I fell asleep early yesterday evening. I had a sinus headache and just wanted to block out the pain, so I tried to sleep. I must have been drifting in and out of consciousness for ages, time seemed to drag and yet occasionally skip forward. I heard the phone ring and I couldn’t be bothered to answer it, so I let it ring. I heard my friend Paul pick it up and tell Dan that it was for him. It all sounded like it was happening downstairs or next door (but Paul and Dan, and most of my friends, live in a big house together in Nottingham now). I heard Dan sound surprised, he was shocked and mildly excited to see or hear someone. It would seem that the bell ringing wasn’t the phone, but the door. Anj replied to Dan’s shocked tone with anger that she should have to, “…apply in writing, with six weeks notice…”, before she could come and visit one of her closest friends. I could hear the argument getting worse and I wondered how long it would last before they just hugged and realised that they were, in fact, happy to see each other.
I went to shake my head at the needlessness of their squabble and found that I couldn’t move my head. I tried to lift my arms and I couldn’t. I could see the room around me and everything was slightly fuzzy as if my eyes were half open. The spat downstairs was inaudible now and I couldn’t think beyond needing to move. I was scared because I seemed to be too heavy to lift my arms or turn my head to face the door. I managed to open my mouth enough to form Steve’s name. I tried to call him, but my voice wouldn’t work. My breathing stayed slow and regular and I couldn’t push the words out through my throat. After several attempts I think I must have managed to call his name because Steve entered the room. He left the light off because I’d mentioned that I was trying to sleep off a headache. When he sat down on the bed he asked what was wrong but I could only try desperately to move my arms and form words with my mouth. I was snapped into movement by a fear beyond being immobile. I suddenly noticed something hanging down from the ceiling by our bed.
The shock of seeing it stunned me into action and I pointed to it and asked Steve why it was hanging down from the ceiling. For some reason I was used to the fact that there was a light fixture above the end of the bed, but I’d never seen it extended down by its wire. I sat straight up and stared at it, waiting for it to move, but it was perfectly static, staring back at me with its spotlight bulb eye at my own eye level. I told Steve that I didn’t think it should be hanging down like that and I was worried that it might be watching us. Just as I voiced my worries, the light quickly coiled itself back up into the ceiling and pointed once more at the bed. I was horrified, it was as if someone were listening and watching. I got out of bed and turned on the light, and then I turned on the light to the attic. The ladder to the attic was at the side of the bedroom and I was going to go up and see if there were any sign of tampering from above.
As I crossed the room I noticed light coming from the ceiling in the alcove beside the bedroom door. I’d never observed this through-area between the bedroom and attic and I was surprised to see a little ladder and some small railing hugging the wall too, so that someone might shimmy up the wall to reach the attic from a different side. It was most peculiar. I asked Steve if he had ever seen it before and he looked guarded. He told me he didn’t want me to go up that way, and insisted I used the normal ladder and entrance as it was obviously safer. I decided to go up the new entrance anyway. I looked up and realised that this went well beyond our attic, this opening in our ceiling went up several levels; I started to climb as I told Steve what I saw. As I reached the first level above our room I could see that this made no physical sense. I stepped up into a hall that stretched from one huge play-pen room to yet another, even more monstrously big play arena. I was delighted. Steve came up behind me, he’d decided to follow. He asked me if I’d seen anyone. I said I hadn’t, but he wouldn’t let it go; he kept asking if I’d seen a girl, if I’d, “…seen her..”. I was a little unsettled by his attitude, it seemed like he didn’t want to explore, as if he were scared or worried about something. I ran into the biggest play arena and started bouncing in one of the many large bouncing pens. It was fantastic. When I asked Steve if he knew about the place he said that he’d wanted to save it until tomorrow, until my birthday. I felt a little bad about it then, it would have been really nice to have this surprise on my birthday, but I was still happy to explore anyway.
I asked Steve if he could look after my knitting needles as I bounced in the pen, there were two short length knitting needles as my waist with grey yarn wrapped around. They’d been secured to the belt hole in my jeans. I took them out and handed them to Steve, then I picked up two longer length needles that had appeared on the pen floor and handed those to Steve too. He pulled over one of the square bean bags, this one was simply the shell of the bean bag, for some reason it was empty, and he began to put my things and his jumper into it and left it where we could come back and find it.
I tugged Steve along to follow me as I went through the hallway to get to the other play arena on the opposite side. He asked me again, this time more pleadingly, if I had seen her. I stopped and really looked at him. “Who is this, her?” I was starting to get worried. What wasn’t he telling me? He looked frightened. In the hall there were two rooms I hadn’t noticed on the first trek through. I popped my head through the doorway to my right and there was a girl of about 15 or 16 years of age sitting in the middle of a circle. She was making a sculpture and the circle was part of it. There was parcel-paper wrapped around it. The girl seemed happy and friendly; I wished her good luck and ducked out again into the hall. On the left hand side, I looked into a big thermoplastic window. Either I was losing my mind, or the girl in the other room had a twin. This twin was inside the room to the left, and I could see through the window that she was also making a sculpture. This one was a spiral or coil covered in mod-rock and she was sitting back from it as she put together a metal cylinder, each metal half-spiral curved into the next piece and it looked as if it were from a giant, shiny new engine. The girl smiled and waved and I did the same in return. I asked Steve if either of these girls were the one he spoke of and he shook his head. I took his hand and asked him what he was worried about and he went to say something – but everything began to fade. Steve looked as if he were desperately trying to say something before I vanished, or he vanished, which ever way round it was happening. But then he was gone.
I woke up and just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Something about that shouldn’t have happened like it did. A thought occurred to me as I followed this paranoid trail; someone had interfered with my dream. As soon as I thought it there was a brief and quite painful blast of feedback sound in my head. It was intense and I took it as a response to my thought. I thought it again, someone was ****ing with my dream, it wasn’t right… did you mess with my dream? Instantly there was feedback blasting inside my head and I nearly screamed. It died down and I felt like it was ****ing with me, trying to make me scared, but I wasn’t, I was pissed off – not scared. I said, I can take whatever you can dish out, bring it. I wasn’t so sure I could, but I wouldn’t even let myself acknowledge that underlying worry. I didn’t have time to anyway. I closed my eyes and grinded my teeth as the screeching feedback cut into my ears. I thought my head might explode, but I wouldn’t back down, not yet. I thought of things that soothed me, I thought of feelings that made me calm – I thought of the times that my dad would take us out to the countryside and I could feel the wind flowing over my face and the sun burning freckles into my cheeks and over my nose. It wasn’t enough, I could feel the wind rushing over my ears but it wasn’t enough to block out the siren. I moved on to the sound of rain sticks shaking, the sound of my ancestors calling for the heavens to open up and feed the rivers and the sweet smelling ground. I could hear them, but they were drowned out by the siren and as I lay deafened and my head began to pound in warning, I admitted defeat. I sat up and everything was silent. So quiet and still, I could hear perfectly, but there was nothing to hear. I cursed the horrid sound which I had encountered once before in a dream a few years ago.
I realise now that as I sat up in defeat, I was sitting and waking out of a dream simultaneously. It was an odd experience. But I was so absolutely sure when I was laying there fighting the siren, that I had been awake. It was so strange. I hate having chronic sinusitis.