The House: a nightmare

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It’s 4:42 AM. I just woke up from a David Lynch-like nightmare and am writing it out here before it dissolves the way dreams always do. At the moment I’m still in the surreal mindspace that sometimes lingers after a vivid dream so it’s a good time to write about it. I haven’t thought out what it means, because it’s so involved and convoluted but I definitely think it has something to do with my recovery from the effects of my psychopaths.

I haven’t had a dream like this in a very long time. I know I won’t be able to get back to sleep, and have decided to call in sick today. I don’t feel very well anyway.

It started at work. My partner and I were sent to clean a house late in the afternoon, at about 2 PM. We had trouble finding it because it was in a very remote area with no street signs. We finally found the house at the top of a mountain, at the end of a long circuitous highway with many hairpin turns that went through mainly forest.

We were an hour or more late. The house turned out to be a much bigger job than we had been led to believe–involving things like cleaning an oven with 3-inch crusted on grease and cleaning the entire garage. Usually our work doesn’t involve such things and it’s possible to clean a good sized house in about 2 hours (with a partner). Alone, obviously it takes longer.

But I wasn’t alone. At least the lady I was with is someone I get along with.

The house was very large, really a mansion. It contained at least 8-10 people, possibly more. It turned out (at first) they were the present day version of a family I knew well back during childhood. In fact I had been good friends with their son, a boy about my age, who was bullied like I was and I am sure also suffered from Aspergers. I haven’t seen him in 40 years.

Things kept happening that kept us from being able to leave. The owners kept finding something else for us to clean. It was getting dark out and we weren’t even halfway done. Every time we’d clean something–stove, toilet, microwave, whatever–one of the family members or friends (they seemed to have a lot of visitors coming in and out too) would come and use it, so it would have to be cleaned again. It became apparent we would probably have to spend the night there and finish the job in the morning.

Somehow (I don’t understand how) I had packed two clear plastic zippered bags–one with clothing (all my favorite outfits–enough clothing for a week instead of a day), the other with a bunch of randomly thrown together boxes of unopened cosmetics and perfumes. That made no sense at all–were they supposed to be gifts?

We went to “bed” late. The cleaning wasn’t finished. There was no bed to sleep in so I was forced to try to sleep in a metal folding chair. I tried to get as comfortable as possible. This is where the dream starts to get fuzzy, really confusing, and weird.

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There were people walking around everywhere. It seemed like some kind of party. Lights were turned up high and music was blasting. There was a girl I didn’t know but who was supposedly my childhood friend’s sister (he never had a sister) who kept coming over and screaming nonsense syllables into my ears whenever I’d start drifting off. There was also a very large cat, about 3 times the size of a normal cat. He looked like a wildcat of some type. I tried to stroke him and he hissed at me in a way I never saw a cat hiss. I backed away. Someone told me if I fed him he’d be friendly. I went and found my plastic zipper case and got out a candy bar because that’s the only food I had (no one there offered us dinner). I fed the cat the candy bar. He ate it, stretched himself out, scratched a couch, and walked away.

I kept trying to sleep in that damned black folding chair. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter how much I shifted around. I was cold. The basement I was in was lit yellowish fluorescent, nasty and unrestful. Nothing cast a shadow it was so bright. There were a seemingly endless number of small, warren-like rooms and many narrow hallways. The girl and now a young guy with greasy hair and pimples who had the face of a meth-head kept giggling together and waking me up on purpose. Obviously psychopaths. I didn’t know where my partner was, and I didn’t even remember to look for her. I didn’t even remember why I was there.

I don’t think I slept at all. There was another man in the house who was an old co-worker of mine, who kept demanding I give him back his stereo. I didn’t know what he was talking about. Finally the sky outside began to get light and it was time to leave. I still didn’t know where my partner was, but I started off to gather my things to leave.

I couldn’t find either of my bags. I went from one warren-like room to another, not knowing how many there were or knowing how to get back to where I had been. Some of the rooms had strangers in them. I looked in every room, on every shelf, but they were nowhere to be found and none of the shady people I ran into had seen them. I felt I was being lied to. I felt strongly that someone (probably the evil girl and her meth-head boyfriend) had hidden them somewhere.

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Frustrated and nearly crying, I found the two psychopaths in another room, one I hadn’t seen yet. There were so many! I asked them about my bags. The one contained all my favorite clothing. They acted all innocent and surprised and said they would help me look. I went outside and looked on the wraparound porch. The car taking my partner and I back to the office was ready to leave, and so was my partner, who was waiting outside. She had all her bags.

I told her I couldn’t find my bags so my partner came back in to help me look. The man who had accused me of stealing his stereo told me I’d better return it. I remembered something: the stereo (a small plastic one) was in the bag that didn’t have the clothing. (I know that doesn’t make any sense because originally it contained boxes of cosmetics, but this is a dream after all) I looked around frantically for both that and my clothing bag.

I went back outside. I went over to the car (now a sort of mini-bus or van) and saw its hatch was up. I looked inside the van which was lined with shelves that went about eight feet high (how to explain that, I have no idea). The shelves were full, but there, on the very top shelf, I found the blue plastic stereo, which had been haphazardly placed there, so that any motion of the vehicle would probably cause it to fall and break (and by the way, this was the same stereo I actually owned back in the 1980s). I told the man in the van to get me the stereo because I had to return it to someone and he did. I asked him about the bag of clothing. I scanned all the shelves. It wasn’t there either.

I went back into the house carrying the entire stereo. I found the man who I had “stolen” it from and returned it. He took it and walked away, saying nothing. I took another hike through the warren of rooms, scanning every possible nook and cranny for my clothing bag. It wasn’t there and still no one knew what I was talking about.

I went upstairs and looked in those rooms too. They were filthy again, the floors caked with mud and garbage strewn everywhere. All the rooms smelled like shit. There was no way they were getting cleaned, especially since the car outside was still waiting to take us back. There was no clothing bag there either. Everyone was very rude and acted like I was crazy. As I walked around looking, I could see them giving each other knowing glances out of the corners of my eyes. I wanted out of there so bad but I couldn’t leave until I found my clothes. Someone told me I was obsessing about the bag and someone else told me I had never had a bag of clothing with me. I was told I was imagining that I ever brought one (and actually, I don’t remember ever packing one because I didn’t realize I had a bag until I was already in that house). I felt the hostility of their glares. They didn’t want me there and I didn’t want to be there. These people and this house were evil. .
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I had looked in every room of that house and asked every person and never found the bag. Perhaps there had never been one? I decided to give up and call it a loss. I had to leave. My partner was still waiting. It was growing late; I looked at my watch and saw it was 2 PM I had now been at that house almost 24 hours.

But I had one more thing to do. In the foyer by the front door there was a metal man, a sort of robot-like thing that wore a dinner jacket and tie but had a speaker you could talk into. He was the “host” of the house I was told. His eyes were blank because he was a robot but filled me with ice cold terror. They were black and opaque, the dead eyes of a psychopath. Behind them, they glowed dull red. I hated him more than I have ever hated anything, and I decided to tell him so. Somehow I just knew this inanimate piece of evil machinery was behind it all and responsible for everything that had gone wrong.

I screamed into the squawk box on his forehead: “I hate this place and I hate this house. You were the worst host I have ever met. You never offered me dinner, you kept giving us more work when we thought we were done, you kept messing up everything we cleaned, you didn’t offer me a bed or even a couch to sleep in but just a fucking metal folding chair, and then you had your minions downstairs keep waking me up when I started to fall asleep. I know they stole my bag and did something with it. I know I had it, and I know this house is full of liars. So I only have one more thing to add: Go fuck yourselves.”

I turned around and headed toward the door and the car was gone. I had no way to get out of there because it was way out in the country on top of a mountain. I could hear laughter behind me. Terrified, I woke up and decided to write this down. I wanted to write it before I completely shook off the surreal feeling it left me with.

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I haven’t analyzed what this dream means yet but obviously it’s about my life. It was interesting. I know this dream was significant and a part of my recovery. This whole journey is definitely taking me to some very dark places, but it’s okay because I know God is with me. I couldn’t done this when I didn’t believe.

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4 thoughts on “The House: a nightmare

  1. That’s really scary. I can so relate. I haven’t gotten the nerve to write mine down yet but they still haunt me. I wonder if it helps to write them down. like a way to release them. I hope your feeling better and sleeping more peacefully since then. I know the nightmares an be almost as traumatizing as the past itself.

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  2. on another note not been sleeping much myself from the nightmares, hence the late night reply’s…and busy with the kiddo’s in the day time but typically I fin time in the day to do my bloggy stuff. Just been scared to sleep lately or wake up from the nightmares and try to take my mind off them here.

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  3. What I get from it is that you are enslaved by obligations you can’t get out from under. Cleaning the house could also be about recovery and how difficult it is. That bit about sleeping in a folding chair reminded me of Wuthering Heights when the narrator had no place to sleep and also I think Heathcliff’s bride was treated that way too. And you had nobody to communicate with except your partner who was passively friendly.

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    • I think that’s a good interpretation. I had this dream in December; I might not feel so enslaved anymore. In December I felt so much more trapped by my past/unfulfilled obligations than I do now.
      Thanks for taking the time on this, you would make a good therapist. 🙂

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