(Confession — I had this dream in mid-July. I don’t recall what was occupying my mind at that time, but it seems appropriate to post it on the platform-booted heels of Halloween.)
We have been warned — we deviate from the path at our peril. There is no other guarantee of safe passage through the graveyard. Night and gloaming surround. Elongated shadows arch themselves over hillocks of drifting snow, but I easily find the sinuous depression winding through that indicates safety. I tell my son and husband to remain close, and then push through the frosted crust, breaking a trail. No sooner have we begun, than my husband has stumbled off the trail into deep snow. Alarmed, I call out, my voice hissing, and although he returns quickly, it’s too late. A distant howl of pursuit echoes, hollow and eerie, growing ever closer. The zombies are deceived neither by speed nor misstep.
With increased determination, I push through the snow. The path leads past neatly arranged headstones and down a cleft. Walls of snow rise up on either side of us as we descend steps hewn from ice-rimed stone. At the staircase’s bottom, a large chamber opens before us — at its far end is a scaffold beneath which spills an enormous quantity of foam peanuts and lint-like packing materials. I instruct that we must bury ourselves from sight within them, so the zombies will not scent us. My son and I are successful, but my husband does not sufficiently bury himself — his right elbow and side remain exposed. The zombies drag him out. I cannot see, but I hear all.
In the chaos, my son and I escape. We swim beneath the sea of packing peanuts and emerge in a narrow, worked-stone hallway which opens into another rectangular chamber. One third of this room’s length is galleried, raised several feet higher than the rest. In the gallery, poised over a large cauldron and gesturing dramatically, is a wild-haired mad-scientist. I warn my son to look away, that he must not linger, must not approach the mad scientist, but I am distracted. To my elation, my husband has returned and appears remarkably unaltered by his zombie encounter. Meanwhile, my son is unable to overcome the mad-scientist’s compulsion and has stepped up into the gallery. He is immediately transformed into a vampire. Rushing forth from the gallery, he vaults the stone railing to attack a woman — my sister?! — at the chamber’s far end. They collapse in a heap on the floor near a low dais upon which rests a closed, black coffin. My son-turned-vampire attempts, inexpertly, to bite. I must do something…must act…but I cannot. I cannot strike out because the vampire is my son, whom I love. The scene plays out like bad fiction until my surroundings slowly begin to tilt and revolve around me.