Gunshots and nightmares

I had a pretty bad dream last night. In fact, it made it into the top three of my most horrific nightmares. I thought I’d share it (and the other two) and see if it might spark some of my readers to share their scariest dreams…

Dream one: Gunshots (the one from last night)

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Adam and I were at a party at a friend’s house in our hometown of Phillips, Wisconsin. I remember very specific details from the dream and some were strangely entertaining, as usual. For example, there was a toilet that had a tiny hole you had to hit when you sat down and the seat was made of styrofoam. (Interpret that!)

Some things were more normal, and pretty cool, too. At this party, in a corner of a large room covered in old, brown carpeting was a group of about eight people gathered around an old-school CRT TV watching a reality show about backpacking. As I walked past, the people on the show were buckling the straps on their packs, dramtically getting ready to head into some unknown wilderness. Yup… I know how to party hard in my dreams!

Then for some reason Adam and I had to go to his mom’s house really fast, but we had to go on foot. We head out and were literally running through town. It was winter and I was barefoot, but the cold wasn’t bothering me. I remember stopping for just a moment to slide my feet across a patch of ice and enjoying how smooth it felt. I was having so much fun – we were jumping over snowbanks, dancing around corners and laughing about dodging the yellow spots in the snow.

We were coming up to a convenience store and I realized all of a sudden that I had shoes on! I laughed out loud and while looking down at my feet, I playfully called out to Adam (he was now in front of me) “hey! I have shoes on! How did that happen!? Hahaaahaa!”

Then I looked up and stopped in my tracks. This is when the dream took a really dark turn.

Adam was standing next to some sketchy characters along the side of the convenience store having what looked like a very serious conversation. There was a girl with really long, straight brown hair wearing an old, crackled leather jacket and a guy with some blackened teeth that stuck out through a permanent-crazy grin. He had a surprisingly well-trimmed beard and was wearing a pair of blue coveralls – the kind a mechanic would wear – and it was unbuttoned halfway down in the front exposing part of his chest and a cheesy gold necklace.

I sensed right away something was wrong and we were in trouble, so I walked up towards Adam and these strangers as if everything was totally normal, but I knew I had to get into the store to call for help. I cheerfully said “hey, I’m just gonna run inside and get our…”

Before I could finish my sentence, the girl with the long brown hair reached into the pocket of her jacket with her left hand, pulled out a gun and shot me. The bullet hit me in the neck. The sound was quieter than I’d expected – just a quick “Pop-whizzz-thud.” I didn’t really feel it, but I instantly reached up towards where it hit and looked over at Adam with panic on my face silently asking, “am I really shot?” Then she shot me again, this time in the right shoulder/chest area and I dropped to the ground. As I fell, everything went into slow-motion and the air around me visually reverberated into translucent waves. I fell and rolled into a fetal position, and with the last morsel of my consciousness I thought, “cover your vital organs in case she shoots again.” Then everything went black.

I suddenly woke up in my bed in the truck, but didn’t jump or anything – I was completely still except for the instant when my eyes opened wide with fear. I stared into the darkness straight in front of me for a few long seconds, hardly noticing the dull glow from the alarm clock off to my side. I realized it was a dream but I just lay there, still. I was frozen, afraid to move. Then I realized the truck was not moving and not running. It was so quiet. I barely found my voice but was able to get out a whispered, “Adam… you in here?”

No response.

I opened the bunk curtain and he wasn’t in the truck, and outside I only saw one parked tanker truck in a gravel lot, unlit and totally dark. It was an eerie way to wake up from a very frightening dream.

I think I might have actually died in that dream, but I’m not entirely sure.

Dream two: Car accident

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A while back I did die in a horrifying dream in which Adam and I were in a car accident. I was on the phone with my mom when the car suddenly broke through an embankment and began a slow-motion descent off of a really high bridge. I interrupted my and my mom’s conversation saying, “I  have to go. I love you,” and I hung up.

Adam and I looked at each other with calm expressions on our faces, knowing full well what was about to happen. We lightly grasped each other’s hand just as the car hit the pavement below. The loud sound of impact flooded my head and surrounded our bodies and within the smallest fraction of a second, before the “crash” noise could even finish or settle, everything went completely silent and… not even black. Just nothing. It was as if a pinhole sucked everything in and it was gone. More silent than the deepest corners of space. It stayed like that for a few long seconds before I woke up.

I died in that dream. I once heard that if you die in your dream, you die for real. Well, that’s obviously not true. I’d had dreams prior to these where I would get to a point just before death, knowing I was going to die, then woke up. But that car accident dream was the first time it continued through past death for just a moment. I still woke up – shaken and sad.

Dream three: Stalker

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I was camping in a secluded stealth camp in the middle of nowhere. I can’t remember anymore if I was by myself or if there was another person in the tent with me, but I do remember the moon being so bright that the walls of my tent were lit up almost like daylight. I lay there totally content, following the crooked shadowed lines of bare tree branches on the tent wall with drooping, tired eyes, just about ready to fall into a peaceful sleep.

“Crunch… Crack… Crunch… Crunch…”

I sat straight up and froze, eyes wide, listening. The steady “crunch” sounds continued. Footsteps. “That’s a big critter,” I thought to myself. “Is it a bear? Maybe just a coon. Deer can be that loud, too.” I stared at the tent wall as a new shadow slowly crept up from the ground. It grew with each footstep’s heavy crunch. It was moving so methodically. So slowly.

Then my stomach knotted hard. It was a person. I swallowed so hard I feared it might echo across the canyons through the forest. “Why is there someone here? What would they be doing wandering through here so late?”

The footsteps stopped. The shadow stood still. I could hear the person breathing. Then the shadow slowly turned, and an arm slowly angled out from the body… and in their hand… was the distinct shadow of a handgun.

I awoke suddenly. I think this one made me jolt into a seated position, breathing heavily, throat too dry to swallow. Had I been holding my breath? “Why do I have to dream something like that,” I thought as I finally swallowed. Cripes almighty.

This dream haunts me to this day and is a major factor in my fear of camping alone. Bears? That’s okay. Snakes, scorpions, tarantulas? Yes, scary… but okay. Strange person? With a weapon? The worst… kind of scared… ever.

I hope I don’t give you nightmares from sharing mine!

So… have you ever dreamt you died? What was your scariest dream ever?


Tonight I love the recurring dream I have where I can move along in a hover instead of walking on the ground. Not that long ago I dreamt I was doing just that on the Appalachian Trail thinking, “this is great! I don’t have to worry about my feet getting sore!”

More dreams like that, please!

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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4 thoughts on “Gunshots and nightmares

  1. I have hover dreams to! I take a few steps then am able to put my arms out and feel like flying 2 to 8 feet from the ground, I love those dreams! Sometimes I move my feet like I’m running on air. The ones where you die or come close, just a thought but maybe that’s because you really came that close to death when you were so sick, somewhere in your mind there could be a memory. OK the camping one, were we in IL? When we hiked the ADT, found a shelter in a park and creepy guy came and asked us for food and water, then brought us flowers, we sensed something was very wrong with the guy and didn’t sleep all night and got the heck out of there before daylight hoping he wouldn’t follow us. Personally I can’t remember the last time I had a scary dream, don’t watch scary movies either. Hope your dreams get to be more pleasant.

  2. I had a really creepy, “where the heck did that come from?” dream a couple of months ago. I was on some kind of reality/game show where the contestants were put into groups that had to fight each other to the death. I was the sniper on my team and managed to “pick off” six of the other team, which I found horrifying but it was a matter of “kill or be killed.” The contest ended with an all out gunfight wherein my team managed to hotwire a pickup and burst through the finish line. The end of the dream had us all huddled in the network “green room” awaiting our fate – with the unsaid implication that we would be forced back into the game until we were all dead. I woke up completely freaked out.

    Solo hiking on the PCT was my favorite experience last summer. Before the trip, I was very concerned that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. The thought of being alone and vulnerable was pretty scary. But when I actually got out onto the trail, I loved being alone. I liked that I could set my own pace, take breaks when I wanted, pee when/where I wanted, and just generally make all decisions on my own without having to come to a consensus with someone else. At night, I collapsed into my tent and slept like a log. I felt absolutely safe for some reason. Nothing seemed to bother me, even when a big thunderstorm swept through my camp. For me, backpacking has taught me that you can’t be afraid of everything and worrying accomplishes nothing. My philosophy was “if something bad is going to happen, I’ll deal with it then because right now I can’t waste energy worrying about something that might happen.” That being said, I had one scary moment. I was camped not far from the trail and was having a terrible time going to sleep for some reason. Just as I was finally getting settled, there was this loud CRACK nearby. It sounded like a rifle going off right over my head. I woke up, heart pounding and stared out my tent door for a few minutes but saw nothing. I suspect that it was a falling tree limb (a scary thing in its own right) but it was SO loud!

  3. I always thought it was strange to have dream reruns. Even in those redreams I could remember that feeling of deja vu & I knew what was going to happen next.
    I also have floating/hover dreams. It’s not fast or swift. For me It’s almost like I’m using telekinetic powers to lift my body into the air and it takes a ton of concentration.
    I used to have a lot of zombie dreams but I loved those. I woke up most mornings feeling like I just lived out The Walking Dead & starting out the day feeling like I survived something incredible. :)
    I can remember 2 dreams that would be classified in the waking heart thumping category. The sad one is when I think my dad is still alive and I cant wait to call him later only to wake up feeling down. The other one is some kind of paranoid/guilty dream I’ve had a few times. Apparently I buried a girls body on Soo Lake Island just down the road from where I grew up & a road crew was working with bulldozers widening the road. I dont remember anything in the dream about how she ended up a corpse. I woke up freaking out and continued to panic several times through the day like I actually did something wrong & I was about to get caught.
    Just for the record, it was just a dream & I would never bury a body that close to a road. ;)

  4. I love the barefooting in the winter. That’d be really cool.
    I tend not to remember my dreams. My scariest recent dream would have to be about trying to find a bathroom with walls that aren’t transparent and then waking to discover I have to go NOW.

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