How goes it, readers?
If any of you know me personally, you’ll know that I rarely have nice, happy dreams. It seems that nightmares are a sort of specialty of my brain’s. I’ve accepted this aspect of my life and rather than try to ruin them with sleep meds or hypnosis, I’ve decided to keep a dream journal. It’s a neat little thing for anyone, really. Here’s what I do:
Leave a notebook and pen on your bedside table or under your pillow. If you wake up in the middle of the night (or in the morning) with a dream or nightmare still fresh in your mind, write down everything you can remember, like prominent colors, people, locations and key events. Don’t worry about the linear pattern of the dream at this stage; just write what comes to mind first. Afterwards, read over what you wrote and try to think of the linear story line of the dream, if there is one. Remember, sometimes your dreams don’t make sense. They could just be a string of random events or people that don’t seem to really fit together.
From my experience, writing down your dreams can have several different effects on what you dream after you go back to sleep. Sometimes, writing them down can help you return to the dream once you fall back to sleep. Other times, it separates you from the dream, making it so you can’t have that dream again. There’s also some in-between with this; sometimes you have a different dream with some of the same people or places.
I don’t pretend to be an expert. This is all just from what I’ve experienced. I’ve tried writing for a week and then not writing the next, and I’ve realized that by writing in my journal, I have some control over which dreams recur and which dreams don’t. It’s not foolproof, by any means. But, it’s a step in the right direction for me.
A few short stories should come from this dream journal, don’t you worry.
I had a rather terrible dream one night. It was one of those dreams that you wake up, blinded by beads of sweat mixed with your own tears, grabbing at your chest for a pulse. I have had this dream four times in the past little while, and I think it’s a sign for me to write about it.
Essentially, the dream went something like this:
I was walking through a hospital. (Naturally, the hospital was vacant. A crowded hospital would be far too pleasant for a nightmare, don’t you think?) I was looking for people. In two of these dreams, I was looking for people I am very close to. I was calling everywhere, trying to get the attention of some poor, stranded, lost soul who might need my help. I never heard a sound respond to my shouts, but I knew someone was there.
As I searched, I walked down a massive hallway. Suddenly, a small girl with strawberry blonde hair came out of one of the rooms and asked if I needed help looking. I was startled (for good reason, too. Random girl in empty hospital? Doesn’t quite add up.), but I accepted her offer. She walked me to the front doors of the hospital. The automatic doors opened with a quiet whoosh.
It was raining outside, even though it was rather sunny out. I walked a few steps toward the door, but the girl grabbed my wrist and pulled back. When I asked her why she stopped me, she said that we couldn’t let the rain hit us. I asked why and she pulled a small dwarf hamster from the pocket on her dress. She stroked its fur and set it down, allowing it to leave the hospital and scurry outside. As soon as the rain touched it, the liquid began to eat away at the fur and skin. The hamster, shrieking and writhing, started melting on the pavement.
I watched with horror, but made a point to remain calm, for the child’s sake. I turned my head to look at her, and noticed that she was crying. When she saw me watching her, she cried even harder and threw herself onto me, holding me tightly. I wrapped my arms around her, rocking her in place. I stroked her head, smoothing her tousled hair.
I tried desperately to change the subject. I asked her where her mother and father were and she looked up from my tear-stained shirt and pointed outside. I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I felt terrible, like I had only made things worse.
I apologized and she rubbed her eyes and said we should start moving. The rain had stopped for the moment, and we walked, hand in hand, out of the hospital.
We walked for what seemed like hours. Neither of us spoke a word. Then a sudden hissing came from behind us. I spun on my heels to see what had created the sound, and saw steam rising from a single spot on the ground. I looked at the young girl and saw the incredible fear in her eyes. I gripped her hand tightly and began to run. We hurtled towards a building, no more than 50 yards away. The drops were falling faster now. A drop fell on the girl’s sweater and she struggled trying to get it off. As she was doing this, she lost her footing and tripped on a crack in the street. As she fell, she yanked me down with her, causing me to scream. She shouted for me to go, but instead I pulled her back up, asking if she was all right. She proceeded to nod and keep running, but before she could, a single drop fell on her cheek, and she shrieked in agony. She dropped to her knees, releasing my hand. I told her to get up, but the drops were falling faster than ever. I knew I couldn’t stay out in the open much longer, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave her there.
I rushed to the overhang of the building we were running towards. I called to her, screaming for her to get up and run to me. The rain only fell harder, and the sound of the hissing seemed to mask my protests. The acid was burning holes in her flowery dress. She was screaming and writhing on the ground in pain. It took everything I had not to rush back out into the open to try and save her.
Her once porcelain face was melting and flesh was dripping from her bones. But, through the grueling ordeal, she managed to stop screaming and smile. She called to me, in a raspy, painful voice. She told me that she was going to go be with her parents, and that I should keep searching. She asked me not to worry about her. I fell to my knees, begging her to forgive me for not saving her. She rolled over so that I couldn’t see her face and I watched her melt away.
I sat there for a long time, staring at the spot that the little girl once was. Finally, I exhaled and stood. I moved into the building and the dream ended.
Pretty eery, eh?
Anyway, I think I’m going to expand on this idea and add a little more depth. Feedback would be nice. Thanks readers.
She woke up to something. What it was, I’m not quite sure yet (mostly because she refuses to tell me). All she has told me is that we need to leave the house at three in the morning and drive south until we reach some giant landmark that she can’t even describe, and meet some other whack job just like her who had the same clinically unhealthy dream she did. If that sounds minutely strange to you, join the club.
My name’s Mark, and I’m living with my girlfriend, Angie. For the past few months now, Angie’s been acting really strange about her dreams. It’s almost like they’re messages from some other, I don’t know, “realm,” I suppose. Every time she has one of these insane dreams, she has to act on them in some way. It hasn’t gotten out of hand, until now.
Now, she wants to leave the sanctity and comfort of our apartment in the middle of the night to meet someone who may or may not have (I’m leaning towards the latter) had a dream telling them to leave their perfectly safe, warm house to come see her, so they can exchange information, or baseball cards, whatever. I’m really not sure what’s going on, but I’m attempting to be as supportive as I possibly can. But being supportive is a little difficult when it requires leaving a comfy bed for a cold, menacing bike ride towards God knows what.
Angie insists that she drive, which is particularly awkward because I don’t remember her ever learning how to ride my motorcycle. I think to myself, why not let her try to move it a few feet and get a laugh or two out of it later, what the hell. But as soon as she swung her leg over that bike, I knew that she knew what she was doing.
Being a newcomer to the bitch seat on my bike, I decided to take in the twilight sites around us. Good that I did, because something is changing. Subtly, of course, but changing nonetheless. The houses and buildings that we pass look the same as they always have, but something’s different about the whole feel of the city. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it. But in one of my overpriced metaphysics books claimed that the earth, the environment, knew what would happen long before people did. If my book is correct, then this town is preparing for something big.
It wasn’t long before I heard, through the speakers in my helmet, Angie mutter something almost inaudible that signaled she saw whatever it is she had been looking for. My head shot around to catch a glimpse of this giant monument, and I saw nothing but roofs and blacktop.
We turned the corner onto the street of an old, abandoned warehouse that I used to see all the time bustling with people less than a year earlier. As we passed the factory, I remembered what the recession had done to our town, and I silently thanked God for the steady income from Angie’s day trading, and the spot of luck my employer had that kept our company afloat.
We rode down the same street for what felt like hours. I checked my watch, and it wasn’t even four yet. I guess time just stands still for Angie, because she’s never late for anything. All of a sudden, Angie had her “oh shit, I missed that turn” moment, and we flipped a bitch. I could feel the blacktop eating away at my tires. Dammit.
And then we stopped. We just stopped. Not slowly down to halt, oh no, just stopped. I felt the bike lurch underneath me, though it didn’t pick up off the ground. It felt weird, stopping at that speed and not being thrown forward.
Angie shot down the kickstand and started walking towards a shop window. She didn’t even bother to wait for me. As I fumbled with my helmet and looked down to yank it off, I heard a crash of glass. I jumped and shot my gaze towards Angie, but she wasn’t where my memory had left her.
She was in the shop. I had always known Angie to be a good, door-loving girl, so I don’t really understand what could have provoked her sudden urge to commit a felony. I jumped through the broken window after her, but, with my night vision not being what it used to be, I stumbled, lost in the dark.
I felt her hand on mine and she pulled me forward into the darkness.
I don’t think I’ve ever told Angie about my slightly irrational fear of the dark. But she knew, and whispered, “Don’t be scared.” I thought it was my job to say that.
“You dreamed it?”
The voice echoed through the room, shot at us from everywhere, and I couldn’t pinpoint the source. I stood still as I could. I could feel Angie wanting to move forward, but I was holding her in place. She tugged gently at my arm, and replied to the voice.
The voiced echoed again, “Then I’m not crazy.”
This time, it sounded more human, and less genuinely creepy. I felt movement in front of Angie, and she exchanged salutations with the invisible man. I felt his gaze upon me as he said, “Who’d you bring with you?”
“This is my boyfriend, Mark.”
I tried my hand at humor, to stifle the apparent air of fear that I held. “I’d shake your hand, but I left my night vision goggles on the kitchen counter.”
The figure bustled to the other end of the room, apologizing on the way, and flicked a switch that nearly blinded me with light.
The man was taller than me, near-white blond hair, with pale, blue eyes. Chip off the Aryan block. His skin was pale, almost translucent in the artificial light.
“I’m Darren. I live a few miles from here. He didn’t dream it,” the man said, “did he?”
Angie shook her head. “No. But I figured I’d bring him along.”
The man nodded in approval. I took a look around at the room. It was pretty empty. There were plastic tables and chairs lining the walls, old pictures barely hanging onto them. The flowered wallpaper was peeling at the corners.
“Did you tell him about the dream? Does he know?” The man seemed almost anxious, rushed.
“No, no, not yet. But I’ll have to tell him sometime, won’t I?” Angie replied. She sounded damn near offended by the accusation.
“Alright. Just making sure, after all. Do you know if anyone else is coming?”
“No, I think it’s just us.”
“Okay then, let’s get started.”
The man left the room, Angie followed, and since I didn’t know what else to do, I walked behind her into the back room. The light changed. A single light bulb, hanging from the ceiling, lit the small, dark room. The force of the door sent it swaying back and forth. Suddenly, I felt a small thud on the back of my head, and my vision started getting fuzzy, like a thin veil had been thrown over my eyes. I heard Angie’s voice, muttering.
I’m sorry… It’s going to be okay, Mark… I’m so sorry… It’ll all be over soon…
The light bulb was still swinging, back and forth. It went dark.