Nightmare till Death

Trigger warning

They just came, without question, every night – as if they had always been there. I don’t remember when the nightmares started.

My daily life was normal, average, boring. I went to school. I learned pointless things about the world and the past world. I had friends that I met after school. But I dreaded the nights.

The nights were always the same. Someone slapping me; cutting me; pulling me up on my arms until my muscles started to scream in pain; raped me.

Those nights, the more I think back the longer they seem to go back. The nightmares were just always there, just like my normal life was. The nightmares, filled with nothing except pain and fear and sometimes a TV running in the background.

There were books. They sometimes seemed to be the trigger that woke me from my nightmares – when the violence stopped I scrambled over, rolled to the side and grabbed one of the few books. The pain was still there but the story sucked me into the story and moments or minutes or maybe hours later, I woke up in the real world with my real friends and the book on my lap.

I don’t mean to say that my normal life was trouble free. Sure there were fights. Sure there were battles to be fought. Sure sometimes this or that person said nasty things. But in the summary of it all, in the total analysis of what was good – nice food, loving parents, close friends – and what was bad – bad marks, hurtful boyfriends, weird neighbors – my life was okay.

But the longer they lasted the more my nightmares seemed to seep into my reality. Sometimes, while sititng in school or walking along the street or chatting with friends, I felt punches in my chest and stomach or pressure and pain “down there.”

I never knew how nightmares could grow that strong, that painful and intense. With every day that I can remember they seemed to take more of my normal days.

My grandmother thought that those nightmares and pains were due to the devil.

“The devil caught you,” she always said. “You have to find a way to escape. Dreams won’t help you!”

I don’t want to talk about those nightmares. I was told I shoudl but I just can’t. The pain, the memories of that pain – I can’t even describe them. The feeling of being taken against your will, of being a property of the devil himself or maybe someone worse – my mind is not able to accept that. It never was and it never will.

I miss my friends, the way they loved me and hugged me. I never got to say goodbye. But the nightmares still follow me. I don’t have them anymore, not like that, not as intense and real. Now I only dream of them the way dreams and nightmares are supposed to be. Now I wake up sweating and in fear but relieved that there is no real pain.

Eight years. That’s what my mother told me. It must have been eight years with those nightmares. The devil caught me two weeks after my 10th birthday. I had a fight with my mother, I climbed out of my bedroom window and walked along the street to see a friend.

There was a sudden bright light, loud screams, then just the nightmare.

I woke up back in my bed with pain and red spots all over my body. But from that day on, for those eight years, I was a prisoner of the devil and a prisoner of those nightmares.

I don’t know how many waking hours – and even many hours within nightmares – I spent on blaming myself. Then I switched to hurting myself.

if you never watched the blood drain from your arm you missed something. It feels like nature, like freedom, like hope. Hopefully your life is better, hopefully you don’t have nightmares like me – but still, that feeling of the juice of life leaving your arteries feels like a deep meditation that cleanses your soul.

I don’t like to admit that I tried it in both worlds. In my dreams the devil always stopped the bleedign. He threw liquids like alcohol on the wounds and tied me up and then he finished the rest of the alcohol and tortured me whatever way he wanted.

In reality my friends were more understaniding, but over the years they too learned to ignore me. There is no space in the world for the weird girl that talks about nothing but her nightmares.

Eight years. It was strange that my mother rarely came. I got the impressino that she was sick but my parents as well as my siblings all told me she was fine.

“Just busy.” That was the same excuse that she gave me.

In the sixth year I fell in love. He was an exchange student and always smiling. His blond hair and broad chin made me fidgety and nervous. I still couldn’t beleive when he asked me out.

I lost my virginity to him. To him, the blond exchange student with thick arms, not the devil that raped me every night.

I don’t know where he went, my exchange student. He disappeared just the way he had appeared – without a trace.

At some point my nightmares got worse. I don’t know how long she was there, but too long. The devil caught another girl and decided to keep us together. He thought it was funny. He offered us food and then he made us fight about it. Like rats in a cage we did.

I know you can’t be blamed for the things you do in your dreams – but I did treat that world badly.

That day, when they woke me up, I still can’t believe it. I still can’t believe all this is real and all the other stuff is fake.

My parents had equipped my room with candles and gifts for all the birthdays I had misssed.

I don’t know what others go through; what measures they use to protect themselves from their nightmares. For me continuing the world was the only possible thing.

I hoped that the nightmares would stop; I hoped that my parents would meet me again; I hoped that life would get easier.

It didn’t.

They day that the police raided the home of my nightmares I was relieved. Right afterwards follow the fear; the doubt; the nauseating feeling.

Every night those nightmares seemed to have escalated. And then they just stopped.

There were many people around me. Cameras. My family, looking much older than I remembered. Only my mother looked the same. She locked me in her arms and didn’t let me go.

I was told that your mind does these things. It creates consistent worlds if your own is not consistent. It creates acceptable dreams if your life is a nightmare.

Eight years. It all seemed so real and yet I knew it wasn’t.

My days went on, confusingly, with plenty of jumps from here to there.

Then somebody opened the door and saw the devil. That day my dreams stopped and my world crumbled.

I tried to ignore it. I tried to live my life with the new reality but keep the old.

It was the therapist. She told me I had to accept the truth.

“I know it’s hard,” she said. “But we need to get you out of that hole and out of those dreams.”

It’s been six months since I last saw my friends.

I sleep a lot. I try to see them again in my dreams.

Six months ago they freed me from the devil.

Six months ago my nightmares stopped.

It is time now.

Time to accept that what I thought was reality was just dreams.

Time to accept that what I thought were nightmares was reality.

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