Since I brought up my son's nightmare the other day, I thought it only fair to bring up some of my own in comparison.  When I was young, not only did I have nightmares on a somewhat frequent basis, I often had recurring nightmares and dreams.   One of the most vivid that I can still recall was almost always the same.  I was in the garage, with my father and grandfather, doing something.  (Our garage was the kind always filled with stuff, not with a car, the cars lived in the driveway.)  We might be working on my bike, or going through the tools on the shelf, something.   Then the very ground of the garage would rip apart, and amidst flames up would rise The Devil.  Red skinned, big giant black horns, a pointed tail, the works.  The dreams rarely lasted much longer than that, because the arrival of the Devil was so intense it almost always woke me up in a complete panic.  I'd get up, go into the bathroom and sit for a while to calm down.  (It was the one room that had a light that I could turn on and not wake everyone else up.)  I'd usually have to read for a while, to get my mind off the dream (something I still do occasionally when my mind gets into a panic/anxiety mode late at night, which is, naturally, never fun) and then I would brave my way back to bed.   Sometimes these things would wake up one of my brothers--we all three shared a room--and when it did, they would usually comfort me and get me back to bed.  That dream happened a lot all through grammar school, then eventually faded away.  I'm certain I'm forgetting quite a lot of the little details.   But then, that was quite so long ago now.

Besides that particular dream, I'd also have recurring and what I think of as "serial" dreams.   Usually they would come in batches, from two to a dozen.  Separated out by a few days here and there so I'd never really know if I'd finished the story (so to speak.)   But the jist of it was much like being inside a TV show or movie, where the story would go along then abruptly cut off.  (I would wake up.)   Sometimes an "episode" would repeat itself, though often modified.  Like two, or three variations of the same story.  Sometimes, they would pick up right where things left off, but mostly, they would start up again as if some time had passed, and we were just now catching up with the hero.  (IE, me.  Hey, if I can't be the hero in my own dream....)

Actually one of my oldest novel attempts, from somewhere around 5th grade was me trying (and pretty much failing) to put down on paper the story of my dream.   The problem with that, other than the fact that I was maybe 10 or 11 trying to do that, is that dreams often just don't make sense.  They aren't usually narratively cohesive.  Things would happen, like, one moment I would be running down the block trying to catch up to my friends, then as I turned the corner, I would be driving a motorcycle.   Being young, I'd often have super human powers.  Could make things move with a flick of a hand.  Fly.  Swing from webs like Spidey.  You know, kids ideas of how these things go.  They'd be harrowing adventures, filled with things to battle and overcome.  And on at least one occasion, I recall having died, and trying to get back down through the clouds to help save my friends, and I couldn't.   No matter what I did, whenever I tried to go through the clouds, it would hurt, like being set totally on fire.   That one was particularly frightening, because the need to get down to the ground and help save my friends was so intensive, that being unable to help them hurt every bit as much as the pain I was experiencing trying to reach them.  So it was pain for me either way.  I had that particular dream twice that I know of, though it never made it's way into that story.

I still experience the occasional bad dream, or reccurant dream.  Though it gets hard to tell if I they really are recurring or just déjà vu in a dream.

What about you?   Do you recall any nightmares from your youth?
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Edward Greaves

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