Thursday, February 07, 2008

Overcoming Nightmares Brought on by a Bestseller

I don't have to explain to you how crappy it is to have a nightmare. I know you know. Last night I woke up from the most terrifying dream I've had in years. I think dream sequences are really annoying in books, so I won't get into the subject of the dream or try to explain it to you. That's too hard, plus it's irritating for readers—I mean, I'm not looking for an interpretation. I know what prompted the dream.

It was the book The Historian. Curse that book! I read from it just before falling asleep, and so far I haven't been too worked up over it or anything. I haven't even been truly scared, you know, it hasn't freaked me out. I'm less than a hundred pages in. Not too much has happened—some guy got attacked by some mysterious creature and the medical professionals thought maybe it was a dog bite.

On the neck.

Anyway, I read that part while falling asleep. Stoker was asleep already, so when I turned off the light, I was alone. No light-hearted banter to brighten my mood. I said a little prayer and then fell asleep. I woke up from the nightmare at some point during the night. It wasn't one of those dramatic things either, where a person sits up gasping and sweating and crazed, like in the movies. I just opened my eyes. This incredible fear brought on by a frightening image and turn of events in my dream—I swear it nearly killed me in real life, the fear. I opened my eyes and just stared at the door to our bedroom. I didn't know what I was looking at. I laid there, the image that woke me making my heart beat fast.

I was disoriented. I stared, trying to figure out what I was seeing in the bedroom. And then I felt vulnerable, like the thing in my dream was going to come up behind me, through the window to our bedroom, and kill me. Whatever had been in my dream had followed me into the waking world. And when I tried to close my eyes again, the image was still there.

I woke Stoker up and asked him to talk to me. He asked what was wrong and I told him I'd had a terrible dream. He wanted to know what it was about, but I couldn't talk about it.

Weird, huh? I mean, usually when I've had a bad dream, I immediately want to tell someone. I couldn't bring myself to tell him. It was too vivid. The thought of trying to recount the dream scared me. I guess it felt evil. Something like that. I told Stoker that it had to do with the book, but I didn't want to get into it.

So he said, "Oh yeah. How the historian in it is getting chased by the old guy?" And I said yes, while thinking that he'd said too much, I haven't even figured out that someone is chasing someone else. And then I got scared some more, as my mind put the puzzle pieces of the plot together and realized it must be the historian's professor shadowing him and he's the one who said "He will brook no trespasses."

"You know what that old guy is missing? In the book?" Stoker asked me.

"No," I said.

"He's missing a Glock. If he'd just had a Glock, everything would have been fine. Don’t you think?" I guess Stoker was trying to make me feel safe by reminding me that we have a gun. Ha ha.

But even a gun was no match for the sense of evil the dream had blanketed me with. I needed something to push back the fringes of darkness, it was the reason I woke Stoker up. In the middle of the night, nothing feels real except a fear like that. So we talked some more and I tried not to think of the dream. I told Stoker that we needed to talk about something happy, I needed to get my mind off the dream, because every time I closed my eyes, all I saw was the image that woke me.

Other people might pray or something useful like that, but we talked about The Simpson's. When Homer rides the tiny clown bike and his pant cuff gets caught in the chain and it pulls his pants off. Then Krusty says, "Burn that seat." We laughed about a bunch of other scenes, like new billboard month, and the bag of MSG that Homer buys, and how his unit is burning, but all Homer can think about is clowns. It worked, and then I fell asleep.

During the night, later, whenI woke up again, I swore I wouldn't read any more of that book. I have a mind that's vulnerable to suggestion—at least, my imagination is. I can't listen to Coast to Coast when they're talking about aliens, UFOs, or ghosts, because I have to protect myself. And I hate scary movies. But I didn't realize a book could freak me out so much, especially not one about vampires (which I don't believe in). I guess what got to me is the feeling of evil. Of being pursued. I hate that feeling.

Anyway. "He will brook no trespasses."

I can read the book during the day. Right?

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