Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bill, Lord of Nightmares

This post is pretty much just for me. As the topic is primarily dreams, it won't mean anything to any of you, likely. Other people's dreams are the least interesting things to listen to. I don't blame you if you don't read this.

My nightmares are having to get more creative these days. The things that used to scare me a lot still give me a huge adventure rush, but they just don't *terrify* me like they used to. I imagine this little black oozeball responsible for making sure we're meeting my yearly quota of nightmares sweating pretty hard as the new year approaches. It used to be dinosaurs and spooky houses, but now I love my dinosaur dreams, even when they're still chasing me, and spooky house theme doesn't hit quite as hard as it used to since I took up carpentry. Spend enough time renovating actually old haunted houses, and dreams about being in them is just annoying because its like dreaming about having to go to work. I had really terrible falling dreams for a while that would wake me with a start, but I started to look forward to these ones, and then I stopped waking up for them and Bill (which is what I'm naming the malevolent force responsible for my nightmares) had to quickly improvise to come up with what happens *after* you fall off the back of a boat (you drown or get chopped up by the propellers) or off a porch (you just break your arm and it sucks). Zombies worked well for a while, but I got better and better at killing them, so Bill went hyperbole on me and upped the zombie count and power to the point of absurdity. The last really scary dream where I was feeling like I was in danger was set in a city. I was holed up in the 40th or 120th floor (you know how it goes in dreams) of this apartment complex that was U shaped and had floor to ceiling windows. The zombies at this point were a seething mass of undead flesh at the base of the complex. I knew they were working their way up the stairs, but I felt pretty good that I had blocked off all the entrances and made it hard for them for a while. But the zombies where also endowed with flea-like jumping powers, and came leaping 40 to 120 stories up at me. This sucked, but I could shoot them out of the air as they got near. Then they broke into my floor and I was forced to run away. I did this by leaping out one of the windows I shot out and grabbing a rope that was tethered somewhere (I assume) and had a horrible Spiderman battle with superzombies for a while before falling, inevitably into that roiling sea of gnashing yellow teeth and cracked, overgrown fingernails. I admit that one got me pretty good, but I was pretty burned out on zombies after that. Since then, Bill has mostly just stolen ideas from movies I've watched recently. After I saw The Ring, I had a pretty good run of nightmares concerning that little girl. Previews I accidentally saw for The Grudge resulted in a dream where I was being hunted by characters from a movie I hadn't even *seen*, but the horror of that one borrowed heavily from the same things that scared me about The Ring.

Last night, I think the theme was borrowed from that movie The Cell starring J Lo and Vince Vaughn. It's actually a stupendous movie. It has great philosophical issues (although their complexity is whitewashed by the mediocre "big names" they brought in to illuminate them, and the directors - for whatever reason - seemed to have taken a film that could have been hugely successful and made the last minute decision to try to sell it to teenagers instead of adults, resulting in a very adult move with adult level sophistication with this weird veneer of teenage angst and flash-bangery). The cinematography is the best I've ever seen in a movie, ever. Anyway, the thing that was so scary about this one is that it happened in the morning after Barbara's alarm had gone off once. I was sort of in that space between sleeping and being awake, and when the dream set in, the transition was seamless. I was still in bed, Barbara was still next to me, nothing had changed except we and the bed had been shrunk had moved from next to the staircase to under the staircase. I was kind of dozing when this banging started coming from the side of the staircase. It looked like there was a gate under the stairs that was, I rationalized, banging in the wind. I thought this was annoying and thought to point it out to Barbara, but suddenly it started getting more insistent. That's when I noticed that the whole cabin was starting to shake and heave. I rolled and looked up through the crack in the floorboards of the staircase above me into the blackness beyond. I saw a glimmer of light, and then a huge, pulsing drone shook the cabin. It seemed to close on me, pressing on me like thousands of tiny hands on my chest, neck, arms, and pinning me to the bed. The cabin groaned and the glimmer of light throbbed brighter, deepened into a menacing orange and seemed to peer through the crack in the floorboards at me, settling its enormous and infinitely malevolent presence on me. I couldn't hear anything but the horrible, bone conducting palpitations that shook the entire bed and held me firmly in place. It was very much like that scene from Close Encounters with the little boy at the door, except the aliens aren't friendly. I stopped being able to breath, and so I started yelling for Barbara. I guess I must have actually said something because she shook me awake. The weird thing was that nothing changed about where I was. I was in exactly the same position as I had been in the dream, and Barbara moved the same in real life as she did in the dream. The whole alien business clapped shut like a thunderstorm getting shut up behind a door, but it took me a few minutes to find my breath again. You win this time, Bill.

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