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3 A.M.

The Nightmare That Changed My Future

By Carol TownendPublished about a month ago 7 min read
3 A.M.
Photo by Kahfiara Krisna on Unsplash

"Help me! I don't want to die"

I heard the voice as clear as day. It pierced my brain like someone had just screamed it at me, though that was not possible because I was asleep, and it was only 3 A.M. though it didn't feel that way.

I am walking through my past home. I can see my dark crimson-striped couch, my green wallpaper, my mahogany units, and plenty of items I had to leave behind when I left, after my terrible ordeal of abuse from the past when I once lived there with my children.

I am walking up the sturdy, beige-carpeted staircase that leads to the landing, bathroom, and three bedrooms. The paint is a vivid green and the banister is a strong dark oak. I can feel the solid wood of the banister in my hands as I grip it.

"Help me! I don't want to die."

The screaming gets louder as I get closer to the first bedroom on the right.

The bedroom where my three-year-old son used to sleep before we had to leave,

I walk into that room. The door is white, and it creaks when I open it. The sound is so real, that I believe I am awake. I can feel the pull on the handle as I pull down on the metal. It feels cold,

"Are my hands cold?" I hear myself ask. It sounds as real as me talking to my ex-partner, and though my mind is asleep; I am convinced that I am still living in 1997, which was the year we suffered at the hands of a domestic abuser.

When I enter the bedroom, my three-year-old son is crying on his bed with his blue blanket over his head.

I walk over to him and sit by his side placing my hands on him gently. I can smell the scent of the children's Lavendar Bodywash that I just bathed him in, and feel the baby-softness of his blonde hair as I run my fingers through it.

"Hi, baby. It's ok, you're safe with me," I say to him offering words of comfort, though these are just words; nothing is safe here.

"Help me! I don't want to die." he cries again, and I wake up.

The dream reoccurs the following night, at the same time, 3 A.M.

It starts in the same way, early hours every morning, except there are different scenes from the past added to it.

I fall asleep again, and my mind re-enacts these scenes as if it is happening now.

The same way, but a different ending every time.

"Help me! I don't want to die."

I hear these words again, at 3 A.M. the next morning.

"Hi, baby. It's ok, you're safe with me." I repeat those words of comfort, but this time he just screams louder. He panics and writhes on the bed, losing his breath. I put my arms around him, and ask him what is wrong.

"There is a strange man in my bedroom, mummy," he tells me.

At first, I tell him it is just a nightmare, but then I see his bedroom window is wide open. I can feel the chill from the early morning breeze blowing into the room, and I feel my bones turn cold as I try to put together what just happened tonight.

I look around the room, and I see toys and clothes on the floor,

"Tommy must have gotten them out," I told myself.

I knew Tommy had a habit of throwing clothes and toys on the floor, and I just assumed that he had done the same thing tonight until I noticed the knife on the floor.

"Help me! I don't want to die,"

Tommy screamed those words in my ear while pointing at the knife. I noticed that there was a gun at the side of that knife, and without saying another word I picked up my boy and fled our home.

Then I woke up.

I woke up screaming, trembling from head to toe, and crying. I ran into Tommy's room, though Tommy was still sleeping, but I couldn't convince myself until I had thoroughly checked him over.

I looked to the window, though it was shut, and I observed the floor,

there was no sign of a knife or a gun.

"Is he bleeding? Is he bleeding?" I asked myself, panicking franticly.

I was convinced that what I had dreamed, had just happened. It did not feel like a dream, I could still hear those words, "Help me! I don't want to die," ringing in my ears.

I checked Tommy's body several times for any signs of a bullet wound, or a gash, though there was none.

I checked his breathing,

"I'm still tired Mummy," Tommy winced.

I called an ambulance to give him a double check, because I was still convinced that the events from my dream had happened, even though the ambulance had told me that Tommy was fine, and it was a nightmare.

The same night came with the very same dream, starting in the same way, except this time, I heard the smash of a window and the loud haunting banging on the door. I looked out of the window, and there were at least thirty people out there, trying to break into my house.

I called the police who told me to stay put, but the banging became louder.

"It's only me, Donna."

A voice called through the letter box.

I made a mistake; I opened the door.

I was pinned up against the wall, kicked in the stomach, punched, and thrown on the floor.

I felt the pain searing through my kneck, stomach, legs, and eyes, then I heard the voice again,

"Help me! I don't want to die," though this time, it was followed by, "I love you, mummy."

The next day, I awoke shaking and clutching my quilt. I cried out for help, and I could feel every bruise and pain in my body. I ran into Tommy's room like a bullet, but when I got there, Tommy got himself up and dressed.

He smiled, and said,

"Good morning mummy."

I gave him a really big cuddle.

I was relieved that he was ok.

The dreams reoccurred for many years afterward, and I learned that if I wanted to keep my children safe, I needed help because I was still traumatized by those past events.

Tommy's words, "Help me! I don't want to die," were a cry for help.

He had seen me crying, screaming, and shaking during the day while trying to be a parent. There had been times when echoes from the past had come out through my voice, during the day in front of him; and there were times when I could not get up at the usual time of 7A.M to give him breakfast, and times when I hadn't managed to take him out.

I thought about this and suddenly threw my arms around Tommy in a fit of tears.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I will get better," I told him between sobs, but Tommy did not understand. He just smiled, and asked,

"What's wrong mummy?"

I didn't know what to say.

The next day, I spoke to a counselor.

I was diagnosed with PTSD

My counselor explained to me that I was reliving my past through my nightmares. She told me that it was a normal occurrence for someone who had been through abuse and that while I couldn't stop them, I could control them with therapy and medication.

It took a good few years before I recovered, and I continued to have the nightmares, but I learned that,

I am not my past, I am the future.

3 A.M.

The same dreams, the same trauma as happens every early morning at this time.

I walk through the same house, and hear,

"Help me! I don't want to die."

I reply with,

"You are not going to die."

I pick my gorgeous, sweet, blonde-haired son up, and we leave the house. I get into the taxi, nervous as people lure nasty comments at us while we make our way to the safe house, and I do not look back. I find myself a new job, and a new house in a new area.

I wake up.

I wake up smiling, and the job center rings. After many years of trying, I am offered a part-time job in office administration.

I take the job. My nightmare showed me that the only way to beat trauma is to rebuild my life, maybe that was the point of the recurrent dreams. They were warning me that if I didn't change my life, I would continue to experience the trauma.

I didn't want that for myself or my son. I wanted a happy life.

The dreams did not disappear altogether. Trauma never goes away completely, but I was shown what my past was through those dreams, and I was shown that if I continued to live in that past, then my life and Tommy's life would always be unstable.

Though those nightmares are terrifying. I learned to use them wisely. They show me the life I no longer want for us, but they take me into a future where I can build a happier, more, stable future.

I learned to build a life worth living, and I learned not to be a victim but to become a person; not just a survivor, but a human being who cared about her life and her children.

I am not a waste of space, nor am I a punchbag.

I am a caring, loving worthy mother with feelings, and a person who deserves to be happy.

And as my dreams show me...

Isn't that what everyone wants?

familyStream of ConsciousnessPsychological

About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

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Comments (1)

  • Raphael Fontenelleabout a month ago

    Sad but I like the hopeful ending that it has.

Carol TownendWritten by Carol Townend

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