Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dream Walking Wednesday: Man in the Mirror


            Many of my most intense nightmares are also my most brief. Often they occur in the normal and mundane places and situations of my daily life. Last night was a night for dreaming, and one of the dreams I remembered was one of these types: a short scene with a terrifying twist that left my heart hammering in my chest for minutes after I woke up.

            Sometimes, you see, you just barely come through on the other side of the glass.

            In my dream, I got out of my bed and shuffle-footed my way to the connecting bathroom. I yawned and stretched as I reached for the light switch.

            The light that came on was dull and gray – unlike the bright glow I am accustomed to from the six bulbs over the vanity. The meager light cast itself across a bathroom I knew was my own but barely recognized. Everything – the sink, the toilet, the bath tub – was covered in a fine layer of dust. It was as if the bathroom had stood vacant for many years. I ran a finger trail across the top of the sink in bewilderment.

            I looked up at the mirror then. The two-fold mirror had particle board nailed across its face in several layers – a mad carpenter’s jig-saw puzzle across the glass. There was only a small section of the mirror unmasked by the boards. I wiped the film of gray dust off the glass and stared at my reflection.

            I saw myself, as expected. Then my visage changed abruptly. In a hair’s breadth of time my confused reflection became a snarling face full of sharp vampire teeth. My reflection hissed at me through the glass, opening its maw and lurching towards me as I stumbled backward.

            This is when I woke up with a jerk as if I had been shocked with the ER doctor’s paddles after a cardiac arrest.

            Just a dream, we tell ourselves.

            Just escaped, my weary mind attests as it pulls me back to sleep, somehow knowing that window is shut again, for now.

            What is it about mirrors that both fascinates and frightens? Why do some people tremble at the doppelganger on the other side of the pane? And if you stare long enough at your own reflection too long, do you ever notice a slight change? Was that an upturn of the mouth as if to some dark secret knowledge? Was that a strange glint in the eyes – the recognition of being seen through a mirror darkly?

            Have you experienced a dream such as this? I would love to hear about it!

Until next time, Make Believers, keep on dreaming!


Monday, September 10, 2012


Of Masks and Costumes

            One of my favorite short stories is Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman”. For those of you who have never read it, you can find it in his collection “Night Shift.  In it the reader gets to sit in on a man’s visit to his psychiatrist. The patient is unloading years of grief and guilt over letting a nightmarish creature habitually terrorize and eventually strangle to death his young children in their cribs. But the grizzly scenes of the toddlers’ cruel deaths are not the defining moments of the story.

            Here is the kicker. After the patient leaves when his allotment of time has passed, he goes to make an appointment for the next visit and finds the lobby empty. On returning to the office he discovers to his horror that the psychiatrist he just poured out his soul to is in actuality the Boogeyman responsible for his anguish. The creature retreats into a dark closet holding a mask of the psychiatrist in its claws. As it shuts the door it whispers “Sweet…so sweet.” The monster was behind the mask. In costume it delved deeper into the malice it created to experience it more intimately.

            My children’s story “The Costume” approaches the monster in guise subject on a much lighter level. It follows a local bunch of kids on their magical night of trick-or-treating, and the strange child in the scariest costume they have ever seen that joins them in their fun. Adults are appalled and disgusted in his presence. The teachers at the Halloween Dance tremble in fear. Neighborhood dogs howl and run in the opposite direction when he passes by.  Not to give it all away, but when “The Costume” is taken off at the end of the night, the reader may discover that the monster on the outside may have hidden another within.

            I am looking into avenues to have “The Costume” published by this Halloween. I enjoyed writing the whimsical rhyming tale, and making the illustrations was an absolute delight! I really want to share it with all of you Make Believers out there!

            So, what are you going to dress up as this Halloween? And is your costume just a cover for something…wicked? ; )

            The porch light will be on at the tree house. I’ll have some goodies for any of you brave enough to show up.