Last night's writing group session was run by Terry Tarbox. He set a piece of homework at the end of December's session to write about a dream or a nightmare. Usually I remember most of my dreams in quite a bit of details, but once my brain realised that I needed this information for the homework task, it decided to be awkward and forget everything as soon as I woke up.
So I decided to write about a recurring nightmare that I had when I was younger. I was a terrible sleeper when I was little; I was an avid sleepwalker, and I used to have a lot of nightmares. Thankfully I'm all normal now ...
It’s dark. Not normal darkness, where, if you blink and squint, your eyes adjust to their surroundings and you can just about make out shapes and shadows. It’s more than that. It’s darker than dark. I can’t see a thing, not even myself. I know I’m there but I can’t see it. My feet can feel the ground beneath me and my skin knows that I’m outside. I walk. I keep walking and my feet continue to smack against the concrete. There’s something or someone behind me. I turn my head to look. I still can’t see anything. But it’s getting closer, whatever it is. I walk a bit faster. I can feel it catching up with me. I run. I run and run and run until I can’t run anymore. I see a bridge. I stop. The bridge crosses a river to my right. I must have been walking beside it the whole time. Uncle Keith is sitting in a small wooden boat, next to me, in the water. He turns his head to me. I want to ask him for help but no words come out. His eyes stare straight through me. They’re empty and blank. His face is expressionless. He’s not who I thought he was. The something or someone following me is so close, I can feel it. Uncle Keith turns away. I run towards the bridge but my feet won’t get me there. I’m running but I’m not moving. My feet thud at the ground, and my legs thrust forwards and backwards, and my arms grab the space in front of me, and my body bounces up and down, but I don’t go anywhere. Uncle Keith is still next to me and the bridge is still in the distance. If only I could reach it. If only I could get there. My heart thumps behind my rib cage. My mouth is dry. My palms sweat, my armpits sweat, my back sweats, my stomach sweats. I will myself to move forwards. I wish and I beg and I pray that I can get to the bridge. The thing behind me is so close. I open my mouth to scream. No sound interrupts the darkness. I open my mouth wider and take a deep breath before forcing out a scream, but only the deep breath escapes. I try again, and again, and again, but I can’t. I can’t move. I can’t scream. It’s behind me. It’s right behind me. I flail my arms to keep it from getting to me. It’s there. It’s got me.
(At the end of this dream, I'd always wake up, sitting up in bed, arms poised to run, and mouth open to shout. It was terrifying.)
Our task for the session was to write a dream if we'd done nightmare for homework, or vice versa. I found this quite difficult, because I tend to remember the nightmares (mainly because they were recurring). But I managed to drag this out of my memory.
I get in the car and find myself driving up Church Road, along Whites Lane, past the church, past the wildlife park, to the roundabout. I wait for the traffic to move but it's never ending. A gap appears. I pull out. I turn right and take the road between the road to Gisleham and the dual carriageway. This road wasn't here yesterday. The tarmacked road turns into a bumpy, pot-holed, muddy path, just wide enough for my car to get through. Trees. So many trees. I can't stop and I can't turn around. I keep going. I pull up by a run down shack. A man looks at me from the window and comes out to greet me. I wind down my window and tell him that I'm looking for Stephen King's Car Parts Graveyard as I need some bits and pieces to fix my car. He points in the direction I'm already going, but doesn't say anything. I thank him and pull away. I see him standing on the path in the rear view mirror. The trees go on forever. I can't see any car parts anywhere. The trees start to disappear and I drive into a large clearing. At the far end is a red and white striped circus big top, with fairground rides and stalls dotted around. I'm out of my car and I wander.
(This is a partial recurring dream. Quite often I have driven down this road, but there has always been something different at the end. I just find this strange, as everything apart from this road exists. There's a roundabout at the end of my road, with a dual carriageway to the right, the A12 to Ipswich on the left, and the road to Gisleham on the other side of the roundabout, but the road I end up going down doesn't exist.)
A couple of other things were discussed in the group; the anthology and the website.
Terry has done a brilliant job by building the website, and it can be found here http://lowestoftlibrarywritersgroup.onesuffolk.net/. It's coming together nicely, so keep checking back to see our news.
Hopefully our anthology will be out in March. It's going to contain short stories, poems, and photographs depicting the local area. Our homework for this month is twofold; to write a few more pieces so that everyone can have a couple of bits of work in the anthology, and to put together a short biography for the website's members' page.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 12th February.