I like keeping a dream diary because it’s a memory exercise. Dreams fade quickly but writing them down helps me recall them again later, sometimes in vivid detail. As someone who has trouble remembering the names of main characters in books I’ve read multiple times, remembering is important to me.
When I was a kid I had long, epic dreams of riding around on unicorns and saving the world from evil-doers. When I was about five, and this is the only dream I can remember from that long ago, I had a dream that aliens invaded. They captured my family and put us in some kind of a building, which seemed huge, but had only a single bench. The aliens were tall and green and they wore long, dark-coloured robes. One of them took my mother away, and when he came back, he had my mother’s head on his body. I knew that they were building an army. They were going to use my mother’s head to infiltrate the Earth and use about humans. The children were crying and my father tried to comfort us, but he was crying too.
I’ve had several dreams that my mother was a mad scientist. In one, I descended a jack-o-lantern lined staircase into the basement. My mother had opened up a body and scooped out all its guts. She was stirring it in a large bowl. It looked like fruit cocktail. When I woke up, I tasted pears. I still can’t eat pears today, even though I’m pretty sure my mother isn’t a mad scientist and has never done any experiments. She does lots of arts and crafts, but not with people.
Another dream that has always remained with me is the Book of Death.
I pick up the book. It is bound with black leather and there is no title. I am sitting on a train, watching the world go by. It is odd because I’ve never been on a train before – not that I can remember. I may have ridden one as a baby but the memory is lost.
I open the book. The pages are old and crumbling. I read the words written there in black ink. I can’t process them. None of the words stay with me. I have to keep reading; I have to remember what I’ve read. It’s a feeling I hate, having just finished a paragraph and not retaining any of it. I can’t be distracted. I have to keep reading.
I am still on the train, and yet time has passed and I am already at my destination. I am talking to someone; they tell me to stop reading. I see a skeleton; I am not sure if it is mine, or the remains of someone else. I am told that if I do not stop reading, I will die. It is a Book of Death.
I don’t read as much as I used to, because I don’t have the time, so I guess I’m safe from that one.
There is a family of fishermen in a small village, in times when women do not get on the boats with the men. There is a father and brothers on board, as well as some others, not all of them family – but most. A young woman waits in the harbor; the captain’s daughter. She welcomes him home and kisses her lover, one of the only sailors who is not family; one of the only men her father trust’s enough to hire.
The captain has been sailing and fishing all his life and has raised his sons in the same way – and yet they start getting lost at sea. One by one they die or disappear; the voyages continue because the village needs the fish to eat and trade, to survive. Yet every time that ship sails, it comes back with one less passenger. The village grieves and mourns for each loss.
The captain’s daughter has no family left. Her lover holds her and tells her everything will be fine, but she is left with nothing. Her mother died long ago and now her fathers, brothers, cousins – all of them have left her. She is alone. He tells her she will never be alone so long as she has him.
The lover dies at sea.
The woman sits by his casket and weeps. Someone hands her a bundle; all that her lover owned in the world. He never had much. The journals are lovely things, leather bound and soft. She opens them to read his deepest thoughts, hoping absorb what little is left of his consciousness on this Earth.
The pages are filled with horrors; descriptions of how he will kill everyone on board his ship, one at a time, until the is the only one left, and captain. He was greedy and he wanted the money; and now he has come to his own tragic end, and perhaps rightfully so.
In his coffin, the dead man weeps, because he knows his lover will never forgive him.
My subconscious likes the melodrama. It’s almost a shame that my conscious mind prefers humor.