total dear diary: 42

dear kevin:

No. It actually happened, but you’re so used to forgetting everything that happens to you at night that your brain no longer bothers categorizing different kinds of memories. You really thought those were all dreams?

Sometimes a house makes no sense to us. You were sitting up in bed. It was night-time, but the moon was coming in through the window, illuminating the room. The headboard on your bed is made of slats of polished wood. In the places where you can’t see the wall, you can see reflections of the room behind you. Except something about the moon made it seem as though the wall was the room behind you, and the reflections were windows into a secret room adjacent to yours.

I could explain it better if I drew a picture.

There were people in your house last night, chasing after you.

You kept moving from room to room, hiding inside walls and crouching in the corners of rooms sealed behind false closet walls. You have plenty of secret places to hide in, but such a labyrinth for a house means you’re just as likely to get confused as they are. They kept finding you. Quiet for a moment as you held your breath, then the slow footsteps approaching, and the click of the locks being slid back.

It would have made an excellent video game: a house full of rooms, and every room has 2 doors. The goal is to lock and unlock doors, each team trying to confine the other into smaller and smaller spaces. And what happens to the losing team, all locked together in that final room?

I’ve never seen you so terrified. Their pursuit of you was so thorough, so unyielding, that they drove you into rooms in your house you never even knew existed. (This was where things started to fray at the corners of your brain, and why you didn’t know what to believe anymore.) You found a door in your basement that opened out onto a huge enclosed courtyard. There were glass windows from floor to ceiling, and jagged cracks running the length of the concrete pillars. You considered smashing one of the windows to get outside, but the room only had one door—the trail would have been too obvious—so you had to retrace your steps and find another way.

And then up above, in the hallway that leads to the back stairs, you struggled with a door that had no lock, and suddenly they were there, right at your throat. You turned around and felt your heart tighten like a fist—

—and they began to slowly back away from the 3 growling animals who had just appeared at your side. They were disgusting creatures, like monstrous, misshapen goats with fangs and claws. Their coats were dark and matted. They farted and drooled and were obviously made of pure evil, but they always protected you, appearing instantly out of thin air, alighting from a different place and time, whenever your attackers closed in.

Afterwards, when you were alone and the house was quiet, you thought about those creatures and the feeling they gave you. They were so horrible, and yet they were on your side. It made you want to reframe everything that had happened. What business did such hateful animals have protecting you. Maybe you did have dreams last night, just not the ones you thought you did.

Put me back on the shelf, please.