“And 8… deeper still… You are safe and at peace. Take another deep, cleansing breath… And 9… You’re getting more relaxed. Deeper… Deeper… You’re totally relaxed… And 10.
“Can you hear me?”
“I can hear you.”
“Can you think back to your dream?”
“What’s the first thing you can remember?”
“I’m… outside… and, you know how inside your dream sometimes you can tell its a dream? It’s like that.”
“How do you know it’s a dream?”
“I’m staring up at the sky. It’s bright purple. Electric. Like someone’s plugged it in. The clouds are swirly like a Van Gogh painting. They’re brilliant shades of pink and yellow. Their patterns remind me of watching my mother mix batter for cake when I was a boy. I reach up to the sky and try to grab the clouds. They’re such soft, fluffy pastels that I think they must taste wonderful.”
“You reach for them. But you can’t touch them, is that right?”
“No, I can’t and my heart aches.”
“Your heart aches?”
“Yes. I am so sad and disappointed at not being able to taste the clouds that I feel a pain in my chest. The pain reminds me of when I played with marbles as a child.
“Yes. When I was maybe three or four years old, my father bought me marbles. They all had colorful, swirly designs, they looked like they had feathers frozen inside them. So beautiful. I remember being very upset that they didn’t taste like anything after I put them in my mouth. I wanted to suck on them swallow them but they were tasteless. I tried every one. I remember wondering at how could they all look so pretty and not taste like anything. It was very disappointing. I feel like that when I can’t touch the clouds.”
“We didn’t discuss this last time but would you say your emotions are immature, like that child?”
“No… not immature. I think ‘pure’ is a better word. What I feel is simple and clear.
“OK, I think I understand. After that, what happens?”
“Somewhere in the back of my mind I realize I must be dreaming because the sky is never purple in real life and the clouds are never pink and yellow. So I turn around to see where I am.”
“And where are you?”
“I’m standing in my front yard. My house is normal color though, not like the sky. I can hear soft, musical burblings. The noises sound like they are coming from my back yard.
“Soft burblings? Can you describe the noises?”
“They are fairly loud but they sound like they are wrapped in something soft, like how a gong can sound so smooth even when played loudly. It’s as if the rougher edges of the noise have been shaved off. They sound like they are emerging from bubbles as they pop. The noises are muffled and then after each‘bloop, bloop,’ popping noise, they become louder, one after the next. Each time a bubble pops there is a note inside it that escapes.”
“A note of music, like from an instrument?”
“No, not like that. The sound is more like people’s voices singing and each bubble contains just a fragment of the note. I can hear each soft pop followed by a clear, pretty note. The noise makes me so happy.”
“Happy? Like when you were looking at the sky and the clouds?”
“Yes…sort of… I feel excited by the noises. Excitement is bubbling up in my own gut. It’s thrilling and I have to find the source of the noises. There are so many different notes, different octaves. It sounds like a bubble symphony.”
“How do you react to this feeling?”
“I need to find the source. I walk toward the symphony, around the side of my house.”
“And what do you find there when you go around the side of your house?”
“Gummi bears. Giant gummi bears. Ohhh… They are so big and soft… and shiny.”
“ You see these gummi bears right now? In your back yard?”
“Yes, I see them. But not in my back yard. My neighbor’s.”
“Remember, this is not happening right now. Take a deep breath. Good. We are both here, safe in my office. You are remembering your dream. Do you recall our last session?”
“This is where we began our session the last time but I think it’d be best if we went over the details again. It might help you remember some things more clearly. Can you describe these gummi bears for me?”
“There is a family of them having a barbecue in my neighbor’s back yard. They are all different colors and human-sized; kids, teenagers, adults.
“I’m just standing there watching them. None of them turn to see me. One of them, the biggest, is cooking something on a grill. He must be the father. He looks ridiculous, a gummi bear holding a spatula. Two little ones are swinging on a swing set. They are fat and translucent and their smooth skin shines slick in the sun. They are all so plump and the ones that are moving around wobble as they walk.”
“Are they the source of the symphony?”
“Yes. They are singing their bubbly-sounding notes. And the music doesn’t just sound bubbly. I can see the bubbles emerging from their mouths as they sing. The bubbles pop a few feet above their heads and their notes emerge. Each bubble is a the same color as the gummi bear it comes from. The sights and sounds of the bubbles makes the ache in my chest return. I am sad to know that the bubbles cannot long last after their escape from the bodies. But, still, the bubbles and the bears are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I want to have them, keep them, own them. I want to devour them so that their beautifulness will be inside of me.”
“Do they see you?”
“No. They all have their backs to me. The little girls on the swing set are closest to me, bubbles of joy arcing out of them as they swing. Back and forth. Back and forth.”
“Can you remember what you did next, in your dream?”
“I… I have to have them, devour them. The girls on the swings are closest to me as I approach. One is strawberry colored and the other lime. When I get close enough, I can smell them both and they smell just like their colors.When I am close enough, it is the strawberry gummi bear who is swinging back toward me. I reach out and grab her off her swing. She feels as soft and warm as a flannel sheet. The strawberry gummi girl feels like strawberry flavoring.
“I’m sorry. She feels like strawberry? What does that mean?”
“…I can’t explain it. It’s like I can taste with my hands. I know what strawberry flavor feels like.”
“The gummi girl smells and tastes and feels so good that I take a bite out of her gummi shoulder. She emits so many bubbles at this, and the sound is so beautiful, that I’m sure she loves this as much as I do. This must be her purpose in life, to be eaten. The lime gummi girl jumps off her swing and begins bouncing around the yard. I think that this must be a game. I’m supposed to try and catch them and eat them. It’s what gummi bears are for.
“Then, I begin to sing with the strawberry gummi girl. The bubbling of joy within me increases until it escapes me and I sing with her. By now, the rest of the gummi bear family is looking over at us. Their soft songs increase, all of them singing different notes at once.”
“Do they approach you?”
“Some of them do. Some bounce around the yard in joy. Some bounce toward me, wanting to play. They move very fast for gummi bears though, much faster than I can move. Before I can take another bite of the strawberry girl, a blueberry boy is in front of me. He’s bigger than the girl. The size of a teenager. As he reaches out for me, we touch and the blue I feel is so deep and still and pure that another pang of desire makes me let go of the gummi girl and grab hold of his arm. He begins to bounce his free gummi hand off the top of my head. His arm keeps coming down like he’s trying to strike me but it tickles. I want to taste him too but he’s so fast and slick and sugary that I can’t grab the arm he’s tickling me with. It’s almost like I’m drunk, how slow and awkward I move compared to the gummi bears. This blue one is tickling the top of my head so much though that I laugh.”
“In your dream, the noise you make is a laugh?”
“Yes, that’s right. The laugh bubbles escape my mouth and float up over my head. I look up, following them, as they rise. I find them so interesting. Just then though, the blue gummi is about to tickle my head again so I open my mouth and take a big bite of his blue arm. He’s as soft and sweet as the strawberry gummi. I want another bite but before I can get one he bounces away from me singing in ecstasy, bubbles trailing behind him as he flees.
“He’s so fast. I have almost no chance to catch him. I wonder why they run and play these games if they sing with such joy when I eat them.”
“This is where we ended last time. Do you remember getting this far during our last session?”
“Do you remember why we stopped last time?”
“I… I have a bad feeling now. I like this dream and I want to stay here, feeling this…bliss… forever.”
“But you do remember more of the dream?”
“During our last session you began getting very upset. You’re doing much better. Remember, you’re safe. I’m here with you. Can we go on? Can you tell me what happens next?”
“Good. Go ahead.”
“Now I notice all the gummi’s running around. It seems like a fun game, having to chase them in order to get a bite, so I try. But they’re too fast and I can’t catch them. Then I think I need to sneak up on them. I must find some gummi’s that aren’t aware of me so I can catch them before they can run away. It’s not fair that they’re so hard to catch.
“Just at that moment though the father gummi, the big, cranberry colored one, comes around to the back yard again. He’d been one of the ones to run away as soon as I’d started singing. He has a tree pruner in his hands; one of those things with a saw at the end of a long pole. Its as funny to see a gummi bear holding a tree pruner as it is seeing it hold a spatula and so I begin to laugh again, bubbles floating out of my mouth and past my eyes.”
“You said that before, that you could see bubbles. Can you tell me what color they are, these bubbles?”
“You sound upset. What’s wrong?”
“They aren’t pretty bubbles. I don’t like brown.”
“But there you are, right? Bubbles, the gummi bear…”
“Yes. The gummi father comes at me and starts tickling me with the tree pole saw. It feels like a feather and gives me chills. Every touch comes at me so fast, is so ticklish, makes me laugh so hard, that I find it too distracting to concentrate on how to get close enough to this cranberry gummi to taste him. By now, the rest of the gummi’s have run away. I can’t see any of them anywhere and I am worried that I won’t be able to taste any of them ever again. I try focusing on the cranberry gummi. He’s moving backward, away from me, even as he keeps tickling me. He is the only one around and I want to feel his cranberriness and taste him so badly that I follow him.
“By the time we make it to the front yard, a big, tan military-looking truck pulls up in front of the house. It looks like a huge pick-up truck, the kind with six wheels that seats twenty men in the bed. And in the back, in assorted colors, are gummi soldiers. This makes me happy again. I am so happy that excitement rises in my belly and pale brown bubbles float past my eyes into the sky.”
“Suddenly, for the first time, I feel pain. It feels like a bee sting; in my neck. I reach my hand up and feel something there. I grab hold of it and pull it out. When I look at it, I see a large dart with pretty orange feathers at the back. I think to myself that this is what they use to tranquilize tigers at the zoo.
“The pain from the sting spreads across my neck and increases until my muscles spasm. I can’t breathe or swallow. My head feels like it’s about to explode. Everything begins to get dimmer. Just as I fall to the ground, I see that the sky is blue and the clouds are white and the men in the truck are not gummi soldiers. And I… I…”
“You need to relax. Remember, this is just a dream and you are actually safe right now. You are here in a hospital room. I am with you. Take a deep breath. Good. Inhale lightness. Exhale the tension. Good. Again… And Again.
“Good. Now, are you relaxed again?
“And is this all you can remember from the dream?”
“What do you remember next?”
“I remember waking up here, with you, in the hospital.”
“That’s good. You’ve done very well. Now, I am going to count backward from 10. As I do, you will become more refreshed and relaxed. The tension you feel from recollecting the end of your dream will melt away. You will remember the whole dream the next time I hypnotize you but you will not remember it when I awaken you. Do you understand?”
“Yes. I will not remember the dream when I’m awake but will recall it when I’m hypnotized.”
“That’s correct. You will also not have this dream any more when you sleep at night. You will only discuss and remember this dream with me, during our sessions. Is that clear?”
“Good. 10… you’re relaxing. All the tension is moving to your fingertips. 9… 8… you feel content. 7…”
“How do you feel?”
“I feel great, rested.”
“Do you know where you are?”
“I’m…in… a hospital.”
“Correct. And you know who I am?”
“Yes. You’re Dr. Harding.”
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“ No. Was I in an accident? Why am I wrapped in bandages?”
“In a way, yes, you were in an accident. You are hurt very badly.”
“Is my family OK? Where are they?”
“Do you remember the zombie plague?”
“It’s over, isn’t it? I thought we heard it was over.”
“No, no, don’t try and sit up. Your family is fine. The plague is done. Can you tell me what’s the last thing you recall before arriving here?”
“I… The last thing I remember is that we’d won. There was a vaccine. The news said that the vaccine reversed the effects of the plague. Most of those changed would die from the wounds inflicted on them while they were zombies though. How did I… I can’t…”
“After the ordeal you’ve been through, a little confusion is to be expected. I need you to tell me though, what’s the last thing you remember?”
“We were celebrating. The whole town was celebrating. Fireworks in the middle of the day, barbecues. Monica and the kids were returning from the safe zone since the National Guard sounded the all-clear for our county. Monica had just texted me that she’d gotten off the highway. I was in the front yard, waiting for them to pull up.
“What happened to me? How did I get here?”
“You’ve been through a traumatic event. Do you remember my hypnotizing you?”
“Do you remember the last time we spoke?”
“We… when did we speak? Did you just say you were a doctor?”
“Yes, your doctor. Dr. Harding. I’ve been your doctor for three days.”
“Three days? What happened? The last thing I remember was standing in my front yard and then waking up here… We’ve talked before?”
“Yes. I just hypnotized you. We are attempting to get at your memories of what happened to you. The type of trauma you’ve experienced causes gaps in a person’s short-term memory. Do you remember anything from our session?”
“Do you remember the recurring dream you’ve been having?”
“That’s fine, just fine. I’m sure in time your memory will return. With this type of trauma, its best to bring the memory to the surface gradually.”