Saturday 8 October 2016


A prolific dreamer, I head off to the other realm up to 4 times a night. Many are exciting, filled with adventure while some are plain daft, inexplicable beyond my own cod psychology, unworthy of further analysis.

Even in sleep nature requires a pay-off, so in exchange for all my enjoyable nocturnal excursions, I also suffer nightmares.

Oh yeh. I’m horribly good at them.

My creativity works overtime to come up with obscure and wonderful ways to scare the life out of me, Sometimes it happens quickly, simply and effectively; others drag out the horror through long slow torture.

Having enjoyed and endured so many dreams, I’ve learned that the movie running on my brain-screen is fairly irrelevant, compared to the feelings that accompany the action, which might bear no relation whatsoever to the narrative.

For example, once I dreamed I was lying on my back on the floor. Up above me on a small table was a cotton reel. My eyes were fixed on that cotton reel. My heart was filled with terror. My breathing was short and sharp, as I existed only to fear the cotton reel.

Thankfully over the years I’ve also developed some pretty good lucid dreaming skills, so I’m aware that I’m dreaming. Once you know that, you can make changes to what’s going on in your dream. My conscious self makes my dreaming self close his eyes, and when he/me opens them again, I’m dreaming a different scene.

As if to counteract my ability to lucid dream, my subconscious mind designs my darkest dreams, so that they start off with me sleeping exactly wherever I’m sleeping.

Confused as the action unfolds, it’s impossible for me to distinguish between what’s happening in the dream and what might actually be occurring in real life.

My simplest nightmare was undoubtedly the most terrifying of all: the essence of precision and purity.

I was sleeping in my own bed in my Golders Green flat, in 1988. Life was good and I was happy, with nothing to fear, but when I opened my eyes, I saw my bedroom door swing open a little. 

Around it floated a nebulous black cloud that made its way to my bedside. As it neared me it grew in size and darkness, so that by the time it was leaning over me it was a man-sized hooded cloak with no man in it. 

The left sleeve reached inside the cloak, produced a shiny steel 18 inch stiletto blade, raised it high with both empty sleeves above its headless hood and plunged the knife, with great speed and force, directly into my chest.

Waking, screaming, so true had it all seemed that it took several minutes to understand that it had not happened.

Then I laughed and gently patted myself on the back for creating such a perfect nightmare. Pure unadulterated terror. No sub-plots or ex-lovers. Just darkness, a blade and death.

This business of dreaming that I’m sleeping where I’m sleeping proved a challenge when I lived in an old farmhouse in Co. Mayo.

Again it was a period of great happiness for me. I suspect that it’s when we feel safe and secure that our brains drip feed us the mental pooh we’ve stashed in the background with a lid on, during times when we were unable to deal with it.

Why else would I suffer two of my worst nightmares in the same bed in which I dreamed, for my one and only time, that I could fly?

What an amazing morning that was! To wake up in bed having experienced an entire new dimension of freedom; of flight; of exuberant joy; of glory in existence.

How unfortunate then it was to see my bedroom door swing open, as I lay seeping and dreaming in that same bed, to allow in two young women dressed in printed frocks of the 1950s.

They came giggling over to my bed, took me by the hand and led me through my own living room, across the hall into my office, where one of them lifted her dress to reveal she had no nipples, no navel, no human form at all.

As I leaped back in horror they both turned and laughed, now revealing their skeleton heads, as they grabbed my right ankle, knocked me over and dragged me back through my house to my bedroom.

There one pinned me down while the other produced a hacksaw, which she proceeded to use on my leg, just above the ankle.

Both of them laughed as I screamed in pain, and I woke up clutching my ankle, feeling a very long way from flying.

Another night while sleeping in that same bed, I heard a knock on the door in the middle of the night. Outside a terrible storm was blowing, and my house was a good way off the main road, so I was concerned who might need help on such a night.

Putting on the lights I headed for the font door, where through the glass I saw the face of a long-dead distant relative, a man who I always felt looked just like the Devil.

He was banging on my door, calling me by name, demanding to be let in. When I shouted back through the glass that he was dead, he laughed defiantly, nodded in agreement staring at me with wide-eyed mirth and pleaded again to be let in.

Whoah. Me and my head.

Why my need to share this particular aspect of my insanity with you now?

This is my way of apologising to Whispering Blue, who slept here last night.

Well, he slept until I was screaming my head off, lost this time in a tornado vortex between life and death.

Then the Snapper woke me up, so that she and our patient houseguest might perchance dream too.

©Charlie Adley

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