Goosebumps: Choose Your Own Adventure

Well, it’s officially that time of the year again. The boots are out, the sad excuse for a winter coat is out, as are an interesting assortment of winter gloves and scarves. Unfortunately winter hats don’t like to fit over my mitpachat (AKA: tichel, shmata, head scarf), so instead I have my husband’s earmuffs. Yet still, the most classic way to determine if it is indeed that time of the year again is by how late I stay in my warm bed in the morning to procrastinate getting out from under my covers into the cold room. So, this post is dedicated to my favorite piece of furniture (my bed) and that wonderful activity that takes place there… dreaming!

I’ve had many a strange dream in my life and as I remember many of them, I can guarantee you that there will most definitely be more posts of this nature (enough for me to create a “Dreams” category). But what makes this particular dream worth posting about? Simple. It was a choose-your-own-adventure dream. How often does that happen?! Anyway, if I recall correctly, I dreamed part one of this dream in elementary school, somewhere around 5th-6th grade. Part two was dreamed a year or two later.

Part One:

The dream opens where I am running across a series of rooftops that look an awful lot like like the ancient Pueblo mud houses, similar to an early scene in “Aladdin” where he’s jumping from rooftop to rooftop to avoid being caught. In the case of my dream, however, I am not alone. I am traveling with my clan of about 20 nomads, and jumping from rooftop to rooftop is our mode of transportation. Anyway, we reach the edge of one building, stopping short as there is a large gap between there and the next building, too large to easily jump. But jump we must. Getting a running head start we all leap over the edge in slow motion, but the far rooftop is just that – a far rooftop. Now this far rooftop must have belonged to a nice Jewish family, because they had a brick wall around the roof. Mind you, not a very sturdy one though, because as we are all falling somewhat short in our leap of extraordinary proportions, we grab hold of the brick wall and dangle there on the side of the building for a few seconds before the wall crumbles and we all fall to the ground. I guess the leap wasn’t so extraordinary after all, because we only fell a few feet to the soft, dirt ground with no cries of pain more dramatic than a loud “Oof!” At any rate, we land at the entrance to a cave. With a lit torch (that came from where?) we enter the cave in an orderly manner. As one of the youngest clan members, I found myself somewhere in the middle of the line, protected on all sides. Except something feels wrong. As we move further into the cave I realize that something is picking off the stragglers from the back. Don’t ask me how, but I knew that the something was a minotaur – yes, from Greek mythology (most likely inspired by 5th of the “Hercules” telemovies that served as precursors to the “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” series, “Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur“). After slowly picking off those poor souls behind me, the minotaur begins to attack from the front. After the first man in line (presumably the clan leader) lets out a blood-curdling scream and drops the torch that immediately extinguishes upon contact with the dirt, the minotaur lets out a roar and all panic ensues. In each-man-for-himself style, we all run for the cave entrance, but with the minotaur behind us once again, we have no chance of making it. Alone, I ran towards the light coming in from the mouth of the cave. Of course, before I reach it I trip over a random tree root sticking up from the dirt, and fall to the ground with a louder “Oof!” than before. With my eyesight somewhat hazy, yet still seeing the light of the cave’s exit, a shadow falls over me and I feel the minotaur’s dank breath on the back of my neck. Naturally, before I could be devoured, I wake up. (As the film “Inception” so accurately(?) describes how one is not capable of dying in a dream. One simply wakes up.)

Part Two:

The dream opens the same way: jumping from rooftop to rooftop, leaping, grabbing the brick wall and falling to the ground at the entrance to a cave. This time, however, I know that there’s a minotaur in the cave and that if we enter we’ll all be devoured. I tell the other clan members, but they don’t take me seriously and enter the cave anyway. I stay outside, and sure enough a few minutes later I hear their screams and cries as one by one they are eaten. All alone and not knowing what to do, I start wandering down a narrow dirt path that starts right next to the cave. Time passes and I find the path cuts through a field with long grass. A ways off I see a person and call out. The person turns out to be a blond haired, young girl about my age who is carrying a yoke with buckets of water over her shoulders (like such). She offers me water and I tell her my story. Upon realizing that I’m all alone now, she invites me to return with her to her village. We get to her village (which kind of resembles Camp Moshava IO) and she shows me to her “bunk.” Her “bunk” has 3 steps leading up to the front door, which opens directly to a small and narrow room that is entirely occupied by a bunk bed with no space between it and the wall. She offers me the top bunk and I clamber up using the lower bed as a stepping stone. The next morning she takes me to their social hall where they promptly start davening. I don’t have a siddur on me, so the girl directs me to a table in the back with siddurim strewn across it. I try to find a Shilo siddur, as this was the only kind I was familiar with back in elementary school, but all I can find is a Shilo bencher (that doesn’t exist in the real world, to the best of my knowledge). After davening we sit down at round tables and breakfast is served to us. While we eat, a screen on one side of the room is lowered and we watch a film. The film is about an evil shape-shifter. Before I know it, the round table I am at is a round table at the cafe where the film’s protagonist (who looks like Neve Campbell) is also sitting at a nearby table reading a newspaper. All of a sudden the cafe’s front door blows open and the shape-shifter spins in like a tornado, Tazmanian Devil style, and with a cackle says, “You should be careful when there are sharp objects around.” Without warning, all the silverware on the tables and at the bar float up into the air and start flying at the protagonist. The shape-shifter cackles again and whirlwinds out the door leaving the cafe a total wreck. I peek over at where the protagonist was sitting, but she fell to the floor in the attack. Then, one bloody hand after the other, she pulls herself up to the table and we see that she is all cut up and bloody. The end.

My lesson was learned. I dreamed this dream no more, as this was a dream for which I no longer wanted to choose adventures, since they all end so horribly. But the real scare didn’t come until a few years later. I was channel surfing on TV and happened upon a preview for a film with a scene involving knives sent flying through the air by the bad guy. I quickly changed the channel, and to this day do not know which movie that was, although I have tried to find out. Someone told me that the original 1976 “Carrie” film had a scene that fits that description, but why would a film made in 1976 be previewing around the turn of the millennium? (By the way, the 2002 “Carrie” remake doesn’t have that scene, so it couldn’t have been that preview.) Anyone have any other suggestions?

I was once told that when you think up an idea, it’s then permanently out there in the world for the taking – that’s why many inventions are thought of around the same time all across the world (take the Rema and Rav Yosef Caro, for example). I’m not sure I really believe it, but at any rate it’s too bad I didn’t copyright my dream at the time. I could be rich now off of a horror film that I will never see.

PS. If the theory in the last paragraph is indeed true, then I am truly sorry for releasing these horrors into the world. My bad.

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