I woke up breathing heavily but without screaming or doing any more noises. I had no clothes on but I could feel my body drenched in sweat, as if I had been running for quite a while. I grabbed my phone, which I had left by the bed, and checked the time: only a half hour had passed since I had fallen asleep. I was trembling and stayed there, sitting on my bed looking at the bedspread, not thinking at all. Then, I tried to remember what it was that I had dreamt off and I could just remember a few images, a few horrible images of creatures and scary situations. But the most awful thing was that I had felt paralyzed for a while. I mean, I had thought I was awake but I wasn’t and I felt and heard a sound coming at me from behind.
I think I was paralyzed like that for at least three minutes but even such little time felt like an eternity. It felt like that being or that person behind me was going to be successful at attacking me, probably wanting to kill me for some reason. In that moment, I wanted to scream for help but I couldn’t, my mouth wouldn’t open and my eyes were frozen open. It was the worst kind of torture I could have thought of. I woke up just after that and thanked my body for helping me in that dire moment of need. As I stood up, walking to the kitchen for some water, I realized that the temperature outside had dropped even more in those thirty minutes I had been asleep. The cold was harsh so early in the morning so I decided to drink fast and put on some clothes to sleep.
I didn’t fall asleep right away. To be honest, I was afraid I would keep dreaming those awful things so I just thought about other things. But the paralysis I had suffered earlier came back to me and I felt scared, more than before. It had happened before and that was probably why I was so nervous about it. What was the reason of that? Why did it happen to me and why like that? It was a mystery I’d rather not explore but that’s how things were and I hated it. I didn’t want any more things in my mind right now, less of all a dream night were every single part looked like the perfect kind of torture. Was my mind just telling me that I was going insane?
Hours later, at work, I didn’t mention my dreams to anyone. I tried to behave as I always did, crazy free. I even engaged in the typical lunch conversations, which was odd, as I preferred to listen and not to talk. That was because what I said was almost always perceived as “too much” or radical in some way, so I stopped talking at that time. But that day I must have forgotten my own rule because I talked and talked like a parrot and the fun thing was that some of the people agreed on why I said and other seemed to agree but didn’t want the rest to think they were as “radical” as me. That day in the office was good and, after lunch, I didn’t remember a single thing about my nightmares.
They didn’t come back to me until late at night, when I was surprised to remember an especially gruesome part of my earlier nightmares. Apparently I had dreamt that I was some kind of murderer. I had never witnessed such things in real life and did not understand how my mind was able to replicate that situation, but there I was. It was clear to me now that I had walked amongst corpses, on a floor were every single centimeter was covered in blood. And that wasn’t the most shocking part. I was carrying a chainsaw in one hand and had my body covered in blood too, stepping on it as I walked through the room. I believe that was just a dream fragment, I don’t think there was more. But it had been enough to make me avoid sleeping at all that night? What was going on with me?
The next day, more than one person asked me if I had slept at all. Apparently my eyes were pretty scary and my face looked horribly pale. I washed it at least twice but it didn’t make a change. I still looked like someone out of a horror movie. That day, I went back to not participating in conversations. I decided to skip lunch altogether, preferring to have some chocolate on a park bench nearby. The sugar made me feel alive and with enough energy to withstand the day. Maybe I had to do something special to avoid these dreams or at least to stop the memories of them coming in my head. I just wanted to go back to before, when I never had any kind of dreams, not even the typical ones people have.
Suddenly, someone sat besides me on the bench and I realized it was this guy I liked from the office. He had arrived to work with us very recently and I felt he liked me back. I asked him what he was doing there and he told me that he had followed me. I must have opened my mouth very wide because he laughed and said that he had actually come out of a nearby restaurant and happened to se me alone so he just wanted to check on me. I asked why and he said I seemed distracted. He also mentioned the sleeping part. We stayed there for the remainder of lunchtime and when we went back, we had decided to meet in my house that night in order to watch a movie and have some take out.
As it was Friday, many people were going dancing or drinking but we had decided to share a movie and we hadn’t done that ever before. It had been the first time we decided to meet outside of work so I was nervous about it. When I got home, I decided to check my computer for the best movies I had around. I chose three so we could see them all or he could chose his favorite. We could order anything and I changed my clothes to something less work related. I wanted everything to look good and on point, to look as if I worried about everything been clean and nice. Normally my place was a mess but I managed to make it presentable in short time.
Then, the memories kicked in again. I wasn’t paralyzed or a butcher anymore. But I was tied to the floor with a metal chain and I was trying to release myself from it. I pulled with the little strength I still had but it was useless, the chain wouldn’t break. Then someone came in, someone whose face I never saw and he started to kick me and punch me and then… And then he did something I can’t even process, something… Something I didn’t understand when I realized I was remembering another part of that awful dream. Why was it happening now? Why did it keep coming back? This time I was drenched in sweat again but I had no time to change or to clean myself as the doorman called to tell me that my buddy from work had arrived. I wasn’t excited about it anymore.
My legs shook as I got near the door and waited to open the door. I couldn’t just send him back to his house so I was just going to have a nice evening and tried to forget what I had just seen. I clean the sweat of my face with my sleeve and opened just as he had pressed the doorbell. He was surprised I opened that fast but he just laughed and we hugged as we greeted each other. I took him to my sofa and offered him a beverage but as I poured the two glasses of wine, my hands shook like crazy but he was talking about something so he didn’t really notice. We talked fro some minutes before I told him which movies I had picked and he said he liked them all so we could just try to watch them all that evening. I agreed so I asked him to put some popcorn in the microwave as I set up the movie.
Minutes later, we had turned off the light, on his request, and were side by side eating popcorn and trying to concentrate on the movie. The truth was that I wanted to focus on him but couldn’t. I was still too shaken by what I had seen. I was been wondering if going to a shrink was the best idea. I needed someone else to know and to tell me I was just being crazy and that nothing from my nightmares could attack me, ever. I knew that maybe that was obvious but I needed to hear it from someone else. Then, I got scared and almost threw the popcorn bowl to the floor as he touched my hand. I was so ashamed I stopped the movie and just told him.
I explained my nightmares, my fears and why I had been acting so weird. I told him because I needed someone to know, I needed to share those feeling with someone else. When I finished, he took my hands on his own and pressed them gently. He told me that I wasn’t a bad person for having nightmares and that maybe my imagination was too active or I had eaten before going to bed. It was common to have horrible nightmares sometimes and maybe I was just scared that what happened in them could actually happen some day. He assured me, with the confidence of a doctor, that I would never be that person in my dreams.
I hugged him, we shared a kiss and, surprisingly, we watched two whole movies before we decided it was too late. He asked me to call him a taxi but I never dialed. I came in from behind and hugged him. I think I scared him. The thing is, he stayed the night and I never had those nightmares again. I’m not saying it was because of him but maybe my mind needed to focus on something else and what better than a nice, intelligent prospect? But sometimes I remember the nightmares and I wonder who I am and why I am.