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The Hag, The Crowd and Me

The Parallel

By Tennessee GarbagePublished 2 months ago 4 min read
The Hag, The Crowd and Me
Photo by Mark Olsen on Unsplash

The nightmare: I am about four, trapped in a cave, underground with an overweight evil woman that sings opera. I’m not able to escape until I realize who it is. She has a face, and a name, and suddenly, she has no power or control over me. I’m free. I walk out of the cave looking disheveled, matted and weak, onlooking a crowd of strangers clapping, rejoicing that I’m okay. Two women approach me, both being familiar, one hugging me tightly repeating that we’re okay as if we were one. The other, holding her hands to her chest, crying, keeping her distance.


The earliest memory I can recall is that of being two, riding on a train with my Aunt Cathy. Weird, but the earliest nightmare I can remember is one that has been occurring for the past 26 years. What does the train ride have to do with my nightmare? Almost nothing, but also, everything.

Over the years as I have grown, so has the dream. Just in the last nine years has the nightmare developed fully. It started off with the woman never having a face, never having an ending ( more like a cliffhanger). As certain relationships in my reality changed, the more I reached an ending point in my nightmare.

When I close my eyes, I can still smell the saltiness of the water, and feel the damp coolness of the space around me. I can see everything. The underground cave, the mounds of sharp rocks delicately placed. The way the shallow water shines a beautiful ultramarine blue, and the light of the moon that paints the cave this soft phthalo. I can hear her singing, off tune, and somewhat high pitched. I can see her long black hair. The cage I was housed in is made of rock, big enough for a tiger, but not nearly enough for its survival.

It starts like this.

In my reality, I go to sleep. I wake up on the hard ground, stiff and achy. I rub the sleep from my eyes and then greeted with stinging from my dirty fingers. My head is itchy, and I feel molted. When I try to stand, there is resistance because this cage is shallow, and I’m 50 inches tall just about. I can’t breathe. There is a stale smell in the air, not quite pungent but stomach curling just the same. The Hag waddles along the back end, she’s heard me moving around, and will be coming over to me soon. Her breath reeks of cigarettes and body odor. I can’t see her face. She doesn’t have one. Her black hair is nappy and tangled. She uses a sharp stick to poke at me, grunting obscure words. The Hag berates my appearance, even though she put me in this place. There is disappointment in her tone.

It transitions to her pulling me out of the cage by my hair, repeating that if I want something, I first must give her something. The chore is the same. I sweep her area, mop the walls and floor with the salty puddle of water, and tangled kelp. I’ve learned over the development, that if I don’t make a fuss, there is no abuse. It would be that she would grab my neck and throw me, smacking me with something hard. If I get it over with then then she leaves me alone.

In my reality, there was a relationship that changed over a simple conversation. It was eye opening that my own flesh and blood could betray me in that way and say hurtful things. I couldn’t look at them the same or be around them and feel safe. This altered the memories I had of them and brought to light just how toxic and unsafe I was. When I stopped looking at them, is when I could see her face in my nightmare.

The change: The part of my nightmare where she lets me out for a moment to do my chores, instead of mopping I simply tell her no. This prompts her to grab her weapon and as she goes to hit me with it, I grab onto it in defense, and I pull it away from her. I proclaim that she is no longer in control. I use her own weapon against her and as she stumbles to the ground, she cries out profanity. She gets up and moves her hair away from her face. This is when her blank features reveal her identity.

The struggle of coming to terms with my reality and my nightmare Hag was tumultuous, because I was seeing who I’d been afraid of all along and did not know how to process how to get away from her. The nightmare, only ended with my freedom when I took a stance against my own mother and walked away from her for the last time. This was in late 2018.

Its 2024 now, and not only have I been successful with no contact, but the nightmares have stopped. Or at least this specific one.

There is a family picnic coming up that I have not been in attendance of in 23 years. My sister and brother will be there, along with family I do not remember. Who also will be in attendance is my Aunt Cathy.

I could draw the connection from the ending in my nightmare where a crowd of strangers approach me, to my reality, is this family picnic. The woman who held her chest is indeed my aunt. So, who is the woman who hugged me?

Well, she is me.

By Joe Pearson on Unsplash


About the Creator

Tennessee Garbage

Howdy! There is relatable stuff here- dark and twisty and some sentimental garbage. "Don't forget to tip your waitresses" Hi, I am your waitress, let me serve you with more content. Hope you enjoy! :)

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Comments (1)

  • shanmuga priya2 months ago

    Exceptional work.

Tennessee GarbageWritten by Tennessee Garbage

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