The stuff that nightmares are made of

As I am falling through the sky the surface is voraciously nearing fast. When I hit the ground I get swallowed up and spat out again, undulating up and down in a mass of slimy slugs, snotty eels and several other slithering things. I struggle to stay afloat, the movement of my legs restricted by the arms of starfish and octopuses. As I feel them slide underneath my clothes I instinctively close my sphincter. I try to remove the tentacles, which are sucking my skin. Slowly, they turn into sage-coloured, slimy seaweed, also entangling my survival struggles. There are puffy pods on the seaweed. These pop open and release a swarm of spiders. The spiders, driven to divert drowning, crawl up my arms, neck and face, like lice on boiling broccoli. My only way out is into the water. I let myself sink into the dark, open deep, freeing myself of the spiders. When I look up I see familiar family faces above the water’s surface. I try to talk to them, producing only bubbles. In these my words whizz around, and get scrambled when the bubbles burst into the air. The faces ask me questions. I know the answers, but I can’t reply as I momentarily have no mouth. I try to lunge for my loved ones, but I am too late. One by one they disappear into the darkness. Light is fading around me and I realise I am sinking into the deep. I decide to try and swim to the surface, but I can’t tell which way is up now. As I see a glimmer of light, I go to it. I keep on swimming, but I’m getting exhausted and my brain bursts for oxygen.

At that moment I open my eyes, and realise that this is not a dream.

Copyrighted by Jacky Dahlhaus

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