Day 47: Nightmares on Not-Elm Street

I’ve been plagued with nightmares the past few nights. I’m not sure if coronavirus lockdown is getting to me, or if I’m receiving a message from a Higher Power.

Sometimes I wake up shivering yet drenched in perspiration. It means having to take a shower, change my pajamas and bedclothes in the middle of the night. It’s not a fun task, but as I stand under the often-almost-cold water (because I don’t run the hot water cylinder all day, every day), I don’t remember the dreams, I just know they were unpleasant.

Then. There are the others. The movie reel so vivid in my mind that when I do awaken from it, I find myself disorientated – wondering if what I saw was real, or worse, a portent of the future. There is no need for me to wash anything, because I wake up with nothing more than a racing heart and gasp of air, as if some unknown force has been choking me during my sleep.

There is one consistent factor in both these dark visions: snakes. I’ve often dreamed of snakes and not taken much notice. After all, I’ve dreamed of all sorts of other animals trying to harm me to too; sheep, dogs, cats, goats, and even chameleons. I’ve dreamed of driving in a classic Cadillac with my best friends only for us collide with an invisible train, end up in raging rapids and almost all drown. Before anyone dies, I’ve always woken up.

I have a novel interest in snakes. I find them to be fascinating creatures. I am a member of a snake group on Facebook where many experts teach novices like myself how to identify snakes. This doesn’t mean that I would rush up to a snake in the veld and pick it up. We’ve had a Common Slug Eater at our office. Rowena scooped the tiny snake up in a dust-pan and tossed it in the garden. As the name suggests it eats slugs and snails. We also had a red-lipped herald pay us a visit. It caused quite a stir, but the only person ballsy enough to do something was Oscar. He let it go in the dense brush across the road.

I know that many snakes are non-venomous, but still require respect because they can inflict nasty, painful bites. What intrigues me the most about these specific reptiles is their colours and beautiful marking patterns. I know enough about certain species’ behaviour to know that I don’t want to die by snake venom, nor have the life squeezed out of me by a constrictor.

Aside from the snake, I’ve had the same thread through my dreams the past few nights.

I’m always with a close friend in a car. The friend in my dream is a friend to me in real life. In each dream, the friend has been female, but never the same person.

We’re on our way to assist an old lady’s sister. The old lady is known to both of us in real life, but the sister is not. The old lady stays the same. We never see the sister’s face, only the back of her head. Her hair is a dark grey, up in a bun/knot, held together by an old marcasite clip very similar to this picture:

The old lady and her sister sit in the front of the car (an old-type station wagon) and my friend and I sit at the back. Not once, during these recurring dreams, have we ever stopped at a house to collect her. We’re always on our way to help her and then we’re all in the car together.

The car almost always drives on an untarred road. There is a vapour in the distance, almost like real life, when the tar is extremely hot. As we drive closer, the haze turns out to be a swamp with dark-blue-almost-black, oily water. We can’t get across, nor can we turn around. I start to feel uneasy at this point.

When we stop at the march, I notice termite mounds on the right-hand side of the car. In the termite mounds there are snakes visible, as if they are Monarchs of a termite kingdom. It is a fact that snakes will sometimes forage in active mounds or seek refuge in an abandoned one to digest a large meal.

I’m the only one that can see the snakes. I try to tell the other people in the car, but they’re blind to them. It’s usually at this point that I start to feel unbridled terror. I know I’m dreaming – it’s as if my conscious mind is trying to wake me up then but can’t. I keep screaming, “Snake! Snake! We need to get away!” I try to point at the serpents, but it’s futile.

While I’m ranting about the snakes that only I can see, a little girl of about five or six years old appears in the car, with a giant golden python-like snake. She has mid-length hair, almost red. She is dressed like a tomboy. Her face is dirty, as are her hands and clothes, as if she’s spent the day playing in the sand. She looks me squarely in the eye and promptly bites the snake’s head off with an eerie snap.

It’s at this point that I try to say something to the friend, but before I can utter a single syllable, I wake up.

Normally, I wouldn’t entertain these subconscious pictures, but I feel for some reason this one needs more investigation because I’m even thinking of it while I’m awake. Carla, my friend and colleague has a few dream books. I’ve asked her to look up some things and send me the info. I’m not scared, merely curious. Surely if it’s recurring, it must mean something?

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