When I was a kid I read a lot. My favourite genres were mysteries, science fiction, fantasy and history. Occasionally I’d run out of things to read. I’d start venturing out of my comfort zone, ending up in the unknown reaches of biographies, romance and other things I’d not normally consider spending time on. One day I made the mistake of reading Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror.
I had an overactive imagination as a child, which explains my fascination with mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes genre short stories would stray into uncomfortable territory (say, graphic torture) but in general I tended to focus on the spectacular and fantastic aspects of the material. Unfortunately for eight-year-old me, the most spectacular and fantastic aspect of The Amityville Horror turned out to be a demon pig.
I no longer remember the text or detail from the book, only that my imagination generated an image of the creature that was frightening. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, sweating from running from the devil swine. It was always a series of long, dark corridors. Wherever I’d turn, the hog was in the distance, advancing inexorably on my dream avatar. This continued for weeks, until I got sick from lack of sleep and nightmare-induced stress.
I’d had enough. I did what any young man would do when pursued by malevolent pork in his slumber. I did research.
After poring through as many books on dreams and nightmares as I could get my hands on, I decided to attempt a technique that was described in more than one tome. Before I went to sleep, I forced myself to visualize the infernal grunter in a dark corridor. I told myself that this time, I’d like it catch me. As Satan’s Swine came within arm’s reach, I’d be encased by an armor of light, and the Vorpal Sword would appear in my hand. I’d battle the devilish porker, and I would win.
It didn’t immediately end up that way, as I recall. I’d still run, though each night I’d stand my ground longer. One night I finally let the Satanic Sow come within spitting distance. I can remember feeling the heat from its infernal meat. I don’t remember getting the armor, but I do remember a fancy sword. If my long string of sleepless evenings running from demon swine ended in a climactic battle, I cannot recall. What I do know is after that, the nightmares stopped, and the pig no longer bothered me.
I like to imagine that it was an epic encounter, and that my dream avatar lopped its porky head off in an emphatic snicker-snack. One side effect of that piggy episode is that since then I either no longer dream at all, or I’ve lost the ability to remember my dreams. While I don’t regret how it all ended, I do miss waking up and remembering fields of cotton candy and rivers of milk chocolate.
This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of May 26, 2015.
“Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?”