For information on #FlashMarch and what’s going on here, check out Day 1.
Prompt from Documenting Life, Briefly: Writing Flash Nonfiction [An online class by Leslie Maxwell] offered by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University]:
What did you dream about last night? If you don’t remember, write what you may have dreamed about or what you wish you had dreamed about or what you did not dream about or what you hope you don’t dream about.
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, because I’m a hack.
I’ve been taking a new sleep aid recently—oddly, drinking bottles of wine while screaming at reruns of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was not actually creating a healthy sleep environment. I’m just as shocked as you are—and last night I was particularly antsy before bed, so I decided to finally ascend from the “trial” dosage to the “real human” dosage in order to, hopefully, possibly, get my brain to shut up for just a second so I could pass out while it wasn’t looking.
It worked. Three hours later.
In those three intervening hours, I continued reading one of the books on my nightstand. The new True Crime Nonfiction by the late Michelle McNamara, ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer’. It’s a really engaging book, which probably didn’t help me getting to sleep—that’s why the Washington Post called it the ‘drinking bottles of wine and yelling at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine of True Crime books’—but it also begins with some details about the Golden State Killer’s crime scenes. One, in particular, in a bedroom in Irvine, California.
I am informing you of this not because I have some sort of deal with ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer’ (available on Amazon and at your local bookstore) or because I have some sort of Casper/Purple mattress deal or some Audible.com code. I tell you this because it is integral to the prompt. For those of you who find themselves surprised at the end of a Scooby Doo Mystery, I’ll cut to the chase—
My dreams last night were TERRIFYING.
It began with sleep paralysis, as all fun yarns do. Moments after I’d finally managed to get sleepy enough to close the book and my eyes, I heard a sound coming from my living room. Now, this could have been my cat, my upstairs neighbors continuing their slow-cooker torture routine of my sanity, a magpie doing the dishes, the air conditioner kicking on, OR A RITUALISTIC CULT MURDERER.
To clarify, the last concern was of a murderer who is part of a ritualistic cult—or part of a cult and is ritualistic in their murders—NOT a concern over some sort of murderer of ritualistic cults, whom I would most likely refer to as a “deprogramming vigilante” to avoid confusion and would only concern me, personally, if I were, myself, a ritualistic cult (which, I can assure you, I am not).
However, we will never know which it was, as the sleep aid pills had rendered me entire paralyzed in my bed—much like a Bavarian cream donut, in my bed. I stared, wide-eyed (but not bushy-tailed, not tonight) at the door to my bedroom, waiting for the inevitable cat, magpie inquiring about towels, or knifening death. It never came—as far as I am aware.
What did end up happening is that I, eventually, fell back asleep. Meaning that, in my time of (presumable) need, my body betrayed and failed me—much like a Bavarian cream donut—and isn’t that the true horror story? Biology? Anyone who’s been a gay teenage seventy-year-old game show host in Texas can tell you—and allow me to be the first—yes, your own body is the darkest evil you will ever encounter.
I also had a dream that I was a small puppy made of cupcakes who tried to eat himself. But that one was relatively straightforward.