(Male, 20′s) I had this nightmare about an hour after I fell asleep and when I woke up, I seriously considered just not going back to sleep.
I was in a house with a half dozen other guys. It felt like we were in college and we had rented a house together. What a weird house though. It was like a hollowed out tower but a loft had been built inside that stretched up three full stories. The top floor had a floor entirely covered with mattresses, so I guess that was the bed room.
Most of the guys seemed friendly but shallow, always smiling but just skin deep. I didn’t know if they really were dumb or if there was something else underneath that silly happiness.
One of the guys was very disturbed and very disturbing. He gave off “serial killer vibes.” Tall, wore a wide brimmed hat and a black raincoat that always seemed to be wet. On one occasion he was actually dragging in a plastic bag that looked like it could have contained a dead human body.
I accidentally crossed his path. I was using my computer and I was watching a movie / playing a game about a serial killer. It was a horror survival thing. But then I realized that I had somehow hacked into his computer and I was actually seeing what was live on his screen. And worse, he knew I had seen him. He used the camera in my computer to spy on me all the time.
I was freaked. He was coming for me but I figured I’d be safest if I climbed up to the top of lofts, to the bedroom floor. There were two other guys there. They told me not to worry, that the crazy serial killer guy never climbed up the ladder. We started wrestling for some reason and then I discovered gradually that I couldn’t move my arms or legs. One of the guys laughed, “That’s because we drugged you.” I started to foam at the mouth. “We’re going to rape you and then give you to the serial killer so he can chop up the evidence.” I fell over face down on the mattress, paralyzed, my mouth filled with foam. I was unable to scream but eventually I shook myself hard enough that I woke up.
When I was a kid, everyone I knew thought “The Exorcist” was the scariest movie they’d ever seen. Me? When I watched it, I had the overwhelmed sensation “Damn, that looks cool.” Forget fireman or doctor or lawyer, I wanted to be an EXORCIST!
Trouble was, the high school guidance counselor didn’t really have much advice for that career path. Things might be changing though, following this report:
The most recent guidelines appear to have been updated in 1999 – so they won’t be able to address any juicy new demons that the 21st century has spawned. And of course, they’re written in Latin, which wasn’t exactly one of my strongest classes. I suppose the most damning blow to my demon-evicting job search is that I’m not Catholic must less a priest nor am I likely to become one in the near future… like this life-time.
Maybe I’ll have to fall back on my other childhood dream job: astronaut who leaves earth never to return.
(Male, 50′s) Extremely strange and disturbing dream that only incidentally had a zombie in it. I guess that’s enough to make it a nightmare, right?
I was in this house which at times was the house where I live now and at times was the house where I grew up, even though it really didn’t resemble either of those actual houses very much. There was a big apple tree in the back yard.
And there was Richard Pryor. He was just hanging out. He might have been a relative or he might have been just a friend but he was just there and we were all acting like it was no big thing. I haven’t thought of Richard Pryor for years by the way though I used to think he was pretty funny. He looked good, like he did back in the 70′s before all the freebasing coke stories came out. So there was me, Richard Pryor, the girl who later became my wife and a couple other people.
We were working on plans to remodel the house. We all were inside standing around the dining room table and then one of us would make a change to the set of plans, then we’d all walk out side to see what that would look like on the house. It was like as soon as we made a decision, it actually changed the house.
But we got mixed up a little. Some of us were changing the plans while others were checking the results, so I passed people coming back in as I was going out. And one time when I passed Richard Pryor, he wasn’t looking very good. His hair had changed to white and his skin was ashy grey. He was dead alright but he was still walking around. No one else seemed to realize it yet, and Richard Pryor didn’t even realize that he was a zombie yet so I still had some time before things got ugly.
But the only weapon I had was a hammer. I got it in my hand and I came up behind Richard Pryor. I knew that the only way to kill a zombie was to take its head completely off – at least that’s what I “knew” in my dream. So I was preparing to hammer at the back of his spine, over and over until his head fell off. It was going to be awful. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about all the gore and blood. When I raised the hammer behind my head, I woke up.
(Female, 40′s) I’ve been watching *Lost* on dvd so maybe that’s what brought on this dream about a group of zombie apocalypse survivors.
My partner and I were on a camping trip in a mountainous area. We had put up our tent and were making dinner when a group of armed people came into our camp. They started asking us questions like who we were and what we were doing there. When we answered them, they seemed relieved. They explained that now they knew that we were okay. Because we could talk, we weren’t zombies. Somehow my partner and I had missed the news reports that there was a zombie outbreak in this place. We weren’t safe in the woods, they said, so those people led us out of the mountains and back into town.
The town had a large university campus, and most of the survivors had moved to this area, we were told. Everything looked normal, but we were not to let that fool us. Danger was everywhere and especially after dark. Zombies were fast and clever but unable to talk.
My partner and I stayed at the university. We made a few friends and got to know the area. We went out to the bars with friends in the evening. I didn’t understand how life could appear to be going along normally if there was this zombie problem. Everything looked like it was working normally: the university had classes, the electricity was on, college students were playing frisbee and getting suntans.
My view of that relative ‘safety’ changed abruptly. My partner and I were walking home from the bar with four friends and a zombie appeared. We all ran as fast as we could. Someone fell down, and someone ran back to help him, hitting the zombie with a shovel. Then we all ran into a house and collapsed in the chairs and on the floor, gasping and trying to catch our breath. We looked at the friend who fell. “Are you alright?” someone asked him. He just nodded, out of breath. We should have been worried at that point, but we weren’t paying attention.
My partner and I went into the kitchen for a drink of water and so did two of the others, leaving the falling down guy and another guy alone in the living room. When we came back into the room, we realized our mistake. Both of them were silent, staring at us, hungry-looking.
We had been told that zombies couldn’t talk, but no one had told me they could communicate. As we watched, one guy’s head turned into a gray wavering smokey head sitting on his shoulders, and the other guy opened his mouth wide and inhaled this entire head, nodding like he understood. He exhaled the smoke, and the head materialized like normal. Then the second guy’s head turned into the same kind of gray wavering smoke, and the first breathed him in. This was how the zombies communicated. If we hadn’t been so utterly fascinated, we would have hauled our asses out of there, but we survivors just stood there watching.
When the zombies turned toward us and started to advance, we scrambled out of the house, pulling the door shut and holding it. “Hurry! Get the fire department!” the guys holding the door shut told me. The fire department would come and set the house on fire. That was a change, right? But it was the only way to deal with zombies.
In 1941, a group of folks assembled to put a “hex” on Hitler. Life Magazine – the internet of those times – was on hand to record the event with some snappy photojournalism. Godwin’s Law be damned: this is a hoot, that is, using the “forces of Darkness” to combat “Evil incarnate.”
Your position on the utility of hexes or the authenticity of these particular would-be pagans is not the point. We humans need to feel as if we are doing something that is meaningful, that our actions have an effect especially during times of distress. During WWII, we had collections for scrap metal. We grew “victory gardens.” Contemporary reflection somewhat pessimistically notes that these activities didn’t really help the war effort as much as they bolstered the moral of those on the home front. So why not “hexes?”
There was great recent controversy when someone planned to burn multiple copies of the Qu’ran. It prompted folks across the Muslim world to burn effigies of just about everyone they didn’t like… even though, as I read it, it’s a cultural proscription, if not cardinal no-no to make graven images of humans. This emphasis on non-representative art is a contributing factor to the splendor of Islamic geometric mosaics, I’m told. Would there have been such an outrage if the American protest only burned – or put a hex – on representations of Bin Laden?
If you’re getting hung up on the whole black magic thing, perhaps because of christian baggage, then call it an “imprecatory prayer.” Lord knows there are enough bible-belters using such language as veiled threats against the president. You’ve maybe seen the bumper stickers that say “Pray for Obama – Psalm 108 8 & 9″ Look those lines up, will ya? They’re not the cuddly Loving Shepherd. They say “May the days of his reign be few; let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” Ah, explain to me how that’s NOT outright sedition?
(Male, 30′s) This was one of those classic nightmares, the kind everyone talks about having but it was so vivid, so real. It didn’t seem like a joke at the time. I was really on edge.
I was walking down a hallway very similar to the hallways at the place where I work but it was crowded. It felt like there were hundreds of people trying to go one way or the other in the hallway. People were desperate. It struck me as not very professional.
I finally got to the room where I was headed and I sat down. Then I realized it was a chemistry lab, a high school chemistry lab. I remembered that I had enrolled in a science class and that I guess I hadn’t attended in months. I recognized the room but I didn’t know anything about what was going on.
The teacher started off with a game. I sort of caught on and I thought, maybe, I could fake my way through the whole class period. Then the teacher handed out the test.
It was actually kind of cool. We each pulled a plastic figurine out of a large cardboard box and we had to describe its molecular structure… that is, pretending that it represented a molecule. The guy next to me had something that looked like a clear glass giraffe. Even I knew that was supposed to be CH4 – which is a “realization” that is simply hilarious in retrospect.
The thing I pulled out looked like a sea anenome with maybe a dozen long spikes pointing out of it, some of which had jointed articulations. Even the teacher seemed to think I’d selected a hard one. I was confused and I started to panic a bit. It got worse when I realized I hadn’t brought any paper or even a pen. I do all my work on a computer so it’s probably been a week or so since I’ve used paper as part of my job.
I looked up at the door. It seemed so far away. Just then two of my actual co-workers walked by. They looked in at me and just shook their heads in pity. These are two people who I admire and the way they looked at me was crushing. I found that part the most disturbing.
I looked around the room. I was wearing a suit and tie, a normal business suit and I was crouching on this chair that was too small, sitting in a room full of teenagers in jeans and greasy hair. Teenagers who also seemed to know more chemistry that I did. The teacher was collecting the tests. I still didn’t even have a paper to hand in. The creature I had selected was beautiful, intriguing but it wasn’t a chemical. I think it might have actually been alive. I held it in my hand even though I knew its long spines might prick me.
I woke up just as I was about to be found out as a fake.
“Even those who are pure of heart, and say their prayers at night,
can become a wolf, when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
As a public service announcement to all readers who are werewolves, shape-shifters or otherwise lycanthropic, this is what wolfsbane looks like. It comes into full bloom this time of year, right around the time when animosity against the lycan community tends to be highest.
(Male, 50′s) This happened at the end of a pretty normal, pretty boring dream. It was everyday life. I lived in a very old house, wood clapboards, gray paint, white trim, on a tree lined street with lots of bushes in the yard, the way people used to have yards full of plants and flowers and not much lawn. The houses were pretty close together like an old city. I was just sitting and something caught my eye outside the window. There were dozens of people running through the yard. They were scared of something and they were all fleeing the direction of down town. Some of them stopped running long enough to look behind but then they kept running. Clearly something was up.
I went outside and found things generally quiet. The first wave of panicked crowds had passed. Neighbors were on their porch but no one seemed to know what was going on. I looked next door and saw my son and daughter in law and I knew they didn’t know there was trouble. I entered their house and asked if they still had a shotgun. My son said he thought so but it would be in the attic. I offered to get it. I had to climb up a ladder that was built into a window. There was no actual entryway to the attic – I had to push my head through the ceiling. But the room upstairs was fully furnished, fully finished with hardwood floor (How did I force my way through that?) It was a baby’s room though my grand-daughter wasn’t there at all – and actually she’s a lot older than the age of the child this room was meant for. Leaning up against the wall – next to the crib! – was a shotgun.
I brought the firearm down to the first floor and went out on the porch again. There were more people in the streets. Everyone was tense and concerned but no one really knew what was going on. Agitation was rising. There was a team from the local hardware coming around and handing out weapons. The weapons looked like modified weed-whackers, like they wouldn’t do anything more than irritate a monster. He said he’d put it on my tab if I ended up having to use it. I asked him if he knew what we were up against, if he knew what was terrorizing the town.
“Not a clue,” he said.
(Female, 40′s) This nightmare was obviously modeled on *Groundhog Day* or *Run Lola Run*, but scarier and bloodier.
I was sitting in a room with my husband and 4 other people. The other people were not real people from my life, just dream characters. We were sitting and talking at a round dining room table. Then there was a knock on the door. One of the men stood up and answered the door. A tall man dressed in a black officer’s uniform came in the room holding a gun and shot him dead, immediately, for no reason we could see. Then the man with the gun herded us out of the room and down the hallway, where there were more soldiers. A woman from our group tried to run away, and she was shot and so was another man. There was a short old man who started laughing then and said to the officer, “See, I told you it would work!” I realized he was on their side. “We don’t need you any more,” said the officer as he pulled the trigger and shot the old man. They led my husband and I out into the forest, and I knew any minute we were both going to die.
Then I was back at the first scene of the dream again, everyone alive and sitting at the table talking. I looked around, worried and nervous, but the other people in the room continued their conversation. I said, “Something terrible is going to happen.” “Why would you say that?” my husband asked. Everyone looked at me, curious. Then I realized that I was the only one of the group who knew what was going to happen next. “Someone is going to knock on the door. Don’t answer it!” But when we heard the knock on the door, the man stood up and answered it anyway– just like before. And was shot by the officer. And the action went on.
Then we were back at the first scene again. This time I knew I had to be more assertive. “If you don’t do what I say, everyone will be dead in 10 minutes.” I pointed at one of the men. “Go lock the door. Don’t let anyone in!” “She’s crazy,” said the old man. “Don’t listen to her!” I told my husband and another guy to hold him down. There was a knock at the door, and the old man kept shouting, “They are in here! They locked the door!” Shots were fired at the door knob and the officer strode into the room…
Then the first scene again. I stood up. I said to my husband, “He’s a spy! Knock him out!” pointing at the old man. I don’t know why, but he believed me. He stood up and grabbed a chair and hit the old man over the head, knocking him out. “Turn off the lights and hide!” But still the knock and the shots and the man with the gun…
The first scene over again. But this time I pointed to the knocked out old man and said to my husband, “Kill him now.” My husband and another man beat in the old man’s head with chair legs. Thud, thud, crunch, crunch. “Everyone grab a chair leg. Arm yourselves. Smash the light bulb. They will be here any minute.” We waited in the dark for them, armed and ready.
One of these times we were going to get it right and survive.