The Three Black Hats

I am on an air mattress.  It is covered in a cotton sheet.  I am stretched out on my back beneath a soft fleece blanket. I am in the end room of a double wide trailer.  The trailer is nestled in a quiet neighborhood which is dense with trees.  There are no traffic sounds.  I am falling into sleep slowly.  

I may have passed time, into the REM and back out again because all I know is that I am lucidly awake.  I feel a prickling energy all over my body.  There is no pain.  It is electric.  Every hair on my skin is moving.  I can feel each folical.  There is a source pull.  It is coming from the large window on my left.  

I wanted to cover that window when I first arrived here, telling my nephew that it made me uncomfortable because it had only a sheer shell of a curtain. 

“Someone could stand out there and see me.”  I felt vulnerable. 

He assured me, attempting to comfort my cognition.

“It’s cool, Auntie.  No one around here will do that. Just don’t dance around nekkid.”
He did a hillbilly skip and we laughed, but I decided that this weekend I’m going to buy some thick curtains to cover this window. 

Now, on the same evening, I am here on this mattress feeling frozen with fear, having awakened in what seems to be the morning hours, two or three am.  I am wishing Inhad not waited.  I should have gone right then and bought curtains. 

 I know that I need to look at the window to be sure that I’m not just imagining things, but I am terrified to turn my head.  I am still, focused on my breathing.  I know someone is there.  I know it without a doubt.  Still, I have to see to be sure.  I finally move my head very, very slowly and just slightly enough to the left to give me an adequate view to see the window.  If there is someone there they shouldn’t be able to see through the darkness if I move slowly and just enough. 

Through the sheer of the curtains I see them.  Three men.  Side by side.  They are no more than five feet tall, each the exact same height.  They are dressed identical in dark suits and matching dark overcoats.  They have on button up shirts with maroon ties.  They wear black hats, like Hollisters, with maroon ribbons that match their ties.

Their hands are behind their backs.  I do not move. It crosses my mind that they may notice I am awake, but it seems insignificant.  They know already.  I slowly move my head back to the middle of the pillow. They are soulless.  They were not looking at me directly  but rather into the room as if awaiting orders from someone.  My heart is pounding rapidly, and I am dissociating.

I tell myself I am silly, but I am too terrified to glance again.  This will only confirm that I am not imagining all of this.  I am focused on going back to sleep.  I cannot be awake for what is going to happen next. 

“Go back to sleep.”  I urge myself. 

“Go back to sleep.” I say it over and over. 

I close my eyes. I think that I must go back to sleep so that I won’t feel what they are going to do to me.  I make myself laugh inside my head.  What a silly notion.  This shit’s not real.  Yet, beneath my attempts to convince myself, I know they have the ability to take one step and walk through that wall.  Then there will be no escaping.  They’ll be in the house.  

I tell myself that is also a ridiculous notion.  Because they’re reading my thoughts and know all of my plans.  So the best I can do for myself is to go back to sleep and get through it.  So I drift back down into the chasm of REM.

In the morning I will wonder if my memory was real or if it was really a dream.  I will wonder still. 

(Dreamt in 2010, Olympia, Wa)

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