No Sheep, Just Hell…

I went to bed a little while ago. I nestled into an inviting warmth, and tucked myself into comfort. I drifted away. It was in that journey that things would change. I would not dream of sugar plums or sheep. Instead, I would see the dead eyes of corpses. The blown pupils of the motionless. The ones I saw when I met them, some years ago. Their soulless gaze followed me with an unforgiving intensity. An intensity that broke apart my slumber.


When I woke, it was to a cold, blackened bedroom. Alone. Alone with nothing more than memory. Memory that soon gave way to anger. Anger because over the past two weeks, I have been taking a medication designed to limit nightmares. To quell the dead and their torment onto me. Day after day, pill after pill, and here I am; awake, sweating, and scared. The realization that I am not normal. A reaffirmation of what I already know. Amidst panting breath, I transition into a seated and somewhat defeated position on the side of my bed. My elbows rested upon my knees, and my weighted mind cupped within my hands. After a few deliberate breaths, I concede to yet another sleepless evening.


I struggle. I struggle to not yell at myself. To not berate the internal me. I hate that I am like this. That I am sick. Injured. Or whatever you want to call it, I hate it. I search my surroundings for comfort, and there is none. Although I suppose there is – I am not actually with the dead anymore – instead, they are with me…


As I sit, disgruntled and slumped on a cold living room chair, my mind brings about a memory of one pair of soulless eyes. A pair of eyes that on the day, followed me like the haunting eyes of a painting from a wall.


Those eyes belonged to an elderly man. He had just finished breakfast with his loving wife. She had stepped away to place the saucer plate into the sink, and fetch another cup of coffee. Upon her return, she witnessed as this elderly man, her husband, gasped for air, and fell to the floor. Not knowing what else to do after crying out his name, and asking what was wrong, she called 911. She called me. Me and my partner. When we entered into the stand-alone trailer, I bore witness to a man whose skin was as grey as the clouds of thunder. His lips a subtle shade of blue. He was in bad shape. That was obvious. We worked him. I did compressions until fire arrived. Snapping his ribs away with each thrust down. ‘pop-pop’, beneath my palms. A sensation I can feel even now. Even as I write this. ‘pop-pop’. Bone dislodging from cartilage.


That was how it really happened…


In my dream however, it was vastly different…


The beginning started from memory. I entered the trailer, ready to wage war upon Death. Skillfully I maneuvered through protocol. I began pressing down on the chest with a repetition designed at restoring life. Up. Down. Up. Down… Then the dream took over. A perverse and evil sight began to emerge. I was no longer compressing an old man’s chest. The dead and soulless eyes were no longer that of a stranger. The face no longer just ‘someone’. Through paralyzed gaze and realization, the face transformed into that of my now deceased mother. My dream had painted my mother’s death overtop of a real call. My mind had dispatched me to this fictitious fabrication from hell. As grief took over, my ears rang out – ‘Matthew….’. My mother’s British twang jolted me awake. Awake to reality. A reality where the old man is still dead, and so is my mum…


So ends the nightmare. So begins the long night ahead…


PTSD… it’s a mother fucker.


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