Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about dreams. Not the goals or aspirations, but the ones you imagine while you’re asleep. This one’s kind of hard for me, because I rarely remember my good dreams. Or even the weird ones, for that matter; I’ve never dreamed of falling, flying, or taking a test naked. I do know that at least some of my dreams have continuity to them; it’s like revisiting another life for a few moments at a time. I’m much more prone to things like déjà vu and what could be precognition; I recall snippets of conversation and a few seconds of an experience, and I’ve dreamed about someone breaking in the same night a robber actually broke into a relative’s house. Just the other night, I was startled awake when I dreamed I heard the phone ring. When I woke up in the morning, I found out that my mother had collapsed and had spent the night in the hospital.
I’m not sure if I can explain it as mere coincidence, but the scientific part of my mind can’t just accept that. I’m not psychic. For now, I have to settle with the belief that we as humans don’t know everything about the nature of our reality, and are probably linked in ways that transcend current understanding. But what does that mean when it comes to nightmares? Unlike the weird and random dreams, I recall the scary ones just fine. They usually involve a place and people that look normal and familiar, but really aren’t. Once I realize I’m dreaming, they instantly drop the act and suddenly I’m cornered by things that are only pretending to be human. It’s really creepy, and I wish I could dream of something better.
***The following might be disturbing to some. I’m not joking.***
The most memorable of these nightmares was actually one of my earliest. I was maybe five or six years old. It was dinner time, and the family was sitting down at the table and enjoying the meal. Two parents and an older sibling, a completely normal weeknight. I had already finished eating, so I went to the kitchen to get some chocolate milk. It was the mixing powder kind, maybe Quik or Hershey’s. I made myself a nice big glass of the stuff – because chocolate milk is the dessert of champions for any 80s-90s child – put the jug back in the fridge, and headed back to the dining table. I sat back down and sipped at my milk, waiting for everyone else to be done so I could watch cartoons. But no one else was eating anymore.
They were all staring at me.
You never really notice how much you take family dinner for granted until everyone stops talking. The silence is unnerving. I peered up from my glass and noticed that they weren’t eating anymore, either. There was something wrong with their eyes. It was like they were bigger, or maybe the overhead light was casting shadows on their cheeks. Something must have been up with the light, because their skin seemed to be off color, too. Grey and cold, like a slab of meat that had been in the freezer too long. But that couldn’t have been right, because their arms and necks were covered with blotchy sores. Had they been outside without sunscreen or something? No. No, that wasn’t it at all.
My family was dead.
They were reaching for me. I sprang up from the table and began backing away. Reality slowed to a crawl. The glass of chocolate milk was forgotten. The things that were my family rose, and began sluggishly walking towards me. Chairs and silverware and maybe bones scraped as they moved. I made it about three steps before stumbling over my own feet. I could hear them coming behind me. As I struggled to stand, I caught a glimpse of my own forearm. It had gone gray and rotted, just like the others. And then I realized: I was dead, too.
I woke up screaming. I couldn’t have been more than six at the time, after all. And while you could easily chalk it up to an overactive imagination, keep in mind this was years before seeing my first horror movie, let alone a zombie flick. All I had to work with were LEGOs and cartoons like Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe, MLP, TMNT, and Inspector Gadget. Where did a small child get the idea and imagery for a zombie nightmare?!
*Sigh* I just hope it doesn’t become another case of déjà vu.