The Three Black Hats

I am on an air mattress.  It is covered in a cotton sheet.  I am stretched out on my back beneath a soft fleece blanket. I am in the end room of a double wide trailer.  The trailer is nestled in a quiet neighborhood which is dense with trees.  There are no traffic sounds.  I am falling into sleep slowly.  

I may have passed time, into the REM and back out again because all I know is that I am lucidly awake.  I feel a prickling energy all over my body.  There is no pain.  It is electric.  Every hair on my skin is moving.  I can feel each folical.  There is a source pull.  It is coming from the large window on my left.  

I wanted to cover that window when I first arrived here, telling my nephew that it made me uncomfortable because it had only a sheer shell of a curtain. 

“Someone could stand out there and see me.”  I felt vulnerable. 

He assured me, attempting to comfort my cognition.

“It’s cool, Auntie.  No one around here will do that. Just don’t dance around nekkid.”
He did a hillbilly skip and we laughed, but I decided that this weekend I’m going to buy some thick curtains to cover this window. 

Now, on the same evening, I am here on this mattress feeling frozen with fear, having awakened in what seems to be the morning hours, two or three am.  I am wishing Inhad not waited.  I should have gone right then and bought curtains. 

 I know that I need to look at the window to be sure that I’m not just imagining things, but I am terrified to turn my head.  I am still, focused on my breathing.  I know someone is there.  I know it without a doubt.  Still, I have to see to be sure.  I finally move my head very, very slowly and just slightly enough to the left to give me an adequate view to see the window.  If there is someone there they shouldn’t be able to see through the darkness if I move slowly and just enough. 

Through the sheer of the curtains I see them.  Three men.  Side by side.  They are no more than five feet tall, each the exact same height.  They are dressed identical in dark suits and matching dark overcoats.  They have on button up shirts with maroon ties.  They wear black hats, like Hollisters, with maroon ribbons that match their ties.

Their hands are behind their backs.  I do not move. It crosses my mind that they may notice I am awake, but it seems insignificant.  They know already.  I slowly move my head back to the middle of the pillow. They are soulless.  They were not looking at me directly  but rather into the room as if awaiting orders from someone.  My heart is pounding rapidly, and I am dissociating.

I tell myself I am silly, but I am too terrified to glance again.  This will only confirm that I am not imagining all of this.  I am focused on going back to sleep.  I cannot be awake for what is going to happen next. 

“Go back to sleep.”  I urge myself. 

“Go back to sleep.” I say it over and over. 

I close my eyes. I think that I must go back to sleep so that I won’t feel what they are going to do to me.  I make myself laugh inside my head.  What a silly notion.  This shit’s not real.  Yet, beneath my attempts to convince myself, I know they have the ability to take one step and walk through that wall.  Then there will be no escaping.  They’ll be in the house.  

I tell myself that is also a ridiculous notion.  Because they’re reading my thoughts and know all of my plans.  So the best I can do for myself is to go back to sleep and get through it.  So I drift back down into the chasm of REM.

In the morning I will wonder if my memory was real or if it was really a dream.  I will wonder still. 

(Dreamt in 2010, Olympia, Wa)

The Caning

I am in a bedroom trying to go to sleep.  I cannot go to sleep because in a room down the hall, children are wailing and screaming.   They are being beaten.  I can hear them.  I leap from my bed and run down the hallway towards the room.  I fling open the door.

There, with her hand raised high, is my mother, a long, thick cane in her hand.  There must be fifty children in the room, some having already been beaten, others, waiting their turn, shaking in a huddle, unable to escape what is to come.

She has a child by the arm, and she is striking the child’s legs over and over as the child screams.  I see the child’s face, mouth open, sobbing and screaming.  The children who have already been beaten are in a group together. Some are laying down in the fetal position, so obviously in shock.  Others are rocking back and forth, weeping and holding their wounds. The skin on their legs are splayed open.  I can see meat and flesh, bright black and purple bruises forming.  I scream at my mother as I grab the child from her arm.

STOP! JUST STOP IT!”  I am screaming. “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY?

Her eyes are menacing.  She is looking at me with anger.  I feel no fear of her.  I will kill her if I have to.  I will not let her strike another child.   I am herding the children into one group, and as they see that I am there to save them, they begin to gather behind me.  We are all on one side of the room, and I am assessing getting them all out of the door, down the hall, into my room where I can lock the door until I figure out the next step to saving them.   My mother is on the opposite side of the room right by the door, the cane in her right hand. She is methodically tapping it on the palm of her left hand.  She has a wicked smirk across her face as if I am so silly to think that I can fight against her.  But I am ready.  I will fight her with all of my power, and in my mind, I will win.

She begins to advance towards me.  I stand strong in front of the children.  My fists are clenched.  I am planning.  I will go for her throat.  I will grab the cane from her hand and strike her on her head and neck, everywhere I can until she is beaten bloody and raw like the legs of these children.

But as she gets closer towards me, she becomes bigger and bigger, and I become as small as the children.  Suddenly, I am filled with terror, realizing, that I will not be able to fight her.  I am too little.  In my mind, I am an adult.  I am thinking as an adult.  In my view I when I entered the room, I was the same size as her, but now, I am no longer a grown up.  I am just an adult inside of the body of a little girl, and I know that I am next.  She is going to beat me harder than she has beaten any of the other children.   My throat is closing as I try and suck in my breath.

Her face is the most terrifying of all.  Her eyes are flat, black and soulless.  Her mouth is twisted into a crooked grin representing that she is enjoying inflicting this abuse, and that she will revel in beating me.   She is so close now, and I am no taller than her knees.  I am just a little girl with the rest of the children, and my body is shaking, shivering with anxiety and terror.

and the dream ends.

(featured image from Jill Greenberg’s “Crying Children”)

The Night Stabbing

Stabbing

Night terrors.  They always come to me in the waking hours as I move from REM to lucid.  They are like earthquakes that hit in the night, leaving the day shaken up.  This one brought a sadness that sat inside a lump in my throat all day.

The dream:

There I am walking down a hallway toward a public restroom.  It feels like I may be in a mall.  The hallway is shaped like an L, with the smaller part being the entrance, then the hallway, with first the men’s door to the left, then the woman’s door at the end.

There is a man walking down the hallway behind me. I can see him, even though I have not turned my head.  He appears quite a distance and average in size.  I assume he is heading to the men’s bathroom, and I think nothing of it.  I continue walking toward the woman’s bathroom door.

As I begin to enter the women’s restroom, I turn to see that he has walked past the entrance of the men’s restroom and is swiftly coming directly toward me.  My eye immediately sees that the man has a 12 inch hunting knife in his right hand.

I panic, flying into the bathroom and slamming the door as hard as I can so he can’t get in.  I push the full weight of my body against the door. I am trying to gain leverage, but my tennis shoes are slipping on the tile floor. I can hear the sounds of someone inside another stall.

I am pushing so hard against the door I have no strength to cry out, and I am quickly no match for him.  He is at least six foot four, two hundred and eighty pounds of solid man. I am lucky to hold the door against him for thirty seconds before he plows over me, ripping the door right off the hinges.  In the process, I am slammed to the floor between the bathroom stalls.

I scramble to get up, but he holds his hand over my mouth, pushing my head against the floor. He  immediately begins to stab me in an upwards motion beneath my breast plate.  He is stabbing me so quick and so deep I cannot even count them.

I also cannot feel a thing.  Because he has me flat on my back, all my eyes can view is his hand swiftly moving in and out as he stabs me in the chest over and over.

There is no pain. I know that I am dying, but I feel nothing. I see no blood flying.  There isn’t even any on the knife. It leaves my body shining, clean silver, and I am left saddened because of its size.  I am completely aware that I am dying right now.  There is no way I am taking this many stabs with this large of a knife and living.

I use my left hand to pry his fingers from over my mouth.

“Please stop stabbing me!” I begin to beg him.

He has no emotion.  There is nothing.  He is flat and hollow.  He doesn’t even hear me or glance toward my face.  He just smashes his hand down harder on my mouth continuing to stab me.  It seems there must be hundreds; so many that I don’t understand why I am not dead yet.  To him I am not a person.  He feels predatory.  Completely void of soul or reason.  I am merely another woman slain.  When he has had enough of me or I die, whichever comes first, he will move on to another girl.

Suddenly the other person opens the bathroom stall door. He immediately ceases the stabbing as he has been unaware there was anyone else in the bathroom. I don’t understand why she has not heard this whole time what was going on.  His hand is still over my mouth as he looks up towards her. I think, no, don’t kill her.  Please.  But I know she’s next.  He is done with me. I am already dead.  She is next. I lay dying, and then I wake up.

Night terrors leave me with the full emotion of the scene.  I woke up grieving my own death today; feeling a loss, physically exhausted.  I had to write this out so I could give it away and go sleep.  Coupled with the emotion, it takes time for images to fade, but even so, I shan’t let emotion make me fear the Dreamscape.

The Kidnapped Baby

I am at a house. Rocco is here with my sister.  They seem to be a couple.  There is some kind of reunion happening somewhere in another state, and we are all preparing to fly there. I have been put in charge of transporting another couple’s small baby to that city.  I seemed to have agreed to this, and I am participating willingly in the plans.

There is a luggage set packed and ready to go. The larger piece has all of my belongings in it, and the smaller one is for the baby. It is filled with diapers and formula, clothes and bottles. I will carry the smaller one on the plane with me so that I have the things I need to care for the baby.

Now we are at the airport, and I am at the ticket counter with the baby in the stroller. The baby might be six or seven months old, very tiny, strapped into the small, easy to fold up stroller.  It is a boy with very little hair, fair skin and blue eyes. The ticket counter people sit very high above me so I have to strain my neck back to look up towards them. Suddenly I realize two things have gone horribly wrong. One. I left my purse in the backseat of Rocco’s car, so I do not have my identification to get my ticket and check in for the flight. Problem two makes me panic harder. They have accidentally checked the smaller suitcase, and I now have no formula, clothers, diapers or anything to care for the baby during the trip. I begin to cry and panic, not knowing what to do first. I feel confused because I am always organized and on top of things.  How could all of this have gone wrong?

I glance at the clock. I only have an hour. I see that we are close to the gate we need to go to. I don’t like being late.  An airline attendant comes around from the side of the counter. She has a sweet smile, kind eyes, dark curly hair that reaches her shoulders and is dressed like the rest of the workers in khaki pants and a dark blue polo shirt with the airline insignia on it. It is wings, like the wings they give out to kids when they fly by themselves.

I’ll tell you what.” She says sweetly to me. “I’ll watch the baby while you run get the check in bag and call your friends to bring your purse. Meanwhile we will hold the flight until you return so you won’t miss it.

Seriously?” I exclaim, overwhelmed by this kindness. “You would do that for me? Thank YOU!”

I breathe a sigh of relief. The baby will be safe. I will be able to handle business more quickly, and we’ll be on our way. I head down the walkway.

I am back at the ticket counter now. I have retrieved the smaller bag from the check in, but realize that I have no way to call Rocco because my phone is in my purse which I have left in the car. Shit, what will I do now?  I’ll have to catch a cab and run over to Rocco’s for my purse.  I wonder if they’ll still watch the baby and hold the flight while I do this? I look around to the side of the counter.

But the woman who is caring for the baby is gone. I look around at the seating thinking she might have just gone somewhere to relax, but she is not there.  The more I look, the more I realize that the baby has been kidnapped. She was not an airline attendant nor was the uniform she was wearing authentic.  She had stolen it and put it on, purposely tracking me to steal the baby.  I freak out and immediately get everyone involved. Suddenly there are police and airline workers gathered around me. They have locked down all of the airport exits and put out an immediate alert for the baby.

But I know it is too late. My intuition tells me that the woman is gone from the airport with the baby. She had plenty of time to get out while I was gone.  Fuck.  What the hell was I thinking to trust her?  I mean, she had on the same uniform as the rest of the employees, so why wouldn’t I trust her?  My eye notices a magazine stand.  I instinctively grab a newspaper knowing it will give me a clue of where the woman has taken the baby. I flip directly to the wanted ads.

There its is, an ad that says:

Open Heart Church

Bring your children to our wonderful Sunday school!

They will play and get good meals while mom and dad relax.

The advertisement goes on to list the address, inviting families to freely attend their open house sessions and stop in any time. I am filled with sickness inside.  I see everything they are doing, killing parents, taking children, controlling people inside of the building, and I know immediately that this is where the baby is. They are taking children. They are spending time plotting, stalking and kidnapping children by luring in families with happy go lucky advertisements.  I explain everything that I see and know to the police.

This place right here. This is where the baby is.” I point to the advertisement.

They look at me skeptically asking me how I know. I cannot explain to them how I know. I have no facts to back me up.

I just know. I am telling you! The baby is there.”  I say it matter of fact and firmly. “Please, just believe me.  Just go check there. Please just check.”

I am begging for them to not rule out the possibility because I know if they just go, they will find the baby without a doubt.  I believe they will find more children there also.

Now I am suddenly back at Rocco’s to grab my purse. I feel there is a police car that has taken me there, pulled up in the driveway behind Rocco’s car.  Rocco and my sister have come outside of the house.  I hurriedly tell them the baby is missing and a brief summary of what happened. My purse is in the back seat of Rocco’s car. He has left the windows down, and a flash flood of rain has made everything in the car soaking wet. Including my purse. I grab it and realize that because it is leather, everything inside of it is dry. I am elated that my identification, cards and other belongings inside the purse are safe.  I sling it over my body knowing that the leather will dry over the next few hours.

Now I am suddenly in front of a street in an average subdivision. There is a huge sprawling house in front of me with a makeshift sign on plywood that has the name of the church on it.  It is the church from the newspaper advertisement.  Police are everywhere around me. They are asking me am I sure the baby is inside. I assure them that I know the baby is in there. We stand together, as they strategically discuss how to enter the home undetected.

Panic is filling my chest. What if the kidnappers kill the baby? What if they hide the baby since the house is so large it appears to have many rooms? What if they escape with the baby? How am I going to tell the parents that I have lost their precious infant? I am filled with despair, worry and sadness for the situation. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and I will have to be the one to explain it.

Now I am suddenly standing inside the front door of the home where the baby and his parents live. There is a hallway directly to my right.  There is a piece of paper upon which there is a note written from Rocco and my sister. It has fallen, face down on the floor of the hallway. I realize that the parents did not even see it or read it because it fell when they walked in the house.

It says “Angie took the baby on with her so you two don’t have to worry about it. See you there!

I look into the living room. There is a love seat. I can sense there is a woman sitting on it to my left, but I can’t quite see her because the doorway into the living room doesn’t allow my eyesight to see that far in. All I see is the man sitting directly in front of me on the other end of the love seat. He is talking to the woman.

I am dumbfounded.

It’s O.J. Simpson. But he is old, quite old. What the hell is O.J. Simpson doing here, I am thinking to myself. I am questioning if it is really him.  Yet, I know, that’s fucking O.J. Simpson.  I am standing there thinking “this is the most bizarre shit that I’ve ever experienced.” He is talking to the woman and has not noticed me yet.

I’m not all of those things that they say I am.” He is saying gently to her. “I am really not a bad person inside of myself. I’m a good man. A lot of that is lies.”

Then he leans towards her as if he is going to kiss her, and she seemingly must have pulled back because then he says,

Oh, so you don’t want to kiss me, huh?”

I sense his mood change to irritation, and I wake up.