Screaming in the Basement


Stephen King talks about the boys in the basement helping out with his writing. Since this is Mr. King, there’s no telling what he really means, but in the context of craft, the idea is to give yourself plenty of information, then let the subconsciousness go to work. When the boys send something up,  write it down before it gets away.

I see dreams this way. Things I can’t quite get my literal mind around squealing like pigs in the dark time. Whatever. I wish they’d shut up already.

Still, I had a doozy last night and spent the eternal sixties between three and four this morning checking under the sofa.

Would You Like to Share With the Class?

Instead of regaling you with my bothersome imagery, I thought we’d play a little. Perhaps we could share and get a little insight from each other.

Here’s one of mine to get you started:

I’m sitting in a nasty swamp. Over to my left, I see the beast playing with another man. They are carrying on big-time and ignoring me completely. I notice that other folks are arriving but they are smart enough to be getting into boats before going out in this murky mess. I start getting anxious and decide to head to shore.

When my feet hit bottom, I feel snakes slithering around in the goo and promptly get bit on the foot but by this point, I don’t care. I’m getting out or I’ll die trying. That’s when I notice the alligators swimming back and forth between me and the shore. I plunge on ahead, expecting to lose an arm or a leg any second.

Once out– appendages still intact– I have no idea what to do next so I go sit in a little changing shed  (down here, that’s an semi-open shed where you shower off and change into your bathing suit or back into clothes.) I sit on the hard wooden bench and watch out the open door. I’m waiting, but don’t know why.

Then the alligators start marching by. They’re walking in line past the door. I tense up, all quiet hoping they don’t spot me but of course, this is a nightmare. The lead gator swings his big ugly head my direction and. . .

. . . they all turn into zombie gators, walking upright on their hind legs and headed right for me. I am trapped inside this stupid shed which is the worst place on earth to be in case of zombie-gator attack.

The End.

Your turn.

11 responses »

  1. Ida Mae, you know this dream of mine already as I told you by email, but I’m going to enter the competition because I covet a nice postcard (so long as it doesn’t show and scantily dressed ladies!) But maybe I’m not allowed to enter the comp because I am a friend of the person who’s running the competition!? No worries. I don’t really want a chance at the prize. We mustn’t have any hint of favouritism here. But if readers want to read my dream just for fun, here it is:
    A survivor I use to help years ago comes back to visit me. I’m living in a big old double-story mansion which used to be lived in by a wealthy old woman who inherited it from her gentry ancestors. All the grand furniture and curtains fittings are there, but the owner’s been gone a long time ago and it’s not well cared for now. The layout of the house is extraordinary. There are rooms and doors and passages all over the place that you wouldn’t expect. Many of the rooms are enormous.
    The survivor who’s visiting me is going to stay overnight so I put her in in one of the grand upstairs rooms.

    When I’m settling her into the room for the night, I try to turn out all the lights that are in her room. There are many small lights in this room, semi-concealed behind complicated wooden carvings in the walls, and to discover the switches for all these lights is really difficult. In feeling around for the switches I find a warm pipe, obviously a heating pipe, part of the concealed heating system of the house. I’m surprised that it’s warm, as I had thought all the heating was turned off in the rooms that weren’t being used regularly. I find a small panel on the wall here too, and discover that it is actually a door, quite narrow, too narrow for anyone except a thinly built person to pass through.

    I open the door and behind it there’s a tiny room chock full of a four poster bed. The main sleeping part of the bed is crammed full of quilts. But when I look up, I see there is a top layer of the bed, which is like a second bunk or a mezzanine above. I feel up there:– uugh! there is something warm and soft, like flesh. I crane my head up to see. There are people lying up there! Many people. Crammed together like sardines. Men and women. I say something, and a man answers in a very groggy voice.
    I realise they are all drugged to the eyeballs and are probably being kept there secretly, against their will.

    I’m angry and I want to find the person who is responsible for this atrocity. Almost as soon as I start looking, a buxom woman approaches me. She is warmly business-like, competent and sensible, like a teacher librarian or social worker. She look like she would be kind and fair if you were a person of goodwill, but could be stern and strict if you stepped out of line. She presents as a solidly respectable professional who would always act humanely but wouldn’t take any nonsense. She asks me, “Can I help you?” I tell her I’m trying to find the person responsible for all those locked up people…

    Almost before I’ve finished asking her, I know it’s HER. She is the one responsible. That’s why she came up to me so confidently, to put me off track so I wouldn’t suspect her. I just *know* it is her. No doubt whatsoever.

    Then I’m standing on the top of a wooden fence, seven or eight feet off the ground. Jeff Crippen is standing near me on the fence too. We are both able to balance there. When I occasionally feel that I’m losing my balance, I ask God and He helps me regain my balance. I’m shaking this social worker woman by the top of her head, grasping her by the hair and violent shaking and hitting her body repeatedly against the fence, slamming her as hard as I can against the fence over and over again to punish her and to force her to expose the truth. Then I suddenly know:– SHE’S NOT A WOMAN, SHE’S A MAN. I pull her clothing down and up to expose her genitals and sure enough there it is, a penis and testicles. I am disgusted and furious.

    • Thank you Barbara!

      I took down the part about the contest– realized it was poor taste, especially considering the topic. Now I’m afraid I scared everyone off!

      I will paint you a postcard just for fun and just because you were brave enough to share, lol.

    • Barbara– have you gotten any insight on this from the Lord? Seems like it might be helpful to others as it looks like it has some powerful symbolism.

      • My dream? I can’t say this interpretation is ‘from the Lord’, but it feels right to me:

        The people all drugged up and packed into that hidden room, almost undiscoverable, are the victims of abuse all over the world who are living in the fog that their abusers have laid over them like an invisible net. They are drugged to the eyeballs, but it’s also like they are under an evil spell. And they have been deliberately concealed.

        The abusers are all in league with each other, and have created this secret hidden place where they stash all their victims. They even make sure that the heating pipes to this little room are working, so the victims don’t die of cold. They want to keep their victims alive, alive enough to still be useful targets to wreak their evil ‘pleasures’ on, but not alive enough to wake up and set themselves free.

        Feeling around the carved ornate woodwork of the grand room is what I was doing when I was reading all those theological and interpretative books and articles about the doctrine of divorce, trying to understand how other interpreters had ‘cut the cake’, and trying to figure out what was wrong or missing in each of their interpretations, and what was the true way of cutting the cake of all those disparate scriptures scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments. All I knew was that the former interpretations must have been at least somewhat faulty because none of them gave indubitable permission for divorce for domestic abuse, and our God would, indeed MUST, by his loving and righteous character, permit divorce for victims of domestic abuse. Period. So I was feeling my way round all those other theologians’ arguments, trying to find, by feel, by tentative pressure here and there, where their arguments didn’t stand up. And the carved woodwork gave way to a subtle pressure at one point and a panel moved – and it wasn’t a panel, it was a door! – and behind the door were all those sad, suffering souls!

        The social worker woman who is really a man is an archetype of all those abusers who pass themselves off as “such nice people; they would never harm anybody!” She is dressed as a woman to put people off the scent of who she (he) really is. It’s the disguise of the wicked one, purposeful camouflage, deliberate lies, masterful deception. It’s what all abusers do, only this man does it to the nth degree, even passing himself off as the opposite sex. Gender inversion is perhaps the ultimate way of thumbing your nose at God.

        And in another sense, the social worker represents all those women in the church who just don’t get it about our abuse experiences and want to shush us up with dismissive prayers or ‘counselling’. They preen themselves on what good ministry they are doing, but they have no idea…

        Jeff and me standing on the fence and not loosing our balance represents what we are trying to do with A Cry for Justice. The fence is precipitous – if we fell either side, we would be getting it wrong. What would “falling off the fence” mean? We might get too focused on the suffering victims and the social justice impulse, at the expense of scripture and the primacy of the gospel and the necessity to be born again and be regenerate in Christ. We might get overly focused on the controversy about male/female ‘roles’ in the family and the church. We might get bogged down in ministering to individuals and forget the big picture of fighting the battle at the systemic levels. Activists like Jeff and me might get out of sorts with each other, and fall off the wall because we’ve not dealt with a little personal injury or misunderstanding. I guess we could all think of more things that could cause us to lose our balance and fall off the fence. That’s why prayer is so important, to help us keep our balance.

        And me smashing the hideous ‘woman-man’ against the fence? Certainly I’m furious about what the abusers are doing. But it’s also showing how the abusers need to be severely dealt within order to stop domestic abuse.

        And lastly, the survivor at the beginning of my dream, the one who has not changed? She represents the women in 2 Tim. 3:6-7 – “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”
        I know there will always be some women like this. I do this work with that knowledge, knowing that not all women are going to be like that, and that many WILL learn, will wake up to this truly, decisively, and never turn back. And among them, many will become astute, vigorous survivors who will join the battle with the others who are fighting in this cause. May the army ever grow larger and more skilful in exposing the works of the enemy!

      • thanks for asking, Ida Mae. To me, the interpretation was self-evident, but when I started writing it down I realised that it may not be so evident to others, and others may find a bit of insight or comfort from it. XXX

    • Somewhat– the swamp was my life.

      I knew the man he was playing with in the water while he ignored me. He’s another ‘man’s man’ , macho kind of guy and I heard his wife died not long ago of breast cancer. They were enemies years back and I know of at least one fist fight between them but in this dream, they/re obviously on great terms. No idea what his presence in the dream means.

      I wonder if it means that the estranged would prefer even his worst enemy to me, just so long as he’s male. I finally came to realize that. (Something he told me repeatedly toward the end so it isn’t conjuncture– he hates women in general, me in particular.) The others getting into boats were protected from the alligators and snakes by navigating the water in boats. We had no protection at all.

      Bit on the foot by a snake? Dunno. I’ve been poisoned perhaps but can’t really see or understand as its underwater.

      Alligators are cold blooded man-killers. This was the second of three alligator dreams I had right in a row. Around here, alligators are common. They’re unpredictable. You can go down to the bayou and see them in the water, sunning themselves on the bank and forget how dangerous they are.

      I did get out– and I have. But the changing room is probably just that– a place to change. But I’m just sitting because I don’t know what to do next. I feel unprotected. The alligators leave the water (my old life) and follow me. I’m guessing that part is the fear. Also there’s a supernatural element involved– demonic maybe?– when they get on their back legs walking like men– the walking dead.

      • That is an incredible interpretation. It makes perfect sense now that I see it all from your perspective. Sad and scary. But even (as we’ve all seen), just sharing it somehow saps it of its strength a little bit. (Or maybe that’s just how it works for me.)

        Thank you for sharing in such an open and honest manner. It’s very powerful..

      • It does help to share. I prefer those dreams where the Lord is clearly speaking rather than my own fear playing havoc with the nighttime 🙂

  2. Pingback: The True Story of the Damaged Daughters of Patriarchy – a memoir | A Cry For Justice

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