The Dream I’d Rather Not Remember

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Very few of my dreams have left me terrified when I woke up. This one had an almost Candyman effect, and I was even unsure whether to write it on here in case he came for me…

We’d gone to Manchester on a shopping spree, and somehow I had acquired a whole load of freebies by picking up a basketful and promising to pay later…

We found a load of Josie’s friends from back home in a large canteen. We sat with them for a while, me constantly worried about the train times. It was already evening, and I had work the next day.

Then a fight broke out, and the masses started yelling and egging them on. I heard the punch, and the crowd dispersed. This poor, old, rather tubby man got up off the floor and looked ready to cry. I was waiting for blood to pour out of his nose, but nothing happened. It was rather anticlimactic.

We left Josie’s friends just after eleven, so we were now in a rush to catch a train home. She led me down what I assumed couldn’t be the right way.

We ended up walking through a posh mansion; all marble flooring and spiral staircases. A woman who looked like Mila Kunis stood in an impressive red dress at the top, holding onto a pure white chihuahua. She waved at us as we descended.

Further and further down the staircases we went until I felt dizzy and the lights grew dimmer, and eventually threw us into pitch black. Then we appeared in an underground station.

A train arrived, but we were unsure whether to get on it. A man got out, and we asked where we were. He said this was Oxford Road. I wasn’t so sure, but then Josie said we had to get the train back from Piccadilly. Before we could get on the train, it shut its doors and zoomed off.

We sat waiting on the steps behind us, and soon a large crowd of people had joined us. We could just about see daylight at the end of the tunnel (which was strange for 11pm) A couple of other trains pulled up, but they were far across the tracks of the one platform station, or completely pointless, yet people were risking it. The one carriage train with the ripped open side was rammed full of people, but it didn’t go anywhere.

People were sitting all over the tracks. It was chaos. Then a strange looking green cube of a train pulled up, and everyone was yelling for the guy with the basketball to stop sitting on the tracks and get out of its way. But this train pulled up just in time, so quickly that the iron front of the train fell off.

We all watched in wonder as the cube transformed. It elongated and became the front of a steam train. A man appeared from inside it and took a bow. He was dressed like a ringleader, minus the top hat. His frizzy ginger hair stuck out at odd angles due to severe balding issues. Everyone applauded.

The rest of the train appeared and as if by magic attached itself to the engine. The man jumped down and walked towards the crowd. Smoke billowed out of the top of the train, but I wasn’t so sure it was from the coals.

This looked like the beginning of a Doctor Who episode, set in Gotham. One I very much didn’t want to be a part of. There was something very off about this scene. And this guy was every shade of creepy. I wanted out.

“Shall we walk to Piccadilly?” I asked Josie.

She made to get up, but then the man was right in front of us. He asked Josie to speak into the megaphone, and she got all excited and said in a deep voice, “Ring ring.” The crowd cheered.

A well-known song began playing from the train, and my efforts to forget the song in my dream are working even now. But both Ed and Josie began to sing it, along with the rest of the crowd, save for me and one other woman.

The man pulled a long contract out of his coat pocket, and whilst smiling tried to shove a pen in Josie’s hand. Luckily, she had the sense to hesitate this time. I pushed her away, followed by Ed and the woman. The man continued to smile after us, but didn’t chase. Instead, he turned his attention the rest of the crowd who, whilst singing, started to board the train.

We saw many of the man’s cohorts throughout the town. All of them dressed in a similar fashion and similarly follically impaired. They sneered at us as we passed. We avoided them as much as possible, picking the pace up to a run. I’d lost my friends somewhere along the way; they were acting almost drunk, still singing that goddamn song. It was almost getting into my head, but I had a feeling that once I started singing it, I wouldn’t stop.

I pulled my iPod out of my bag and started listening to that instead. The woman led me through the streets to the hostel. I was grateful she was there. It was too late to get a train home.

Josie finally appeared, sat on the end of my bed laughing. She told me Ed had been detained for trying to push too many bushes over, and laughing maniacally as he did so.

It took forever for her to stop singing, and when she did, she looked extremely hungover. Ed eventually joined us, and he looked just as bad, except covered in twigs and leaves. I was still terrified the man or one of his minions would appear and take us away. No sleep for me that night…

Josie started desperately searching the hostel for something. She pulled up the carpets, overturned a desk, and then found what she was looking for. It was a cable of sorts, and she called it her heart monitor. Why it was hidden under the carpet of a hostel in Manchester was a mystery to me. But she was distraught, so I hugged her.

The woman had vanished in the night, and I had to deal with not only the thought of being late for work, but also turning up having had no sleep, and terrified of remembering that song, just in case. Could I even trust my two best friends after this? What if now he’d taken control, he could take over the minds at will? Although I had a feeling, he ever wanted to find us again, he would…

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