20 August, 2008

A Nightmare

I had one of the most vivid and powerful dreams of my life last night. And once again, fear was the prevailing emotion. A number of days back, I read on the ePlaya forum about people who had dreams of Burning Man during the anticipatory few weeks before the event - dreams, and nightmares. And I think I may have had one, even though I haven't yet been to the playa. I've at least convinced myself that that's what it was, anyway.

It all started (the dream, I mean) with an angry letter. Apparently, I had coded something for my brother, and he wrote me an uncharacteristically mean letter insulting my computer programming skills (naturally, he just didn't understand the brilliance of my methods). Anyway, I was really hurt and pissed off at this, so I wrote a letter back saying even meaner things. I have no idea why any of this happened in my dream, but it did. Oh, and in the dream, it was also the day before leaving for Burning Man, so I was concerned at what effect this turn of events would have on the trip.

Anyway, the house was completely empty, so I left the letter lying around somewhere out in the open. Next important scene: I'm outside, and it's dark. I saw two shapes near the house, thinking that it might be my brother and a friend. Not wanting to confront him at this point, I hid away and moved in the opposite direction. Keeping my eye on the two figures, I realized that, by the size of the shapes, it seemed to be an adult and a child. They moved around the house and toward a jungle gym type structure (apparently the house was next to (or in) a park or something...), and, having spotted me, hid within the structure like as if it would provide some kind of protection. I could hear the two figures talking, moreso the adult than the child, and I got the impression that they were homeless bums just scavenging for food.

But then things took a frightening turn. Their talk changed, and they mentioned something about owning the land, and being mad at these people that took it from them. And they said it in an ominous way, like they do in horror movies, that makes you believe what they're saying is true. Also, they said they were some kind of wolfman/werewolf type creature. Sure enough, at this point, the wolves came out of nowhere and started chasing me around. They were wolves, and not wolf-people, but they weren't ordinary wolves - they were vicious and bloodthirsty wolves. I had to wrestle one a little bit before scampering up onto the roof and sneaking back into the house.

At this point, even the house itself started getting weird. It was still devoid of people. I checked the basement, and to my surprise, found two cats and a dog, none of which I recognized. They pretty much ignored me - the dog was busy eating from a bowl, and the cats kinda just sat and stared at me. I peeked in the garage, and saw just one car - a very unusual looking one that I didn't recognize. Naturally, I started wondering just whose house this was, after all...

So I checked the master bedroom, and though it was empty, I thought I heard the shower running in the master bathroom. Scared enough at this point to call out "mommy?", I opened the door to find the bathroom empty. But now it was raining outside - hard. It was pouring buckets. It was partly frightening, and partly soothing.

I started going back and forth through the house, looking for some explanation for everything that was going on, and some of the rooms started doing a neat trick - the master bedroom especially. As I walked through, the walls would all become full length curtains - ceiling to floor - and the running water, presumably from the torrential downpour, made it a breathtaking, and humbling, spectacle all around me. It was quite frightening, but also beautiful, as I even grabbed my camera to try and take a few pictures, but the effect was transient and didn't last long enough for me to "document" it.

It occurs to me that this room effect is not unlike, in principle, an effect I've seen in the Silent Hill games, usually with certain rooms towards the end of a game, where the room would intensify in some creepy way as you walked through it, possibly to harm you, but more likely just to really freak you out - and it did the job well.

At some point, the environment changed, and suddenly I was in the guest room of the house, along with the rest of my family, though it was furnished like it was back when my brother used the room. We were watching television, and some news type guy was interviewing a criminal, asking him stupid questions, and for some reason I went on a tirade about this news guy. I don't remember the exact content of the tirade, but it had something to do with him trying to live vicariously through criminals by reporting on them, or not understanding the true criminal life, or something along those lines I think. I then qualified my rant by exclaiming that I was in a bad mood, though I'm not sure if it was because of the letter from earlier, or the rest of the frightening experiences I recently had. I stormed out of the room, but as soon as I was alone again, that fear that I had felt only moments before returned to me, and I was like a baby again, crying for his mommy.

Coming to the end of the dream (and still within the dream), I suddenly remembered the thing I had read (in waking life) about Burning Man dreams (and nightmares), and I connected the sheer excitement and vibrancy (and pure wackiness) of the scenes I had witnessed (the intensifying rooms especially) to the experience of Burning Man itself. A kind of emotional precognition or something. Unfortunately, even though I'm pretty sure I recognized the experience as a dream while I was still within the dream, it didn't become lucid. And that's the last I can remember of it. (Maybe the realization forced me to wake up).

Anyway, it was one of those dreams where the emotions felt (anger, confusion, excitement, but especially fear) are so vivid - much moreso than the emotions I experience in everyday life - that it's really an amazing experience, even when it is scary.

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