I awoke from a nightmare at three this morning. In my dream, I was a little girl again, and I was all alone. I traveled through many dark places-- walking, climbing, through cities and towns. It was always nighttime. I could hear voices yelling. The first one sounded like Daddy. Then there were other voices mixed in-- my brothers, and my mother. But they weren't with me. The voices were just a continuous nuisance. Eventually, I was in a boat, an old and dirty canoe, floating in the middle of a huge lake. I clung to my teddy bear, knowing I had no way of directing the boat. There were no oars.
Eventually, the boat hit a silty bank, and someone was waiting for me. My Aunt Brenda took my hand and led me inside. She said it was time for bed, and she was going to tuck me in. I complied.
The house was immense and dark, perched on a hill, with huge windows overlooking the lake. Inside the house, replicas of cities and towns emitted the only light. I peered at them, certain there were spirits inside those replicas, watching us.
"Come on, time for bed. Get your teddy bear. How about the other one?" My aunt indicated a second bear that looked the same as my bear. I picked it up, thinking of the second bear as extra protection-- extra companionship. I knew I would be alone in the dark, and I needed someone with me.
The only place for me to sleep was in the kitchen, on a mat. It was cavernous and frightening. As the house settled, and the shadows multiplied, I grew more nervous. There was another child there, a little girl who looked just like me and was dressed the same. Her name was Hannah. She had a mat in the living room, in front of the wide windows. I could see the windows from where I was. I wanted to go to Hannah, because I knew she was just as frightened as I was, but every time I moved, I cast an eerie shadow on the opposite wall, a shadow that looked horrifying, like something coming to get her. Whenever she saw a shadow, she would shriek, and I would feel guilty, because I was causing her fear.
Something was casting more shadows against the windows. They were hands, all of them reaching up and changing position as the moon moved in the sky. I thought someone would hurt me. I was so scared. Hannah and I screamed at the same time when a door slammed. I woke up.
In the darkness of my bedroom, I was afraid to move. I've dreamt of hands reaching for me before, and it's always terrifying. I went back to bed with the light on and woke up late. What a strange adventure, with so many possible meanings.