I don’t usually remember my dreams, and rarely do I have any that last long enough to be worth mentioning. There are a couple that have stuck in my memory: a nightmare that I’m not delving into here because the two times I’ve had it disturbed me deeply and I would wake up in full catapult style; and a dream about a horse of unlikely colors that became mine. In the case of the latter I was very young (and furious when I woke up). In the case of the former, I’ve just tried to suppress the memory as much as I can.
But the dream I had last night (well, two nights ago at the time of this posting) was so bizarrely coherent that I thought I’d share what I recall.
(There’s violence. It’s not graphic, but I thought it best to give warning. )
For one thing, this particular dream was relatively easy to follow. I usually wake up only recalling the last image that was playing behind my eyes, and usually that image doesn’t make any sense at all. But this particular dream felt almost cinematic. And it felt like an action movie which I’d been sort of dropped in the middle of- though my actions made sense at the time, I don’t have any of the backstory for what was going on in the dream.
But I really wish I did now, because there were quite a few stories worth knowing in that dream.
My first very clear image from the dream is sitting on a second floor landing with my sister and one of our mutual friends. There were three rooms that opened from that landing- two were in darkness, though there was some dim light coming from boarded-up windows. One of the rooms was very bright; sunlight was coming from the broken windows and reflecting off the white carpet and walls.
The landing itself where I, my sister, and our friend were sitting was in slightly better condition than the rooms. The brown carpeting that stopped at the doorways and the steep staircase we had just come up was clean and undisturbed. The walls were undamaged, made of that indeterminate material colored to look like wood with the texture of overly thick plastic. I think the place was an old office building that had an apartment on the second floor; it didn’t feel quite like a house, but it wasn’t just a business. Either way, we were crouching on this landing, and I remember clearly that all three of us were exhausted. And we were hiding.
As we sat on the landing trying to get our breath back, shouts started coming from the floor below. I glanced down the stairs, knowing that sooner or later we’d be found. In the dream I wasn’t conscious of being afraid- I remember standing up and flattening myself against the wall to the immediate right of the staircase. My sister and my friend were both taking slow breaths to stay quiet. I don’t recall what was being shouted from the first floor, but I remember knowing that whoever was looking for us was going to kill us.
Then a man showed up at the bottom of the stairs. He had dirty ginger hair that was shaggy and unwashed (don’t ask me how I knew that; it’s dreamland), and plain clothes, nothing outlandish or from another era. His eyes were set close on either side of his nose, and they were very dark, almost black. He was glaring up at the staircase. I sneaked a glance around the edge of the wall. He saw me and began coming up the stairs.
Once he reached the top of the staircase, I hit him in the head with something. It could have been a hammer, or perhaps a crowbar; either way it was a blunt metal instrument that was in my hands. I don’t know whether I’d found this on the landing or whether I had with me the whole time. I’m curious about that now, but at the time, I definitely didn’t care where the weapon had come from. All I knew is that the man coming up the stairs was going to kill us, and that he had already tried to do so. So I hit him, very hard, trying to force him away. I was trying to take him down by any means necessary.
The fight was hard, because this guy was a lot taller than me and he was tough. From the way his blows struck, I think he was trying to stab me, though I don’t recall seeing a knife. For a moment or two we dodged each other at the top of the staircase. Then I gave him two very strong blows, and he crashed back down the stairs with a bleeding temple. He landed headfirst at the bottom, and from the twist of his shoulders where he lay, it was obvious his neck was broken.
At this point, the dream becomes much more jumbled. My sister and our friend both were talking with me, and I think- I can’t say for sure, but I think- that we were wondering if we were safe. Then comes what was unquestionably the freakiest part of the dream.
Describing it now, the subsequent event feels anticlimactic, but regardless, it was terrifying at the time. A person suddenly appeared, and at the time I knew (somehow) that my sister and our friend were seeing this face at the same time I was. The face appeared to be projected into our minds, and I think it’s very likely- though not certain- that the person we saw was the one forming the telepathic link.
The person was a man, with a very delicate face- small chin, small nose, and eyes that were completely white. His hair was black and he seemed to be crouching in shadows. A gold-brown light was shining on his face, which looked completely deranged. His teeth were bared as though in a grimace, but he appeared to be laughing. “I’m calling them,” he said, and I remember being repulsed by how gleeful he sounded. “They’re coming.”
At that point the image vanished. I’m not sure which of us three girls said “We have to go,” but there wasn’t any argument. We went back down the staircase, and we seemed to know what was coming. How I don’t know, but at any rate, none of us were surprised when we got outside the building to see a group of zombies shambling around the door.
Now this part is incomprehensible to me because I’ve not been reading any zombie literature or watching any zombie-oriented shows recently. I have absolutely no idea where the zombies could have come from in my strange subconscious mind, but one thing I know for sure is that though in the dream I labeled the things “zombies”, they were more like the skeletons from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl– just with less
coordination. Either way I wasn’t particularly afraid of these things- but I knew that we had to get rid of them if we were going stay hidden from the crouching man. And they were shambling towards us with enough ferocity that I was very glad to have an axe on hand.
Again, don’t ask me why I suddenly had an axe. I seem to have this image of grabbing it when we were running out of the building, but I don’t know whether this is me supplying the logical explanation post-the illogical state of the dream. And I was striking out at the zombies with strokes that would have made any self-respecting Viking proud.
The interesting thing about that portion of the dream is that I remember getting tired. I definitely wasn’t afraid that any of us would be eaten/caught, but I remember that the axe strokes were getting harder, and I was getting a bit sloppier as I went at the zombies. Part of that was the fact I was running away and then turning around, part of it was my arm just getting sore, and part of it is that I was just keyed up- in almost exactly how I would expect myself to react in any situation like this. My mentality was a small part shock at what I was doing, a large chunk was the basic urge to survive, and another part was assessing the situation and how we’d have to proceed.
It was a really strange dream, because there are all these threads running throughout it that I want to know more about. Because contrary to what the zombies might have you think, I really don’t think we were in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. I think the crouching man in the dark was the key. What the hell was he doing? Why was he using zombie-skeletons? For that matter, why am I so sure that he was the one controlling them? Why were my sister and that particular friend there? We’re all in very different parts of the country, or about to be; so why were we all there at that particular place and time? Who was the ginger man and why was he trying to kill us? What had he done to us that when I pitched him down the stairs, I didn’t feel a single shred of remorse or guilt?
So why’d I share this? Well, it may have jumpstarted a stalled story idea, and if said story ever goes anywhere, it’ll be fun to look back at this blog post and say “Oh, look- this is where it finally came together.” But I’d also like to know if any of you have had dreams that stand out in unusual ways from the usual nightly visions. Have you ever had reason to revisit them? Or do you try and put them out of mind as quickly as possible?