Nightmare 11: No Brakes

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
I’m in a car heading for cars stopped at a red light. I touch the accelerator and the car takes off down the road right for the stopped traffic. But my brake foot is frozen and I can’t lift it to stop the car. I wake up.
-S.B.

Dear S.B.,
Here’s what happened next. For a moment you were stunned, afraid, looking at the cars in front of you. But then your instincts, borne of many years of driving, kicked in. You jerked the wheel, making a sudden right onto a side street, and let the car start to slow. Your eyes scanned the driveways to the left and right of you until you saw just what you needed: A sharp upwards slope. You turned the car, which was now moving fairly slowly, and the car pulled into the driveway and rolled gently upward until it came to a stop. You pulled the handbrake and breathed deep, feeling grateful that you knew just what to do in this sort of emergency. Then you picked up your phone and called someone to help you figure out what was wrong with your foot.

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Nightmare 10: The Final Face

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
OK, so. I’m walking through some huge and unknown warehouse/factory-type place. Rickety metal walkways, dripping pipes, thrumming unseen machinery. The place is badly lit with flickery overheads and there’s an awful, gut-clenchingly, ominous atmosphere. Somehow I know that I’m here to encounter or experience some concept called ‘the final face’ and that this is inevitable and unavoidable. I’m suffused with stress and fear. I inch along until finally I think, despite the sense of inevitability, I’m going to escape without incident.

Wrong. Suddenly a figure drops onto me from one of the overhead walkways. I’m pinned to the ground by strong, wiry arms. The guy shoves his face right up against mine, he’s completely bald and wide-eyed and every sinew in his head and neck shows as he screams into my face, with manic intensity : ‘THE FINAL FACE, MAN! THE FINAL FACE!’
I awake traumatised and even today, some twenty years later, I still feel tense and corrupt even thinking about it.
-A.S.

Dear A.S.,
You woke up too soon! Here’s what happened next: For a moment, you were taken aback Continue reading

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Nightmare 9: The Bogeyman

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
From about 3-9, I had a recurring nightmare. I would dream that I had awakened in our garage. I was in a baby’s crib. It was very dark. The Bogeyman appeared beside the crib. He was holding a log from the woodpile. He said, “If the leg of the crib breaks, I will hit you with this log.” Immediately, one leg of the crib broke and the crib tilted. I would then wake up terrified.
-J.M.

Dear J.M.,
You woke up too soon! Here’s what happened next. The moment the crib tilted, your Continue reading

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Nightmare 8: Acting Class

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
I’m in an acting class. The exercise is to explain how a stove works. I study. I prepare. Day of assignment I begin my presentation. I get two words out and professor screams NO! And then tells me I didn’t prepare and belittles me. I run from classroom aimlessly wandering the halls. I wake up feeling horrible, like it was real.
-S.B.

Dear S.B.,
You woke up too soon! Here’s what happened next:
You were so distraught, you didn’t notice Continue reading

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Nightmare 7: Ray Gun

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
Hostile aliens landed. I tried to get away, but one of the aliens zapped me with his ray gun. The way the ray gun worked was to dissolve the bonds between my molecules, so that I’d float apart like a cloud. Upon being zapped, my terror suddenly changed to a calm stillness. I was frozen in place for a moment, then gently blacked out both visually and mentally as I drifted apart…
-C.K.

Dear C.K.,
And then you opened your eyes, still Continue reading

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Nightmare 6: Quarantine

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares:
There’s a wildfire and I had to be evacuated. I honestly don’t know where I was living–this was not a place familiar to me. I live in the Cahuenga Pass and spend a lot of time at my parents’ house in Pasadena–both had fires very nearby recently, but I don’t have a clear feeling that I was at either place. Maybe somewhere in between. All I know is that because of the fire, all the people were evacuated and all the animals were quarantined. I know that makes no sense. But in my head, that’s what happened–I had to get out, and they took my dog Chance from me. They took him to a vet’s office I’d never seen before. I was going to this office to see him because I hadn’t seen him since we were evacuated. I walked up to the front desk and explained I was there for Chance. And they explained that I couldn’t take him home, but I could see him, but only for a few minutes because they were so overwhelmed.
So they took me in the back to an exam room. And then a vet tech brought Chance in. And I could see when he walked in that he was terrified and nervous, but as soon as he saw me he erupted in joyful wiggles. And he gave me kisses and I hugged him and tried to explain that I didn’t abandon him, and I was gonna have to leave again, but that I was going to be back to get him. Of course, I knew he couldn’t understand me, so I just started sobbing. And almost immediately the tech returned and said my time was up, and started dragging him away, and he looked at me with this look, like “Mom WHY ARE YOU LETTING THEM TAKE ME?!”
And then I woke up.
-C.W.

Dear C.W..
You woke up too soon! A moment later, you Continue reading

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Nightmare 5: Hippo

Dear Person Who Rewrites Nightmares,
The other day I yanked myself violently awake after dreaming that I glanced behind myself and found that a hippopotamus was just about to bite my leg. He was aiming at my right calf I believe and BOOM I was AWAKE!
-G.K.

Dear G.K.,
You woke up too soon. In the next moment, you remembered Continue reading

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