I was running and I didn’t know why. It was dark. It was raining. I could only tell I was moving across grass because of its familiar feel beneath my feet.
Not by its wet crunch. I couldn’t hear that. Not because of the rain. I couldn’t hear that either. Sound was absent except for one.
I could tell I ran parallel to a road because of a pair of headlights. A car’s headlights, coming opposite the direction I ran. It passed me, the droning of its approach and departure the night’s only sound. The exception to complete silence.
Not long after, another set of headlights accompanied by identical sound.
I noticed the headlights matched. I couldn’t tell the make or model of the car but the headlights were definitely the same. They kept coming and I began to count. One… two… three… I was still running. I noticed I wasn’t out of breath… fifteen… sixteen… seventeen.
Seventeen seconds between each car. I thought to stop, but some need pressed me to keep my pace exactly as it was.
After only just having discerned a rhythm, the interval between cars began to shorten. Sixteen seconds. Fifteen. Ten. I could now see headlights before the previous set had gone. The interval continued to shrink. The droning grew more consistent in pitch.
Soon, the headlights and their incessant noise were a constant stream. Lights that did nothing to illuminate stretched out as far as I could see.
Then they were gone. I found my running had brought me to an idling motorcycle on the road’s side. Mine, I immediately knew, though I didn’t recall ever having owned a motorcycle.
Draped over it was a black duster coat. Also mine, though this thought seemed to make sense to me. I dug through its pockets for confirmation. A wallet. My ID inside it.
I looked around me. The motorcycle’s light illuminated a dirt road. At the end was a house. Decrepit. I knew I was supposed to go there. So I did.
Reaching it, I entered through the unlocked door. Moonlight, which had been absent until now, half-illuminated the room. A chair. A coffee table. A face, partially exposed, peering from the darkness. A face or a mask?
A menace like I have never felt before or since. We were both still. A steady clicking sound from the mask. The only sound since that of the passing vehicle.
Then I wake up.
I’m terrified but I don’t know why. It wasn’t particularly frightening. It was the most vivid dream I have ever had.
I went back to sleep, desperately trying to bring the dream back. I felt as though I was on the cusp of a discovery. Something I must know.
I still feel that way a decade later. I still don’t know what the dream meant. I still go to sleep, on occasion, thinking about it, hoping it will return so that I may witness its conclusion. What will happen then?
Will the answer be everything I imagined, or rather everything I failed to imagine? I can’t help but feel that my encounter in that house would have been the most profound experience I could ever have.
Why can’t I finish the dream? What is my mind protecting me from? Did I glimpse something I shouldn’t have?
Aside from one simple thing, I have not had the slightest sign of an answer. Shortly after the dream, a couple of days, I found my lost wallet in the pocket of my black duster coat, hanging in the back of my closet. A subconscious working. No big deal.
Was the dream all for that? To reveal to me my missing wallet. How imperative it was that I recover several dollars and a movie ticket!
It couldn’t be.
That dream has shaped several aspects of who I am.
My fixation on masks is something I could talk about for days.
More importantly, my view on dreams. Are they more real than we believe? Are they more dangerous than they seem?
If I ever have my answer, I believe it will be in death. If I am allowed to finish my dream, it will be at the finish of my life. In this regard, I look forward to death.