If you asked me what I remembered about my childhood, we’d be here too long. I remember most things in luxurious vivid detail, much to the consternation and (I think, tee-hee) slight concern of my mother. But if you asked me what I remembered most about my childhood, that would be a lot easier: Jonny (Oh! It is the author’s real voice) and Rupert, Greg and Alice, and, most vividly of all, the nightmares. More of which in a bit. First, this.
I was teaching a Drama lesson; all full-on performance and pyrotechnic dramatics, laughter, noise, chaos and learning, when, two minutes before the bell went, I remembered that it was Steve Harrison’s (not his real name) final lesson with me. Ever the compliant and acquiescent adoptive child always striving to be good, even in my nightmares, I had bought him a bag of fudge to share with his class mates.
I stopped mid-sentence, class all over the place, with a “WAIT!”, ran out of the room, through double-doors, a hall, a doorway, my living room, the hall, a doorway, stairs and… into my bedroom (although the route wasn’t accurate, as clearly my brain doesn’t do Geography when it’s about to give me a massive, subconscious shock).
Upon the wall of the bedroom, an old medicine cabinet; tiny. As I had rushed, the thoughts racing through my head had been: “It’s not a good idea to leave that class; they can’t be trusted,” and, “I think Gemma (see, it is the author’s real voice) gave the packet of fudge to the boys.” The medicine cabinet was open. And empty. I turned round.
From nowhere, she must have been hiding, one of the kitchen staff at the school, who may also have been the school matron, whom the dream-me recognized but the awake-me wouldn’t have known, appeared. Both her hair and face were jaundiced and deeply, unattractively lined. Going into full charm mode, I gave her one of my customarily ebullient “How lovely this world is because we have just bumped into each other” greetings.
She pushed me over.
As I lay there on a soft pile of duvet, I couldn’t help but wonder why she was apparently trying to assault me (sexually?!), but then, I noticed that her by now close-up face had transformed into a visage of pure malice. I looked down. Her left-hand gripped an enormous, black-handled kitchen knife; her hands had operating gloves on. This was a planned attempt at murdering me.
She was catatonic, and that far-off foreign destination, which is the part of my mind’s landscape where rationality is king, alerted me to the fact that this was so (rather like in a dream, when one cannot move or run or shout or speak) and so I lashed out at her with my right-hand.
In a stunning special-effect worthy of a first-class horror flick, my assailant vanished, just melted away like a ghostly vapour, to be replaced by the background of the room.
I shouted. I awoke.
(Part Two Tomorrow, unless by some miracle I manage to pause time; I’m kinda busy today. Have a good weekend, you splendid readers.)