Written by Jonathan Wojcik

NIGHTMARE MENAGERIE 2018, PART VIII
Guest Art by Viscount Godfrey of Furlers!






THE STINKBUGS

Posted by Glitchrr36:
"There was also another dream I had that featured "stinkbugs." The dream started with two people on a bus falling asleep, and then they had a dream where Hagrid from Harry Potter was taking care of the titular stinkbugs, which were fourteen foot long tadpole shrimp like things that were eye searingly bright greens and blues and purples, and had that "upper jaw with fangs but no lower jaw" and a really long, kind of thin tail extended out and could spray "killer stink" out of it. They also had lots of legs, most of which ended in either your standard crustacean claws or human fingers. I think they could open up their segmented carapace to show something frightening that I can't quite remember. They leaped at the dreamers then they woke up, and then one leaped at me from the inside of the bus then I woke up."


A solid bug-monster, nice jaw arrangement and fun name, but I'm of course most intrigued by the fleeting idea that they can display something terrifying by opening their shells!



THE SLABS

Posted by Freckles:
"I donít really remember the specific events that happened, but I remember for most of the dream there where these big, rectangular slabs of people living in my house. like, not rectangular shaped people, they where literally just slabs that looked like you put clothes on them. no arms or anything. their heads where placed on their chests and where big and grotesquely exaggerated, looking like an angry cartoon face but more "real." I guess they where also pretty mean and almost violent to me, everytime I was near them I felt like I was going to be hurt or thrown by them. My parents didnít really seem to care about this either. It felt like being in an episode of courage the cowardly dog. the end of the dream was me waking up, walking over to my parents room in the dark, and seeing one of the rectangular guys just staring into their room, not noticing me. I woke up for real after that."


Wow. AWFUL. I feel like meeting these abusive block-shaped people in a dream would really leave me feeling sick and uncomfortable. The climax, with the fake wake-up and the Slab peeping in on Freckles' parents, is exceedingly skin-crawling.



THE SHADOW

Posted by Liam Philipson:
"The dream itself was less of a full story and more like a series of vignettes about this creature my brain named, very creatively, "The Shadow." It was about the size of a large cat, shaped like a Pac-Man ghost tipped over on its side, pitch-black, with a sort of veiny smoky undertone that peeked out from the darkness from time to time. Little globs of its substance drifted off the fluffy end and dissipated into the air, but it never lost "mass." It had stereotypical "evil" eyes, bright yellow, each of which contained three yellow LED diodes side by side. The eyes were almost toy-like and stood out from the rest of the creature.

In the first "story," I was outside in my yard when I saw some weird black vines growing on the side of my house. Somehow I knew this meant that The Shadow was infiltrating the house. In this dream world, The Shadow was a known thing, an unstoppable reality of life, and wherever it showed up you had to be careful because it was unpredictable. My mom came over and I pointed out what was happening, but it had already gotten to her, and she was sort of an apologist for it. I was horrified when it appeared suddenly, cruised through the air and nudged against my leg, again sort of like a cat. I half expected it to kill me, but as my mom cryptically explained, "The Shadow is unkind, but The Shadow is patient." It wasn't going to attack me just yet. I remember being a little scared of my mom, who started to sound like some kind of priest for the thing.

The second "story" was the most frightening one. In this one I was a bit detached, more like I was watching a news story than an active participant. This one gave me a little more context of the threat The Shadow represented. Apparently, a group of scientists had managed to isolate and examine The Shadow and found that its "stomach contents" included a few digested remnants of a child that had gone missing weeks before, including a deflated soccer ball and a pitiful t-shirt scrap. In the waking world I don't know how these "scientists" managed to capture it or why they would let it go afterwards (did it force them somehow? Manage to escape?) but in the dream fiction it made perfect sense. The clearest image from the dream remains the pile of "stomach contents" that they dredged out of The Shadow - a dirty metal dumpster filled with all this horrible yellow-green bile, with streaks of blood as well as the soccer ball and t-shirt floating at the top.

In the final story, it ended up possessing a mech and my friends and I fought it using Sonic Adventure mechanics. It shifted straight out of horror into goofy action and I woke up before the battle was done."


I love just how much "lore" this one comes with, how important it seemingly is within its dream-canon and how ominous it manages to be with such an inoccuous, but highly distinctive appearance.



...BIGFOOT?

Posted by Cilantro:
"I'm in some damp, dark hallway, the kind where horrible shit usually goes down. it seems to slope downwards, and I definitely get the sense that Iím headed underground, like some kind of abandoned bunker. The hallway begins to feel like more of a tunnel, a hole. and eventually the downward slope stops, the ground evens out, and there it is. I donít know what at all to call it, but it doesnít seem like the kind of thing to even have a name. The first and definitely most striking thing was the head, which looked like a thin sheet of plastic wrapped into a cone and inflated with air. plastered on were two huge, blank eyes, and the whole thing gave the impression of a cartoon mouse. but the mouth was on the top, instead of the bottom, right above where the nose would be had it have been a mouse. I donít remember much about the neck, only that it was way too long. For whatever stupid reason, I beckon foward. My thighs feel like theyíre being jabbed by needles, and the right side of my chest is twitching really hard. I get close enough to se the body and stop. Not by my own cognition, if I remember correctly, but more as if i just had to. the thingís body is daunting, around 6í tall, and I canít tell if itís bulk comes from muscle or itís impossible amount of hair. The grey, plasticine neck eventually snakes it's way into a massive, hairy figure. It looks like someone took Bigfoot from those jerky commercials, coated it in mousse and sprayed it all sorts of browns and reds and blacks. in the middle of its "chest" there's a pale, hairless face, with bulging eyes and the absolutely tiniest pupils. its mouth seemingly unhinged, revealing a mouth full of tiny, painfully spaced human teeth, and against my own will I approached until my body woke me up."


This is so distinctly a dream monster, isn't it? Sometimes a dream monster feels like something someone might have come up with on purpose, but other times, you know it can't really have been anything but the mad rambling of an unconscious mind. Forms thrown together with no rhyme or reason, and extra parts that don't make any graceful sense. This isn't even one of the most surreal examples we've seen, no, but there's no mistaking that, yes, this is definitely somebody's nightmare.



THE WISH GRANTER

Posted by Rose Diltz:
"Ok so I've never had a lot of nightmares, even as a child, but I had a really memorable one just a few months ago. It was basically about how deep in the ocean there were these beings that granted wishes to anyone who could find them. They were these little black, squarish things with gearlike teeth around their edges, that clung to rocks like barnacles. But they had creepy, maniacally grinning faces (i feel like they were subconsciously modeled after the Thwomps from Mario.) The dream wasn't really focused on them, however. The main 'plot' of the dream started when someone (maybe me?) wished to eradicate all animal abuse from the world. A nice thought, but it was an absolute monkey's paw scenario, as this resulted in a world where if anyone even came close to hurting an animal, they died immediately. It seemed to get worse as the dream went on, as the deaths got gorierand the rules of the 'wish' got even stricter until even something like, petting a cat's fur the wrong way or accidentally bumping into a dog would have you exploding into strings of gore. The dream eventually focused on a group of humans who were desperately trying to get as far away from any animals as possible (which wasn't working very well because even something like stepping on an insect counted.) I woke myself up before anything else notable happened but the dream left me with a disturbing feeling all day. "


The idea that wishes are actually granted by deranged, encrusting sea creatures is a marvelously original concept, and unsettling even to me! I get the impression that they don't really fully understand what they're doing, but they also wouldn't care if they did. Something's wrong with their very existence, let alone that they can bend reality by request, so of course they're the kind of wish granter that pulls this kind of screwed-up irony.


Our guest artist has also illustrated both "The Cook" and "The Gardener" from Red Spy's amazing dream, both looking awesome!


Finally, enjoy a group shot of almost all the major frog and toad nightmares we've seen since beginning this tradition!


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