I woke up screaming

The dreams that most fascinate me are when something in the setting has changed from a reflection of real life to something very different. I still remember a dream in university of a red-orange dessert and dinosaur type creatures. Also once, a watery world. I don’t remember the details. It interests me how mundane my dreams usually are, for example, one of my dreams this evening was an overly long vignette of discovering that I had my headphones on and they were hooked up to the computer, and instead of hearing the usual beeps and clicks through the speakers, the sounds were coming directly into my ears. Gosh, the mind can be boring.

In my other dream, I am in a bedroom. It has the same light as my childhood bedroom with the shutters or drapes shut but on a sunny day, so there are these small cracks of intense light that shine through at the edges. Like my room in my university college in first year residence, there is a small desk, and shelf space above it and beside. An effort has been made to display who I am with objects and images that are important to me. I am showing two friends these objects, and though one isn’t recognizable, the other more familiar one happens to be Ian, who had me over to his apartment for dinner. It was a lovely get-together, quiet and intimate. I had never been to his home before. His partner William had abandoned us at the last minute to meet with an old work colleague, so Ian cooked a simple meal of steak and tomato risotto for the two of us. I had a tour of his apartment – it’s the regular routine in Sydney when someone has an impressive place – so we looked at the view of the city from his balcony, and I asked questions about the artwork on the walls which I detected were unusual and not inexpensive. Mostly, we took turns on his grand piano. I don’t have any other friends who have a grand piano in Sydney, and it was a delight to sing him my three latest songs, and then he played various songs that he’s picked up or liked over the years.

So, what was happening in the first part of the dream was a variation of that. I was showing my bedroom to two friends, I was opening my world to them and offering them pieces of my past and present to allow them to know me better. There was an album of photos of my past on the shelf which we didn’t open. We looked at a few large photo prints. One was still wrapped in plastic, with the negative from which it was enlarged still attached. The other photo was a gift, it was a bold image of Australian nature.

When I turned my head, the room had changed, while the bottom half of it was still a long rectangular shape, the upper half suddenly merged with the Australian countryside. It was still a room, and still dark, but looking up, the left side was a field with a farmhouse, and the right side had a long sluice a few feet wide. This water way was teaming with platypus, who, although they looked like platypus, were swimming more like the crazy penguins from the aquarium in my home city of Vancouver. Ian was explaining that they ate small clams, each other (when there was a weak or sick member of the group), and an algae that grows on humans, so basically when you took a swim, they would approach you and touch their bills to your skin, and swim off. Somehow that was eating.

So, I laid down to sleep in this room, a cross between a university dorm room, a museum of natural history, and an aquarium (the platypus river would shift between being a messy stream and a clear tank with dim yellow lighting). When I woke minutes later, there was a man lying at the foot of my bed, a bed so long that he was lying in the same direction as me, but with his head near my knee and the rest of his body extended below. He was small, maybe 5″6, wiry with a moustache. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he giggled.

There was an intruder in my bedroom! What was he doing here? Were the intentions sexual? Or did he mean to steal something? There was nothing of monetary value in the room, but I would have been unhappy to lose possessions that meant something to me. While I was thinking these thoughts, he hopped up and was in the darkness somewhere to my right side or slightly ahead of me.

What do I do with a stranger of unknown intention in my room? I yell. Because yelling will scare him away, and someone will hear, and at the least, I will have done something. And though the initial noise gets caught in my throat, it rises in volume, and I wake myself up screaming just as he is running away from me, towards the farmhouse, and I feel a presence in my real bedroom and then stare into space because no one is there, my beddings so tight against my throat I feel strangled and my heart pounding so hard and loud I think I can hear it.

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