The lights flickered once, and then went out. The hallway was plunged into inky blackness, the analogy alone forced Pam to think instantly of giant squid-like monsters squirming around in the dark, waiting to wrap her in their wet tentacles.
Then, just as suddenly as the lights went out, they were on again- revealing to Pam’s slight displeasure the absence of any sea monsters resembling one of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. Shaking off her moment of terror, Pam continued down the abandoned hallway, and almost as a habit glanced at her watch. “Crap, I’m late!” she screeched to herself as she began to jog towards the stairwell. “If I’m late to this gig the girls will never forgive me,” she thought to herself. She could hardly blame them. Tonight was to be their band’s big break after all, and finally after three years of scratching around for gigs the Thyme for Violet were going to hit it big.
Paying little attention to where she was going, Pam suddenly skidded to a stop as a table from one of the hallway’s alcoves began to slowly inch its way into her path. Seeming to move on its own volition, Pam silently watched as it creeped further into the hallway before finally stopping once it had reached the exact center of the hallway. Waiting to make sure the thing wasn’t about to begin its journey anew, Pam took a step and then three more to peek around the corner to see who was responsible for pushing the table into the hall. Pam would be kidding herself if she didn’t admit she was only partially surprised to see that no one was there. She was most assuredly the only one in the entire hallway, perhaps the building by the sound of it.
“So, it’s going to be one of those nights”, she thought with chagrin. Walking around the far edge of the table, Pam continued towards the exit and just as soon as she was clear of the table it began its slow purposeful return to its original position in the alcove. “Misbehaving lights, moving tables, what’s next,” Pam wondered when suddenly the words gave her an idea for a song. Whipping out the notepad she always kept tucked in her back pocket she rummaged around for a pen in her backpack and removing its cap with her teeth she quickly jotted down a few lines.
Satisfied with what she’d captured, Pam attempted to recap the pen, the cap still held between her teeth, when a loud shriek startled her, causing her to miss the cap with the pen and stab herself in the sensitive flesh just below her right nostril. “Ouch!” she yelped, tossing the pen and cupping her hand over her nose. Blood. Not a lot, but enough to cause concern. “What the hell is going on in this place?” she yelled to no one in particular. Taking off down the hall she happened upon an open doorway. Glancing inside Pam saw, sitting conveniently on the desk by the window, a box of tissues. Needing to staunch the bleeding, Pam ran inside and plucked two tissues from the box and pressed them to her face. Waiting a minute or two, she eventually turned to a dingy mirror hanging on the wall to her left and gingerly removing the tissue she leaned close to examine the damage. Relieved to only see a small crescent of red instead of the jagged wound she had imagined, Pam turned to leave the room and froze.
Standing in the doorway was a small child, no more than four years old. There was an odd look on his face as he stared directly at Pam. Unnerved by the series of unfortunate events of the previous minutes, Pam was in no mood to babysit. Waiting for the child to lose interest and wander back to where he came from, Pam went back to examining her nose, hoping her disinterest would rub off on the kid. Feeling his presence after a few excruciatingly long minutes passed (the girls were going to have her head!), Pam spun towards the doorway where the boy still stood, his expression unchanged. “Do you need help?” she asked, hoping to move the staring contest along. The boy blinked and looking past her replied, “No, I’m just looking”. The hair on the back of Pam’s neck stood at attention and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was not speaking to flesh and blood. Taking one more look at the strange boy, Pam dashed past him and ran towards the stairwell- she had to get out of this hallway. Taking the steps two at a time, a wave of relief hit her as she saw the door leading to the courtyard outside, she was almost there. About 12 steps from the bottom, Pam’s bad luck struck again as the back of her shoe fell off of her heal and sent her toes over elbows down to the bottom of the stairwell.
Sucking in a gulp of air, Pam shot up into a sitting position. Only after several seconds and a quizzical look from her dog Rufus did she realize she was safely on her couch and not at the bottom of a stairwell. It had been a dream- or a nightmare, depending on your interpretation. Pam was still a bit foggy when her boyfriend arrived home and found her under her grandmother’s quilt on their loveseat. “What happened to your nose?” he asked coming a bit closer and leaning over her.
Pam’s eyes widened and jumping off the couch she ran to the bathroom. There, staring back at her in the vanity mirror was a small crescent-shaped cut, just below her right nostril. “How?” Pam stammered, unaware that her boyfriend had followed her to the bathroom.
“How what?” he asked, confused by his usually very rational and tough girlfriend behaving as if a little cut was the end of the world. “Stop messing around, you’re going to be late for your big night,” he said trying to snap her back to reality. “The Thyme for Violet’s number one fan is ready to rock out!” he continued, ripping open is button up to reveal a very homemade ‘groupie’ T-shirt with “Thyme for Violet’s #1 Fan” written in black sharpie across his chest.
“I knew that band name was too good to be wasted on a dream!” Pam smiled and hugged her confused boyfriend before turning on the shower and jumping in.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Several odd things happened to me today, the first of which revolved around one young boy who spent the better part of the afternoon trolling the hall outside of my office. My first ‘encounter’ with this young man was watching as a table began to slide slowly into the hallway from the recess where it normally resides. Curious, (and yes, my first thought was “I hope it’s a ghost!”) I approached the table and as I neared it began to slide back into place. Sitting atop the furniture was one slightly large kid of about 8 or 9 (actually I have no idea how old he is, I’m terrible with guessing kid’s ages). My second encounter of significance came several hours later as I looked up from my computer and saw I had a guest- it was the kid. He just stood there, a few feet back from the threshold of my open door, and just stared. Ok, this was weird. “Do you need help?” I asked the boy, hoping that my acknowledgement might somehow scare him away or at least give me an idea of how to get rid of him (he was creepy, don’t judge me… I’m not really a kid person, ok?). Looking away from the window behind me, he simply answered, “No, I’m just looking,” and then proceeded to do just that for another TEN MINUTES. Yeah, this kid just stood outside of my door and stared inside for ten whole frickafrackin minutes. One of my co-workers even had to side-step him to bring me a file and although I flashed the “Help me!” look, she could do nothing. Finally, the kid disappeared, I later discovered he was left to fend for himself while his mama went to class down the hall (nice parenting, by the way lady… yeah, you can judge me on that one, I don’t care). Oh, and while I’m on a parenting advice kick, how bout teach your kid not to stare or take candy from strangers? Ok, I may have tried to bribe him into leaving by giving him candy…
TWO: Ever have a dream and then when you wake up the next day something happens or you see something that happened in the dream and you wig out a little? As a vivid dreamer, I dream every night and usually remember a good portion of them the next day, so this isn’t an unusual phenomenon for me, but I’m still a little weirded out by this instance. So I dreamt last night that I got a cut just below my nose. In the dream I asked my boyfriend, Andy, if it was bad and his response was, “Yeah, it’s pretty noticeable actually”. This comment led to me throwing a royal tantrum (again, in my dream) where I declared that I couldn’t possibly participate in our scheduled “family photo shoot” as I was horrifically damaged from the gaping wound on my face (again, even in my dream I knew it was only a little scrape). This dream would have gone on to be forgotten, I’m sure, had I not discovered upon applying my makeup this morning that there was a little cut just below my right nostril- exactly where it had been in my dream. I’m sure it’s nothing more than a midnight nose pick gone wrong while asleep and the subconscious picked up on the self-inflicted cut and worked it into whatever it was I was dreaming at the time… at least that’s what I hope.
THREE: As far as the band name, Thyme for Violet goes, that was in my dream as well, strangely enough. Not sure how it played in, but decided it sounded like a cool band name, and bada bing, bada boom!
Love & Squirrels.