Last night my nightmares came back with a vengeance. I fell asleep, completely exhausted, and was quickly whisked into the future. Dreamtime knows no boundaries, no rules. Nightmares can do anything. They are all powerful and in my mind, in this particular state, they are real.
I was homeless. I smelled bad, my clothes were rough, torn, dirty and not my own. I had a hat but my hair was stringy and dirty underneath and it itched. I was hungry. My belly twisted against the back of my spine and the only bright spot of this particular nightmare was that it occurred to me that I was finally thin.
It was late afternoon and I felt more urgent about finding a safe place to sleep for the night than I felt about finding food. Something in my starved gut told me that if I was caught on the street after dark, I was toast. So I watched other homeless people file into large commercial buildings and sky scrapers. You could tell they had been office buildings at one point; hospitals, nursing homes, banks. But now they were open to the public at all hours, their signs no longer lit, their entrances disheveled, garbage filling what once were flowerbeds – and the public was starting to pour in.
I found the entrance I was looking for. It was a hotel abandoned by management long ago. Upstairs the hallways were lined with refuse, but there was a room my subconscious was looking for. It would be clean, it would be quiet, and I would be left alone there. I could lock the door behind me and sleep. I just wanted to sleep.
True to my instincts, at the end of the hallway and after pushing past groups of blank eyed others, I found my door. It wasn’t a bedroom. It didn’t have a bathroom or a soft bed and chair. It was more of a closet, with just enough space for my bag of crap, a pillow and blanket, and a window at one end, permitting sunlight to dance in before it sunk below the treeline outside.
My soul relaxed as I dropped my bag against the closed door and started to lay out the pillow and blanket I’d left there during a previous visit. I turned to lock the door behind me, remembering I wanted to be alone tonight – alone, undisturbed, please God, just let me sleep in peace – but the deadbolt knob was gone. And as I pondered the smooth grey of the door where the lock had been, a woman pushed in and started barking at me.
She was small, older, dressed in a suit. She was clean, her hair stood out from her head, curled, teased, sprayed. She was not like me. She was not homeless and she was in charge. She told me not to bother with a lock, I was required to share my space now. It was the rule.
Who’s rule? I challenged her.
THE rule. You are obligated to share if you don’t contribute. You don’t contribute so what you have will be taken from you when it is needed. Tonight, your space and your body are needed to comfort the heart sick and lustful. A man will be here soon.
She slammed the door in my face and panic broke my chest.
My room was gone. My peace was gone. The sun was leaving. There was no where else to go. I was not going to give of myself or my space willingly, but I couldn’t fight THE rule. I knew I couldn’t win a fight. I would die fighting and no one would care.
So that’s what I did. I pushed my belongings against the wall. I braced my feet against the walls on either side, grateful for the thick rubber treads of my boots that gripped the walls on either side of the skinny room. I watched the sun die leaving an inky black nothing behind. My inky black room. A trap of darkness to drown in.
And then the knob started to turn.
I felt the door push against me. I felt him on the other side. I felt him push harder, and heave. I heard him groan with the strain. I knew he was angry. He’d been promised release, comfort, flesh, a bed and a woman – he’d been promised me. He didn’t expect any effort would be required.
He pushed, but I pushed back.
Then he spoke.
A hissing sound, not a voice. Not words, just intention – I will have you. You are mine.
A demon, not a man.
I woke in a sweaty panic, completely aware that this dream was real. This demon was real. My demons are real, and they want me. But I will not give in. I will not fail. I will not fail.