A week before the trial, I did a lesson where I asked my 5 Bestari students to fill in the blanks with verbs. Here is the story (with the omitted verbs in red):
It was a blazing summer’s day. My surroundings were slowly starting to melt: the trees, the houses, the sky and the pathway to my garage. It seemed that I was about to dissipate as well, becoming a puddle of glue-like substance left on the ground.
I was walking at crawling speed. My head felt huge and heavy, and each muscle in my body felt sore. My arms and legs were responding to the signals that my brain was sending to them at a slower speed than I thought was possible. It felt like a slow-motion horror movie, only it was happening live. I finally reached the front door and touched the handle with a loose grip. The path that took only a second for my eyes to see took about twenty minutes for my body to cover. But, I was finally at my goal.
I slowly squeezed the handle of the door in a downwards motion, only to realize it had barely moved. I gathered the last reserves of my strength that I had left in my body and pressed the handle again. No success. I pivoted around, leaned against the door, and slowly slid down to the ground. I felt faint. I was so thirsty that I could barely think about anything else. I had to get inside; had to pull myself together and open the door. Otherwise, I would faint there, near the front entrance to my own house.
I pushed myself up from the ground and faced the door again. I closed my eyes for a second, took a deep breath, opened them, and pulled the door knob down as hard as I could. It gave way grudgingly. If it wasn’t for the helpless shadow of a man that I was at that moment, I would definitely have screamed in happiness for finally winning over this stubborn door knob. But I could only settle on a weak smile and a deep sigh.
I went inside and had to wait for a minute before I could make out my environment. It was too dark, still boiling hot and, somehow, lonely inside. By the time my eyes adapted to the darkness inside, I could tell that no one was around. What time was it? And where was everyone? The house was completely and scarily quiet. The silence was unnatural. There was no sound coming from the working fridge, or ticking clock; nothing. I went to the kitchen to get some water, opened the tap and put an empty glass under it. But no water poured, not even a drop. The glass remained empty. This seemed like a complete nightmare. I thought that I must have been dreaming – my small world had become ravished by emptiness, and somehow, I was forgotten here all alone, left to pass away into the realms of thirst and heat.
I was having a panic attack. Yet with the panic, I was enabled by strength to run from one room to another, looking for anyone besides myself. Mom, Josh, dad, Charlie – no one was to be seen. The dogs were gone too. What is wrong with my home? Again, for the third or fourth time, I caught myself thinking this was just a bad dream. But my body still vividly felt the pains of soreness. Having no clue of what else, except the pain, that could help me distinguish between dreaming and reality, I had to accept the fact that I was living in this nightmare for real.
Suddenly, I heard a sound from downstairs. It was a faint sound that repeated in a second, only louder. I jolted downstairs, feeling cautious and, at the same time, hoping that it was someone, or something, that could explain to me what was going on.
The living room was empty. The source of the sound seemed to be from the back porch outside, and it was increasing in volume with every new cycle. It reminded me of when dad and I went rowing, and every time dad turned over the oars, they made the same whistling sound, cleaving the air. I ran outside the back door and was almost brought down to the ground by the force of the wind. It was a helicopter, right above me, maneuvering so that it would land on me. I laid on the ground, screaming, but I couldn’t hear my voice through the noise of the implacable blades getting closer, and freezing me to the ground….
… “Jason, honey, wake up! It’s just a dream, babe. You look so pale. Are you okay?”
My mom was standing next to my bed like a guardian statue. She tried to appease me as I was still screaming and flapping my arms. When I calmed down to a relative level of normalcy, I stared at the fan above my head, spinning and whistling like a nightmare creator.