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i'm sitting by myself at a long white table working at a laptop. i don't live here but the house is very familiar to me. short-napped blue wall-to-wall carpeting. white walls. not much decoration. a very functional place. the table i'm sitting at is set up against a wall in a long wide hallway. a co-worker of mine (DM) arrives and walks past me on her way to another room. she smiles and says "oh good nobody here yet." i laugh. i know what she means. there's some sort of party happening soon and there's some work-related intrigue going on that i'm not involved in. a few more people show up. again people i work with but neither of these match anybody from RL. DM comes into the hallway to greet them and says "oh good, still nobody here yet." they all go into another room that's off of the hallway and start gossiping with one another about this work situation. i get up at one point and walk in there. i say "don't worry. it's nobody." i say it jokingly but i'm a little pissed off, feeling left out. they all just stare up at me with blank faces. i shake my head and walk out.
dream skips. its later and now there are a lot of people milling around. i'm still sitting at the long table working. there are some other people sitting at the table too. they have pc's in front of them too but mostly they are socializing. the one nearest me, a woman, says something about a trash can overflowing. i look and see what she means. i get up and go over and push the trash down. lots of ashes and cigarette buts on top. i try to use a cleanish paper plate to push the other stuff down. but the trash keeps popping back up. i pull at the bag to remove it and tie it up but trash spills out and now its even more of a mess and i spend some time trying to clean up. as i'm doing that i hear a cell-phone beep. i'm waiting for a call from TD. she's supposed to be here soon. there's a counter nearby with four different cell phones on it. i pick up one that looks like mine. i open it and there's my screen saver so its definitely mine but it doesn't indicate that i got a call or a text message. i put it down. pick up another thinking i want to figure out which one rang. but then i decide it doesn't matter to me since it wasn't mine. and i should text TD. but now i can't find my phone. i check my pockets. not there. did i throw it away by accident?
dream skips. i'm standing at a railing overlooking a room just a few feet below me. LD and M are down there with a bunch of other kids. some dark-haired kid, about 11/12, walks through and he and M start arguing about what's the best gaming system. they're yelling at each other and the other kids are chiming in for M's side and the dark-haired kid walks through the room and his face is reddening and he keeps yelling back at them. he comes up a few stairs up to where i am. a dark-haired woman to my left says to him "oh just knock it off already." she's familiar to me. in the dream she's someone i work with that also knows TD but she looks somewhat like LC (sister-in-law's friend). i speak up then. i tell all the kids that the argument is useless, that it doesn't matter who prefers which system and that we should all be glad that we all have differences, that it would be a boring world otherwise. the yelling stops. everyone seems to accept what i said. the dark-haired kid is beside me. he's almost as tall as i am. he smiles at me. nice-looking kid. big brown eyes. messy dark hair. long-boned. he starts talking to me, asking me questions about myself. as he talks to me he looks in my eyes like he's searching for something there. his mother laughs, interupting our conversation. she says "watch out for him. he likes to flirt with the ladies." i say "oh its ok. its nice that he's so easy to get to know. it took me forever to really get to know M." the scene shifts some then and i am sitting down in the room with the kids. LD is on a chair across from me, her feet up on an ottoman between us. i say "of course with this one it wasn't hard because she's such a chatterbox". LD laughs and i push at her feet to make her giggle more. then i'm back up on the landing with just the dark-haired kid and his mother again and she says to him "you know.. i think i'm half-lit already" and laughs. he doesn't say anything back, just looks worried. i feel bad for him.
dream skips. i see TD walking towards me. so glad to see her. walk up to her and hug her and we are smiling. someone asks about her mouth and i remember that she just had dental surgery. one of her cheeks is swollen and she is chewing on ice chips. i smooth her hair back. say "poor girl". her hair is longer and wavier. a little damp. i comb my fingers through the back part of it and tell her i like it. we walk up a long steep flight of white steps up to this sort of platform that overlooks a big dance floor. music starts and women from the party go out onto the dance floor and start dancing the cha-cha together. we watch this for awhile. they look beautiful and silly at the same time. then some announcer voice comes over a PA system and asks for people to clear the dance floor for the upcoming show. some sort of dance show. the main event of this party. the floor clears and then professional dancers come out onto the dance floor. men and women paired up. they are wearing sheer nude-colored body suits so they look like naked dolls. the women all have blond hair pulled back into severe buns. they all look alike. the men all have short dark hair and they all look alike too. strange music starts and they start dancing. i'm not paying much attention now. i'm talking to TD and scanning the crowd. people-watching. i notice the dark-haired kid then. he's sitting on an oversized red chair near the edge of the dance floor. his eyes are locked on me. he motions to me to come down. i'm curious. i tell TD i'll be right back and i walk down the white steps and around a corner of the dance floor and over to him. i lean down towards him. his eyes are all serious and needy and he says "you want to sit in this chair with me?" i laugh. his mother was right to warn me i guess. i say "i don't think my girlfriend would be too crazy about that idea."
i walk back up the steps to TD then. now the music is really strange. a lot of sitar in it. and the female dancers are making strange noises. i look at TD and everyone else. they are all focused on the dancers. i look too. there are these rectangular boxes on the stage now with white sheets draped over them. they look vaguely like beds. there is a box for each man/woman pair of dancers. the female dancers are lying on their backs on top of the box-beds. the male dancers are standing at the bottom of the beds. the women have their arms raised and they are writhing about and making these weird keening noises. the men then all in unison lean forward and pin the womens' hands above their heads and push their groins between the womens' legs then up more to her stomach then up into the air then over again with a repeating wave movement simulating f*cking it seems. and as they do this the woman are making another sort of noise now. a noise like a scream that's not being let out all the way. and their faces are contorted. they look like the faces in old paintings of people in hell. its horrible and what makes it even worse is the men are totally the opposite. they are silent, expressionless, robotic in their movements. and just then i get a feeling flashback and the pain of it almost knocks me over. my hands are shaking and my skin feels clammy and i say to TD "i can't watch this anymore. its freaking me out." so we both go downstairs then and down the long hallway. and for some reason i am carrying her, holding her close to my chest, her legs wrapped around me, her head on my shoulder. she's easy to carry, so light, but i feel strange about it so i put her down and i notice her swollen cheek again and i say "you ok? you want to go home?" and she nods her head and i say "ok good yeah let's go home now."
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i'm walking about my house getting things together for the new york trip. there are too many animals running around. my own plus neighborhood dogs and cats that must have gotten in somehow. the house is different. big and empty. white white walls and lots of doors. there's a guy milling about. i recognize him. one of my neighbors from when i lived in church hill. he says he just stopped by. i ask him how long he's planning on staying, that i'm leaving soon to go out, won't be back until late. he says he was thinking of staying late. i tell him that's fine. that i don't have time right now to catch all these strange animals anyway and he can stay and make sure there are no bad animal fights. i'm standing in a long wide white hallway and he's sitting on a ratty plaid couch against the wall. he offers to catch the animals for me if i let him sleep on the couch.
just then two of my cats race by chasing what looks like a skunk. hard to tell they're all moving so fast. i say to the neighbor guy "did you see that? was that a skunk?" i walk into the room the cats ran into and sure enough there's a skunk in there backed into a corner and hissing. but then it changes and now its a black and white cat and it attacks one of my cats. i yell and stomp and my cats run out of the room and i catch the strange cat as it flys past me. i carry it out to the hallway where the neighbor guy is still sitting on the plaid couch. i say "nah its just a cat after all." just then the cat rotates its body and starts to bite and claw at my hands. its teeth are sunk in deep into the palm of my right hand and its front claws are caught in the skin on the back of my left hand. i tell the guy to grab the cat by the scruff of its neck but he's too scared so i have to pull my left hand away causing the cat's claws to rake through my skin. i grab the cat then by the fur at the back of its neck and hold it away from me, carry it down the steps and out the front door out to the porch.
the porch is different from real life. a big white cement slab, no railings, wide bleacher-like steps leading down to the sidewalk. there are some people out here. someone has little speakers set up and some hip hop song is playing. i let the cat go and it stands on the porch for a moment glaring up at me. then it makes a break for the front door, trying to get back into the house. i catch it though, say "oh no you don't" and carry it over to the right-side edge of the porch. i mean to throw it over the chain link fence and into my neighbors yard but i mis-throw and the cat slams against the fence and drops down into the grass. oops.
and then the cat is a teenage girl and she's sitting in the grass dazed. i tell her i'm sorry, that i didn't mean to throw her into the fence like that. she looks up at me and her eyes are empty-glazed and she crawls towards me then sits below me with her back against the cement wall of the base of the porch. i notice then a teenage boy sitting against the wall at her side. i jump down onto the grass and turn around to face them. they're both really thin and ratty looking. their skin is slack and has a grayish color to it. their eyes look dim. they can't be older than fourteen. i'm curious about them because i know that the girl was a skunk before and then she was a cat and i want to know why. i say "so what.. are you guys high on something?" they glance at one another then look away, both shake their heads no. hardly any movement to this. just a tiny back and forth motion. they're dismissing me. and i realize that i am some old grown-up lady to them, most-likely older than their parents. i say "look i don't care if you're on something. i'm just curious." the boy looks up at me then with a little more life in his eyes. he says "well.. curiosity is cool." i say "yeah because the thing is she was in my house just a few minutes ago and i could swear she was a skunk and then she was a cat and i'm just wondering.. i mean that really happened, right? and i'm wondering what it is you're on to do that." they both smile then and look at one another and the boy nods to the girl and she starts telling me about it but i can't hear right now and my eyes keep closing all sleepy-like and her mouth is incredibly full and red and i just see her lips moving but the sound is turned down too low to make out any of her words. i glance up at the porch and see that the crowd out here has really grown. its a full-fledged porch party now with people dancing and everyone drinking from cans of beer. the girl has stopped talking. i say to the boy "well i guess the party's started. this happens all the time. i don't know any of them. they just all gravitate to my house for some reason. at least tonight it seems like everyone's staying outside."
dream skips. i'm up on the porch now making my way through all of the party people. there are about 50 people out here talking laughing drinking dancing. and the music is louder now. more hip hop. most of the people out here are black people from the neighborhood. there's a delivery truck parked down on the street and the delivery guy is carrying up boxes and other packages. i sign his form and he leaves and i start carrying the stuff inside. one of the packages is a huge plastic-wrapped pallet of toilet paper. i carry this upstairs. i don't remember ordering this. then i open a big brown envelope. inside are photos. my friend H sent them to me from her trip to michigan. i'm looking through the photos and notice that parts of the photos move. some new technology that mixes still photos with video.
morning nap dream
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its christmas eve. i'm with my sister. she wants to go to some biker party somewhere out towards
the eastern shore. i don't want to go so far but she talks me into it. then i'm at the party. a
little house with lots of land around it. the people here are ok. more gentle than i expected.
then my sister is driving us back. i'm disoriented, high?
dream skips again and i am at another christmas eve party. at JK's house in baltimore somewhere.
i'm sort of with her but not really. trying to be. she flirts back but keeps evading my efforts to
get her to agree to spend christmas with me. i'm a mess. at one point she comes up behind me and
pulls me close to her, kisses my neck. then smells the back of my t-shirt. laughs softly. says
"you smell rank little girl". i tell her its the t-shirt. i'm wearing two and no bra. its not the
t-shirt though, its me. i can smell the sour smell of me coming up through the neck hole.
dream skips. still at the party. someone comes up to me, asks me if that's my dog barking. i
listen. it is. i remember then that she's out in my car. i'm looking for my bag- a brown cordoroy
bag with a lot of cash in it. i can't find it anywhere. then i realize that i must have left it at
the biker party. but then how can my car be here? i check my pockets for my keys. empty. i find
JK. tell her my predicament. she tells me she has one of my spare car keys. i tell her she
doesn't. but then she pulls a key ring from her pocket and there is a spare VW key and i remember
that i did give her one when i first bought my car. i take the key from her, tell her i'm going to
take my dog home and come back later.
then i am with my mother. i tell her about leaving my bag at the biker party. i tell her they
probably stole the cash. then i feel bad about thinking that. she says she's going there later
with my father. i agree to go back with them.
back at the biker party. i find the cordoroy bag. all the money is still in it.
dawn now. christmas morning. i've just been dropped off at my house. i'm exhausted. i trudge up
the stairs in the dark. just as i'm about to get in bed i hear a retching noise and then a cat's
wail. oh no not again. i go to the top of the stairs. i see all 3 cats dimly in the dark. can't
tell yet which one is sick. i make my way down the stairs slowly in my bare feet. i find G near
the bottom retching and crying. i pick her up and notice a golf ball-sized piece of her stomach
poking out through her skin. its red and wet. i start crying. same thing as P. the same thing.
i'm holding her close, her head on my shoulder. trying to decide which cat carrier to put her in.
the box i brought her home in from the shelter or the real cat carrier. i opt for the real one,
more room but then realize it must smell of P's fear, of his terrible death. i can't put her in
that. its christmas morning. i'm going to have to take her to that same emergency vet place, the
place that made me wait so long while P screamed. the place where the doctors were laughing at some
joke in the back room while he was wailing in some cage. the place where he died alone. i can't
let the same thing happen to her. i'm praying "please don't take her from me" when i realize that
she's purring and nursing at my shoulder, pulling the fabric of my t-shirt into her mouth.
JK = ex-love. P didn't have the stomach thing but in the dream i remembered that he did. its what
made me know G was suffering from the same thing. woke to G healthy and perfect sleeping on my feet.