Are dreams nothing more than twisted reruns of the day’s events, built in safety valves to relieve pressure from our minds, or is it possible that God uses these mental holidays to communicate with us?
Not all dreams lend themselves to this concept, but I believe that some do. Please refer to Getting Personal, a prior post archived on this site for a good example. The majority of these brain-related information dumps trickle through our consciousness as vague, fuzzy images that are easily forgotten. However, occasionally a gem comes along, one with enough substance, if you will, to stick with us. Here is one that I had recently.
I’m walking through an antique shop, though it more resembles a warehouse, an expansive building with isles that disappear into the darkness and are lined with metal shelves, crammed to near capacity with miscellaneous items. I’m searching for kitchen utensils, such as pots and pans, when I come upon what appears to be a tiny teakettle. It’s made of metal and obviously quite old, an antique in fact. However, a closer examination reveals the object to be a tiny 35 millimeter camera, designed to look like a tea kettle. Pleased to have uncovered such a treasure, I discontinue shopping and head for the front of the store to check out.
As I am preparing to leave the store, I see an acquaintance, of mine, who in reality has passed away. This seems to be the case in the dream as well. However, my feelings are not of shock but of happiness to once again see my old friend. He’s sitting in a chair, which is part of a display of lawn furniture, and I quickly run over to join him.
I hand him the camera and say, “Isn’t that the cutest thing?”
Cute is a word that I rarely use, and it strikes me as odd that I would describe the camera that way.
My friend seems unimpressed and this bothers me. He hands the camera back and says, “You’ll never find film for it.”
That’s when I wake up. I have no idea what the dream means, if anything. However, when I have one as vivid as this, I always feel that it should.
Twisted Perception - Chapter One continued -
He sat forward in the car seat and stared in disbelief. She was there all right. There had been no mistake. And when she crossed the parking lot, she saw him as well, her lovely blue eyes piercing the night as if they carried their own source of illumination. She seemed to look right through him, but he knew that was just an act. A smile played across his lips. The parking lot was empty except for the two of them. He’d planned on following her, but it wouldn’t be necessary. He did have a bit of luck now and then. He worked his hands into surgical gloves and grabbed the roll of duct tape. He tore off a six- inch piece then ran his hand through the roll, wearing it like a bracelet. Next he retrieved the sock from the floorboard. It was lined with plastic and filled with wet sand.
Opening the car door, he stepped quietly onto the asphalt, sliding the black-handled knife into his back pocket. He did not intend to use it just yet, but he would if he had to. With the torn piece of tape readied in his hand, he came up behind her. She was completely unaware of his presence, and he paused as the sweet scent coming from her hair filled his senses. He wanted to touch her, to take her in his arms and love her, the way he had always loved her. It was then that he saw her the way she had been, lying on her bed, wearing only the top half of her see-through pajamas while she pulled the covers back and shifted ever so slightly. It was not unusual. She often stayed that way after it was over, even getting out of bed on occasion to walk around the room, stopping close where he could see her, watch her through the cracks in the door.
He thought about the small room that had been his prison, where dust particles would dance in the sunlight that showed through the broken window shade, giving an impression of substance to the beams, making it appear as if he could reach out and grab them. But that, like so much else, had been nothing more than an illusion. The dust was not only in the light. It had filled the room. He’d eaten mouthfuls of it with every breath. They were casualties of their own fates, and he thought she must surely understand what he had to do.
He raised the sock, swinging in a high arc to give it more velocity, and when he brought it down against the back of her head, he remembered how the light would catch her pretty necklace as she walked about the room. It was an enlightening moment, for she dropped quite readily to her knees, not unconscious, but dazed to the point of incoherence. He pressed the piece of tape over her mouth then slid the roll from his arm. He pulled her hands behind her and bound them with several revolutions, then tore off another piece and slapped it across her eyes as he brought her to her feet. She offered little resistance and a delightful urge to take her now ran through him, testing his resolve. He pushed the thoughts away and guided her across the parking lot toward the car. Once there, he shoved her into the backseat. The lot was still empty. He started the car and drove away, pulling onto 31st Street.
When he reached Yale Avenue, he turned south, traveling until he found a suitable location, an old house that had lost the fight for survival. It stood in a neighborhood that had been suburban but was now a mixture of banks, retail outlets, and, ironically enough, real estate offices. Acting as a reminder of the house’s fate, an industrial trash bin sat in the front yard, boasting the name of some construction company on its side. He thought that a ridiculous notion. What they were up to was anything but constructive.
He pulled her from the car and walked her to the front of the house, pausing briefly to check the door. It wasn’t locked. They seldom were. He pushed her inside, his heart pounding with anticipation as he switched on the flashlight he’d doctored for just such occasions. Its dim red glow revealed an old mattress on the floor. Some things were just meant to be. She had begun to struggle, even as he’d pulled her from the car, and he had no choice but to use the sock again. With a small shove she fell onto the mattress.
Kneeling beside her, he removed the tape from her eyes and studied her face, so pretty and yet so lined with fear he hardly recognized it. She could not speak. He’d left the tape on her mouth, but she shook her head and pleaded with every expression she had available. It had been cold in that room, a chilling dampness understood only by those left alone, not for moments, but for eternities in an unforgiving and infinite darkness. He would not go back. She would die first.