I had a dream last night. I was a schoolkid again, and riding the bus again. The bus driver was a gifted and talented program director, and a staunch advocate of tiered structures, where the best and brightest as judged by them move on to better programs, and leave the rest behind.
We were driven in the bus into a garage. The children that the bus driver thought were worthy were let go from the bus. We left the garage and started wandering around the fields there, looking for our rides home and wondering what was going on. No one explained what was happening. It was just a normal day and a normal bus ride. The kids thought we were all just waiting for the rides to come for the kids that were let out, and the bus couldn’t leave until the rides came. The garage was closed. Past the windows I looked in at the bus, and saw them all, oblivious, with the bus driver staring blankly ahead like nothing was happening inside the garage, with the engine running. Outside in the yard, none of the other kids got it either, just me.
Then, I woke up.
A dream by itself is just flotsam and jetsam. A radio program, plus a television show, plus scenes from my memory, plus the random firings of a brain on shutdown, reload, diagnostic mode.
Apparently this is what I dream about when I dream about school. My subconscious sees some kids, chosen almost at random by an educator who is so confident in their choice that they will stay with the rest of the children in the garage, keeping them calm, and running the engine. My subconscious views the horror from the outside, as one of the lucky few to be chosen for escape.
Dreams don’t really have much of a genre narrative. They are a raw, unfiltered, unedited, and indigestible wad of narrative that pushes upon you at your most vulnerable and least-able to change the channel. Lay down at night and choke on these imageries, and the only ones you’ll really remember in the morning are the nightmares.
It is an argument for writing horror and unsettling things, that when dreams are memorable, it is because they are a nightmare. When dreams are pleasant, they drift into the ether as forgotten as the seventeenth day of summer in 1983.