I’m reading a novel in which a horror dream version of New York City's West Side coexists with the waking version. The night after discovering this facet of the plot, I had the following dream.
I’m asleep in bed, face down, my nose barely free to breathe. People are gathered around wondering if I am merely asleep or actually dead. I can see myself from above, and the sleeping me in bed wants to wake up to prove that I am alive, but I can’t seem to move. The voices talk around me as I try, try, try to move, to wake up in the dream. Finally, I wrench myself awake — and wake up in real life.
In the novel, the protagonist in the dream-city allows herself to be shot point-blank so as to wake up in the real-world city; as she explains to another character, “It’s like a dream—die in it, and you wake up.”
So, was I dead in my dream, though unaware of that, and that is what woke me up? My real waking up felt unexpected, almost violent, a visceral tearing from imagination into reality. Very unsettling.
I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 4 of the 31-day challenge. It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about. Join in!