I was on vacation somewhere at a retreat center in a rural setting during off-peak season. There may have only been one or two other people there. Simple setting, plain rooms but generally quiet. Except a construction team was building a new parking lot in the back of the building on what used to be a swamp. It wasn’t going well. There was angry yelling, machinery grinding and squealing then silence. The team had discovered something that was supposed to stay buried. The subcontractors who were supposed to fill in the swamp and raise the grade to where it could get asphalt had sunken a half dozen or so 55 gallon drums into the still mucky wet soil. Water or some liquid oozed all around these drums that gave off an oily, rainbow colored sheen. The people who drank from wells fed by this swamp might all have been poisoned.
That would explain all the birth defects that had been occurring in the area… Somehow I knew that there’d been birth defects even though I was just vacationing in the area.
It was getting dark but word spread fast about the poison. Rumors spread about possible weird side effects. Not quite zombies but people out of control, like feral beasts. I decided to turn off all the lights and brave it through the night rather than be trapped out on unfamiliar dirt roads in the dark.
At some point I heard the sound of music. Next door to the retreat center where I stayed was some kind of music camp. They were practicing. I went over to warn them, in case they hadn’t heard that crazed ex-humans were on their way. It was a music camp for orchestra players roughly aged 8 or so. They played pretty well for their age, not concert quality but not painfully bad. There were less than a half dozen adults. “The children have been practicing for weeks and since martial law has been declared, we don’t know when they’ll be able to play their instruments again. We wanted to let them have one last concert before they put their instruments down, possibly forever.” I couldn’t convince them of the danger they were putting themselves in. And in fact, they convinced me to stay for the concert. There were all sorts of foods, intricate pastries and hard boiled eggs. I didn’t know when I’d get to eat again, what with the mass of crazies headed our way.
The music was pleasant enough but in the middle of the first piece, one of the adults stands up. He’s clearly gone crazy if for no other reason than he’s got a full beard — I remember thinking that in the dream! He must be crazy because he has a full beard, which is odd because I have whiskers myself– He’s foaming at the mouth and his hair is frazzled. He pulls out a gun and aims it at one of the other adults. Bam! He shoots her in the heart and she’s dead. He aims again. Bam! Another adult shot dead right through the heart. The third bullet was meant for me but I simply decided that I was not going to be shot. Time slowed greatly. I leaped from my chair, grabbed a broom handle and swatted the gun from the lunatic’s hand.
At that instant I woke up, my heart just racing.
(Male, 30′s) This wasn’t really a nightmare that is it wasn’t a scary dream, that is, I wasn’t scared so much when I was actually IN the dream but once I woke up and started to think about it, it started to creep me out more and more.
I was on a farm, a very familiar place, a farm my aunt and uncle own. And I was gathering firewood. Twigs and large branches, just everything I could find. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around or at least if there were, no one else seemed interested in the bonfire I was going to start and that was fine. I had acquired a pretty impressive stack of fuel, almost as tall as I am and easily 10 or 15 feet in diameter. It was going to be a righteous blaze.
I was getting ready to light the fire when I saw someone I grew up with. She was a friend of the family someone I’ve only partially kept in touch with over the years. She mentioned in passing that she’d had a seance recently and called up the spirits of her mother and my long dead father. I was struck by a wave of what I can only call jealousy. I’ve been going through some rather hard times recently and even at my worst I didn’t think about troubling my dead father for advice or companionship. It seemed offensive that she’d just summon up my dead relatives, basically for fun.
And then it got weird. Or maybe I should say, weirder. Around that time, I realized that I wasn’t speaking with this friend of the family anymore. Maybe I never had been. I was speaking with my mother who also is dead. It wasn’t clear if she had been summoned in the seance, that is, that I had gotten it mixed up who the friend of the family had called up, or whether Mom had just come along on her own or whether I had been speaking to my mother all along. She seemed so distant and mournfull I got really cold and wished I’d started the fire but it seemed so far away. I still had matches in my hands but I forgot how to use them to make fire.
I woke up thinking about what it would be like for someone who was dead to have a seance to summon someone else who was dead. I got creeped out by the thought that maybe in death we’re all separate, alone and that for some folks that would be incredibly difficult.
(Male, 40′s) My wife and I were staying at this cheap motel and late at night, we got hungry so we went to the coin operated restaurant they had on the roof. It felt like a real restaurant with booths and menus even but there was no staff working there. Everything was a vending machine.
The place was hopping. I don’t know if the town was really dead for night spots or what but there were lots of “kids” and I’ll use that term to mean people in their early 20′s.
They were honky-tonk punks. That’s the best definition. They wore country western style clothes but all dolled up like they’d read about Elvis in history class. One guy had a big blond pompadour. The other wore a black shirt with silver shirt points and a bolo tie. The girl had a kerchief and boots. They were exuberant and dangerous.
They dropped a bunch of quarters in the jukebox and selected songs with a boom-chicka-boom chicka-boom rhythmn and a loud thundering bass. Rockabilly. They were up to no good, trying their best to kick up some shenanigans but they looked so gosh darned cute. I couldn’t keep my eyes off them.
The kid with the pompadour came over as my wife and I were leaving. We had words. I said something to the effect of “I like your style, kid.”
He snapped back, “You’re a dead man, old man.” He said it all syncopated, like he was a hipster hepcat or something.
“I’ve got a little living left but you’re right. You probably have more joys ahead of you than I do. But when I was young I remember not having much money. Let me pay for your time here.”
“Oh you’ll pay, Pops.”
He approached me and and flicked out a long stiletto knife. Like the rest of his get-up, it was more show than threat but it was still pretty dangerous looking.
By this time, I’d taken out my money clip. He moved in to grab me. For some reason I knew he wasn’t going to stab me outright, that he just wanted to take me hostage and torture me a bit to show off in front of his gang. As he grabbed me, I bent my arm up so I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and the edge of my money clip was right at the side of his throat.
He started in listing all the things a bored stupid thug could come up with to terrorize an out of towner, when I pointed out to him that with a flick of my wrist, I could sever an important artery to his head. Sure he could stab me but the blade would likely go into fat without hitting any organs. He’d be dead before he hit the ground.
The punk didn’t release me. I don’t think I convinced him. I was going to have to kill him, this silly small town would-be thug. At that stand off, the dream ended.
“… I began to worry if Mom would have enough blood left in her…”
“…We came across an old church yard with a tall iron work fence and we thought we’d be safe there…”
“… During the off-season, it was a mental hospital…”
House, a 1977 Japanese horror-fantasy-comedy came to the midnight movies in town and I’m still trying to figure out if I just dreamed the whole thing. (more…)
“…this was supposed to represent my family and some magician had tried to destroy it…”
“…what it really wanted was to reach into my body and harvest my organs…”
(Male, 20′s) Weird but strangely terrifying. This bit happened at the end of a relatively normal dream about driving a car around with my girlfriend. We were in a small town, semi-rural area and were heading back into the residential area when I saw this guy holding a trash can. He was shaking the can vigorously, like he was obsessed with getting something out of the can and into this other trash can. The guy with the trash can didn’t live at the house, I don’t think because there was someone else inside the front door watching the whole thing. The guy in the house kept the glass door closed though, like he knew there was something dangerous about what was happening.
“…there was also that slightly weird sense that the gelatin might have been alive…”
I got out of the car and walked closer to investigate. The guy was holding one of those old style metal trashcans and inside it was something strange. It was a cube of some vivid blue gelatin, roughly six inches to a side. It was firmly stuck to the bottom of the can so no matter how violently the guy shook the can, the gelatin only wiggled back and forth. However there was also that slightly weird sense that I always have with jello that it might have been alive, that it might have been holding on. The other weird thing about the cube of gelatin was that it was glowing slightly and for some reason, this made me think of radiation. As I write this down, it reminds me of the way a lot of the ghosts are drawn on Scooby-doo with that eerie glow.
And about this time, I realize that the guy who is shaking the can like crazy actually IS crazy. He turns to me and starts ranting and raving about “Just try to call the ambulance now.” And when I look at his face, I realize also that all of his flesh is this same transparent glowing blue gelatin. His clothes were just dense enough to hide this, I guess. I knew that if he touched me that I would start to turn into this blue goo as well so I started to run away down the street. But the guy drops the trash can and advances on my girlfriend who is basically trapped in the car.
That’s when I woke up, right at that moment when I’m still wanting to run in terror yet also needing to protect my girlfriend.
(Male, 30′s) This dream was going fine until the very end when something happened that continues to creep me out now I’m awake.
“…some kind of insect has attached itself to me…”
I was at some kind of cottage, maybe even a campground with a bunch of other people my age. I think we were all grownups, that is, I don’t think this was a youth summer camp but they were folks I recognized from high school, just all grown up, folks I don’t normally see. A group of us had been swimming in the lake which wasn’t the greatest place to swim. There were lots of leaves floating in it and it didn’t really feel like it had a sandy bottom, more like little bits of rotten leaves and things. Still it was the lake we had. It was a co-ed camp, men and women so we were splashing each other and I think we were all carrying drinks in glass stemware, like martini glasses.
We all got out of the lake and went into the shower room which was one big room with many individual showers each separated off with a curtain. I went in and started a shower and as I washed I could hear other people talking. For the most part, they were all talking about the wild sexual experiences they’d had. These were the people I’d gone to high school with, who’d lived their whole lives in the suburbs and they were talking about some pretty crazy stuff. I was by far the most innocent one there.
I get out of the shower and start to dry off and I realize that I am still wearing my bathing suit which is so stupid. Who showers with a bathing suit? And as I notice that fact, I also notice that some kind of insect has attached itself to me. It’s body is probably two inches across and it’s got sharp, beetle like claws. It was attached to my belly roughly four inches to the left hand side of my belly button. I touched it and it squirmed, still very much alive. It didn’t hurt, in fact, I couldn’t even feel it. On impulse, I grab it and yank it. It snaps apart leaving its head still buried in my skin. I’m thinking, “with all the scummy lake water, it’s sure to get infected.” The body of the bug that I held in my hand was still alive, its legs still twitching.
“…every adult who came into the county had a loaded hand gun with them at all times…”
(Male, 30′s) I was taking my family on vacation, a good old-fashioned pack-up-the-station-wagon, let’s-go-camping kind of family vacation. We drove to this wooded, semi-rural area and when we stopped at the tourist station / ranger post, a man in a uniform warned us that there was a known serial killer operating in this county. He’d killed at least 26 people and stolen at least 13,000 dollars. In fact, the authorities knew exactly who it was but they didn’t want to proceed on the case until they were certain they could have a case that would stand up in court. It was too important a case to have the guy just walk free on a technicality. In the meantime, the authorities were making sure that every adult who came into the county had a loaded hand gun with them at all times. My wife had never shot a hand gun, at least she hadn’t in the dream, and I was a little uncomfortable carrying around an unfamiliar firearm, especially not off into the wilds of this rural county. Anyway, off we go. We stopped in a store for supplies and the woman behind the counter was a little concerned. At first I thought it was because I was carrying a gun in her store, but actually it was because she’d been warned that the serial killer was headed in the direction of the store. Just then the door opened and she yelled “That’s him!” So I guess I shot at him. So did the store woman and I think my wife even got a few rounds off. Then we realized that it was just Bill, an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen in years. Thankfully, none of our bullets had landed anywhere near their mark.
Now I’m awake though, I wonder if we were supposed to think that my friend Bill actually WAS the serial killer. Anyway, it was one of those dreams where it seemed pretty clear that I was going to get killed one way or another, either by the serial killer or by some jackass shooting at me. Both funny and scary at the same time.
(Male, 40′s) I wrenched my back the other day shoveling snow so I had the worst night of sleep ever. Every time I rolled over, the pain woke me up and as it happened, I always seemed to be in the middle of nightmare.
One of the nightmares involved a game, sort of. There were at least a couple dozen of us, all adults who were playing hide and seek. Sort of. There was a cluster of little buildings, like cottages, I guess, tiny one or two room living spaces with white cotton curtains on the windows. It was night time, fully dark and it seemed like summer, at least there wasn’t snow on the ground. Some of the people were monsters. I would almost call them zombies but they didn’t move particularly slow or strangely. But if they grabbed you, you died. The people who were hiding were very scared. There was a woman with very white blond hair who was particularly scared. She couldn’t seem to move even though it was not a good strategy to stay in one place. I stayed away from the monsters for most of the night. I was trying to make it over to a nearby barn that had a tall concrete silo. For some reason, I thought I’d be safe there. As I crawled out of a window, I was spotted simultaneously by three monsters. I said “Aha, I still have three bullets left.” I made my hand into the shape of a gun (?) and fired at each of the monsters (??) Each one of them stopped and looked down at their chest to see if I had really shot them. They were starting to realize that it was all just a big bluff when I woke up.
Another dream also seemed to involve a barn though in stead of a hay mow, it had bookshelves, like a library with a huge gambrel roof. There was a dragon who was devouring the nearby town. Like in the last dream, I was trying to hide though it seemed easier to hide from a dragon than human sized monsters. Just when I thought I was perfectly safe, the dragon smashed through the stained glass windows … didn’t I mention? The “barn” also had huge stained glass windows like a medieval monastery or something… The dragon smashed through the window and spoke to me and the other people who were hiding with me. Someone yelled “Don’t run. He’ll have to kill you if you run.” as if it was part of the dragon’s code of honor, or something. I didn’t run but I also didn’t jump out of my hiding place either. The dragon was clearly going to burn down the barn if we didn’t surrender to be eaten. I decided to take my chances in the fire when I woke up.
There was another nightmare in there too, I think about a ghost but I can’t remember it very well.
(Male, 30′s) I was showing my wife the farm I grew up on as a child. Everything was changed, weird. We had gotten to the barn. It used to be wood with a concrete floor, a normal barn. But in the dream, it was metal. Rusted dirty metal. Thick pieces bolted together. We walked down the aisle where the cows used to be penned in, where I used to have to feed them while they were getting milked. It was all dark gray. It seems like even the floor was metal. The rafters and ceiling too. Cold metal. We got to the place that used to be where we stored the “chop” – ground up corn and oats, I think. I used to give the cows one section of a bale of hay and half a shovel of chop. But where the chop used to be kept in this open bin, in the nightmare, there was a rusted metal door with a dead bolt lock. I had a big keyring full of keys in my pocket. These were MY keys too, not like I’d borrowed them from someone. My house keys and car keys were on the ring too. For some reason I had to show her what was in there. But also I had to find out myself. I got out the right key but it kept slipping in the lock, like I had to turn the key just right to get it to “catch” onto the locking mechanism. But I eventually got the door unlocked and open and we went inside. It was the same space, probably six foot by twelve foot with a bin built into the side. But everything was metal. A gray metal that was splashed and dirty almost like it had patterns of rot on it. Everything felt so filthy. But really, there was nothing there. We turned to leave and discovered the door had closed behind us. It was locked. There was another keyhole on this side as well. I put my key in the lock and fished it around trying to catch onto the locking mechanism. It didn’t work. Then the door was pulled out of my hands. Some one was opening it from the other side. I felt relieved for an instant until I saw the hand that grabbed onto the door. It was pale and rubbery and it seemed to have too many fingers. I stepped through the doorway since I didn’t want to be trapped and from around the edge of the door there appeared this scary looking figure. I don’t know if it was a man or a woman or whether, really if it was even human. It had a rubbery face with droopy long nose and cheekbones and it wore a black hood. It was one of those instances where I didn’t know if it was someone wearing a Hallowe’en mask and jumping out to scare us or whether this was something that was really dangerous and I should be trying to protect my wife. It was certainly shocking.
(Male, 40′s) I haven’t seen a slasher movie for years but this nightmare was just like a bad slasher movie. It was night time and I was in an unfamiliar area, a farm. There was a barn, an old farmhouse, fruit trees, tractors in the yard. I think I was there with a bunch of friends or at least people I knew. We had the sense that there was something else around us somewhere but we all went along doing our normal everyday tasks, sort of relaxing since it wasn’t our farm and we didn’t have to do the work. But as I walked around, I would come across these acquaintances either tied up or taped up with packing tape. They were alive and well but no one could really explain how they got all tied up. I would help them out and then we’d go our separate ways… and then pretty soon I’d come across someone ELSE who was all bound up. It was starting to freak me out, like someone could come up on me while I was trying to undo someone. Then I came across two women, one blond one brunette and they were taped to the seats of this two seat tractor. Nope doesn’t make much sense. I started trying to take the tape off the blond woman and there was this look of absolute terror in her eyes, like she was seeing something over my shoulder. I turned around and there was the weirdest looking slasher I’d ever seen. He himself was all wrapped with clear packing tape. His face was elongated and it looked like he had a dog-shaped nose. His arms were taped straight with these long sticks and at the end of them was a long-handled rose bush shear. They were sharp and nasty looking. The only way he could work these shears though was by jerking his whole arm to snap them closed. He looked seriously deranged, powerful, perhaps not entirely human. It seemed that he wanted to use the shears to cut off the heads of one of the women. Or, honestly, maybe he was going to cut them free. I wasn’t entirely clear about his motivations or for that matter his ability to carry out his motivations either for good or for evil. One thing I knew though was that I was standing in between him and the two women. At that point, I woke up.
(Male, 40′s) I was chasing someone through these very dark, black streets that were also slick with rain. I had lost the trail and was a bit lost when I realized I wasn’t in a city at all. What I thought all along was the city scape of buildings was actually a long backdrop painting. The canvas was stretched all along the side of a large semi trailer. Then I looked around me and realized that everything I had been running through, everything that had felt like a city was actually just cutout flats on a very very small stage. How could I have ever taken that to be the street I was running down?
I looked back at the back drop and noticed that it had been slashed with huge long cuts running lengthwise. The truck was in the middle of a field. It was the middle of the afternoon. There was nothing else, absolutely nothing else as far as the eye could see. Then there was a young woman. She had very straight, plain blond hair about shoulder length… and a HUGE knife, easily a foot long that she waved around like she was very comfortable with it. It was clear that she was the one who had sliced up the backdrop. She wanted me to stay and talk but I said No I had to head back to town because I had to pee. She laughed and said “You’re in a field. Just go ahead and pee here.” I replied, still eager to get the heck away from her “You just want to see my penis.” She replies by grabbing the back of her t-shirt and pulling it off in one smooth movement so she’s standing there, topless and bare-breasted still brandishing this immense knife. I am absolutely terrified — I don’t want to piss her off but I don’t have a clue what to do.
(Male) This wasn’t as much a nightmare as just a strange, strange dream despite its subject matter. I was attending my own funeral. It was being held in this little rural chapel, one maybe 20′ by 20′ in dimensions. The walls were bright white, the pews too, even my coffin was white. Bright summer sunlight gleamed in the windows. There was a crowd of maybe two dozen people and everyone was milling around acting so happy. I was milling through the crowd too and people were shaking my hand, smiling, as if they were congratulating me. I think some people were even smoking cigars, like I had had a baby or something. There was also a large sheet cake with a thick layer of that sugary white frosting usually found on wedding cakes. I was cutting it into pieces and handing it out to people when I realized that this wouldn’t be a very good lunch. I left the funeral and went to a small diner next door and ordered up a gallon of soup and some sandwiches to go. When it came time to pay, I seemed to have coupons in my wallet for a free gallon of soup and a free box of sandwiches which meant that all I had to pay was the tax. As I was leaving, I invited the guy behind the counter to come to my funeral, that we’d have plenty of cake.
(Male) I used to live in the old sprawling farmhouse that happened to located right next to a pretty busy road. The house had been broken up into apartments. Prior to the time I lived there, two of the former occupants, both older women, in totally separate incidents had been struck and killed by automobiles while trying to cross the road. All that really happened.
In the dream, I am laying down on a couch in the living room of the apartment. A woman who I don’t recognize shakes my shoulder, trying to get me to wake up. I open my eyes a little. She says “Go for a walk with me.” I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep. The woman is more insistent. “You must come for a walk with me. Now. Come.” I’m not certain about this next part because it’s hard to describe but it almost felt as if she was trying to push her arms into my body, to make me move from inside, almost as if she was trying to get inside my body to make me move. But I stayed on the couch and eventually she went away.
It wasn’t until I woke up that I remembered the women who had been killed going for a walk just outside. It still gives me shivers to tell this story.