nightmare: the hatchet job

A few days ago, I woke up from a nightmare. It wasn’t one of the more common social embarrassment ones, and was one of the rarer cold terror in the depth of my heart kind.

It unrolled like a TV show – in sharp high definition, high frame-rate, high brightness, high California. I was in a town in sunny TV land. I remember that there were high walls topped with barbed wire along both sides of the road. I remember knowing that beyond those walls there were wild things.

I was leaving a shop when a man, hung limp, like a zombie without a hope of brain, came in. He browses through the small accessories section, before leaving. Later, from across a street, I saw him in an empty lot, being stopped by a patrol car. And he exploded into action, bringing out a pair of hatchet, driving them on the upswing into the jaws of the cops.

With the men down, he stopped, scalped a strip of hair each, and put them up over the butt of the hatchets, like wigs for his hatchet. I think that is what he was looking for in the store. Satisfied with what he had done, he looks up and sees me across the street.

The whole mad scene couldn’t have taken too long, but it didn’t happen in a moment either. Why was I still standing there?

Because, it was a nightmare.

I woke up at that moment, scared. My heart was racing. The room, and the rest of the house were as dark as a moonless, overcast night in the mountains.

In the next street over, I could hear the bunch of stray dogs barking. And then howling. I was convinced that the man from my nightmare had managed to escape and turn up in this world. I wanted to go to the toilet, but more than that I wanted to barricade myself in, to keep out the terror.

I had to remind myself of how old I was before, I could get up and go to the toilet, and later, return to sleep.

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