pace, now running down the hall. I swear it’s getting longer. There’s no use of trying. I’m trapped. Wait…is this a dream? It has to be. I have to wake myself up and then I’ll be home. Home, where my wife is making breakfast in the kitchen. Home, where my daughter asks me to read her favorite book aloud for the 500th time. Home, where I can actually speak.

I pinch my arm, and I instantly wake up. I’m in my bed and the scent of waffles fills my nostrils. I stand up and walk towards the smell. My daughter is sitting at the table, waiting patiently for her food. I try to tell them I had a nightmare, but as I try to move my mouth to speak, I realize it’s not there.