I haven’t had a nightmare in 2 years or so. Woohoo! This is something of a record for me. I have been plagued with nightmares my whole life. I had hoped they would go away as an adult, but they haven’t.
As a kid, I had night terrors, so I guess it’s improved slightly. I was that kid who slept with, not only the closet light on, but also the hall light. Now, I sometimes sleep with my bedside lamp on. I also have LED lights under my bed for those times that the lamp is just too bright. That helps out a lot. They illuminate the floor, so when I wake up, I can quickly check for monsters.
My nightmares always follow a strange pattern of terrifying dreams every night for at least a week, usually more. They start out mildly fearful and ramp up to the peak of horror, taper down and then go away for a few months, only to return again. I typically go through one, if I’m lucky, but usually two or three of these cycles a year.
I call them my nightmare clusters. Cluster for short. Night after night of scary ass crap. Most of which I remember is detail when I wake up and that shit is STILL scary. I also try to keep a journal.
At this point, not much scares me. Except my dreams, of course. I always search for that level of fear while I am awake, but as much as I’ve searched, nothing is as scary as my dreams. To me anyway. They are down-right creepy. So, to celebrate the spooky season, and the love of all things scary, I present to you- my nightmare or was it?
Because honestly, I still don’t know what the hell it was.
When I have these nightmares, I am usually in what I call dream layers. So, like I am having a dream, and, in the dream, I am having a nightmare. I wake up- in the dream- and say, wow, that was really scary, I’m glad I’m awake now, or something to that effect, and then some crazy shit starts to happen and I think, what the hell. I thought I was awake? I then realize I am still dreaming.
Sometimes these dream layers can be 3 or 4 layers deep. So, I am dreaming I am dreaming, and in that dream, I am dreaming that I am having a nightmare. It’s complicated. Basically, I am lost in NIghtmareland and can’t get out. I keep thinking I am awake, but I’m not.
With the particular dream in question, I had been 3 layers deep. Earlier in the day, in real life, I had been painting bifold doors that were now standing upright in my living room, drying. In the dream, I was sleeping, heard a noise in my living room and walked in there to go check out what it was. There was enough light coming in my bay window to see, but the bifold doors were blocking most of it, so I didn’t have a clear view. Someone was hiding behind them. With the way the shadows were cast in the room, I couldn’t tell who or what it was. I called out, who is that?
Then I woke up, feeling really scared of what was behind the bifold doors. I couldn’t move and I felt like I was paralyzed. I was starting to freak out and kept thinking, why can’t I get up? I need to move! I somehow managed to get out of this second layer, thinking I had woken up. I started screaming. But nothing was coming out. I started to panic. Being so deep within dream layers feels like glue and that I might never wake up.
I kept screaming, nothing coming out. I screamed for my mom, just mouthing the words, Mommy I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared. I don’t typically call for my mom, she passed away several years ago. But for some reason, she was there. I distinctly heard her voice say, “Mik! Wake up! You gotta wake up”. There was some urgency behind her words that almost felt like a command.
Somehow, I was able to pull myself out of that gluey feeling and screamed myself awake in real life. I was terrified. The feeling I woke up with was straight terror with a hint of evil. I can’t really explain the feeling, I don’t recall feeling that feeling very often. It was different than other nightmares. I started crying quietly and praying for my safety. As I sat there, silently praying in the dark, I saw a white laser light dot climb from the floor, up the wall, over my closet and out my ceiling.
I was too scared to reach for the lamp, so I asked my husband to turn his on. Typically, when I have nightmares, my dog gets up to check on me. Especially if someone turns a light on. She didn’t this time, which was odd. I didn’t know where she was, I could only hear this weird sound that she was making. Over and over.
I realized that I had to go to the bathroom. My bladder was so full, I felt like I could barely move. It felt like I had drunk gallons of water before bed, which of course, I wouldn’t do. I turned on my lamp and checked the floor. I sat there for a second plotting my run, deciding that I would reach around and flip on the bathroom light before going in and making this as quick as possible, so I could get back into my bed. We had two lamps on at this point, and my dog was still somewhere making that weird noise.
As I ran to the bathroom, I saw my dog. She was laying in between the bedroom and bathroom. Endlessly licking the bathroom floor, as if in a trance. I reached around the wall, and flipped on the light, stepping over her. She didn’t move or stop licking.
I then sat down for the longest pee of my life.
Ok, I realize that might be TMI, but it’s totally relevant to this story. I promise. Because I sat there for what felt like an eternity. Trying to hurry up.
Then ALL the bottles in the shower fell in the tub.
I couldn’t see them through the shower curtain, only hear them. My heart dropped into my stomach. Oh shit, what the hell was that?!? I silently started to freak out, really trying to hurry up. That was the last place I wanted to be right then. I just could not stop peeing. The energy in there was terrifying. Heavy. It felt hard to breathe. But my dog didn’t move at all. She continued excessively licking the floor in her trance, never even looking up at me or the sound of the bottles falling into the tub.
I flushed the toilet and ran out of there, flipping off the light. I stepped over my dog again, still licking the floor and ran to my bed. I propped up my pillows, thinking I wouldn’t be sleeping the rest of the night and continued silently praying.
I must have dozed off because all of a sudden, I was startled awake by my dog. She started barking like she was going to attack someone and charged for the closed bedroom door as if she was going to chase them. I’ve only heard her bark like that at the UPS guy that she doesn’t like. She freaks out if he even turns on our street! She stood there growling and barking at the door. It scared the crap out of me.
My husband was awake again, too. We heard what sounded like someone bumping into the wall across our bedroom door and running down the hallway. I didn’t want to open the door. At that point, I felt safer in my room. I calmed my dog down and she finally laid back down. No more licking.
Then I started sweating and I’m not a sweaty person. It was so hot in the room, it felt like it was over a hundred degrees. I asked my husband if he was sweating and he said he was too. He asked if I wanted him to go check the thermostat and turn it down. I was afraid of opening the bedroom door, but thought it was a good idea. Better him than me. The thermostat was the same temp it always was, but he turned it down anyway. After that, we managed to settle down for the remainder of the night.
The next day, I asked my husband about the bottles. He said he picked 5 of them up from the tub before showering for work that morning. I took down the shower curtain and only left the clear liner up. I didn’t know what I would see with it down, but the idea of not seeing felt worse.
I was afraid to shower. I was afraid to be alone in my bathroom. I slept with the light on for several days. We froze every night for about a week until we turned the thermostat back up.
The whole ordeal was so scary. For days after, I felt like I was in a fog and that my mind was cloudy. That happens a lot after I have scary dreams, but not like this time. This time it was different but I can’t pinpoint it.
I've had four nightmares after that. They've paled in comparison. Then the nightmares slowly faded away. Into Nightmareland, never to return again. Or will they?