How I Did A Deal With The Nightmare

Books GeekMom
Johann Heinrich F├╝ssli, The Nightmare

I’m a geek and a writer. Therefore I’m able to talk with mythical and literary beings, which is usually disturbing but may be proved useful, in very rare occasions.

I always had a special bond with dreams. Far before I read The Sandman and fell in love with Dream himself (who hadn’t?).
I am blessed enough to often remember my dreams, and to enjoy a wide range of dreaming experiences, flashes and words, journeys and stories, bizarre ones, nonsensical ones, delightful ones. I’m able to visit my favourite places in dreams, from Rivendell to the Dreaming’s library where I sometimes converse with Lucien.
Yes, I’m a lucky girl.

I also have a deal with nightmares. They don’t really frighten me. Not even the Corinthian.
They used to scare me, though, when I was a toddler. My mother told me so.
Then something happened. I don’t remember what. But from that time, many years ago, I became able to wake up, consciously, when feeling a nightmare was about to end too badly.

Now, my baby is almost ten months old and begins to experience his own first nightmares.
I always intended to boldly deal with my son’s nightmares, following the wonderful example of Susan in the delicious Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather: to firmly pull them from under the child’s bed, beat them up, kick them out and threaten them of the most horrible punishments if they dared to come back.
Except that my son’s still a bit young to fully appreciate this method.

So I decided to pass a deal for him with the Nightmare herself.
Perhaps I should have begun with that name. I love that name. The Mare of the Night. So suggestive. So picturesque. So beautiful.
I use the English name for her, for French’s word cauchemar doesn’t carry the same images. Cauchemar roughly means “squeezing ghost”, which is interesting, but less classy.

The night-mare and her nine-fold…

How many stories I dreamt about them! The younglings always come first, they’re bolder, more brutal, less subtle, than her. They’re the nightmares we usually meet. But she’s something more. Something closer to the night itself, to the darkness itself. A very old being, bringing important news.
Could you wish to never experience nightmare? Could you wish that for your kid? Would he be human, then? Would he grow up, grow stronger, and wiser?
Probably not.
I only asked for the same blessing than mine. To be able to wake up if he felt the nightmare was becoming too dangerous, too scary.

I’ll have to write her story, someday. That’s the least I can do.

In a few years, I’ll use Susan’s method anyway. That will be such a fun. Has any of you given it a try?

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2 thoughts on “How I Did A Deal With The Nightmare

  1. I love dreams too. I’ve even been known to have favorite nightmares– nightmares that were at the time terrifying, but in the light of day are so interesting or bizarre or sometimes just ridiculous (like the time I dreamed people were being roasted on a spit and were turning into rolls of baloney), that I can’t help appreciating them.

    My son who is four will often tell me, in the morning, “I had a bad dream,” and often “I had a bad dream about you.” He says it very matter-of-factly, and I ask him to go on and tell me about it, but he never seems to put anything more in words, and sometimes I’m not even sure it was a BAD dream at all, but was just a dream that he found memorable….

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