(Male, 40’s) I’m writing this down for you in the middle of the night because I will be DAMNED if I’m going back to sleep. I woke up very rattled and I was afraid even to get out of bed at first.
It was a really classy, arty dream, like everything was significant. I was waiting in line for a favorite restaurant in some city that felt both familiar and comfortable. When I finally was able to get a seat, the prices had all been raised due to an art show that was next door. I decided to boycott the meal so I went to the basement.
My old therapist was there and she had a bag full of pamphlets that belonged to her dad. Evidently he was a harshly fundamentalist preacher, based on the contents of the bag. I felt curious about her personal history but I also felt guilty, naughty, dirty. I felt great compassion oddly for her father whom she seemed to hate.
I strayed into another part of the building which was the art installation in question. Instead of one big room, the pieces were shown in these small, claustrophobia-inducing rooms all linked to each other. The art works were immense papier-macheé sculptures. They were familiar objects all bizarre and wrong. One was an apple that was at least five feet in diameter. It was painted a gory hue of red, more the color of entrails than fruit. On top, there were hateful words scrawled in black letters a foot tall. Vicious graphitti.
And there were zombies that jumped out from around corners. Or some kind of undead. Maybe they were performers… in fact, I seemed to recognize them in the dream, as being members of a death metal band. In the dream, the name of the band was “Zombie Ferox” — which I think is the name of a horror movies, right? The zombie performer was all in black and white, strips of bandages for clothing, frizzy hair, thick gray lips and sunken black eyes. I think it was female. I told her that I enjoyed her music. She — it?– smiled but continued “performning” this bizarre dance that was half attack, half modern art. She kept physically assaulting me then pulling away. It was easy to keep pushing her away but there was something deeply sinister about how she was toying with me.
Then another “zombie” arrived. This one was clearly female, lithe, slender with flowing blondish hair and pale ashy complexion. Again she was both undead and a performer, very clearly a dancer… which made the other zombie feel more like an actor, maybe a martial artist. The second zombie wore a thin grey dress that went down mid thigh. It was wispy like funeral veil and which was the same pale grey as her skin tone. The effect was as if the dress was sheer, that the dancer zombie was naked but not in an entirely sexy way. She would have been rather hot… if she wasn’t weird and undead. This second zombie got a small pitcher of milk from the fridge and also a small vial of vinegar and she made curdled milk. She used it like perfume. She smelled like rancid milk. Like the first zombie, her actions were very physical and very threatening to me but I was able to keep pushing away her advances.
We were then, all three of us, in the house where I grew up. It was night, I don’t know how late. I grabbed the second zombie around the chest and dragged her outside. I can remember how she felt, her flesh so soft and tender. I said something like, “Let’s see how scary you are outside.” I had the sense that I was trying to rupture the frame, that these undead things were only acting — which is not to say they wouldn’t have killed me, they were quite physical in their attacks — and that I could radically change their behavior if I changed the frame of reference.
Outside on the street, there was a small group of young men, wearing black t-shirts with a crudely painted symbol on the chest and back. It glowed lightly in white paint. They were up to no good. The zombie ceased harrassing me and started to drift away down the street. She attracted the attention of the gang who started to follow her. I had no doubt whatsoever that she would be able to rip them apart effortlessly if they attacked her. But they kept coming, these youth. The first in the group were late teens but by the end of the crowd — maybe three dozen in total — they were much younger, maybe 3rd or 4th grade.
They were up to no good, as I said. If it matters, they were all white suburban kids, their boredom made them monsters. I knew they would murder me just to have something to do. I felt a cold, brutal fear, unlike the weird supernatural fear I’d had of the undead performers. These gang members could only kill my body; the zombies wanted my soul… or something even deeper and more comprehensive. There were too many of these punks to fight, though I felt reasonably sure I could hold my own against these younger thugs. I laid down in the flower bed, kept my face down, didn’t move. The thugs milled about, very close to me. If I hadn’t been in a flowerbed, I bet they would have tripped over me.
Then the first zombie seems to have started to lure them into the house. One by one they climbed in through the window until they were all gone, every last one of them.
I was on the roof at this point and the roof was covered in beer barrels, the stainless steel kind. The window led right up to an automated dishwashing machine. I started feeding these barrels onto a conveyor belt into this dishwasher, stuffing them in one after another. I eventually cleaned up the whole roof, thinking to myself “I don’t know which one will kill me first, the Nazis or the Undead but dammit, at least I’ll clean up this mess before I go.” which seems an oddly industrious sentiment for a nightmare.
I awoke as I pushed the last barrel through the window.