Evidently I have to exorcize (exercise?) some demons again because good grief I had some miserable nightmares last night. Not nightmares like “oh gee, here comes the leather-apron’ed chainsaw-wielder again” or “uh-oh, where am I and why does that sleeping person smell of embalming fluid?” Nothing nearly so mundane as this. For me, the big guns start to come out when all of those clearly translatable bad guy situations up and vanish and I’m left with lots of badness and no greasy bad guys to attack. For instance:
Let’s say, you are in a house. On the prairie. In the full heat of the blazing July sun. And instead of a happy lil’ meat and potatoes romance, you're stuck in a desolate and empty shell of a house with peeling wallpaper and cracking plaster and weather-splintered wood and not a stick of furniture except for that damned chair that’s by the door for no reason. You know, the door? The one that opens to a dusky dark room you can't see into or perhaps to a horribly illogical staircase that only goes up at a very wrong angle? Yeah. That door. And next to the door, amidst the peeling wallpaper and in the mustard/sepia colors of forgetfulness, there is a portrait. And the portrait was painted to have aged and useless eyes, but still with eyes that appear to be looking.
And it’s looking inside that door.
And you feel excruciatingly drawn toward that horrible door.
And you feel like there’s something horrible sitting in that chair.
And you stand in the blistering heat, in the hottest of July days, inside a very wrong house, trying to steel yourself against what’s certainly just your own delusional mind playing games with you… and then a shadow slinks across the most peripheral of your vision and you hear a desperate, dry, ghastly sigh…
That’s where I usually wake up in a cold sweat and die a little.
I’ll spare you the biggest of my nightmarish big guns, but that one is certainly a ringer.
The one I had last night went like this:
I’m in a house, but it’s a bed-and-breakfast-y kinda place. Nice room. Books on the shelf and fluffy covers on the bed. Old Victorian bathtub. Old Victorian wallpaper. The hallway has pink and gold wallpaper and gold and pink plush carpet. *AHA* goes my brain, as it realizes one of the hallmarks of my personal horror library. For some reason, pink and gold wallpaper with pink and gold carpet ALWAYS means badness. I mean, surely you can see why?
Anyway, I go back to the room, fill up the bath and get back to just chilling out and relaxing.
After my bath, I’m kinda singing, which is a good sign because singing usually helps me get control in my dreams. Lo, though, all is not well, for there is a light on in the hallway and it’s just too damned bright to sleep with. So up I go, in my little foofy bathrobe, up to the door of my safe room and out into the ghastly pink and gold hallway to find a light switch. I start treading down the ghastly pink and gold carpet and pass a door on my left, a door on my right… each one secretly threatening to burst open at any second and reveal something horrible that will reach out and shout “BLARGH” as it claws me to death… But no such demise comes. I continue to walk, as the tension builds relentlessly, and I reach the corner where the stairs go down. The light switch is here. I have to turn it off here, with the stairs leading down, and the ghastly hallway stretching out before me – and I have to walk back to my safe room in the dark.
And I do not. Like. The dark.
And I clammily reach up and tick off the light. And my head is bursting with spinning anticipation.
And in the dark. I stand there. And I glance down the stairs.
And something very dark is standing there.
So this is where I wake up again and quickly die a little bit.
Sometimes I wake up to find myself in my own safe bedroom but with some horribly tangled green thing wibbling it’s horribly tangled arms at me as it hovers a few feet over my head.
Having dealt with those things for about 10 years by now, I am totally okay with naming the vision and rolling over and going to sleep. “Space Witches!” I proclaim in my sleep-drunk head and fall back asleep harmlessly. Because once you name a thing, it loses a lot of it’s oomph and can’t really do much to you anymore. Shut up. It works.
Sometimes I wake up to find myself back in my dream-room and not awake at all. Big fun there, since I get to do the whole sequence again.
I’m starting to realize, as I share these little mini-movies with others, that most people stop dreaming over the course of the night.
Stuff like this makes me sortof think that I don’t actually stop dreaming. ‘Course, stuff like this also makes me glad I never got into meth and acid and crap – ‘cause dude, you think I’m messed up NOW? But mostly I’m starting to string together a pretty solid theory about how I actually dream all danged night long… 8 hours solid… and that’s the reason I wake up so cranky and loathsome and generally unpleasant. Because the “rest” part of sleep isn’t always part of the equation.
After nights like last night, it makes me want to run to the nearest sleep clinic, let them shovel massive quantities of doze-doze down my gullet for to better study my brain waves…
But during the day I think about it and realize that once they figure it out, I’d probably kill off the nightmares and the space witches but I’d also probably lose the good stuff too. So now, in my admittedly sleep-craving state… I’m just going to try to pay attention to how many times I wake up in a night and think hard about what’s really butting into my subconscious for once.
(and send my regards to the space witches!)