As a child, I was tormented by nightmares. I probably averaged about four or five a night, and would wake mid-scream, gasping for air, unable to shake the terror that gripped me. As an adult, I am still visited regularly by my sleep demons, although now I consider them more a form of muse. Although no less frightening, they often inspire the stories about which I write.
Unfortunately, it seems my oldest daughter has inherited my overactive REM-induced imagination. A few examples of her nightmares include “a robot trying to stick 119 needles in (her) eye,” “wolves,” and dreams about the “humans trying to get (her).” The last one stopped after I was finally able to convince her that she was, in fact, a human herself. She was skeptical at first, but eventually relented.
At the age of two, she would run down our long hallway, screaming in terror, only to stop and then knock politely on our bedroom door before entering. Once she knew we were awake, she would then run frantically back and forth to and from her bedroom several times, insisting on “saving” her blanket and stuffed animals from whatever predatorial monster lurked. She’d never ask for our help, even though she was clearly petrified, and she wouldn’t stop to tell us about her dream until she had completed her heroic routine.