I do not know much about thoughts. In one way or another, most people are familiar with the fact that ideas come from inside people’s heads, but ideas from nightmares have always been a mystery. I’ve never met a killer, or at least not to my knowledge, or been chased down dark alleys, or been a ghost, yet somehow I have this perfect idea of what these things would feel like. Being a ghost is like being a fog with vision that follows people. I can watch someone wander out at night, cloaked by an old, torn apart raincoat, with a small pointy trigger sticking out their pocket. They will walk, always slowly, through my neighborhood at night in the rain. Up the stairs their wandering turns to precision as they go up the stairs, practically silently. We both focus on the glint of a doorknob, and as it turns I always hear myself saying, “Wake up!” My eyes flick open, and almost to my surprise, I’m seeing a plastered ceiling and open window, not my dream. I know there are no ghosts or killers or anything mildly harmful outside the open door, but that won’t stop me from checking. It all seems so real I have to wonder how I know or guess what any of this is even remotely like. Almost everyone has seen fog and a house at night and no one runs when they see a raincoat, but bits of reality are in dreams, just combined in the strangest of ways.
Pieces of books also can show up in people's dreams, connected in different ways I’m not really aware of. In Divergent, by Veronica Roth, the main character Tris has to go through mental simulations that are essentially hallucinations. Once injected with a liquid, a person must react to a few situations, which I did, except after eating some oyster crackers on a boat back from Nantucket. The first few crackers made me feel dizzy, like I was seasick, but naturally the boat had no ginger ale, seeing as it was nighttime and they had already sold out. I nibbled on more crackers and my vision started to become purple. There was a cracking sound that could only be lightning and it seemed logical to get out of water so I grabbed the last few crackers and watched my black and purple outlines of feet go left-right and right-left. I could see rocks in the distance, and faint outlines of people running into them and falling backwards. The purple faded from the corners of my sight, like all my vision was through a foggy camera lens and I ran full force into something pointy and felt blood dripping like candle wax and myself falling back, and the camera shutter closing and purple flickering out. I opened my eyes once to see ginger ale, and a second time to see a plastered ceiling. My cousin, upon seeing me stumble upright at night, always would say that “dreams are fears meant to be deciphered, like a code.” If this is meant to be a code, it’s definitely a confusing and meaningless one. How am I supposed to know? I’m not afraid of boats, let alone crackers. Imagination has never made much sense.