Sweet Dreams

Last Rites--Yogoro

I’ve been asked on more than one occasion where I get my ideas from. I’ve said loosely that I get most of them from dreams, and perhaps that answer has been thrown out insincerely by others. I was never joking (weird, right?) when I said it. Which can only lead me to one conclusion: I’ve got one hell of a twisted mind to come up with some of the dark, eerie things that wind up taking form in my dreams. Consider the image I chose for this post—welcome to my world.

What brought this on? I had another dream night before last that had me furiously scribbling images before they could flee. The novels of ‘undetermined genre’ that were wrecking the pool table, well, this was one of them. I laughed when I woke up, right after breathing a sigh of relief that I had been in fact dreaming, because I knew it was coming. And all of this got me thinking about things that are truly, deeply, terrifying. What scares me? Well, subtly scares me worse than anything blatant. The moment in the movie where the camera is focused on the main character and pans across something in the background that makes your skin crawl, that has you clutching the arm of your chair going, “Wait, WTF? Did you just see that?”

The trick will be figuring out how to do that in a novel. I’ve never written horror before—and being me, this will of course be dark fantasy and not truly Horror in the purest sense of the genre. Nonetheless, it will be as close to horror as I’ll ever come as an author. Because the images are so random in my head, and trying to string them together right now to tell you a story is impossible, allow me some room to give you a brief glimpse of what I dreamt.

The beginning of the story (and what I saw first in the dream) shows a girl who is either with friends or alone in a car, driving at night, and suddenly wrecks. Nothing is said as to what happened next or how it relates to the rest of the story.

The main character is a man, somewhere in his thirties, a physician. He is playing a game with friends—maybe at a holiday party, or birthday party, something. Somehow this will lead them into a world that feels like a cross between that of Silent Hill/Pan’s Labyrinth & American McGhee’s Alice in Wonderland. There is clear, yet dying goodness beneath all of the dark, otherworldly stuff—flowers choked by weeds, figuratively speaking. He realizes somewhere along the way that they are inside of the girl’s head, where she is trapped by whatever ‘evil’ force rules that world. The main character comes to this conclusion after it is revealed that he is her doctor—she is in a coma at the hospital where he works. At some point the others (those left alive—lol), will have a chance to escape and he will decide to risk his own life and stay behind, to go after her. So, there is a classical fairy tale element here, but much, much darker than anything I’ve ever written. This is not to say that I’m new to these types of images though. I’ve spent years telling these stories—and for some of you reading this on Facebook, who have known me for a while, you may remember me at some point scaring the pants off of you. Sorry about that, by the way.

I’ve always loved horror—movies, novels, the whole nine yards. I’ve always liked the rush and adrenaline that comes with feeling like you’re flirting with death. I guess it’s no different than people who go bungee jumping or cliff diving. I prefer to do so with my imagination. My mother asked me lovingly at lunch the other day, where she went so wrong? (She was kidding—right mom?)

Ah, I’m perfectly sane. Balanced. Just darkly imaginative. My mind is always speeding at ninety to nothing—can’t help it. Wouldn’t want it any other way. So what about you? What frightens you? What makes you leave the light on?