One Life in a Dream


by Bryn Clark

I keep having this dream. I say this meaning that I've had it the past few nights. It's kind of strange really, I guess it could even be classified as sick, but I prefer strange. It's frightening too, really frightening in fact. Truth be told, I think you would say that it's all of those, and I think you would be worried. That's why I haven't told you about it, there's really no reason to be worried. It's just a dream.

Anyways, the dream always starts off the same way; I'm driving in a car. For some reason the car I'm in is always an SUV. I think it's a Chevy but I really can't remember. The dream always takes place at night, and I'm always driving down a winding road in the fog. It's a dense fog, the visibility is really low. It's a cold fog too, the type you can feel sink into your skin and soak your bones. The bright beams are on and the car is going fast. I don't know how fast, but I know it's going too fast for the road and my body feels as though it is on a roller coaster.

The accident always happens the same way. My car approaches a sharp bend in the road and I'm unable to see it coming through the fog. For some reason, though, I know it's coming. I know it's coming and yet I don't slow down. I think it's because I can't.

Anyways, the bend sits on top of an embankment, and guardrails line the road with reflectors every few feet. There's yellow signs with black arrows pointing to the left, warning cars of the perilous turn. These should warn me, but I'm driving too fast. So when the car tries to make the sharp left turn it skids and the right side collides into the guardrail.

The car is going way too fast, I told you it was an SUV right? Point being it's really top heavy and the guardrails do little other than flip the car.

In slow motion the car rolls down the hill, over little trees and slamming into larger ones, while the constant pull of gravity increases its momentum. The glass shatters from the windshield and hits me in several different areas, and in this dream, I can sense pain. It's hard to describe how this feels, there's so much pain from the shattered glass that it ceases to be pain and instead just feels ticklish. But ticklish doesn't sound right. You know that feeling you get when your arm falls asleep and it tingles? You know, it tingles like a thousand needles are under your skin trying to get out. That's how this feels, a thousand pieces of melted sand tickling and tingling my skin until it gives up its blood.

Meanwhile the roof above me starts to cave in with each flip of the car, and my neck is forced downward to my knees. I can feel the muscles in my neck straining, and something snaps in my back. I hear it snap too, like the leg of a chair under too much pressure.

The steering wheel is coming closer and closer to my waist; all I can conclude is that some outward force seems to be compacting the car on top of me. Then the car hits a tree and the trunk shoots through the driver side door and into my left shoulder. I feel the wood smash into my bone, like a hammer into clay, and my entire body vibrates.

Overall, the pain is unreal, but the noise is the worst. A high pitch screaming of metal scraping metal, and I think I could hear myself screaming too, though I don't remember doing so. The noise shoots through my forehead, and my vision is blurred with red. The noise was the worst.

Then as quickly as it started, everything stops. The noise, the falling, it all just stops. Except the pain, the pain is definitely still there. The car has reached the bottom of the hill and I'm lying on my right side in a bed of shattered glass. The fall is over.

I try to move my legs but can't. Looking down I see that they're caught between the collapsed dashboard and my seat. I see what looks like a white pole sticking through a hole torn in my jeans. It's really hard to see anything, however, because my vision is still blurred, blurred red.

My neck kills, but I'm able to move it so I crane towards the rear of the car. I can see the back windshield, now just an empty gap where the glass used to be. I decide to try and crawl out of the back, and lift my arms to pull my legs out. It's then that I realize my left arm is hanging uselessly in the socket, and my left hand is turning white. Unable to move I just lie there on my side.

Then you call me. My phone is in my pocket, and when it starts ringing I can feel it vibrate against my leg. With my right hand, the only useful limb I have left, I fish the phone out and flip it open. But you've hung up.

I think about calling you back. I stare at the "missed call" notification on my phone. But blood flowing down my forearm covers the phone and I let it fall to the floor.

So I'm laying there in my car, suspended by my seat belt, one ragged, worthless, bloody mess, just waiting. I can feel my life pumping out of me with all the blood I lose, and at a certain point I realize I'm tired. It's when I realize this that I lay my head down, on a pillow of blood and bone that used to be my left arm. Then I go to sleep.

And that's my dream. It's always the same and it always ends the same way. That's the worst part about it, not that it keeps happening, not even what happens in the dream, but the way it ends. It ends and I wake up, I wake up lying on my left side and I'm whistling to myself. I'm wide awake lying there, head resting on my left arm whistling to myself. What I'm whistling is the worst part. You must think this is so sick.

I'm whistling the sound of police sirens. Lying there on my left side, head cradled in my arm, I'm whistling the sound of police sirens coming to rescue my life from my body.


BIO: Bryn Clark received a B.A. in English from Wheaton College (IL). He currently lives in South Hamilton, Massachusetts where he is pursuing a Masters of Divinity. He has fiction and poetry published in several literary magazines.