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A Nightmare in Prose

Inspiration for my writing often comes from the Dreamtime.  I play with the words, find new meaning and typically create poetry, although some dreams offer up the basis for short stories. A recent nightmare is not cooperating with any attempts to break it down, and so I’ve decided to rewrite it in both prose (offered here) and poetry (visit here).

Nightmare in Prose

This malaise, this undeniable melancholy has been hovering for days now, maybe even since we moved to this place – me now in isolation; he removed to more important matters, work. The mind, I find, is not to be trusted – conjures images of shadows, movements defying rationality.

The other night, for instance, while my husband slept soundly beside me, I caught a glimpse of someone in the hallway, or maybe it was just the play of light from the road – a flash of car beams infiltrating the curtains. I lay motionless and alert for hours, but it didn’t come again, and yet, the air of “other” remained.

I’ve said none of this to Tom; he is far too logical, and it would just stress him further; he hates to leave me as it is. No doubt he thinks I am in a heightened state of sensitivity due to this illness. The doctor says the inflammation affects my nervous system, as if I’m locked into a state of flight or fight. Wired, I call it.

th.jpgWhat was that? I swear I saw the curtain over the doorway to the closet sway. Yes, there it is again – inching upwards.

I feel a raging rising up inside me – immobilized as I am, cemented to this bed, helpless.

“I see you!” I cry aloud. “I know you are there. Show yourself.” I muster all the fortitude I can, but it is only bravado. I pose no threat to anyone or anything.

Stillness.

“I know you are there!” I repeat with insistence, deciding this intruder is ethereal. “Are you someone I know?”  My mind goes to those who have passed – so many losses, to numerous to count.

Nothing.

“How old are you?”

The curtain rises slightly.

“Do you want me to guess? Keep raising the curtain until I reach your age? I’ll count by tens.”

With each upward jerk, I count, ten, twenty, thirty, and then the curtain drops again, and the connection is lost.

“Please, don’t go!” I beg. “We’re just getting started.”

With that, a figure breaks through the veiled doorway, and emerges into the room: a luminescence outlining the body of a woman.   She is more essence than presence, and I feel an urgency emitting from her – frustration coupled with warning. Her gaze falls to the window, and my eyes follow – two looming figures approach – giant-sized men, only the slit of their eyes revealed beneath cloaks of black, like ninjas seeking prey. I make myself small, huddle under the covers, will myself invisible.

th-2But the walls have come alive now, and monsters are taking shape, and I think I must be delusional, prey I am delusional, but the floor boards recede and there I see the skeletons of those who have gone before me, and know that I am not imagining – there is danger lurking everywhere, and the time has come for me to submit.

***

Dear Reader:  Can you write me a resolution to this dream?  Comments below greatly appreciated.

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Categories: creative writing dreams fiction

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V.J. Knutson

Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.

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