I have been having some seriously disturbing 'dreams' this past month or so.
I've always had nightmares at times, bad ones, ones where I am aware I will die, die because someone wants me to.
But the nightmare has outdone itself this time.
It was probably about three weeks ago now but I went to bed as normal, read a bit & then dropped off to sleep. And you know those dreams where you are either semi awake or the dream is so clear you can't imagine it being anything but real? This is what that was like.
I was hiding, getting away from someone, I was in an alleyway & I remember breathing as silently as possible & being paranoid that my heart was beating so loud it could be heard, trying to keep my breaths steady & measured.
I remember being crouched down behind something, I'm not sure what though, maybe something like those big four wheel type bins that are always outside of restaurants because I could see shadows under the gap between the base of the bin & the ground. I remember praying that I'd be O.K, that he wouldn't see my feet & trying to keep my nerves & fear under control.
I remember hearing the footsteps, seeing the shadow, feeling the tears rolling down my cheeks. I remember him lifting the hinge lid of the bin, looking in. Hoping he'd pass by.
Then he found me, his face was in shadow & I knew there was no way I could possibly escape him. I remember sobbing & begging him not to hurt me, I remember him answering with a cold laugh & I remember making a desperate last effort to run, to back away.
The effort wasn't enough. I felt him grab my hair & pull my head back & I remember feeling sick because I knew there was nothing I could do. I know I tried to pull away & scratch, anything to get away & all I could hear was laughter.
I felt him push me down onto my back & I remember hearing him say that it was no good, it was too late. I'd failed to get away & now I was going to pay the price. More laughter.
I remember begging & sobbing to be let go, feeling the cold, lead fear in my gut & feeling the wet cobblestones on the back of my head & body.
Then I felt his hands round my throat, tightening, gripping, trying to fight with my legs any way I could but feeling the heavy weight of his body pinning them down. Wishing I wasn't so small, wishing I was taller so it wasn't such an uneven match. Feeling his hands get tighter, then just his one hand pressing down over my larynx, suffocating me & me panicking. Then I saw him bring a knife out of his pocket, saw the silver glint in the streetlight. Feeling my body turn to cold, liquid fear & dread.
Still hearing his laughter but still not seeing his face clearly.
Feeling his hand press down harder & seeing the knife come towards me.
Trying so hard to scream & hearing the sound in my head but no sound coming out of my mouth, trying so hard to fight back, to scream & to kick, anything to stop him.
The sick realisation that nobody would save me becasue nobody knew, nobody could hear me or see me.
Feeling as if I was about to give up, that I just couldn't fight it anymore, couldn't fight him, seeing the blade draw within an inch of me & being resigned to my fate, wanting it to be over quickly & praying it wouldn't hurt but crying my heart out.
That I just wanted him to leave me alone or get it over with.
And then I woke up. Shaking, sobbing & being terrified he was there in my room, that it couldn't possibly be a dream, it was too real. He was too real. It was all too real.
Frantically kicking the bedding off & laying there in the cool air, feeling the tears run down my face, my body shivering with fright & feeling my heart rushing. Breathing deeply & trying to calm myself, feeling my hands, my legs shaking. Shaking with panic still & trying to calm my body & brain after the realisation it was all in my head & I was safe, there was nobody there.
The tears of dread & fear turning to tears of blissful relief.
I didn't go back to sleep that night.