childhood memories

HALLOWEEN 2021: when i used to dream nightmares | part two

HALLOWEEN 2021: when i used to dream nightmares | part two

I held my breath, terrified to make a sound.

I did not know how I got here: lying on my stomach on the floor, under a bed which I first thought was my own… but this was not my room.

Something moved in the shadows and I flinched, but then grew perfectly still as I caught the shimmer of eyes watching me, wide and scared.

Other children.

I was not alone.

Several of us were hiding here, under the bed and with nowhere else to go.

My heart pounding, I dipped my head a little lower and peeked out from my hiding place, finding a room with a gray carpet, gray desks placed alongside the gray walls, a gray chair upon which sat… a man, wearing a gray suit, yet not a gray top hat — no, that one was black, a hue so utterly dark that it would never be able to catch a ray of light.

The man was tall. Unusually thin. He reminded me of a scarecrow.

Of a skeleton.

He was motionless, and I released a shuddering breath, and—

Whirling around, he turned on his chair.

The man had no face.

It was white, simply white, an empty sheet, pale flesh without features, and yet…

And yet, I knew he could see me.

 

Greetings scaredy-cats and and horror-fanatics, and welcome to the second part of my 2021 Halloween blog post series, “When I Used to Dream Nightmares”! 🎃

 

As I told you all in the previous post, when I was 5 or 6 years old, I went through a phase in which I was often terrorized by pretty horrific nightmares, and the one above is one of the few which I still vividly remember.

To be honest, even at 29, I still think this one is pretty disturbing.

While my nightmare of the Skeleton Dragon was a recurring dream that plagued me about two or three times, this was — thankfully — a standalone, so the Faceless Man only visited me once. The nightmare was just as I described it above, yet somehow, I had all this knowledge while I was in the dream, and I knew this creepy guy stole children from their parents and then just kept them in that room. Which makes hiding from him seem like a pointless thing, I guess, but that’s just the way dreams work, right? They often don’t make sense, and neither do your actions. I just figure that the other children and I simply did not want the Faceless Man to see us.

But, what did he want from us? Would he eat us? Lock us up somewhere?

I never got an answer to that, since the dream stopped the moment his face turned toward me, and luckily I woke up in my own bed, in my own room, with no terrifying intruders present.

Yet that is exactly what has been intriguing me as I got older: how often does it happen that a nightmare stops at the exact moment that something truly creepy would happen? To me, that is always the case.

Which is why today, I’d like to talk a little about the power of suggestion — or rather, the horror of it.

 

Now then, let’s be honest: what is often worse? The idea of something terrible happening, or actually going through it?

In my experience it is the first.

Like back at high school, when I had to give a presentation before my teacher and classmates, I used to be so terribly nervous it made me feel sick. Yet when I was actually standing there, doing it, I often forgot all about my nerves and it turned out not to be that bad.

The same goes for watching a horror movie (what?)! Often the first half is the scariest for me, when inexplicable things happen — when objects move, but you don’t see what has touched it. When there are sounds and moans at night, but you never see what is making them. When the camera shows you that something is watching the protagonists, but you never get to see what it is.

Then, usually, during the climax of the movie you get to see this horrific monster or dreadful ghost that usually, for me, breaks the spell and takes away all fear, because somehow, actually seeing the devil isn’t as scary as not seeing it while knowing it is there.

Personally, I always like to add this to my own stories — I don’t write ghost tales (maybe I will one day, though!) so I can’t get away with keeping the demon invisible, but I do like to build up the tension in a scene first. Like I did in the prologue of INSOMNIA, when Jodi is playing with her dog and he disappears into the field of the farm, out of her sight. She can hear he gets hurt, but doesn’t know what is going on. Once she finds her dog, he turns out to be wounded and bleeding.

And then the sun sets, a shadow falls over her, and she knows, she senses something is behind her.

For me, the idea of a situation like this simply fills me with dread; not being able to see what is there, yet knowing that something is lurking behind you, wanting to hurt you.

Writing the part of that scene that comes after, of Jodi being attacked by the Nightprowler, was still pretty terrifying for me to write — but I do think one should never underestimate the power of suggestion, and how much scarier it is than when a character faces off with the actual monster.

 

But, that is just my opinion! What do you think? Is the mere suggestion of something scarier, or do you  dread the part that comes after, the actual showdown with whatever devil is haunting the story? I’m really interested to know how others think about this, so please leave me a comment down below! Who knows, I might learn something from it as a storyteller 😉

 

This concludes part two — which is also the final one! Thanks so much for reading everyone; please feel free to reach out to me 😀

 

Happy Halloween everyone.

May your dreams be filled with lovely nightmares…

 

(Oh, and… don’t forget to listen closely for the sounds in your house at midnight. Who knows what you might hear — yet will never find…?)

 

— Lynn

 

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Posted by Lynn Robin in Lifestyle, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN 2021: when i used to dream nightmares | part one

HALLOWEEN 2021: when i used to dream nightmares | part one

The rough texture of the rocky floor scraped against my feet, and heat pressed down on my skin.

All around me, the world was burning.

From the corners of my vision, I saw the walls to my left and right pulse in the rhythm of a heartbeat; the walls seemed to be made of both stone and fire, the red-glowing magma oozing heat, heat, so much heat, and a wicked kind of darkness that tangled in my chest and made the air in my lungs heavy and suffocating.

I did not want to walk on.

Yet I did.

My heart racing, I took a step forward and then another one, emerging from the narrow cave into a larger one, the ceiling so high that all I could see were shadows — that is, if I would look up.

I did not.

For the floor, the walls, my body, everything began to tremble as a deep, thundering roar shook the cave, so loud that it was deafening, the cacophony vibrating in my very bones.

A creature rose from the sea of fire before me, blocking my only path, its eye sockets empty and dark — they were infinite shadows in which I found nothing but emptiness and corruption.

It was a monster.

A devil.

A dragon.

Made of bones.

 

Well, I can imagine by now you are probably wondering: what is this? Is it a new story? Has this crazy author written YET ANOTHER new book?

Nope, I have not, sorry!

This simply is the introduction to my very first Halloweenish blog post of 2021, part one of “When I Used to Dream Nightmares🎃

 

Sometimes I get asked whether I find inspiration in my dreams, and although I sometimes actually do (but that’s for another future blog post), I must say that often my dreams are just plain weird, don’t make any sense, and really are actually pretty mundane.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

As a child, I went through a phase in which I often dreamed nightmares. I think I was about 5 or 6 years old. I had a few of them every week. I don’t remember for how long this went on, and most of the time the nightmares were different, except for this particular one which I kept dreaming for several times.

It was the nightmare of the Skeleton Dragon.

That’s how I came to call it, as this monster must have visited me at night at least three times. I can still remember it so vividly, and it’s exactly as I described it above; suddenly I found myself in a dark, burning cave, where I felt unsafe and simply knew something bad was going to happen. But I couldn’t go anywhere else, and all I could do was walk on.

Then, the dream ended with the dragon rising from the lava and towering over me, roaring and intimidating.

After that, I always woke up, and ran over to my parents’ bedroom.

 

Back then it seriously terrified me and I remember actually being afraid to go to sleep at night, scared for whatever I would dream, even though my parents kept telling me it was just a dream and that it could not hurt me. Yeah, well, what else could they say to me? They couldn’t just pluck this horror scenario out of my head.

Nowadays, however, I find myself intrigued by my dreams from back then. Especially since I was so young, and I don’t recall ever having seen a horror movie at that age (I think I was 9 years old when I saw my first really creepy one).

Although, I think I can see where this Skeleton Dragon nightmare came from: back then, I used to play this game for the Nintendo 64 (yep, I’m talking about the good old 90’s here!), called Yoshi’s Story. There was a particular level in which you had to find your way through a cave and battle against fire spewing bone dragons. And oh wow, how that level terrified me 😅

If you’d like, you can watch a part of it here:

 

To be honest, now I actually think the dragons look quite cute and not very scary at all, but bear in mind that I was no older than 6 years old back then, okay? My dad and sister used to play this level for me, because I wasn’t brave enough.

But after the nightmare kept recurring, one day I was simply sick of it — and so I turned on the N64, inserted the game, sat down, and forced myself to play through the level all on my own; and with that, somehow, I managed to shove my fears aside and before I knew it, I had defeated this terrible creature.

The nightmare never returned after that, not even once.

And that was a turning point for me: that is when my fascination for horror and scary things began.

So in the end, I am grateful for the nightmares I had as a kid, as they were actually filled with fantasy, and simply were a reflection of my wild imagination that was a bit too much to handle for me at first, but then became something I loved and began to feed by playing video games, watching movies, and reading books 🙂

Nightmares aren’t all bad. Some are, in hindsight, pretty awesome.

Or is that just my wicked mind talking?

 

🎃

 

All right, this is it for this week — later this month I will return with part two of “When I Used to Dream Nightmares“, as I’ll tell you guys about a whole other dream as well as the horror of suggestion… and how that often returns in my storytelling 😉

 

Happy Halloween everyone.

May your dreams be filled with lovely nightmares…

 

— Lynn

 

Don’t want to miss updates on my book releases? Then please subscribe to my blog (scroll all the way up, and you’ll find the subscribe button to your right. All you have to do is enter your email address, and then confirm your subscription).

or

If you’d like to stay updated and see more of what’s happening behind the scenes on a daily (hourly, even!) basis, please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook. I recommend Instagram for a steady amount of updates, since I’m sharing everything I’m working on in my stories; feel free to follow!

 

Thanks so much for subscribing and following ❤️

Posted by Lynn Robin in Lifestyle, 4 comments