In The Middle

Had this dream a long time ago. It pretty much reads like a story other than the commentary about how messed up it was, and I'm pretty sure it was inspired by Silent Hill. And eating before bed. Uh huh.

July 16th 2010


The dream started out somewhat normal. I was in a class or school of some sort, being tutored in math by my old social studies teacher, Mrs Harrington. It didn't seem to be a conventional school...it felt more like a hotel diner because we were sitting in a booth near a window and there were small rooms nearby where people were studying.
Mrs. Harrington was coming up with methods to help me understand something and I seemed to be getting it. We had a cheery, humorous conversation as she readied a test. Sunlight streaked in through the window and lit up the colorful papers she was shuffling like a rainbow. Her fingernails were long and painted pink.

I vaguely recall switching periods and then being in a hallway, where I passed a heavyset white-haired old woman in a baggy blue dress. While not remembering what was said, I knew that something about her was wrong, and quickly departed. On a side note, she was also similar to someone I’ve met before. A lady who wanted me to join her controversial seminar/forum thing that had been accused of being cult-like in behavior. Funny how our mind plays with things.

Then, back in the "class" again, in a different room that was office-like, I sat in uncomfortable chairs next to my parents, and a German Shepherd sat at mom's feet.

Mrs Harrington was suddenly compelled to bring in her weird skinny white dog that seemed to be part whippet part terrier of some kind, whom she said had issues with other dogs and wanted to demonstrate its neurotic behavior. Huh. So when she led it in it started freaking out, howling and spazzing out on the floor, lurching against its leash and pitching a total fit. Its blue eyes rolled around like a spooked horse, and it made sounds that even a dog shouldn't have been able to produce.

Finally we couldn't take the noise and the teacher led it out of the room.

And after this point, the dream takes a very horrific twist.

Mom and I were walking through a decrepit hallway with peeling wallpaper and rough yellow concrete walls where it was absent. The layout was like the interior of a hotel but everything else was all wrong. Like a maze with false passageways and doors that led to nowhere. Papery, ancient-looking artifacts that I for some reason couldn’t get a closer look at were mounted on the wall and a lot of the doors didn't work. We were discussing that lady I had encountered earlier and how we should probably get out of here before she shows up.

Then all the sudden, an angry, drawn-out yell sounded from somewhere down the hall.  We started running. I knew she was after me, but she wasn't quite human and her trajectory down the hall was strange. She went in circles, screaming like a madwoman, but could only stay on one side of the hall at a time, as though a voodoo barrier repelled her. She would randomly change direction and roar right past us, forcing us to squeeze against the shredded walls, out of the way of those grasping hands.

Most of my dreams don’t bother me and are merely fun escapes and welcome inspiration for fiction, but this one, while not terrible enough to be a nightmare, shook me up a bit because of how realistic and intense it was. It had that desperate bogeyman's-coming-to-get-you vibe, and as always I was slow, having to rely on strategy to avoid contact with our pursuer.

Suddenly mom, who was running straight ahead of me took off down the hallway. I couldn't run fast enough to keep up, and the crazy lady’s constant demented sound effects revealed that she was getting nearer. “Mom, wait for me! Hey, wait!” I shouted, but she vanished around the corner.

Panicked evasion, that loud, screeching shout that belonged in the recesses of an asylum, mom no where to be seen and a sudden change of direction for the crazy lady. She cut me off at the end of another long hallway and snared me by both wrists with a viselike grip.

Screaming, thrashing, I tried to break loose but my arms were pinned harshly behind my back, and the psycho hauled me over to one of the artifacts on the wall.

After she touched it, we were no longer in this decayed maze. I sat on a rectangular metal slab in a lamplit room, unable to move from that one spot. The walls and carpet looked like they hadn’t been maintained in years and I knew we were no longer in the hotel/school area, but in an Otherworld. A replica of it turned worn out and seemingly dead, but teeming with malignant forces.

The psycho's name was Ginger, and she sat cross legged in front of me on the floor, pointing out my character flaws one by one, and how she wouldn't let me go until they were "fixed." I begged her to let me go lest my parents and everyone else think I was dead, but Ginger didn't care about death. She may not even have understood what it was. Ginger didn't act human at all. Her plump face reacted in wrong, backward ways to my fear.

Those muddy brown eyes, which I just now noticed, were cold, inscrutable... her mannerisms were jovial one moment and then hateful and threatening the next.

I sensed she was part of some cult. Oh joy. Ginger insisted that I needed to be punished for unknown sins, but wouldn't elaborate at all.
The conversations we had are fuzzy and exact wordage can't be remembered, but the gist of it is this:

Arguing my points in a hysterical attempt for freedom, I was truly afraid of what would happen to me. I tried to explain to her that everyone has flaws, and that it wasn’t her job to kidnap random people and punish them.

Her logic refused to accept this. So I told her about my family and how much I loved them, and vice versa. This didn’t work either.

Then, she left the room through an unseen door and returned with a disturbing-looking black object that looked like a jagged chandelier. About a foot or so long, it had a sharp, knifelike object through rungs in its center, and in her other hand Ginger held a hammer.

Of course…no self-respecting punisher of sins doesn’t have medieval torture devices conveniently nearby.

She held it over my leg and hit it with the hammer as hard as she could. The sharp thing went straight through, nailing me to the floor.

Scream after scream after agonized scream.

Another intense conversation occurred, but I don’t remember. Then the psycho left the room again.

They say you don’t feel pain in dreams but it was there for a moment, throbbing sharply. And then when I looked down at my ravaged leg again the mini chandelier was gone, with only a raw, bloodless circle in the flesh.

I sprung up from the floor, realizing this was probably my only chance. There was a dusty dining table nearby upon which lay a book.

It looked like it had been printed recently with an artsy, black and white cover. Paging through it in clumsy panic I found out three things without quite realizing how: Ginger was a manifestation of some nameless cult’s god, wandering this place and weaving in and out of dimensional rifts, and she randomly chose me for no clear purpose. Perhaps just for the hell of it. Then there was another one somewhere, possibly more horrible than the one in a human mask. And now, they were fighting one another in a place that couldn’t be seen. Distracted. Caught in a conflict between cult gods! Fun fun!

Eager to escape this place before one or both entities came back; I limped toward the rotten door, and opened it to reveal a hotel parking lot in the last hours of the day. A man stood idle a few yards away, and a bird perched on a beige concrete archway. After a second or two of studying it, I saw it was an owl. Its yellow eyes blinked at me, and with no time to bird-watch I hurried on, wincing at the pain in my wounded leg.

 

The air was humid, the sky quickly fading into gray. Hobbling down a quaint little street that was somehow achingly familiar, passing empty shop windows and townhomes in need of repair, I came across an unmarked building with huge, clean windows at the front. It might once have been a market or a clothing shop, but now it was stripped of all its potential charm. Right across from this, a brick building with a blue payphone nearby. A wiry man with a goatee clung to it as though he had difficulty standing. He muttered pathetically to himself in an indecipherable language, and let go of the payphone. He limped like his own leg had been injured, but he sounded deranged. Possibly dangerous.

I hurried as fast as I could around the building and straight into the arms of my father.

He wore a green and brown ski vest that was really out of place in this weather. I struggled to fit all the words in of what had just happened to me, telling them in a gasping, shrieky rush. I was a mess, but my leg and even its pain had been forgotten.

He hugged me and brought me inside, into the hotel room. How the hell did I get back here? Wasn’t that in the other place? Talk about alien geometries.

Mom was there, oblivious to the incident in the hallway as though the memory was gone. A friend of ours was also there and upon hearing this wild story embraced me and explained that she was switching medications and therefore would be able to see the things I had just witnessed.

Frustrated and confused, I rambled on for a while, telling them that Ginger and god knows what else could still be out there…unless of course this was an insane delusion brought on by bad meds…or an ill-timed snack before bed.

I woke up in somewhat of a start and the first thought that came to my mind was, “That…was f*cked up.”

Then I had a Dorothy moment and stood up to tell my parents, “Oh my god I just had the craziest dream! YOU were there, and you were there too, and so was such-and such, and—“


Well…in conclusion, cults are bad, kids. And so are bologna sandwiches after midnight.

 

The End

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