When I was younger, I used to have nightmares on occasion; terrible things that woke me up in the middle of the night, sweating and shaken. I once woke up to pitch black and I could have sworn that I heard someone whisper, “I’m going to kill you”.
There were a couple of uneasy moments while I tried to convince myself that the voice wasn’t real.
I’ve woken up once or twice feeling like I’ve been crying.
But here’s the paradox, the tricky little bit that I throw in to make my life more interesting: I like these dreams. I wish I had more of them. I revel in them.
I hate them while I’m having them. Even while sleeping, I can feel my heart racing and the fear and the anxiety spiking. But after the fact, when I’m awake and cognizant of the fact that it was all just a dream, I’m happy.
I’m happy in the way I am after I read a scary book or movie. I enjoy being scared. I enjoy the heart pounding, the sickening feeling pulling at your gut. But I so rarely feel scared when I watch a movie or read a book anymore. The only place that I can be afraid now, is in my dreams.
Barring being in a car accident or attacked by bears or mugged, I mean.
Because…the fear in my dreams is always of something…incomprehensible. Some twist in reality, some bend in how the world works, something terrible that has worked itself into our world. The physics are all wrong, the geometry at awkward angles. The world in my dreams is a world where voices threaten from the walls and demons take the forms of dogs and men in wheelchairs and the sky is lit by a black cinder and the oceans hide ships from other worlds and the landscape is covered in shifting, orange growths.
It’s a world where anything is possible and it is so terrifying and so real and I always want to go back.
But now…now the dreams are fewer and further between and the nightmares are even more rare. They are dreams of mundane banality, where anything could happen, but nothing ever does.
As the real world creeps more and more into my dreams, I strive to push it back and out and block its egress and I think that I need to return to my fiction for that to happen again, that my dreams and my imagination are inexorably linked and that each inform the other.
It’s long past due to go back.