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shed

The first night after I moved into my new apartment, my first post-college place, I dreamed I woke up in the morning and went onto my back porch to find a strange grey cat there. The cat rubbed my ankles and then walked through the backyard to a shed. Halfway there it turned to look at me, clearely wanting me to follow. I did. When it got to the shed door, the cat went inside through a gap at the bottom bwetween the frame and the door. I opened the door and stepped inside and fell into a bottomless pit. Then I woke up.

I told myself it was a silly dream reflecting my fear of being in a new place alone, and got up and started upacking some more. A little before sunset that day I took a break and went out onto the back porch for a cigarette. While I was out there I decided to have a look at the shed I’d dreamed about. When I’d looked at the apartment before moving in I’d pretty much only glanced at the back yard. I’d assumed the shed was for yard stuff — a lawnmower and rakes and things people normally keep in sheds, but I thought I’d have a look while I smoked just for the hell of it.

The shed’s at the very back of the yard, covered in cracked and peeling white paint. The weird thing was that when I got up close I could see that the gap I’d dreamed — the one the cat had gone through — was real. I was a little freaked out at first, but I remembered that the memory of dreams will play tricks on you, and re-map what you actually dreamed to match what you encounter when you’re awake. This is the reason, they say, people have dreams that seem to be prophetic: your memory is very, very unreliable and will turn vague dreasm into precursors of events in the few seconds between something happening and its entering your long-term memory. Supposedly there have been cases of people’s memories making up dreams altogether, with their brain faking them out by creating a fake memory of a dream even down to, I read, making someone remember writing down a dream in her log that wasn’t there.

So the gap didn’t worry me. I just assumed that my memory — not for the first time– was playing tricks on me. Plus, there was no cat. Plus a lock on the door. I bent down to look through the gap, but it was too dark to see anything but shadows I could make fit anytyhing I wanted — rakes and hoes, rifles and ammunition, or just the bare-stud walls of an empty shed.

I made a mental note to ask the landlord about the shed and went inside to unpack my work clothes — tomorrow, Tuesday, was my first day at my new job.

That night, and for the next five nights I had the same dream: cat, shed, hole. Everything was always the same. It always happened right before I woke up in the morning, and — even though falling down amysterious and apparently bottomless pit doesn’t sound pleasant — it was never a nightmare. For the few seconds I was falling before I woke up, I never felt scared or panicked. It didn’t actiually even feel like falling, except for that little bit at first when I put my foot on nothing.

When I woke up Saturday morning after dreaming about that shed for the sixth time, I went out on the back porch to glare at it.

Note: This was written six years ago, but never published, because it’s the beginning of a short story and actually has no place on this blog, but I never finish my stories anyway, so I’m publishing it now as written, on the date the draft was saved. Shaun, 2012/03/13

Filed by shaun at January 16th, 2006 under indifferenthonest, old drafts

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