In late 2014, around the time I got pregnant with L, I stopped having nightmares. Or at least, I stopped having any nightmares that I could recall. Certainly none, if they occurred, were bad enough to affect my sleep-wake cycle or leave me at all affected (as far as I can tell, on a conscious level).
A few vivid and incredibly bizarre dreams happened during the first and second trimesters, but they tended towards odd or funny, and once L was born, my subconscious seemed to be taking a break from movie making.
Two weeks ago, though, I had my first nightmare in yonks. The details were fuzzy when I woke, but I vaguely recall that the cast was a mix of my relatives and characters from a couple of local movies that E had been playing on repeat at home. I have no recollection of the plot or any events in it, but I know I woke up with a start, panting slightly and feeling a bit out of sorts and disturbed.
Then, two nights ago, I had my next memorable nightmare. And this one’s still with me, a little. I have no recollection of the cast (there was a vague impression when I woke, but that’s faded now) or the plot, but one scene – the one I woke from – has left me with rather gruesome images and a faint gnawing dread.
I am crouching, with L beside me, and we’re looking at something on the ground. I point at it and she laughs and babbles, flapping her arms. Then suddenly I feel it – that unmistakable sensation of a foetal limb pressing hard against my insides as the unborn infant, which has to be at least six months grown to have such an effect, stretches. I’m surprised, because as far as I know, I’m not pregnant. In surprise and curiosity I look down at my belly, yanking my T-shirt up, and see to my shock the shape of a tiny fist, distending the skin of my abdomen quite grotesquely, sweeping across from right to left and stretching the skin further and further outward as it does, causing intense pressure to build up really quickly. A moment later, there’s a huge pop and my abdomen bursts open, a la the chestburster scene in Ridley Scott’s Alien, and I stare in horror – strangely I feel nothing, perhaps because I’m in shock? – as my skin falls in ragged folds to expose a gory, slimy something not unlike what the Nostromo’s crew found inside the alien eggs and the innards of the alien face hugger. It gapes below my exposed ribs, and I look up, bewildered, unsure if it’s actually happening or just a part of my imagination – I must be going insane, I’m hallucinating big time – and realise I don’t know what’s happened to L, who was supposedly right next to me. And then I’m screaming…
And then I’m awake.
What this sort of thing is supposed to mean, I have no idea. My subconscious seems to be a very scary place. Either that, or I’m a really disturbed individual.