I didn’t sleep well last night. Today, in the middle of a prepositional phrase check of my novel prompted by Charles’ posting about cutting fat and metaphors, I decided my head would no longer stay up on its own. I sneaked upstairs for a quick nap, and proceeded to have the weirdest dream about my manuscript.
In the dream my job is to flip through the pages of my printed manuscript, find the stick figure illustrations I let a now absentee little girl draw on carbon paper, and color them yellow. After a couple of successfully colored images, I come across a stick figure self-portrait of the girl, complete with triangle dress and swooped-up ponytails adorned with out-of-perspective bows. Above her head is scrawled some nasty message about everyone dying, including me.
As I stare at the drawing, the page begins to turn black, as if someone somewhere else is scribbling across the original carbon paper and it’s mystically transferring to my copy. After a few moments, the entire picture is covered in scrawling black strokes, except for the white outline of this child and her creepy little message. Not good. The faint sound of singing starts to come from the manuscript remaining inside the box. Even worse.
I put the entirety of my manuscript back in the box. As a brilliant afterthought for protection, I scrawl runes all over it (in the dream I was actually freaking out that the box was black and that no ink would show up on it. Then, in the magical way of dreams, I found a silver paint pen in my hand). I leave the box on the floor, covered in protective charms that are presumably supposed to hold in whatever the hell has possessed my manuscript, and head for the nearest exit. In response, the room erupts into a chorus of creepy voices. In an upbeat tempo, they sing that the only other person who can save me from them is a witch, and they’ll send her to me–starting with her head.
I woke up doing that half-jolt, half-gasping thing that would’ve been embarrassing if anyone else had been in the room with me at the time.
Now fully conscious–and sitting at my desk with the real manuscript box in uncomfortably close proximity–I’m wishing I could remember the song. It was reminiscent of that old Halloween cartoon where the deep-voiced ghosts are celebrating the fact they’re ghosts in a sing/chant manner. And the words of my song rhymed, which is weird because I’m terrible at thinking of rhyming words.
I can’t complain about being haunted in the dream, though. It seems deserved retribution for hiring a kid to illustrate a dark fantasy novel with mature themes–even though she didn’t do a very good job.
So, did this phantasmagoria stem from anxiety about not yet hearing back from the agent? Could it have been nerves about having to change part of the story at the last minute? Or, was it clearly Charles’ fault?