04 November 2015

Lucidly Dreaming (Part II)

(You'll either want to start with Part I or just revel in the lost, confused feeling. Totally your choice.)

I've never figured out the why, who, or anything else about the Violent Bad Guy dreams. I can never see the face. There are no features, just dark, like a shadow, like just nothing there. He's big. Deliberate. He never speaks. Like when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come won't say shit to Ebenezer Scrooge. Silent, scary motherfucker. He chases me (of course he does), and I can't run or scream. I mean, I try, but my legs are congealed oatmeal, they just won't work, and I fall down and my screams come out with all the force of a weak kitten, despite practically herniating my diaphragm with the effort. He doesn't hurry. He doesn't have to. He knows I'm not really going anywhere, even while I claw at the grass and scream my nonfunctional throat raw. The thrill is in the chase, and he likes it nice and slow. It's terrifying. Pins-and-needly prickling in my bowels, my organs go slack, like they're going to slip out of me.  The grass comes out by the roots in my hands, and my feet keep slipping. My muscles won't fucking work, and he's coming.

Could it be any more "classic nightmare" here? The only thing I'm missing is an escape route through my school locker where I can't remember the combination.

He never actually catches me, though. I wake up. Every time. Which tells me that shit must be scarier to the lizard part of my brain than splatting onto the concrete was in the falling dreams.

The Violent Bad Guy dreams would come maybe a couple of times a year. I could never tie them to any real-life event or person. I mean, I had a pretty idyllic childhood. My biggest trauma was probably when that deranged German Shepherd tried to rip my face off but had to settle for a goodly chunk of my arm when I instinctively blocked my face with it. Pretty interesting, having the deep tissues of my arm hanging out there on display, but nothing some stitches and a good plastic surgeon couldn't fix. I never had bad dreams about it, though, and besides, Violent Bad Guy was a two-legged stalker, not a berserker dog. Other than that, my most tortuous ordeals were mowing the lawn, toting firewood up the hill in the snow, and wailing tragically when my dad unplugged the phone without warning during my Very Important Conversations. He also made these annoying kissing sounds when I was talking to my boyfriend. Even so, not really the stuff of nightmares.

So fast forward a couple of decades and change, from the nearly forgotten falling dreams to me closing in on thirty, still occasionally dream-fleeing Violent Bad Guy, but not giving it much thought. One day, in a rare conversation on the subject, someone asked if I'd ever considered lucid dreaming. I had to ask what that was. "Pfft, oh, that's some bullshit," I said. "Please. Like I'm going to magically be able to run now because I decide to. Gee, great idea, why didn't I think of that? Sure, okay: I decide I can run now. Poof!" My friend opined that maybe it wasn't about running. Maybe I should consider confronting Violent Bad Guy. Ask him what he wanted with me and who he was.

And I freaked the fuck out.

I did not want to know who Violent Bad Guy was, what he wanted with me, or anything else about his creepmeister ass. I mean, do you really want to know Jeffrey Dahmer's motivations when he comes a-calling? No, you just want to get the fuck away from his ass. You're not going to ask him to tea for a nice chat, you're going to run, Forrest, motherfucking run. Or at least claw the grass till your nails bleed and low crawl like an Airborne Ranger in the kill zone after you fall down. Ask him what he wants, my ass. I don't give a fuck what he wants.

My friend quietly suggested that I may want to investigate my extreme reaction as well as the lucid dreaming idea, to which I emphatically replied, "Fuck that."

Some time later, at the library, one of the display books was about lucid dreaming. Weird. What are the odds? Flipping through the book, I realized that turning the falling dreams into flying dreams had actually been some form of lucid dreaming. Cue Twilight Zone music. I checked out the book. (This was before Wikipedia had emerged as the foremost authority on life and everything in it.)

The next time Violent Bad Guy showed up in dreamland, I was vaguely aware of it being a dream. I still didn't want to ask him shit. The idea of hearing whatever voice he was packing ... too much hell no to even contemplate. Darth Vader would probably sound like Dora the Explorer by comparison. No. But I felt calm. Controlled. I think it's about the control. The deciding. It felt like things change now. I remember that calm from way back when I decided I wasn't going to fall anymore in the falling dreams. It's like things have already changed, even before you've actually done what you've decided to do, even before you know if it's going to work, because you feel different. Resolute. You're not afraid. It's really an incredible [what the fuck, you mean this was all I had to do all along?] feeling. I wish I could duplicate it in real life, feel that sure and solid, but I guess in real life you know way down deep that there's no out, no waking up. There's no locker combo to remember and no National Geographic (Reader's Digest) article assuring you it's physiologically impossible for the worst to happen.

He was coming, like he was always coming, but I didn't have that fear where your organs go all loose and tingly, where your muscles go soft and weak. I didn't run or scream. He was getting closer -- I told him to stop. I told him I wasn't going to run. That I wanted him to leave. That I wasn't afraid now. I even threw in some hokey, woo-woo shit about him no longer having power over me. Hey, it was an intense moment; I went with it. He kind of expanded, genie-out-of-a-lamp style, like he was going to just envelop me, absorb me without chasing me at all [oh, fuck], but he didn't.

He just walked away.

Yeah, kind of anticlimactic, but that's how it went down. Sorry.

I'm not really a woo-woo type of person, but I do believe there are things that we as humans don't fully comprehend. Dreams are still a mystery to me. I don't have a clue why they're so bizarre, and I don't know how they relate to our lives or or what purpose they serve. What I know is that I've never again experienced the terror of falling in a dream since the night my I made my little-kid self fly instead. And that it's been nearly two decades since I told Violent Bad Guy to leave, and I have not dreamed about him since.

I know. Woo-woo, crazyass shit. I swear, I'm lucid.


  1. Ok...scary, just pain old scary. But, you were strong and changed the whole dream. Good thing I would guess that the guy wasn't attached to someone you knew. My dreams are weird, not connected to anything most of the time. Sometimes I will dream a weird version of something that I read or saw or did during the day. I dream a lot about houses and trying to either escape or find a way out......and lots of times about being shot. As a kid I had dreams about huge bugs. I have a friend that puts way too much into her dreams.....she pretty much sees them as warnings....can't imagine living that way.

    1. Being shot? That's a regular dream for you? Holy crap. And huge bugs ... great, my subconscious thanks you for that little suggestion.

  2. There are too many LOL's in this one to list. Also, me=lazy.

    Your VBG description is vividly perfect and so synonymous with my own that I have to think that EVERYONE has this dream. Or, we are twins. You had the tornado dreams too, right? See, twins. Also, I got mauled by a dog once. Way to make me look bad by turning into a loving dog owner.

    All the sleep paralysis studying I've been doing lately mentions that VBG's are common to them. Not all of my current episodes include a VBG, but ocassionally one pops up. I write it off as a normal fear of someone breaking into my house, because I spend a lot of time thinking about that. In daylight I know that anyone breaking into my house is a stupid fool. The only thing I have to my name that's worth anything at all IS the house.

    I'm really feeling kind of energized to take on all these dream demons now, also perfect excuse to nap at work. zzzzzzzz

    1. It's never too late to become a dog lover. And you've got The Birdhouse, should things not go well.

      Yeah, I'm soo glad I've never had that sleep paralysis thing. One thing I used to do to wake myself up during scary dreams was shaking my head back and forth really hard. I'd wake up and be doing it in real life. That's how I got out of the VBG dreams sometimes, before I gave him the boot. Paralysis is one of my deep, no-no-nooo fears, so having it happen during a scary dream would freak me the hell out. [shudders]

  3. Okay, that does not sound like any fun at ALL. I'm actually resisting coming up with the many reasons why it was (obviously) not fun - just so I don't have to think about what it would have been like. Me and horror movies/stories/anything at all do not get along. One of our filmmaker friends 'specializes' in horror - so I've heard the whole speech on why horror 'satisfies' and what it blah blah blahs - but I can not do it.

    This is a LONG way of saying that, even from a distance of time and space, your dream is scary. Woo woo, my ass. Anything you had to do to clear that shit up seems like something worth doing right away. No arguments. No delay. No anything. I'm glad for you (and ultimately, me) that a book appeared exactly when you needed it. (Would you have searched out a title if it hadn't been right there? I hope so. )

    Oh. I SO have to go and distract myself with ... I don't know. Puppies or kittens or something.

    1. I'm with booda in the rainbow unicorn kitten room

    2. Yeah, it's weird, I had those dreams basically my whole life, and they were genuinely scary. Like I'd wake up in a sweat, shaking, heart pounding in my ears ... but it was incredible how easy it was to resolve. One of those things that seem like bullshit unless it actually happens to you. I still feel like it's ... I don't know, kind of a placebo thing, a trick you do on your brain, but who cares? It worked.

      No, I don't think I'd have searched for a book had that one not been on display after the convo with my friend. That conversation freaked me out and I recoiled from the whole idea. So ... yeah, happy coincidence.

      I'm not a horror fan as far as just blood-and-guts, shoot-em-up crap where the whole idea is just to startle the hell out of you. I found Sixth Sense much scarier than things along the lines of Nightmare on Elm Street, for example. I like horror movies that are well done and don't just rely on the big "BOO!" or the gore to be scary. Also, I find books much scarier than movies, in general.

      Knock, knock --- can I come play with the baby animals now?

  4. well that wasn't something (part 1 or 2) to read just before bedtime was it????? Funny I've never had a VBG dream that I recall. I do remember running from something with legs of lead but honestly I don't remember what it was from. However if I start having VBG dreams you are going to be in such trouble lady!

    1. Wills, I'm kind of nervous myself that I'm going to now dream about aliens and giant bugs or experience sleep paralysis, thanks to everyone else's comments and posts.

      Sweet dreams!


I've got a fever ...