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  • Writer's pictureJohn Watson

Two Dream Houses

I have probably mentioned in the past that a lot of my story ideas come from dreams. What I know I have not told you all is that I ave a couple of recurring dreams, or should I say, recurring places.

I dream of two very different houses; one that makes me feel happy and one that fills me with total and utter dread and leaves me feeling unsettled the entire following day.

Let's start with the pleasant one. I feel as though I know it is in Scotland. It sits atop a hill, overlooking a lush, picturesque valley. There is a bench out front, which is where I always sit, and a bus stop in the form of a loop. The bus comes, navigates the circle, and heads back down the hill. The property itself is an apartment building that is painted a peach or coral type of shade. I seem to be aware that I have relatives who live there, yet I never go inside to visit, content to while away the hours looking across the landscape. My last dream visit there was not good, though, as the building was damaged and the windows broken and boarded up. My hope is that it will return to normal the next time I pop in.

The other place is awful and just talking about it now, especially as I am writing late in the evening, makes me worry that the house may just come creeping in with the Sandman. From the outside, it looks lovely enough. A wide staircase leads up to a wraparound porch where potted plants sit. It's a well-maintained building, the blue shutters on the window showing just the slightest cracks in the paint.

It all turns to rot when I set foot inside. My chest always feels heavy and I find it hard to breathe. There is a carpeted staircase with an ornate handrail immediately inside the front door. On the second level, there is a set of stairs that leads up into the attic. That is where my bedroom is. The floorboards and bare and weather, a tatty old Persian rug doing it's best to cover the worst of the stains. In the corner, there is an encased shower unit and toilet, both sitting out in the open. The entire place is covered in garish wallpaper that looks as though it was plucked from a 1970's showhome. There are movie posters all over the wall and my bed sits below a grimy little window that lets in no light. The only illumination comes from a bare bulb hanging by a string in the middle of the roof. The bulb always sways, as though touched by a phantom breath.

It is when I lay down to sleep in that place that dread begins to creep in. I can hear the posters being ripped from the wall, one by one. The light flicks off and, casting shadows that dance across the wall as though seen through a zoetrope. I hear threatening voices and pained screams, which is usually what drives me awake.

The last time I dreamt of that place, I spent the entire next day convinced that I had, at some point in my life, actually lived there. I know I haven't, at least not in this life.


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