Your morning nightmare
A nightmare set in 1945 has a rich library of settings to draw material from. There is evil science, time travel, and bungled atomic experiments to add color. But not every nightmare has its evil science, plasma discharges, and people melded into walls and bulkheads: that is for special occasions, things rare and disturbing to the psyche. Instead, the more common aspects of trench warfare (so well developed in 1945) such as being trapped, being buried alive, being blocked from escape, and having your movement channeled towards slow or quick death seems to appeal more to that part of the mind that creates nightmares for the benefit of the conscious experience. The clothing, the uniforms are familiar. You know what boots you will be wearing as the burning oil flows down the trench towards where you are trapped, your foot lodged in some common object like a ladder or screen door. The food you throw over as some villain grabs you from behind is familiar: a cheese sandwich, a cup of coffee, an apple; you can stare at this as the garrote closes your windpipe. Indeed, when your nightmare is set in 1945 you do not march alone. Look around you: everybody has nightmares set in 1945.
A co-worker came into the nurses office at work. The nurse was out (everyday is a religious holiday somewhere, so we at Mitchieville increase revenue by collecting government grants for having a ‘nurse’; and reduce expenses by never having them actually show up for work, base on our pantheistic no paid worker, always government paid policy that thrives in our unsupervised grants culture) and I was sitting in the nurses office, having a smoke and finishing my afternoon beer. I wear a lab coat instead of a smoking jacket at work when I am having a smoke and a beer in the nurses office and he looked at me with that glazed look people have after having nearly lost bladder control after a nightmare, spent the remainder of the sleepless night staring out the window holding a makeshift weapon. The poor guy. I stood up, shook his hand, and flicked ashes into the ashtray as I sat down again.
I had a nightmare, he said. His hands shook. One of those middle aged men who wears a wedding ring, which just offends any sort of nuclear family destroying activist. I nodded, demonstrating empathy. As a trained hypnotist, with a mail order doctorate in Astrology (hence the Dr. on the name tags I had made at the Pacific Mall), I know it is important to demonstrate empathy. This guy had a nightmare, and it was set in 1945:
I could not hear anything. The earth was shaking. The dirt was dry, little clouds of dust came up as shock waves from bombardment. I was in a trench. It was as wide as two men. There was some sort of wooden flooring. I was running.
I could not hear anything. I stopped to catch my breath. I covered my ears with my hands, then uncovered them. I screamed, but I could not hear myself. Bits of dirt, clods of grass, were falling all the time. Pieces of burning wood, too. I could smell disturbed earth, like when you dig in the garden; and burning wood, like the fireplace. Only I was in a trench, and there was a bombardment going on.
I started running again. The trench came to a sharp ninety, I was running so fast I bounced off the wall to help me turn. The trench was lined with plywood, planks, and tree trunks. I remember thinking that these were cedar trees: there were burrs on the trunks where those scaly leaves that cedar has; they had not trimmed them all off. I could smell the cedar; but I could not hear anything.
This is a great nightmare. The suppression of the ability to hear is associated with one of the hypnotic states (and quite useful in post-hypnotic suggestion if you are familiar with those police anecdotes about crazed berserkers coming at them, unheeding their commands to stop or I will fire). So, we know right away, with clarity and bright certainty, at what level of the subconscious mind this man is operating from. The references to the cedar tree, especially the evocation of a scent, again points to a hypnotic state. We now know how deep in the basement of the mind this person had descended to. Now, to find out what his business is down there: is he going to the root cellar to get some potatoes, or the fridge for some pop?
I could not hear anything. I kept running. I lost my sense of direction. The sun was hot overhead, even if there were clouds of dust blocking it off, gusting by on the hot, dry wind. I would come to intersections where trench met trench; I would scream, hoping somebody would hear me. I could not hear myself. I could not hear myself scream.
I came to a sign. It said Headquarters. I ran my fingers over the wood, thin plywood, maybe quarter inch. The letters were in black paint. The paint was chipped. The wood was splintered. I jabbed myself with one of them. My finger bled. It hurt, but I did not care.
Nice Nightmare. The inability to feel pain is also associated with the berserker trance state: you know, when the cop cannot stop the crazed criminal, and even after emptying the full magazine of his pistol into the chest of the alleged criminal, and still has to struggle to keep those unfeeling hands off his windpipe. Of course police are no longer allowed to shoot more than one bullet into an alleged criminal, so they do not live long enough to notice that the alleged criminal seems completely immune to pain. This is generally ascribed to some drug, like PCP, but it is a well documented (in the secret sort of science way that hypnotists have) to one of the hypnotic states. So, our troubled fellow here is in a deep hypnotic state.
There was a burlap sack covering an opening. I pulled it open with my bleeding hand. I looked up. The roof was missing. Sunlight filled the space. It was filled with brass tubes, shells. Some were smoking from the pointed tips. I could see they were hissing, like when pop fizzes out when you first open it. I stepped on the shell casings and made my way to the back of the roofless place. There was another burlap covering, and behind it, another room.
I cut my hand on some sharp metal shaving that was stuck in the burlap. My hand just felt wet. I felt no pain. Then I opened the burlap shroud. The roof was still intact, and the room was filled with darkness. I could not see anything. I stood back. I watched blood drip out of my hand. I held the wound with my left hands, and felt the warm blood, my blood, run down my hand, wrist, and splash on my shoes. I was wearing construction boots.
I saw a light switch. I tried it, and the lights came on.
I, Fenris Badwulf, caring person, shared this with you. Of course the poor fellow is in the best of care. He is in a straight jacket in that basement room at the back of the parking garage. Go in there and look yourself if you feel like.