VNS – Restless Nights
What do I, Lovecraft, and the Headmistress of the Vacation Necronomicon School have in common?
Lovecraft suffered terribly from them. Which perhaps explains his obsession with the crossover between the world of dreams and the waking world, and the ease with which entities can cross between them. Lovecraft suggests that when dreaming we have direct access to the other dimensions from which so many of his terrifying creatures come from.
In Beyond the Wall of Sleep poor Joe Slater is host to an ethereal entity for his whole life, one that can only come to the fore when Joe is asleep. There is a cross-over of awareness in that half-conscious time after awakening, but before full consciousness. As it turns out, it is the poor entity which has been imprisoned within the body of Joe Slater.
We’re supposed to look at Lovecraft’s use of dreams as a theme. But I can’t. Because something in the story got under my skin.
… and upon waking [Joe] would often talk of unknown things in a manner so bizarre as to inspire fear even in the hearts of an unimaginative populace. … He himself was generally as terrified and baffled as his auditors, and within an hour after awakening would forget all that he had said…
And I am reminded of a story my family would often tell. About how as a child I would often be found sitting huddled on the ground, out of my bed, late at night, wrapped up in my duvet, staring fixedly at the wall and talking, incessantly. But my father (who always told me the story) could never understand what I was saying. Not because it was quiet. But because he did not recognise it as a language.
I of course have no recollection of these incidents. And being a rational man, I am sure that it was merely the babbling of a small child experiencing a dream, rather than a strange and alien tongue.
And I am equally certain I wasn’t looking right at someone, or something.
I certainly hope it wasn’t looking back.