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Sleeping with the Enemy

Don't you just hate it when your dreams blur the boundary between sleeping fantasy and reality? Last night I pretty much had worst case scenario as far as this goes. Because when you're dreaming about being half-awake lying in bed, it's really hard to tell if you're actually dreaming, or if you are indeed just lying there sleeping fitfully.

So picture me lying in bed (I know it's not the most pleasant of thoughts, but bear with me on this), naked as I almost always am. Slightly clammy from the over-warm duvet that we're using at the moment. I'm lying on my back, half awake, the darkness of the early hours covering the room like a blanket of impermeable shadow. The only possible clue that I'm dreaming comes from the near crippling inability to move, which is countered by the fact that I'm not even trying to, because I'm sleeping. It is a near blissful state, the comforting lack of light a signal that many hours of sleep stand between the present and the need to rise for the coming day.

Into this scene comes a curious sensation rubbing lightly against the skin of my side just above my waist. The feeling goes ignored for several moments; my sleepy senses barely registering the feeling. It comes again, and my mind's eye hazily puts together a picture of some small creature snuggling itself into the space where my hot skin meets the warmed fabric of the sheets on the mattress. But the image fails to stir me, the understanding of the importance of this failing to take hold.

The sensation is experienced once more, a clear feeling of light fur against naked skin. Drowsy fingers probe down towards the offending area, vacuously searching for the itch which needs scratching. Images flash before me. A small body of light brown fur, a conical snout, and a pair of jet black, round eyes. My own eyes open immediately; a rat is nestling up against my side for a warm night's rest. Suddenly alert fingers close around a furry ball, which immediately begins to struggle for freedom. Rodent legs swirl frantically in search of escape. Impossibly, as I grip the beast, I find I am unable to hurl it away. All I can do is hold it against my side, where surely it is a matter of time before it scratches or bites me. The disease biohazard brings about a heart-thumping adrenaline surge. Unable to throw it, unable to get it away from me, I begin to squeeze. Then my eyes open, and the only noticable change is the lack of rats I can feel hugging up to me.

Disturbing stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. But having an almost identical dream twice in the same night? Was it just a dream? Or did I twice have to battle rats in a state of half-sleep to keep them from invading my bed? Our bedsted is currently broken, so we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor. If rats were somehow to get into our house, it would be an easy feat for them to achieve what I dreamt.

But surely it was just a dream. Surely...

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Copyright Insane Bartender 2007-03-06 11:12 a.m.

e-mail me: Insane Bartender