I think I had a nightmare last night. Not a very bad one, certainly not a wake-up-screaming one; just one that wakes you suddenly with the after-burn of indecipherable images everywhere you look, and the nagging feeling that something was wrong.
Which brings to me to remember some of the most memorable nightmares I’ve had that have woken me up, either screaming or paralysed in fear…
1. Very young, living in a bungalow (that’s a true bit, not the nightmare). I’m in the dining room, it’s dark, the curtains are all closed. From outside I hear a gunshot. I run to the dining room window – which overlooks the back garden – and open the curtains. Lined up in regimented rows on the back lawn are countless rabbits. All headless. I wake up.
2. I’m on a roller coaster. We’re going fast. Suddenly I see a thick, black cable – it’s too low, it’s going to hit my head. I can’t duck out of the way, and I can’t get out the seat because of the safety bars. The cable hits, there’s a deafening electrical buzz. I wake up.
3. I’m walking home, it’s dark and foggy. I’m scared to look up, fixing my eyes on the ground. I pluck up the courage to look up, and there’s a dead body hanging from every lampost. I wake up. (I think this one was triggered by a scene in an early BBC TV adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’!)
4. I’m older now, living alone in a bedsit (again, that’s true, not part of the dream). I wake up suddenly and look down at the foot of my bed. My sister’s face is grimacing at me from above the footboard. I wake up. Not quite sure why that should have been so terrifying, but it was!
5. Older still. My partner and I are living in some kind of sci-fi dome, and are in bed. The bed is at floor level – it’s more like a sleeping room, wall-to-wall cushions. I hear a noise, and look up, over my partner who’s lying next to me. Suddenly a man appears, dressed all in black, with a black motorcyle helmet on, visor closed. I’m too shocked to cry out or move. The stranger raises a gun and shoots me. I wake up in my own flat. My partner is asleep next to me, and I’m so scared I feel paralysed, but relieved it was just a nightmare. The bedroom door is open, and suddenly the stranger walks in and shoots me. I wake up.
Urgh. Shudder! Have a nice day!