I think the number of times that I have been wrenched from sleep by a nightmare and awoken, heart pounding and momentarily confused and panicked can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But that is exactly what has just happened to me. I stumbled out of bed, opened my laptop, and blearily wrote down the gist of the nightmare before it fled me altogether:
A couple walking home from a play, my perspective that of the young gentleman. She being an unknown, Slavic looking, slender and sleight. Black hair pulled into a knot at the base of her skull, attractive, mid thirties, amused and detached. On the way home she presents me with a slender book of verse from which the last line of the production we just saw was taken: the author, Poumeau, of course, Poumeau, I say, name embossed in gold letters across the spine, I should have known. Walking home through a dark and quiet library, amidst book shelves. The book covered in blue canvas.
Arrive at her apartment, small, lit by yellow light. Kneeling on her bed, looking out over a gravel lot lit by pale dawn light, she shows me that by adjusting the vertical blinds of her window in a certain way she can make words appear like a kid’s slat message book, a message that we both read together, a white background on which cursive and elegant black letters appear.
‘Look close & see‘ says the message, and gazing at the glass I can see the reflection of a third person’s face looking back, as if another person stood in the apartment behind us and to my right. I make out a bell jar shaped head, tufts of crimson hair over the ears, horrible, horrible, I pull her away, terrified, it’s staring back at us but there’s nobody outside, nobody inside to be so reflected.
I undo the shades so as to disrupt the message, the face, and we decide to leave the apartment. Outside, I see the figure approaching across the gravel lot. Fleshy and large, a big person, face gleaming white with grease paint, fixed on me though the eyes are just shadow pits. It begins to pick up speed, run toward us, an almost mechanical way of running, unerring. She runs inside, panicking, and I suddenly become furious at being so terrified and run at it, bending down to pick up stones. I throw them in an arcing handful, knowing that at least one will hit, and that I’ll see if this figure is tangible or not. I see them pass through the large body that is now sprinting right at me, it throws a stone too which bounces close by, and for some reason that makes me snap and I turn and run back inside, absolutely terrified.
Through the front door of the building, along the hall, pushing off walls and a large central column around corners for greater speed, each second horribly, absolutely vital. As I get closer to her front door which stands ajar I yell for her to be ready to close it. She does so behind me, slams it shut, has trouble with the upper lock. I’m on the verge of tears as she tries to twist it shut, one second, two seconds, its about to burst the door open, then she slides it closed.
Immediately the entire door begins to rattle and shake as if the figure outside had slammed his whole body against it, and the violence of the shaking causes the upper lock to twist as if skewed by the force of the blows outside. I stare in horror, not believing that the lock is twisting open, that any second the door will be forced and it will be on us.
That is when I awoke. The image up top is the closest I can come to what it looked like, but the thing in my dream was less caricatured, and had eye sockets filled with shadow as if the eyes had been prodded out.