Posted in Dreams and Nightmares

Halloween Awakening

I wrote this blog post nine years ago and never had the nerve to publish it… it’s been sitting in my draft posts ever since.

‘Last modified 5 Nov 2008’:

This makes me smile every time it shows up on my desktop: Halloween wp (1600 x 1200). It’s not mine, but if you happen to like The Nightmare Before Christmas, it will be your thing.

The other night I woke up thinking “I must take those wallpapers down; they’re giving me nightmares!” Actually they weren’t, as they’re nice rather than nightmarish, but I had a Halloween experience…

Do you hallucinate when very tired? I don’t mean ordinarily tired; you have to be quite sleep-deprived to qualify…. but I believe it’s fairly common in those circumstances. Sometimes (for instance after a very long bus expedition, not having seen a proper bed for 30 or 40 hours) I’ve been so tired that I couldn’t sleep properly… it’s as though you’re collapsing more than sleeping. That’s extreme, but that’s almost how tired you have to be for this. To illustrate the prevalence of this (if you really need convincing): it happens to students who are studying too hard (and possibly feeding themselves with too much caffeine). It also happens to motorists who have driven too long and are falling asleep at the wheel. Not at all smart, but I couldn’t help being charmed by one person’s story of driving till he saw a cowboy sitting on a suitcase in the middle of the road. That was his cue to park and sleep.

This kind of hallucination is a waking dream; you think you’re awake and looking around, but part of your brain is dozing.

Caution: If you’re squeamish, eating something or prone to nightmares of your own, don’t read past this point. You have been warned. 😈

On Sunday night, I was so enthralled by a book (Grumpy Old Men: New Year, Same Old Crap by David Quantick) that it was a shock to find it was nearly 5 in the morning. Oops — time to turn out the light.

I fell asleep and dreamed I’d lost a tooth, which was causing me problems. At the same time I became aware of a cowled figure standing at the door beside my bed… just perceiving him from the side of my eye. He was about to leave the room but I didn’t think I could sleep till the blood was washed away, so I called him back, asking him to sort it out for me.

He came and twisted a dark grey tap, barely visible in the gloom above my head. I expected clean cool water, but it was a foul-smelling, viscous, dark, sticky liquid that glugged out of the tap onto my face. “It’s not water,” remarked the cowled figure with deep satisfaction — “it’s old blood.” And he left the room.

“I can’t stand this,” I thought.

I had been dreaming, but was awake now.

I opened my eyes (they creaked open reluctantly) and the whole room was bathed in a crimson glare, as though a blood-red moon was shining in through the curtains. Gaaargh. Closed my eyes again, and just inside my eyelids were several disembodied faces, squirming with red maggots.

“It’s one of those waking dreams,” I said resignedly to myself. “I wore myself out.”

There was a flash of light through the window, visible through my eyelids… I looked, and everything was steel grey. An improvement on the crimson… but I couldn’t see what had caused the flash. No car, no security light. It made me anxious, as though something was closing in, and my heart started racing.

“This is a real Halloween experience!” I said to myself. “It’s just a shame it’s two nights too late. Maybe I should use it in NaNoWriMo.” The maggotty faces inside my eyelids nodded and stretched their mouths wide in cackly agreement — I saw the funny side, and laughed out loud. Just a quick “hereehee!” — then listened to my heartbeat till it slowed, and finally slept.

At first I was blaming a blog post I read shortly before bed… it was unexpectedly gruesome, and I was hoping I wouldn’t dream about it. Possibly it set the tone. But according to this Guardian/Observer article (In the dead of the night), the brain is dealing with raw animal emotions and fear… and so, ‘anxious’ dreams will often be of a gory and terrifying nature. Nature red in tooth and claw.

Bet you thought you would never meet a real Halloween ghoul… I wouldn’t be so sure.

I mentioned the article to Mum, telling her that people sometimes see the Grim Reaper or even Darth Vader, and she said scornfully, “but what’s scary about that?” I said defensively that I wasn’t frightened by my own cowled figure; in fact he was trying to sidle out of the room till I summoned him back.

He didn’t seem very keen, did he? Maybe he was on his way to a party, and I was delaying him.

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Posted in Dreams and Nightmares

All is Red

I chickened out; I was going to post about a horrible dream I had last Sunday about blood and ghouls — then unposted it again. I’ll spare you the gory details, literally. But I woke up afterwards and opened my eyes, and everything was red, as though a blood-red moon was glowing through the curtains…

I said to Mum that cowled figures are quite common in dreams, according to this Observer article, and she said scornfully “what’s scary about that?”
“I wasn’t scared of the cowled figure,” I said, “he was trying to sidle out of the room but I ordered him to come back.”

And I’m not ignoring it or being horribly insular or something; I’m just glad the election’s over now. 😉
We’ll let Mr President enjoy his day of celebration, after which everybody will expect him to work very hard.

Posted in Computer Graphics, Dreams and Nightmares, My Cats

The Blob and the Flood

Have any of you dreamed about the character in this picture? Last night that was my misfortune.

His name is The Blob, and he has sinister intent.

I’m not sure what his intent is, exactly, and don’t particularly want to know. He’s a paranormal manifestation of some type, about the same size as a cat, and he lounges around sizing up his prey before going in for the kill.

I don’t remember much about the dream, but he was sitting on a shelf of books, looking at me. The rest of the dream is a vague jumble of deserted warehouses, a man who was helping me corner The Blob (had we become stalkers of the stalker?) and possibly even a panic room of some description. I’ve a feeling that the depressing university was somehow involved as well, but only as some form of distant backdrop.

There was another bit of my dream that doesn’t seem to be connected, but has the same dark overtones. I wasn’t me any more… I was a boy of about 9 or 10. My mother and sister were in Germany, and I was living with my father in a single attic room in Paris.

All our worldly possessions were in the room. One stormy night we were watching the news on our tiny black and white TV, the old kind with a little round set-top aerial. They said there might be some bad floods during the night. My father said we better be careful – these floods were so bad they might reach us in our attic.

We turned out the light and slept – I was at the far end of the room from the door (there wasn’t a hatch… probably this attic was divided up into rooms, and the hatch was somewhere else). My father’s bed wasn’t far away, but it was nearer the door. I was worried about all our books and stuff, but there wasn’t a lot we could do.

In the very early hours of the morning when I woke, I wondered if anything was different. I felt warm, dry and comfortable enough, but decided it might be wiser to look before leaping out of bed like I normally did. That was just as well, as the flood had come in during the night and was all round the bed, though it was particularly bad nearer the door.

I’m not sure that The Blob didn’t surface at this point… when I sat up and looked around at the flood waters, The Blob was there too, sitting on the books and blinking at me. I had to wade past him to get dressed.

I could remember so clearly what The Blob looked like that I decided to illustrate him…. and the flood as well. I didn’t start till it was nearly time to go to bed again (after I write this) and when Mum suddenly came up behind me and startled me (I didn’t hear her coming), I jumped nervously and shrieked. She peered suspiciously at The Blob, who was well advanced with his green glow and scary yellow eyes.

“What’s that?”
“The Blob… I dreamed about him last night.”
“Well that’s your fault.” (A hint I was sitting up too late making weird and wonderful pictures on the computer).
“He looks familiar,” she added, thoughtfully.

That made me laugh, because I had exactly the same thought only that morning when I was thinking about it.

“Cheeky?”
“Yes…”

Her cat Cheeky. Typical. Probably the kittens have been having this dream as well… Samson chases her as much as she chases him, but Delilah is quite scared of her. I’m sure the kittens have little games together when Samson slinks after Delilah in a certain sinister way… “I’m the big bad Cheeky and I’m coming after you!” Delilah runs off in a panicky flurry.

Anyway, I’ve introduced you to the stuff of our nightmares. Now you can dream about him too.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, My Cats

Night Terrors

I love cats, but they have their dark side, and more than once they’ve made my fur stand on end. My hair, I mean, sorry. The day the vet told me Fusspot had died, I was sitting here at my computer and the wind had got up. There was a loud crash from the porch (I know it wasn’t Sharky, as he was sleeping beside me on a director’s chair). It was either the letterbox or the cat flap. In my mind’s eye I saw Fusspot come whirling into the house in a fury, his eyes shining red, wanting vengeance – for what?

“How dare you leave me at the vet’s? I wanted to stay home with you; you know I did. What do you mean by it all, eh? Eh?”

The thought of his irate ghost drifting up the hall behind me made me shiver for a moment.

Last night I was trying to sleep, with Sharky lying on my stomach under the duvet. The light was out and my thoughts turned to Fusspot’s ghost. Again I imagined him entering the catflap and advancing up the hall. Suddenly Sharky twitched violently – almost leaping. His head lifted warily, and he began to inch slowly forward over my stomach, looking out towards the hall.

“He heard something!” I thought, worried. “There’s something out there!” I started to tip my head back so I could look through the glass door into the dark hall, then Sharky darted forwards and nipped my cheekbone.

What???

I was completely confused till I realized he was having a nightmare – again. If there’s such a thing as a sleepwalking cat, Sharky is it. On other occasions he has sat up and growled fearsomely, looking towards the door, and it takes you a while to understand he’s still asleep.

I hugged him to my chest and put the light back on, and he collapsed in a purring heap. When I looked at his face, his eyes were still shut, but he was looking relieved, as though some great danger was past. Slowly his eyes blinked open.
“Hello? It was just a dream, OK?”
Purr, purr.

Maybe he was dreaming about Fusspot’s ghost too.

Comments for this entry (from its previous life on Blogigo):

1. kateblogs wrote at Mar 20, 2007 at 16:17: Our younger dog does that. He will leap up, barking as though a mad axe man is about to burst in, and startling the life out of anyone in the room. Then, you realise he is fast asleep. Sometimes, he seems to have really nice dreams though, and will jump up with his tail wagging.

2. Pacian wrote at Mar 21, 2007 at 12:24: Aw! What a cute story! When my cat has a nightmare he tends to just wake up with a real start and meow loudly.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares

Futuristic Disaster

I dreamed last night that I went on a trip to the moon with a group of other people. Just before I disembarked from the rocket ship or whatever it was, I checked my Mac OSX horoscope widget, and it warned me that there was a disaster in the brewing and I shouldn’t go out anywhere.

Well, it seemed a nice clear day, and disasters generally affect people you don’t even know, so I gathered together my picnic stuff and strolled out onto the surface of the moon.

It looked just like Earth. There were trees and plants and hills and flowers, and a wide, deep stream called the Bosphorus Rambles.* We stood on a bridge and looked down, and then half of us went one way and half went the other. I thought the disaster would happen to the ones who went the other way, so at first I felt safe. Before coming down off the bridge, I looked over and saw a politician talking to television cameras. He was standing on a smooth golden-brown rock which sloped gradually into the green, swirling stream. He talked animatedly, waving his arms around.

I said to no one in particular, “he’s going to fall in.”
The politician tripped and rolled down the rock, but then stopped short of the edge of the water.
“Oh,” I said – “he’s not.”
The politician picked himself up then stumbled again, falling into the emerald green water with a splash. I shuddered in sympathy even as I said “oh wait – he did.”
I turned round and my companions were walking away impatiently.

I hurried after them and we found a nice sandy bank where we spread out our picnic rugs and had our lunch. Watching the river surging not far away, I felt the first faint stirrings of unease.
“But there’s no water on the moon!” I said to myself. “Something’s not right here.”

I told my companions about the prophecy that something bad was going to happen and people were going to be killed. They laughed, and said “nonsense.” They led me down to a jagged rock jutting out of the water. “Look,” they said, and pointed. The edge of the water was drawing back. “The water is receding,” they said. “We’re in no danger.”

“Ah, but…”, I said, and led them round to the other side of the rock. I pointed at some shallow furrows in the sand which were under clear water. As we watched, the furrows grew deeper.
“They’re getting deeper and deeper,” I said.

My companions snorted and stalked off. If backs could talk, theirs would have said “NOT listening.”

In the distance there was a deep booming roar…

Never to be continued.

* Bosphorus Ramblings was the original name for the Turkey-based blog Kizgikate.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Hearing Loss, TV and Films

Yesterday All My Troubles…

…were hanging over me. The opposite of what happened to the Beatles in their song. And I was absolutely depressed the night before. Why, is not important but it was like sinking in quicksand – the more of you that went under, the faster the rest of you got sucked down.

My feet swelled alarmingly – the ‘good’ foot was just mildly puffy, but the ‘weak’ foot (injured in November) blew up more than it did when it was broken. Even the ankle got puffy, and the cats were staring at it. I huddled up on the sofa and tried to pretend nothing was wrong. We were watching Lost and it seemed a particularly sad episode. Charlie was having odd dreams and running off into the sea in his sleep with Claire’s baby. Everybody turned against him, thinking he was taking drugs – Locke knocked him down, and Charlie lay there in the water looking lost.

I always had a soft spot for Charlie, a gentle and gregarious soul with very low self-esteem, and everything that happened to him felt as though it was happening to me. It was probably helpful rather than depressing, though I found myself getting angry with Locke – “how DARE you look at him like that?! Back off!”

When I finally trailed off to bed I was all too ready to fall asleep and forget everything. Several times my eyes closed. Several times the house shook me awake. It was a frightening, formless experience.

There was a sound like a rising whine in my ears while the house’s rumbling increased. That was tinnitus, or my brain filling in sound where none was. Knowing what it was didn’t make it go away. Shadows moved in on the bed. No I wasn’t imagining things – they were moving. A shape lurched past, like a figure in the daylight walking past a window – it looked like Mr Guppy from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. He had his hat on and was strolling up and down with his hands behind his back. Over there beside the beanies was a purple wormhole. It opened out like a whirlpool when I looked at it, then disappeared on itself with a silent ‘shloop’.

Stop getting frightened. Ghosts do not exist. It’s probably time I had my eyes checked – they’re old, tired, myopic things now. Anyway, I’ve lived with the shuddering house for years. Nothing bad has ever got me. Actually it’s just hallucinations – it’s happened before when you were overtired. The dreaming part of your brain thinks you’re still asleep.

To distract myself, I started thinking about Lost. Charlie standing in the breakers at night, holding the baby. Charlie swimming after the baby’s cot in his dream, bringing it back to safety. Suddenly I sat up, remembering a dream I had the night before. We were all being swamped by the tide, which was streaming up the beach. Our clothes were swirling away in the sea and I was shouting to everybody to grab the stuff and move it up towards the trees. Nothing must be lost. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, but I realized now it was a dream about Lost. Like Charlie, I was standing in the waves, looking up at the shore. Like Charlie, I was going off my chump with daft dreams and things that weren’t there. It was like a jigsaw piece clicking into place.

My hand lay just in front of my face, pale in the light that filtered through the curtains. Every time I breathed out, a dark shadow slid across it. I got scared again. How could I see my breath? And how could my breath be black? I would have said it would be a warm pink, or rainbow-coloured, like drops of water catching the light. I stopped breathing, and the shadow slipped across my hand anyway.

At that point enough was enough. I abruptly sat up and put the light on. I looked around. Dark shadows? No. Purple wormholes? No. Mr Guppy? No. Everything looked normal. My bears over there, my beanies over here, my books on the bedside table, a crumpled blog post on the floor. Nothing was moving. With a relieved sigh, I lay back and decided to try and sleep with the light on. That was admitting defeat, but the thought of returning to Mr Guppy and co was more than I could stand.

When I got sleepy I turned off the light. And kept my eyes CLOSED.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares

Aww Poor Toothy

Yesterday I had to visit the dentist. Reluctantly. That’s the only way I visit dentists. I don’t fear them; with strong choppers like mine I’ve never had reason to – it’s receptionists who trouble me! But that’s another story.

I broke a tooth pretty badly. In my mind I was saying goodbye to it – stroking it with my tongue and thinking “this time tomorrow you will be gone.”

In bed I dreamed I gave it a name – BearFang. I printed out a picture of a grizzly’s face to symbolize it – all glaring eyes and flashing white teeth. It was a tribute to a much loved and cherished molar, soon to be R.I.P.

Then I dreamed I went to have it dealt with, and my dentist was Neil Morrissey from Men Behaving Badly. In my dream he was an excellent and cheerful dentist and I felt completely safe in his chair, but then we ran into problems. I was absolutely convinced he was going to remove the tooth but he turned round and said it didn’t need to be taken out – he would do some surgery to repair it. He injected anaesthetic into my jaw twice and we waited for the whole side of my face to go numb, but it only went a little bit numb, then thawed out again. “It’s not working!” I exclaimed in dismay, and Neil frowned and said “you better go home – we can’t do anything about your tooth today.”

Next day came the actual visit to my real dentist. She had a thoughtful look at BearFang’s shattered frame then said: “as I see it, you have two options. One: you can have it removed, which I don’t recommend. Two: you can have root canal therapy, which I can’t do today.”

So. BearFang is still with me, and nothing’s been done with it yet, except to give it a temporary cover. I really thought it was going to be removed, so in retrospect I’m quite surprised at how close my dream came to the truth. Well, not the Neil Morrissey part… but I can live with that!

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares

Midnight Killer

The other night I had a vivid and eerie dream. A yeti with grey fur was preying on an urban population. Every night it killed one human at midnight. Nobody knew where it lived or how to catch it.

Then one day I had an idea and tried to contact someone with my mobile, but there was no reply. Impatiently, I set off to find the person. I was in such a hurry I was only vaguely aware of people passing me in the opposite direction – nobody was going the same way I was. And suddenly the people were all gone and it was silent. I stopped and looked around – I was in a basement car park, and it was quite dark except for dim yellow lighting. The person I was looking for wasn’t there. I looked at my watch and it said 10 to 12. “Uh oh,” I thought – WHY didn’t I check the time before coming out here? I better get back while I still have 10 minutes.”

I turned round and walked back quickly – I hadn’t gone very far when there was a “rrrraaaarghhhh!” and something wrapped huge hairy arms round me from behind, lifting me off my feet. I couldn’t see the yeti at all – just felt myself rise in the air, feet dangling, those hairy grey arms locked tight across my chest.

You know how, when something awful happens, things seem to happen in slow motion? The yeti started to sling me face down on the floor, and I saw the concrete tilt and come towards me – as though it was the floor moving, not me. The closer I got to the floor, the more detail I could see – the yellow lines painted on it, and a large yellow number, ‘4’. I could see the pits in the paint where the concrete had worn through.

Still watching the floor coming nearer, I thought to myself “I’m used to detailed dreams, but this one takes the biscuit!”

Just before I hit the floor, I woke up, clutching the downie under my chin…

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Injury and Mishap

Assassin

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been overtaken by bad luck this month. All sorts of little things are going wrong, including breaking my foot (and, just to add to the list, I’ve now got a frozen shoulder). In the end I dreamed I was sleeping in a hospital or some such place, and a woman came to kill me – I looked over my shoulder and she was pointing a gun at me, mouthing “you cannot live”. Interpreting this for myself, I decided that the woman with the gun personified my bad luck.

Out of curiosity, I then consulted a dream book. Under Assassin it says briefly: “misfortune will be yours.”

I don’t take this dream book seriously, having bought it purely for idle research purposes and entertainment, but this coincidence was food for thought!

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Health Issues, Injury and Mishap, Music

Malign Presence?

I’ve had nothing but bad luck this month: toothache, bashed hand, Blogigo being hacked, stomach cramps… and, nearly two weeks after falling over a door lintel, I am still at home with a wrecked foot. I thought it would be better by now, but everybody I come across says “ooh, a broken foot – THAT will take ages to mend.” How is it everybody else knows about this? Maybe it’s something that happens to everybody at least once in their life, and you don’t know about it till it happens. The most recent person to commiserate in this way was a retired bomb disposal expert. Cheering!

Because of my forced inactivity, I can’t find much to say on my blog page. Currently watching TV and reading the Elizabeth H Boyer books. Today it’s The Elves and the Otterskin. I made a bear database for my mother to put her teddybear collection on. She managed 10 bears, then had to give up for the night. I did some editing work (foot supported on the PC tower). Slept on the sofa yesterday and didn’t wake till it was dark.

I dreamed that I was in hospital – one room to each patient. It was quite a comfortable place and I wasn’t very ill. I was sleeping in my allotted room but woke during the night to find a woman bending over me – I knew she meant me harm, but she went away because I woke in time. I tried to go to sleep again but was uneasy. Craning back, I looked through a glass panel, seeing the lighted corridor outside, and two women were standing there looking in. The glass was frosted and I shouldn’t have been able to see more than their fuzzy outlines, but to my great shock and fear, I saw their faces very clearly through the glass. One of them was levelling a small gun at me, and when she saw me looking, she mouthed “you cannot live.”

I’ve not looked up my Dream Book yet (ha) but it probably says if you dream something like that you will have a long and happy life. That’s nonsense of course – dreams are so personal, and they’re all about themes, hopes, fears and recent experiences. That dream has a lot to do with my feeling that I’ve had a run of bad luck this month – almost as though there’s a malign presence in the house that’s determined to immobilize me. The dark-haired woman in my dream was probably the Malign Presence personified in my thoughts. And yet it was me as well – how did I slip and break my foot? How did I end up with stomach cramp? Careless habits.

Meanwhile I’m back to waiting patiently for my foot to mend – all my days are the same right now. I have a verse in my head (from a song by The New Seekers) – I haven’t heard it since I was a child.

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls through the night time;
Till the daybreak comes around.