by Dr. Mel Waldman

Don’t go down this way for fear of attracting a mob.

     A year ago I dreamed of a secret house sunk in the earth where the Living Dead exist.

     I dreamed this dark dream every night for a month.

     Each time, I woke up trembling, with my head pounding incessantly. Then the dream stopped. Still it seems as real and lethal as the first night it assaulted my psyche.

     When I close my eyes, I leave Brooklyn and I’m in Grand Central Station at the information booth.

     “What train must I take to get to the House of the Living Dead?”

     “Are you nuts, Jack?” the clerk says.

     “I must get THERE. They’re waiting for me.”

     “Like I said, we ain’t got no train that goes THERE, wherever it is.”

     I saunter off. An old man taps me on the shoulder.

     “I know where you want to go. Follow me.”

     We descend the stairs and the old man, who carries a large flashlight, opens a few doors adorned with the sign DO NOT ENTER. We enter the labyrinth and descend into the depths of the earth. It seems we travel for hours, perhaps days. But I’m not tired. This dark journey has invigorated me and I have boundless energy.

     We arrive at the House of the Living Dead. Inside, we’re greeted by a crowd of frenzied, frightened people.

     “We’ll have the lottery now,” the old man announces. “Our guest will choose twenty-two numbers at random. Those of you who POSSESS these numbers will meet with our guest, one at a time, for fifty minutes, in the Sanctum Sanctorum next door. After SEEING all twenty-two winners, he will sleep for two hours. When he awakens, I will ask him if he chooses to SEE more of you or whether he wishes to return to Grand Central Station where the OTHERS live.”

     I see the twenty-two lottery winners and listen to their horrific stories. Each one has experienced multiple traumas and has been confronted with evil. Most claim they have seen the Devil. These men are the Living Dead—lost, hopeless, without faith, without God. Trapped within their past, they wait for me to free them from their psychic chains.

     It’s too much. I feel their anguish, and slowly my soul vanishes, drifting off into the darkness. I must go home. The stories are heartrending and unbearable. I search for the old man who sits in a corner away from the crowd.

     “I want to leave now.”

     “You may go.”

     “Please take me back.”

     “I can’t.”

     “Why not?”

     “I am the guide to the underworld. But my trip is a one-way ticket.”

     “Then how do I get home?”

     “Enter the labyrinth and go north. When you must choose between going left or right, follow the wisdom of the soul.”

     I wish to tell him that I’ve lost my soul. But I remain silent.

     When I open my eyes, I look for my familiar Brooklyn streets. But all I see is the mob of lottery players waiting to meet with me in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

     Inside the House of the Living Dead, my eyes dart and flit back and forth, searching for the old man. He is not here. But in the corner, I see the flashlight. I pick it up, leave the house, and head north.

     God help me! Will I ever find my way home? Will I?