Episode 030419

It’s been a while since the last time I wrote something in this supposed virtual diary.

This entry will be about my dreams, which I also haven’t talked about for quite some time.

Imagination is a sharpest weapon against reality, quoted a wise man. Since my reality can be a sentence at times, my imagination finds a will to thrive. It becomes the core of my stories when I’m conscious, and when I’m asleep, it finds a fertile soil in my unconsciousness, where it breeds many a universe, some of which meet their demise right after I wake up while some manage to take root in my memory and can still be recalled in remotely vivid detail later. And I thought it would be useful to jot them down to keep them against the corrosion of time, so that I’ll have something to look at fondly when reality becomes too bearing. Maybe, just maybe some day those dreams will gain a life on paper as they become an inspiration for my stories.

Warning: this may turn into a long rant.

1. Hands from the pillow

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? If you haven’t heard of it, here’s what I understand: it’s a condition where you wake in the middle of your sleep. You’re mostly awake, not drowsy, and you find that you are unable to move your limbs or body, in other word, you’re paralyzed (hence the name sleep paralysis). It lasts a few seconds, maybe minutes, until you can move again. Sometimes, when you’re paralyzed, you will experience hallucinations in the form of terrifying apparitions. Scary? Absolutely. It reminds me of Nell’s episode in The Haunting of Hill House (season 1), where Nell’s visions of her own ghost are associated with sleep paralysis. I’m not sure what I’ve been through was a bad dream or an episode of sleep paralysis, but it is how I imagine a person should feel when they go through the latter. I don’t remember what I had been dreaming about before it happened, but when it did, it felt abrupt. I opened my eyes and saw the outline of my room, thanks to the street lights outside the curtained window. At first I thought I was having one of those wake-up moments where my sleep is disrupted and I open my eyes long enough to be aware that I’m not dreaming before going back to sleep like nothing happens. But no. It’s not one of those moments. All of sudden, a pair of hands, withered and burnt like the leaves left out in the sun, grew out of my pillow like some B-movies and grabbed my head, trying to pull me into the pillow and then God-knows-where. I was panicked like I’ve never known panic before, and instinctively fought to free myself from their grasp. My arms flew about in the air, trying to hold onto something but there was nothing (of course there wasn’t). I thought of my mother, who was in the same room and only one or two meters away from me, and shouted for her help. Then, like a horror movie cliche, my voice didn’t come out when I opened my mouth so my mother, deep in her sleep, had no idea what was going on. Scared and despaired, I was left alone in my losing battle for a few seconds, which felt like hours, before I woke, this time for real. The room was the same, dimly lit by the street lights, but there was no dried up hands protruding from my pillows. I heard the clock ticking and breathed a long sigh; never before had I felt so relieved that the horrifying scene I’d been through was only a dream.

Was it?

2. Long live the emperor

Unlike the aforementioned dream, this dream is much longer and as such, most of its details had already been washed away when I got up. What I want to talk about here isn’t the dream’s plot however, interesting as it may be; rather, it’s the dominant feeling in the dream, which has lingered for days later and as I’m writing this entry, it still persists. In this dream, I was a subject of an emperor, and that wasn’t a faceless, fictional emperor but the one and only Qin Shi Huang Di, known to the world as the First Emperor of China, specifically his depiction in FGO (perhaps I really should play less FGO, as they often joke in the fandom). I was framed and under investigation, and my subordinates (you don’t mean ‘teammates’?!) urged me to appeal to the Emperor. I refused, saying with a confident smile that I wholeheartedly believed in His Highness’s fair judgment and he’d see that I was innocent and had always been a loyal subject to him. I had no idea why my dream self had such faith in Qin Emperor while in real life, I would deem it naive and even foolish to blindly trust someone on the throne as those with the most power tend to be the least merciful to their own retainers; history has given example aplenty. However, in the end, my innocent was proven, my loyalty appreciated and I even had a chance to fight alongside the king in a Dragon Ball-esque battle against some unknown force. It was simply epic, to use a movie cliche. I remembered waking up to the sound of the alarm with a content smile, something I haven’t had for a while. It feels magical to have someone whom you can trust with all your heart and trusts you in return, especially when you’re me, who lacks a role model in her life and has severe trust issues (that is, I guard my thoughts and build up a wall around me and have almost never opened up about my feelings, my fears and desires, with anyone, friends or family). Absurd as it may sound, Emperor Qin is a manifestation of my yearning to have such a figure in my life.

3. A Time for Us

Unlike the above two, this dream has a rather comprehensive plot. In my dream, there were three girls whose faces were blurred but somehow I have a hunch that I know them in reality. The first part of the dream was obscure, and I can only recall sporadic details: a fight, a sea, people being thrown into the sea, the girls and their lovers were hunted. Somewhere along the way, the girls were separated from their lovers. Probably abducted. The scene blackened and once the light was on again, they woke up in a strange land and soon came to a realization that they were in captivity of an old hag that might or might not be a witch. Typical much? They struggled of course and after a while, they managed to take down the barrier and flew away. Did I forget to mention they each had a pair of pristine white wings? And so they escaped to the world outside and their first thought was to find their lovers. Something was off about the world however and I, who had been watching them from the beginning, knew the world they knew was no more, but being a silent audience, I had no way to tell them. Not until did they meet their lovers, now in their 40s and had children, that those poor girls realized years had passed while they had been in that pocket land, where time was frozen. The girls remained young and beautiful and unchanged but the men they loved were no longer the men they had known. No one was at fault here; it’s just fate is too wicked. All these years those men had thought that the girls had left them and disappeared from their lives forever, and that had been the toxin in their veins as they had moved on and built their own family. As for the girls, they had their world turned upside down in a day and shattered, and they were left broken in this new world that had no place for them.

Those dreams strongly remind me Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Dreams and the time when I had to prepare my thesis. If dreams are manifestation of desires, I wonder what sort of message my unconscious mind is trying to tell me.

2 thoughts on “Episode 030419

  1. I’ve had bad cases of sleep paralysis with 2 or 3 episodes in the same night. It was very terrifying and I had nobody who understood it. So I poured out my experiences in my post. But its been a year since they have stopped. Later on I realized that it was due to my lack of sleep…
    But your episodes seem more scary to me. Cuz my hallucinations were never in that lose proximity to me.


    1. I guess those who have never gone through sleep paralysis aren’t able to comprehend how horrifying it can be. To make matters worse, it usually happens when we’re most vulnerable.
      This is the first time I’ve experienced it and I’m grateful it didn’t last very long.


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