- Books, Literature, and Writing
A living nightmare
This is insane! I can’t take it anymore! I get ready to go to bed, brush my teeth, the usual. A complete nightmare! I get into the warm, dreadful thing they call a bed. My eyes close; total darkness. I gasp and slowly drift into dreamland. Oh, that was a horrific nightmare! It is always the same; black and lonely. Finally, I am sound asleep. That is the way it has always been. I have to go through that dreadful nightmare to reach dreamland. Dreamland is much better than being awake. Being awake, that is what they call the nightmare. All humans have it. They say it only stops when you die! After death, you can forever dwell in dreamland. But first, you have to die…
I’m running in a field of dandelions. The air is sweet like early summer. There is not a single cloud to be seen in the perfect blue sky. Multi coloured butterflies brush against my flushed cheeks. The wind blows the long tendrils of hair in my face. Suddenly, I see him. He promised he would come for me! His white Stallion gallops gracefully in the field. He walks over to me and takes my hand in his. He slowly lifts me off the ground. We float in the air like balloons; carefree and happy. Higher and higher we go. With a jolt, I remember my nightmare. When humans are awake, they write books about dreams and what it means to dream. These books tell you things like flying when you dream, means that hard work is required to achieve your goals. At once, I’m falling! I realise that I have to work really hard to decipher what has gone wrong in Mister Spender’s twisted mind. My prince charming lets go of my hand. The wind carries his voice behind me, back through oblivion, to my nightmare.
‘Why did you have to think about your nightmare? You always leave me when you think of your nightmares! I wanted to show you what the Milky Way looked like after sunrise,’ his voice echoes.
I wake up; peaceful. I can still smell the sweet summer air around me. My eyes snap open and my body tenses immediately. I know this place. This place is where my nightmare begins. I get out of bed and get dressed, as usual. The sky is bleak and cold, forever cold. My office isn’t any warmer. The grandfather clock reads nine o’clock. Everything is always such a big rush! I am forever running against time. It feels like I never quite reach my destination on time. Mister Spender arrives. I have no idea how to reach this man’s soul. He truly believes that we live our lives when we are in our nightmares! How can you live in a nightmare for your entire existence on this planet? That is completely outrageous! He has come to seek my help. He wants answers that he cannot answer himself. As usual, we don’t make any progress. The more I try to convince him that we live our lives in the place I call dreamland, the more he thinks that we live our lives when we are awake! Being awake is a nightmare, for heaven’s sake! I schedule another appointment for the following day. After a long, tiring day of endless nightmares, I go home, eat and watch the news. All I see is earthquakes, murder, accidents and fires; all nightmares of people that are stuck in being awake. I brush my teeth and get into bed. Please let this madness end quickly! My eyes close and I can feel my body reluctantly relaxing.
I’m floating into dreamland. Finally, I emerge from my nightmare. I am in a house. It is a big, old fashioned country side mansion. I’ve been here before! Each room seems familiar, yet there are many rooms that I am yet to discover. There is a room filled with textbook pages for wallpaper. Another room, so bare and white, only the pure of heart may enter. At the end of a long corridor, a room painted lime green with no furnishings, just a big Swiss grandfather clock built right into the wall. Someone must take really good care of that clock. There is not a speck of dust to be seen on it! There is a flight of stairs that lead to another floor. I climb them slowly, one at a time. Just as I reach the top step, my foot gets caught in a tattered rag on the floor. I see nothing but darkness in front of me. I can’t ever seem to get past it! I can feel myself being dragged back to my never ending nightmare.
A ray of winter sunshine runs across my pillow. In this nightmare world, I always try to find a comfort, no matter how small it may be. This ray of sunshine is my comfort at the moment. A thrill ringing round interrupts my thoughts. The phone is ringing.
‘I’m sorry, Jillian. Mister Andrew Spender committed suicide last night. He left a note saying that he did it for any person who believed that we live our lives when we dream. Again, Jillian, I’m sorry. You had an appointment with him today so, obviously it is cancelled. You have no other appointments, so I guess you have the day off,’ my secretary says and rings off.
For a long time, I just sit and stare at the window and the hellish world on the outside of it. How could that man be so foolish as to believe his own theory until death? Then again, who wouldn’t? A startling unease creeps into my consciousness. What if, no, but still… Then I remember the books. The books that humans write when they are living their ludicrous nightmares! I search for the books written about dreams. If only I can figure out what haunted this man so much for him to commit suicide! Only then will this unease inside me subside. It is all so absurd! After finding the books under my hideous bed, I look for the symbolic meaning of mansions in dreams – obstacles to overcome. Huge rooms – situations that need to be taken care of. Grandfather clocks – not enough time to save what has to be saved. I throw the book across the floor in frustration. How can I believe this nonsense? I don’t have time to save what? This is only a nightmare, right? In a couple of hours I would be in dreamland, where everything is perfect, right? I spend the whole day trying to make sense of this nightmare. I can feel sleep finally claiming my body.
It is the usual ritual. I get into bed, float into dreamland and eventually I have peace. I am where I belong once again. He is here, waiting for me. I’m dressed in a baby blue satin dress. The dress is very luscious and shows all my womanly curves. My handsome, very sophisticated prince, dressed elegantly in black, takes my hand in his and leads me to a room filled with rose petals. There are scented red rose petals strewn across the floor, on the bed and on the bedside table. Candles are making disfigured shadows on the walls. I know this is what I have waited for so long. This is like paradise. This is the reason I am alive. He leads me to the bed and removes my dress. It falls to the floor with a whoosh. He lays me down on the soft fabric of the bedspread. I smell the petals, sweet, just like spring. His fingers trail my body, making me shiver with pure pleasure. He whispers my favourite song in my ear. His fingers are entwined in my long hair. His kiss feels so soft and caring. It drains the last bit of unease from my mind. I am savouring every moment, for I know it won’t last forever. It won’t last… He pulls back.
‘Jillian, why do you always have to think about your nightmares? Our time together never lasts because you leave me when you think of your nightmares! Stay with me please!’
I am already floating back through oblivion into my nightmare.
‘My prince, I shall be back, I promise.’
I wake up and go to the bathroom to splash cold water over my face. I look into the mirror. There are rose petals in my hair! How can this be? Are my worlds overlapping? What nightmare is this or am I insane? It must be my imagination. I shut myself in the study with the books. I have to find the answer, even if it kills me… Roses – romance. Bed – finding your true love. What does this all mean? Where is this going to end? My world as I once knew it is now crumbling beneath me. Am I the one living on the wrong side of life or is the rest of humanity wrong, like Mister Spender? The questions keep spinning in my head, all unanswered. They would never be answered unless I can find the truth! Bearing in mind that dreamland could be a false place, I go to the hideous bed with only one intention. I have to find my prince and ask him…
Expecting the calm and beautiful atmosphere of dreamland, I am shocked to find myself in the middle of a raging war! I see guns shooting, people running, screaming, crying, drenched in blood and dying. I hear explosions and there is debris everywhere! Aeroplanes are flying low, crashing and exploding. Am in in a nightmare or in dreamland? Nothing makes sense anymore! Then I see him, beckoning me to shelter. Crying, I fall into his arms, confusion and terror clearly visible on my tear stained face.
‘I will never leave you. It will all be over soon. You never have to leave my side again. Just once more, go back to your nightmare. Wait there for me. I’m coming for you,’ my prince says.
With a gentle shove, I feel my body being shredded into a thousand pieces. The pain is unbearable! I hear a crash, like glass breaking…
My eyes open and my heart races. What has just happened? Reaching for the book of dreams, I seek more advice. War – misfortune and stress. Explosions – major changes in your life. Shooting – disputes lost. Devastation… I hear it again! It sounds like glass crashing to the floor. I crawl out of bed. What is making that noise? Trembling, I walk along the corridor. In the kitchen, I see him standing at the table, looking at me. He looks so peaceful and calm.
‘I told you I would come for you. All you had to do was believe, and you did.’
‘How did you…’
‘I promise it will all be over soon my angel. You will soon be forever happy. You will have everything you ever wanted, including me, until the end of time’
‘But I don’t understand…’
‘My love, come here. It won’t hurt a bit. Just relax.’
He crosses the length of the kitchen. From his right hand I notice a dangling rope. I’m terrified! I’m so terrified I can’t move! I can’t even make a sound! I feel the rope around my neck. I feel it tightening, slicing through my flesh. I find it difficult to breathe.
I hear his voice, far away,’ I’m only doing this because I love you. It’s the only way to forever dwell in dreamland. You have to die first…’
Why didn’t I see the signs before? The grandfather clock, the explosions, the rose petals, it was all to prepare me for what was to come! The last thing I remember is the words I read in the book. Hanging – you will be rewarded. I will be rewarded by forever dwelling in dreamland with my prince charming. He set me free because he loved me.
Obituary of Jillian Andrea Collin:
A delicate being leaves our world and passes into another world. Never married, she was a lonely soul. She was a practitioner in psychology and tried to convince her patients to believe what she believed. She saw life as a place of cruelty and nightmares and hanged herself from her kitchen window. We all hope that she is in a place where her thoughts will never haunt her again. We hope you found the love you never found on earth. Rest is peace, twisted little Jillian.