Monday 11 May 2015

Never press the 'Mute' button during a nightmare

It may sound silly, but I’m a bit scared of going to bed tonight. Wary might be a more adult way of describing it, but to be honest, the way I’m feeling has very little to do with being a grown-up.

Last night I had the Grandaddy of bad dreams. Being a prolific dreamer I file them away in my mind, and this one would fit into the ‘Anxiety’ folder, although it was one of the most detailed, long and creative dreams I’ve ever had; to this man who regularly dreams three times a night, that feels significant.

I’ve been unable to focus on anything else all day and have to make my deadline. Maybe by scribbling all the horror out of me and dumping it on you, my poor colyoomistas, I’ll find some release.

In return, so that I don’t appear excessively self-indulgent and needy, you’re all allowed to come up with theories as to what the heck is wrong with me. However, pray spare the lead in your pencil if all you have to offer exists under either of the following umbrella banners:

“Adley, you’re a sick sad bastard!” or “You need help! Eat grapefruit and meditate!”

The Snapper, Lady Dog and I are living in a ground floor flat somewhere I do not recognise. It’s sunny, warm and there are tropical plants outside.

We notice over a period of time that things in the flat are not where they are supposed to be. Loaves of bread appear in the fridge and mugs in the cereal cupboard. The shape and furniture of the kitchen starts to change. Each time we come back home the place looks less and less like it did before.

One evening I take Lady Dog out for her peeper, and the garden has disappeared, replaced by a sand dune. At the foot of the white sand hill lies a large pool of crystal clear water. Somehow I know it’s fresh water, and as Lady runs off to jump in, I suddenly feel very afraid.

By the time I’m at the edge of the pool the dog had shaken herself off and run off to do what dogs do, so I stand and marvel at this absolutely still pure clean water, until I see what at first I imagine to be a crab moving across the bottom.

A plume of fine grains of sand are being disturbed by something underneath, and I watch as little by little I realise that this is a child’s finger. Then two. Then some hair, a rag doll blond crop of corn-roll locks emerge, then a head. Finally, without the slightest drama or struggle, a young boy calmly claws his way out of the sand, up on his feet and out of the water.

By now I am gripped by pure terror. However innocent and benign this young lad might seem to be, not much good in human form disinters itself and stands there, looking as if nothing unusual is going on.

The depth of my fear knows no bounds. I can barely breathe.

Deciding it’s probably best to flee, I turn for the house, where hopefully the Snapper will tell me that I’m an old hallucinating fool and nothing like this ever happened.

Lady Dog will make her way back home so I tun away, with neither a hello nor a good-bye to this apparition.

Yes, that’s a good word for him, I decide in my dream. That makes me feel just a little less terrified.
Well, it might, were it not for the fact that the child is waiting for me when I get back to the garden gate. Standing there naked, silently, head tipped slightly down so as not to even make eye contact.

But he shouldn’t be here. Even if you discount the fact that he recently rose from beneath the earth, he had not passed me on the way back.

This silent child starts to appear in front of each door until after a while, wherever I run, however hard I try to escape, he’s in every line of direct and peripheral sight.

The lad has done nothing threatening, apart from appear in all places at all times, which might just feel a mite unsettling, even if you weren’t dreaming.

Finally I pluck up the courage to approach him.

“Why are you following me? Leave me alone.”

For the first time he looks up and without the faintest trace of facial expression nonchalantly replies:

“I died in 1943, when I was five years old.”

Finally losing it completely, I try to run away but all of a sudden there are thousands of the boys, marching along the street like soldiers, each lad now accompanied by an identical tall dark man in his early twenties, who I know in the dream is the young one’s brother.

Trying to hide in a café, I hear them all yelling for me outside.

So profound is the horror I’m feeling, a tiny part of my mind delivers a sliver of blissful lucidity, allowing me to realise it’s a dream, and suddenly, into my hand is delivered a TV remote control.

Aha! Brilliant! Turn it off. It’s only a dream.

Without looking I press my finger onto a button on the remote, but instead of switching off the nightmare, the ‘Mute’ symbol appears in my vision.

Hell! I hit the wrong button. Now there is no sound, nobody can hear my screams for help. Several of the young tall men grab me and are just about to drag me away, kicking and raging, when quite outrageously, my sense of humour makes a long-overdue appearance. 

Down the bottom left of my mental picture, a tiny subtitle appears, right next to the ‘Mute’ symbol:

“This is where it all gets so scary, you pooh yourself a little.” 

I roar and yell for help yet again I make no sound, and then I wake up.

Sweet dreams colyoomistas. I’m looking forward to one.

©Charlie Adley

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