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.