Last week, I was sick with the flu. Like, really sick. By the time I went to the doctor I had a fever of 104° F/40° C. She told me that the nights before when I was at my worst, there was a good chance my fever was even higher.
High fevers are known to cause particularly intense and confusing dreams and, on occasion, even hallucinations and deluded thinking. This led to many nights of… interesting experiences for me. Here are a few of them.
*Yes, I am aware of how absurd every one of these events sound. But life, and our brains that record it all, are often strange.*
I woke up, sweating in the dark. There was a war to be won. The generals were waiting. But where would they meet? I knew it was up to me to accommodate them but my head was pounding, I felt weak, and I’d managed to cough so hard that morning that I pulled a muscle in my lower back, making movement difficult. Slowly, painfully I started to extract myself from my tangle of sheets, attempting to form them into the walls and ceilings we needed to hatch our plots for victory.
Eventually, I grew too exhausted to continue, and I was starting to shiver. They would have to figure it out for themselves. I recollected my bedding, wrapped myself into a fever cocoon, and drifted back into nothingness.
I was coughing so hard my head was spinning. Finally able to catch my breath, I sat back onto my bed, propping myself upright against a stack of pillows on the wall. I closed my eyes and breathed in, enjoying the sensation of something other than mucous filling my lungs.
But I was also feeling something else, a slight, but constant, feeling of weight on the top of my head changing its distribution in a circular fashion. I was suddenly “aware” of a flying carousel on my head, spinning, lights flashing through the darkness of my closed eyelids. I sat like this, completely still, eyes closed, for a few minutes as my breathing calmed, the silence occasionally interrupted by a string of barking coughs.
I received a text from a friend which broke through my almost meditative state. For the first time, it occurred to me that this was abnormal. And then, as quickly as it began, it was over.
Chinese Boat Tour
An announcement from the captain roused me from unconsciousness but my eyes, heavy with sleepiness, remained shut. We had arrived at port. We were now in London. The captain’s Mandarin inflected English was ushering off all passengers who were transferring to another boat, but all London bound passengers could collect their bags through the rooftop windows. I sprang up to go open the window and realized… I had been in my bed the whole time. The chances of any bags being dropped through my window seemed slim at this point, and if any bags did appear, I wasn’t sure I wanted whatever any strangers standing on my rooftop at 3 am had to offer anyways.
Naturally, I left the windows shut.
Once again, I awoke, feeling like a microwave-reheated Duvet burrito. I opened my eyes and looked to my right. There was a girl there, lying completely still on her back, hands at her sides. Except, she was floating above the bed, a la Sigourney Weaver in the original Ghost Busters movie. She began to spin, slowly, like a barrel. I rolled over and fell out of my bed, which woke me up for real this time.
Luckily, I only fell out of bed in the dream, not in real life. Thank you cough induced old man back for keeping me immobile.
American Horror Story
An old, sepia tone, framed photo of a bald man filled my view. He faced away from me. I could see his shoulders move with every raspy breath he drew.
Like one of those little children’s toys you look inside, the picture suddenly shuttered and changed.
Same old tone and color, but this time it was a little girl. At least, the dress, the hair, and the bow that was in it made it seem like a little girl. She too, was looking away from me. There was a small, bright red blot on the back of her head. It was growing, dripping out of the picture and oozing down the slick surface and onto the picture frame.
Another bald man, but this time much smaller. He was seated facing away from me but was contorting himself to make sure I could see his face. He had on a muzzle with dog teeth sewn into the front, one of the straps arching over his left eye and around the back of his head. His right eye was looking right into mine, and as my gaze dropped from it down to his right hand, I noticed the revolver pointed at me.
“Bang” he thought at me. I woke up.
My entire field of vision is filled with black, but it isn’t darkness. The surface seems solid at times, like glass. At others, it takes on slight ripples and waves, like a highly viscous, dark liquid. Sometimes, it seems to be the latter lapping up against the former. I stare into this for a while, when faint grey swirls start to appear. These new swirls start to gain color and density, when suddenly the entire vision becomes a white canvas. A hand starts to appear on the surface, slowly gaining ground, appearing to push through as if coming out of a can of white paint. The outline of a face, with a gaping maw, begins to push through as well, joined by a second and then a third hand. Finally, a tear in the partition appears where the first hand began pushing and I, thankfully, woke up.