Dreaming sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
All too often, it can be anything but. Not exactly nightmarish, but many weird, confusing images that can make you feel uncomfortable.
You find yourself worrying about them; what do they mean? Is there a message there somewhere? Why do we dream?
Doctors and psychologists have come up with some interesting theories over the years, but do they really know?
Common sense would seem to suggest that it is just the brain sorting through the day’s images when we are asleep, and most of the time, it does sound likely. But what about all those dreams that seem to mean something? Or those that seem to warn us of danger?
Then there are those that appear to predict the future, which then come true. What are we supposed to think about those?
Personally, I don’t dream much, not that I can remember anyway. The odd romantic fantasy about whomever I fancy at the time, but these are getting rarer. (unfortunately!)
Sarah Curtis, the lead character in Not My Life, is being driven slowly insane by upsetting and confusing dreams where she seems to be someone else entirely. Someone very real and in a lot of trouble.
This excerpt picks up the story when Sarah has wandered into the woods and gets lost…
I didn’t know where to go, so I let fate lead me off towards the woods. I walked for a while, trying not to think of anything. I told myself I should be feeling the beauty of the place.
The trees in their splendid autumn colours. Leaves fall here and there, making little drifts under the trees. I had heard somewhere that catching a falling leaf was supposed to bring good luck. I tried, but it was impossible. They seemed to fall gently towards you and then, at the last minute, darted away on a capricious breeze.
Trying to catch one frustrated the hell out of me. I gave up and sat for a while on a dry log, eating some chocolate I found in my pocket. Then I realised I had no idea of where I was and it was getting dark. I should have brought a loaf of bread with me to leave a trail, like Hansel and Gretel.
I didn’t feel too afraid; they would find me sooner or later. And later might be better. I walked on between ever-thicker undergrowth, hoping it was the way out. That a path, any path, would appear soon.
I found myself in a clearing with a pool, large rocks and slow-running water. My throat was dry enough for me to scoop up a handful, and it was surprisingly good. Deciding I was definitely lost and too tired to walk any further, I gathered up as many fallen leaves as I could to lie down in and buried myself for the night.
The temperature had dropped considerably, and my bed of leaves gave little warmth. I slept fitfully, dreaming of who I really was. A girl called Kelly. And Tommy, my four-year-old brother, who once again had been sent to the coal cellar as punishment for wetting his bed. It wasn’t his fault. Father had made him drink far too much water; he must have known he would wet the bed. And mother, she did nothing to stop his cruel games.
There had been times in the past when she did, only to be cruelly beaten herself, without saving Tommy or myself from whatever punishment he saw fit. I knew the house I was in, these people, my parents, as well as my own skin. Yet there was another place with gentle people I could sense but somehow couldn’t reach.
Soft cold rain washed the dream away, and I awoke alone on a bed of wet leaves. Lost, waiting to be found. Too tired to move. Too dark to try to find my way out. Morning couldn’t be too far away; I would try again then…