No Dreams, No Packdrill 

No Dreams, No Packdrill

It was darker towards the middle of the room.

There is no fear greater than that of a greater fear. And a fear of death is not the greatest of all, by far.

John’s thoughts fired off each other as he dreaded their eventual outcome: insanity, complete and utter.

He had been in this room since daybreak. He had woken up on the couch, having the previous night fallen asleep, he thought, in his usual bed upstairs...if indeed he were downstairs at all.

The couch was under a bay window, a wooden surface with a narrow mattress on it. Most of the daylight hours he had been snoozing between dreams. Now with dusk, he noticed that the outskirts of the room, including even the windowless walls, were shirmering with light, leaving the central rug between the fireplace and the bay window in shadow. Not only shadow, but an almost tangible sooty mist rising towards the ceiling.

With growing horror, he realised that the dreams need not have been dreams at all, but merely what he feared most: the onset of insanity.

Then cane the big doubt, the one flaw in his line of argument. His mind flooded with mental fire, as he grew less confident about the nature/demarcation line of dream and insanity. Then, of course, there was that first rogue force called reality which feeds from both dream and insanity and then calls itself sanity for convenience (or just for the laugh). He felt more than a little confused, without properly understanding that the degree of his confusion was affecting all his senses, not only that of thinking. He smelled awful. He tasted his own dead body. He saw nothing but his own eyeballs slowly revolving in their sockets, with all the scratching at the window to get in. He touched the top of his head and felt a gluey substance instead, which action in itself seemed to cause other senses to be worse affected. The darkness in the middle of the room disappeared from sight.

John woke up in his usual bed upstairs, having slipped peacefully through a dreamless night, a beauty sleep to end all beauty sleeps. But it was still very dark outside.

(published ‘Midnight In Hell’ 1991)

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