Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Each Dawn I Die

I am one of the golden opportunities you never took.

How’s that then?

You recall your years as a child?

Yes. Yes I do.

I was that hazy thing in the distance.

Hey, were you the dream I had about the stone cellar steps?

It depends. What happened in the dream?

I was at the top of these steps looking down at the point where the steps curled behind the dusty brick wall at the bottom. I could hear huge booming footsteps rising and could see the flicker of candle light as it came closer. I sat there, in terror, knowing that at any moment something horrible would emerge from behind the wall. In the dream, I imagined – without actually seeing it – that the thing booming up the stairs was some kind of hideous simulacrum of my mother. It was all big teeth with bent crooked arms. But the thing, whatever it was, never actually materialised. It was the threat of it, the noise of it. I used to have that dream night after night.

No, that wasn’t me.

Were you the dream about the psychedelic escalator?

What was that?

It was a vision of the escalator that used to be in the old WH Smith on Wheeler Gate that is now, I believe, a Virgin Megastore. The same street where Sisson and Parker used to be. Ah, I loved Sisson and Parker. Anyway, the dream was that I’d walk into Smith’s, see the escalator and then stand unable to move as the whole scene flashed and pulsated in a wild blaze of psychedelic colours. Yet the escalator stayed the same. It was one of those old black and grey ones. Full of bulk and substance. And it was just one, that went down. Once on the lower floor you had to get back up by the stairs. There was no escalator back up.

No. That wasn’t me.

Were you the dream where I’d walk past Pepper’s, the barber’s, on Trinity Square and swing from the lamppost thing? Round and round I went, like an Olympic champion. At first the dream was a nightmare. It used to terrify me. But then I told myself to embrace it and enjoy the experience. I used to look forward to it after that.

Nope, that wasn’t me either.

What about the giraffes in the floor?


My mam or dad would come up to my room, say goodnight and then turn my light off. I used to hate them turning my light off because I wanted to stay awake to read. As soon as they’d gone I’d get out of bed and head for the door. But before I could reach the light switch something would pull me down into the floor. Like a whole mess of giraffes and other zoo animals. It was horrible. Every night I’d try to get to my light switch before these things grabbed me. I never succeeded – they got me every time. And every morning I’d wake up in bed. To this day I’m not convinced that something strange didn’t actually, really, happen.

What do you mean?

Have you seen Rosemary’s Baby?

What’s that?

It’s a film. Roman Polanski.

No, I haven’t seen it.

What I mean is, I’m not convinced that I wasn’t, you know, somehow being interfered with. In reality. And that it was all so horrible I put it down to nightmares. You know, blocked it out. Like one of those repressed memories.

What? Sexually interfered with?

Maybe. I was, uh, quite sexually aware at a very young age. Not aware, more interested. I was quite sexually motivated. Very interested. I began to fantasise about sex when I was like five or six. Very young.

So who was fiddling with you? Your parents?

I don’t know.

It could have been something supernatural.


You know, ghosts, demons. Satanic stuff.

Are you sure you haven’t seen Rosemary’s Baby?

Yes. Why?


Or maybe it was, like you say, your parents.

I didn’t say it was my parents. I said I didn’t know.

Why don’t you ask them?

How can I ask them?

Just, you know, tell them about the strange dreams you had and see if you get any reaction. If you do, ask them. Ask them why they fiddled with you.

I wouldn’t call it fiddled. It was a bit more than that. There were giraffes and everything. It was like a big, full production. Fiddled is just, well, a hand down the pyjamas isn’t it?

I wouldn’t know.

Neither would I.

Yes you would. You’ve just been telling me how you were messed about with all those years by your parents.

No I didn’t. It was just, just a dream. That’s all it was.

Are you sure?



Yes! Yes, I’m sure. Just a dream. A nightmare.

You’re right to believe that.


That it was just a nightmare.


Because it was a nightmare.

How do you know?

You remember how I told you I was one of those golden opportunities you never took?


That was me. I was your light switch.


I was your light switch. I’d sit on the wall, night after night, willing you to turn me on. Willing you to flood your life with the light that only I could provide. And every night you failed.

Because of the giraffes?

There weren’t any giraffes. It was just you. You’d get out of bed, tip toe across the floor and then spaz out. You’d be rolling all over the floor, whining, groaning and carrying on. And then you’d crawl back to bed.



Wow. So it was all just a nightmare then?

Sort of. Although let’s not forget the spazzing out bit. That wasn’t a nightmare. That was you being mad.


Anonymous Hannah Pan said...

I like the 'were you...' device that lets you branch off into any direction you wish. And I like the directions you take. Especially the kind of creepy fiddly giraffes bit thats end up as a ha-ha-ha ending.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Hannah Pan said...

I meant 'that ends up...' not thats. Obviously.

4:05 PM  
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