Perchance to dream.

All week, I have woken up about 2 hours after I fall asleep. I end up staring at the ceiling for what seems like an eternity, before sinking into a restless slumber, waking about once every 90 minutes. I have had terrible nightmares, from which I awake with a scream somewhere between my stomach and my lips, depending on the severity of the terror.
The dreams are always the same: I’m running from someone, or someone I love has been taken from me, or there is some Big Terrifying Thing just outside my field of view. Two nights ago, I had two separate nightmares; in both of them Anne was kidnapped and I knew that I’d never see her again.
When my head touches my pillow each night, it is with a sense of grim resignation. Many mornings, I am exhausted when I get out of bed. I feel like I’m not getting any rest at all. I look and feel like hell.

Last night, I decided to stay awake until I was just too exhausted to keep my eyes open, rather than turning the lamp off at 11 like I usually do.
I sat on my couch and read my book in the dark and quiet house. Around two, there was a ruckus out on my patio.
I put my book down on the table, and turned on the patio light. The Bogeyman stood in the center of my patio.
When he hadn’t found me in my dreams, he must have climbed over the wall of sleep to find me in my house. He had terrified me all week, worn me down, taken little bits of my life each night, and was here now to take what was left.
His skin hung loosely off his body. His arms ended in two enormous claws. Beneath his firey eyes, his mouth hung open in a silent scream. His black tongue flashed across jagged and uneven teeth.
He teetered forward, and I saw him flex his toes into the bricks. He clenched one of his claws into a fist, piercing his palm. Dark blood exploded from the wounds, and formed shiny puddles on the ground.
He raised his fist, and took a step toward me. I began to cry.
He took another step, and I smelled his Terror. His roar filled my head.
I tried to run, but he was too close, too fast, too powerful. His fist came flying at me. He punched through the screen, through the door, and through me. I looked down and saw his arm ending in my stomach. He clenched his fist tightly and pulsed his blood into my veins.
He pulled me close to his face, and tasted my tears as I died.

168 thoughts on “Perchance to dream.”

  1. WOW! Hey, reminds me, Neil Gaiman wrote this amazing passage in his journal:
    Monday, January 20, 2003
    Writing Sandman broke all my responses to nightmares. I mean, I know I’m meant to be troubled by them, they’re nightmares after all, but for years I’d wake so thrilled by nightmares that they became more and more infrequent, and you could almost hear them grumbling backstage as I woke up — “I dunno what’s wrong, I’m losing it, I did the whole corpse-with-a-knife coming at him bit, and he starts screaming ‘This is so cool, I can use this!’ I’m gutted, it’s just awful, I’m losing it.” “Nah, you’re great, Oswald, you’re still the best, it’s him.”
    So this is just to say that I had a nightmare and awoke going “wow, now that was amazing!”: a strange and intricately plotted story, involving at one point, the projectile vomiting of an enormous number of worms, and towards the end, a murderous identity-swap with an alien demon.

  2. Hey Wil, you need to start writing horror stories. That was very creepy, and you brought across your terror perfectly.

  3. I scanned down the comments – and it looks like Debby just beat me to the punch.
    Your tale sounded like a brief outline of some of Stephen King’s best works. If you could string twenty or thirty pages of buildup to that ending, you could frighten several generations of small (and big) children.
    I was mesmerized.

  4. Great writing skills! 😀 and damn my imagination… I could actually see all that was happening… gunna be thinkin about that for a while. *shudders* Keep doing things like this, you’re awesome man!

  5. Scary dream and all that, but – GOD! where did you learn to write like that?
    Wil, you have a real talent. I really enjoy your writing and I look forward to reading more of it.

  6. I rather enjoy my nightmares. They’re like watching a horror movie (which I also enjoy doing). My best stories come out of my nightmares.

  7. I don’t know why, but you almost made me cry. You sound so frightened. You have my empathy.

  8. Listen up folks. I used to have nightmares every night. USED TO. Now there’s alot of drivel on this thread about drinking more booze. Ridiculous. Nothing will disturb your sleep cycle more than getting buzzed before bedtime. It also sets you up for a lifetime of dependence on a certain chemical. What if you spend the night at your teetotaling aunt’s house? Nightmares again.
    There are some nice bits on this thread about lucid dreaming (“Try to see your hands” is a common method). Lucid dreaming is really great but it can take months or years to get to that level of awareness. Here are four ideas backed up by SCIENCE.
    1. TEMPERATURE. Turn down your house thermostat 5-10 degrees cooler than the daytime temperature. (Give the kids an extra blanky or warmer pajamas.) Try sleeping with one less blanket than you usually do. In the case of cold-blooded spouses, just fold back your half of the blanket. I used to have teeth grinding nightmares every single night that would wake me up shaking and crying so bad my husband would hold me for an hour to calm me down. But only in the summers. I sleep with fewer blankets and got an air conditioner.
    2. DREAM ANALYSIS. As others have said, the dreams you are having are “helpless” dreams. There is some part of your life that you feel powerless about. Many unemployed people have the “unseen thing chasing you” dream. Many teens have the “driving the out of control bus” dream. Think about it: sometimes its a part of your life that is not even very disturbing to your wakeful mind.
    Just because you have dreams about Anne being kidnapped does not mean you feel powerless in your relationship with her. It means that losing her is the single worst thing you can possibly think of to happen to you. She should feel honored to figure so prominently in your nightmares, some people dream of losing their houses or cars. You should feel comforted that Anne figures so prominently, and not your house or your car. I know, not much help at 2 am shaking uncontrollably.
    When I was single, I dreamed about men breaking in to rape me. When I was a newlywed, I dreamed that my husband was kidnapped. When I became a mom, I dreamed that people came to kill my kids. It shows your level of devotion to that which is being taken away in the dream.
    3. BEFORE BED INPUT. Others have mentioned this as well. I love murder mysteries, but not half an hour before bed. I faithfully watch CSI on Thursdays, but I also make sure to see my favorite sitcom afterward. I bought a set of sitcom DVD’s just to be sure to have them on hand. Sometimes, I read something light but engaging before bed instead of watching TV. Here’s the thing: if you watch a sitcom but when you lie down you are again thinking about that Steven King novel, whatever you watched was not engaging enough.
    4. EXERCISE. I think somebody mentioned this. An hour before bed, do some relaxing exercise to stretch the muscles but not increase the heart rate much. Do some Tai Chi, take a walk through the neighborhood, maybe yoga. Studies have shown that if your body does not get enough exercise during the day that it will get that exercise at night, disturbing your sleeping patterns.
    There are other things that might help but may require significant changes: Make sure the only thing you do in the bedroom is sleep and sex, so no computers or TV’s at the foot of the bed. Studies on children’s nightmares have shown, strangely enough, that intensely colored or busy patterned bedding may cause nightmares so exchange your zebra stripes for true blue solids. Also, make sure your bedroom is decorated in calming colors such as blues, greens, and pinks in mild color values.
    Try not to dread going to sleep. Say to yourself, “I had a nice relaxing walk (or whatever change you made) and now I’m ready for a long, peaceful sleep.” Fear feeds on fear: the more you worry about having nightmares, the more likely you are to have a nightmare because your brain is listening to your mouth.
    My husband can attest to the infrequency of my nightmares now that I have made these changes. Bona Suerte, everyone!

  9. I once dreamed I was being chased by Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 and even though I somehow managed to cut off his head, he just kept coming. I think he just grew a new one.

  10. Just to let everybody know…
    Lucid Dreaming is not anything “magical” or spiritual but something that even happens to those who do not know about it. I was able to control my dreams as a child and never knew anyone else could do this. I didn’t have any more lucid dreams until I found alt.dreams.lucid a few years ago, a very helpful newsgroup with many friendly people. I learned how to gain lucidity again – but did it take months or years to learn? Neither. I had a lucid dream that same night, and have had them quite frequently since.
    If you read and think about it a lot then it’s likely you’ll be thinking about lucid dreaming in a dream itself, and then what if you question yourself if you’re dreaming inside a dream? Well I’ll let you find out for yourself. But what I can tell you is that the dream seems 100 times more real and vivid (no exaggeration). When lucid, the conscious mind awakens to find itself in your dream which means the dream environment is sent directly to your brain instead of through your senses and nerves, often making your dreams more vivid than real life! I really wish everybody could take the time to experience this.
    Anybody interested in finding out more should visit (this is not my site) or even better buy the book “Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming” by Stephen Laberge. After all, why waste a third of your life just sleeping…? :)

  11. You should not have spent so much time playing Vice City…
    You have opened a portal to evil in your soul… and nasty power is going to flow through that portal into your mind until you heal the damage you’ve inflicted on yourself.
    On the other hand maybe all that simulated experience of violence didn’t really happen and has no consequence…
    You could just wait and see and watch things get worse and worse and the line between waking and dreaming fade…
    Try meditation-those posts are right, but don’t forget to focus on the good: compassion-love-kindness-care.
    Good luck to you.

  12. In my dreams, being killed is a sign that there is an inner conflict I’m not facing up to. When I get those ‘chase & die’ dreams, I know I need to examin what it is I’m afraid of and running from or they’ll hunt me down night after night.
    Good luck!

  13. Have you ever tried controlling your dreams? I’m not sure how to do it, but i’ve done it on a few occasions. I have been told that if you can think to look down and see your hands or hold them up so you can see them, then you can partially control your dream (for example give yourself powers of flight).
    I’ve found this is usually only possible when you are nearly concious, somewhere where you realize you are dreaming. kind of how you can talk to someone that is asleep, and in a sense direct their dream.
    If you can see yourself (in a mirror, or other reflective surface) you can have complete control of your dream.
    I’m not entirely sure if all this works but, hey, if you get to fly, and have your loved ones back merely by thinking about it, it can be fun.

  14. Here’s one for you. This one just jarred me out of bed about an hour ago.
    All I can remember, is being in a room. There was a door and a window in the wall, and I believe a couch.
    My roomate’s calico cat was there. I remember picking her up and holding her. Calling her by her nickname “fuzzball”. She suddenly looked up toward the door and window, as did I. It was dark through the window. Pitch black.
    I heard a voice say something, but I don’t remember what. At that instant I was immediately thrown to the other side of the room, and felt that someone…or something…was coming through that door or window.
    I sat up in bed while letting out a blood-curdling scream. My roommate was in the next room on his computer. He said it frightened the s*it out of him, and he banged on my door asking if I was okay.
    I got up and pulled on my sweatpants, and said out loud “Oh God they’re back”. I don’t know why I said that, and am not sure what it meant…
    I walked out of my room and went into the other room where his computer is for a minute to apologize for scaring the hell out of him. When I tried to go back into my room, I couldn’t get the courage to do it. I was afraid of my own room… I had to turn the hall light on to light my way to the lamp on my desk.
    Now I am sitting here at 3:22 in the AM and I’m afraid to try and go back to bed. I keep getting chills, like there is someone…or something…in here with me.
    Those chills started while I was driving home from a late night at work. It’s those paranoid “Someone is here and watching me” type of chills…
    My God I’m losing my mind…

  15. I have the opposite problem – my waking hours are the nightmare :-)
    I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and it will be the day after election day 2000 and Gore will have won.
    Ashcroft as Attorney General… weirdest dream I’ve EVER had…

  16. This used to happen to me constantly, and still happens to me on occasion (almost always in winter, actually). I realize you haven’t really asked for advice on this matter (especially from strangers), but these are some things that have helped me in the past:
    – Check your diet, especially stimulants and depressants. Waking up shortly after falling asleep always happens to me with alcohol and caffeine, and my dreams are freaky active if I drink before bed.
    – I’d always end up with what I referred to as “the finger-trap syndrome.” The harder you pull, the worse it gets — I’d have bad sleep, worry about it the next night, have worse sleep, worry more, rinse, repeat. Everybody always says, “Hey, don’t worry so much,” but the real trick is figuring out HOW to worry less. Relaxing is a highly-specialized task, while worrying appears to be a universal human talent.
    – Sunlight is good. Sunlight is your friend. Get out some. (I add this more as a note to myself.)
    – Eat well, exercise, all the standard medical advice.
    Anyway, there’s yet another dose of unwanted advice from your friendly neighborhood web surfer. Rest well.

  17. i find myself in a building where i spent the early years of my new york between two aparment buildings their was an entry way too the back part of the building where we left our garbage so the garbage men could pick it also led to the door of the apartment of the superintendent of the building.somthing was pulling me down their and i didnt want to go but i had no choice one way or another i ended up in front of the supers door or in the entry way running as fast as i could make my little legs go i would never get far i always kept sinking into the ground or feeling like somthing was stopping me from moving.for 25 years this dream scared me half to death about 3 times a week.about 5 years ago i woke up screaming and in a sweat from the same dream.dont know what was different that time but as soon as i woke up it came to me.i was afraid of the supers dog.not only is my dream gone but now i have 4 dogs of my need to find the fear that started that dream.until you figure it out the dream will keep coming back.
    good luck wil see you on tng reruns.hope you find your fear.

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