DREAM: Brutality and Survival

Very unclear, very sketchy continuity. Before I go into this, it’s worth mentioning that I seem to connect both the preview for the remake of Romero’s “The Crazies” and the game preview of Bio-Shock 2 to the mood and grotesque visuals I experienced.

As I’ve said before, fear in my dreams doesn’t amount to panic or fear of death. My fears, even in a warlike scenario with monstrous creatures,  are all low-level operational stresses. Instead of broad-based existential fears like “Oh, sweet Jesus, how did I get here?” and “Where the hell did this disgusting monster come from?“, my fears are more momentary and functional: “can I make this jump?“,  “is this weapon powerful enough?“, “is ‘x’ person an ally?

The setting was enclosed. Brass, steel, iron, brick and stone are the best terms to describe the environment. A large building, somewhat resembling my head’s best guesses of what a combination of H.H. Holmes’ death castle and a derelict factory would look like.

It seemed like there were a group of us–men brandishing various weapons, most of us carrying some kind of gun (I had an iron bar and something small resembling a Kahr MK9 with its trigger guard missing). We all rushed through the building as if we had a particular waypoint to reach, and at certain moments I recall running over the same ground twice, maybe after falling through a floor or taking a wrong turn.

In many places, especially reconvergences with what I considered to be a “main path” through the building, I encountered others that neither threatening nor interested in cooperation. I saw some men apparently wounded or killed by humanoid creatures with anomalous or grotesque anatomy, but in any case I didn’t stick around to bear witness to their demises.

As I said, little continuity. Very blurry. Toward the end of the dream, I was on a top floor (as evidenced by a partially crumbled roof above me, showing a dimly-lit colorless sky beyond) with another man who was fighting off a creature.

I remember this creature vividly. Humanoid, but with no hair, elongated limbs, neither eyes nor sockets to hold them, indeterminate facial features otherwise, and the most memorable aspect of all–a viciously toothed mouth at the solar-plexus with a long prehensile tongue.

The man fighting it hadn’t succumbed, but he hadn’t harmed it either. Both were across a gap in the floor leading to darkness below, and I was determined not to fall through the gap (which I assumed would cause me to navigate the entire structure again as I had before–however unaware).

By the time I’d taken my successful leap, the monster had noticed my presence, hissing from it’s top mouth while opening its “solar plexus” mouth wide–long teeth and a tongue with which to grasp and pull prey. Not pretty.

The tiny gun being my only option, I missed my first shot while the second connected at the creature’s neck. It slumped to the ground quickly, but not wanting to take any chances, I fired 3 more shots into its head.

The dream ended with me firing my weapon at another creature, a snarling humanoid about 1/3 of my height that seemed to have technological or mechanical modifications in its body. My remaining shots seemed to do nothing but stick into the surface of this creature’s skin, and I woke up before either of us were able to directly engage the other.

Not quite zombies. There was no “infection” fear as involved in my standard zombie dreams, and there was no “protection” objective as I’ve had in my action dreams in the past.

No discussion, little interaction with others. Only brutality and survival.

DREAM: Assassins of Ripley County

I’ve had a few pieces of coherent dreams since my last “dream” blog post, but none were as contiguous or exciting or terrifying as this. I know the ending perfectly, but I can’t recall exactly how we got started. This is kinda violent and a little horrifying, so keep that in mind before reading on.

I believe I was behind my father’s house in Doniphan, MO with Katt. I don’t know if I saw a figure dressed in black sneaking through the shadows before all this began, but for whatever reason I knew we had to get inside, and fast. Continue reading “DREAM: Assassins of Ripley County”

The weirdness of my writing and why am I “sofa king” tired

As I just described to my girlfriend: I am, like, eyeclosingly tired. Yes, not only is that an adverb–the supposed bane of all good writing (*cough* bullshit)–but it’s not a real word at all. I think people take the NO ADVERB rule too far. You’ve got to have them sometimes.

I had the same discussion in my head between my creative voice and the counter-balancing quality control editor voice. It went something like this:
____________________________
Writer Joe: I jumped high.
Editor Joe: No, you leapt.
Writer Joe: No, bitch. Maybe to ME, “leapt” means I jumped FAR, and so the whole purpose of explaining my altitude is now lost to my audience.
Editor Joe: Fine, you bounded.
Writer Joe: Wrong again. “Bounded” means I took long continuous strides one after the other. I fucking jumped HIGH, so get the fuck over it.
Editor Joe: Clumsy writing.
Writer Joe (stabbing Editor Joe with a red marker): HOW’S THIS? HUH? WHAT KIND OF STAB IS THIS? IS THIS JUST A STAB? JUST A PLAIN OLD STAB? NO MODIFIER TO FURTHER ELUCIDATE THIS STAB?
Editor Joe: You’re stabbing too deeply!!!
Writer Joe: Deeply? Deeply, you stupid shit? Deeply? Is that an ADVERB I’m hearing?
____________________________

Don’t worry, Editor Joe was fine. It took him a little while to recover completely, but he’ll be top notch in the morning. Anyway, I’m tired. It’s almost like a “coming down with something” tired, but I refuse to let that happen. I’m going to keep drinking water and plugging away like I don’t feel anything at all.

What happened today is that I kept waking up after 2 hours of sleep, so after three times of that, I gave up. That makes six hours, all cut apart. I had a kind of crazy dream in and out that I was in a city with lots of gunfire. I was a brave little son of a bitch though, ducking behind things and navigating my way around obstacles. I’m usually pretty indomitable in my dreams save under rare exception (i.e., dreaming about my teeth falling out is about the only thing that still scares me when I sleep). So between crazy dreams and half-completion of every REM cycle I entered today, there’s probably a non-“I’m getting sick” explanation for be to be as tired as I am.

Then there’s this happy page, but you know all about this one if, in fact, you are reading this right now. You know–for instance–that this space fluctuates between the kind of sophomoric rambling I’m doing now and over-poetic, Wordsworth-esque (Trust me, that’s more self-deprication than self-praise since I think Wordsworth was a hack) personal essays.

(EDIT: this is all terribly wordy sophmoric rambling. Most of it is now archived on editorialjoe.com)

So yeah, that’s what’s going on in the life of this Hack You Know and Love. As Master Shake of ATHF fame would say: “Well…that was good. My teeth feel gritty, and I’m going to go lie down.”
____________________________________
Editor Joe: I got it. You vaulted.
Writer Joe: Dude, you are really pushing it.

DREAM: Wolves in the Attic

The most brutal dream I’ve had in a while. This is more violent than my dreams have ever gotten, because even though I’ve fought zombies, skeletal humanoids, and even became a panther made of red liquid that swallows people whole–I’ve never experienced anything like this.

Two scenes.

The first, I’m in the woods. I’m sitting around a pile of luggage, I think. There’s a Casio keyboard next to me on a pile of bags. I see a wolf run by. It’s a beautiful Gray Wolf, and I don’t find it threatening. It stops to look at me really quick and then continues through the woods. Cool. When I turn back to look at all my luggage, there’s another wolf behind me.

This one is no normal wolf. This one is a beast–glowing eyes, a snout twice as long as the last wolf I saw, mouth full of sharp, gnarled teeth. This one is growling at me. It approaches. I don’t have time to find a suitable defense, and the thing is just too damn big for me to take on hand to hand. If it gets me in those jaws, I’m done for.

I submit. I put my head down and lean over. It sniffs me. It nudges me. I’m scared as fuck. If it decides it doesn’t like me RIGHT NOW, I’m a goner. I drop to the ground. It nuzzles me two more times, growls, and goes away. Thank god.

Now I’m in a house. Never seen it before. It’s made up of three
floors. The first is a well decorated house, the top two are unfinished, all frame and plywood floors. Basically, the top two floors look like a big attic. A few people are here. Don’t know who. I’m on the first floor, and I hear something click-clacking above me on the next floor. I run up the stairs to see what it is.

When I get upstairs, I see it’s a Gray Wolf. Unthreatening. Submissive. He runs away. We obviously don’t want a wolf running about in the house, so I chase after it. I go to the other side of the house and find another staircase. The layout is bigger than I thought–there are two sets of stairs to each floor, which is going to make it hard to get this wolf down to the first floor. He’s on the third now, and I hear his paws clicking on the floor above me once again.

I climb to the third floor. I chase him around a bit until he goes back to the second floor. When he does, I call someone up to stand at the top of the other stair to make sure he doesn’t go back up to the third floor. He does. I chase the wolf through a passage and then carefully around an unfinished part of the floorboards.

He runs down the stairs. He’s on the first floor now. “Got him!” I yell back downstairs. I sigh. Then I hear a growl–a LOUD growl, behind me.

Not one, but TWO of the super-wolves behind me. Both snarling and showing their teeth. They aren’t curious this time–they make that clear by the way they approach. I jump the gap in the floorboards, and they go around it, following closely behind me.

I know I need something to fight these things, or I’m a dead man. With two of them on my back, blunt objects aren’t going to work. I need something sharp. Something fatal. Striking blows won’t help because I doubt if I can knock one of these beasts out.

I scramble around the 2nd floor, looking for something–anything to fight these things with. My salvation comes in a splintered 2×2, which I know will snap if I don’t drive it right. It’ll have to work for now. It’s only going to be good enough for one of the two, since I’ll have to leave the first disabled to even start on the second.

Just one wolf now. I seem to have lost the other while I was running. I make my stand, thinking I might not get another one-on-one chance. If I keep running, I might get flanked by the other wolf.

EVIL growl. It’s working on me, too. I’m not bold or sure of my victory here. I’m less sure of my weapon. He inches forward, lets out a bark and shows his teeth. Where do I strike? Mouth? Throat? Chest? I have a feeling that he could blast my weapon apart with his jaw, so the mouth is a no-go. If he parries when I try for the throat, I’m sunk. I have to wait for him and have faith in my aim.

He pounces. I feel his breath right before he lets out a painful yelp. Motherfucker jumped right into my makeshift spear. I drive it deeper–deeper. It’s nearly all the way in. His eyes shudder and he whines. His weight bears down on me, but he slinks back, topples over. He’s a goner. The length of the splinter is driven almost all the way into him, enough to reach through his chest and all the way into the criss-crossing of vital organs beneath. I can’t get my spear back, because there’s not enough to pull out.

Breathing slowly now. I’m calm again.

That is, until the other superwolf turns the corner and charges me. It fucks up though, because it puts its paws on some of the unfinished spots in the floor. It goes through part way. I scramble and find another peice of wood. This one’s thicker, but it has no pointed end. I have to use blunt force.

The wolf tries to back himself out of the holes he’s stepped into, and I have time for a few blows on the head. One. Two. Three. Four-Five-Six-Seven. Whining now, but he pulls himself out. He’s standing, but he’s no longer 100%. He’s growling, but his head is down. I dive onto the floor, searching for something–ANYTHING with a pointed end. I find another peice of 2×2, but it’s much shorter than the last. If I try to go through the chest, it won’t be fatal this time. I grab it anyway, and I go on the offensive. The wolf is prepared, though. He rears his massive head as I’m about to strike. I’m knocked off balance. The wolf dives on top of me. I’m grabbing the side of its upper snout and trying to twist it away. He is STRONG, and he manages to close his jaw once, going down on my fingers. It hurts bad, but I can’t let go now. He won’t be at all forgiving if I do.

I bellow a scream. It’s like a war cry–it’s like something I’ve never felt before. It’s like some force has come over me and taken my body’s will into itself. I forcefully turn the wolf’s massive head with my bloodied, mangled hand still clamped around it’s upper jaw, and with my other hand, I stab the side of the throat. I pull the stick out. I stab again. Over and over again, until the wolf is spouting blood.

I’m screaming now, stabbing as I let out the full power of whatever force it is that’s helped me turn from scared boy into raging man. The wolf releases my fingers, and when my injured hand is free, I go under its throat and start swinging at it while my other hand still grasps the wooden spear sticking out of the side of its neck. The wolf is coughing blood now, and I keep striking at the windpipe under the jaw. It tries to back down, but I’m not satisfied. I pick up the blunt stick again and begin beating the wolf against it’s snout. He’s unsuccessfully trying to hide his head now, but I keep swinging. When he tries to bury it between his front legs, I go for those instead. I hear a sickening CRACK and one of his legs gives out. He gives a final, muffled bloody yelp due to his devastated throat. He’s done.

He’s laying down now, with his jaw to the ground. Cough-whimpers coming from him. His eyes aren’t glowing anymore, and he looks up at me as he would an Alpha that just put him in his place. Such different eyes than the beast that attacked me. He’s remorseful.

“It was you or me, old boy,” I say to him, stroking his head with my mangled left hand. Now I wish I hadn’t gone so far. I wish I had thought of a way to save myself without hurting him so badly. “I’m sorry, but you started this game, and I wasn’t going to play dead again. Go to sleep now.”

His eyes flutter and close. I start crying as I wander downstairs.

DREAM: Joe Callan, Human Meteorite

I’m at the edge of the atmosphere in a capsule. Yeah, think Apollo mission capsule. Don’t know how I got up there. Don’t remember the launch or anything. I’m looking out the window, getting farther from earth.

“Fuck,” I think to myself, “I don’t know how to control this thing, and if I keep going, I’ll never be able to make it back.”

My plan? Exit the capsule and do a free-fall drop all the way back to earth, of course. Shouldn’t be hard–I’ve got a space suit on…right?

Wrong. T-shirt and khakis are more like it. Still, I’m unphased by my lack of preparedness and ready to exit this capsule. I’m ready to make a journey that is pretty much guaranteed death. There’s a metal tub in one side of the capsule that looks something like a trough you’d find on a farm. I slide the trough against some kind of jettison chute, line myself up, and push along the wall to slide it out of the capsule.

Deep breath now. I know it’s going to be the last one I take for about three minutes or so. I keep thinking to myself that once I’ve broken enough atmosphere, I’ll have all the oxygen I need and all I’ll have to do is make sure I land in a nice big deep body of water.

I’m really happy that my dream ignored the fact that there are hot and cold spots in the area I dropped through…the boundary-layers between the thermosphere and the mesosphere can get awful fluxy. (We’re talking 250 degrees Fahrenheit to -150 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to fry exposed skin nice and crispy and then deliver it to the ground as a big hunk of ice) Anyway, my dream ignored this.

I’m holding my
breath in my open trough. I have an empty milk jug with me, which I brought in case I needed one more breath before I broke atmo. I would eventually find myself needing way more than that.

As I fly out into space, I see earth, and damn, it’s cool. I would imagine that next to this dream, the only think cooler would be ACTUALLY BEING in space. No picture or satellite video compares to what I saw out there (which is interesting, because my mind only knows what it’s like from those same pictures and videos. Just like creating an elaborate dream-building, the mind didn’t fail me here.) It was absolutely breathtaking. Under me was the Indian Subcontinent, the Himalayas, the Great Desert north of the Tibetan Plateau…anyway, I missed the Earth (badly) and I was flung in the other direction.

I was surprised that gravity wasn’t affecting me more, but then I quickly realized that it was…though I was locally at 0G for all intents and purposes, I was slowly wrapping myself around the edge of the earth, but I was too far away. At my trajectory, I would have slowly spiraled around the globe in low-earth orbit, which was completely unacceptable given that I only had the one milk jug. I’d be out of air long before I was inside the stratosphere, and DAMN the pressure inside my body. My eyes were starting to hurt. My lungs hurt bad. I breathed out half of my full breath to compensate.

I knew I had to correct my path and do a straight drop onto the earth, but I also knew that I needed a landing site to aim for. The Pacific Ocean, (which I was passing over the western shore of now, and there’s the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and all the tiny little islands that make up Micronesia) didn’t seem too friendly. I wanted to land on the edge of a Great Lake–at least I’d know the territory and hopefully it wouldn’t be too cold.

Still winding around the planet (there’s Hawaii, and in the distance, the green-brown edge of California…) I figured that the mass of the trough would be enough that if I propelled off of it, I would send the trough flying and, with the right kind of push, kill my orbital momentum and slowly drift toward the planet. But I had to wait until the right time. Too soon or too late and I could end up VERY FAR from my target, which I determined to be the southern curve of Lake Michigan. I’ll I’d have to do is swim to Chicago once I hit the water. Easy.

Now I’m over the continental U.S., (The Pacific Shore, the Badlands, the Rockies) and my body calls for air while my lungs prepare to burst from the stale air still inside me. I let the lungs have it their way because the pressure behind my eyes hurts more than the lack of air. Also, I’m feeling something painful in my bowels that I’m pretty sure must be a burst organ. It doesn’t hurt THAT bad, but then again, my body is under a lot of stress right now. “Adrenaline is probably coursing through me,” I think to myself.

At this point, I’ve admitted to myself that this trip is probably going to kill me, but it doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’m having so much damn fun up here that I’m going to do my best to get home. Even if I die hitting the surface, I’ll be the first guy ever to clear the whole atmosphere without so much as an oxygen tank. I’m smiling at the thought.

I do as my angry lungs tell me and purge the rest of the air from my chest. This helps the pressure in my chest and the feeling in my bowels again, but the bad side of that trade is that my body is panicking from lack of air. My eyes hurt too. I’ve been squinting as hard as I can from the time I left the capsule for fear that they’d be ripped out of my skull from the negative pressure. I’m losing it now, starting to dim out. Now I’m over the Great Plains. It’s time.

It’s as hard to function in 0G as everyone says it is. This is far different than a “flying dream,” where you can propel yourself where you want to go. In this dream, my mind has set up the zero-grav environment pretty accurately, as far as I can tell. Each motion produces an irritating frictionless anti-motion, making it hard for me to position myself on the edge of the trough so that I can kick off of it. What’s worse is that my fidgeting has caused it to tumble into a spin, so now I not only have to kick at the right time, but also at the right angle.

I NEED AIR, and I don’t care about the pressure anymore. I grab the milk-jug and stupidly unscrew it. The air FLINGS ITSELF OUT into space, making the spin on my trajectory even worse. (Duh…I didn’t even think about the fact that the air exiting the milk jug’s top would function as a tiny little rocket. Apparently my mind did though, because now I was super-fucked.) I sucked at what little air remained (not really anything), and watched the earth and space spin under me. Where was I? Above Iowa? Illinois? It didn’t matter. I had no air and no bearings. The spin was awful. I shook my head, kicked off, and prayed that I would die on Earth instead of being flung further into space. Leap of faith.

Now I’m in slow free-fall as a head toward the planet. I see the great lakes shining like jewels and grin a grin of victory until I realize that my trajectory reversed a little. Now I was moving slightly west.

It didn’t matter–the most I could do was try and use my shirt as a sail to direct myself, once the air got thick enough to do so, that is. I passed a sort of layer of mist and tried to breathe. Ouch. It burns my lungs badly (ozone?) and I push whatever I sucked in back out. There’s no air for me yet.

Now the Earth is coming at me faster. I see the Great Lakes disappear over the horizon to my right, putting me somewhere over the Great Plains. I’m looking for a big body of water, but of course, there aren’t any out here. I’m moving quicker now. Quicker. I see a cirrus on a collision course with me.

I pass through narrow damp white puffs, and once I’m clear I can make out patches of forest and field. I can see major highways like little hairs stretching across my field of view. I can see big cities like bacteria colonies spreading outward from their positions on tiny blue/green ribbons of water. Faster now. I breathe in.

There is no better feeling than the cool air I’ve just sucked into my lungs. I made it. I must be in the stratosphere again. Now I’ve got another problem though–where am I going to land?

I don’t really get a choice. I’m being flung to the surface full-force now, and the last thing I remember is seeing a tree-line and thinking, “Boy, it would be nice if I didn’t hit those.”

“You okay?” A kid in a cowboy hat asks me. “Mister, you okay? Where’d you come from, mister?” I look up. I’m in a cornfield, freshly plowed under. Broken yellow stalks and warm black dirt surround me. I look at the kid, probably in his late teens. I’m breathing. I can sit up. That pain in my bowels is there a little bit, but I’m alive and I can walk. Miraculous.

I’m trying to think about the shape of the land I saw before I hit the ground.  I had been flung west of the Great Lakes, but by how far? Did I land in Wisconsin? Minnesota? I look up and ask the kid: “Am I in South Dakota?” He nods.

“But where’d you come from? Almost looked like you dropped from the sky.” I tell him my story as we walk toward the edge of the field. It’s late afternoon, and I look at the position of the sun and walk the other direction. “Where you going?”

“I’m going East,” I tell him. “I gonna walk home.”

I have a cell phone in my pocket (how convenient) and I call my Dad and tell him I’m in South Dakota. He asks me how and I let him know that just 15 or so minutes ago I was sailing around the top layer of Earth’s Atmosphere. He doesn’t believe me, but I don’t care. I tell him I’m walking home and I’ll talk to him in a few days.

I’m walking down a state road, recalling my adventure. I see some girls at a farm stand selling vegetables, I wave to them and keep walking. It’s really beautiful out, and as I walk with the sun to my back in the river region of South Dakota (somewhere around Sioux Falls, judging from the landscape), I smile, knowing that the Guinness Book of World Records is going to have a place for me.

Other than a little discomfort in my stomach, I feel like a superhero…I’ve just touched the black of space and came back to Mother Earth like a bug hitting a windshield.

It doesn’t get much cooler than that, people.

DREAM: Reading in a Dreamscape?

Another dream last night. This one seemes to be more about home structures than about travelling, as my last dream was chock full of. Also, it’s nonsense what they say about reading in your dreams. I actually had to shut down my computer in this last one, and I read a few items on the screen quite clearly. I’m not going to exaggerate and say I read a paragraph or anything, but I certainly had strings of recognizable latin characters hit the lens in my dream eye. I READ in my dream, so we can scratch the whole “this hemisphere is for reading, this hemisphere is for dreaming and THE TWO NEVER INTERACT” theory. I was shown the contents of my hard-disk on my computer in my dream. (Pretty sweet, no?)

SLEEPOVER

I couldn’t put my finger on the structure of this place. Looked like I was in a small urban setting. I had my old futon bunk-bed from ten years ago. I had the bad carpeting in my room from 10 years ago. Only thing…was my room outside? Like I said, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the architecture here. it almost looked like I had a fully-furnished “room” at street level. There was a loft ladder leading up to a 2nd level, which was also partially outside. Didn’t go in, only climbed the ladder once to get a better view of the street.

Now when I say street level, I mean out in the open in like an L-shaped alley. The alley was really clean and I wasn’t at all uncomfortable by the setting. It felt really warm. I was at home. The openness didn’t bother me. People my age, most of whom I couldn’t recognize, were either lounging around or playing video games or screwing with a computer, etc. I saw a figure approaching from one end, and for some reason I took it upon myself to see who it was before they entered.

It was an old friend from my class, another I haven’t talked to since graduation. I welcomed him to my place and led him in. When I returned to my “bedroom”, however, there were more people. I had been sitting on the lower futon part of my bunk bed, but when I came back there was a girl (a modern day version of a girl I knew 10 years ago) relaxing on it. She had also converted the futon into its bed form.

I thought about taking the top bunk, but there were other people looking for a place to sleep, so I grabbed a blanket and tried to lay it out on the floor. Every time I tried to lay it out it would wrinkle up on me. I spread it out by hand, and someone on the floor accidentally kicked it up. I spread it out again, and the blanket seemed to get smaller every time I did so. Now I was working with this strip of blanket fabric two feet wide by 5 feet long. I looked back to the upper bunk, and sure enough, another girl had taken it. I didn’t care. I laid down and I was content laying on the little strip of cloth.

LABYRINTH HOUSE

No smooth transition to this step. I remember climbing a set of outside stairs into the 2nd floor of a building that had the same kind of construction as The Muir House, the restaurant I rented a room above when I lived in Milford.

The first time I entered, I found a room that I identified as “my room,” even though it looked nothing like my old room in real life. I just knew it was mine. The outer walls were ceiling to waist-level glass, almost like this had been a porch that was built into a three-seasons room. All of my stuff was there, albeit in boxes or crates. The only things set up were my two computers, which I didn’t find odd since the first thing to go up and the last thing to come down in any place I live in is the computer.

I went to investigate other parts of the house. There were two or three older women I didn’t recognize, but I knew they were my landlords/hostesses/whatever. I didn’t really understand what my situation was or how long I was staying, but one of them asked me if I wanted breakfast. I said “no, I’d rather look around if you don’t mind,” and she told me to explore all I wanted.

Room after room after room. I got to the back half of the house and found a lot of it open-air structure, like an house in Southern Italy. There was a kind of garden in one part, and a maze of little passageways and paths that were seperated by fence or wire. When I say passageways, don’t think dark and damp, think more open like the netting separating the chambers in those old discovery zone mazes. Crazy stuff. I saw an old man sitting in the sun at the back of the house, kind of reminding me of my great-grandfather. I kept going in circles trying to find my way back to my room, exiting the rear of the house, going up the first outside staircase I found (but not the original stair leading to my room), going back through the garden and doing the whole thing over again. The old man warned me to watch that I don’t step on the bulbs in the garden, telling me that he had spent a lot of time on them to get them just right. I promised him I’d be careful and continued looking for the way to my room. Eventually I figured out that the staircase I was taking led to the third floor when I wanted to go to the second. I found my room again when I made this realization and picked the correct staircase–the one I went up when I first arrived at the house.

BEING COOL WITH NAKEDNESS

Now a couple people were in my room that were at the other place: I think the girl that was on my futon and an unrecognizable guy. I wanted to change into shorts, so I started doing so. I was asked a question about the house right in the middle of changing, but I didn’t care. I dropped my clothes and wandered halfway down a hall to answer the question, and oops, I was naked.

I’ve only ever experienced two kinds of naked in my dreams: the naked where I’m embarrassed to be naked, and the naked where everyone else is embarrassed. I’m happy to say that in the last three years or so, it’s always been the latter. Same with this time. After the reactions of my two guests, I half-laughed, apologized, and put on shorts and a t-shirt before I explained the rest of the answer I was giving about the house.

The girl asked me if I had seen the barn out back, and I told her I hadn’t. We walked to the back of the house, and I could see a little hill and just the very top of a barn in the distance. I started climbing the hill when both the girl and guy said, “no, go this way,”
pointing under the hill to a passage beneath.

PASSAGE UNDER THE HILL

I’m an explorer, so I was happy to do it. Beneath the hill was a man-made cavernous space about 30 feet wide and the height of a normal floor in a building, maybe 10 or 12 feet. As we walked back and back and back, it still seemed like there was dimmed sunlight pouring in from above us, something I didn’t understand as I knew we were now beneath the hill leading to the barn. I could see little gaps in the floorboards beneath me, showing that there was another level to the connection between the house and barn–another passageway on the floor beneath us. When I asked about it, the guy told me to wait and see–we were going to go down there next.

We got to the barn and didn’t spend a lot of time there. I climbed a stair into the main part of the barn, which looked like a huge hayloft with a couple stables on the side, much like a barn I knew from my youth. I didn’t care. I wanted to see the next level down in the passage under the hill.

We went down another floor which, again, didn’t seem to make it any darker. (Maybe a sign that I was totally comfortable with all this?) Now when we crossed the long passage back toward the house, the floorboards were bigger and more poorly linked together, leaving big gaps that you could accidentally step into if you weren’t careful. I ran ahead of the others, ignoring the fact that I didn’t know the place and that I could step into one of these gaps and fall even farther down into this subterranean passage. I got to a point where I had to stop dead–there was a part of the floor that had collapsed, and I could actually see the bottom of the passage, another two stories down with kind of a chalk-grey color. (still plenty of light to see something like that despite the fact that I was two stories down AS WELL AS beneath a mound of earth. I turned back to the two and laughed, telling them I almost made a flying leap into the hole (and I did, too. I was really moving across those planks.) I took the rest of the way back a little more slowly until I got back into the house.

YOU WANT HOW MUCH MONEY?

Now back in the house, I found my girlfriend Katherine packing some of my stuff into boxes. I followed along and started bringing stuff down to my car, no doubt an emulation of my real life move from two weeks ago. When I came back up the stairs, I was stopped by one of my hostesses, asking if I was going to take care of the bill or if she should send it to my father.

I asked her how much. She responded, “340, 350, 370 maybe?”  I complained that I had only stayed one day (truth was, I didn’t know what the situation was or how long I had been there) and told her that if I gave her that, I would be left with about negative 190 dollars. I shook my head and walked away in disbelief. She didn’t stop me.

COOL WITH NAKEDNESS II

When I got back to my room, Katherine was still packing things up. At some point she decided that she was going to go to the house kitchen, only naked. I warned her not to, but she ignored me and wandered out into the common area where she was scolded by one of the hostesses for not having any clothes on. She walked back into my room with a smug look on her face, and I told her–“See, told you. They’re not down with the naked thing.” Her reply was probably the best moment of this entire dream when she explained: “Not many people are, but it’s always worth seeing their reaction when they have to deal with it.” I laughed as she put some clothes on and wandered out of the room.

STRUCTURAL STABILITY

I took one more trip around the house, navigating the little wire maze in the garden area just to see if I had missed anything. Once again I got to the rear of the house, walked around to the front, climbed the correct set of stairs and was back in my room.

(It’s worth mentioning that when I woke up, I was astonished by how concrete the structure of this place seemed to be. Usually when you have a static structure in your dreams, it’s a pre-existing structure [school, old house, etc] that you know inside and out from real life. More often the structure is a dynamic dream construct, either part-artificial [with elements of real places you know] or completely artificial [you’ve never been there before]. With places like that, when you try to walk over the same ground twice, you find that it’s changed. This place was unique in my dream settings–it was made up by my mind, but my mind locked it in–once I knew it I could actually find my way around…once I knew it, it maintained its structure. I would imagine that’s rare for a place this big.)

DREAM-STATE LITERACY

Strangest part of the whole thing. When I returned to my room, the computer was all that was left. I looked at the screen, saw the start menu, saw the word “start”, and grabbed it. The menu wasn’t EXACTLY the same as the real life one, but it had words in it that I could read…My Network Places, Settings, My Documents, etc. I actually got to the “shut down” menu and clicked the shut down button. The computer didn’t do it, so I tried it again. Nada. I eventually just hit the switch and took the monitor, carrying it down to my car.

So despite the fact that the computer didn’t shut down like I asked it to, the real point of this last segment was that I READ the characters and navigated menus with small writing. It’s only happened once before in my dreams, and it was a sheet of paper with a couple words on it. The computer screen thing is a first.

ANOTHER detailed dream that I remembered! I’m on a roll!

DREAM: Strange One on Christmas Morning

I had a really strange dream last night. I tend to remember my dreams under times of durrest, high-stress, big ups or big downs. Don’t know why it works that way.

SINKING SHIP

Anyway, the first thing I remember is being on a massive ocean liner slowly sinking deck-by-deck into the sea. No clue who was there with me or why I was out there. There was a transition point, and the next thing I knew, I was on a rescuing ocean liner, slightly smaller than the one still sinking into the sea..

I remember looking back at the doomed liner and seeing the last 2 or 3 decks vanishing into the water. I was under the impression that the water would kill me, probably because of it’s temperature. I remember asking a question about how warm the ocean water is in South Carolina in the winter, so for whatever reason (probably my current position on the map in real life,) I figured I was on that latitude.

For the next step of the journey, I was on a tiny little vessel that might as well have been a big crate. I didn’t have oars or any method to propel myself, so when a slightly bigger boat (like a little powerboat or something) came near, I grabbed onto the back of its hull and let it pull my little crate toward shore. No waves now, and I think when I noticed this, I looked at the shore and realized that I was back on Canandaigua Lake.

LAKE HOUSE

I was in front of my Great-grandparents house and the neighboring property. Once I saw this I tried to slingshot my “crate” over to the dock of the house next door. (It’s worth adding here that I had a dream over 20 years ago about floating up to this same shore in a crate-acting-as-boat. I had to have been old enough to remember the dream, but younger than 5 years old for certain.) Once I set foot on the shore, I started playing frisbee with a girl who couldn’t throw a frisbee very well. We started tossing it in the frontyard, then I suggested we move to the backyard, then we were playing on the road–the low-traffic private drive that leads to my great-grandparents lake house. No smooth transition to the next step.

MULTI-PLEX THEATER

I’m in a bi-level movie theater next. The theater seems to contain about half of the members of my class from CA. I see some faces I haven’t seen since graduation seven years ago, but I don’t talk to anyone. I sit in a row alone and wait for the movie to start. I “fall asleep” before it does, and when I wake up, I’m actually laying down in a seat somehow. I remember being really comfortable and wondering how it was that I was laying down in a theater chair in the first place, but I didn’t investigate because when I looked at the screen, the windows XP logo was bouncing about (yes, just like the screensaver.) The movie audio was there, but people were just sitting and watching this black screen with the Windows XP logo. I kind of remember laughing. When I look back at the screen again, people are starting to shuffle into the aisles. Apparently they were FINALLY noticing that they were watching a screensaver. As they start to leave, the real movie comes back and everyone sits down. When they all sit down, I leave.

I wander through the cinema hall and into a much smaller theater, one of those little 90-seaters with no 2nd level. Almost looks like a screening room because the screen itself is no taller than I am. There’s no separation from the projector room and I can see the guy working the reels. He looks like some kind of kindly clichéd professor archetype wearing a white coat. I think he said something to me, but I can’t remember what it was. I just remember him looking like a good-natured dude. I sit in a seat and wait for the movie to
start.

OFF ROAD

I’m watching the screen, and it’s a first person POV on the windshield of an off-road vehicle, some kind of big nasty jeep or old range rover. Awesome and ultra-rare dream transition here: when I turn to my left, I’m no longer in the theater–instead, I’m now living what I was just watching, and I actually see the driver of the jeep. It’s Dylan Walsh, the actor that plays Sean McNamara on Nip/Tuck. (really stupid, I know. Nip/Tuck is probably the only primetime show that I’ve gotten into in the last decade, the best explanation I can offer here is that I identify most closely with his character for reasons I’m not going to explain here. Something about him being the nice guy and usually getting kicked around as a result–which is a little bit pitiful because that only means that I share the same victim mentality issue that his character has on the show.)

Anyway, “Sean” and I are now riding in this jeep up and down really treacherous slopes. A couple times I can feel the Jeep nearly tip over as I warn him to slow down. He laughs and does the opposite, speeding up around corners and really testing the limits of the vehicle. Something in me tells me that I’ve got nothing to worry about, so I let it go and enjoy the ride.

Eventually, a little fissure opens up on the ground we’re driving on, and he says “it’s coming apart–it’s coming apart” and the fissure just happens to be right between the axles of the jeep. He slows down, makes a jumping turn over a ridge and stops the jeep. We both get out, and I look over a green rolling hill landscape that’s so absolutely beautiful that I turn to him and say “Man, you know it’s all CG these days.” (Makes me laugh right now to think about that line.) Again, no smooth transition to the next step.

AIRPORT

In an airport now. Actually, I’m on a landed plane, emptied of its passengers and crew. I walk up to the cockpit and no one’s there, but we’re certainly on the ground. I take it upon myself to raid the flight attendant’s cart, which seems to have nothing inside it. When I reach for the fridge door, I’m thinking “there’s gotta be a Ginger Ale in here, no one drinks that shit but me.”

I love dreams. There is ONE can in that damned fridge, and it’s a fucking Schweppes. Lucky me. As is the way of airline sodas, I actually take a plastic cup and a napkin and pour half my can into it and drink deeply. Good ginger ale. (This may actually be the first time I’ve ever had a drink of ANYTHING in my dreams, by the way.)

I walk back out of the plane and into the terminal. Lots of people. Too many people. I’m overhearing the conversations of a family that seems really perfect, but there’s an underlying sinister vibe about the father. Dunno. I keep walking until I get to something like a food court. Don’t remember ordering anything, but the next thing I know I’m carrying a tray and looking for a table to sit at. I want to be alone, but this family keeps turning up wherever I try to sit. When I make it a point to go to the other end of the area with tables, one of their brats yell “look, there’s no one over here,” and they move over to the table I was aiming for. I toss my tray into the trash and give up. As I’m walking away, I hear the father say something about how it would be nice if the government would just force everyone to be religious, and I walk away, super-disgusted. I’m feeling so indignant now that I yell at the top of my lungs as I’m walking away: “Yeah, it sure would be nice if everyone thought exactly the same as you, prick! Homogeny is what makes this country great!”

I was kind of pissed, I guess. It’s funny–since I’m a loudmouth smart-ass, that’s the kind of shit I THINK in real life when I overhear a conversation like that. It just so happens that we’re bolder in our dreams.

The only detail I left out (because I don’t remember where it fits in the plot-line) was looking at my old Pulsar Spoon watch on my wrist. I tried to hit the button to see what time it was, but all I saw was the low-battery indictator. Damn. I sure do miss that watch. I don’t remember what happened to it, but it was the coolest watch I owned.

Anyway, that’s it. I’m sure the reason I’m remembering all this is that I woke up at 4AM and wrote it all down. Merry Christmas to me, I got a strange but well-detailed dream that I actually remembered.

DREAM: Fight at the Mall

My sleep was chock full of dreams last night.

Zombie politicians, a giant storm, a cast of 20 people who I seemed to know the names of (though none of these people had analogs to real-life people), and a fight at the mall.

The fight stood out the most for me. The location looked kind of like a combination of Eastview Mall back in Victor and The Galleria in Middletown. Big glass wall behind me (like the food court in both places) and I decide to take a load off on one of the benches. I’m dressed kind of nice, as if I just had an interview at a department store.

I’m on one side of the bench, and three guys come by and sit down next to me. Crowding me, actually. The dude next to me basically shoves his elbow into my side. I slide over a bit, and he follows. He digs me with an elbow again. I look over at him, getting irritated.

“What are you, 16?” He says to me.

“23, actually.” I’m looking right at him the way a male mammal challenges another. I’m not looking to fight here, but I’m certainly not going to back down. It’s his move.

“You got your little goatee, you’re dressed for church…” he shoves me and laughs. The two others follow. I decide this is going to be ugly if I don’t leave now. I stand up, and as I start to step away, I’m tripped. Now I’m pissed.

When I stand back up, he’s already standing and sneering at me. “Gonna do something?” He asks.

I’m nervous now. I haven’t been nervous in my dreams for a while. I’ve fought zombies and crimson cats, but I haven’t had to go up against a human in a while. Because this felt so real, I wasn’t even sure that I could defend myself. This kid was big…a few inches taller than me, for sure.

My confidence wasn’t shaken completely, but this felt like a real fight. I wasn’t a warrior without the god-like terror that guides me through my superhuman fights with zombies.

He shoves me. I take it and stand my ground. “C’mon, pussy,” he says. I don’t want to hit him, but this is accelerating so fast. Now he comes in with a big swing. I put an arm up. He’s half-blocked and half-connected, but it doesn’t hurt at all. I don’t feel a thing.

The nervous feeling subsides and my confidence returns. If that’s all he had in
his punch, it’s not going to take much for me to end this. This fight is unique among the dream fights I’ve had lately. I’m not fighting a monster or an undead minion. This little scuffle isn’t a matter of life or death. I’m not getting the same surge of adrenaline that I had in my previous dreams, which is probably a good thing.

I don’t want to tear this kid limb from limb. I don’t even want to hurt him. As annoyed as I am by this sneering macho archetype, I don’t want to fight at all. There’s no anger or vengeance in me. That’s a very calming feeling–knowing that in a confrontation in my dreams, neither fear nor rage are my first instincts. I just want the fight to be over.

He’s right on top of me now, and he takes a wild swing at my face. Too wild. No power at all. I actually catch the punk’s fist and hold it while throwing a single punch from my left.

This one connects, and when it happens I know it’s the only one I’ll need.

Now he stumbles back, holding his cheek. No blood. I’m relieved by that; I’ve never thrown a punch at a person in real life, so I don’t know how much damage I can actually do. The kid falls over and starts to heave.

Apparently I made him puke. His friends aren’t helping him at all, so I lean over, turn him to his side, stand up, and grab some nearby napkins. I help him clean up a bit and pat him on the shoulder. He looks up at me, glassy-eyed.

“You alright?” I ask him. “I didn’t hit you that hard, man.” He looks okay, but he’s certainly ashamed.

I’m satisfied with the outcome…I didn’t hurt the kid, but I embarrassed the hell out of him in a mall food court. Next time he’s going to think twice before picking a fight with a stranger.

The best part about the whole situation is how I felt in the dream–before, during, and after the confrontation…

Before the fight, I wasn’t quick to temper. I was irritated, but I tried to avoid the fight. I didn’t want it to happen.

During the fight, I was calm. Certainly kind of pissed, a little nervous, but not scared to death and not looking to tear anyone’s spleen out. I felt balanced. I wanted the confrontation to be over with just enough force to end it.

After the fight, I felt bad for the kid. Yes, he chose to pick on me; yes, he had a few chances to let it go, but when it was over I felt more like his big brother than his enemy. I helped the kid clean himself up; I was concerned about him; I wanted to make sure he was okay.

So for a dream about a fight, I exhibited some very wonderful and noble qualities in the heat of the moment. It was a very cool experience. Very cool.

DREAM: Another Zombie Fight

It was a basement to begin with. Not many details at first, but I was certainly in a dangerous situation. That much was clear. I turned around to find a corpse lying on the ground behind me.

Half-human. As in not a real corpse. As in a zombie.

It’s funny how scary this theme was when it first entered my dreams. Years ago I would run from the problems, but I couldn’t run. Later, I could run in big bounding leaps, and with free movement I had enough confidence to turn around and start swinging my fists at the undead.

Later still I performed the task like it was my job. The dream was still scary, but I understood the situation and accepted it. I knew what had to be done–fight, defend, flee, secure–I knew all the steps to defend myself against the undead scourge.

I’m a pro in my zombie dreams now. The moment I saw that corpse in front of me, I knew what was coming. I turned around again, and there it was at the end of the basement corridor, head hanging down slightly, arms outstretched. I charged the thing through the door at the end of the hall and knocked it over. I kicked the head a few times, then started slamming the heavy door against it until I was satisfied. One down.

When I went upstairs, I realized I was at my old house at Calman Place. Shitty. Lots of windows at low levels and a big glass door in the side of the livingroom. Not exactly a good defensive position. I looked outside and expected darkness and chaos, but life on Calman Pl. continued as usual. I saw my neighbors across the street and down the road. The light was that dimmed dream light, but there was nothing out of the ordinary going on outside.

This was actually a setback for me. I had to start defending the house without alerting anyone else. It never occurred to me to warn my neighbors. I didn’t think they’d listen. I went to work, first going back down to the basement and looking for windows to board, then returning upstairs to find my mom in the garage. She was inflating a bike tire.

The garage door was open slightly, so I rolled under it and got a better look at the street. Nothing. Dim light, no zombies. For a second I wondered if the story would shift. Were there going to be more zombies?

I went back into the garage and shut the door the rest of the way. When I looked through the garage door windows, though, I saw the couple across the street gathering their kids hurriedly and running indoors. “This is it”, I thought. “It’s going to happen after all.”

As if on cue, I saw a corpse climbing the driveway rather quickly. This wasn’t a Romero zombie. I latched the garage door and turned back to my Mom. “Lock the back door!” I yelled at her, referring to the glass door in the living room. Once there were a few zombies they’d break through it, but for now locking it was our best shot.

She nodded, but instead of complying, she started pumping the bike tire faster. “I said, LOCK THE BACK FUCKING
DOOR!” I screamed at her, but she looked at me worried, still pumping the tire, and replied “I’m doing this as fast as I can!” I gave up trying to explain anything to her and instead dove through the garage back into the house, where I saw the undead minion already pulling the back door open. I grabbed it and fought, but it already had a fast grip on it. I let the door slide open a little more and I kicked the thing off. I closed the door and latched it.

It was too late now, though. I knew I had to move.

I had one of those spatial-temporal dream warps, and the next scene had me and a calm-looking attractive black girl (she reminded me of Melanie, a girl who was in my international living group when I went to Spain 8 years ago) going somewhere in an SUV. She was driving. It looked like we were going through the Pocono Woodland Lakes where my girlfriend Katherine lives. We passed by a street that looked like Katherine’s, and soon after hit a block. There was another vehicle turned sideways in the road.

The black girl looked up at me. Her demeanor was matter-of-fact and still quite calm. I told her to make a K-turn. There was no way I was going to give up the vehicle in the middle of the woods. She turned and started in the other direction.

I feel like there was a lot more to this dream, but there wasn’t anything as clear as the two situations above.

What’s great about these dreams is that I practically feel energized when I wake up from them. It’s like living an action movie. There’s no sweat on the sheets or overwhelming relief when I wake up. It’s more like: “If I can handle an apocalyptic zombie world, I can sure as HELL handle another day at work!”

It’s an interesting analog to problem-solving. Even in the face of flesh-eaters, I work to act logically and prepare as best I can to defend myself against the scourge. Instead of panicking and running full-bore from a scary situation, I face it now with gritted teeth.

DREAM: Living Machinery

Very strange dream last night.

I’m in some sort of house with some old friends from high school. I don’t really talk to any of these people anymore, they’re just these kind of random minor characters that your brain uses when it doesn’t want you associating anything important to the people in your dreams.

I look out the window and see this kind of machine walking up a ramp coming from underground. it has big headlight-style eyes and looks, effectively, like an old science fiction movie robot. Upon topping the ramp, the thing is attacked by what I have to assume is human interference. It’s damaged, but it tries to get up and continue walking. Two more “robots” are heading up the ramp in the same pace. Once again, the first robot is attacked and the next two are damaged the same way. Now all three are pretty well destroyed, but they continue trying to peice themselves together and a man in a chemical suit scoops up the parts onto a large metal shelf and places them in an incinerator.

I remember how sad I was watching this happen. I didn’t know what these things were, or if they had thought or will or any of those qualities we align with consciousness, but I remember feeling awful about watching them be destroyed.

The man in the chemical suit takes the now-blackened parts out of the incinerator and looks at them. Some quality about them scares him, and I can tell that there’s something that hasn’t been destroyed–I’m thinking that the data in the parts is still “alive.” He puts the metal shelf back into the incinerator and turns the machine on again, only this time the machine doesn’t heat up. There’s a huge dynamo on an extension of the machine that starts spinning, and immediately I realize that he’s putting the charred parts through a type of miniature particle accelerator to try and destroy whatever intelligence remains in the wreckage. I finally decide I can’t take anymore and I leave the house and walk out to the dynamo, placing my hands on it. It starts to smoke and buzz, as if I’ve shorted it out just by making tactile contact with it. The electrical distrurbance begins to spread to the rest of the machine. I’ve ruined this implement of destruction–this incinerator/accelerator.

That’s about where the dream ends. Very very strange.