I have nightmares on a fairly regular basis. I’ve been having them for as long as I can remember, but they usually fade quickly. I had one a couple of days ago that is still with me, despite not being one of the worst.
The dream starts with a bunch of people sheltering in an old building with a well in the middle. The building is old stone, and everyone is huddled against the cold and rain outside. There’s a feeling of shortage; food and water supplies are being marshalled. It’s dark outside, the only light in the building comes from storm lanterns. Despite the shortage of food, some children are throwing scraps down into the well. Someone tells them not to, but they laugh and carry on.
Something begins to bubble in the well. Suddenly a bundle of slimy weeds and bones is flung out of the well. Everyone is frozen in shock. Then the bones move, pulling themselves upright, assembling themselves into a skeleton. Muck and weeds pour from the well, coating the bones in a putrid semblance of flesh. When the thing is formed, it becomes a kind of hag-like creature, bent and gnarled with malevolence. It starts to chuckle, and the people try to flee as it moves towards them. They pull open the doors to run outside, and in rush creatures dressed in yellow fishing hats and coats. The creatures have gaping, shrieking mouths full of rotting teeth, and smooth flesh where their eyes should be. In their hands they carry gaff hooks, and with these they start to tear the fleeing people apart. The slaughter goes on and on, the hag watching gleefully as the fishermen attack.
In the dream I can’t turn away, and I’m forced to watch as the massacre becomes a sort of bloody ballet. It’s clear that the fishermen are relishing the chance to murder, occasionally turning it into art. I watch them circle one man as four of them plunge their hooks into his head and wrench his skull open as he screams, pausing to frame what’s left with their hooks with a ring of bloody steel.
It’s this image that finally wakes me up, coated in sweat.