It Began By The Sea As It Usually Does

Just a dream I had…

It began by the sea as it usually does. This time there was no tidal wave but a crashing eternity of raging white horses. The water was warm. I walked in until it was up to my waist and then let myself fall back into it and under. I felt euphoric.

Then there was an obstacle course built inside a barn that was old, badly repaired and barely held together by rotting wood and wishful thinking. I made my way through it from the end to the beginning until I reached a platform with a man loading a gun. People were dancing on the floor below us. He handed me the gun and I fired a shot but the dancers didn’t seem to notice. As one fell, his partner carried on dancing, arms outstretched.

A line of people shuffled into the room, staring blankly at their feet as they moved. One of them looked up at me and we recognised each other. I asked him, “Last time, were you with me when I killed someone?”. He replied “No. Last time, you killed me”, turned his eyes down again and walked away, following the line.

I was climbing a metal ladder that was anchored to the ground but not held in place any higher. It swayed as I climbed and I should have been frightened but all I could think about was the dancer, soaked in her partner’s blood, elegantly gliding across the floor with empty arms.

The Quiet Girls

This is a putting-into-words of two dreams I had on consecutive nights. I haven’t embellished it to turn it into more of a story and I can’t explain any of it further than I already have without doing that. It’s simply a product of my subconscious.

The Quiet Girls

I was wandering through the house, a place I had often been to in dreams but never in the waking world. It was a split level building with fields on one side, sloping down to the sea. Every time I’ve been there, a relentless light has filled the sky but it has never been warm. I was previously aware of two rooms on the lower level of the house. One had worn, old furniture and a piano and a black and white cat. The other was a bedroom with clothes and books and miscellaneous remnants of a life that once was, vacuum sealed and packed away into cupboards.

This time, I noticed a gap between the walls that I didn’t remember being there before. It was wide enough to look through into another area of the house that I had never seen, but not wide enough to fit through. I could hear gentle voices on the other side and felt a sense of enforced calm barely thick enough to cover the danger beneath. For a few brief moments, physics warped and twisted and I was able to move through the solid wall to the quiet world on the other side.

There were bedrooms, dormitories, all painted white and decorated with hand-made flowers and paintings of bright places. On some of the paintings in child-like writing were the words, “They are. They see. They know”. I didn’t recognise the language but I understood the words.

I was invisible to the almost-identical blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls going about their day in near silence, with the softest of steps. The only sound in any of the rooms came from delicate whispers in a language I did not speak.

– – – – –

I was in the school, not my school or a school I had ever visited, but the school that I find myself in when I dream. It is on the outskirts of a small town and the surrounding land is always dry. I have never seen the sun there but there has always been a painful brightness that has worked its way into the core of everything.

There is an unspoken rule at the school that you don’t go beyond the far boundary. There is a high wall along one part of the perimeter but it is simply known to avoid furthest reaches of the other side. I have never ventured there before, but this time I did. I felt I had to. I didn’t know why.

I found a terrace of houses which opened through into one another, white paint peeling from the walls and boards over the windows and doors. The closer I got, the more I felt that something was pushing me away. By the time I reached the one door at the back that wasn’t boarded up, I was certain that there were people inside.

They couldn’t see me or hear me. They didn’t know I was there. They were young women, blonde haired and blue eyed, wearing white dresses in white rooms with rough wooden furniture. Some of them were pregnant. Some of them had babies. The babies made no noise and the young women spoke only in close whispers, behind pale hands.

I knew that they had never questioned why they were being used as vessels to breed children. Children having children. I also knew that as soon as the babies were not babies any more, they were taken away and the quiet young women shed no tears for them.

There was a large aquarium in the corner with white fish gasping in the remains of water which had half evaporated. No-one ever thought to fill it up but sometimes the inhabitants of the houses would touch their fingertips to the surface of the water and stare open-mouthed as the fish swam up to meet them.

As I left, I encountered a pale boy with blonde hair and blue eyes and white clothes, walking in circles and pleading with the sky, “She was there. She was there and I only want to see her again”. He didn’t turn towards me as I passed by. I was nothing but air to him.

Dreams of Seven Houses

dreams-of-seven-houses

– I –
The house I lived in when I was twenty, sparse then, but now there are too many pieces of furniture and extra appliances cluttering up the rooms. I keep trying to rearrange them to make them fit but they don’t fit and I feel claustrophobic. I think “There was enough before. I don’t need any more. There is nowhere for any of this to go”. There are no electrical sockets. I can’t breathe. The back gate is rattling.

– II –
A cottage I have never lived in and never been to but it feels familiar. I find a bedroom that shouldn’t have been there. There are two beds with stained pillows and faded candlewick bedspreads. A piano sits against one wall next to a barred and locked window. I open the piano but have forgotten how to play. My hands are frozen and I feel a creeping sense of dread.

– III –
My grandmother’s house, where I lived briefly as a child. I still know where everything is and the kitchen smells the same as it always did. I walk outside and the coal bunker in the small back yard is open. I lean against it and reach in through the door, feeling the black dust settling into the cracks in my skin.

– IV –
A grand wooden chalet with soaring arches and vast windows overlooking a lake blanketed in thick mist. I pace through luxurious rooms in the half-light of a time of day I can’t quite identify. I pick up pieces of metal and realise I am building a gun. I go outside and climb into a small boat, start the motor and leave the house behind. I have no idea where I’m going but I’m moving and it feels like comfort.

– V –
My parents’ old house where I grew up, quiet and precise, with everything exactly where it should be. I am alone inside but there are people in the garden, staring in. I don’t know who they are. I try to lock all the doors but they won’t stay locked. I hear a window breaking. There is blood on my hands. I think, “Never go upstairs”.

– VI –
An underground palace. I find a trap door leading to a basement where gravity doesn’t work and I float just above the cold stone floor. Music is playing but the room is empty apart from a black dog, wandering, lost. It doesn’t see me even when I am right in front of it. I try to touch it but a force holds us apart like the north poles of two magnets repelling each other.

– VII –
A house by the sea. The tide is rising and I know that this time it will not stop until everything is buried under water. I gather what small belongings I can carry and know that everything else will be left behind. There is a person with no face who refuses to leave. I tell them “I’m going to open the door and this place will fill with water. If you stay, you won’t survive”. They sit in silence, as if I haven’t spoken, as if the world isn’t ending. I turn and greet the oncoming tidal wave with a sense of calm and serenity that somehow never seems to find me when I’m awake.

And Then I Cut Her Fingers Off

and-then-i-cut-her-fingers-off

Some time ago, I dreamed a horror film. Or at least parts of one. Please excuse the slightly disconnected writing. It was a slightly disconnected dream. Parts were missing and I don’t want to invent them. This isn’t a story. It’s just a dream.

It began in the 1950s. I could tell by the furniture. I was a girl, a teenager, living at home with my parents. I had a baby boy in my arms and I knew he was mine but I couldn’t remember giving birth or being pregnant. I couldn’t remember anything before that moment. My mother said gently, “You have to give him a name, dear” but I didn’t want to because I was scared I would choose the wrong name and he would have it forever and hate it.

Next, it was night and I was older, standing outside my house in the pouring rain, crying, as a young man stood in front of me covered in blood and wearing ripped clothes. I could hear sirens. I begged him to leave with me but he said, “No, you have to let them take me this time. Please let them take me”.

Then we were in the car. I had somehow convinced him to come with me but he was angry and shaking his head and shouting at me to stop driving, to let go of the wheel and stop. I refused to. He took a knife from his pocket and started cutting through my fingers that were gripping the steering wheel. I couldn’t feel anything but I couldn’t hold on any more.

Him, in a bleak prison hospital, wandering through a faltering blue-green electric haze. He was repeating “…and then I cut her fingers off” every few seconds, like he kept forgetting and then remembering and needing to tell someone. No-one was listening.

Decades later and I was in church for the first time in years. No-one would look at me. I was sitting in a corner and when it came time to sing a hymn, I couldn’t find the right page in the book and there wasn’t room to stand up.

I walked outside, past a minister who wouldn’t meet my eye, and found my car with the doors open and a window broken. There was a dog lying on the seat inside. I thought it might have been dead. I didn’t know.

I woke up.

I do remember the name I gave the baby and I have looked it up to see if the dream was a memory of something I’d read about, but because I don’t know my surname from the dream and was searching for only a first name and middle name, I wasn’t able to find anything relevant.