Yesterday’s Nightmare

I woke up yesterday morning and wrote this down because it was too compelling not to.

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I stood in a room with many beds of all sizes and varieties in it, in a place that first I only knew was not my home. Then I became certain that I was in a hotel or a guest house of some odd sort; several groups of people occupied the same room with my family and me, and in the logic of dreams, this was as it was supposed to be. My family was with me, we were all well, and in my dream, we went to bed and slept content.

When I woke, I was wandering the long corridors of a hospital, with an old woman in front of me who started to fall down a long flight of stairs. I jumped into the way to stop her from falling, but she fell anyway, and when I went to help her up, two other nurses pushed by me, and she got help from them. I tried to tell them what had happened to her, but they paid me no attention, so I returned to walking the corridor. I suddenly realized that I was in pajamas, not dressed in a uniform or even street clothes, and I thought I had been sleepwalking.

I started looking down the corridors more urgently, trying to figure out how I could have sleepwalked to a hospital from the place where my family and I had been staying. And then, coming down one flight of stairs, I recognized the layout of the corridor, and looking left, saw the little logo of the place we had stayed the night before. I went into the wrong room first, and it was a hospital room — a large, old-fashioned ward room with several beds. So I went into the one we had spent the night in, and it was a hospital room, too. But seated along the wall, I recognized two men who had spent the night in the same large room my family and I had shared with others. Both men looked at me and smiled when I recognized them, but they said nothing. They were covered with blood.

My family was nowhere around, and now I was scared. So I went to the woman who manned a desk by the front door, and stood in front of her until she finally looked up and noticed me. She returned her attention to her work, but asked me what she could do for me. I asked her if she knew where my family had gone. I gave her their names, and pointed to the room where we had been staying. She told me that no one by those names had been in that room at any time within recent memory. I told her that I had slept in that hotel room the night before with all of them, and she said the building hadn’t been a hotel in years.

Then I told her my name.

She stared at me, really seeing me for the first time — and she started screaming. She stood there screaming and screaming until I looked down at myself. I was covered in blood, and I could see through my hands. Terrified, I ran to a mirror, but when I looked into it, nothing looked back.

I suddenly understood that the two men in the room were also haunting it — they were the men who had killed me; though I had killed both of them fighting for my life. I didn’t know what had happened to my family, I didn’t know if they were safe, or if they had died, too. All I knew was that I wanted to find them.

And then I woke up.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

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