Although I have added much embellishment to this story, it is actually based on a real life experience.
Maybe it was because of that twice recurring dream I had experienced when under an intoxicating gas, the surreal images, the strange voice speaking in a language sounding vaguely familiar to me – German wasn’t it? Or was it the pain? Yes it could well have been the pain which prevented me from returning to that room, that dungeon of despair and torture for many a year afterwards. It was a time in my life when fear had got the better of me, and because I was at the tender age of…? Damn! The memory isn’t clear anymore but that dream still is, it had a profound – long lasting effect on me, and even now, years and years later it is still vividly clear like I had only just dreamt it…just mentally press the replay button, the memory of it is easily retrieved.
A dream, keep telling yourself that it was just a dream, it isn’t real…but the pain was real you fool, stop kidding yourself!
How’s that saying go? Once bitten, twice shy! Well that’s certainly true, and I was! But I had to get bitten twice before I fully understood it, and that made me twice as afraid to ever return for more of the same; my twice shyness had been replaced by an irrational fear which I was unable to master with the adequate amount of regulating courage. Maybe it was my age? Yes, that was the reason wasn’t it? I was way too young to have developed the mental ability or capacity with which to properly analyse and decipher the disturbing images and sounds of that twice recurring dream.
That dream became the prime cause of my extended absence and long term neglect which, many years later in my adulthood, I would have to ultimately face the very real, physical consequences of the unchecked, rampant, accumulative decay. I can remember thinking to myself when I began to notice the symptoms that the time had come, the time to lay myself back down on the sacrificial alter of anguish and pain to endure what I knew I must now endure!
It was just a dream, wasn’t it? But the pain…the pain was real, I know it was! The pain was happening inside and outside of the dream as if I was in a state of semi consciousnes, in limbo, neither asleep nor awake! Living and feeling the torture moment by terrifying moment!
I now find myself back in that claustrophobic building, back inside that claustrophobic room, just a door away from where my nightmares began all those years ago. I am now a willing victim of my own devices, I have once again entered that dungeon of despair where the pointy instruments of torture await me!
There is still time to walk away, walk away you fool! Why are you putting yourself through all this again? No! No more excuses, I am going to face my fear once and for all, so shut up!
I sit on a chair, a cold chair, a clinical chair, looking around at all the other willing victims who have come here for reasons that I would rather not know about. I try to avoid any direct eye contact with them, I don’t want them to see the terror that lives behind my neurotic stare. I drop my gaze down to a low table in front of me where magazines lay spread out upon it, all inviting me to reach out and pick one up to offer some much needed distraction and focus. I pick one up and begin to flick through the pages not really reading anything or paying any attention to the written word, I just look at the pictures trying to find an image that might calm my rising nervousness and apprehension, but nothing is going to work…I just know it isn’t!
Then, horror of horrors! I come to a page which has huge bold letters superimposed on a picture advertisement. Of all the magazines I could have chose to pick up I had to choose this one!
“Dreamland beds, where all your dreams come true!
Sale now on!”
That done it! The advert acted as a catalyst, rearranging the chemicals in my brain and realigning them inexorably to replay that dream in my minds eye. I submit to the inevitable, there is no point in trying to resist something I have lived with all my life. I close my eyes and am immediately submerged in the surreal…
…I am in a black void, there is no light source but I can see everything before me. I can see coloured ribbons stretching out for miles before me, all disappearing as they converge to an unknown vanishing point which they are all anchored to. On my right side, and directly next to me, is a German world war two helmet! It has no body, no face, it is just hanging there, suspended in the void. Then, a voice begins to speak in a peculiar language, is it German? Is it coming from the helmet? I still can’t say for sure even today. But as the voice speaks, the ribbons become tighter and tighter as if the voice itself is pulling at them and has direct control over them. Unfortunately, each time the ribbons are pulled, I can feel pain, and the more the ribbons are pulled and stretched, the more intensified my pain becomes. I hang in the void unable to wake from the agony of a nightmare that I know is not a dream, my pain is real! I watch helplessly as the ribbons get thinner and thinner under the tension being exerted upon them. The voice is relentless, as if taunting me as it continues to utter nonsensical words that are causing me so much pain, real pain!
“Let me wake up! Stop it! Please let me wake up,” I screamed within the dream, but nothing happened, it had to run its course, and me being the unwilling victim had to endure it until the very end.
I sit with my eyes still closed, blocking out the room as I think back to the fact that I had to undergo this dream twice in as many weeks, and at the time it was nothing but a traumatic experience I would never forget. Surprisingly, and shortly after these two identical events, I wasn’t that bothered about the dream anymore, it never came back to haunt or torture my mind like certain nightmare visions or memories can, but it left an indelible imprint which I am ever able to instantly recall at a moments notice and relive, but without the associated pain of course!
I can hear fidgeting noises coming from all the people around me, someone has been called by name, I hear them stand and begin to walk through the door of the dungeon, but my eyes remain closed, I ignore them as my memory reaches its conclusion.
It wasn’t a dream after all, or was it?
I wasn’t properly under at the time you see? I was in a semi conscious state, in limbo, like I mentioned a few paragraphs back. This fact was mentioned after the first instance, but It all repeated the second time around. It all makes some sense to me now, the German helmet, the German sounding voice. I am half German on my Mother’s side, so maybe, because I overheard my Mother talking German (and never understood it) on numerous occasions whilst speaking to her friends on the phone, made me subconsciously latch onto that language during the dream? And as for the stretching ribbons, they must have been a surreal, visual representation of the pain itself? The voice of course, wasn’t really addressing me, but was addressing the assistant and I was listening to it because I wasn’t properly asleep!
It was a dream, but it wasn’t!
I am bathed and lost in the memory. Suddenly, I can feel pressure on my shoulder, someone is gently shaking me by it, trying to get my attention. I slowly open my eyes as I come back to the present. I see a young woman wearing a crisp, starchy looking uniform, she smiles at me as our eyes meet, and she then speaks to me…
“Mr Smith? The Dentist will see you now!”
This is no dream!