Have you ever had a dream, or a nightmare, that stayed with you for life?
Rick and I rented a cabin for 3 days, over the weekend, right on the Arkansas border. The cabin had a feeling of remoteness about it because it was set in the woods up on a hill that was close to qualifying as a mountain. Rolling hills were covered in pine and oak trees, as far as you could see. The hills in the distance had a smoky, bluish mist about them. It was beautiful.
That first night I was SO tired from the long drive and all the packing and planning that I couldn’t wait to go to bed. Crawled in bed alone at about 10:30, with a feeling of sweet relief. The bed was positioned under a window, which I had opened to catch the breeze. I could hear the breeze sighing through the trees. It was awesome.
I assumed I’d just go straight to sleep, and I did. Except as I was drifting off a sudden feeling of sheer terror and horror would come over me, like a black shadow moving between my eyes and my eyelids, and I’d be snatched out of my sleep. It caused me to jerk awake, as if someone, or something, had physically yanked me away. This went on and on, at least 5 more times, until I was just left lying there, exhausted but wide eyed, staring into the darkness, which was almost impenetrable.
I got up and checked the time, thinking maybe I’d actually gone to sleep but didn’t realize it. It was only 12:30, so I knew that I hadn’t.
I went out on the front patio to smoke and ponder this nameless terror that kept jerking me awake. I was looking out toward the woods. It was so dark you could only see the silhouette of the trees, thanks to a full moon, and see the gentle motion as the wind sighed through the branches and leaves.
I couldn’t see any of the other cabins. Couldn’t hear a sound. It was as though I was the only person on the earth, all alone…...
Suddenly I remembered something. My blood just froze. I jumped up, ran into the cabin and went back to bed next to the reassuring warmth of my husband. I was trembling.
It was as though the fact that I had put a name on the horror caused it to go away. It left me alone after that, and I was able to actually go sleep then. Until 5:30 a.m. when I woke up, got up to go to the bathroom and promptly ran my face, nose leading, into the door jam. SHIT THAT HURT!!! But that’s a different story…
I was the oldest of 3 kids, all girls. I was always expected to take care of them, for as long as I can remember. When I was 5 my mom would turn me and my younger sister, who was only 2 at the time, loose outside and I was expected to take care of her. (The fact that there was an unfenced canal that came off of Tampa Bay, in our back yard, that rose and fell with the tides apparently didn’t faze my mom at all! One time my sister fell off of the sea wall. Thank God the tide was out. I ran screaming to the house, because I couldn’t help her!)
When I was 16 I had a nightmare. I dreamed my mom, my two sisters, ages 12 and 11 then, and I were all alone in this cabin in the middle of some dark woods, on a mountain, in the middle of no where. The cabin was all by itself. My Dad was not in the picture, he wasn’t there. It was just me, Mom and the girls. It was night time and very, very dark.
I was standing in the doorway of the bedroom, where my mom and the girls were sleeping in one bed. The bed was under a window. I could hear the trees sighing in the wind.
Then I heard a scritching sound. Scritch, scritch scritch on the window screen. Suddenly this huge, hairy, clawed hand ripped through the screen and reached for my mom and the girls.
Suddenly I found my self in another part of the cabin. I couldn’t see them, but I heard my youngest sister scream. I don’t know how I knew exactly who it was, but I did. And that scream….it sends chills down my back to this day. I have never, ever heard a scream of such shear horror and terror in real life, not even in the movies, and I hope I never do hear one. I will not forget that scream.
I jerked awake, trembling and sick, frightened and panicked. I actually went and crawled in be with my parents. I was almost a grown woman and I crawled in be with my mommy and daddy!
I never, ever forgot that dream and will never forget the scream.
You can say, “It was only a dream,” and it was, but the feelings were very, very real, and very, very horrible. Terrible.
Sitting on the patio at the cabin the other night, I suddenly realized that the cabin, the bedroom, the position of the bed under the window, everything was an exact replica of the cabin in my dreams. I almost threw up at that point.
But once I recognized it, the terror left me, and it didn’t come again.