the most realistic dream I ever had

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dream date: sometime towards the end of 9th grade

I usually look forward to my dreams, and think of them as I drift off to sleep, but that night I had only one thing on my mind. My math test was the next day, and I NEEDED at least 7 hours of sleep to do well! So I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, willing myself to fall asleep–and dream.

But I couldn’t go to sleep.

For hours and hours, I lay in my bed with an exhausted body, but a panicked mind.

I’m going to fail this test. 

If I stop worrying, I can fall asleep.

But I’m worried I CAN’T fall asleep!

And so the paradox continued–me worrying about not being able to fall asleep, and not being able to fall asleep because of the worrying. Finally, at 5am, I had had enough. I got up and sought out my mom, who was in the laundry room. She usually tried to get some chores done before work, and I was never awake at this time. Naturally, she was surprised to see me, and comforted me about my lack of sleep.

“You still have an hour or two to try and sleep before school. You can’t miss this test, sweetpea.”

I started crying, because I was pissed and tired and hated math, and stomped off to bed. Somehow, I managed to fall asleep.

When I awoke, I saw that it was 6:30am and that I had only slept for a little over an hour. Surprisingly, I felt fine! That was a relief, but I could only hope that my feelings of restfulness didn’t wear off by my math test. I jumped out of bed and saw my mom, once again, in the laundry room. But she was wearing a different outfit.

“Mama, I managed to fall asleep! I feel ok. But why are you still doing laundry? And why are you in different clothes?”

She looked at me, utterly confused, and asked me what the hell I was talking about.

I was now confused too, because I thought I had been clear. “When I got up to talk to you about an hour and a half ago? Because I couldn’t sleep?”  

She shook her head and said patiently, “Cora, this is the first time you’re speaking to me this morning. I just woke up myself.”

And that’s when I knew! My brain was on crack and decided to convince itself it was suffering all night, when it was actually asleep in reality. My dream mother was so realistic that I ever once thought I was in a dream, like I do frequently in others.

Do I even have a math test today?



NIGHTMARE: baba’s ghosts

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I had never been more sad that the school day had ended. As the chatter of my classmates filled the hallways of my school, I walked back to my house with a heart full of dread and feet made of lead. For some reason, echoes in my head had been telling me all day what waited for me at home. My dad was coming back from the dead.

I walked into my dark house, filled to the brim with overgrown houseplants and strangely colored lights that reflected off the large bay windows. My mom was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs, dark violet smoke pouring out of an alcove in the wall. Glowing glass vials filled that alcove, which is where the ghosts of my dad were kept. Peering into the kitchen, it resembled my old kitchen from when I lived in Bahrain–younger versions of my sister and brother were sitting at the kitchen table. This house was a strange medley of old memories and random details I’d never seen before.

Mama led me up the stairs and into a room with dozens of paintings strewn around–some on the wall, some on the floor, some covered with sheets, and others propped up on easels. All of them had my dad painted on them, but all were different. One of the paintings had a version of my dad with just one large eye on his face, and two grotesque eyes on his stomach. Yet another art piece had Baba with long, thin, jagged teeth protruding from his bloody mouth. The others I can’t remember. There were 4, specifically, but I guess the other two ghosts were lost in the depths of my subconsciousness.  

I don’t recall how or when, but I eventually went to sleep in a little cabin outside my house. When I woke up (within my dream), all looked normal but my emotions went off. Fear is a warning sign in my dreams; even if I’m in a serene situation, fear indicates that my dream is about to change.

I was then inside my house, looking for my sister. She wasn’t in her room, and my brother wasn’t in his. My mother was also gone. Their bedrooms were dark, and the silence of the house contributed to my fear.

In my dreams, there are underlying scripts or themes within my mind that tell me what’s going on, even if it isn’t clear in the scenery and visuals. I just knew that my family had left me behind on purpose, and had left me behind for the ghosts to find. As I tried to run upstairs to the room full of paintings, I turned around and the ghost of my dad with eyes on its stomach was there, slowly trailing me. I kept running through the endless house, up and down stairs to evade the ghosts that kept appearing from nowhere–all slightly different in a grotesque way. And the dream didn’t end.

I kept running until I was jolted awake by my alarm, and I had to shake off my fear and go to zero-period gym and play pickleball.


NIGHTMARE: everybody’s dead

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NIGHTMARE DATE: November 5th, 2018.

All the residents of Sterling had to stay inside their houses. We just knew we had to, and we knew we had to not let anyone in. There was a killer on the loose, and we were not allowed to run–only to hide. My house in the dream was strangely dark, and much larger than it is in real life. A spiral staircase made of the darkest wood accented a dark interior with chandeliers but little to no decor. It seemed more terrifying and sinister than comforting and safe.

After some time had passed, my sister brought in a boy from her school who had nowhere to go; our kind parents couldn’t say no to his lost and weathered face. He walked up the creaking stairs with my sister, and turned around to look at me.

My dreams are usually kind of blurry or fuzzy, since there’s so much going on and the premises of the dream are constantly shifting. But when the boy turned around and looked at me, his eyes were a strange pale blue that stood out from the rest of the dream. His eyes bore into mine for like five minutes, and I was too scared to say or do anything.

When he finally left, I tried to run to my parents about the lost boy being the killer. They didn’t believe me, and I started panicking and ran back up the dark wooden stairs to where my sister and the boy were. Or where I thought they were.

Not being able to find them, I ran back downstairs to where I saw the boy killing both my parents in the kitchen. It was silent, with absolutely no screams or noise or any sort of auditory senses. I could only see what was going on, and I could only see the boy stabbing both my parents with a kitchen knife and turning around to look at me with his creepy eyes once again.

Somehow, he suddenly became frozen in the dream, while I was not. I grabbed my sister and my little brother and dashed out the giant double doors of this dark house that wasn’t really mine. The neighborhood was so empty and so quiet, and I could feel the murderous boy following me.

Finding refuge in a house far away from my own, past hills and field of grass, I finally felt safe. The house was much lighter and brighter than mine. Silver light and golden stairs with colorful art decorated my new home. The mother of the house had hair just as golden as the house and a voice just as bright and welcoming. All should have been well.

However, I soon found out from the news reports that my best friend Cameron was now dead. The boy took my parents and my best friend. I’m sorry to say that the loss of Cameron hit me much harder than the loss of my parents.

The killings weren’t the scariest part of the dream. In fact, the worst part of my dream was the weeks I had to go to school, completely devastated and distraught that one of my favorite human beings was now gone. It seemed perpetual, going to school day in and day out without having my anchor with me. The scariest part of the dream was the uncanny, realistic depression I felt for “weeks” within my dream. I hope you never have to feel that loss, dream or no dream.

naruto attacked me (in my dream)

Dream Date: September 27th, 2018.

My plane had finally touched down. The tiny airplane held just me and my friends, and was now sitting in the middle of Egypt. The ruins rose in the sands around us, though it was nevertheless populated with smiling, friendly natives.

As I stood up to depart, my entire seat broke into dozens of pieces before my eyes. I yelled at my friends to wait for me as I clean up the mess, but they ignore me and leave anyways. Feels bad.

The flight attendant, who appeared out of nowhere, yelled at me for breaking her seat.

“Go pick up the pieces and throw them off the stone bridge outside! You can’t have your phone or your belongings until you get rid of the broken seat.”

Aight, I thought. Seeing as I had no choice but to follow her commands, and because I felt bad for wrecking her plane, I carried the heavy metal pieces out of the plane and into the glaring sun. The bridge was right next to the plane, so I headed that way, admiring the intricate ruins all around me. Then, as I glanced down, I noticed the shadow of someone following me. That shadow multiplied, and when I whirled around I was greeted by the sight of a dozen Narutos poised to attack me. They literally were just holding sticks, and the dream itself looked really stupid, but I was terrified and jumped off the bridge in my panic. I landed in the river below, scrambling away from the ninjas trying to beat me with sticks.

Even though I screamed for help, everyone ignored me (feels bad), which forced me to sprint towards a lone grove of evergreen trees. Within the sheltered forest, an entirely glass train station awaited me at the end of yet another bridge. Hurtling myself over the bridge and into the glass train station, I looked behind me and noticed that the gaggle of Narutos hellbent on beating me up could not enter, for whatever reason. I was safe for now, but was still terrified, because the glass train and train station were entirely empty except for one smiling old man. Without a word, he let me on the train, and I rode in silence to my destination.

Getting off the glassy train, I looked around at the airport like interior of the train station. Since I was still scared, and I wanted to be home, my dream kinda just shifted itself to the scene of my house. Still in shock from my misadventure, I told my family what happened.

They all laughed at me, shaking their heads. “That doesn’t make any sense!” they exclaimed. “You never left.”

My dad looked at me and said, “You were probably dreaming. You’re confused.”

At this point I started to wake up, and I was realizing that I was dreaming about my family talking about my dream. Dreamception. My confusion startled me awake, and looking at my phone, I realized it was 3am.