It’s only ever happened to me once. It’s been so long that the dream is all but faded now – it has morphed into a story that is all too plausible, even though my mind tells me dreams are anything but. But my nightmare wasn’t about what happened when I was asleep.
I was 16, dreaming about carpooling to school with friends nearby. Stopped in my driveway, a cool, early morning Southern breeze filled my lungs; the sky a watercolor of purple and pink. As I sat in the driver’s seat a gloved hand attached to an unknown body reached through my open car window and slowly, slowly pushed my head against the steering wheel.
That was it.
It was enough to wake me up from a sleep and lock me in position, frozen in time and space. Though I was no longer in the car with my cheekbone being smashed against the hard wheel, I was still living that nightmare. My room, black except for the street lights that shone through my two windows. I lay with my head facing a window looking up the street towards the house of my friends from the moment before. My left arm tucked under my pillow; my left leg pulled up towards my body.
The door to my room was directly behind me. It was all I wanted to do: turn over and confirm that there was no one there. The best I could do was move my eyes. I could see the shadows of the trees outside, just tempting me to find a monster in their menacing movements on the ceiling. The darkness of the room around me could hide all that I could imagine but never wanted to see. My eyes continued to strain; my body physically weighed down by fear as I continued to try and look, hoping that there would be no one to put that gloved hand once more on my face. My anxiety intensified.
I laid there for an unknown amount of time feeling like I would never be real again. That I would need to resolve to my fear that I would die from the gloved hand in the safety of my own bedroom. That my body wouldn’t even let me scream.
I don’t remember how I escaped that moment.