An odd dream in detail

Posted: May 21, 2013 in Random wifflings
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last night I had the weirdest dream.

Well, not the weirdest dream exactly, but pretty wierd. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have dreams like movies, and this was one of them. Want to read about it? Here goes…

I dreamt I was in my parents’ house, which had been given to me. It’s a large, 17th century farmhouse in Wuthering Heights country, old and grey and made of stone and black oak. As I renovated it, part of it had opened up to reveal a new section I was unaware of, a bathroom cupped in a tree growing into the house. It was when my son, Benny, went into the odd little room at the top of the tree that things went a bit odd.

He started to act strangely. To cut a long story short, I discovered he’d been replaced by a fairy changeling called Mev (or something, I remembered properly when I told my wife this morning, I don’t now). My son’s face change to look a little klingony, and thus scary, but Mev was a pretty okay kind of pixie once he realised the game was up.

He told me my son was in fairyland (I shit you not), and the only way I could get him back was if I went to fetch him. Mev gave me a small, silver key, hi-tech looking, not unlike the keys one gets to cash-boxes or changing room lockers, and bade me open up the door. The door into fairyland, it transpired, was set into the side of one of my parents’ chests of drawers; an antique (for all their furniture is so), red-wooded thing as high as my chest.

For some reason, there were two doors, one within the other. Both had small, antique keyholes half-filled with polish, and were labelled neatly with faded paper, specimen labels in a cabinet from the 19th century. The inner door was labelled “Benny”, the outer “Garth and Rebecca” (the name of my brother Garth, and his wife). It was this outer door that I opened. Having read plenty of folktales, I knew acts of altruism are rewarded by supernatural types. In any case, this outer door encompassed the smaller, and thus opened both. I fit the key into the lock, turned it, and opened the way out of the world. I had to bend down to go through. It was only black, nothing but, with not a sensation of touch or smell or sound besides.

I opened my eyes to find myself emerged in a house of remarkable but not entirely definable character. It was a house replete with electrical goods and lightbulbs and other seemingly earthly things, a house in the woods, dark for the lights were extinguished, but not gloomy. Dim, as the trees were in leaf outside, and so the air of the place was a grey-green. Not sinister. But it was not a house entirely as you’d recognise it. As in my fairy-tainted childhood home, a tree grew within, this one right in the centre, the polished wood of root and bole rising up from the carpeted floor and encasing the staircase. Long galleries of wood-framed windows were on the first floor. I went outside, onto a stone patio. The house was of a type also common where I grew up; dark stone, somewhat later than my parents’ home, but no human house. There was a small key on the ground, identical to the one Mev had given me, so I knew I was going the right way.

I found my dog, Magnus, who inexplicably arrived as is often the way of dreams. He was to be the first of my helpers on my quest, and a quest I suppose it was. He got up to his usual Malamute mischief, not heeding my calls, running into the house’s larger garden because he felt like it, which ran well out into the trees and was surrounded by mossy walls. This angered the house’s occupant, a shock-haired lady in a hippy-ethnic skirt that half-concealed mechanical legs constructed from crutches, or a walking frame. I don’t quite remember what occurred there next, she was alternately friendly, enticing almost, and furious. She had some kind of  companion, a creature like and yet not like a cat, and which, though small, was far more menacing than she.

Magnus and I ran away, down a sunken lane out from the woods. He turned back, to stall the pursuit of the half-seen familiar and its trundling mistress. Magnus shrank, until he was a puppy a few months old again. I think he may have talked then. His fighting enabled my flight to an emerald village green ahead of me.

I came out of the woods and the lane into sudden sunlight. The environs I had gained were well-trimmed, but plasticky and somewhat tacky, like those of an amusement park. Low, grubby buildings framed one side of the green, a road of some narrowness ran out from it. Behind me rose wooded hills, which embraced the dell whence I arrived deep within. Ahead was a flat-bottomed valley, fenced. Again, the impression was that I had stumbled into an amusement park.

Strangest were the cars that lived there, smiling, half-sized, plastic vehicles that were of the type you’d see in Disney’s Cars. They smiled, their big white eyes were friendly in their windscreens, were to be proven otherwise. I walked around their village, them rolling aimlessly around and smiling at one another, but every time I turned suddenly, I saw their faces were dark and unwelcoming. There was a car park behind the building, with a handful of ancient cars on the gravel covered in tarpaulins. It was warm and the breeze sang in the ash trees, otherwise it was too silent.

I went into the building, a rundown holiday camp kind of place, children’s amusements set out on a beer-sticky carpet in a large room that must have doubled as a nightclub. There was a nursery there, but no children within, instead shrunken adults played with infant’s toys in frustration. They could not get out.

The cars and their flunkies had them all imprisoned, myself also, now shrunken to a mere three feet tall. The servants of the cars wore pretend power armour and carried bright guns of plastic, but they were strong and singular of purpose. I defeated them employing my own child’s toy, a tube that launched tennis balls shrouded in socks. There was something vaguely sexual about this, perhaps because the balls in their socks resembled sorry, inflated spermatozoa.

With the others, some of whom I had befriended – alas I do not remember their names, although I am sure Aidan, another of my many brothers, aided me in my escape from this strange station of the way – we fought free, a great and deadly nerf battle raging, plastic cars, now monstrous to my infantilised form, mowing down those that dared defy them.

We made it from their tightly mown grass and perfectly smooth asphalt paths, up the low retaining wall that held back a rough garden of tufty grass and ferns that bordered the forest. Once there, whatever power over us or indeed interest the cars had in us dissipated, and we ran upward without further molestation, into trees that bore the signs of late autumn. My companions were now adult again; one dark-haired lady, who wore a smart skirt-suit and gold whose brightness was outdone only by her lipstick, very adult. She had about her neck a silver collar and a chain, and smiled suggestively at me. Later she openly spoke of her submissive tendencies. I do not know why she chose then to reveal this; we were escaping from peril, and my only thoughts were for the recovery of my son.

We reached the top of the hill through the woods, to find a fence made of hurdles and unravelled bales of barbed wire. Beyond the fence was a field with many pens that held pigs. I told my companions not to venture over the wire, recognising the pigs as the fodder of Lord Hog, a terrible ogre I myself created. They did not listen, and one climbed over. A figure, resembling an American Stretch Armstrong toy that did not stretch, leaned heavily on the fence, appearing from nowhere. A couple of my companions were lost, frozen in place or vanishing. Aidan turned abruptly away without a word, his path taking him elsewhere but, thankfully, to safety. I headed down the hill toward another amusement-park zone, I suppose. My remaining friends, as if anchored by those who had not heeded my warning, became strung out behind me, the nearest to me making it to the felt lawns of the this new area, and then were lost. They called to me, but I had to go on.

Sports and sportsmen, golf jumpers and rugby kit. This new place was crowded with people in sporting garb. Marshalling them were people with human faces, but bodies and limbs made of tough vinyl-coated fabric, the kind used to make inflatables. All wore variations of referee’s and trainers’ garb, the umpires of a dozen different sports. They had large, plastic hands, like the hands of Lego people, shaped like a “C”, but set differently at the wrist, backwards, almost so that they could snag passersby and trap them, and this was their intent toward me.

They were all cheery, blue/white-toothed, shouting the praises of their sports and why I should participate, offering training. They called out praise, but their blandishments turned to curses. They were not to be the salesmen and women they pretended, by pursuers, who grabbed at me with their hard hands when I ignored them, and then chased me around the stained pavilions of their grubby little realm. The faces I saw of those others like me there were smiling as they were led away by others of the trainers, but I knew instinctively that to tarry here would to remain here forever, playing tennis or swinging repetitively at golf balls, a fixed grin on my face, despair in my soul, until the stars went out.

I fought my way through a knot of these smiling gaolers, and went through a door in a concrete wall. They did not follow.

I was in a stairwell made of brick and concrete, one peppered with filth and used wet toilet paper. Short flights of steps rose in great, geometric profusion, so that there was one stairwell and many at the same time, a besmirched Moebius strip, a public convenience devised by Escher and fouled by trapped monsters.

Every set of steps led to the same door; two panels, made of metal, although the lower one had been damaged and replaced with rough, light wood broken from pallets. A shift came over me then, and I knew that this was a place my mother – under the influence of my father – put me when I was bad, the worst toilet in the world. A shared toilet in our 1920s low-rise, not long built and already rotting.

I should point out that this is not the case. In reality, I was born in the 1970s, grew up in the countryside, and my mother and father were and are nothing but good to me. But by the time I emerged, guided by some inner sense from the stairwell, its hellish architecture collapsing back into mundanity as I left, I was someone else entirely.

I was a young boy, in short pants. It was the 1950 or perhaps the early 1960s. I heard shouts from below, my father, in a flat cap, accompanied by his friend, coming back from the pub drunk and enraged (not my father, but the father of this boy who I happened to be for the moment). The father stalked swiftly toward the stairwell I had exited. I realised I had memories of this event, that if I stayed it would result in the death of a mother who, although flighty and sometimes cruel, was still my (his) mother. The return of the father may also have resulted in his/my death, and I felt his fear.

I had to escape. The walkways around the flats, cast in rough concrete, bulged out into shallow Ds, as one finds in building of the lower end of the art deco style. Each one was occupied by planters full of, I think, petunias. A small drain, cut into the base of the wall, gave out into a cast iron raincatcher and then pipe at the apex of the D. I swung my legs over, and began to climb down. I was on the second or third floor. The pipes were rusty and jagged. My father was running up the stairs. I made the lower floor, started to climb down the second pipe to freedom. The second (or maybe third pipe) came away from the wall, rusted through entirely where its flared lip couched the rectangular rain-catcher at the top. I think I may have fallen. My father shouted, still drunk, still mad, now also panicking.

If I hit the floor well or not, I do not know or cannot remember. But as I ran on across the square-stippled, maroon asphalt/concrete (I have never figured out what this particular covering is made of), I was myself again. I left the boy behind, his fate, perhaps, long ago decided.

Through square columns already showing signs of concrete rot and streaked with the orange of decaying rebar, through one of the harsh passages favoured by modernist architecture, the flats perched atop it to no good reason, I came to a roundabout. Again a 1920s or 30s suburban feature, a large mock-tudor pub on the corner. There was a park with a covered market at its centre over the road. I knew then that I had passed the test and the recovery of my son was a certainty. There would be no more running.

In the market – Victorian. Cast iron and glass roof held up by columns infinitely more splendid than in the pebbledashed monstrosity I had just fled – I came across a great many people of all kinds, from all over the world. Africans in colourful robes and hats, Indians in casual wear, Europeans of varying types. Tickets with numbers on rolled along the floor, some like lottery tickets, the others like those issued to ensure the formation of queues, although if there ever had been a queue in the place there was none evident now. The atmosphere was a cross between a social work office or employment centre, busy a market, and a bookies. It was hot and uncomfortable.

Tired men and women with clipboards conversed with fearful-looking people. Those with clipboards I knew, as I had suddenly known so much in this dream, were minor deities, or angels, or whatever, although they looked far from angelic or divine. They were all middle-aged, many overweight from bad food eaten hurriedly. They had bags under their eyes, and the saggy, dimpled flesh of the poorly exercised, but all radiated an air of ineffable kindness and patience.

The crowd parted around me, affording me a good view of the nearest transaction. I was in no hurry now, feeling certain that my son was safe no matter my actions, and that all I need do was wait. So I watched the nearest conversation with interest.

A woman in a gold and orange sari, Indian, and in the poor physical condition described above, had her hand on the shoulder of a balding Indian man with a moustache. She was being earnest and kind but firm with him, he was nervous and pleading.

I do not remember the exact dialogue, but the man had purchased some kind of life chance from the woman – who had a large orange bucket filled with paper encased in sheathes of plastic slightly to the left and behind of her. She told him he was under no obligation to go on, but he intimated that he had come a long way and had tried very hard for this opportunity. She asked if he was sure, he replied yes, and so she removed her hand from his shoulder and handed him a pair of white dice. He rolled them on the floor, then bent over to look at them. He suddenly threw up his hands in the air – I could see he had rolled a two and a four. And this bit I do remember,

“Only a six! Ah! I have the worst possible luck!”

“Nonsense,” the woman scolded him. She placed her hands, clipboard still grasped in one, wrist first on her hips. “You have the best possible luck, now you child can choose its own path through life, and that is the greatest luck of all.” She reached out and took his elbow or shoulder again, and then said, somewhat more gently. “Come along now, he is over here, waiting.”

I remember feeling warm to the man’s reaction, and smiling, as if I knew he had nothing to worry about.

And then, sure still that my son was safe, I awoke. Was awakened, in fact, by my son calling out to me, as he does every morning, “Daddy! I want to wake up now!”

Weird huh? Now, here’s where the elements I can trace came from:

The extra room – I have this element in my dreams a lot.

Houses in Yorkshire/my parents’ house/the northern woods also – we have been debating moving back to the north of England recently, and very nearly did.

My brother and his wife’s name – They had their first child literally yesterday. Congratulations! Thanks for the weird dream!

The fairy kidnapping – I had been at my wargaming club, we’d been joking about David Bowie in Labyrinth as king of the goblins, kidnapping Sarah’s kid brother.

Lord Hog – A character from Omega Point.

Cars – My son is keen on them.

The market – My own anxieties about my son, my own inner certainty he’ll be okay, my experiences in India (dunno why, it was years ago).

The dice – I had two exactly the same in my jeans’ pocket from the night’s gaming.

Add into that three pints of bass, and a day editing a book about an undead hero who reluctantly collects souls for the devil, and there you are… As for the rest? Pfft, anyone’s guess.

And what’s interesting about this? If you ever want to ask me where my ideas come from, or how a story gets made, it kind of happens like a dream. So there you go.

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