Friday, January 7, 2011

The House In My Dreams

So, when I woke up from this beautifully restorative (and slightly incapacitating) slumber I had been so deep in REM state that it took me a few moments to be able to stand-up and walk around, and when I did so I moved more akin to a rubbery drunkard than myself. So where was I? Let me try and set it up:

Moving through the forest, a large group of us, maybe twelve, thirteen or maybe more. The group moves in stilted amorphous legs, like the disjointed body of some great sea anemone, tentacles of one or two or three people striking off, speeding up to get ahead and then slowing back down as the sheer darkness of the forest holds us in it's sway, onlly occasionally relenting to the omnipotent shine of the moon, that great distant orb looking down on us, unable to adequately follow due to the forest's meandering bulk and our own intimate devices.

We're searching for something.

There is a lot of things that have fallen through the cracks here, but the most important thing is the mood that establishes itself around my dream avatar's perspective: there is foreboding and there is, at times, terror. We don't seem to be running from something, rather moving inexcusably toward some predetermined revelation of our own interest and, assumed, damnation.

Then it's there: The House.

The House is a massive, sprawling piece of Midwestern faux Victorian. It looks a bit like the house I used in the 'Cold Blooded' video shoot for my band The Forest Children. Except that house, my wife's grandparents', is an actual Civil War era job. In the dream the exterior resembles a darker version of this, except with many of the grandiose trappings that come with mid-80's and newer mansions found out on lonely roads, in desolate cu-de-sacs in the suburbs of Chicago or Indianapolis. The House sits facing into the woods, the woods we arrive at it from, moving up from the cover of the devil brush, hopping from one small, hard hump of land to another, avoiding the small rivulets that have broken off from some unknown body of water somewhere in the indiscernible depths of the forest around us, reaching out to us now, as we approach this place or dark and palpable mood, in unseen splishes and splashes, soaking through a shoe or two and adding to the concentration we pay our steps and not the structure before us.

And then, we're on land. I recognize some people here. Recognize them all, actually, only I can name but a few. Fellow travelers in the realms of dream that I have encountered before? Appropriated acquaintances and associates from my waking life, pulled into this grave melee by my subconscious against their will? Whatever the case with the others, I sense my good friend JFK* and my wife. I keep them close...

We approach the house with caution. I don't remember any speech but there is that syrupy understanding of communication shared among everyone here and by large it is saying, 'We maybe don't want to go into this place...' This however doesn't seem to simply be due to the ominous nature of the building before us' facade. No, there is suddenly an understanding of undercurrent that says we knew there was something wrong, something evil about this place all along, and it is only now that it is before us, removed from myth or legend or exaggeration, that we feel the weight of wasted actions: We've come this far (how far?) but do we dare enter?

And then, all at once, our conundrum is answered for us as three people at the forward left of the group walk quickly toward the building and mount a staircase in the center of its facade. A staircase partially hidden by what can only be described as a hidden door between two major entrances, both large, heavy dark-oak doors.

The impression is we are not entering a house or mansion, but a Keep.

Tentatively, one by one we follow. My wife and I are somewhere near the last of the group to enter. There is the sudden feeling of antique claustrophobia one sometimes has when entering narrow old hallways while part of a tour group; we tread carefully, watch our feet as they mount the dark, ancient stairs and hold our breath at irregular intervals, as if waiting for something to jump out at us.

After an interminable amount of time we arrive at the top of the stairs. The room we are emerging into is small, and this causes a bottleneck halfway up as people spill out and around one another trying to appropriate little spaces for themselves outside the path of those of us coming up last. Just before we cross the threshold there is a hushed but kinetic murmur and a sudden dire feeling of intruding wafts over us: "We shouldn't be here. Get out! Turn around and get out!" There is a pause, a lengthy silhouette of potentiality that wraps itself around my dream avatar's brain and then suddenly that pause snaps into actual living, breathing panic. A single word is heard, not so much shouted by the others in the group but emitted into our brains by the structure itself:


There is a dash, the proverbial camera swings wildly and all I see are flashes of wood-paneled wall, musty brown and green carpet, a grandfather clock that must predate most of the world I know. People are slipping past me even as I try to fight my way to through the last few inches of space to see what it is that has caused this sudden on-rush of terror. Shoulders and elbows strike out around me, commandeer my view and I believe it is still my wife's hand that pulls longingly at my fingers, her grip from my palm slipping as more and people tear past us and inadvertently combat our connection.

Then I see it.

My parents, old, feeble, wrinkled. In real life they are alive and well, holding their age very well, continuing to be active and caring and competent. Here, in the dream house they are bent and shriveled and... confused? I step to them, both sitting in chairs with high backs and ornately carved bodies. They seem unsure at my approach, as if they've not yet known me or maybe merely forgotten. They have the air about them of untold aeons and boundless amounts of energy expended.

"Evil? Are we evil?" It is my father who speaks first. Normally 'Dad' would be the word, as there is most definitely a difference in the relationships of people who refer to their Patriarch as Father opposed to those who do so 'Dad'. But here and now, it's Father.

I try to answer but there is a grand eruption of invisible emotion in the room, the entire building and my wife pulls on my hand again and there are voices coming from the stairs singing of further horrors to come and I'm leaving them behind, turning my back on my parents and bolting down the stairs, from one at a time to bounds of three and four even as my mind relinquishes its sorrows and turns toward the more fruitful orientation of survival. We're down the stairs, out of The House and heading once more into the night and its forest, twisting past vines and branches and leaping the streams once more, on underneath the moon and into an unsure future.

And then I wake up.

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