I woke to the familiar shadows of gray and black blanketing our room, but for some inexplicable reason I felt afraid. Almost like I’d just had a nightmare.
I faced the edge of the bed, my husband spooning me, his arm around my waist, his head behind mine on the pillow. There was something off about his breathing. It wasn’t the calm, slow breathing of someone asleep. No. It was the kind of breathing that came from great exertion. Or fear.
When my husband spoke it was more breath than sound and meant only for me to hear. “Someone’s in here.”
My heart exploded. My body tensed. His arm tightened around me, telling me with his action that we should lie there unmoving, pretending to be asleep, and hope the intruder wouldn’t bother with us.
My gaze ping ponged around the room, searching for the man. At first I didn’t see anyone. Then I spotted him. He crawled on his hands and knees along the side of the bed toward me.
I thought I had known fear.
I hadn’t known fear until I knew he was going to kill me. Kill us.
Then I woke up.
Yep. That was one of my dreams. I had that nightmare many years ago. It was one of those stick-to-your ribs bad dreams that I’ll never forget.
My nightmares started when I was three years old. I don’t remember any specific bad dreams from that far back, but I do remember waking up absolutely terrified. So petrified that I couldn’t move my arms or legs, and worse, I couldn’t scream. I would lay in my bed opening my mouth trying to force sound out of it, but couldn’t. That feeling of helplessness is what I remember most.
And then there were the times I would wander out of my bedroom during the night. Once at 3:00 A.M my parents found me walking around saying I needed to go outside to get my hairbrush. They thought I must be sleepwalking too. They took me to the doctor.
The diagnosis: Night Terrors.
The solution: Limit my TV watching. I was absolutely not allowed to watch anything scary. So I didn’t.
Looking back, I think that helped somewhat. I don’t remember having nightmares until my teen years. When I was sixteen, I had a vivid dream of my ex-boyfriend stabbing me to death. I died in that dream. When I woke in my room, I was super confused. It took me a moment to realize I wasn’t dead, but had just had a nightmare.
Currently, I have a couple nightmares every week. My husband has to wake me up because I’m moaning in my sleep. Moaning in my sleep means I’m actually screaming in the dream.
There’s no real reason for me to have bad dreams all the time. I don’t have a traumatic past. Not like the clients I work with—I’m a mental health counselor.
What are my nightmares about? Anything scary. They are never the same. In my dreams I’ve eaten cookies poisoned by human flesh. I’ve experienced the terror of having a hundred snakes crawling on the bed with me. I’ve watched helplessly as loved ones have died. I’ve planned how to escape a pack of wolves chasing me or tried to hide from the grizzly bears that broke into my house. Seriously, anything that could possibly terrify me—I’ve lived through it a bunch of times in my dreams.
The funny thing is…
I’m not scared of the nightmares. I’ve always just viewed them as a part of who I am. A part of how I’m wired. Possibly even a gift. I’ve used them as inspiration in my writing. Pieces and parts of them end up in some of the scariest scenes I write.
There’s a scene at the end RACE THE DARKNESS that was inspired by a dream. In my dream it was nearly dawn and the birds were already singing their morning songs, but I was running toward the river to escape a man pursuing me. He shot me just as I reached the water’s edge. I fell into the river and all the lovely birdsong muted as I went under the water.
This isn’t what happened to Isleen in the book, but it gave me the insight to take that scene a bit deeper.
Is it any wonder that all the heroines in the Fatal Dreams Series have special nightmares?
What is your worst nightmare, tell us and one reader will win a copy of RACE THE DARKNESS!
About Abbie Roads
Abbie Roads, the author of the Fatal Dreams series, is a mental health counselor by day and a writer by night. She lives in Marion, Ohio.
If he loses, she dies
Cursed with a terrible gift…
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you-he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night-the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.