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Are These Shadows of Hope In a Hopeless World?

A Story of Survival

By VNessa ErlenePublished 3 years ago 10 min read
Are These Shadows of Hope In a Hopeless World?
Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

I hate being startled awake! However, here is where I find myself on this cold, dreary Georgia morning. Did I mention it is raining? Again!

I am a dreamer... literally. Last night's dream was a doozy, to say the least. The dream was just one in a succession of "they are watching me" dreams I seem to be having lately. I have been writing them all down because I know I will look back and find clarity in their meaning once they are all dreamt out. The first dream was over a week ago, and I awoke screaming from a sound sleep to find my watcher still standing in the corner, smugly watching me sleep.

The dream was a classic nightmare that started with the tall figure of a man walking through the wall into my bedroom around three am. Three am is referred to as the witching hour, but it is the bitching hour for this witch. I am not particularly eager to wake up from a wonderful slumber, only to find that I only have a few hours of sleep left if I go back to sleep immediately.

Oh well, enough bitching, I will tell you about these crazy-ass dreams. I have seen the man in my bedroom three times now, so I guess he was done interrupting my sleep. Last night I was dreaming that I was awake, as usual, and I lay in bed as the ceiling above my bed disappeared and the night sky became visible. As I looked through the portal in the ceiling, I became aware that eyes were watching me. My eyes became accustomed to the night, and I could make out shapes sitting in the tree outside my bedroom window. I do not know if you are familiar with the oak trees in Georgia, but they are a sight to behold even in your waking hours. The night sky gave the tree a spooky appearance, and when I realized the creatures sitting in the tree branches were not human, I almost fainted. I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I watched these creatures watching me and realizing there were hundreds of them.

I became aware that they also knew that I could see them, and they began to shuffle around as if to descend upon me. They were a mixture of several beings. Their heads looked like an owl, but they had sort of human faces. When they smiled at me, which they did menacingly, I could see rows of sharp pointy teeth. They had the body of a large black crow with shaggy wings. The overall impression I got from them is that they were not exactly alive, and they served no good purpose. I was jolted out of my dream when they all took flight in one huge spiraling vortex in my direction. The instant they dove into my open ceiling, I woke up screaming. I reassured my family I was still alive and my heart would survive and then picked up the little black witches book of shadows beside my bed and headed for my study.

I am not really sure what a book of shadows is supposed to contain, but mine has always contained my dreams and my moments of Deja Vu. I hurried to write the dream down, and as I clumsily opened the book, a folded sheet of paper fell out. I was not going back to sleep any time soon, so I picked up the piece of lined notebook paper and started reading. My heart instantly skipped a beat, and I realized this was the puzzle piece that would explain my recent dreams. About six months ago, I had lost my little black book and just grabbed a sheet of paper from my daughter's school notebook to record a particularly disconcerting dream. I had forgotten the dream, but all the sordid detail instantly came flooding back.

The months that lead up to this fateful dream had left me weary and confused. I had divorced my husband of over twenty years only to find that he would never really go away. The judge had given me the house we resided in; however, my ex refused to move out. We were all just existing in this post-divorce limbo, and by all, I should include his long-time girlfriend. She did not seem to have a problem with his dual living arrangement. I had toyed with several plans that would allow me to move away from him for good, but nothing seemed to be doable. I remember going to bed exhausted from a day of dealing with my ex-mother-in-law and her insistent gossip. She was going senile and would forget whom she was talking to, so it was entirely probable that she would be talking about me to me!

The dream started around one am and seemed to last all night. I remember that I was watching the news in the dream. The noonday news was preempted with a national alert that our country was being invaded and everyone should take cover, and if possible underground shelters were to be used. I remember that I had given my children five minutes to pack important belongings and put them in our van. I planned to rush to my grandmother's house six miles away and take cover in her basement. I grabbed clothes for my then two-year-old and four-year-old while my other three girls got clothes and toothbrushes. I was screaming for my ex-husband the entire time, and he never responded. I could feel my anger welling up inside. When the five minutes were up, and I was loading the children in the van, I remember thinking, "screw him."

He was exhibiting typical behavior that had caused our divorce in the first place; namely, I could never count on him when I needed him. I backed out of my parking place and proceeded to the road in dead silence. I looked back at my children and the terrified looks on their faces and started to cry. Life was so unfair! I was solely responsible for the well-being once again, and their father was no were to be found. He was most likely with his girlfriend. I remember being so angry with myself for even caring.

As I turned left to begin the drive to my grandmother's house, I saw a movement in the ditch. I was prepared to stop and chase down our family dog when I realized it was my ex-husband curled up in a ball lying in the ditch! I stopped the van and ran over to where he was screaming at him to get up and get his ass in the van. He looked up at me with a tear-stained face and cried, "what is the use? We are all going to die!" I stopped dead in my tracks. I remember feeling like someone had knocked the wind out of me. What in the hell was he thinking? We had five children to protect, and he was giving up without even trying? I realized that I was alone at that instant, and I decided to protect my children. I also realized that this had always been the case; I was just too stupid to see the writing on the wall.

I awoke from this dream completely drained of all energy but surprisingly resigned to the hard work ahead of me. I know this because I remember the feeling of urgency, and I also remember losing this feeling of urgency and allowing life to return to the abnormal. How could I have forgotten this dream? Complacency was not a trait I admired, yet here I was the most complacent of them all. I would not allow this to continue until the impending doom foretold by those winged creatures came true.

Morning could not come fast enough. When nine o'clock finally rolled around, I took myself and my divorce papers to the tax office. My goal was to obtain a copy of the dead to my mobile home to start selling it. I did not know how much money I could sell it for, but it would have to be enough for me to start a new life elsewhere. Imagine my shock when the clerk told me the property was not deeded to me but my mother-in-law!

I showed her the divorce decree, and she allowed me to make a quitclaim on the property. I immediately took the new paperwork to a local mobile home dealership. Within a couple of hours and before noon, I had an offer to buy my home. When I walked out of the mobile home dealership and into the noonday sun, I saw the tall shadow man standing by the parking lot. He looked exactly like he did in my dream, except he was smiling at me.

The story you just read is an entry in my little black book of shadows. The ending is not a fairytale, but it would come close had you experienced it yourself as I did. When I arrived home that fateful day after starting my plan to "run away" from my life, I received a phone call from my ex-husband. He was crying and said that I needed to leave home and stay gone for a few days. He then explained that he had come home while I was at the tax office and that he had loaded five hunting rifles with bullets. He knew I had come to the end of my days living with him and his double life, so he intended to kill myself and my five children and then kill himself.

I immediately called the police. When they arrived, they took the guns out of the house and were loading them into a patrol car. My husband arrived home with his parents, who assured the police that nothing was wrong and everyone was fine. The story they told was believable because, according to them, I was having an episode, and I was a mentally disturbed woman. While their story was unfolding before my eyes, I looked up, and there in the oak tree above my head sat the ominous birds from my dream.

I received the call from a buyer for my home two days later. The money from the sale and my savings were only about twenty thousand dollars, which were not what I had hoped for, but I would not let this stop me. It took me less than a week to formalize the sale and pack a UHaul truck with my belongings. I secured a rental home in a small town seventeen hundred miles away. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I loaded up with my children, two dogs, two cats, and my little black book and proceeded to drive west. When I turned left out of my driveway this one last time, I looked in the ditch, smiled, and said goodbye to the scared, sniveling man that I was leaving behind. I then looked up into the tall oak tree and waved to the ghosts watching me leave.

Ten years have passed since that fateful day, and many ghosts have shown up in my dreams. I am pleased to say that the nightmares have stopped, and my family and I have found peace. I often think back and shudder that I left everything I knew behind with not even enough money to survive for more than a few months. I realize now that the money was not my security blanket and that I would have succeeded with much less. My true security was the words and the conviction contained in my little black book of shadows. I still have that little black book, only now it has companions. I have a collection of little black books, and I will leave them to my children and grandchildren as a memoir and a guide from the spirit realm.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

VNessa Erlene

A Ph.D. student and Celtic Priestess who is an explorer of knowledge, spirituality, and political incorrectness. Your voice and knowledge is your power!

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