(Male, 30′s) I was staying at someone’s summer home, a sprawling house with multple floors. It looked out on landscaped terraces leading down to a lake but there didn’t seem to be any way to get out of the place. I was trying to sleep but some one much younger than myself was practicing bass guitar in the room above so I got up and wandered the house.
On the main floor of the place was a laboratory, sort of an industrial waiting room where workers stood around waiting for the shift change. It wasn’t clear what they all did. They were bored twenty-somethings, leaning against the furniture and counters. One of them seemed to recognize me and we spoke amicably. Another worker was edgy, clearly a dangerous jerk. He carried a hypodermic needle with him that he threatened to jab into people, his thumb on the plunger. Sticking out of his upper arm were spare needles. He didn’t seem to notice or care that they were skewered into his flesh.
He tried to bully me the way thugs on a playground would. I wouldn’t have any of his stupid threats so he stabbed me four times with his hypodermic, each time injecting something into my arm near the wrist. I demanded to know what it was. He was coy. “It’s nothing yu need to worry about, old man. Just cholesterol.” I didn’t believe him. but he didn’t tell me anything more.
Then, the flesh around the holes began to swell up. The holes grew large something started to poke out of the hole. It looked like a bead, a shiny black bead but eventually, a centipede poked its head out of my arms and wriggled, trying to get free. It squirmed and squirmed and finally used its hundred of legs to pull itself out of my flesh.
It was just the first. Soon, dozens of centipedes, hairy ones with thousands of tiny legs crawled out of the wounds on my arms, one by one, dropping to the floor.
Just when the waves of insects seemed to be slowing down, another large bead appeared in the one of my arms. It was the staring black eye of a larger bug, and pushed its way out. It was larger, hairless, hard round segments and thousands of legs. They followed like the poison inside me was evolving different kinds of bugs. They streamed out of my hand and fell to the floor.
The thug with the hypodermic needles seemed to find this hilarious but I was worried what kind of creature would follow after the centipedes.
What creature would crawl out of my flesh next?
I was in an impromptu workshop. It was as if I was taking a woodworking class. The instructor was a famous wood worker I’ve seen on TV. He was looking at my work. It was some kind of a small box. It was hopeless. He struggled to make some constructive criticisms but then finally said I should clean up my work area and go home. I asked if I could come in tomorrow and try to fix the thing. He said no, there was no time left, that this was the end of the class. I was the last person left in the room. My work area was a board laying across two sawhorses. The surface was covered with old bent nails and staples pried from old boards. I started to pick them up but I couldn’t find anyplace to put them…
… so I put them in my mouth. These old bent nails and staples. In my mouth. it didn’t seem that odd at the time. I thought I’d carry them until I found a trash can. I picked up my failed box and left the workshop. After awhile, I remembered that I had a mouthful of sharp and filthy pieces of metal and it finally occurred to me that it was probably not a good thing. I found a trashcan and tried to spit them out. The nails were easy but the staples had attached to the inside of my mouth. All around my tongue and gums the tiny points of the staples caught into my mouth. I reached in and carefully tried to pull them out, one by one. There seemed to be dozens of them. It didn’t seem I’d ever remove them all.
(Female, 30′s) I had a really weird, really horrible teaching dream. I’m a teacher, but I teach high school. In my dream, I was in an elementary classroom and I had to deal with a violent, insane student. I spent almost all of this exhausting dream trying to reason with him.
At one point, the little boy threw a lengthy temper tantrum, which reached its peak with him throwing himself down backwards onto the top of a table. Fortunately, I guess, he landed with his head on top of a huge cake that
was on the table. When he sat up, he had frosting and decorations stuck all over the back of his head. It struck me as hilarious, and I was fighting the urge to laugh at him.
(Male, 30′s) I was in a strange town for a job interview. I had just come in that morning and planned to head home that night if I didn’t get the job. I went to the building where the interview was supposed to take place, but it wasn’t an office. It was a parking structure as tall as a skyscraper. I started walking up, floor after floor. It was inhabited by street people. In the parking spaces, instead of cars, there was waiting room furniture: chairs, end tables, lamps that didn’t turn on. I could hear the sound of cars echoing through the cement walls but I guess the commuters had learned to park on other floors. Almost every seat was occupied with someone squatting with all their belongings in a garbage bag at their feet. Everyone wore too many layers of clothes, like a couple wool knit hats and several coats. I found a seat that wasn’t occupied and sat down.
Then I realized I had brought with me a couple strange items. One was an old brown comforter that I used to keep on my bed. I loved that comforter, as I recall. I don’t know whatever happened to it. I also had with me a leather briefcase, nicer and bigger than the one I own in real life. I had no idea what was in it. When I got up to leave, the comforter was gone. I felt a deep sense of loss but decided to let it go, decided not to hunt around finding it. I held onto that odd briefcase extra tightly though, so it wouldn’t disappear.
The homeless folks knew how to create some extremely powerful explosive. Occasionally for entertainment, it seems, they pour a bit of it into the gas tanks of the fancy racecars that are parked in the parking structure. These were not normal cars but rather were the very expensive racecars that folks watch on TV going around and around on oval tracks. When this explosive was added to their gas tanks, eventually they’d explode into a huge fireball. There wasn’t much concern from anyone about this. The commuters in their racecars seemed mostly just annoyed by the delays, not concerned about the carnage and destruction.
I started walking down the concrete staircase. I heard a roar from a few floors down. A whole stampede of commuters were heading up to their cars. I was likely going to be crushed underneath their feet. I looped my arms around one of the railings and hoped I could hold on. Then I realized I had a whole test tube full of that weird highly explosive liquid. It slipped from my fingers and fell, down, down, flight after flight of stairs until it hit on the ground floor.
It exploded with an earth shattering groan. Screams from thousands of voices, maybe more. I woke up.
(Male, 40′s) This might not sound like it, but this is definitely a work-related stress nightmare. I was at work – well, not exactly the place where I work. It was a different building located right downtown Detroit near one of the old auto plants. I was working so much overtime that I hadn’t gone home at all for two nights. So, in the logic of the dream, I had loaned my car to a few coworkers so they could all carpool home in it.
It was morning and I was still in my pajamas, at work, remember. And my car arrives and a half dozen of my coworkers get out. The normal stupidity of work starts up and then I get a phone call from someone who is staying home that day. And my manager basically tells me I have to do his work for him in addition to mine. This is more than I can take.
I go out to my car and find it is in a sorry state. First of all the door locks are broken so the lock is just a metal rod flopping uselessly in the driver’s side door. The car has been broken into but I never have anything in it so nothing was stolen. The door panel on the driver’s side back door was torn off, revealing the inner workings of the door. It made sense to me that was how the thieves had broken in, by dismantling the door. Then I walk around the car and find an addict crouching by my car. He says “I didn’t do any of that stuff” but I notice that he’s stuck a used syringe into my rear car tire. He mentions that I might not want to look in the trunk.
At which point, I realize that someone has stashed a dead body in the trunk of my car. Next thing I know the cops are there, writing up a report. But the report doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my car. One cop says “The gorilla is still missing. That’s why we recovered the jaguar.” At first I thought he meant a stolen car, a Jaguar. But then I noticed an actual jaguar prowling around the parking lot. I panicked and ran toward the door of my office. The police yelled “Don’t run. It’ll chase you.” Sure enough the jaguar started running after me, obviously ready to pounce and kill me.
Word dropped into my InBox about “The Selling” a film making the festival circuit about the difficulties of trying to sell a haunted house. The trailer at least makes the film look like an enjoyable and amusing tale.
Watching the spritely actors cavort in this quite enjoyable trailer made me realize what stinks about most straight horror movies: wooden acting. Perhaps it comes from a reliance on special effects, that is, the external aspects of gore and spectacle, the kinds of things that can be “fixed in the mix” that is added in during post-production. Real acting — even the exagerated cariacatured comedic acting in the trailer — obviously takes place during production but the groundwork has to be laid firmly in pre-production, dare I say it, even before the script writing occurs. We so often hear — and are supposed to be amazed by — reports of films that were written in one booze-drenched weekend. Yawn. I want the story that is deep and mature like a well cellared wine. Creep me out during the movie, sure but keep me scared long after I’ve gone home. I know grown men who were afraid to take showers after seeing “Psycho.” I digress, of course. Critics will note that it’s far easier to get a laugh than to inspire genuine fear. Maybe. There are cheap laughs and cheap scares. The richer experience in both genres, I believe, depends upon deep characterization (not necessarily deep characters) and actors capable of depicting them.
“The Selling” looks to be a blast, like a well-done comedy-horror film that wasn’t afraid to do a little work.
I was at work, though for some reason the office was set up in a house. The house was on a normal suburban street but the back yard was a graveyard. The grave stones started right outside the back door. The other strange thing was that it was night. I was working at night with someone else, someone I don’t really work with.
Whenever there was a computer glitch or problem, it manifested itself as an image on the screen. Mostly they looked like decaying humans. Ghosts, I guess.
The guy I was working with got tired which was understandable because for some reason I knew it was about 4:00 AM. He went to take a nap on the couch in the living room. And about that moment, there was a knock on the back door. I looked out the window and there were three of the ghosts that appeared on the computer screen. They were full sized human ghosts. For some reason they couldn’t come in, even though I had opened the door. Towering in the trees was another ghost, a monster about as tall as the roof. It looked like a minature Godzilla. Needless to say, I closed the door.
Then there was a knock at the front door. I opened it, thinking that the ghost wouldn’t be able to come in. But this ghost walked right past me and went over to my co-worker who was sleeping. I think it must have possessed him – or something – because the guy woke up and ran outside terrified. I ran outside to chase him. or at least warn him that there are ghosts all around. I had to wrestle him down because he seemed quite panicked or perhaps determined to cause himself harm.
Then we heard the pterodactyl.
It swooped in and attack this guy. We hid around the base of an apple tree. The guy was totally useless. I tried to keep the tree branches between the Pterodactyl and us. Every now and then the monster would reach out with this long bony claw and try to grab us. For some reason, I figured that it was just basically a big bird and there fore it’s bones must be light, hollow in fact. Therefore, it would be easy to break them. None of that is rationalization after the fact. I very clearly remember going through that thought process inside the dream.
So the next time the monster reached out to grab me, I grabbed it by the forearm and tried to crack its wrist against one of the branches. I didn’t succeed but I Knew I would. Eventually, if I could just keep that panicky co-worker safe – I’d be able to beat that dinosaur.
So I show up to teach my composition class. I’m running late and feeling
rushed. I’m carrying an enormous amount of stuff with me, weighed down
with papers and books. I have a backpack that’s stuffed full and a
briefcase too, just brimming with manila folders and papers bursting out.
I’m out of breath as I arrive at class– only to discover that we’ve been
moved to a new room, a bigger room — almost a conference center room or an
My students are already there, spread out over a dozen tables, and since
there are only 20 of them, the wide expanse of tables look a little empty.
I have to turn my head back and forth to see everyone who is there.
And then I notice that the “audience” is made up of more than just my
students– there’s also a number of other people there. One notable person
seated at a table, pen in hand, is one of my old professors. In real life,
he is dead now, but in my dream I realize that he’s there to “observe” my
class and report on my teaching.
Unfortunately, I can’t recall what I have planned to teach in this class
session. Or more accurately, *if* I have *anything* planned for the class
today. Then I really start to panic. I open my briefcase, rifling
through, but my files of stuffed full of papers to grade. Crap– all those
papers turn my stomach.
So I step to the podium, which has a microphone and desk lamp– I wasn’t
expecting those. I speak into the microphone, asking my students to settle
down and get out their books and class work. I glance at my watch– we’re
already running late.
As I look around, I see that the room is even larger than I realized– like
really, really big. Almost a football field-sized room. Along the sides
of the room, there are shops and houses. Some of the buildings have lights
on and some boarded up.
Then a mass of people start to move into the room, marching in formations,
in between the tables. They are practicing for something. They’d reserved
the space earlier and they have no idea how the room was double-booked.
Neither do I. I have no idea what is going on, but I’m pretty sure I’m not
going to get a very good evaluation.
(Male, 50′s) I was in a car driving along a pleasant wooded road. It was dark but there was enough light that I could see the trees and the fields and I had the sense that there was a lake off to my right. A pleasant kind of drive that I’ve taken dozens of times in my life.
Then I realized that the steering wheel had become entirely unresponsive. I’m old enough to know what it feels like when power steering goes out and you’ve got to turn the wheel with a lot more force. That’s not what was happening. It’s like the wheel was totally disconnected from the movements of the car. I check the mirrors and there are no other cars on the road so I figure it’s OK to brake and at least make sure I don’t careen off the road.
But the brakes don’t work either. Not if I press down a little, nor a lot. So I try shifting out of gear and of course the gear shift doesn’t work. I was so desperate I tried shifting into reverse. Nothing I did had any effect. It was exactly like I was working on a computer and that f*ing little hourglass comes on for no apparent reason and the mouse and the keyboard just go dead in my hand for a few seconds, nothing I click or type makes any thing change. Exactly like that, except I’m trapped inside a metal box that’s cruising down the road, liable to smash into anything that gets in its way.
The road sloped gently downward so I’m picking up speed, not hurtling faster and faster but enough to know this will become a problem. Sooner or later, this’ll be a real problem.
“…from where I was sitting, I couldn’t see anything …”
“… I tried to speak but my mouth was filled with dead tongue…”
“…Our old lives of electronics and amusements and the stupid jobs we did to pay for them was all gone. Just like that…”
“…I resumed my dream job which was taking apart greasy filthy machinery in order to salvage their screws, which is only slightly more demeaning than the job I do during my waking life…”
“…The effect was absolutely sinister. With every step my good mood dissipated…”
“…That’s when I noticed the ghosts, particularly strange ghosts…”
“…my back started getting numb. My whole right side from my shoulder on down starting tingling and then going dead…”
(Male, 40′s) I have this enduring fear that I’ll end up living on the street in a damp cardboard box and this nightmare for some reason called that up.
“…the carriage itself was jet black as were all four of the horses…”
I was downtown in a big city. It had a pretty thriving city life, though things were very grimy and a big run-down. Like there were two extremely tall wooden houses built with timbers probably a foot or two thick and covered with dirty yellow clapboards. These houses must have been ten stories tall and then BETWEEN them, that is, over the street another house had been built that was supported by being wedged between them. It was a busy street and the supports to the middle house were obviously falling apart. It was just a matter of time until it fell.
I was dressed like a street person. I’m not sure that I actually wasn’t a street person. In one hand I held a large clear plastic bag with ice water and a couple dozen cans of soda. I guess I made my living selling soda to the commuters as they came out of the buildings to evacuate the city and go home to the suburbs.
There was a crowd of people. I had made enough for the day to cover expenses and get a meal so I was about ready to sell the leftovers to this other street person who had the same gig. Then a loud clackitty clanging sound came up the street. It was a horse drawn carriage. It looked like a couple had just gotten married, because the woman was dressed in a frilly white dress and the guy was in a tux complete with a tall top hat. Except the carriage itself was jet black as were all four of the horses.
And the strangest part was that three of the four horses were dead. They hung lifeless in their harnesses while the fourth and final horse dragged the whole carriage along. The people in the carriage acted as if it was nothing to have three dead horses attached to the carriage, perhaps as long as things kept moving along they didn’t really care about how it happened.
“…As I kept talking, my voice started to fail. I was unable to make any words, just the honks and squeaks that might come out of a saxophone…”
(Male, 40′s) To my knowledge I’ve never had an actual “panic attack” but those are exactly the words I’d use to describe this terrifying dream I had the other night. I was at work talking with a co-worker in the hallway of an unfamiliar building. She was explaining how the IT department, that is, our department were entirely unable to manage certain key attributes of the computers we’d deployed just last spring. As I asked more questions about what that actually meant, I learned that the computers couldn’t communicate on the network, though there would be no error given to suggest the attempt didn’t succeed, and what’s even better, these computers couldn’t reliably be counted upon even to save data to their own hard drives. Again, no error message would be given. My co-worker was telling me all of this in a matter-of-fact, world-weary sort of way, I gather the same way that we were supposed to inform the users. But I started going crazy. I couldn’t believe the callous attitude. I also couldn’t believe that there hadn’t been daily if not weekly memos from the IT director warning the users that, basically, none of the work they were performing was safe in any way. As I kept talking, my voice started to fail. I was unable to make any words, just the honks and squeaks that might come out of a saxophone if you didn’t know how to play it. My direct manager had been listening in but at some point, she had wandered off and this frustrated me because she needed to hear about these problems.
At this point, I found it impossible to stand still anymore so I just walked off down the hall. It was an unfamiliar, one-story building with offices that looked like elementary school classrooms. I was trying to find my cell phone. Inside these offices were large desks that were covered in construction paper, safety scissors (remember those? the kind with blunt tips so students couldn’t stab each other?) pots of that sticky white glue like they used to have in kindergarten… all this stuff on the surface of these executive’s desks. I needed to find my cell phone because I could tell there was a conversation I needed to be a part of. I could “hear” part of it when I held a can of spray paint. But it was white paint. I needed to find a spray can of black paint because I needed to spray paint my hair black. I started just running up and down this hallway, looking into similar offices, entirely unable to relax. I grabbed onto the can of spray paint tighter and tighter until my muscles were shaking. It was horrible.
Boy am I glad there’s a weekend coming up.
(Male, 40′s) I had this nightmare earlier this week and I’ve been telling everyone about it. It’s sounds so funny but trust me I was simply terrified in the middle of it.
“…I tried to greet the students and found that I had no voice….”
In the nightmare, I was a science teacher and this was my first day at work. I had the dim sense that I’d quit my current job and that I was finally doing something I really wanted to do. (And this sort of touches with reality. I’ve been giving a series of presentations at work recently. “Teaching” sort of, and I really enjoy it. I do wish I could do that full time.) So I’m a science teacher and this is my first day teaching… and I’m teaching in the exact same classroom where my Dad taught. He was a middle school science teacher. I loved his room when I was a kid. All those weird displays like a human skeleton, animals preserved in jars, oversized models of the human heart… So I was teaching in that very same room.
And just to make sure I did well on my first day, along had come my Mother who sat behind me off to the left. And my wife, who sat behind me off to the right. They periodically said vaguely encouraging things as I prepared for class.
The bell rang and students started to shuffle in. Up until this point I had felt relatively good in the dream, despite the presence of my watchers. I tried to greet the students and found that I had no voice. I busied myself passing out handouts all the while desperately hoping that my voice would return before I had to speak.
(Male, 40′s) This is another nightmare I had while I was battling the worst cold I’ve had in years. Feverish dreams are wild!
“”…everything was a front for the Mob..”
I operated a little shop of some kind in a canvas tent pitched in a parking lot beside a highway. There were big bags of coffee beans and by big, I mean probably 50 pounds or so. There also were different kinds of spices and bags of food like it all had been directly imported from other countries.
And everything was a front for the Mob. Though it wasn’t explained in the dream, the set up sounds like there were drugs or guns being smuggled in with the coffee and other items. My position was extremely tenuous. There was really no reason to have an outsider like me so intimately involved with Mob work and I knew it. It was only a matter of time until I was killed. The Mob guys would show up every couple days, cut open a bag of coffee, spill the beans everywhere and then take off. There would be someone holding a gun on me in case I wanted to make some kind of an objection. This one time the Mob people show up and they’ve got someone with them. In fact, it’s someone I work with, a nice enough guy. He chats with me, totally oblivious to the danger he’s in. He’s amazed that I run an import shop in addition to the other job. Then the Mob guys grab him and force him to his knees and without saying anything they shoot him to death right there in front of me. I am simply terrified. Shocked and terrified. I don’t know what to do. The Mob guys back out of the tent. I don’t know if I should run or call the police or what.
Then all of a sudden I’m in an apartment building. I get the sense that it’s also entirely owned by the Mob. I’m in one of the rooms possibly a room where I live and I look out of the door just in time to see a couple Mob guys drag another guy I know up the stairs and thrown him on the landing face down. They put these weights on his arms. The weights look like big coffee cans with a handle on the top. The guy is unconscious. One of the Mob guys prepares a syringe of something, maybe heroin for all I know. Then he backs up and makes like he’s going to throw the syringe like a dart. That part makes me cringe.
All of a sudden he realizes that I’m there, that I’ve been watching everything from just a couple feet away. He turned toward me and started walking. I backed up and at that instant I woke up.