I wasn’t trying for anything, I was just trying to sleep. Anxieties I had ignored for too long and worries that overfed each other crawled into my bones, making me ache from head to toe.
I couldn’t sleep. I thought to get out of bed and do something constructive like finally count how many tarot decks I actually have. (I continue to be ashamed by the amount of retail therapy I used to distract me from the environment I was living in. My opinion of hope remains that it is the worst evil of all.)
I couldn’t move and my mouth tasted like it was filled with iron.
Ah. Hypnagogia. Fuck.
I could feel the sheet under me and the weight of the blankets over me. But I could also feel the void seeping through both. Trapped in my body, all I could do was be assaulted by memories and fears that I had no good argument to defend against.
I felt my body begin to twist and deform as I lost awareness of the boundaries of my selves. Fears I had thought long settled reawakened and I started to panic. But no matter how eagerly I sought wakefulness, I could not escape.
My right arm became a boneless mass of uncontrolled muscle. If I had any sense in my head, I would be laughing at the wild gyrations of the tentacle-like appendage. The sudden loss of the sense of touch only fed my panic further. Discovering I had lost the ability to scream completed the conquering of my awareness and the patient void unmade me.
The hand was as cold as stone but lithe and soothing as it stroked my face.
I became aware of “left” and “right”. The hand stroking the left side of my face was touching a smooth and gently curved surface. The hand stroking the right side of my face was navigating nodules and clumps. But as that hand moved, it smoothed out the nodules and clumps, reforming it with every soft stroke.
I did not have the awareness that my face was being reshaped.
Instead, I answered the command with a series of shrieks through clenched teeth and violent shudders.
«Be still. Be silent.»
The hands on my face (my now reformed face) held my jaw gently closed and lifted my head slightly. I realized I was lying on my back with my head in someone’s lap somehow. A tug on the right side of my body informed me that not only do I have a right arm, but that the flesh and bones of that right arm were being braided into a new form. The sensation of nerves rubbing against tendons set my teeth on edge and I tried to pull away from the manipulation.
«Soft. Be still. Be silent.»
I recognized the voice as feminine. There was no language associated with the command, only the understanding of what she wanted me to hear. I had the feeling I knew her from someplace, but I did not remember from where or why I had implicit trust in her.
The remaking of my arm was complete. When the forces manipulating the arm released it, I felt my humanity surge into it with a snap. I whimpered as old pains reminded me of old abuses. The cold, small hands pressed the sides of my face and I was comforted for a moment.
Then the memories and the shame returned.
“Is this another lie, another story to keep me quiet and compliant?” I’m not sure if I actually said the words or merely thought them loudly.
I was not expecting an answer. My eyes opened for the first time and I noted I was surrounded by complete darkness except for a soft white glow near my head. “Then what is this?”
It took a great focus of will, but I was able to overcome the command to be still and move my head. I saw something like a person, like a woman, was holding my head in her lap. Her skin was hued in shades of the full moon and she was dressed in translucent layers of something like moonlight. Her frame was too long to be a child but too thin to be an adult.
I knew her.
I know her.
But I did not recognize her.
Her neck muscles moved as she made a facial expression. She was smiling at me. I do not know how I knew that as I could see her neck, I could see the bottom of her jaw, and I could see the jawline where her face would begin. But I could not see her head. It was if her flesh stopped there and she had no head to begin with.
At the realization that she had no head, the impossibility of what I was seeing intruded on my sense of self and I started shuddering again. As the fit removed my self-control, I realized my error of perception. It wasn’t that she “had no head”, but that her head was in a state that I could not perceive. The rationale arrived too late for my easily-spooked monkey brain and the fit twisted my body into a full on seizure that removed the ability to see and comprehend.
Her hands held my face again. The deep-earth cold that seeped from them soaked into my flesh and calmed it into still numbness.
My eyes closed and I did as she commanded. I lost awareness and with it, lucidity.
After I woke, I tried to ignore the dream, but it refused to leave me and demanded to be written. As I wrote down the initial notes, I realized certain other tells about the woman and the specific theme of the anxieties that was troubling me.
The Matriarch of the Tribe of Seers can take on many forms. But in all her forms, her face (and sometimes her head) will be hidden from me unless she wants me to see it.
Because of what the replaced eye represents, I am not surprised to see her (pun intended) involved with manipulating it. I am surprised by her manipulation of the arm. However, I am not chasing either lead.
My psyche is still healing from finding out certain truths about what I believed and assumed last year. I don’t want to double down on my gullibility by following the first thing that makes me feel validated and real.