Yoshihiro stared at the paper figure.

"Whaa.. Howw....?"  He staggered backward in disbelief.

Then it dawned on him. This was the missing empress from the display case! If he was caught with it, he could be in big trouble. He didn't care too much for his life at the moment, but at least he wasn't in jail.

He ran to the door and opened it just enough to stick his head out. He looked both ways to see if there was anyone in the hallway that might have seen him come in. No one, good.

He had to figure out a way to get it back in the case. It was solid Plexiglas. Maybe he'd just sneak in early and put it in front of the display, and sneak back out. He turned around to go back to the bed.

It was gone! He couldn't believe it. He rubbed his eyes till he could see stars, but when he opened them again, the paper figure was still.. gone.

He didn't know what to do. There were no windows in this tiny dorm room, and there was no closet to hide in, so where did the empress go?

He got down on his stomach and peered under the bed. Nothing but dust bunnies. He looked in all the drawers of his bureau, but she wasn't there either. He didn't know what to do.

He laid down on the bed, his head spinning. What should he do now? If the empress had been stolen out of his room, then it was out of his hands, but there was no way that it could have been stolen. He had been right here with the figure the whole time. No one could have got past him.

He fell into a fitful doze. he had the weirdest dream. He saw the paper empress approach the display case from the outside, and meld herself through the Plexiglas. She then lifted her paper skirts and mounted the bottom tier of the display.

She slowly climbed to the top, with Samurai warriors and courtiers alike, kneeling at her approach. When she reached the top, she knelt before the emperor and kissed his hand. Then she rose and took her place beside him.

Yoshihiro woke up and shook the moth balls out of his brain. What a weird dream! He sat up, and felt something hard at the back of his knees. It was his closed notebook. He opened it up to the middle, but there was no sign of a paper empress ever having been there.

He went to his bureau to get a wash cloth and towel. He'd have to go down the hall to the shared bathroom and wash his face. As he reached out to open the first drawer, he noticed the ticket for the museum on top of the bureau. It looked to be the very same ticket that he had handed in at the entrance to the museum.

He was so confused! Did he already go to the museum or not? Did Kathy tell him off today or not? What day was this? Was going to the museum a dream? Or was he in a dream right now? He just didn't know.

The End

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