reaping the cost of solitude

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rewind: A Completely Pointless Dream about Ghosts

I had the weirdest dream.  I was 5 or 6 and son to an army chief and lived off in some army encampment in the great forest.  I couldn't really remember if we lived a normal happy life, but then the riders came.  They were clad in medieval suits, the ones you saw on knights in a period movie.  I heard the sound of metal banging against metal.  I could tell they weren't barbarians for I saw that their leader carried a certain valor to him.  But they killed swiftly.  They took the life of everyone I cared for, including mine.  I couldn't really remember that one swing of the sword that ended me, but I knew I was dead because I started to see ghosts.

The ghosts ganged up on me.  They took me to a place where I "waited it out" for the next decade or so.  It was an old mansion.  I could still remember the carpet and the wood sculptures on the stairwells.  I could remember small rooms underneath its labyrinth, ones I had to crouch to see.  But the ghosts were the ones that really fascinated me. A select few never tried to scare me and some looked more like real people than ghosts. But the more grotesque ones scared me - one look, a glance, and you had the cliche idea of a ghost: pale, floating, scary-looking. I remember there was a flying ghost of a child with a body severed from the waist down, and he constantly tried to get near me like a beggar would in a street. So did the other ghosts. I didn't know what the deal was but I could see I was important to them. Like a prophet, or savior perhaps, the key to finally move on to the next netherworld, and I had no idea why.

So what did ghosts do each day in a cold dark haunted mansion? They wrote. All of them had notebooks, scraps of paper, the underside of a magazine cover--- anything really, as long as they could write on it. And they wrote all day. They would always come to me asking for pens, which of course I didn't have, and it's also probably the reason why I was so scared because I got to see every single one of them approaching me. At times I would turn back and run, but they would call me out and say they were not a threat and meant no harm. And I never did have any pens, but they would always find that last lead off a pencil somewhere and they would continue scribbling the day away.

One day I was among them whilst they were writing, they had all their heads down as if in deep concentration.  I peeked.  One wrote phrases I barely understood or remembered.  One wrote his signature over and over again.  Others wrote poetry.  And they all wrote on random areas on the paper.  I asked one of them "what's the deal with all this writing?" He said, "it's the only thing that connects this world to the worlds above".  I did not forget that. It was the only medium that could send out pleas for ghostly freedom to the gods. Most of them remain unheard, and I realized you had to be lucky. They pushed on anyway, like old people buying lottery tickets everyday hoping to finally hit the jackpot.  The "jackpot" in their case was a mystery. The ghost continued that they were writing even more now that I'm here.  They say I was a prophet and that I was the catalyst to all this mumbo-jumbo.

I couldn't really remember anything else except the return of the riders. Strange because they saw the ghosts. I don't know if they were ghosts themselves, but they looked battle-hungry, and they were all looking for me. I had no idea why. Their leader, the one that killed me, stormed through the entrance with a flail and immediately went looking for me and once he found my hiding place, he rammed the wood panels from which I hid underneath until he coaxed me out.  I ran, but I couldn't run as fast as I normally did. I was held by a strange wood-like figure. In no time, he was before me- and I was ready to die a second death. I waited for the death blow but it did not come. What he did though, he drew his sword and started sawing at something I had no idea was on my body before. I had chains just between my thighs and my butt. Thick metal chains. And he sawed and I cried.  It felt like I was the subject of a medieval circumcision. But once the last chain was off, he said to me... "now you're free".

Wild applause ensued. Including the ghosts. Then I woke up.

~ June 2008

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