Posts Tagged ‘nightmares


Dentures, Drugs, and Dreams, Mark 2


I said there were two massively weird dreams screwing up the sleep schedule last time. Here’s the other.

I’m at the window, staring down into the parking lot. A cab pulls up. One of the old school, yellow checker style ones. Someone steps out; hard to make out anything about them other than it’s male, tall and gangly.

He’s wearing a tan beret and a beige overcoat. I see him tilt his head up and glance at the window I’m watching him from while he rummages in his pocket to pay the cabbie. Somehow I know he’s staring at me, and that he’s come for me.

I back away, feeling like someone just reached into my chest and squeezed my heart. I hear footsteps on the stairs outside the apartment and I know the tread. The weight behind them, the pace; I know who’s coming up the stairs, and I react with no surprise but plenty of pants-wetting fear when the doorbell rings. My legs are rubber, my mouth dry, but I can’t stop myself. I go to the door and open it.

It’s him. Of course it is. I should have known when I saw the cab, or the beret. It can’t be him, it’s impossible – he’s been dead for a decade – but it is anyway.

My grandfather is standing in my doorway, though death has been kinder to him than living has been to me. His hair is thick and black instead of thin and steel grey; his eyes are a sharp and piercing, unclouded by glaucoma or retinal surgery or ridiculously thick bifocals. The lines in his face have mostly smoothed out, except the deep creases of frown lines to either side of his jaw, the ones that always made me think of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

He looks like he must have a long time ago when he and my grandmother first met. I remember seeing a picture of him like this, back when I was a kid. Probably why I’ve dressed him this way – the beret gives it away. It used to hang in the hallway of grandma’s house, a relic of him when he might have still known how to smile or take a joke.

But he’s not smiling now. He shoves me back and marches into the house, slamming the door with a sound like a vault or a tomb locking. In the way dreams do, there is no clear divide or sense of order to things, now. Only that he’s yelling at me, and he’s furious.

So am I.

His complaint seems to be that I didn’t buy a Christmas tree for him. I have no idea what relation that has to anything. But he says, repeatedly, that he can’t believe I couldn’t even chip in $8 (the specific amount is also odd to me) for the holidays. The berating continues, but there’s no sense to it. Either I don’t remember what the other complaints were or there weren’t any other specifics and it’s just one of those dream moments where you know things are/have happening/happened but you couldn’t say how you know it.

I’m getting angrier and angrier, and finally, I start shouting at him. I call him a southern-fried son of a bitch. I tell him that it isn’t fair he blames his failures, fear, and procrastination on his family, no matter how fucked up they might have been. I tell him to get the fuck out of my house and go be dead somewhere else.

He sits down in a chair, and I realize the apartment isn’t the layout I live in, now. It’s been changed to grandma’s house and we’re in the kitchen – his kitchen – while he’s taken residence in a half-busted rocking chair that was always in the corner somewhere in the house. He smiles at me, though there is no love, happiness, or actual mirth in it. His teeth are shockingly white and obviously real, not the poor plastic things he wore for the last few decades of his life.

“Make it a threat, maybe I will.” His voice isn’t young again, I realize. It’s still the voice of a 60-year smoker with every drop of venom I remember from my childhood in it.

“Get out,” I tell him. He starts pawing at the air in front of him with his left hand, snorting. He’s doing a bull impression.

“Threaten me,” he tells me again. “Go ahead and do it you little snot-nosed bastard.”

“Get the fuck out of my house, you Kentucky Fried, ignorant, stupid, useless, worthless, gutless old fuck or I’ll…”

I’ll what? I don’t know. I know the dream paused there like it was giving me a chance to come up with something really good. But all the threats I could think of sounded pathetic, the whinging of some little millennial gothling tripping on their own angsty agony and talking about what they were going to do to their bullies. His grin kept getting wider, and I kept getting angrier, and the angrier I got the more stupid and juvenile the potential threats became.

I think I came up with a good one. I don’t remember what it was. I was about to tell him so – and probably be murdered by him for uttering it, assuming the insults I hurled beforehand didn’t push him over the edge – but then I woke up.

Fun stuff, right? At least I’m done with the pain meds, now. Hopefully this cuts the dreams back to my usual recurring nightmares and insomnia. I’m getting pretty sick of this shit.

Until next time.

KA Spiral no signature


Layers, Part 4

(Missed the beginning? Start here!)


Mom and Sis didn’t seem like it mattered to them one way or another that there was a gangly loser standing in their doorway, one who was trying to scream and had the reek of fresh urine hanging about him. Dad noticed, though. It looked like it was what he wanted because I could see the hard lines in that face go smooth, then contract in the other direction as his lips pulled back in a smile. His teeth were missing; only ragged gums and a flopping, greenish thing beyond that I guessed was his tongue.

As one, they turned away from me, rotating their heads towards the ancient television. Dad stopped smiling. My lungs unlocked enough for the shriek to slip past my lips and allow me to take a ragged breath.

The reprieve was short-lived. There was a solid thunk from the direction of the entertainment center, followed by the distinct hum of old technology powering up. A moment later the house was filled with a test tone cranked up to almost deafening levels. I screamed again, this time actually getting one out, but nobody could have heard it over that noise. Covering my ears, I looked over at the television and saw it was displaying one of those old Indian Head title cards in grainy black and white.

That was new. I’d been expecting a different sound, thought I might even have been prepared for it. Was hoping for it, really. That was the easy part, the only part that didn’t make my teeth grind and my heartbeat turn into a techno beat.

Doing the only thing I could think of, I lurched towards the television, probably looking like some poor man’s impersonation of Frankenstein. I took one hand away from my ear, instantly regretting it when the sound clawed into the canal and ruptured my eardrum. I felt something leaking out and dribbling on my shoulder. The pain was bad, but at least the sound was deadened.

I reached out and shoved the television, rocking it on the little rubberized feet a bit. It was heavier than I expected. I shoved a second time, harder, and it tipped over, landing facedown only a couple of inches from my foot. I heard glass shatter, but the sound kept going. I don’t know what else I’d expected; things were built like tanks back then, and breaking the glass wasn’t liable to trash the speaker.

I did the next thing that came to mind, grabbing the power cord that snaked out of the back of the unit and yanking it as hard as I could. It came loose in a shower of sparks. For a moment I hoped they’d hit that obnoxious carpet, catch fire, and burn the whole mess down. Preferably complete with Mom, Dad, and Sis.

I wasn’t that lucky. Whatever toxic chemicals they used to pour on the carpeting in the way back when meant the sparks barely singed it. The lightshow ended a moment later with a loud popping noise from somewhere deeper in the house. The living room dimmed a little. I guessed a fuse must have blown or a breaker was tripped.

Either way, it put things back on track. When I took my hand off my other ear, I heard the sound I’d been expecting. Faint, coming from further back, down a hall past the family couches.

Somewhere back there, a baby was crying. I had to find her. Even though I knew what would happen when I did, I still had to try.

(Want more? The story continues here!)

KA Spiral no signature


Dreams and Nightmares

Since the last go-round of “spin the medication,” I’ve found myself dreaming a lot more. Or perhaps not necessarily dreaming more, but able to remember more of them. This is pleasant in some ways – there’s always an image worth mining hiding somewhere in the subconscious, after all – but fairly unpleasant in others – my penchant for recurring nightmares appears to have made a comeback.

They’re nothing new. I wouldn’t even classify them as anything special. They’ve just always been there – or at least as long as I remember, anyway – and serve only as reminders that there are some nights I am just not going to get any sleep.

But this one… it’s weird. One, it involves a place I’ve actually been; my other recurring nightmares are obviously somewhere far away from my usual stomping grounds. For two, I get an advance warning it’s coming before it decides to descend on me like an unwilling lover in the depths of night.

It doesn’t seem like much. Just a brief flash of an image in my mind as I’m getting ready for bed. In that image, it’s pitch black, but somehow I can still see clearly. There are clouds roiling overhead, the feeling of lightning in the air. It’s a school play yard, with a tetherball pole anchored to a tire, the ball hanging limp.

Doesn’t seem so bad, does it? I agree. But when I see that brief flash, I hunker down and put up the mental walls, because I know it’s coming.

In the dream itself, I’m back on that playground, standing in the middle of the asphalt, facing St. Teresa’s Catholic School. Here’s a – very rough – map; forgive my lack of drawing skills:

schoolyard map

I’m pretty much in the middle, there, in front of the K-3 building. The three “x”s are the spots I end up going to, though what order I visit them in seems random and changes each time the dream comes. But still, each time the result is the same.

I approach the object – the tetherball pole, a set of log posts arrayed like chairs, or the makeshift pitcher’s mound on the baseball field – the urge to scream rising in my throat. I know something terrible is coming, some Mythos diety-like horror that is more than I can stand, and going to those places will bring it… but I can’t stop myself.

At each place, I stand and stare at the clouds above, which are forming a whirlpool. Then something like lightning jumps from the object in question and through that hole in the clouds. I try to scream, but can’t; I can’t draw in a breath and the only thing that comes out when I try to expel what air I do manage to take in comes out sounding like a broken teakettle.

It doesn’t stop me. I go to the next spot, and the next, the same thing happening. Then I go back to the middle of the playground, turning to face the building itself. Sometimes I can see in the windows, sometimes not; when the rooms are lit and I can see inside, there are rows of dolls in the seats, all staring at me. I can’t tell if they’re actual dolls or dead children, or just so still they look like they might be inanimate or dead. Then I look up.

The clouds have all gathered in that spot, creating a whirlpool above; the other three are gone, absorbed into this one. The lightning jumps out of my eyes and mouth towards that hole. There’s pain and terror, but why I can’t say.

Then I wake up. Usually flailing for the aspirator or bolting for the bathroom.

I’ve had this dream off and on since I was a child. Different interpretations abound. Anyone out there a dream interpreter, want to give their impressions?

What about the rest of you? Have a dream that terrifies you, with or without reason, that you want to get off your chest? Drop it down below, or a link to your own post if you like. Maybe if we spread it around, it’ll lose some of the hold it has over us.

Pleasant dreams.

KA Spiral no signature

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