The Path of Nightmares

Dreams. Meaningless delusions in the form of night-time hallucinations, or something much more? Perhaps a gateway into our psyche, or perhaps our psyche trying to get through to us. Then there are nightmares. Visions of monsters, feelings of despair, being faced with all of our fears in their most pure and brutal forms, and for what? What do we gain from such seemingly unnecessary tension? Perhaps there is something more to our dreams and nightmares, something that you need to look deeper to see. A message from beyond our conscious soul, hidden in such a way that only the intended recipient could ever hope to decode. But without the knowledge needed, many just think of these messages as random images floating inanely within the darkness of unconsciousness. So with that in mind, you and I are going to take an adventure together. I am going to walk you down the path of nightmares so that you can see exactly what I mean. But before I do, you need to prepare yourself. Follow these instructions exactly as they are written and begin performing them from the next time you read the word “now”. You are going to close your eyes. You are going to breathe slowly and deeply, breathing in until you can take no more, breathing out until there is nothing left to release. You are going to imagine that you are nothing more than a cloud of energy floating around in the depths of space, with nothing aside from darkness surrounding you. You will do this until you are completely relaxed, and then you will become that of which you next read. It is time. Do it now.

Your eyes are open. You are lying on the cold, hard ground. Sharp rocks are digging painfully into your back, feeling almost like you are being stabbed with dozens of knives. You see above you a dark grey sky, one giant cloud filling the entire atmosphere. You see around you trees with leaves of such vibrant colours, like beautifully bright pinks and greens of emerald and lime. You slowly stand up, your vision spiralling as if you’ve recently been struck on the side of the head. You feel a strange warmth crawling across your skin, starting from your back and slowly spreading around your body like a cluster of ants. Yet, there is no wind present to carry this heat. It is generating solely within your body, almost as if it’s trying to warn you about something. As you look around this strange environment, you begin to feel uneasy. You understand that nothing about this is natural. You understand that this isn’t the world you remember, and perhaps it isn’t even real at all. Yet, you still have a strong sense of belonging. There is something about this place that feels like home. Like you’re meant to be here. That’s when you see them. The eyes that hide behind the trees, watching you intently. Such dark and hateful eyes, with powerful stares that pierce through your very soul. Yet, they don’t move. They just observe. With nothing else to do, you begin walking down the stony, black path. The moment you take your first step, you feel wind in the air. You take another step. A drop of rain falls from the sky, landing softly in your hair, bringing a slight chill to your face as it slowly glides over your nose. This seems odd, but you can’t just stand still all day. You decide to keep going. You hear something behind you. You turn your head. The eyes are following you. You see them in their full forms now, creatures of pure darkness, baring their teeth and sharpening their claws as they scrape them along the ground. You pick up your pace, walking fast enough so that your breaths deepen, yet not so fast as to stress out your legs. The rain starts to get heavier, beating the leaves around you like drums, while soaking into your clothing to weigh you down. The wind is pushing harder against you, howling like a wolf as it brushes coldly against your ears. And the monsters. They are getting faster. They are getting louder. You hear them snarl, you hear them growl, you hear the pounding of their feet against the hard ground as they start running in your pursuit. You panic. You know that if they catch up to you, there will be nothing you can do to defend yourself. You run. You run as fast as you can. Sweat drops from your brow, you’re struggling for air. The rain is getting ever heavier, drenching your clothing and making it almost too heavy to wear, while the wind grows stronger, trying with all of its might to push you into the jaws of the beasts who follow you. The beasts themselves are very close now. You feel their breath tickling the back of your neck, you feel their claws caressing the back of your shirt, you feel like they are going to catch you. You scream in desperation, praying that somebody, anybody will hear you. The wind only grows louder, drowning out the sound of your shouts, just as the rain begins to drown out your lungs. You trip and fall, crashing painfully to the ground. You close your eyes and curl up into a ball as the monsters surround you, growling louder than anything you have ever heard. And as they go in for the kill, as they move to finish you off once and for all, silence falls.

You feel water splash gently against your face. You open your eyes. You’re on a boat in the middle of an endless ocean, the sky above you is completely black, everything is cold. This is the end of the path, yet the beginning of your realization. You understand that nothing you just saw was real. It was just a horrible nightmare. Yet, you feel there was something more than that of which you saw. You think harder. What if the monsters were metaphorical? You consider them to be the big problems in your life. Debt, deadlines, relationship trouble perhaps. You realise that the harder you run away from these things, the harder they chase you down. Then you think about the wind and the rain. The less obvious problems in life. Your monthly subscriptions, your house cleaning, your gardening. While you’re busy worrying about the big things, these problems are also getting bigger and closer, perhaps even to a point in which they will actively get in the way of your more important endeavours. You understand what the nightmare was trying to tell you. You can’t escape your problems, and the longer you try to run from them, the worse they and everything around them will become. And sometimes it’s okay to just deal with one thing at a time too, even if it means getting help. An umbrella would help against the rain, even if you’re not the one holding it. Even the monsters might not be so bad if you take a proper look. The anticipation often distorts things to make them appear far worse than they are in reality. A playful black dog can easily be seen as a beast of shadows if only given a quick glance. You feel wakefulness overtaking your body. It is time for you to return to reality. Though of course, it won’t be too long before you are back in the realm beyond your consciousness. Perhaps if you remember this adventure, you will be able to see the message of your next episode of night-time hallucinations more clearly. Farewell, for now…

All of the works on this website are protected by copyright law, and as such, may not be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express permission of the author (A. L. Plumb), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. The author can be contacted at if you have any queries.

© A. L. Plumb 2021

%d bloggers like this: