I had both last night, and it was a very disorienting night, in a slightly unpleasant but fascinating way. (One has to decide to be fascinated by this sort of incident; it's one of the only ways to shorten the period of being creeped out.)
I have, all too often, nights in which my legs get what we shall call the willies; no matter what position I lie in to sleep, no matter how tired I am, the legs feel as if they have to move, and are uncomfortable in not moving. My usual solutions are very low tech. One is to get up and move out of the bedroom so that I won't awaken BB, then pound the hell out of my upper legs with my fists. About 60 percent of the time, that works, apparently by tricking my legs into thinking they're too tired to twitch. Lately, it leads to all kinds of bruising (I really have to be quite forceful), which I attribute to my skin thinning as I get older, so anything I can do to avoid having to pummel myself is starting to take first place in my sleep efforts.
That leads to the second phase: get into a very hot shower and stay for as long as possible. I think it's partly the hot water doing a more gentle version of the leg pummeling, and partly me being up and out of the bed long enough for it to feel like a different space when I finally get back into it, and of course, doing the shower bit tires me out more.
Well, last night, I had to try both methods before I could finally fall into bed and - I thought - get a half-decent night's sleep. And despite the worrying, if slightly ameliorated, persistence of the leg willies, I did fall asleep —
— only to awaken again some unmeasurable time later (but it was, I found out in retrospect, not all that long after I fell asleep), once again with the leg willies.
So I went to the third phase of Operation Get The Fuck To Sleep, Legs!, which involves getting up, taking my pillow and a duvet to the livingroom couch and hoping that a different locale will help get me to sleep.
At first it seemed to be working ...
... and here I must digress for a moment, and talk about how I did some considerable thumbing, earlier in the day, through a new book at the Wilmette Public Library. It was "Long Black Curl" by Alex Bledsoe. It's a novel, part of a series, I understand, about the descendants of Celtic fae, living in the Appalachians of the New World, maintaining feuds from when they were banished or thrown here, doing magic via music, and, in general, somehow reminding me of Manly Wade Wellman's "After Dark" even though the only similarities were the supernatural and the locale.
I read enough to decide I wanted to read the novel fully, and perhaps read the earlier ones. I left the library to go cover a meeting and thought no more about it.
Actually, I lie. My thoughts kept returning to the novel.
And then there I was, on the couch, exhausted, partly asleep, and not certain what was real and what wasn't. I thought I felt a wind rush over me, and wondered if I was asleep. I heard the real footsteps of people in the unit above, and was comfortably certain, as I said, that they were real footsteps. But the wind kept rushing over my head — just a tiny wind, to fit in a tiny livingroom. I thought it was a thinking wind.
And then I thought Bob came out of the bedroom, to see how I was doing, and I explained what was going on. I was very glad he had come out. He sat in the chair opposite the couch, and I thought he was going to sleep. I pointed out the wind to him ...
... and then I was truly dreaming.
But I was dreaming that I was a woman who was going into a house to do something very wrong. I was searching for a young girl that I planned to kill. I found her, and told her to go out onto the upstairs porch to wait for me. She did. I went into the room where her guardian slept; I couldn't see him well, hidden under his blankets; I tried to tell him he'd failed to protect her, and that I was taking her, but my voice was very weak. I tried to scream at him, and it only came out a whisper.
I went out to the upstairs porch, where the girl — not that much younger than the dream me, although I knew I was older — was waiting, not running, dressed in a wine-colored satin shirt, standing in the pouring rain. I told her — and she was a little easier to talk to than her grey-haired guardian, my voice came out slightly stronger — that I liked her. I told her I liked her and that I would treat her well until I killed her.
And then I was really awake, and Bob was really standing in the living room, asking me if I was alright. He'd heard me making sounds all the way in the bedroom, and I was so very glad he was there. When even his dream seeming could help me just a little bit, could calm me just a little, well you can imagine how relieved I was to be awake and seeing the real him. He turned on a light, and I tried to talk about the wind, but it didn't come out well at all.
He got some water, and I came to bed. He gave me a sleeping pill, and I cuddled up hard against him, and ignored my legs, and finally went to sleep. It was only 3 a.m., and all this had gone on for what I had thought were hours and hours, and I was sure the sun must shortly be coming up but it was only 3 a.m. So short a time to lie on the livingroom couch, listening to a wind that wasn't there, and dreaming that I was a cheerful murderer.
And that, boys and girls, has colored my entire day. I know that dream came in part from some interpretation I made of the Bledsoe book. I know some of it came from being exhausted and unable to sleep properly. I know these things.
But that doesn't change the fact that something like this rarely happens to me, no matter what book I read, or how exhausted I am.
And I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why, in my dream, I was going to kill anyone, let along a young girl. Yes, it was the book, but still ....
My brain is fucking weird. And today has been cold, and dark, and wet.
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