I call it the Red Room.
It’s a place that I dream of rarely, but when I do it always starts the same.
I am always starting in a cold hallway with bare feet and wood flooring. I hear a noise down the hall with a low light streaming in from the doorway. I follow it as before.
As I get closer, I can define the noise as a gas stove that’s struggling to light. This is different, as last time I recall just the hissing of gas, not the clicking. It makes me go faster.
I turn the corner into the low-lit kitchen and shut it off with a curse to whoever keeps leaving it on. The next thing is the flickering of the lighting bouncing off the marble counters from the next room.
Tall, white candles illuminate the deep red paint of the walls and there are three wooden round tables on each side of the room that they sit on in individual holders. At the end of the room is a large painting with an ornate golden frame. The strangest part of it is that I can’t see the painting itself. The candles’ light doesn’t quite reach to the dark image.
What is it? I ask myself, my curiosity growing to a dangerous level.
I want to peer closer and see, but I've never been able to move closer.
I want to- I need to move.
I need to see what this painting really is.
Fists clenching and jaw tight, I will myself to take a step closer, but something else happens right after.
The candle flames are blown out by a wind I cannot feel and there’s a voice. It’s so deep and horrible that it seeps into my bones.
“No…” it says, ”…no more.”
I don’t understand it anymore beyond that point, it begins to speak faster and in languages I don’t know. Chanting almost. The darkness wraps me from behind like a heavy blanket. I have only felt this type of fear in college, when my roommate was attacked from behind by a male student. Trapped.
I cry for help, but the darkness chokes me. I can’t breathe.
There’s a clicking noise in the back of my brain that reminds me that I am only dreaming, my body is still breathing. Focusing on waking up becomes easier while the Red Room fades into the darkness.
It takes longer for me to wake up whenever I dream like this, but I always know that I don’t wake up paralyzed. Small comforts, I guess. I don’t go to my kitchen with the electric stove to make tea this time, but I do get a small glass of water and a leather bound journal.
I just started recording my bad dreams not too long ago, and it seems that every time there’s only a digital based record of them, they always get lost. Usually unrecoverable due to some type of corruption in the file.
I always feel like it is meant to be that way anyways, on paper, because there’s an element of sentimentality to it. Digital files are so easily changed and trying to recall the ones I’ve lost will only make me wonder of the possible inaccuracies in the details. Every detail is important to these dreams.
My dreams are important somehow, and in my mind I can’t shake the thought that I must do something about them.
I check the time:
I take a seat on the couch and drink a sip of water. I expect to be up for a good minute this time around. I need to know what the painting represents and why I keep dreaming of it.
I pull the laptop over for internet searches, and I type into the search bar, “dream interpretation repeat dreams”.
My first result?
An ad from, “californiapsychics.net” that has nothing to do with recurring dreams.
“Why?” I ask Bing and take another drink.
One of these days I’ll debate drinking whiskey or whatever cliché alcoholic drink suffering artists drink when life gives them limes, but the world asks for lemonade.
Maybe I'll drink when these dreams make sense.