My Nightmares

I find it funny when my girlfriend sometimes tells me about her dreams, which pretty much sound like normal life, like us walking at the lakeside and eating a sandwich, except I might have said something mean to her in the dream which upset her.

My dreams are not like that.
They’re basically all nightmares.
My dreams are confusing and dark and everything goes wrong (or maybe I just remember those bad dreams, I can’t be 100% sure).  

I don’t know what my nightmares mean, but I actually wrote one down (this one was from Wednesday night. I woke up at 5am and couldn’t fall asleep anymore, so I wrote it down on my smartphone. This is the actual dream, I didn’t make it up. And just a disclaimer: The following content might be a bit disturbing).  

Here’s the dream:  

I drive with my girlfriend. We end up at my old high school, but it kind of looks like Hogwarts from the outside.I get lost alone, and end up in the forgotten attic of the old building.I enter a dark room, and notice that something’s wrong.

A group of hooded people emerge from the shadows and surround me.Then I see him. He has longer hair, not that tall, but a strange aura surrounds him. He doesn’t talk but commands the room. He must be their leader. What is this gathering, a cult? I’m confused.

I know instinctively that I’m in grave danger. They waited for me, and they won’t let me go.I have to pass a test to get out of this place alive.The test starts right away, there’s no explanation, no talking, really.

A group of hooded disciples bring in a what looks like a bath tub. As I glimpse into the dark water, I see something’s in there. Puppets? No, these look too real. I gasp in horror as I recognize pale corpses floating in the water. They look like they’re moving, with more corpses below, it must be a dozen or so. I can’t help but notice that the lifeless bodies are disfigured, some have missing limbs, some have deep cuts and festering wounds.

Everything in me wants to look away, run away, but I know I can’t.I now know what my task is: I must look at the corpses.The cult leader hands me cards with a photo of a dead body on each. I have to match the cards with the corpses in the tub like some sick Memory game. And I have to look at each wound and disfigurement and describe it.

I hesitantly lift a wet body from the tub and look at the wounds. It’s heavy and I feel like vomiting as I see a gaping wound on the temple of its head. This is pure torture to me because I hate blood and wounds and all that gross stuff. I really struggle, I don’t know the medical terms and I take way too long to identify the corpses. I notice a paralyzing fear building up inside of me, as it dawns on me that these corpses died in this very room, and I might end up being one of them very soon.I can’t do it. I don’t get feedback if what I’m doing is correct or how much time I have left.

I’m ready to give up and accept my fate, when the cult leader suddenly approaches me and hands me one last card. The photo on it is a bit faded and shows a bearded corpse.I don’t know what’s going on, but a whisper emerges from the other hooded men, and a previously hidden bearded man steps forward. He looks a bit like the corpse in the last photo.

Then I understand: The dead man on the card was his brother.The leader smiles. He knew this all along, when he gave me that task. Everything is a twisted game to him.

The bearded disciple leaps forward in an act of desparation and anger. A fight breaks out, it’s brutal and one-sided. The cult leader whirls around the bearded man like a ghost and stabs him with a short knife, over and over. The leader has superhuman powers, some dark magic is involved. It’s a slaughtering, not a fight.

After a few seconds, the fight is over and the bearded disciple lays dead on the floor.I already expect to be killed when the door bursts open, unexpectedly. A blonde man walks in. It looks like he’s sleepwalking.In this moment, I seem to wake from a trance-like state for a split second: This is my chance to escape! I muster all my remaining willpower and slip outside the door towards the light.I can hear screams behind me as I run away. The leader seems to have less power outside the dark room, but he remains remarkably calm.I know what will happen next: The blonde guy who just arrived was given his challenge. He must find and kill me. I hear him with a knife in his hand running behind me. I run like a maniac and jump down the stairways. I grab a pair of scissors from a table to defend myself.I manage to escape the building. Luckily, my girlfriend waits in a black car, I jump in and we drive away with squeaking wheels. I see the group running behind us. The leader doesn’t seem to be really mad, though; And I have the gnawing suspicion that this wasn’t the end of the story for me.

(This is where I woke up).

I hope you don’t think I’m clinically insane now (which maybe I am, who knows). I don’t dream like this every day.   Is there some deeper meaning behind this dream? I don’t know. Here are some thoughts:

  • That cult leader appeared like a demon that feeds on pain and despair and enjoys plotting people against each other
  • Thinking back about the dream, it reminds me of the pretty disturbing book I read as a kid, Krabat, where a young man starts his apprenticeship at a mill and each year an apprentice dies. There’s some dark magic, too
  • Me having to look at the corpses might be my subconscious wanting me to look at uncomfortable things in my life and “pull the rugs and look at the slugs” instead of avoiding them
Krabat

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