‘The Passage’ scares the tar out of me, and I haven’t even read it

Signs I spend too much time reading book reviews: I’m now dreaming about book plots. From books I haven’t even read. And frankly? Well, it’s starting to get a little creepy.

While I don’t always remember my nightmares, some of the more horrifying ones definitely stick out in my mind. Of course we have the standard teeth-falling-out dreams plus, since I was little, ones that involve tornadoes hitting my house. In every single nightmare, I’m standing at a window looking out at a plain — like in “The Wizard Of Oz,” apparently. A twister is barreling towards me, debris flying in every direction. The thing is black and twisty. It’s scary as all get-out. But me? Well, I’m frozen to the spot — powerless to do anything but watch. I always wake before the storm actually reaches me, but I know it eventually does.

Last night? Well, last night was a wonderful adventure revolving around a vampire apocalypse. Something you should probably know about me: I frighten easy. Any stray sound in the house will send me shivering; scary TV shows or movies make for seriously sleepless nights. Even reading about something frightening — like, say, in a blog post — is enough to keep my mind churning for days.

Enter Justin Cronin’s The Passage.

I don’t really know what this book is about, except that it has something to do with science, illness, vampires, and dystopia — the end of the world as we know it, basically. Chaos. Anarchy.

Additionally, I know it’s ridiculously popular and long, topping off at nearly 800 pages. I know everyone and their book-loving brother seems to be reading it, and that’s totally cool — I’m sure that, at some point, I’ll probably pick it up, too.

Actually, no — scratch that. I won’t be reading that bad boy anytime soon. Because now? Well, now it’s just the embodiment of my own personal nightmare. And when that nightmare involves my beloved golden retriever, well — it’s go time, Cronin.

In last night’s dream — which stuck with me all through my morning routine of showering, drinking a Diet Coke, texting Spencer and answering email — I was huddled in an old, run-down movie theater with my family. Everything was dark, dank; red velvet curtains hung from the high walls of the room, providing a shield for groups huddled in corners. Static was playing on the movie screen, providing me with a sense that, you know, things just weren’t right.

My dad was sitting next to me in a broken theater seat, looking exhausted. I was on the sticky floor, gazing up at him and wringing my hands. We all stayed like that for a while — or, in my dream, what seemed like a while — before I shouted, “Isn’t someone going to go get Rudy?”

Rudy is a dog — my dog. He’s fluffy, cuddly and the sweetest creature ever. In between naps, Rudy enjoys playing fetch and eating the wild strawberries that litter our backyard. Basically, he’s awesome — and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Which means no one should hurt him.

At some point in my dream, it became obvious that things outside the movie theater weren’t “safe.” One of the theater’s custodians warned us about leaving the premises, spouting some gobbledy-goo that, in my dream, had a clear message: Bad Things Are Going Down. But still, dream me knew that Rudy was out there, scared and alone — and I had to go get him.

Well, turns out my homebody the custodian was right: when I left the theater, the place was littered with vampire-like monsters. I couldn’t see them, mind you, but I knew they were there — lurking just around the corner from my home, where I was suddenly standing. I’m not sure when they built a movie theater across the street from my yard, but hey — I’ll go with it. I could hear the distant roar of a crowd, and the sound was menacing. I barely hesitated as my family stood nearby, calling their pleas for me not to go.

And so I headed for the house. A zombie-like vampire — because, you know, in my dreams, they’re both — was standing near my car. Everyone knows zombie-vampire hybrids can’t walk very fast, so I booked it and ran past him as fast as my little legs would go. Reaching my backyard, I scurried in and slammed the gate behind me — effectively creating a zombie-vampire shield. After finding my dog unharmed, I started running around in search of a leash — something I could use to secure Rudy. A strip of blue rope did the trick, tied onto his collar, and off we went.

Leaving the safety my fenced property, I was suddenly met with an angry mass of my new buddies: the zombie-vampire crew. And the apocalypse was under way, friends. It looked like a scene out of “Shaun Of The Dead” (not to be confused with “Dawn Of The Dead”), which I once watched at the suggestion of a boyfriend and am still fuming over. I was told that movie was a satire, a spoof of zombie movies — and, as such, “not scary at all.” (Right. I’m still dreaming about those scenes years later, so I’ll let you figure out how I felt about that.)

In short, my dog and I made it to the safety of the dark movie theater — somehow. I woke up around the time I’d dodged creepy monsters, shouting for my dog to “RUN!” Thank goodness we got back unharmed, because I’ll tell you something right now: if Rudy had fallen victim to the rabid zombie-vampires, I would never have forgiven Justin Cronin.

Or, you know, all the folks who’ve been talking about this book and getting into my head. I need a book-blog-The-Passage detox, friends, or I’m not sure I’ll ever sleep again.

14 thoughts on “‘The Passage’ scares the tar out of me, and I haven’t even read it

  1. After I watched The Matrix, I had nightmares about Agent Smith trying to put me out of commission. After I watched Spiderman, I had nightmares about the Green Goblin.



  2. Awwww! I’m reading The Passage right now (so sorry!), and thank God there are no animals in it yet. If I had that dream about my own dog, I would’ve been terrified as well.


  3. Wow … you have incredibly vivid, cinematic nightmares. Mine are usually quite dull — being naked in public, losing teeth, or discovering one of my kids has disappeared. Rudy is adorable! I am thankful he made it out of your dream alive … you had me nervous for a while there. 🙂


  4. Can I just say I love dreams? Even when they’re bad dreams, hearing that someone else dreams as vividly as me is always a wonderful thing. Sorry the book scares you. I admit, I’m not in the least bit interested in it.


  5. This is amazing because while I almost never remember my dreams, I had the most vivid dream over the holiday weekend about The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Granted, I was reading it at the time, but dreams that somehowe mix books and iPads (in my dream there was something about me using an ipad to crack the code.. or something) and feel SO REAL are just creepy.

    Now I may not be reading The Passage anytime soon either. Sounds much creepier than my Cullen brand of vamp.


  6. OMG! It is so funny I just read this post, because I started The Passage last night before I went to bed, and I had bad dreams about it as well! How strange.

    I have only read abut 35 pages and already I am having bad dreams about it and can’t stop thinking about it.

    I think its going to be a good book!


  7. Scary movies scare me, but scary books? I love ’em. I raced through Stephen King’s latest and if I happen across The Passage in the library there’s a good chance I will borrow it and give it a go. Granted, vampires or zombies aren’t my thing but it still sounds good.


  8. I’m a coward on such things too! Though I rarely get nightmares, I always fear that I might not sleep that well and end up thinking of other things.

    Do you pray Meg? It’s what I always do. I hope that could help.


  9. oh god.
    well, thanks for sharing the nightmare. >_<

    sometimes i get too involved
    in book plots too and they start
    manifesting themselves in dreams
    (or nightmares! like yours).

    "scream" is also supposed to be a satire,
    i've heard, but that didn't stop it from
    scaring the bejesus out of me. 😛


  10. I kind of like zombie tales, and have subsequently had quite a few zombie dreams, some of them quite dark. I get kind of a thrill from these dreams, so my zombie intake probably won’t desist. 🙂

    I didn’t know that teeth falling out dreams were standard! I’ve never had one, and I have all kinds of dreams and often remember them when I wake up.


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