And so it starts. As soon as my heavy head hits my silky silver pillow case, my brain descends into darkness, and I am transported; though not in the conventional way. It's like I'm sinking, falling, through floors, and concrete and dirt, so much pressure forced on my body. Then I land, expecting to be in pain, expecting for it all to end, but instead I feel familiarity.
The nightmare is back tonight; it comes back every night.
People deal with stresses in their lives in all kinds of ways, some don't deal with it all, and just choose to ignore it. Me? I let it fester, and grow, like bacteria, like a tumour. I don't have the capacity to look at my problems for what they are, to see the solution. No not me. All I see is the worst case scenario, how things can go from bad to worse in an instant. I run story-lines in my head, imagine and map out all the infinite possibilities so that I'm ready and prepared. At least that's what I tell myself. So that I feel like I'm taking normal, reasonable steps to fix my life. In reality, all I do is think, obsess, I don't make the plans I want to make, I just panic. For normal people, that panic is stripped away when they sleep. They lay there, floating in their heads, dreaming happy dreams; oh how I long for that childlike happiness again, that unconscious relief.
Every night those stresses, that grow and fester, well they morph... no not morph, they merge; merge to make a man, a monster, so terrifying it sends regular nightmares of ghouls and serial killers whimpering in fear. It, he, he is a skyscraper, demanding respect from me, demanding fear. He's face and body, boiled, scabbed and scarred, as though he has lived 1000 lives and died gruesomely in every single one. He is naked, which makes it all the more absurd, all the more indecent, disturbing. And he doesn't wear a face of misery or intimidation. Instead he smiles at me. He is happy to see me. All this time, all these nights, I see him, and I still do not understand. Never speaking, never moving, yet inflicting excruciating and paralysing fear. There's no doubt I have seen more gross, more petrifying beings in horror movies, yet this man, my monster, he feels all too personal, like he's the Frankenstein I don't remember building, the demon I summoned from within. Am I Dr. Frankenstein? Is there darkness inside of me, sending me a message that it's ready to come out?
Tonight is like any other night, except I'm not sleeping in my own bed. Tonight I rest my head next to my lover. Not an unfamiliar encounter for me, but for some reason everything feels different. I've had a stressful day, more significant than most, bad news after bad news, poor choices in abundance. And I'm laying here, obsessing, my love's head poised so perfectly facing away from me, he is sleeping next to the door; see he knows about my monster, this is his way of protecting me. I don't want to sleep, I don't want to the life-size overwhelming self-disappointment to poison me spirit for the next 8 hours. But surely enough I begin to drift....
I must have moved in my sleep, see I twitch a lot; something that my love complains about persistently. Still, he loves me despite my strange sleeping habits. However, he doesn't know what I'm facing behind my rooted eyes. The man, he is different tonight. He is closer; closer than he has ever been before, standing right over me, and he is all I can see. I can feel his breath, it's cold, and I think to myself how strange... cold breath, it's unheard of, but I can feel it, it's like a breeze from the cold night air. The one I was comforted by as I lay in bed before rendering unconscious. And then, I just have moved in my sleep, I must have been waking up; a wet sensation thrust upon my cheek. the room comes back to me, in flashes, but the darkness of my dreams is still fighting to drag me down. I can't see him, but I feel him still, a disturbing notion, as I can never feel him when I'm awake. Am I daydreaming?
I feel heavy, as if I'm being weighed down, my legs, my arms, my head, I cannot lift them, I am paralysed, but I'm not dreaming. Confusion, a haze, masking my senses. But my eyes still see. I'm so scared, I'm screaming, but no sound is coming out. There he is my love, resting his head so perfectly away from mine, but its different, It's claret, it's blood, and I know he is gone. My tears dip into the blood spatter on my face, and drag it down to my chest, and my heart is impaled. An eerie noise comes from the corner of the room, I ask myself 'who could this be?'; deep down I know. But he isn't real, how could he have done this? Or am I crazy? He begins to clap... yes that's right, clap, congratulating me, "Well done, my dear" he whispers, "It was about time." Suddenly a great feeling of freedom consumes my body, jump up, one hand clenched, the other...the other holding a knife. It was me? This is what has become of me.
In the darkness, I am now surrounded by death, by evil, I am consumed by it. It's all I see around me, all I smell, but what I hear, a laugh, a slow croaking laugh, getting higher in pitch and lighter each time. Now I realise, it's me, I am the one laughing. I enjoy it, I feel powerful, no more stress, it has been relieved... and I'm free.