I dreamt I was sitting in a 15th floor classroom of the academy I visit so often in my dreams. This time, though, the campus was spread out through Atlantis Resort, a major distraction for me. Instead of hearing what the professor was saying to us, I was thinking about all the more fun things I could be doing… most particularly, all the water slides.
The professor’s voice suddenly pierced my consciousness when she said, “I’ll give you until the end of today to get last night’s assignment done, but if you’re finished, I’ll take it now.”
Assignment? What assignment?
I glanced at my friend that sat next to me but didn’t ask. Instead, I peeked in her head when our eyes met and saw the essay I was supposed to do.
Oh, an essay! Piece of cake! Aloud, I told her, “I need to go do something. If anyone asks, tell them I’ll be right back.”
She nodded and I skiddadled out of the classroom.
I had very quickly decided on what I would write for my essay but had neither pen nor paper on me because… well… because I was distracted by the water park outside. But I knew the school store was open on the 3rd floor and figured I could just get what I needed there, write my essay in the student lounge, and then get back to the classroom with it in hand well within the deadline.
That was the plan anyway.
I saw puzzled looks in my direction as I headed toward the elevators. I didn’t see why that was until I passed by one of the mirrored columns that stood on either side of the escalators. OMG, I was naked from head to foot! Not a stitch on me anywhere. Nothing hidden except by my long hair and a soft cloth bag I had slung over one shoulder, and then not enough. Where’d my clothes gone???
My first impulse was to try covering myself with arm, hand, and hair, but this only made the stares more pointed. So I stopped trying to cover myself physically and instead used a bit of magic I hadn’t used much at all since playing Capture the Flag at summer camp when I was a kid: I made everyone around me think that there was nothing to see, nothing wrong, nothing out of place, nothing missing. I was just another of the thousand or so students here.
The stares abruptly stopped. Even though I was still naked, no one could see that anymore.
I rode a crowded elevator down to the 3rd floor and noted how people appeared to make room for me while not seeming to notice me there at all. Same in the store where I bought my note pad and pen. I grumbled at the fact that there were no clothes for sale in the store, not even tee shirts, but the clerk only noticed my purchase and the money I paid for it.
In the lounge, I had to walk past someone I knew named David to find a table to work at in the corner. Feeling his eyes on my, I had a panicky thought of, ‘Oh no, it’s not working on him!’ only to realize when I looked up at him that it wasn’t my nudity he’d noticed, so much as myself. He knew me, so he’d glanced at me in recognition.
‘Autonimity,’ I chided myself. ‘Must add that aspect to the spell.’
But it was too late. David came over and sat across from me where I sat, knees pressed tightly together as I bent over my writing, just barely looking up at him. I said, “Hi David. Sorry I can’t visit now. I have to get this assignment done fast.”
He said, “That’s okay. Just wanted to mention that I liked the way you walked past me just now.” My gaze had frozen on him as he continued, “It was very… ah… graceful. Yeah. It was graceful. That’s it.”
He blushed. Peeked up at me from under his suddenly downcast lashes.
‘Graceful? Oh jeeze….’ I thought. How had I been walking? Was it any differently than usual? Oy. Of course it was. I’d been taking tiny mincing steps, one foot directly in front of the other in order to keep my thighs as closed as possible and my glutenous maximus pulled as tautly in as I was pulling my stomach. It was a dancer’s walk. Yeah. Graceful. Great. With my illusion entirely built around not appearing to hide anything, my body language was nonetheless saying the exact opposite and it was just a miracle under that circumstance that the illusion had worked on anyone.
It had clearly not worked on David though. Great.
Best to brazen it out I supposed. “Oh. Thank you,” I said. “I have to finish this. Excuse me.”
He excused himself and left me alone to write furiously at my assignment, hoping no one would notice the hot red flush that covered me now from head to foot, insanely grateful that David hadn’t actually said he’d noticed even though it was obvious he had.
Finished, I tucked note pad and pen back in my bag and went to the elevator. I rode it up to the 7th floor where it abruptly stopped and all riders were evacuated by some official person poking his head in the door to say that the elevators were being closed for maintenance now.
I made a dash for the escalators and rode one up to the 8th floor. All others were being roped off for maintenance.
I went to the regular stairwell and found the upper staircases all blocked off. How would I get my assignment in on time?
I thought of the neighboring building which had a sky bridge going from its 15th floor to ours. So I went down the stairs instead and brazened the open sky and sunshine to walk across the cobble courtyard on my bare feet to the next building, only to find all its entrances blockaded. Jeb stood waiting beside one of them for me, sitting in his parked car. I wondered why, but just told him about the assignment I needed to turn in and how all my avenues there were being systematically blocked.
He listened with full attention, nonetheless completely missing the fact that I was standing there naked as I told him. He just said, “It’s okay. There’s a teleportal up the road a few miles. You can get to your 15th floor from there. Hop in.”
I got in the car and we drove down a winding coastal road. Apparently said Atlantis Resort wasn’t the one I thought it was. This wasn’t the Bahamas. It looked more like the coastline of California. Interesting. But I woke before we got to the portal, so I guess I’m not going to get that essay in on time after all.