Dream of: 04 September 2000 "White Castle"

I had been living for several weeks in a small town in Mexico where I was studying in a school in which I had enrolled. I was beginning to tire of the place and was wondering whether I should move on. My accommodations were cramped and I had to share them with several other students. In addition, the town wasn't very appealing. Although the town was in a mountainous region, I had seen little enticing scenery, and found the place, overall, to be boring.

I decided that before I left, I would take a closer look at the town, and headed for a newer part of the town. I entered an area like a mall, with checkerboard floor of black and white, and stores lining both sides. Some display tables had been set up in the center of the thoroughfare, and I stopped at one table loaded with books. I was also carrying some books with me – a couple comic books and some small blue books which looked like Latin books I used to read. I didn't really need any more books at the moment, but I looked at the books on the table nevertheless, and noticed a paperback copy of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" among one stack.

An elderly man and woman who appeared to be tourists were also looking at the books. I thought about striking up a conversation with them, but refrained. They were talking about where they were going to eat that night, and I thought to myself that they probably had little else to do in this town except go to a restaurant.

When I finally walked away from the table and walked out of the mall, I remembered one other place in town which I hadn't visited – the white castle. The white castle stood on a mountain on the edge of the town, and I quickly found my way to a sidewalk at the base of the mountain, and could see the winding path tracing its way up the side of the mountain. I walked past the entrance to the path, unsure the path was open. I thought about asking a man walking on the sidewalk, but I didn't. Instead, I turned, walked back to the path, and started winding my way up the mountain.

I had only walked 20-30 meters when I noticed a Mexican couple (not more than 20 years old) walking several meters behind me. Relieved to see someone else also taking the path, I concluded the castle must be open, and I continued my climb. But soon I ran into a problem – the path became so steep, almost perpendicular, that I was having trouble going forward. As I struggled, the Mexican man and woman caught up with me, and when I failed to move forward, the man passed me. He began climbing up the perpendicular path, clutching to the hard-packed dirt. But suddenly, before my startled eyes, the dirt onto which the man was clutching broke off, and – unbelievingly – the man fell backwards over the side of the cliff. I stood horrified as I watched the man fall straight down the cliff in front of me, still looking up at me, falling backward to certain death more than 100 meters below.

I simply couldn't believe my own eyes, and I turned to the woman, who likewise seemed transfixed, unable to move. I tried to think of what I should say to her, and the words, "Did you see that?" flashed into my mind. Or perhaps I should say in Spanish, "Viste eso?" Whatever I should say, I also knew that I had to be careful, that I had just seen a man fall to his death, and that I was still in a dangerous situation myself.

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