Dream of the Dead

Prompt Day #283: Page randomly through a nearby book, magazine, or newspaper, and make a list of ten people, places, or things. Add the phrase “of the dead” next to them. Though the result might be too derivative for a title, see what ideas occur.


So, as is usual, the nearby book is one on writing, I’m sure you’ll notice by some of the words that got picked. So, we’ll start with my list and then I’ll write the little story I came up with.

  • Notebook of the dead
  • Hemingway of the dead
  • Antagonist of the dead
  • Dream of the dead
  • Element of the dead
  • Space of the dead
  • Victim of the dead
  • Roof of the dead
  • Flashback of the dead
  • Beach of the dead


Dream of the Dead

                When you are in a coma, you don’t dream. You don’t even exist in your own mind. This I know. For six months of my life, I did not exist. After the accident, no one thought I’d survive, but there I was waking up confused and frightened. Mom and Dad were there sobbing and hugging me as if I’d come back from the dead. I guess, I did. They looked so much older, the stress of my accident had aged them.

Two weeks later I was on my way home; back to my room, back to all the things that should have seemed familiar to me. Instead, I felt as if I was walking onto a movie set where everything was staged to look like my life but it was all just a two dimensional façade. I wandered around like a zombie, I tried going back to school for a while; I quit after a week. I couldn’t concentrate, everything the teachers said was just white noise. And I didn’t remember any of my friends. The doctors and my parents decided that it would be best if I took the rest of the year off and repeat it when I was ready.

The dreams began shortly after I got home, they were more real than anything in my conscious life. They were terrifying though. The first dream was like one of those waking ones where you can’t move or breathe. I awoke, or thought I did. I could smell a vague plasticy smell, like when you are blowing up a new pool toy but when I tried to take a breath, inhale it more, nothing happened. I panicked but couldn’t move. There was blackness. And the sensation of being completely covered. I felt hot and sweaty and trapped. I lay like that perfectly still and paralyzed for who knows how long.

When I could move again, I got up out of bed and went on to my day full of pretend scenery and people. The next night it was the chill that woke me—or at least I thought I was awake. I had gone to bed that night in sweats and a tee-shirt as always, but I awoke completely naked. There was no bed, no blankets and the bed wasn’t soft, it too was hard and cold. Then, I was stabbed. I deep pain shot through my neck and into my chest. I wanted to sit up and scream, but again, I couldn’t move. I could do nothing but feel. Feel the pain and the emptiness it brought with it. It sucked the life out of me.

My dreams continued, and every one of them were more real than the life I was currently living. They scared me, and yet, they felt right in some way, in some way waking felt more like the dream. Sometimes, it was so dark and warm and other times it was cold and moist. The only thing that was the same in every dream was that I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breathe.

I began to wonder if I was having memories of when I was in the coma. The pain and stabbing might have been surgeries, the hard tables and the chill would be CT machines or the operating room. I decided that made a lot of sense. I relaxed a little. Life went on, days made of paper turned over, one after another and I was nothing but words on that page.

The dreams changed then. I still couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, but instead of darkness there was a single shadow. It stood at my door, staring. Each dream it came closer. This should have frightened me more than the other dreams, but it didn’t. The shadow brought a kind of peace with it that I hadn’t felt since I awoke. I had to tell someone. My parents were so caught up in the “miracle” that was my awakening, they treated me like a porcelain doll. Instead I told my therapist, the one the hospital assigned me when I was discharged. They said I would need to see him weekly as I “re-acclimated.”

As I sat on the couch and told my stories, he mumbled uh huhs and hmms. I looked over to see nothing more than a shadow, an outline of a man. I sat up and screamed. The therapist’s office was gone and I was back in my bedroom. My mother came running in.

“What’s wrong?” She asked.

“I think I was supposed to die in that accident, Mom. Nothing feels right anymore. There is a shadow following me.” I said. She began to cry and nod her head.

“You did die in that accident. You died, and we had you buried. But then, a week later, we found this website. There was a company saying they’d found this “cure for death”. They were looking for volunteers; families who had recently lost a loved one unexpectedly. We contacted them, we spent everything we had.” She was sobbing now, her hands over her face. I understood why, but I also understood that I would never feel normal or real again.

“Mom, I don’t belong here. I’m not happy.” I said “I need peace”

“Oh God, I know” She said “Your father and I were so selfish to bring you back like that. It seemed like such a miracle, but I’ve seen you wandering around the house, so restless, so out of place. I’m so sorry, Sweetheart. So sorry.”

“What do I do?” I said. “How do I go back?”

She didn’t answer. She just held me for a long time before kissing my forehead and leaving. I think I know what she was telling me. I think it was an apology for not having the strength to fix her mistake. It was her way of saying goodbye. I forgive her of course, and I will always love her and Dad for trying so hard to save me. But now, I have to do what they couldn’t. I have to go back to sleep, back to my dream.



Hookah with a Caterpillar

Prompt Day #235: Design a surreal menu

If any of you have been following me from the beginning of this mad idea, you might remember in the first month there was a seven course meal menu that had to get grosser as it went on. So, I didn’t want to just list another menu. And the whole “surreal” thing stuck in my head all day. I couldn’t get Alice’s tea party with the Mad Hatter out of my head and as I tried to compose something poem like I started thinking about Jabberwocky. What’s more surreal than a bunch of made up words? And hey, how hard can that be, right? WRONG. It’s so freaking hard I had to hole myself up in my bedroom and crank on classical music and just pace around spouting off gibberish until it had a good rhythm to it. Then I looked at the poem and realized it had no pattern whatsoever but the more I read it to myself, the more I kinda liked it. And it’s just a bunch of nonsense anyways. We’re all mad here, right? So does it have to follow a set poem pattern? No. And it still kinda follows the prompt. It’s about a feast in the woods in a dream. You know in dreams everything makes sense, even when it shouldn’t, and our dream self never questions it. So this is my homage to being silly, to Mr. Lewis Carroll, to my inner child, and to stoners everywhere…I know you get what I’m saying.

Hookah with a Caterpillar

When the sceptus moon is moraphone and scloing through the trees

And in your sleep you dream the dreams of shordes abysely breving

‘Tis time to dine among the grynes

And speak of mulgs graphessing

Pull up a blaust and I’ll recite a naptious airpropedo

Whilst you sip spiced wazzlenopf and nibble mashed larsteago

We’ll watch the wild carencofies primmantical in their flusley

And snorggle down a pirthy round of undrumented pipsee

Do pass the scrumb and don’t be drave about the Wilfalusner

He means no harm unless of course you draution his culpuser

Now, the valpit, bleasy Probiscure should always be abiled

And constroes with the Flopatour will only make you tired.

Eat up, my dear, eat up, I say. There’s aptious baked lariddlets

And for dessert we can enjoy some chilled transpluted migglets

What ho, now see, the jected moon is mollied and depleting

And soon the sun borances in to wake you from your dreaming

‘Twas such an austred stally to d’lance in your illusions

Come again when you’ve more time for survious delusions

Dream a Little Dream of Geese

Prompt Day #149: Misinterpret a dream

I need to tell you all something…I may or may not have written this story just so I could use the word akimbo.

Dream a Little Dream of Geese


“Ok, Mr. Allan, your sleep study is over now. Dr. Everly would like to speak to you in his office before you go.” The nurse said, picking all the electrodes off his head like a monkey grooming her mate.

“Sure. So was it as bad as my wife seems to think? Did I flail all over the place?” Chip asked.

“Dr. Everly will go over all of that with you.” She said, handing him his bag of clothes. “Go ahead and get dressed. His consultation room is to the right down the hall; it’s marked Room 3”

Chip dressed quickly and headed down the hall. It was 5 am (how did they think this was an accurate representation of your sleep patterns when you were attached to more machines than a cyborg and then they come in to wake you up at the crack of dawn?) and he just wanted to go home and get some actual sleep. He knocked on the door to Room 3 and Dr. Everly let him in. The room was dimly lit and there was a large screen TV sitting at the far end. A small table with four cushioned chairs around it. Dr. Everly motioned for him to sit.

“Well, Mr. Allan, how are you feeling?” The doctor asked, crossing his legs and attempting to appear intrigued by every word coming out of Chip’s mouth.

“Tired, actually. I don’t know how anyone can sleep in one of these studies.” Chip answered honestly.

The doctor smiled humoring his patient.

“Well, the study was actually quite successful and we were able to garner enough data to make a diagnosis.” The doctor smiled again, this time more condescendingly “I’d like to show you something first. We have a machine called an oneirograph. It takes a recording of your dreams and allows us to see what you see. We monitor your body movements in real time as well and play both on a split screen. This allows us to accurately interpret your dreams in order to determine what the problem is.” He picked up a remote and hit a button. This brought up a split screen format, one side was blank, the other showed Chip all wired up and sleeping soundly.

They both sat back. Chip watching with intense interest, Dr. Everly watching Chip’s reaction to himself. The sleeping Chip lay motionless, the blank screen began to lighten and a figure came in to focus. The faceless man-form on the screen lifted his arms. Where his hands should be, were the heads of geese. Snapping and squawking. Chip laughed. Sleeping Chip stiffened.

“Now, here your dream opens with a faceless individual with geese heads as hands. The person represents you and the geese represents your hatred of the people in your life.” Dr. Everly narrated the scene.

“What? I don’t hate people.” Chip said.

“You do, I’m afraid.” The doctor said jotting something down in his chart. “Please watch. Now your alter-ego is attempting to run up the stairs, see how slow he is moving, as if he is trying to run through water. This represents your attempt to hold your homicidal intentions deep down inside.”

Chip watched his dream play out on the screen. It was ridiculous and he knew the geese had come from his recent mistake of assuming you could feed geese like you feed ducks. Oh, they liked it well enough but when he ran out of the crackers, they came after him with a vengeance.

“Well, I think it’s likely…” Chip started to explain but the doctor held a hand up to shush him and pointed to the screen. Chip looked back at his dream in HD. Now a thing stood on a long dock surrounded by water as far as the screen showed. The thing’s face resembled his wife’s, only enough though for him to recognize. But his think wife’s body had been replaced with one of those strange inflatable sumo type suits only it was made of pieces of skin roughly sewn together with large surgical suture. The sleeping Chip began to thrash in bed, arms and legs akimbo.

“Here you see a woman, perhaps a coworker, a mistress, or someone other than your wife. This is your future victim. You covet her skin…”

“Wait, stop. This is crazy. First of all, you sound like you’ve been watching Silence of the Lambs and also, that is clearly my wife and this dream stems from an argument we had when she bought these skin tight yoga pants that were flesh tones. I said she looked like she was wearing a skin suit and she said I was just being jealous and would I rather she just get big and fat. I mean clearly that explains it.” Chip was losing his sense of humor about it. He was getting pissed.

“Mr. Allan, I am an Oneirologist, I study dreams. I have taken several on-line psychology courses as well. I’ve never been proven wrong.” Dr. Everly hit pause and turned to face Chip. “I need to prepare you for the worst, Mr. Allan. What you are about to see may be very disturbing to you. I know it was to all of us.”

Chip crossed his arms and leaned forward as if daring the man to try to scare him. Dr. Everly held the remote out and dramatically hit play. The skin-suited sumo pseudo-wife on the screened backed up a few steps until she teetered on the edge of the dock. The faceless Chip gander-hands rushed towards her, with two geese achompin’. Meanwhile sleeping Chip flailed and clawed blindly at the air. Gander-hands goosed pseudo-wife over and over; the geese tearing the sutures and eating the pieces of skin they managed to rip off. Soon there was nothing left of the wife but small crumbs of epidermis that blew off the dock and into the water. Gander-hands dove gracefully into the lake. The geese parts breeched and quickly gobbled down the remaining chunks of spouse. Sleeping Chip cried out and then relaxed back into the bed and seemed to fall into a deeper sleep. Both pictures faded away.

Chip laughed again. He couldn’t help it. The dream was so absurd, it was one he would have shared immediately with his wife. Instead, he was here being judged by an onerologist or something like that who took on-line head shrink classes. And the guy was seriously warped.

“Well, doc,” Chip said, playing along “What’s the diagnosis and what can we do?”

“I’m afraid there is no outpatient treatment” Dr. Everly said, shutting the chart and lying it on the table in front of him. He got up and hit the intercom button.

“Yes, Doctor?” A nasally voice answered.

“Send them in please.” He said into the speaker, and then to Chip “you are having homicidal ideations and you’ll need to be committed for the safety of your loved ones and even yourself, Mr. Allan.” He clasped his hands in front of him as if he was calm and completely unbothered by the psychotic sitting in front of him. “There are some nice men coming in now, they will take you to the rehab facility where you will be involuntarily committed.”

Chip was flabbergasted. This was not happening. He’d come here only because his wife had asked him to. She thought he was having night terrors. Wait til he told her about his dreams. But one thing was certain, he did not want to kill her or anyone…except maybe the asshole standing in front of him. He grabbed a pen in his fist. He wasn’t going anywhere. He heard the door open and Dr. Everly started towards the door. Chip stood up and without a second thought buried the pen in the center of the man’s throat.

The door flung open and two larger bouncer sized men in short white coats came in. Their attention was immediately drawn to the gurgling man writhing about on the floor. Chip slipped out the door and took off down the hallway and past the nurse who…

“Ok, Mr. Allan, your sleep study is over now. Dr. Everly would like to speak to you in his office before you go.” The nurse said.