A Child’s Nightmare

When I was a child, I had a reoccurring nightmare that’s hard to explain. I was really small, the size of an ant, and I was being pursued by something big like a charcoaled moon. It wasn’t so much an object but a darkness with rough texture like jagged rocks. And I wasn’t being crushed but consumed. I always tried to escape its presence, but it was hopeless. I could never get away.

What I remember most about the dream is that it terrified me. Thinking about it kept me up at night. Sometimes I would tiptoe to my parents’ bedside and softly poke my dad until he woke. He would ask what was wrong, then pray for me, his whispered words always calming my fear. And then he would send me back to bed, where I would return confident God was watching over me.

One night while sleeping over at a friend’s house, I asked if he wanted to hear the scariest thing in the world. I warned he would never forget what I told him. He said he didn’t care, so I tried to explain my dream. It didn’t seem to scare him, though.

I never told anyone else about the nightmare. I guess I was afraid what it meant, what it said about me.

As I grew older, the dream stopped but never faded from my memory. Even now, years later, thinking about it fills my mind with a dark oppressiveness, a claustrophobic pursuit of something bad.

I’m still not sure what the darkness was. But sometimes I wonder if I’ve been running from it my entire life.

– March 2010