Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Nightmare that Wouldn’t Quit

I’ve mentioned before that I seldom have truly scary dreams. There are a lot of monsters in my dreams, vampires, devils, psychopathic killers, and so on, but it usually turns out that I’m the worst thing in the dream. Not so last night.

I had gone to stay at a bed and breakfast for some relaxation. The place was a very large old house with beautiful grounds and a forest all around. My room was a stunning old den, with dark, mahogany panels. The bed was covered in an old fashioned quilt and the place should have been comfortable. I was immediately uneasy.

There were noises that didn’t sound like mice in the walls. Things seemed to move from where I’d put them and I couldn’t quite convince myself I’d moved them myself. A door slamming behind me stitched cold chills up my spine and I immediately left the room and went to ask for another. They gave me one, with an explanation that, for some people, me included apparently, the room I’d been in was haunted by a young woman. They couldn’t tell me for sure whether something bad had happened in that room to the woman, but that was the legend.

The only problem was I had to go back in that place to get my clothes, which I’d not yet taken out of the suitcase. Once I got back in the room things took a turn for the worse. I closed my suitcase and started for the door and it wasn’t there. Instead there was a corridor, and as I went down that I came to rooms that had not existed before in my original room. And the sounds! Doors slamming. Birds singing strangled songs. Clocks tick tick ticking. Everything loud.

I became very aware of some entity watching me, as if floating just behind my shoulder. I began to panic and run. And I woke up. But that wasn’t the end of it. I don’t mind bad dreams typically so as I got up to go to the bathroom I thought about the dream. And as I lay back down the strangeness began. I fell back to sleep, and was soon in the same dream. I was still trying to get out of the “room,” but I was no longer running. People began to appear in the corridors but they were insubstantial and would simply melt into the walls as I passed them. I began to think I was somehow “out of phase” with the real world. And now I heard babies crying, and hysterical laughter, and a woman’s voice droning on and on in an emotionless but incoherent mumble. I woke up again.

And when I returned to sleep this time the dream came back again, like an uninvited guest who doesn’t know he’s overstayed his welcome. And then it happened after a fourth awakening as well. Now, I’ve had dreams before that returned one time before fading, but I’ve only had one other time in my life when the same dream stayed with me all night. And that one wasn’t a nightmare.

At one point I’d actually escaped the room somehow and was sitting exhaustedly outside the building on a bench before a silver fountain. I saw two workmen pass me and walk into the building. Suddenly, I realized they were going in that room. I leaped to my feet, but before I could yell a warning the door had slammed behind them and the screaming began. I watched, horrified, for what seemed a long time, and then the door opened and a man walked out and came toward me. He wasn’t one of the two workmen but I had the feeling he’d been caught by that room too. He sat on the bench where I’d sat. He was gaunt as a lich, and though I spoke to him repeatedly he said nothing but just sat staring with unblinking eyes. In World War II they used to call that the “thousand yard stare.”

The worst occurred right before my next to last awakening of the night. I had managed to escape the room but the entity was still pursuing me. It had gotten out of the room too and was spreading through the building. I decided that, as I’d been able to do previously in my life in dreams, I would stop the “monster” through the force of will. I was standing at the door to a safe room and I could feel the entity coming down the corridor toward me, like a wave of blistering heat. I held out my left hand; my right hand was on the door ready to slam it. I put all my strength into willing the entity to stop. It paused; I could feel it straining against my strength, boiling like smoke as it sought a way past.

For a moment, I held. Then the door was ripped from its hinges in an explosion of sound. There was no need to run now. The entity was all around me. I’d not escape again. I suppose that’s what it wanted all along. After that the dream stopped recurring and I managed the next sleep cycle in peace. I was rather glad of that.
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38 comments:

Barrie said...

That does sound scary. My WORST nightmares are when I'm pregnant. Seriously. I'm sure it's the hormones, but those nightmares were horrible.

Wil said...

I think I just peed a little. Hold me Charles!

Wil Harrison.com

pattinase (abbott) said...

Okay, that sounds just like the book I am reading-THE LITTLE STRANGER. I never have dreams like this--just dreams where the basement is flooding or my teeth are falling out.
My husband has dreams where he travels to distant places and has adventures. A good blog topic.

Greg Schwartz said...

damn, that's a pretty scary dream! it would make a great horror story....

writtenwyrdd said...

Freaky, Charles. But it made a great story!

Randy Johnson said...

I don't get dreams like that, though the nightmare I had last night was completely unlike any I'd ever had before. I'm wondering if it says something about me that I thought I'd never been.

Thumbelina said...

That is a pretty scary nightmare. I think to have a nightmare recur again and again each time you go to sleep - and develop the plot so to speak - would totally spook me out!

If you want to see what the fountain might have been like that you sat in front of, pop over to my watery wednesday post and tell me if it was that fountain! (I hope not actually...)
Hope you sleep better tonight!

the walking man said...

No more anchovies on your pizza Charles. Dream or no, I was glad you wrote it as happening to you and equally pleased with the lack of slumbering dreams I enjoy. Sleeping is for sleeping not running away from demons and spirits wanting to make me one of them.

Sam said...

Scary dreams are pretty scary, lol.
(nervous giggle?)

I Was heading off to bed...Now I think I'll have a coffee.
:-)

Heff said...

You can wake up, go back to sleep, and continue the same dream ? Hell, that's scary enough right there !

L.A. Mitchell said...

What did you eat, Charles? I'd stay clear of it next time unless you're seeking inspiration;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, I’m pretty sure this one is related to some medicine I’ve been taken. See my comment to Mark below.

Wil, dude, not after that lovely pic you posted today. Get away!

pattinase (abbott), wow, maybe I should read that book. I’m channeling the author. It’s generally true that men have more adventure dreams than women.

Greg Schwartz, yeah, it’s not a place I want to visit again soon.

writtenwyrdd, yes, and I was needing some blog fodder.

Randy Johnson, I’ve had a few I probably wouldn’t post about on a blog. Too many potential Freudians out there.

Thumbelina, I checked it out. Not the same fountain. Whew!

Mark, I’ve been taking a medicine that is supposed to be a kind of muscle relaxant to fight cramps in my feet and the med suppresses dreaming. I didn’t take the med last night and what happens on those nights is an intensification of dreaming as my brain tries to make up for what it missed. I’m pretty sure that’s the cause.

Sam, I’ve had a nap since the dream too and no revisit. So that’s good.

Heff, on occasion. It doesn’t happen very often.

Charles Gramlich said...

L.A., check my comment to Mark above. I think that's the answer.

Lana Gramlich said...

You were just processing the horrors of the school year (now that it's over,) so that you can enjoy the Summer off in peace. I'm sure of it. :)
Either that, or it was the Hamburger Helper...

ivan said...

have had a similar recurring dream when I was in my late thirties.
Made the mistake, I think, of making a novel about it.

Oh yeah. You and I and Bram Stoker.

Interview(course?) with the vampire.
Best to let it go.
Incubi and succubi. Begone!

ARCHAVIST said...

I had a scary one the other night in which my dog was kidnapped or should that be dognapped - seriously I woke up sweating and wrote it all down. It started off when I, for some reason, stole an AC/DC CD. That was a weird one and I took much torture from the rightful CD owner, I must have been tossing and turning, but when he kidnapped my dog I woke up terrified.

STRANGE ONE, THAT!

MarmiteToasty said...

If I was you, I'd not go to sleep again lol you will just have to stay awake for ever..... to dam scary..

x

Leigh Russell said...

Sounds even scarier than you, Charles, and you're scarier than monsters, vampires, devils and psychopaths...

Cloudia said...

Yikes!
Vivid writing, Charles

jodi said...

Gads, Charles. Sounds more like a psychotic break, or Ambien CR! I prefer white, dreamless slumber.

Travis said...

I'm glad I read this early. That was too scary.

I may need my kitties-puppies-bunnies mantra.

laughingwolf said...

so, now charles is inhabited by a demon that demands he write more freaky tales, or at least fewer academic papers? :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana Gramlich, you may just be on the right track. Surely it wasn’t the delicious hamburger helper.

ivan, No need to run off the succubi so quickly.

ARCHAVIST, maybe it was some connection to “Given the Dog a Bone.”

MarmiteToasty, next time I’ll get that evil entity. I win in my dreams. It’s what I do. ;)

Leigh Russell, why thank you for noticing.

Cloudia, vivid dream!

jodi, I do think there was a medicine issue. I’m pretty sure it was a REM rebound phenomenon.

Travis, Lana was telling me about a puppy licking my face to try and take my mind off the dream.

laughingwolf, hey that wouldn’t be so bad.

BernardL said...

Wow, that's one of those lay off the pizza before bedtime dreams. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernardl, Well, I made it through another night with no repeat so that was good.

Scott said...

Charles,

Wow, that's wild. I've never went back into the same dream scenario before, although I've had similar dreams after waking and going back to sleep.

Vesper said...

Wow, Charles!!!
I've told you before that you have extraordinary dreams. What I also find very interesting is your capacity of remembering it in such vivid details even though it was fragmented.
Also, you're mentioning sounds many times. Very interesting...

About the medication, hmmm... somehow scary, but isn't it tempting to try skipping it again one night? :-)

Mary Witzl said...

Whoa, Charles -- and it's almost bedtime here! I've had dreams within dreams before, and some of them are pretty entertaining. But I'll give dreams like that a miss, thank you very much...

Lauren said...

Lots of people have been talking about dreams on their blogs lately. I don't remember my dreams, but I do dream. Last night I dreamt about my one of my math classes because I remember seeing the integration symbol. That might classify as a nightmare.

Your dreams sound like they must be super vivid! The details you describe are very specific. Sounds scary.

Charles Gramlich said...

Scott, yep, pretty neat it was.

Vesper, I sometimes have tastes and experience touch sensations, but visuals and sounds are by far the strongest sensations in my dreams. I really hate that the medication messes up my dreaming and so I actually don't take it most of the time. I miss my dreams on nights I do take it.

Mary Witzl, well this one was certainly not on the pleasant side but it makes for a good memory.

Lauren, the main key, I think, is waking up right after the dream period ends and then thinking about the imagery. I always fully awaken at the end of a dream period and that's one reason I remember them well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Or channeling my head reading it.

benjibopper said...

whoa. the vagueness of the entity makes it all the more scary. intense. and crazy that once it got you, it left you alone.

Charles Gramlich said...

pattinase, that doesn't sound good.

benjibopper, it didn't want to be thwarted. I think that was the main thing.

Steve Malley said...

Yikes!

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, fun it wasn't.

jennifer said...

I hope you rest easy and don't experience anymore nights like that. I would have gotten up and turned on the TV after the second time.

It did result in some wonderful writing though.

Danette Haworth said...

OMG, Charles--that's scary! I still have nightmares, too. You'd think that would end with childhood, but it doesn't.

Virginia Lady said...

Boy, that was one for the books. Not fun at all. Glad it finally ended and gave you some peace. The question is, what have you been running from lately?