I’m used to having very vivid dreams, usually nightmares, so I usually don’t spend much time thinking about each individual one. However, the one I had last night stood out, as it was very coherent.
I was a girl of about eleven, and I was in an old building, painting with blue paint on these little cards. Each painting was more beautiful than the last, and I kept painting until I had a large stack of them on a desk. After a while a man came in, an old man, and he watched me paint for so long that I became nervous, and looked up at him.
He had a rifle leveled at me.
He asked me to keep painting, and to not look at him again, because he was a bad man of filthy habits, and he might not be able to contain himself if he had to look at my beautiful eyes again. I looked down and tried to keep painting, but I was scared and my brush shook so badly it was a horrible mess. I asked him what he wanted, and he told me only:
“Do as I say, or I will hurt you in ways only I can. You are young and I have filthy habits. Do as I say.”
And over the dream he kept asking me to do horrible, impossible things, he asked me to kill a rabbit, and to stare at the sun and divine it’s secrets, to tell him all I knew about the rain. And as I talked, I was not allowed to look at him but I could see that he was becoming more and more solid, and eventually he put his hands on my shoulders and said the he could not control himself, that he was old and I was young and had done everything he had asked of me.
He put the rifle in my lap and asked me to shoot him, to shoot him between the eyes so that he might be relieved of the evil that was me.
The rifle was heavy, but I was allowed to look at him now and he was very long and thin and scholarly looking, like a professor. He kept his eyes closed, and I placed the barrel between his eyes while I fumbled for the trigger. He didn’t say anything. But he breathed, and his breathing became louder and louder and finally I could not do it, I could not do as he asked because his breathing was a sign of life too powerful to let go, too strong. And I put down the rifle.
And I picked up my paints.
And I painted, and he stared at me.
When I woke up it was light outside, and the wind rattled on the windows.