By Troy Headrick
I’ve been having strange dreams recently. Something’s definitely going on in my subconscious. Plus, in most cases, I don’t usually remember dreams, but lately, they’ve been both extremely vivid and easy to recollect. I wonder what’s up?
About a week ago, I dreamed that I was standing outside my old high school building. I distinctly recall thinking, “That’s the gym up ahead.” I then heard a noisy crowd behind me and knew—“felt” would be a more accurate word—that I was being pursued. I didn’t turn to look to see how far behind me all those people were. Instead, I took off running toward the point of entry into the building.
I got to the door and began to tug on it. I felt no sense of surprise when it opened. I jumped inside and pulled the door closed. It made a loud, metallic sound as it slammed.
I was in a large hallway and began to run. I heard the angry crowd banging on the door and then the sound of it opening. I got to the end of the hall and turned a corner. I could tell that the throng was inside and coming toward me. Their yelling voices began to fill the space with scary reverberations. I never turned to see what was happening behind me, but I seemed to know that two or three of the fastest members of the gang were gaining on me. They were carrying crude weapons of one sort or another.
I kept coming to the end of the hall and then turning corners. A few members of the crowd were inexorably drawing closer and closer. It dawned on me that I was tiring and that they would eventually catch up. I viscerally knew that something horrible would happen if they caught me.
About the time I began to feel real panic, I saw, just ahead, a place where I might hide. There was a stairwell, and I could see a crawlspace behind it. I ran as fast as I could and entered a dark labyrinth. I got some distance into it and could hear that the crowd had also entered the maze. I said to myself, “That’s it. I’m done.” And then I woke up.
The next morning, as soon as I got out of bed, I wrote the dream down.
Two nights ago, I fell asleep very effortlessly (a rarity for me), and then, almost immediately, found myself sitting at my computer. I was staring at its screen and knew that I had written what I was looking at. The funny thing is, I couldn’t read what was in front of me. I looked at the words and looked at them some more. I was pretty sure what I was seeing could be called “sentences” and such and that they were in English, but still, no matter how much I stared at them, they made no sense whatsoever.
A voice came from behind me. Someone was looking over my shoulder. The voice said, “I don’t think that is what you meant to say.”
“What did I mean to say?” I asked the voice.
Instead of answering my question, the person began to laugh. Suddenly, there were lots of people behind me and they were all laughing. I tried to cover the screen with my arms, out of a deep sense of shame, but they could still see the gibberish I wanted to conceal. Unlike the first dream, which I was able to terminate with sheer will power, this one just sort of dissipated, as if it had been a fog that lifted.
I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about these dreams (nightmares?). They have some interesting things in common. For one, both were me-versus-the-crowd narratives. (I don’t think I’ve had a history of dreaming about mobs and such weirdnesses in the past, though.) Also, they clearly began in medias res.
Given that there’s a monumentally important election just around the corner and that we’re all preoccupied with an unfriendly microscopic organism—a metaphor for all things unseeable and incomprehensible—I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that these disturbances are bubbling up as little nighttime dramas.
Any dream interpretation experts out there? Where are Jung and Freud when one needs them?