Danny doesn’t seem to have a lot of recurring dreams these days (these nights). He used to have a lot more. There was one, not so long ago and quite regularly, in which he was supposed to be taking an exam, or simply graduating from a class (to Dan’s surprise, Freud had talked about this one), usually a maths class, only to realise that he hadn’t attended the requisite number of lessons to qualify, and so he’d have to do it all again if he ever wanted to be a writer, or get a degree, or finish high school, or whatever. There were also a number which involved school or work in which he would be late, or be lost, or be naked, or any combination of the three (and Freud’s right here, too: the thing about being naked is that nobody notices; how depressing). These seem to have tapered off though, of late. Or at least that’s Dan’s story, and he’s sticking to it.
There’s one that still sticks in his mind though, more than any, and for a couple of reasons. Since childhood, Danny has had a dream in which he would wake up in his bed at home (his parents’ home), get up, and switch on the light, only for it to not work. So he’d walk out onto the landing and switch that light on; ditto. And then something scary would happen. Often (no idea why) it would be wolves howling in the bedroom. Occasionally, your more common or garden ghost would appear. But the interesting thing was how he learned to react. He’d know he was dreaming, and to this day, he will always recognise a nightmare when he dreams one. So he’d throw himself down the stairs. This, Danny knew, would wake him up.
It got to the stage where on hitting that second switch to find nought but blackness, Danny’d throw himself down the stairs anyway, regardless of whether or not anything came, because, you know, why wait? He still does this today (tonight?) with scary dreams. He know what’s coming, he know it’s just a dream, so he kills himself, or at least hurts himself as much as is possible in the context of the dream, in order to save himself from the inevitable.
Of course, it occurred to the young Danny then as it does to the old Danny now that, you know, he might just wake up one night, in the midst of a power-cut, mistake the failed electrics for the onrush of terror, and jump by mistake. But to this day that has never stopped him from doing it.
For some reason, it’s only ever the nightmares that are lucid anymore. The young Danny used to be able to dream anything he wanted. There used to be a point in almost any dream where he would realise reality’s absence, and he loved the power that would then give him. He became adept at a kind of doublethink, as he learned that recognising the dream for what it was too quickly would cause him to wake. He’d tell himself it wasn’t a dream (was really), this was all really happening (no it wasn’t, chuckle), was definitely real (uh huh, whatever you say), so that he could stay in, thereby gaining the power to play. And play he would. The young Danny could fly without wings. The young Danny could fight, and win. The young Danny could screw ANYONE he wanted.
No more. For some reason, the ability to control his own dreams got taken from him. All he was left with were the nightmares. The only options that the old Danny can entertain, rather worryingly, are to hang around to see what’s going to happen to him, or to jump.
He has to be more careful though, these days. There are a lot more power-cuts than there were when he was younger. And sometimes, like today for instance, he just runs out of electricity because he’s forgotten to pay the bill. In cases like these, then, and in this context, it’s probably far safer to hang around and see what might happen next. Or maybe just to go back to bed.