I have been going through a spell of particularly vivid dreams, and last night, I had a truly terrifying dream. It was one of those dreams where something impossible happened, but it was so subtle, and believable that it made it all the more terrifying. (No, I am not talking about the election.)
When I woke from the dream, I lay in bed thinking about it for a long time. I realized that the dream, as “filmed” in my head, would make a perfect episode of The Twilight Zone. Then I realized, with sudden urgency, that it would also make a great short story. I was too tired to jot it down, but Kelly was awake, feeding the baby, and I told her about the dream, knowing that in doing so, I’d remember it in the morning. I thought about the story some more, trying to figure out how I’d handle one particularly tricky angle to the story. That was around 3:30 am. Eventually, I got back to sleep. And then an even stranger thing happened.
I had another dream. In this one, I was eager to write the story that derived from the first dream. I dreamt that I had gone out to the car to drive somewhere, and was thinking about the dream, and the story I’d write. So I’m driving along, and all at once, it hits me! I know exactly how to tell this story, from which character’s view point it should be told, and how, by telling it from that particular viewpoint, it will make the story that much stronger. I’d been looking down, and when I looked up, the car had drifted over to the opposite side of the road. I jerked the steering wheel and woke up.
Now, several hours after waking from the original dream, the story is still fresh in my mind. It even has a working title: “The Long Way Home.” (I was originally going to call it “The Mirror” because the story involves a mirror, but “The Long Way Home” is better.) I don’t know when I’ll actually end up writing it, given that I am working on the novel now, but I’ve jotted down some notes so that I don’t forget anything.
It is extremely rare for me to dream something that turns into a story. And this story is a rare diversion for me in that it is essentially a horror story, something I’ve never really tried to write before. It should be fun to give it a try.