I have a recurring nightmare: I’m at a location that I know is haunted but only after a certain time – usually after midnight. The location varies, sometimes it’s an old victorian home, sometimes a townhouse or a bungalow. Sometimes it’s a familiar place, other times not. I’m with others, family and/or friends and everything is going just fine. There is conversation and friendly interaction which often centers around some sort of dinner party or family gathering..
As the haunting deadline grows near, everyone leaves and I am alone in the house. A clock usually chimes the hour and then I realize that I’m by myself and something very frightening is about to descend upon me. I try to get out of the house, but my legs feel as if they are made of lead. There’s usually some strange noises, apparitions and other creepy things swirling around me and I wake up, startled and uneasy. I always have the feeling that some sinister spirit has passed by and disturbed my sleep patterns, leaving me with a sense of deep trepidation and an awareness that something is or has been very close.
I’ve had the dream many times throughout my life and it always brings back the feelings and sensations I experienced growing up in my childhood home which was legitimately haunted (more on that in another series of blogs that I am working on).
I am not one to shy away from strange and creepy things. As a matter of fact I am oddly fascinated with them. So when I had the dream again the other night and awoke in my usual state of dread, I paid very close attention to my surroundings. It was 1:11 a.m. and there were no unusual sounds. My wife was sound asleep as was my daughter and our cat Sasha. I ran the dream back in my mind and tried to remember as many details as I could and this is what I was able to recall:
I live in an abandoned city with my family. Most of the buildings are in disrepair and unoccupied and there is debris strewn about everywhere. There are other residents living in nearby buildings, but they are few and far between. We are friendly with many of them and often pool our resources to survive. My wife, daughter and I have taken refuge in a small four story apartment complex. It has roughly forty different rooms and we’ve cut interconnecting entryways between them, creating a network of spaces which we can traverse at will.
During the day, we scavenge, trade and interact with our neighbors. After sundown, everyone barricades themselves inside until dawn. Night is when “they” come. It is usually after midnight and you can hear them approach. They shout orders in a language that none of us can understand over the din of their chainsaws. Most of the time they remain in the distance, but sometimes they come very, very close. They are bipedal humanoids that wear gray body armor and dark, round goggles – obscuring most of their faces. Their boots are loud on the pavement and they always travel in groups of a dozen or more. None of us are really sure if they are organic or synthetic. We’ve never gotten close enough to make that determination.
They command large insect-like creatures on leashes made of rusty chains. Roughly the size of german shepherds, these creatures are metallic gray and resemble crickets with the exception of their mandibles. Unlike crickets, these insects have rows of hideous fangs that drip with foul smelling saliva. They whir and screech and chatter like giant cicadas at the peak of mating – squeals more like metal on metal grinding than anything biological. Again, none of us are really sure if they are organic or synthetic. The creatures are held at bay on the chains while other humanoids chainsaw openings into the buildings, providing egress for the eager monsters that are then released to scour the structure for food. We are the food, or perhaps just sport to satisfy a bloodlust.
I’ve rigged our dwelling with booby traps to ensnare or slay the beasts, should they gain entry. I have a vault on the top floor near the rear of the building where I put my family while I man the traps, waiting for the inevitable. A clock strikes midnight and I can hear the chainsaws at the end of the block. I brace myself at the lever of the first trap – a great slab of concrete suspended over a second story doorway to the stairwell from the first floor. I wait, poised to pull the pin that releases the chain to send tons of crushing cement and re-bar down onto a slavering insect.
And then I wake up, just as the chainsaws are chewing into my building’s front door.
That morning, I ventured into the basement for a morning workout. As I entered the exercise area, I noticed that the TV over the bar on the other side of the room was on. I also noticed that an old clock that we had recently taken down from the wall upstairs and put on the floor in the basement was ticking. The pendulum was swinging back and forth – tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s the kind of clock that you wind up and start by giving the pendulum a nudge. I had stopped that pendulum the night before at my wife’s request. She hates that tick, tock sound. Somehow, it had begun on it’s own in the middle of the night. My question is: who or what nudged it back to life? I stopped it again and it has since been still.
I’ll be sure to check it again after my next nightmare.