Chapter 6:

You May Say I'm A Dreamer

Sweet Nightmares

“It was full of plot holes”, I complained to Erica.

The following morning, we were chatting on the phone. But, we weren’t talking about a movie, a TV serial or a book.

“It’s not my fault”, she replied. “All I do is ‘suggest’ some things or events and it’s actually your subconscious that tries to piece the dream together.”

For the second morning in a row, we were having a review of how the previous night’s session inducing a nightmare went. The difference this time is we were doing it over the phone, the two of us at each of our own rooms. Our phones attached to chargers, of course, as they just spent the night being on call.

“I told you all this yesterday”, Erica continued, complaining and sounding pouty.

Her tone quickly shifted before I could react to it, though.

“In any case, I’m glad that worked out well last night”, she now said with a cheery voice. “So, what are your real thoughts about the dream you had?”

“As I said earlier, it wasn’t cohesive, but it gave me a thrill at least.”

“Then, would you say that was a sweet nightmare?”

“Close, but I think for it to be really sweet, it should have a happy ending.”

“I see. Well, let’s try to make you have that kind of dream tonight. For now, I need to go to class. Later!”

As soon as the call ended, I looked at the clock in my phone. It was almost half past nine. It was also time for me to prepare for class.

The day went by uneventfully until that night. Erica didn’t stand on ceremony when it was time to sleep. As soon as I picked up her call, she immediately instructed me to wear my earphones and go to bed.

However, I wasn’t sure if it was because I slept the afternoon away - I only had a couple classes in the morning so I had a lazy and uneventful day - but I couldn’t fall asleep easily. I was still awake and aware, tossing and turning, even after Erica started her suggestions.

“Imagine you’re in your room”, was one of the things I heard her say amid the usual chimes.

“Imagine you’re in your bed trying to fall asleep.”

I couldn’t help but crack, “Well, I don’t need to imagine it since I can’t fall asleep!”

I was ignored, however.

“Imagine you’re dreaming of electric sheep”, Erica said.

It actually made me think of sheep. Although, it made me wonder if she meant some sort of robotic sheep or the kind that shoots out electricity. But, wondering about it produced an image of both in my head.

“Imagine you’re Zidane at the World Cup.”

I immediately thought of the incident involving Zinedine Zidane headbutting the Italian player whose name I can’t recall, but I couldn’t view myself other than being a spectator.

“Imagine you’re saving Aerith from her fate.”

While the scene where Sephiroth drove his sword through the poor girl’s chest played in my head, Erica suggesting that surprised me a bit because I wasn’t aware she played Final Fantasy games.

“Imagine you’re John Lennon.”

“I’m imagining all the people”, I quipped again.

But, I was still ignored.

“Imagine you’re chopping up a carrot”, she continued, sounding a bit annoyed.

I thought the suggestions were getting quite random even after telling her earlier that the dreams lacked cohesion. Although, what I was most concerned about was that her tone has changed. I started thinking she wasn’t finding my jokes as witty as I did, so I stopped.

Her annoyed tone didn’t stop, however.

“Imagine you’re pulling a chicken’s head off.”

“Imagine you’re stabbing a severed pig’s head.”

“Imagine you’re gutting a cow’s belly open.”

Instead, the intensity of her speech grew not only in her voice, but in the messages as well.

“Imagine you’re beating up Emma!” she said, now shouting.

“Imagine you’re slitting my throat!”

That was the point that I opened my eyes and sat up so I could try to talk to her while awake. I was worried she was mad and saying those things to purposely disturb me.

However, I noticed my earphones were already off. I didn’t notice it falling from my ears when I sat up on my bed. I’m realizing now that I hadn’t felt it in my ear for a while. In fact, as soon as my eyes got used to the darkness, I noticed the wires hanging on the side of my bed. Logically and physically speaking, it couldn’t have been thrown sideways when I sat up. So, it must have gotten loose some time before.

Although, that poses one question: how was I hearing Erica?

At first, I thought I accidentally set the call to loudspeaker. But, when I looked at my phone, the screen was turned off and it only showed the lock screen when opened. The call had ended a while ago.

That just added more questions.

But, I decided to put finding the answers aside as I felt thirsty.

I climbed out of my bed then expertly navigated through the dark of my room to the door. Once at the door, I noticed it was locked. But, I would quickly realize the lock is on my side, the inside. It should be unlocking itself when I turn the knob, yet that wasn’t happening.

I tried twisting the doorknob with all my strength. Clockwise first, then counter-clockwise when that didn’t work. Neither caused the door to open.

The door opened inwardly, so I tried pulling. I pulled and I pulled, but it wouldn’t budge.

When that didn’t work, I tried pushing. I tried sliding it sideways, too. Those were unsuccessful. I only felt dumb for attempting it as well.

Not only that, but the physical exertion had me sweaty and my heart beating fast.

I’ve thought about kicking the door open, but I live in a boarding house. My landlady would not just evict me, she would kill me if I broke the door. Besides, I could go to sleep while being a little bit thirsty.

However, one problem was arising. My sweat started turning cold. I was starting to feel the need to go to the bathroom.

My room was only a room. It didn’t have any other amenities within its walls. The kitchen and the bathroom were communal so I had to go out of my room if I needed to use them.

I began knocking on my own door to ask for help, hoping my neighbors would hear me. After a few attempts, I started banging on the walls. They were wooden and thin so I could knock on them, hoping the sound would wake the person next door, if not gain their attention at least.

Unfortunately, there weren’t even retaliatory knocks, let alone someone violently swinging my door open to come in and protest the noises to my face.

My need for the bathroom grew as well. I started doing a weird dance, skipping to shake that feeling and delay its release.

At some point, I started hearing Erica’s voice.

“Over here”, she said.

I didn’t know where it came from at first so I looked around.

After a few more calls for me, I identified the source of Erica’s voice being from the windows.

“Over here”, I hear once again.

I opened a window to see if she was there. But, my room was on the second floor of the boarding house. I couldn’t see her beside the window or down on the ground.

“Jump”, she then said, still invisible to me.

I thought about it, but it was a long way down to the pavement. I wasn’t confident jumping two floors down. But, while my brain was saying no, my bladder was telling me to just do it.

“Jump”, I hear Erica again.

Only this time it felt like her voice came from behind me, not outside the window.

I reflexively turned around to look. I found Erica, whose face was all bloody like in my previous dream. But, unlike in that dream, she didn’t lunge at me to take a bite off my neck. Instead, as soon as I turned around, she pushed me over the window.

“Jump!” she screamed.

My desk should be between me and the window, so I shouldn’t be pushed out just like that. But, for some reason, I found myself outside as if I went through the furniture and the wall. I now had a clear view of the sky and the full moon.

When I thought I was about to hit the ground, my body reflexively jolted, which caused me to wake up. I hadn’t realized I was dreaming.

While I was glad to have found myself back on my bed, the feeling of needing the bathroom was real. I immediately got up and went to do my business.

I reported that dream as is to Erica, who found it amusing.

“That’s a happy ending, right?” she asked. “You ended up avoiding an accident in the end.”

I couldn’t say I agree with it, however.