Monday, October 30, 2006

A Nightmare for Halloween

(This is going to be the spookiest post I ever posted, just to let you know) It was a dark and stormy night (actually it was probably just drizzling or something, my dad doesn't remember). The year was 1971, and I was just a wee lad, maybe two years old. We were living in the old apartments across from the Raceway just outside of Trenton, NJ. One night, my dad had a dream... but a vision is a more fitting word for what he saw. Retelling it to me just yesterday still gives him chills. In his dream, there was shadow and fog, and a foreboding gloom. He couldn't say where he was, the space was filled with such a deepening mist. Suddenly, cutting through the darkness was a sight so horrible that he bolted upright shaking. My mother woke at the start and turned to him. Seeing such a fear in his eyes, she asked what it was that he saw. From the dark clouds there hung a thin brown wire, pulled taut by the weight of a small figure that spun slowly around. It was a child, ghastly white, hanging in his misty nightmare, the cord like a serpent wrapped around it's neck. The child's face was mine. They got out of bed and my mother led my father down the hall to the kitchen for a cup of water. She had never seen him so visibly shaken. He kept mumbling that he had never had a dream so terrible, and so shockingly still. The image was still burning in his mind as they turned the corner of the hall that led to the kitchen, and to the left, the living room. Suddenly, my father says, an icy chill fell over his body and stopped him in his tracks. Looking down, as though some force of gravity compelled his eyes, he cried out my mother's name. I had escaped from my crib, and there between the armchair and the television set, I lay asleep. Loosely draped around my neck was a thin brown wire. It ran from the TV antenna to the floor and lay coiled up like a snake. They cast off the cord and found me breathing, soft and calm. I believe God speaks in a thousand ways to His children, and everything is at His service. Above and below and within, in our waking and our sleeping, and in the myriad encounters that wash over us every day, there are movements of the supernatural. For this nightmare of my father's, for the whisper of our angels, for the twists and the turns our lives so often take, for our sixth sense, and our premonitions, for the signs and the wonders that make life such a mystery, I am most thankful.
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