I’m going to take some time today to dwell on my fears and attempt to exorcise them. I feel it’s an appropriate day for that.
I have nightmares. There are no monsters or madmen. You might not recognize them if you saw them, but they leave me terrified to go back to sleep.
Sometimes it’s an average day. I get up, I go about my business. Various temptations are thrown in my way. The setting is fluid as dreams often are. Often, I’m perfectly aware that I’m dreaming. Events move along as I watch, and I can’t affect any of them. I’m stuck in my body, unable to change anything as social or work-related disasters happen. More often than not, there is a screaming match with some family member or friend and I leave the dream convinced that the relationship will never be mended. I wake up in a panic, sometimes unable to move my body, sometimes just dreaming that I’m awake and unable to move. There are mornings where I drift from level to level of my dream, trapped in the story for a few minutes, then in my bed, then elsewhere. The substance of the dream floats away rapidly after I wake, but there are a few minutes of initial panic where I cannot figure out if the fight happened in reality or in my head.
Other nights, there is no disaster. The dream is simply a realistically long, grueling day. I awaken exhausted and defeated, forced to go through the whole thing again.
Once in a while, there is a quest. It’s the kind of story I read, only my viewpoint switches from character to character like a video game with broken controls. I have about as much control here as in the others, only I’m more aware. I wake up during the climax of the story, when all hope is lost, and vainly try to force myself back asleep to finish the narrative. Every now and then it’s possible, and the relief is worth the strain. It leaves me drained but not jittery. There is no panic; I’ve reached the end of the story.
The best nights, I dream of nothing.