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.