sweet dreams are made of dread

I had a dream last night that was not scary.  Yet I woke up, heart pounding, everything in my body certain that something terrible was going on – maybe someone was in my apartment.  It took a good half hour for me to feel like it was safe enough for me to roll over, turning my back to the door, and try to fall asleep again.

Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely some creepy shit going on in my dream.  I was in this one-room cabin talking to some dumpy middle-aged woman with greasy black hair in her face, who I believed was my sister, and telling her how after I started really listening to the demon, everything got better.  I was drawing a picture of the demon and its giant ears with charcoal:

A bad MS Paint replica of the dream drawing... which to me looks like a bunny

Meanwhile a child (possibly my sister’s?) of indeterminate gender was skipping around.  It had scraggly blond hair and was wearing gray footie pajamas, and singing the nonsense syllables of a gypsy song (a short bit from “Diri, Diri, So Kerdjan?” by Romanyi Rota, if you’re interested).  My brother-in-law, some guy in a flannel shirt and vest, was getting ready to leave.  Almost as soon as he walked out the door, there was a knock, and on the doorstep were two stoner-looking policemen who had received a call from someone else about a car that had backed into the side of the cabin.  I looked at it and said that yeah, my brother-in-law was going to call it in.  The cops asked why I didn’t call in a car that had crashed into my house.  I said I didn’t know, but my brother-in-law had just left.  The kid was still skipping around and singing.  And then I woke up.

See, not really that scary.  But I was certain, upon waking, that my “brother-in-law” had crashed the car into the house, and I didn’t know how he might have left before the police arrived without them seeing him.  I also didn’t know how I had not registered a car crashing into the house, or why I wasn’t concerned about it.

After waking with my heart slamming around in my chest with those nonsense syllables echoing in my head, and after long minutes of staring at all the dark corners in my room with my near-sighted eyes, I realized that this was dread, and this was more what horror movies and novels are about than the jump-out-at-you scares.  To know something is wrong but not know what it is.  To feel paranoid for no reason.  To dread what might be lurking in the shadows.

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