I’m very active in my sleep. I spin, talk, kick my sister, and any number of inconvenient things. Additionally, and for whatever reason, I’ve also always had very vivid dreams. They’ve changed as I get older and it’s interesting to note their progression.
When I was a young child, probably 3-10, I mostly remembered nightmares. They centered around family and friends, but most often my parents. I’d wake up terrified because I had dreamed Mom and Dad were mummies, or half spiders, or my mother had been kidnapped by aliens. The worst part was I couldn’t tell the difference between dream and reality until the morning, so I lay utterly still hoping nothing in the nightmare was waiting to get me. I also dreamed of walking to the bathroom a lot, but then I’d wake up and walk to the bathroom. It was a literal message that I needed to pee.
Puberty brought on some alarming changes. I’d wake up 3-7 days a week dreaming I’d died, and almost always by murder. It’s not unusual to dream that you die, and it turns out my Mom had the same sort of murder dreams when she was that age. Thank you genetics. That phase lasted until my early twenties, and brought many interesting firsts. I dreamed regularly in black and white, and once in Spanish (if I didn’t know a word I couldn’t think it). I dreamed that I was someone else, for the first time changing genders, and I had a couple of truly spectacular dreams.
The worst was when I dreamed my then-boyfriend strangled me. I’d been in my own body watching his face until I died, and then sort of artistically drawn up and away, watching him still strangling my dead body from a 3rd person perspective. Predictably, I felt very uncomfortable anywhere near him for the better part of a week, and didn’t want to be alone in a room with him for a lot longer. He wasn’t very understanding, after all it was only a dream, but I haven’t yet forgotten what his face looked like while his hands were wrapped around my neck.
My favorite from that time was the Private Eye. The world was black and white, and set in classic film Noir. Mist swirled everywhere, and I was a trench coat clad PI following a man down darkened streets. In the end, the guy I was following shot me, and I watched myself bleed out in an alley. After the trauma of that passed, I realized how interesting it was to have such a thematic and vivid adventure. This also became a reoccurring dream, sometimes with slight variations at where we would go or perspective, and was one of a couple of film noir dreams I cycled through.
After about age 22, I’ve mostly stopped dying and moved on to a series of more pleasant reoccurring dreams. Very occasionally I wake up after dreaming about the day I’m about to have. It’s very boring. Sometimes, like last night, I’ll dream I am snoozing on the sunlit couch in my new apartment, covered in sleeping cats. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy in my life, but I woke up completely boneless and so pleased with life I could have cried. I love cats.
After all this introduction it’s time to get to the real showstopper. Sometimes, if I’m very lucky, I dream the dream of the Dwarf King.
This is a reoccurring dream that can happen anywhere from twice a month to four times a week. For an added bonus, if I get woken up by my alarm and if I can go back to sleep, the dream usually picks up where it left off. It’s not truly reoccurring, as slightly different things happen each time, but I, the Dwarf King, sit around lording over my kingdom underground.
I’m usually sitting on my throne in the largest hall, or occasionally making plans around a large stone carving of the area in the war room. I direct the masses to do tunnel expansions and construction projects, and give approval and give advice on mining plans.
Sometimes we wage war on the goblins. To be fair, they always start it, and I direct the troops in my booming man voice while I sit there on my throne, tense with anticipation. I’ve only twice engaged in battle with my giant war hammer, and one of those times I shouted “Meet your Doom!” while wielding said hammer, named Doom. You can be assured I brought the pain, and those goblins went running.
Some nights I have rather a lot of downtime, and wander through the stronghold exploring. I especially like running my fingers along the grey stone walls of the lowest, less finished tunnels. I nod my head at any fellow dwarves I pass, and it makes all the little beads in my hair clack together. I dream this dream in enough detail that the calluses on my fingers catch occasionally on the rough stone. The air is mostly still, but only a few tunnels have been damp. It seems to get a little warmer the lower I go.
There’s a somewhat friendly dragon we avoid who lives in the next tunnel system over. He seldom eats dwarves, but I think we feed him goblin prisoners to stay on good terms. Occasionally, I’m a woman Dwarf King, but it’s exactly the same dreams. Once I was Bettina the Dwarf King, me just sitting there on the throne. No one treated me any differently, but I was a little more frightened of the attacking goblins, and didn’t like it quite so much.
I have no control over what happens in dreams, and although I’ve read plenty of times that you can work at changing what happens, I’ve never managed it. I can participate, or sometimes just watch, but no control.
Overall I enjoy dreaming, especially when I don’t just die all the time, but I make no guarantees for the next time I get strangled by a romanic partner. I’ll try not to hold it against them, but it’s going to be tough. If you’re out there Sandman, and taking requests, I’d like more cat dreams, and nothing that involves giant spiders.
And any night that I am the Dwarf King, is a good one.