Sarah Gurr is a PhD candidate in the School of Education, and NUPSA’s Research Representative.
Dreams are strange. I have always been surprised by the sheer absurdity of the thoughts and images my mind is able to conjure while I sleep. I can recall a time, back in high school, when my dreams were so vivid that I thought the conversations I’d had in them were real, and I would sometimes make reference to them in real life conversations. For a while, I would walk to school trying to distinguish fact from fiction. For a month after I submitted my Honours thesis, I would regularly wake in a panic believing I still had chapters to write, deadlines to meet, and urgent unread emails from my supervisor to respond to.
Of all of the dreams I have ever had, though, none have been burnt into my memory as carefully and completely as one I had when I was five. To be fair, it is not a particularly exciting story, nor is it that traumatic and yet, for whatever reason, I can still recall it eighteen years later. So, if you’d like to read something ridiculous and feel a little better about whatever absurd dreams you have been having lately, read on.
Let’s set the scene. The landscape is a single block of apple green that stretches to meet a bright blue sky. A single fluffy white cloud is poised in the middle in the sky. The sun, shaped something like a shuriken and consisting of layers of orange, red and yellow, sits low on the horizon line but casts no shadows. No hues of scarlet or violet bleed into the blue to indicate whether it is dawn or dusk that approaches.
In the foreground are a cluster of grey rocks of varying sizes. Just past a small clearing sit two apple trees – their foliage bears no distinct shape but is a deep green colour, and their branches are emblazoned with red, ripe fruit.
There is a rustle in the trees. For a moment, an eye peers out at you. And then once again, stillness.
A pale blonde girl enters the frame. Her hair is pulled into two long plaits and she wears a blue and white checked dress. Her face is plain and her expression is empty, her cheeks without colour and her black, beady eyes without light. Carrying what appears to be a picnic basket, she makes a beeline towards the clearing.
The trees rustle as the girl draws closer. From behind the trees emerges a figure. The figure bears the vague shape of a human body, but without the detail. It is bald, naked and with no distinguishable features other than a single eye in the middle of its face.
The figure attacks the girl and pulls her behind the trees. The rustling of the trees becomes more violent, though their fruit does not fall. Then, once more, the scene is silent and still.
Soon after, two more people enter the frame. A boy with black hair, white t-shirt and blue trousers, and a girl with long brown hair and a pink dress. Both bear the same empty expressions as the previous visitor. The couple pass by the rocks, enter the clearing and pause near the apple trees.
From behind the trees emerges a figure, with two long blonde plaits and dressed in a blue and white checked dress. With its single eye, the figure watches the couple and waits for the moment to strike.
The figure attacks the girl and pulls her behind the trees. The boy runs away. The rustling of the trees becomes more violent, though their fruit does not fall. Then, once more, the scene is silent and still.
From behind the trees, a figure emerges. Its hair is long and brown and it wears a pink dress. With its single black eye it watches you.
At this point, I awoke in a panic and did not go back to sleep. The felt story board that had provided the architecture of this particular dream world was seldom used again, and bald, hair stealing cyclopes still give me the heebie jeebies. While I cannot find an exact version of the felt story board I had all those years ago, here is a similar and equally creepy story board that I hope gives some context for my nightmare (but hopefully does not appear in of yours).