“Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.”  

– Sigmund Freud

When I was younger, I used to have vivid dreams every night.  These dreams would take me to other worlds, place my mind in other bodies, and then have plot twists that often made no sense whatsoever. As the years have gone on, however, remembering my dreams has become something of a rare luxury. I’m always excited when a dream stays with me upon waking, fresh and hot, ready to be dissected and analyzed.  Of course, this eagerness to explore my subconscious is probably part of why I don’t have the same vivid dreams anymore.

I’ve often suspected that the matter is due to my choice of profession; whereas I spent my younger years just imagining storylines, I’m now someone who writes them down pretty consistently, and thus I’m exploring my subconscious fears, yearnings, and angst in a very active way on a regular basis.  This strikes me as an extraordinarily healthy way to plug into the subconscious, chew on life’s stresses and find solutions.

Still, I miss having regular dreams, primarily because they often served as fuel for writing. After all, Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein based on a dream, right?


One nightmare that I always come back to is a recurring one that I experienced when I was a teenager.  Something about this dream has always stayed with me, and I imagine at some point, some part of it will work its way into my fiction.

This dream, which I call “the Axe Dream,” is a rather gruesome story: be warned.

In the Axe Dream, I’m a janitor working at what I believe is a high school.  I climb the stairs to go to the rooftop, which is concrete, and see an elderly woman in rags smoking cigarettes with a group of high schoolers. I start walking up to them, the woman shrieks. She then charges at me with a wooden board, slamming me across the head, as the teenagers try to knock me the ground.  The elderly woman trips over one of her follower’s legs, and then grabs an axe from behind a cardboard box. As I’m pinned to the ground by the teenagers, she proceeds to swing the axe at my head–first lopping off a piece of my skull, and then embedding it firmly within the brain. They walk away, laughing.  As warm blood pools around me, I can hear a voice in my head saying that I’m dead, I’m dead now, these is my last thoughts before I die–until suddenly, I realize that I’m not dead.  I stand up, fully alive and resurrected (albeit with an axe submerged in my head) and I walk away.


So, what about you guys?  Are there any dreams that have stuck with you, for one reason or another?  Dreams that have come back from out of nowhere, or dreams that you’ve always wondered about?

Let’s hear them!

P.S., on a side note: this weekend, I’ll be participating in the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a charity event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association.  IF you’re interested and want to find a walk in your area, check out their site.

55 thoughts on “The Axe Dream

  1. My dreams are quite vivid. I can feel things in them too. Some have stuck with me for years. One came true. Other times I have that deja vu thing going on. Explore INFJ personality types. They tend to have this phenomenon often. Great post!

      • I can really only pinpoint one dream that was obvious that it came true because when it happened I thought, “Oh wow, I dreamed that.” It was the divorce of a family member then it happened and it was a shock to a lot of people. Other things seem more vague like, I thought I dreamed it but wasn’t sure. If I could tap into them more maybe I could use them in some way but Oh well 🙂

  2. First and foremost, you know I love your blog (I adore it more and more with every new post,) and your passion for Alzheimer’s is truly commendable. I cannot donate, sadly, but I will check the site out and see what I can do.

    I LOVE your recurring dream sequence! Super creepy and reminiscent of the undead. As I read it, I couldn’t help but wonder why there would be an axe on the roof, which makes me anxious to know more. Even if this end up as a short story or novella, you must write it, man.
    I don’t recall any recurring dreams of my own, but one that has always struck with me and baffled me occurred when I was in the eighth grade, I believe. I don’t recall the context or circumstances or anything profound, there’s simply this image of an adult version of myself, chewing and apparently relishing the cartilege of a human ear. All these years later (I’m 36,) the texture remains. It’s almost palpable, man.

    • Sounds like a pretty visceral experience! It’s crazy how real something like that can be in a dream, where you can still remember textures/tastes/smells that you never actually experienced. I remember once having the infamous “teeth crumbling out of my mouth” dream, and then for the next week I was nervous about biting into anything.

      I’m glad you appreciate the axe dream! There’s just something about it that still creeps me out, to this day. There’s been a number of times that it’s ALMOST worked its way into a story, but never quite fit. I’m sure that one day it will appear. When it does, you’ll know exactly where it came from!

      • Yeah, it was completely visceral. I’ll never forget it. And all these years later, I still cannot help but wonder what, if anything, my conscious was trying to communicate, or if it was simply a dream.

        Oh, wow, your “teeth crumbling out of your mouth dream” sounds quite traumatic, too!

        It’s very creepy, it’s no wonder that it’s had such an impact on your psyche. Well, you know what King has to say about ideas working their way into stories, and I’m totally paraphrasing, but “if it is meant to be, the story will come back to you.” Uggh! I wish I had the exact quote, Uncle Stevie having a magical way with words and all, but you get the idea.:)

  3. I generally have off-the-wall dreams. I don’t recall ever having a really scary “nightmare” dream or any recurring dreams. I remember a few of the odder ones I’ve had over the years. For example, I had a dream just the other night that involved being chased by a dragon only I could see. Also, there was a dream that was like a zombie movie, only it was killer rabbits instead of zombies. One this morning has me scratching my head. It involved being at my mother’s house, and trying to walk her dog Cinnamon (who passed away last year). Cinnamon would jump at my legs like she used to when eager to go out, but when her legs would touch me she would howl/whine like in pain. I thought maybe she had sprained her foot or something. Then Cinnamon had her leash with her, like she was ready to go out, then she would drag the leash away from me when I would reach for it, and curled up in a chair like she changed her mind about going out. I left a note for my mother about Cinnamon’s actions when she was jumping at me, to let her know in case she wanted to take her to the vet. Then the dream scene changed to my mom getting home, reading the note, and not acting concerned. Instead she suggested going outside for a walk. We went into her back yard, where I spotted an animal that looked like a large rabbit without ears crouched in the grass. We started trying to take pictures of it, and it tried to get away from us. As it did, I tried to remember what the animal was called, thinking it was familiar. I eventually came up with the name capybara. Also, the animal was changing form as it tried to run from us. It’s head first turned into a something like like a horse’s head as it ran off towards the side of the house. We followed after it, continuing to try to get pictures, and heard it meow from the side of the house. As we got there, we saw it head turn cat-like, as well as part of its body. It ran off by us toward the far side of the yard. We were going to chase after it again but that’s when I woke up.

  4. I do have very vivid dreams, but they are few and far between. There is one in particular that I had in 2004 and I am currently writing a novel based on the dream. I won’t tell you what it’s about though… you’ll have to wait and read my book! 😉

  5. My dreams would be a long extensive list. I dream nightly, sometimes several times, and remember most. I have many locations I frequently go to. They are familiar in the “dream” world. But I’ve never been there in real life.

  6. Dreams have always fascinated me and seem, at least to me anyway, to be the way my brain clears out excess ‘stuff’ from within for which I’m grateful. For the extra creative like you…oh gosh, what a treasure trove of ideas. 🙂

    • Thank you! As it turns out, I actually just had a couple of extremely vivid dreams last night that will definitely serve as strong inspiration for something down the line.

      I agree completely with your hypothesis, in regard to dreams “clearing out excess stuff.” That always has seemed to me like the most logical explanation for how bizarre they can get, at times. And they do get pretty bizarre…

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