A Dream You Never Woke Up From
Written by Nandini Sethi
I wake up with a start. Drenched in sweat, I tremble a bit from the horrific memory of the vivid dream I just had. Shaking my head, I decide to get out of bed and fetch a glass of water.
The floor was cold and my unpadded feet longed the warmth of the bed. Filling a cup with iced water, I held it to my over-heated face. I tried to re-call the nightmare without scaring myself. It was mere moments ago, but it seemed like a long, distant memory now. I could clearly remember blood and the peculiar smell of spoilt milk.
Carrying my water to the couch, I closed my eyes and diverted all my energy into unraveling the mystery that was my nightmare.
I know it was a stormy night, the inclement weather unusual in our town. At some point, I remember thunder and lightning, and that’s where things took a turn for the worst in my delusory world.
The wind was so loud in my ears, it replicated the howls of a wounded animal, and the banging of open windows because of its magnitude made the situation unbearable.
I called to my husband to come to the living room and help to shut all the windows. I was about to shout his name again, but was interrupted by knocking on the main door. That was really odd considering no one uninvited ever came to our place, and the thought of it being a murderer on this eerie night sent a shiver down my spine.
Grabbing a big steel pan from the cabinet, I took hesitant steps towards the door. If things couldn’t get any more predictable, the power went out the moment I heard the biggest clap of thunder.
I opened the door to a rather strange sight. Our next door neighbor was standing before me with a cake in his hand, five candles on it, asking us to join them in celebrating their daughter’s birthday. My husband appeared next to me and thanked them for the invitation, and politely declined. This seemed to anger the man, who plucked out a pocket knife and stabbed my husband’s arm.
My screams filled the corridor and people from all the other houses began to open their doors and give us questioning looks. But no one came over, despite my wails for help.
The door closed on its own and didn’t open no matter how hard I twisted the knob. I ran to the washroom for the first-aid kit and came back to a living room straight out of a horror movie: dark and quiet, with the only sounds being the whoosh of the wind, and blood splattered in drops on the floor.
“What is happening?” I cried hysterically.
I heard the door creak open. Seated on the floor, tending to his arm, I looked up to see a man walk towards us. He was big and brawny, his face covered by a mask. My throat too scratchy, I couldn’t shout for help any longer, and my husband still seemed to be in a daze. The giant stranger pulled me up to my feet and grabbed my neck. I closed my eyes and prayed for this all to be over, to wake up from this dream. Lucky for me now I’m thankful it was just a dream.
My imagination apparently knows no bounds, and I continued to kick and scream, fighting this man. He pulled out a gun, and I felt the cold metal pressed hard against my head.
Waiting for pain, for a boom, I closed my eyes tight. But next thing I know, I’m sprawled out on the floor, with the man on top of me, unconscious. Just the thought of the dream made me uncomfortable, but I had to re-call it; to quell my curiosity.
Next thing I know, my unfocused eyes are blinking up to another man- this one strangely familiar- shabby moustache and unkempt hair. He pulled me up to my feet as I kept crying over and over again, thanking him for saving my life. My husband managed some to come out of his stupor and thanked him too. There were shards of glass on the floor, and little pools of milk staining the carpet.
This man, the one who saved us, he was our milkman. Of course! Everything made sense now, the vague memory of blood, glass and milk- I could piece it all together. Once again I thanked this strange looking man, and as he smiled at me, he held out the gun, pointed towards me. The very gun he stole from the unconscious man. I don’t know what happened next, just that he pulled the trigger and the anticipated boom never came. It was then I opened my eyes.
I gulped down my water and realized it was already 7:00 AM. My husband walked out of the bedroom, hair sticking up in all directions, eyes still glued shut together in his sleepy daze.
He seated himself next to me on the couch and snuggled up to my shoulder. I smiled down at him.
“I had the weirdest dream”, he said.
“Can’t be weirder than mine, what was yours about?” I asked.
“I’m sure I’m forgetting a major chunk of the dream, but all I can recall is that for some reason, our milkman was in the house and you were down on the floor, a bullet wound in your chest”.