01. Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal
September 29 2002
Morning: 3 out of 10
Afternoon: 3 out of 10
Night: 5 out of 10
Took both my pills this morning, Doc. As instructed.
Pretty average day, except I had that dream about my parents again.
Same shit as last time: me walking in the woods, come to a clearing with a small lake in the middle and my parents are there, standing across the lake from each other, just hollering.
Like the third time I had it too, and every time it’s the same: they’re yelling the way they used to—like they want to fucking murder each other—and I’m watching them do it, happy just to see them within speaking distance.
Same details: my dad’s face was blurry, my mom was wearing that weird ass piss-yellow spring dress I’ve never seen in real life before with small burn holes in it from her cigarettes, and they both looked like zombies.
…actually, they were zombies. Full-fledged undead. Tattered skin, sunken, hollow eyes, slack facial muscles—all the same shit from the movies. My dad was toothless last night, that was different I guess. Can’t tell if that’s a move in the right or wrong direction, though. It made him look like he was grinning every time he opened his mouth. Pretty creepy with the rest of his face being just a big blur. And he kept gnashing his lips together at my mom, like he wanted to gum her to death or something.
Ma wasn’t doing much different on her side of the lake. She just kept flicking my dad off and screaming incoherent shit over and over again. Bunch of gibberish they both kept spitting out in a steady stream. My mom’s voice had this loud, shrill ring to it that was ear-splitting even from where I stood watching, which was a pretty good distance away. Every once in a while she’d spit at the ground and mutter something, and every time she did I could smell her breath like she was right next to me. It smelled like rotten fish, like a sick cat with its mouth open, and her voice sounded like her tongue decayed and fell out of her mouth, kind of like when a deaf person tries to talk. If the deaf person was also walking dead.
Anyways, in the dream they’re both doing the screaming bit for a while until they notice me standing where I’m at, then they turn and start doing that creepy-slow-zombie-walk towards me, and even though they’re coming at like 1/8th a mile an hour, I can’t move. It’s like I’m stuck in place forever before they reach me grab my arms and bare their teeth/gums and then I wake up.
That’s the dream, and last night was the third time I’ve had it this week.
But that’s not even the kicker. When I opened my eyes it was ten AM and I was drenched in sweat and scared as shit and, yeah, that sucked. But the real b.s. is—just like the last two times—I had the same fucked-up, twisted reaction to it all. Can’t explain it, why it happens like that.
You see, I’m fine in the dream, fine when they’re yelling, fine when they grab me, fine when I first wake up and I’m still kind of in the dream world, a little scared but still feeling kind of like I’ve got something. But then, when things get clearer and I look around my room and remember where I am and who I am and what the world’s really like, I just curl up into a ball and slip into this semi-coma for a couple of hours.
And I mean a fucking coma; I don’t even know I’m out until the sun slips through this crack in my blinds and hits me in the eyes and I finally stir, look over at my clock and see it’s two in the afternoon and I can’t remember what I did for the past four hours.
That’s what I’m dealing with here, Doc. A bunch of bullshit.