I awake standing up in front of my house. I don't know how I got there or why, all I know is it's daytime and the air is stiff and silent. I'm standing in a pair of light khaki cargo pants and a white t-shirt, my jaw-length straight brown hair doesn't move in the wind. Then I lick my finger and raise it up to the dull blue sky and realize the wind is absent. My figure is muscular but my stature is short, not all unlike my actual self. I'm not as built as in my dreams, but I'm not complaining. After a few seconds, I realize I'm dreaming and the world seems to pulse slightly with a bit of extra color. The greens of the lawns lining my neighborhood are brighter, the browns of the towering oak trees darken just a bit more, and the sky turns to a bright shade of blue. Then it happens . . I know I'm sleeping. I can't wake up. I'll hit myself and pinch myself, but only become bruised as a result. The first time this happened, I panicked and almost cried because deep in my mind I knew I was dreaming, but I couldn't escape. Now that I was aware of my strange dream states that would occur every so often, I began to get curious. I was always told that you could manipulate your dreams in any way you wanted, but I couldn't get it working. Once, I tried to make a Dodge Viper appear in front of my so I could drive into town, but I ended up with a toy car still in it's Hot Wheels packaging. Perhaps since I had never actually seen a real Dodge Viper outside of a magazine, I couldn't conjure one? I stood for what seemed like hours, trying to make things happen, change, or appear, but most failed. Then I woke up. Now, I'm sleeping again, and still I find myself waking up in front of my house, wearing my same clothes (this time, a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt, I'm not very original) and looking at my house. I become aware of the dream trance and emerge from my confused stupor like a newborn from the womb. This time was different. I had had my fun in previous dreams, but I was noticing something I hadn't noticed before. There was no one here. I walked into my garage and drove my 1991 Nissan Maxima, a shitty but dependable sedan, out of it and down tree shaded streets into my small hometown. All the cars were still parked on the sides of the roads, all the stores in pristine condition, yet no one walked or drove anywhere within my sight. I felt uneasy realizing I was all alone and even more once I started asking myself why this was happening. Honestly, why would I be waking up during my slumber, just to muddle around a dream version of my life? I got the answer to that, but I regret ever wanting to know why.