I sit on a couch telling a man about a dream, all very Freudian really. He asks about a dream I had when I was young, it reoccurred for many years of my life, he asks me to describe it to him. This is third time I have seen him. He has an office in the big building down off Queens Street, its tall and there aren’t many rooms to rent, in fact I’m not sure if there are any other offices in use. The room itself is comfortable; it’s darker beige in colour, high ceilings, leather furniture, a big mahogany captain’s desk at the far end of the room. Next to a bookshelf against the back wall is a door, likely to a closet and the light is always warm and inviting. I sit comfortable leaning back on the soft leather of the chez and start into the dream.
I am seven years old and I am playing with other children, we are inside, but not in a room, a long hallway that bends round. There are tall walls all around and they are made of steel, the kind you can make out reflections in, but they are distorted and confused. The lights are high above us and shine down bright and florescent. There are a many children in the hall playing and laughing, running around and climbing. Down the hall are large colourful building blocks. Triangles, squares, rectangles they flow down the middle of the hallway all bright primary colours of red and green and blue. There are small children, just babies crawling, too.
All of a sudden there is a loud bang at the end of the hall and a bright natural light beams in, within the light is the shadow of a man tall and dark in the sunlight. For a moment everything is quiet and still and then the screaming starts, the man has killed a child playing near the door and panic sets into the room. Children everywhere start running and screaming down the hallway, disappearing around the bend. I start running too, though I have no idea where the hallway leads. As I pass the red triangle I see him there, a baby sitting and crying on the floor. I run to him scoop him up and realize that the dark figure in approaching and that I won’t make the bend without being seen by him. I take the baby pressing it close against me to muffle its cries and sit with my back against the big blue square, wedging myself between it and the tall green rectangle next to it, my heart pounding. There are still children fleeing in front of him and I hope he did not see me stop. I watch as they all make the bend and disappear.
I can see the figure walking past us in the steel of the walls. I am still as statue, terrified to breathe holding the baby close to me. The figure never stops, not so much as a pause to acknowledge having seen us, he just keeps walking a long rhythmic gait down the hallway and around the bend, disappearing like all the children before him. The baby has stopped crying and is asleep, I lay him down, hiding him in the corner of the blocks. I start walking away from the bend and toward the place he had come in, but I see no door now. In fact there appears to be no doors at all. The child he killed I know is dead down the hall, but I do not go to see.
I walk to a panel on the wall, it is tall and looks just like another panel of the wall, but somehow I know that the adults are here. I push against it and nothing happens, so I push harder. Slowly it begins to move, it is heavy and I am struggling. The door moves with ease suddenly and I fall to the floor. There is a long table like a board room above me and as I stand up and look down the length of the table, all I see is him. He is an older man and I do not know who he is, but he is bleeding down the front of his shirt and his eyes are open and dead, just staring at me. I start scanning down the sides of the table to realize that they are all dead; all the adults in the room, men and woman lay about some over the table, in their chairs, on the floor, but all of them dead. Everything is silent and all I can hear is the beating of my heart in my ears. For a moment I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where I am, who I am, if any of these adults are parents of mine or if I am alone. I can’t remember how I got into the hallway in the first place and I don’t know what to do. My breath is rapid and the drumming in my ears gets louder and louder. Then its dark and I am in my bed, safe and alone.
I look back to the Therapist in the room, waiting for his input or his feedback and for a moment he says nothing. He stands, walks towards his desk, tapping his fingers on the surface; he looks back at me and says. “Interesting, and you had this dream for how long?”
“Years” I reply, “I could never finish the dream, never found out anymore about it.”
He smiles in a way that is almost unnerving and replies “I think I might have something that will help you, come let me show you.” He gestures to the door at the back of the room. I get up and walk toward him, he opens the door and says, “See” as I step into the frame of the door he leans in and whispers, welcome home as he places a hand firmly at the small of my back. He says “you might not know how you got in, but I’ve always wondered how you got out.” Before I can process his words I am being shoved forward, I stumble and a bright light blinds me, I hear a slam behind me. When my eyes adjust I am in the hallway, it is exactly the same, save the blocks seem less bright than I remember. I can’t breathe and have to force myself to inhale, I turn and he and the door are gone. I am alone, I scan the room and it has no doors and no windows, just the bend, to who knows where.
A bang sounds at the far end of the hall and like before I large dark figure stands in the light, with the certainty I was no longer dreaming I turn, and again, start running for the bend; the long strides of the figure coming towards me in the peripheral, as no more than a reflection in the steel. As I get around the bend a horrible site lays before me, there are skeletons of various sized children scattered across the floor, the bend leds only to a dead end, where all the children I had seen so many years ago must have stood terrified waiting to die. I stood terrified waiting to die as the figure stalks closer and closer towards me.
I tried to run past him back the way I had came, but he caught me and threw me back against the wall, I hit my head against the wall hard and fell landing on the bones of those he had killed before me. In a daze my mind is frantic and full of fear…..and then…….. I realize, he said I had gotten out, I had escaped before. I was scared before because I was small and weak and incapable of fighting…….but I wasn’t anymore.
I could feel him towering above me as my head cleared. I turned my head to the right, and he followed my gaze, with all the power my leg had I kicked out his left knee from the side. As he begin to fall forward I reached behind me and grabbed at the hard round object behind me, that I knew was the skull of a child, and struck him hard against the side of his head. I got to my feet and looking down saw exactly what I needed, I picked up two of the pieces of broken ribs that I had snapped off the cage when I fell. He was up again and swinging, his right arm coming down at me, I blocked it and as it slide off toward my elbow I turned my wrist and shoved the bone hard and fast up into his throat, as it made its mark I brought the bone in my right hand down and into the left eye. I pulled the bone out of his throat, he collapsed to his knees and I walked away, leaving him there to bleed to death, amongst the remains of all the children he’d slaughtered so long ago. As I walked down the hallway I knew now that if I ever dreamed of this place again, I would dream of it with the assurance that it was no longer a place to fear.