I walk groggily through a forest. There is lots of fog, however it appears to be inside my eyes rather than outside. I blink repeatedly, it does not clear. I hear a rumbling, a great big Diesel engine, coming my way. It is a tank. An old, WWII tank.
My heart sinks. I’m in a battlezone again. I must be dreaming. My heart rate increases: I know what’s coming. I try to stay calm. All I can now hear is my heart pounding in my chest. My vision starts to acquire a reddish tint as my eyes become bloodshot. I blink and shake my head.
I can see clearly now. All of a sudden the ear plugs are removed from my ears and I can hear the distinctive sounds of battle. I know them only too well, despite never having been on one, never having been a soldier, nor seen war first hand. Yet…those dreams, those eternal, recurring dreams. They are like memories, as vibrant as if I had lived them first hand.
I start moving across the forest. I notice I am not alone. A woman to my right is making hand gestures, trying to give me instructions. To no avail. I do not understand what she means. Not in the slightest. I walk towards her.
“We have to regroup,” I say to her.
“It’s too dangerous,” she replied.
I start breathing heavily, nervousness creeping in.
“I must know who is still with us.” I say in a somewhat commanding tone.
She nods. Another hand gesture. Ten people materialise out of the shadows of the forest.
“Sir, we await your instructions. The enemy has taken up higher ground and is ready to execute the prisoners.” I can’t quite tell who said this, but it sounded real.
“Right, we attack,” I reply, without knowing where I am getting my confidence. I must know something about war if I am in this dream and people are obeying my command. They seem ready to follow me, so I must act on instinct, hoping my subconscious knows what I am doing.
We move forward across what is now the battlefield. We have left the forest behind us. There are broken down buildings and ruins scattered across the landscape. Abandoned cars and dirt roads. It appears I am in Second World War Europe. Why, I have no clue.
The shots start. My heart rate increases. My muscles tense. I can feel myself cramping and curling into a ball in bed. The physical pain is excruciating. I seem to be able to continue to move through the battlefield despite the shots.
Two of my men are injured. Shot. As good as dead. Crying in agony and pain. Their screams fill my eadrums. Dread comes over me. NO! I must react like a soldier, or I, too, will perish.
“The prisoners are in that building over there,” I said, pointing in a very specific direction, to a large building across the war-torn town. I do not know how I know this, I just do.
We move forward, running towards the line of buildings, shooting as we go along. War is raging all around us. The enemies die. We seem to continue without casualties. As I run and shoot, I become more instinctive, it starts to feel natural, like I’ve done this before. In a past life maybe?
The yelling and screaming is incessant. Bombs explode here and there. Orders are shouted. Calls for help and reinforcement are heard. We are making progress. I get shot. Once. Twice. More times than I can count. I still move. I bleed, but not enough to die. It’s a dream. You don’t die that easily in dreams.
We reach the main building, where the prisoners are held. It is my wife and daughters…only, I am not married, but I know in my heart it is my wife. The one I will meet one day.
The warrior wells up inside me. I stretch my shoulders upwards and outwards. I feel invincible. Every shot I make hits its target. I move through the crowd of enemies like a master assassin. I am unstoppable. Until I reach the big baddy. The commander. He shoots me point blank. In the chest. I die. Surely, I must die. It all goes black. But no, it is a dream. I am in control. I think to myself: in your dream you can survive being shot point blank. I open my eyes. I can see again. I am not dead. I go on.
Shot. Again. Die. Again. Excruciating pain. Again. Curl up into a ball in the bed. Again. The lactic acid is pumping through my body. I will myself to live again. I open my eyes inside the dream once more. I am about to reach my family, about to save them. I get shot.
I wake up. Breathing heavily, scared and feeling the aching muscles of the action they have undergone. I turn on the lamp. I look around. It was just a dream. A nasty dream. I try to calm down.
My eyes feel heavy, they want to sleep again. I can’t let that happen. If I sleep I will go to another war zone. I can’t face that anymore. Not again.
I lose the battle and fall asleep…