I’ve been having exactly the same dream over and over again. I don’t have this dream every single time I shut my eyes. Sometimes I dream of other things and other times I don’t dream at all. But when I do have this dream, I get the same awful feeling. This feeling can only be described as paralyzing horror, but while I do feel that during the dream that feeling always melts away when I wake up in the comfort of my own room. With the sun shining and the birds chirping, I manage to forget that level of fear. Until the same exact dream haunts me another night.
Each time, something's different. A little thing. A small detail. I don’t think I’ve ever had exactly the same dream before, with each and every detail the same as the last. But it’s the distinct things that force me to remember the previous one.
Always, without fail, I start in a room. Four bare walls surrounding me. There’s a consistent rule with the room. I can’t leave it. Once the room had a single pole connecting from the ceiling to the floor. Something was attached to it. A figure that screamed and dug its nails into its very own flesh, constantly begging to be released from the room. Afraid, I ran for the stairs where to figures stood above. Their faces so dark I couldn’t make out a single human characteristic. They simply, stood there, staring at us. Seemingly take joy in watching the chained victim suffering.
In another room, it was a furnished living room. A nice couch, white carpet, a plant, and a rug. There were, however, no windows. Instead, there was a single gap in the wall where another figure stood. I explored the room for a little while, but there was nothing here to look at. So I eventually went over to the door where I saw people playing in the sandbox and having fun in the sun. I tried to reach out to them, but I was pulled backward by the figure. I got angry, demanding that they let me out, but they refused. All I could do was pound angrily against the walls making the same demand only to receive an echoed answer.
The third room was bizarre. I was alone inside of it. There were no stairs. No people. Just me and the four concrete walls that surrounded me. At first, I was confused. But as time lingered on I grew terrified. Afraid that everyone I knew had just left me here to rot and die. I tried screaming, but my words only echoed back to the empty room. I moved from corner to corner, hunching over and stretching, even pacing around until my legs grew too tired to support me. After ages had passed me by, I curled up in a little ball and waited for death.
Probably one of the most memorable rooms involved a music box, a chair, and a table. I walked through this door from a previous room I hadn’t the time to explore. At first, I was a bit confused about the music box, but something kept telling me to wind it. I at first ignored this demand and wandered around the room. There was a bookshelf in the far corner, but the books were blank. My exploration of the room came to an end and I sat in one of the chairs. Again, a voice told me to wind the box. Since I had nothing to do and the door to the other room had magically vanished, I wound the box. Music played for a little while, then suddenly the sound became distorted and cruel. The music box started to melt and within it, a strange clown appeared. It rose it’s cloth hands up, laughing an evil grin, and told me to burn. Before waking up, it told me that I would never leave.
The final room that I’m going to explain is, from what I can remember, the very first one. It’s extremely different than the last ones in that there were two people with me before. From what I can remember, they were my brothers. One younger and one older. We were traveling, from what I could gather, and we ended up staying in a hotel. The younger brother ran off somewhere while the older brother set me down on the bed. Apparently, I couldn’t walk. While the older brother was looking through the bag he groaned, stood up, and told me he must have dropped the toothpaste in the car and that he would be right back. During that time, I was alone in the room. My eyes wandered to a hole in the wall. A rather large hole that was clearly visible without having to pay attention. I didn’t think any of it strange until my eyes settled on a glass vase. It was black. Completely black. And climbing out of it was a long-limbed creature. Its body cracked and snapped, making slurping sounds combined with a hack as it crawled from the glass. The further the creature got the harder my heart pounded. It was finally out and making it’s way to the hole in the wall. I tried to scream, but my voice was dry and wouldn’t produce a sound at all. Not even a gasp. As the creature grew closer and closer to me, my anxiety started to build and I tried to force my body to move. Nothing. I was paralyzed and with each passing breath that thing getter closer to me. As soon as I saw it dripping and squeezing its way through the hole, I finally let out a scream.
That translated into real life. My mouth was wide open, my eyes refusing to blink. That was actually the first time I ever woke from a nightmare, sitting up.
These dreams started when I was in middle school and ended about my junior year of high school. At first, I found them strange. I really didn’t think anything of them or even revisited them all that much apart from occasionally remembering that one dream I had was strangely similar to the other. That was until I took Psychology in high school. During a sleep unit, we were told to document our dreams and I had another similar dream to the rooms. This one was a bit tamer than the others. The room was furnished, like the others, except this time there was no figure in the doorway. Call it cheesy, but it’s true.
After going through the packet of questions I came to one very interesting one. It asked me if I ever had reoccurring dreams. I answered yes and it told me to explain. Later in class, we went through the packet together and by exchanging them with a partner and taking a cheat sheet, we were able to assess what kind of people we were based on our dreams. Afterward, we were told to evaluate our dreams. Sort of decipher them. Mine dreams become somewhat of interest. When I explained them, I was asked if I had ever been locked in a room and no one would let me out. Like if an older sibling had harassed me like that in the past. While I do have an older sibling, we never lived with each other. But for the first time, I was actually thinking about where and why this dream was so repetitive. Why this dream? Why does it keep coming back to me? Why can’t I stop having it?
Then it finally occurred to me.
My (ex)stepfather used to lock me in my room every day for hours at a time. Starting when I was twelve years old until the day of the divorce.