Monday, January 25, 2016

That Nightmare I Had

When I dream, I often have a hard time remembering details of the dream after I wake up. This weekend I can remember dreaming that my girlfriend's cat, Guinness, stole a BMW sports car, and that I chased him through the streets of a city, but I can't remember which city or why Guinness turned to a life of crime. The specifics are a little hazy, but dreams end up like that most of the time; half-remembered scenes, fuzzy movies played out to be pushed aside by reality come sunup. Even though I re-enacted the music video for Holy Fuck's "Red Lights" in my head, recalling the dream later on might only be possibly by re-reading this blog post.

Sometimes dreams-- or nightmares, whichever-- stick with me, though. Last night, standing out on my back patio, I caught a glimpse of the moon in the haze of cloud through the trees. It was a pretty sight, but it reminded me of a nightmare I had as a little kid.

For a little while my family lived in an old Victorian-style house in Independence, California, on a nice corner lot near the town's market. It was a big, two-storied house built of redwood with a covered wrap-around porch and a two car garage. There were fruit trees, shrubs, and a big elm tree in the yard, and it was overall a pretty neat old house to be in. Aside from ghost stories my brother would make up to scare me or the ghost stories I'd make up based off the books I'd read in the school's library, the creep factor of living in an old house never really got to me. That is, I guess, until the nightmare I had after living in the house for awhile.

I dreamed it was autumn. It was nighttime, and the moon was full. I was in the yard alone, trying to get back into the house but finding no way in. I saw my siblings through the kitchen window, laughing and playing, and I yelled for them to let me in. They didn't notice me. I continued to shout, knowing something was in the darkness that would get me if they didn't let me in, but it was no use; I turned from the kitchen window and looked up through the bare branches of the big elm tree, and silhouetted in the moonlight was something feral and bloodthirsty jumping down onto me.

Then I woke up, thoroughly freaked out, in a now creepier house than I originally thought it to be. 

Maybe the trauma factor is what kept that dream in my mind's eye. After all, it plays on the childhood fear of what lurks in the dark and the very real possibility that my siblings would have probably ignored me and left me to die at the hand of some beastly horror (they aren't as big of jerks now as they were growing up thankfully). It could also be the realization that the old spooky house we lived in looked like something from a cornball scary movie or from those creepy books I liked so much. Whatever the case may be, whether it being a primal fear of being alone in the elements or having an extremely overactive childhood imagination that kept the memory of that nightmare alive, it's one of the most vivid recollections from back-in-the-day that I have. 

I wish I could remember the pleasant dreams I had as a kid instead of the nightmares that had me wake up screaming. Or, at least, I wish I could dream up how to catch and arrest Guinness the cat without wrecking the BMW he stole. Either would be okay.