I had a nightmare last night. First one in years. Even though apparently, I don't experience nightmares the same way as I used to. Used to be, I'd get so scared I'd try to scratch and claw my way out of my brain (not literally) and then wake up with a start, surprised at my success, and shaking; it would take a few seconds to realize I wasn't in danger anymore.
Now, however, it appears that I have some kind of detachment even in nightmares. A part of me knew I was dreaming, and so instead of getting worked up to the point where I was scratching to get out of my brain, I simply did the equivalent of "Nope. All aboard the Nope Train to Nopesville." Woke up just as calmly as usual, aside from the "Holy shit, what a nightmare" thought, the lingering memories of the nightmare, and finally deciding to stay up.
So what was the nightmare? Okay, I guess I'll tell you.
I was living in the old piece of shit house we used to live in Wiota, the one out in the middle of nowhere practically. (If I had a dime for every dream that took place there, I could buy a solid gold wristwatch.) At first, I was on my bike out by the farthest-away sheep pens (close to the big metal shed our landlord kept his old tractors in), and I saw a car pull in to the driveway. I didn't recognize it, but I wasn't terribly concerned at first; we lived right by a highway, people were often using our driveway to turn around in, and our landlord sometimes had other people over with him. It wasn't until I recognized them that I began to get concerned.
When I say I recognized them, I don't mean they were real people. I meant that I had one of those "the plot fills itself in via Just Knowing Things" moments. So I Just Knew that these two people were with a particularly nasty "Christian" sect in the dream's world that makes the Westboro Baptists look like pleasant people. I got on my bike and immediately sped to the door and got inside, locking the door. A woman got out of the car; aside from the terrifying look in her face, she looked like a harmless 50-something grandma lady. She came to the door, and... well, the next part is hard to explain in text, but basically she began talking to me through the door, even though I was hidden by a curtain over the door's window. She sounded calm, but she had something evil in her voice; she was Right, and anyone who wasn't a part of her sect was an infidel worthy of death. As she's talking, and I'm getting more and more scared, she unlocks the outside door somehow, and starts to work on the inside door. She gets it open finally, and I slam the door shut on her and re-lock it, then stick a chair under the door. But I get the sense that she is going to find a way in, and I don't know what she's going to do, but it isn't good. I grabbed my phone and called 911 and was sobbing in fear as I told the dispatcher what was going on, who was at my door and what she was doing. (Note: my dream self was being a lot more emotional than the part of me that was watching the dream.)
It was about that time my brain went "Nope, fuck that crap," and woke me up. The dream scared me so much that I was having thoughts like "If I was in that house again, I would buy a gun, put bars on all the windows, invest in deadbolts and various other locks that can't be undone from the outside, and probably a 20-foot tall chain link fence all around the property, with razor wire around the top, and one of those fancy rich-people electronic gates with an armed guard in his little guard box. Oh yeah, and a secret escape tunnel." But that wasn't enough, because I Just Knew that if she couldn't get in and kill me in person, she would just set the house on fire with me in it.
I couldn't sleep after that dream. I tried continuing the dream in my mind's eye with me pulling out a gun and shooting her in self defense, then taking my family and moving somewhere in the city with lots of concerned neighbors keeping an eye out, but part of the information in the "You Just Know Things" download of the dream told me that we had done something to piss them off (even if that was just as simple as being noticed by them), and even if the scary woman who tried breaking into our house was killed, they would just send others after us. I'm not sure even Witness Protection would have been enough.
So yeah, I have had dreams with hideous inhuman beasts stalking in the shadows, and I was just like "Cool!" But somebody's scary grandmother from an extremist Christian sect, that's the REAL monster. Probably because she was actually a realistic threat; there very well could be someone or even a group of someones just like her, out in the world. So it's no wonder I couldn't get back to sleep, when part of me wanted to bar the windows of the apartment and buy a gun just in case she was real.