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Night Terrors

Nebraska, USA
September 1999

My brother was two years older than me, and when we were very small, we shared a bedroom. He adored me, his baby sister, holding my hand everywhere we went, and always making the neighborhood bullies let me have my way.

When Tim was around seven or eight, he started to have the worst nightmares imaginable. He would get out of bed and throw things around the room and bang his head on the wall screaming bloody murder, eyes wild with rage. If my parents came into the room, he would hit and kick them. By the time his dreams would end, he'd be soaked in sweat and exhausted. I was a light sleeper so I usually would wake up as soon as his fits started, and before they got bad, crawl under the bed (even though I knew monsters lived there. Heck I was five )

My parents were too poor to take him to a psychiatrist so they decided to put away anything breakable, pad the dresser corners and windows, and put me into another room. When the terrors came, they would wait outside the door and pray that he wouldn't hurt himself. With the suggestion of a family friend, they never tried to wake him. I have to admit, his dreams scared the daylights out of me.

As we got older, I started to have recurring dreams about Satan. One in particular happened the night my sister went off to college and I finally got a bedroom alone. I was eight. Satan was a normal person in my dream, but had short spiky horns and rotten teeth. I always knew I was dreaming and didn't let my dreams get to me. (If I did, my parents would never let me watch Dark Shadows again. ) Anyway, this night, I dreamed Satan was trying to strangle me. I couldn't breathe and somehow knew I was in a dream. I tried desperately to wake myself up, but I couldn't. As I choked and cried in my dream, I could see my brother in the distance screaming at Satan the way he did during his night terrors. He threw things at Satan and hit him and kicked him, but Satan wouldn't stop. Finally, just as I felt life leaving me, Tim smashed Satan over the head with a baseball bat. Satan departed and I woke up. I laid there for a very long time, not able to go back to sleep.

I noticed that the hall light was on and listened. My parents were in the hall, waiting, listening to Tim. I finally got up and asked what was up. My mom was crying. She told me to go back to bed. Tim was having another night terror, but he was quiet now. My dad opened the door and there on the floor was a baseball bat and the shattered remains of Tim's mirror.

Nebraska, USA
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