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Aug. 2nd, 2007

I had a powerfully disturbing dream last night. So heavily symbolic, it could make Freud weep. I had to write it out, just to make sense of it.

It’s cold, and it’s snowing. Night. Dark, and I’m so very exhausted. The bag on my back is so heavy, I can hardly walk. EX is calling to me, to hurry. He’s always just out of my sight, and I’m staggering. I fall, shocks of icy cold going up my legs, my knees throbbing and aching. I don’t think I can take another step. But I do. Somehow I do. I keep plodding on, trying to breathe. My lungs are so tight, and the air burns. But EX is waiting up ahead. He’s on a train, and it looks so warm and well lit. Squares of glowing light spilling out from housings of cold, studded gray. It looks like heaven. I somehow pull myself onto the train and slump into the seat.

It doesn’t seem so much like a train as a roller coaster. The hills it goes over seem too high, the tracks too narrow. We’re so high that I’m afraid to breathe or move; my knuckles are white as I grip a polished steel handrail. I’m not sure where my bags are. The train goes over a bridge so high I feel my heart in my ears. There’s water all around us, and I don’t think we’ll survive the plunge.

We do. The train stops, and I find myself in a coach. It’s lined with red velvet, and there are several people I don’t know in there. EX is in the coach. When I look at my reflection, I see myself as I wished I looked as an adolescent. My hair is long and blonde, and I’m small and thin. LK is with me, and we look like twins. I know that we are sisters, and that we are going somewhere very exciting.

We arrive at a huge lodge in Williamsburg. It is very old fashioned, but somewhat overgrown, as if it has gone to seed. The brickwork is white, but crumbling and faded in places. It is twilight. We go in.

Inside there are many people, some that I know. Most of the people are strangers. I know that we are supposed to solve a mystery. It is like one of those murder-mystery themed parties. I know that it’s not real, but most of the people there believe it is real. I can hear the people who are running this show discussing who will be the next to “die,” and how it will be accomplished. I see a man ducking out the back door, and we are told that he has been murdered. The game is on.

It is very exciting. We’re running all over, and LK is finding clues—but the clues she finds are not about the pretend murders. I realize that there is a real mystery—a dangerous evil lives in this house.

I can’t find LK anywhere, or anyone I know. I try to warn people about the evil, but they gently explain that it’s all for fun, and I needn’t worry. But the more involved in the mystery I become, the more frightened I am. I can see ghosts in the house now. The ghosts are angry at me.

A man asks if I can see anything in a mirror. I stretch to see into it; I am the only one who can see. A monstrous face flickers in and out of the mirror. It says I will burn in hell if I betray their secrets. I try to tell the man, but he says it’s just a pre-programmed effect as part of the show. When anyone else looks in the mirror, they get a projected recording that’s related only to the pretend-mystery we’re all supposed to solve.

LK is back, and she hands me a poem. She says it’s an original document, written by the man who haunts this house. I read it aloud. I notice that she’s gone. The paper in my hands is old and crumbling, and the words don’t make sense. But when I read them aloud, the ghosts become more solid. I don’t want to be in this house, which is getting older, mustier and darker every moment. I feel like I am seeing through a thick haze of smoke. Curtains that were white have turned dingy and yellowed with age. Cobwebs have grown in corners, over the backs of the chairs. It is a sinister and dank place.

I find LK. I tell her I don’t want to solve this mystery anymore. That this mystery should be left alone. I ask her to please be honest with me if it’s okay with her if we leave. She nods and says something I don’t understand, and we get in a car. My mother is driving. We are finally leaving this terrible house. The car is quiet. Mom and LK don’t look right somehow. I am still seeing through smoke.

I realize that I am still in the house. Now I am alone in it, and the halls are dark and dusty, filled with dirt and cobwebs. The ghosts are becoming more solid. I can see a hunched, crooked-shouldered woman trying to get through a door, and what looks like a corpse made of dust is walking towards me. I am surrounded by whispering voices accusing me of betrayal. I am moving helplessly towards the door which leads to the basement, where I know the evil is waiting. I scream.

I am back in the car with my mother and LK. This time I am sure I am really leaving. But again the smokescreen over my eyes thickens, and again I realize that I haven’t left the house at all. Voices whisper and howl that I am betraying them. That the world doesn’t need to know their secrets. That they will keep me here. That he wants me. I know the evil is in the basement room. The door is gray and thick with dust. The dust-man comes towards me, and I scream that I want to leave. I pick up a vase from a decaying table and throw it. It strikes his head causing a cloud of dust, but he keeps coming towards me, and I cannot turn away from the door.

I wake up. Terrified, shaking and cold. I turn on the lights and wrap up warm. I am too afraid to move. I lie in my bed with the nightmare still so fresh that I almost expect to find myself in that terrible hallway, with the dust-man approaching and the voices rising around me. But the house is quiet and peaceful. I think about my decision to stop keeping EX's secrets. I wonder if this is a sign that I shouldn’t tell after all. Finally, I fall back to sleep.

I am back in the house, but the ghosts have lost all their solidity. The house is old and dusty, but no longer seems malignant. I walk towards that basement door. I am still very afraid, but I know I must confront whatever lives in the basement of that house. I open the door.

It is an ordinary room. The floor is polished concrete and the walls are a rough, dark wood. A few empty bookcases. An unupholstered chair, a simple wooden table, an old, worn orange and brown sofa. Nothing more. EX is the only person in the room. His hair is shoulder-length and curly, and he is wearing his burgundy velvet jacket and black silk pants, and an elaborate ascot. He runs to me, speaking in a carefully cultured British accent. He thinks he’s the ghost.

He’s not a ghost, he’s just EX.

He’s running around the room now, explaining how beautiful his lair will be, and how much he loves me. He is explaining all the parts of the mystery, but I’m not listening. His words run together in an incoherent babble, and I don’t follow. He’s trying to hug me, trying to kiss me, but I walk away. I walk outside. He’s still in the house.

I wake up. The sun is shining.



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