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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Dreams of death

I talked here about the weird nightmares I had as a very young child. I don't think there was anything particularly special about about a young boy dreaming of being scared of snakes, although I flatter myself that the 'Big Woman' stuff was all me. After those instances faded it would be a while before I was troubled by bad dreams again, but when they came, they were doozies.

They weren't really nightmares. I think that's the strange thing that makes me remember them so vividly after all these years. I mean, snakes coming out of walls and evil women wanting to grab you off the street, those are nightmares, but this new batch were just, well, exciting dreams. Dreams about things that would have absolutely terrified me in real life, but which I wasn't scared about in the dreams. Except that when I woke up, the bed would be drenched in sweat and I'd be shaking like a leaf. So was I scared or not? My body was scared but my mind wasn't? Does that happen?

The dreams would start with me walking around the little village I lived in. Then a bunch of people would appear with knives and guns. I would run and they would chase me. It was as simple as that really, except I knew with absolute crystal clarity that these people would kill me if they caught me. I would run for miles, up and down back alleys and side streets, through the woods, along the streams, even into shops and through to escape through the back door.(Shops I'd never been through the back of in my life so I was inventing all those back rooms in my head). I would never get tired even though I would keep going for what seemed in the dreams to be hours and even days. The dreams were never the same twice, in that I would run a different route and bump into different people each time but they always ended the same.

I would reach my house. For some reason I would decide that if I crouched down behind the little wall down the side of my house I'd be safe. Then a shadow would loom over me, I'd look up and there would be one of my tormentors, pointing a massive gun at me. I would smile, look down at the floor and say "Go on then".

And he would shoot me. At which point I would, presumably, die in the dream but it was of course at that moment that I would wake up. Now here is the thing. I have a crippling fear of death; that world changing fear that eats your insides when, as a child, you first discover your mortality has never left me. It's why I try to avoid thinking about it, and is probably one of the causes of my borderline sociopathic inability to grieve when others die, in as much that allowing myself to think about their deaths can only remind me of the inevitability of my own.

Yet, in this dream, I was never, at any point, afraid. I knew they were going to kill me but it didn't bother me. Even right at the end, when the moment came, I was all stoic and accepting of my fate. Now, you're probably thinking it was a dream, it doesn't have to make sense; or it was a dream, you were making yourself braver than you really are. If those theories are true though, and maybe it really is as simple as that, then it doesn't explain every other nightmare I've ever had. Because in those, I've been absolutely bloody terrified.

So there you have it. A child dreaming about being murdered by strangers every night for weeks. Pleasant reading, I'm sure you'll agree. Next : You've met my bro and sis, you've met Wayne and Lisa, now it's time to bring in the big guns. My cousin, Ian. Shit be about to get real, yo. (I'm so very sorry)

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