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The nightmare is in layers.
I am sleeping, easily. Next to me, M sleeps also. She is, like I am, prone to nightmares. I can feel in the darkness that she is stirring, a sign that a bad dream is going on. I can feel her moving, wrestling with her bad dream. It has happened before, so I do what I always do: I put my hands around her and try to hush her. What I always do, in these cases, is to hold her, caress her forehead with my hand and tell her ďNow, now, itís overĒ. I do that.
But I canít. I am motionless in the bed and I canít move, because I am dreaming. Like Poeís Dream Within a Dream, her nightmare is inside my dream. In reality, she is simply sleeping besides me because I am the one having a nightmare, not her.
But she is not next to me.
I am in our room but there is one fine detail: it is mirror-flipped. The bathroom is to my left, not the right. But I am still motionless, unable to move in the dream; she is still having a nightmare and I canít move to hold her and help her out of it because I am also dreaming, in a mirror room that has a door to my left. Only then do I feel it.
Behind that door lies something evil, something that is about to spring at me. Because M is not there with me. I am alone in the room and she is already stirring in her nightmare, in the bottom dream and I canít move to hold her and protect her from her nightmare and now I canít move either to protect myself from whatever is behind the door.
I start saying that because I know that whatever is behind that door is about to open it and come for me. I try to move, to do something. But I canít.
Because this is still another layer in the dream. At the bottom, M is wriggling in bed, her nightmare in full and I want to help her but I canít move because I am dreaming there, and above I am trying to move because I am alone in that room and the door suddenly opens and the evil is about to come out.
I can hear myself saying help me, but it is not me. The voice is guttural, dead, and the words are slurred and heavy. I am trying to get up from bed and run from the evil and M is screaming in the bottom dream and I canít hold her because I canít move there either, and the HELP ME I hear is myself, closer to the surface but it sounds heavy because it is yet another layer of dreams, and a hand flaps over me and it is probably this evil thing and a voice starts to say ďNow, NowĒ and I can hear myself saying that to her at the bottom but this time it is her voice, next to me, doing the same thing I do for her when I am the one in a nightmare. But her same voice is screaming in the bottom dream and I too am saying NOW, NOW there, and the evil thing is about to come out and it is why I say HELP ME in a guttural voice that I can hear myself saying and I canít wake up from one, two or three layers of nightmare and then the evil thing comes out andÖ.
I wake up. M is next to me, her arm around me, perhaps already shaken because of my voice saying HELP ME, HELP ME. I am awake but something is not totally right. There is a fuzzy sensation that one layer of dreaming is not over. I start to check my darkness and this time, it is the one that is real. But as in that very good movie, I am not completely sure. I can hear the traffic outside; the sheets feel real against my skin.
I can move. There are no more voices and the bathroom is to my right, not left.
The fog inside my head moves slowly, and it takes me a little while to convince myself that I am truly awake. I lie in bed, three layers of fear still hanging around. I rewind everything and try to remember how it felt.
It is 3.11 in the morning. I start typingÖ

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