17 November 2012

Wolves at Night

I was intending on writing a different post this morning. I really was. It was about turquoise and silver. It would have been fascinating. However, when I logged in to start writing, I stopped to catch up on my blog list. And then I read this little gem.

Argentum is talking about The Wolf, a nightmarish creature who has a propensity for following him on dark nights. It's deliciously creepy, more than a tad bit frightening, and definitely not something I want to think about while closing up the shop at nights. After reading this post, I was reminded of a recurring dream on my part. Because almost nothing I do is original, I figured I may as well abandon originality entirely and share a memory.

When I was little, I had exactly one nightmare. I would be flying through a gigantic, never-ending canyon in a little red hover pod, and the construction equipment mounted on the sides of the canyon would try to destroy my little ship. This dream has long since stopped terrifying me, and for years I had no recurring nightmares. The scary dreams I had would almost always turn into lucid dreams where I ended up choosing my own ending and parachuting off a cliff away from the danger or something similar.

That time of relatively non-scary dreams ended about a year-and-a-half ago, when I fell asleep one night and found myself in an infinite warehouse. It has no walls or freezer section, and has fallen into disrepair. The electricity doesn't work. It is icy cold. Rows and rows and rows of rusting metal struts rise into the gloom. Fog drifts across the floor, sluggish and spotty, and you know that if you walk into the fog, you may never return.

When I arrive, I am by myself in the middle of a break in the shelves. I have a flashlight whose batteries are almost dead. The fog begins glowing a vibrant, glorious orange. My flashlight dies, and in the gloom, I can see the fog crawling across the floor, and I know that I must not let it touch me. I turn to run, when I hear it. In the indeterminate distance, a wolf howls. As the echoes die away in the distance, I hear something worse: Footsteps.

At this point, I am running madly through the night, avoiding the light that gives away the fog's presence. And there - something moves behind a strut. I spin toward it. There is a knife in my hand, and I grip it tightly. My best friend steps out from behind me. She's a bloody mess. As I turn toward her, another movement flashes in the corner of my eye - another close friend. I am surrounded by the people I care most about, and none of them in good condition. No one talks. As I tense, ready to defend myself, a growl comes from off-screen. We turn as one, and a monstrous shape looms out of the approaching fog. You can't see much - just enough to know that whatever it is, it's not good.

We split and run, individually, through the warehouse. We begin disappearing. As we run into each other occasionally in the gloom, we try to figure out who's left. We can't. It's confusion. As the dream progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that if the wolves don't get you, the fog will. The wolves aren't too bad. They just destroy the body, leaving bloody paw prints and scraps of tissue behind. The fog, though. The fog destroys you. I find a friend who was caught by the fog. He is impaled on a strut - but still alive in the most basic sense. There is no expression - no pain, no intelligence, no response. Just mute suffering. I kill him because I cannot stand to see the vacant expression of a once-so-expressive friend.

I wander the warehouse for twelve hours, finding more and more bodies - or at least their blood. I find what is left of my best friend - the fog got to her and she's drawing pictures with someone's blood on the floor. I'm trying to help her in whatever way I can, when I hear the steps. Wolves encircle me, back-lit by the glowing fog. It's going to be a close one - which way will I go?  As I reconcile myself to the inevitable, a raven flies overhead. I look up to follow the flight of the bird, and a flash of the most intense pain blinds me. Everything goes black. Maybe it was the wolves; maybe the fog - I wake up without knowing what got me in the end.

Ultimately, the warehouse scares me not because my outcome is predetermined, but because I am so frightened myself that I cannot help my friends. We are hunted through a limitless trap, and if I had just a little more presence of mind, I wouldn't be closing the eyelids on so many of my friends.

But at the same time, a part of me enjoys this dream. It's becoming more lucid - I have more control over my actions rather than passively watching. But I've never escaped the warehouse alive. I've never known why the raven shows up. I never know if I die bodily or spiritually. There's a mad adrenaline in the fear of that greatest unknown. Some of the best interactions I've ever had with people have been when they've entered the warehouse with me.

Yes, I'm a sick person.

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