It looked like your typical city row home backyard. Three walls and the back of the house. Brick patio laid when the place was built in the late 1800s. The walls were newer cinders with curved, hollow centers that allowed people to see through to the yard next door. The neighbors were hardly ever home.
He and his friend played paddle ball for the first time in the yard's tight space on a spring day. The ball flew over the north wall into the north neighbors' yard. Rather than walk through his own house and knock on their door and walk through their house to get the ball, he climbed over the wall.
When he landed on the other side, the air around him had color, a burning orange. He could hear a constant hum, like that of a large power generator vibrating. He felt it was perhaps ten degrees warmer than it had been on his side of the wall. He tried to look back into his own yard but the curved, hollow centers of the wall's cinders were filled with images of his own face – younger, older, much older.
Above the wall was nothing but that burning orange. He felt himself slipping into a trance, paralyzed with intrigue and fear. It occurred to him to get out of there immediately, and he decided to reverse the path by which he came and climb back over the wall. When he landed on brick and saw his paddle ball partner, he knew he'd returned safely.
"Did you get the ball?" his friend asked.
"Ball?" He remembered. "No."
His friend frowned. "You okay?"
"Whether I can trust my senses."