Friday, May 15, 2009

Shattered dreams

Someone or something screamed, a wild, desperate, angry scream that cut through my dreams and yanked me back from my dreams. In the darkness I listened, heart pounding, pulse racing, cold and on edge. Another scream ripped through the darkness. Leaves and weeds rustled outside my window. A harsh barking scream clawed at me. It was closer. It was outside the window. It was answered by a coughing screech of pleasure or pain or something that iced the edge of awareness. I tiptoed to the window and looked out and there it was crouched beneath the window, eyes painfully bright stabbing up through the weeds.

It's nights like this lately that I can't sleep. The cool frost-tinged breeze through the window feels good against my skin and I am comforted and relaxed enough to sleep until something rips through my dreams and drags me painfully back to the reality that things prowl the darkness on the other side of the screen. A thin stretch of woven metal separates me from the predators in the night and I am no longer one or two floors up where the worst that will peer in at me through the open window are restless squirrels and birds heralding the dawn. Screams in the night failed to pierce the veil between reality and dreams because I was safe from harm. Living on the ground floor has it advantages, but on nights like this there are more disadvantages and I can't sleep with the fresh air wafting through the meshed wires and across my uncovered body.

Fox or raccoon crouched beneath my window last night, but it could have been a cat in heat (as it often is) or someone in pain. Darkness shrouds the form that gives voice to such peace shattering yowls and howls and the thin barrier that separates me from the outside is not enough protection for my always alert and waking mind standing watch while I am vulnerable. Memories of a dark time when the sound of a knife ripping through the screen mere inches from the bed where I slept woke me and shattered my peace. The flaring stab of light scared my would-be attacker away, but his intrusion and violation of my vulnerability stayed with me, leaving me always on the razor's edge between dreams and the real world, never able to give myself completely to the bliss and comfort of healing sleep.

I am now awake and nothing has worked to take me back to my dreams, so I write to probe the shadows and lay bare the formless fears of a world wrapped in nightmares.

In the meantime, I soothe my restless uneasiness with thoughts of friends and anniversaries. To Nightspawn and my old friend and companion, a very unique Luddite, I offer best wishes and much happiness since you both share the sixteenth day of May as the anniversary of your births. Many happy returns of the day. When you blow out the candles, I hope you get your wish.

As for me, I will close and lock the window, deprive myself of fresh cool air, and court sleep a little longer before I rise and begin another working day.

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